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July 2011

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Paper from Dudek group highlighted by Faculty of 1000

By Eddy Ball
July 2011

Serena Dudek, Ph.D.

Dudek has devoted her career to seeking the answers to questions about synaptic plasticity and its role in learning, behavior, and development. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

A new paper from a team of researchers led by NIEHS Principal Investigator Serena Dudek, Ph.D., has been singled out for commendation by the Faculty of 1000 (F1000). The study, which details the mechanism underlying rapid transcription of immediate early genes (IEGs) in neurons, appeared online in the journal Nature Neuroscience in May (see story(

First author on the paper( Exit NIEHS, Visiting Fellow Ramendra Saha, Ph.D., is a member of the Synaptic and Developmental Plasticity Group headed by Dudek in the NIEHS Laboratory of Neurobiology. NIEHS Principal Investigator Karen Adelman, Ph.D., head of the Transcriptional Responses to the Environment Group in the Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis, is a co-author on the paper who made important contributions to the study design.

A groundbreaking paper with exciting results

F1000 evaluators Jeremy Day, Ph.D., and David Sweatt, Ph.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, wrote in their review, "This article elegantly examines the contribution of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) stalling to stimulus-induced gene expression in neurons, revealing that polymerase stalling is a common mechanism by which immediate early genes (IEGs) are poised for rapid transcription in response to neuronal events."

Although Day and Sweatt acknowledge that further research is needed to determine the precise role of rapid transcription of IEGs in behavioral memory and neuronal plasticity, they concluded, "These exciting results... represent a breakthrough in our understanding of transcriptional control of gene expression in the brain."

Evaluating top publications

F1000( Exit NIEHS is a post-publication review group of thousands of experts worldwide who identify and evaluate the most important articles in biology and medical research publications. The selection process comprises a peer-nominated global faculty of the world's leading scientists and clinicians who rate the best of the articles they read and explain their importance in approximately 1,500 reviews each month.

Citation: Saha RN, Wiss ink EM, Bailey ER, Zhao M, Fargo DC, Hwang JY, Daigle KR, Fenn JD, Adelman K, Dudek SM.( Exit NIEHS 2011. Rapid activity-induced transcription of Arc and other IEGs relies on poised RNA polymerase II. Nat Neurosci; doi:10.1038/nn.2839: [Online 29 May 2011].

Ramendra Saha, Ph.D.

Saha worked with Dudek and Adelman on a new integrative approach to understanding transcription in neurons. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Karen Adelman, Ph.D.

Adelman's group investigates the dynamic interplay between signals from the environment and transcription by RNA Pol II. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

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