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Title: Investigating differential regulation of BDNF promoter IV activity by upstream polymorphic evolutionary conserved regions : implications for mood disorders and cognitive disfunction
Author: Hing, Benjamin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 3436
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2011
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Major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD) are psychiatric diseases that affect behavior and impair cognition. A gene important to these disorders is the brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is involved in processes controlling neuroplasticity. Previous studies have suggested that BDNF expression levels have to be finely regulated for normal mental health and cognition. This study therefore aimed to identify cis-regulatory elements that regulate BDNF promoter IV (BP4), which plays a role in mood and cognition, and investigated how polymorphisms in these cis-regulatory elements might alter BP4 activity contributing to MDD and BD. BP4-LacZ transgenic mice and primary neuron cultures were used to show that BP4 was active in the hippocampus, cortex and amygdala and responded to PKC, KCl and Wnt signaling activation. Using comparative genomics, two highly conserved regions were identified, BE5.1 and BE5.2, which contain the rs10767664 and rs12273363 polymorphisms respectively. Reporter gene assays in primary cultures derived from these brain structures showed that BE5.1 and BE5.2 were responsible for “filtering” or “gating” the effects of different combination of activated signal transduction pathways on BP4. Thus, BE5.1 increased BP4 response to forskolin in cortical cultures while abolishing BP4 response to PMA in hippocampal cultures. Similarly, BE5.2 permitted BP4 response to KCl and combined forskolin and PMA treatment, but not individual forskolin and PMA treatment nor LiCl in cortical cultures. Significantly, the minor allele of rs12273363, which has been associated with MDD and BD susceptibility, acted as a more potent repressor of BP4 response to neuron depolarization by KCl and PKA/PKC activation in different primary cultures. The possible relevance of these findings to the role of altered BDNF expression in MDD and BD are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Depressive Disorder ; Bipolar Disorder ; Transcription factors ; Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor