Stimulation of neuronal acetylcholine receptors induces rapid gene transcription

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Science  03 Oct 1986:
Vol. 234, Issue 4772, pp. 80-83
DOI: 10.1126/science.3749894


Cholinergic agonists rapidly and transiently induced transcription of the c-fos protooncogene and one or more actin genes in neuronally differentiated PC12 cells. Transcription was activated within minutes after stimulation of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and required an influx of extracellular Ca2+ ions through voltage-sensitive calcium channels. Nicotine activation proceeded by a different pathway from activation by nerve growth factor, whose stimulation of these genes is independent of extracellular Ca2+ ions. These findings suggest that neurotransmitters may rapidly activate specific gene transcription in nondividing neuronally differentiated cells. They also suggest a functional role for neurotransmitter induction of c-fos and actin expression in the nervous system.

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