DOI: 10.1002/glia.24463 ISSN:

An 840 kb distant upstream enhancer is a crucial regulator of catecholamine‐dependent expression of the Bdnf gene in astrocytes

Annela Avarlaid, Eli‐Eelika Esvald, Indrek Koppel, Annabel Parkman, Anna Zhuravskaya, Eugene V. Makeyev, Jürgen Tuvikene, Tõnis Timmusk
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neurology


Brain‐derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays a fundamental role in the developing and adult nervous system, contributing to neuronal survival, differentiation, and synaptic plasticity. Dysregulation of BDNF synthesis, secretion or signaling has been associated with many neurodevelopmental, neuropsychiatric, and neurodegenerative disorders. Although the transcriptional regulation of the Bdnf gene has been extensively studied in neurons, less is known about the regulation and function of BDNF in non‐neuronal cells. The most abundant type of non‐neuronal cells in the brain, astrocytes, express BDNF in response to catecholamines. However, genetic elements responsible for this regulation have not been identified. Here, we investigated four potential Bdnf enhancer regions and based on reporter gene assays, CRISPR/Cas9 engineering and CAPTURE‐3C‐sequencing we conclude that a region 840 kb upstream of the Bdnf gene regulates catecholamine‐dependent expression of Bdnf in rodent astrocytes. We also provide evidence that this regulation is mediated by CREB and AP1 family transcription factors. This is the first report of an enhancer coordinating the transcription of Bdnf gene in non‐neuronal cells.

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