After spatial exploration in rats, Arc mRNA is expressed in~2% of dentate gyrus (DG) granule cells, and this proportion of Arc-positive neurons remains stable for ~8 h. This long-term presence of Arc mRNA following behavior is not observed in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells. We report here that in rats~50% of granule cells with cytoplasmic Arc mRNA, induced some hours previously during exploration, also show Arc expression in the nucleus. This suggests that recent transcription can occur long after the exploration behavior that elicited it. To confirm that the delayed nuclear Arc expression was indeed recent transcription, Actinomycin D was administered immediately after exploration. This treatment resulted in inhibition of recent Arc expression both when evaluated shortly after exploratory behavior as well as after longer time intervals. Together, these data demonstrate a unique kinetic profile for Arc transcription in hippocampal granule neurons following behavior that is not observed in other cell types. Among a number of possibilities, this sustained transcription may provide a mechanism that ensures that the synaptic connection weights in the sparse population of granule cells recruited during a given behavioral event are able to be modified.
ASJC Scopus subject areas