Neuregulin-1 (Nrg-1) contains an intracellular domain (Nrg-ICD) that translocates into the nucleus, where it may regulate gene expression upon neuronal depolarization. However, the identity of its target promoters and the mechanisms by which it regulates transcription have been elusive. Here we report that, in the mouse cochlea, synaptic activity increases the level of nuclear Nrg-ICD and upregulates postsynaptic density protein-95 (PSD-95), a scaffolding protein that is enriched in post-synaptic structures. Nrg-ICD enhances the transcriptional activity of the PSD-95 promoter by binding to a zinc-finger transcription factor, Eos. The Nrg-ICD-Eos complex induces endogenous PSD-95 expression in vivo through a signaling pathway that is mostly independent of γ-secretase regulation. This upregulation of PSD-95 expression by the Nrg-ICD-Eos complex provides a molecular basis for activity-dependent synaptic plasticity.
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