Transcription Factor AP-2 in Relation to Serotonergic Functions in the Central Nervous System


Eukaryotic gene transcription plays a regulatory role in mammalian developmental processes. It has been shown that transcriptional control is an important mechanism for specification of neurotransmitter phenotypes. In the mammalian central nervous system, the transcription factor AP-2 family is one of the critical regulatory factors for neural gene expression and neuronal development. It has been shown that several genes in the monoaminergic systems have AP-2 binding sites in regulatory regions, suggesting a regulatory role of AP-2 also in the adult brain. Brainstem monoamines are implicated in the expression of personality traits and imbalances in these systems may give rise to psychiatric disorders. The gene encoding AP-2β includes a polymorphic region consisting of a tetranucleotide repeat of [CAAA]4-5 in intron 2. Studies on AP-2β genotype in relation to personality and platelet MAO activity, a trait-dependant marker for personality, are presented in this thesis. Furthermore, correlations between brainstem levels of AP-2α and AP-2β and monoamine turnover in projection areas in rat forebrain are reported. These results strengthen the notion that the AP-2 family is important regulators of the monoaminergic systems in the adult brain. Furthermore, two studies are presented in this thesis with analyses indicating a role for AP-2 in the molecular mechanism of antidepressant drugs. Altogether, this thesis presents data supporting our notion that the transcription factor AP-2 family is involved in the regulation of the monoaminergic systems both pre- and postnatally, and, therefore, might be involved in the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders

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