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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Robert C. Liu, Department of Biology, Emory University, Rollins Research, Center Rm. 2006, 1510 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30322; Phone: 404-727-5274; Fax: 404-727-2880; Email: robert.liu@emory.edu

Acknowledgments: We thank Edgar Galindo-Leon for experimental assistance, and David Nicholson for comments on a prior version of the paper.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by NSF CBN IBN-9876754 (RCL) and NIH DC008343 (RCL) and MH085617 (GJB), and by the Neuronal Imaging Core of the Emory Neuroscience NINDS core facility (P30NS055077).


  • immediate early gene
  • mouse
  • catFISH
  • novelty
  • familiarity
  • synaptic plasticity

Arc/Arg3.1 mRNA expression reveals a sub-cellular trace of prior sound exposure in adult primary auditory cortex


Journal Title:



Volume 181C


, Pages 117-126

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Acquiring the behavioral significance of a sound has repeatedly been shown to correlate with long term changes in response properties of neurons in the adult primary auditory cortex. However, the molecular and cellular basis for such changes is still poorly understood. To address this, we have begun examining the auditory cortical expression of an activity-dependent effector immediate early gene (IEG) with documented roles in synaptic plasticity and memory consolidation in the hippocampus: Arc/Arg3.1. For initial characterization, we applied a repeated 10 minute (24 hour separation) sound exposure paradigm to determine the strength and consistency of sound-evoked Arc/Arg3.1 mRNA expression in the absence of explicit behavioral contingencies for the sound. We used 3D surface reconstruction methods in conjunction with fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH) to assess the layer-specific sub-cellular compartmental expression of Arc/Arg3.1 mRNA. We unexpectedly found that both the intranuclear and cytoplasmic patterns of expression depended on the prior history of sound stimulation. Specifically, the percentage of neurons with expression only in the cytoplasm increased for repeated versus singular sound exposure, while intranuclear expression decreased. In contrast, the total cellular expression did not differ, consistent with prior IEG studies of primary auditory cortex. Our results were specific for cortical layers 3–6, as there was virtually no sound driven Arc/Arg3.1 mRNA in layers 1–2 immediately after stimulation. Our results are consistent with the kinetics and/or detectability of cortical sub-cellular Arc/Arg3.1 mRNA expression being altered by the initial exposure to the sound, suggesting exposure-induced modifications in the cytoplasmic Arc/Arg3.1 mRNA pool.

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© 2011 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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