• Egr1;
  • major histocompatibility complex;
  • microarray;
  • proteasome;
  • synaptic plasticity


The later phases of neuronal plasticity are invariably dependent on gene transcription. Induction of the transcription factor Zif268 (Egr-1) in neurones is closely associated with many forms of functional plasticity, yet the neuronal target genes modulated by Zif268 have not been characterized. After transfection of a neuronal cell line with Zif268 we identified genes that show altered expression using high density microarrays. Although some of the genes identified have previously been associated with forms of neuronal plasticity, the majority have not been linked with neuronal plasticity or Zif268 action. Altered expression of a representative sample of the novel target genes was confirmed in Zif268-transfected PC12 neurones, and in in vitro and in vivo models of Zif268-associated neuronal plasticity. In particular, altered expression of the protease inhibitor Cystatin C and the chemokine Cxcl10 was observed in striatal tissue after haloperidol administration. Surprisingly, the group of identified genes is enriched for components of the proteasome and the major histocompatibility complex. Our findings suggest that altered expression of these genes following Zif268 induction may be a key component of long lasting plasticity in the CNS.