Calcium and the Developing Brain

Science's STKE  13 Jan 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 215, pp. tw17-TW17
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2152004TW17

Calcium signaling communicates many effects of activity in the neural system. Short-term effects may be mediated by protein modifications, whereas long-term effects may be mediated by changes in gene transcription. Aizawa et al. (see the Perspective by Jefferis et al.) have identified a calcium-responsive protein called CREST that is a transcriptional transactivator. Embryonic development was unaffected in mice lacking CREST, but these mice displayed severe defects in cortical and hippocampal dendrite development. Cortical neurons from mice lacking CREST showed deficiencies in dendritic growth in response to depolarization. Thus, the effects of electrophysiological activity on gene expression and subsequent neuronal development may be mediated by CREST.

H. Aizawa, S.-C. Hu, K. Bobb, K. Balakrishnan, G. Ince, I. Gurevich, M. Cowan, A. Ghosh, Dendrite development regulated by CREST, a calcium-regulated transcriptional activator. Science 303, 197-202 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]

G. S. X. E. Jefferis, T. Komiyama, L. Luo, Calcium and CREST for healthy dendrites. Science 303, 179-181 (2004). [Summary] [Full Text]