Transcription factors in primary glial cultures: Changes with neuronal interactions

K. R. Pennypacker, J. S. Hong, S. B. Mullis, P. M. Hudson, M. K. McMillian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Several astrocyte gene products, such as enkephalin and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), are expressed at higher levels under in vitro conditions relative to in vivo. We have observed that cultured glial cells express high basal levels of transcription factors, such as fos-related antigens (Fra), c-Jun, JunD, and cAMP responsive element binding protein (CREB). When neuronal cells are plated on top of the monolayers, the expression of Fra, c-Jun, JunD, and GFAP decreases in the astroglial cells. The DNA binding activity to the AP-1-like sites of the GFAP and proenkephalin genes was examined in these cultures. The protein complex from glial cultures which recognizes the GFAP AP-1 element contained Fra immunoreactivity while the DNA binding from mixed neuronal/glial cultures consists of CREB-immunoreactive proteins. In glial cultures, no binding occurred to the proenkephalin AP-1-like element but a CREB-immunoreactive complex recognized this sequence in the mixed cultures. Thus, with the addition of neurons, both transcription factors and target gene products decrease in astroglial cells. The proteins that compose gene modulatory complexes also change suggesting that regulation of astroglial gene expression is modulated by neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-230
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Brain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 1996


  • AP-1 DNA binding activity
  • Astrocyte
  • Cell culture
  • Gene regulation
  • Neuron-glia interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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