Co-expression of C/EBPγ and ATF5 in mouse vomeronasal sensory neurons during early postnatal development
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The differentiation of sensory neurons involves gene expression changes induced by specific transcription factors. Vomeronasal sensory neurons (VSNs) in the mouse vomeronasal organ (VNO) consist of two major subpopulations of neurons expressing vomeronasal 1 receptor (V1r)/Gαi2 or vomeronasal 2 receptor (V2r)/Gαo, which differentiate from a common neural progenitor. We previously demonstrated that the differentiation and survival of VSNs were inhibited in ATF5 transcription factor-deficient mice (Nakano et al. Cell Tissue Res 363:621–633, 2016). These defects were more prominent in V2r/Gαo-type than in V1r/Gαi2-type VSNs; however, the molecular mechanisms responsible for the differentiation of V2r/Gαo-type VSNs by ATF5 remain unclear. To identify a cofactor involved in ATF5-regulated VSN differentiation, we investigated the expression and function of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein gamma (C/EBPγ, Cebpg), which is a major C/EBP family member expressed in the mouse VNO and dimerizes with ATF5. The results obtained showed that C/EBPγ mRNAs and proteins were broadly expressed in the postmitotic VSNs of the neonatal VNO, and their expression decreased by the second postnatal week. The C/EBPγ protein was expressed in the nuclei of approximately 70% of VSNs in the neonatal VNO, and 20% of the total VSNs co-expressed C/EBPγ and ATF5 proteins. We examined the trans-acting effects of C/EBPγ and ATF5 on V2r transcription and found that the co-expression of C/EBPγ and ATF5, but not C/EBPγ or ATF5 alone, increased Vmn2r66 promoter reporter activity via the C/EBP:ATF response element (CARE) in Neuro2a cells. These results suggest the role of C/EBPγ on ATF5-regulated VSN differentiation in early postnatal development.
KeywordsATF5 CEBPG Vomeronasal sensory neurons Differentiation Mouse
We thank the members of the Takahashi laboratory for their support and useful discussions.
Compliance with ethical standards
All mouse studies were approved by the Institutional Animal Experiment Committee of the university and were performed in accordance with institutional and governmental guidelines.
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