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Neurosci Lett. 1998 Aug 21;252(3):159-62.

Decreased transcription factor junD in brains of patients with Down syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Vienna, Austria.


JunD is a member of the Jun family of transcription factors (TF), recently shown to negatively regulate cell growth and antagonizes transformation by the protooncogene ras: c-jun decreases while junD is accumulating when fibroblasts become quiescent. Furthermore, overexpression of junD resulted in slower growth and an increase in cells in G0/G1. Performing gene hunting on fetal Down syndrome (DS) brain we found a sequence downregulated and homologous to junD. This observation made us examine junD protein levels in adult brain specimens. Western blot experiments were carried out in five brain regions of aged patients with DS (n = 9), controls (n = 9) and patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD, n = 9). We found that junD in AD brains were comparable to controls, whereas junD levels were significantly and remarkably reduced in frontal, temporal lobe and cerebellum of patients with DS. These findings may indicate a specific finding in DS and were not linked to the AD-like-neuropathological changes of plaques and tangles, observed in DS from the fourth decade, which is also suggested by the findings of downregulated junD at the mRNA level revealed by the gene hunting technique (subtractive hybridization) in fetal DS brain. We propose that junD plays a role for the impaired development and wiring of DS brain, maybe already early in life.

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