Archival Report| Volume 66, ISSUE 3, P214-222, August 01, 2009

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Human Freud-2/CC2D1B: A Novel Repressor of Postsynaptic Serotonin-1A Receptor Expression


      Altered expression of serotonin-1A (5-HT1A) receptors, both presynaptic in the raphe nuclei and post-synaptic in limbic and cortical target areas, has been implicated in mood disorders such as major depression and anxiety. Within the 5-HT1A receptor gene, a powerful dual repressor element (DRE) is regulated by two protein complexes: Freud-1/CC2D1A and a second, unknown repressor. Here we identify human Freud-2/CC2D1B, a Freud-1 homologue, as the second repressor.


      Freud-2 distribution was examined with Northern and Western blot, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, and immunohistochemistry/immunofluorescence; Freud-2 function was examined by electrophoretic mobility shift, reporter assay, and Western blot.


      Freud-2 RNA was widely distributed in brain and peripheral tissues. Freud-2 protein was enriched in the nuclear fraction of human prefrontal cortex and hippocampus but was weakly expressed in the dorsal raphe nucleus. Freud-2 immunostaining was co-localized with 5-HT1A receptors, neuronal and glial markers. In prefrontal cortex, Freud-2 was expressed at similar levels in control and depressed male subjects. Recombinant hFreud-2 protein bound specifically to 5′ or 3′ human DRE adjacent to the Freud-1 site. Human Freud-2 showed strong repressor activity at the human 5-HT1A or heterologous promoter in human HEK-293 5-HT1A-negative cells and neuronal SK-N–SH cells, a model of postsynaptic 5-HT1A receptor-positive cells. Furthermore, small interfering RNA knockdown of endogenous hFreud-2 expression de-repressed 5-HT1A promoter activity and increased levels of 5-HT1A receptor protein in SK-N–SH cells.


      Human Freud-2 binds to the 5-HT1A DRE and represses the human 5-HT1A receptor gene to regulate its expression in non-serotonergic cells and neurons.

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