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Keywords:

  • c-Jun–N-terminal-kinase;
  • epilepsy;
  • excitotoxicity;
  • gene targeting;
  • hippocampus;
  • JNK-interacting-protein 1;
  • kainic acid

Abstract

Islet-Brain 1, also known as JNK-interacting protein-1 (IB1/JIP-1) is a scaffold protein mainly involved in the regulation of the pro-apoptotic signalling cascade mediated by c-Jun–N-terminal kinase (JNK). IB1/JIP-1 organizes JNK and upstream kinases in a complex that facilitates JNK activation. However, overexpression of IB1/JIP-1 in neurons in vitro has been reported to result in inhibition of JNK activation and protection against cellular stress and apoptosis. The occurrence and the functional significance of stress-induced modulations of IB1/JIP-1 levels in vivo are not known. We investigated the regulation of IB1/JIP-1 in mouse hippocampus after systemic administration of kainic acid (KA), in wild-type mice as well as in mice hemizygous for the gene MAPK8IP1, encoding for IB1/JIP-1. We show here that IB1/JIP-1 is upregulated transiently in the hippocampus of normal mice, reaching a peak 8 h after seizure induction. Heterozygous mutant mice underexpressing IB1/JIP-1 showed a higher vulnerability to the epileptogenic properties of KA, whereas hippocampal IB1/JIP-1 levels remained unchanged after seizure induction. Subsequently, an increasing activation of JNK in the 8 h following seizure induction was observed in IB1/JIP-1 haploinsufficient mice, which also underwent more severe excitotoxic lesions in hippocampal CA3, as assessed histologically 3 days after KA administration. Taken together, these data indicate that IB1/JIP-1 in hippocampus participates in the regulation of the neuronal response to excitotoxic stress in a level-dependent fashion.