Editor: Benedict C. Albensi

Transcription Factors CREB and NF-κB: Involvement in Synaptic Plasticity and Memory Formation

eBook: US $34 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $136
Printed Copy: US $119
Library License: US $136
ISBN: 978-1-60805-418-3 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-257-8 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2012
DOI: 10.2174/97816080525781120101


The main theme of this book is to critically survey the role of two recognized protein molecules (i.e., transcription factors) in processes of human memory. In addition, authors provided recent data from their own labs and provided a perspective relevant to specific neurological diseases and potential drug targets. Historically, the transcription factor cAMP response element-binding (CREB) has been the most well documented transcription factor shown to play a role in memory. CREB has several functions, but its most notable function has to do with the formation of long-term memories. More recently, other transcription factors, such as C/EBP, Egr protein, AP-1, and NF-κB have been implicated in memory as well. Of these, scientific literature on NF-κB’s theorized role in synaptic plasticity and memory is growing rapidly. Interestingly, in some recent studies CREB and NF-κB have also been shown to interact with each other where both contribute in a cooperative fashion to the initiation of gene expression.

Indexed in: Book Citation Index, Science Edition, BIOSIS Previews, Chemical Abstracts, Scopus, EBSCO.


The world was originally introduced to the concept of synaptic plasticity over 60 years ago, when Dr. Donald Hebb first clearly defined a physiological mechanism for learning and memory in his seminal work “The Organization of Behavior”. It took another 20 years for Bliss and Lomo to scientifically validate Hebb’s postulate, and show that neurons could alter their ability to communicate with one another in a persistent manner. Together, these works started off what has grown to become the field of synaptic plasticity. The years following the initial discovery were exciting times for learning and memory young researchers like myself, and each discovery over the next 20 years seemed to push us closer to elucidating the biological mechanisms responsible for memory formation. This seemed particularly true in the mid-1980’s when the NMDA receptor was being heralded as the key to learning and memory processes. However, more recently it has become obvious that the activation of membrane receptors is only the first step in a cascade of post-synaptic events that ultimately results in genomic changes. While it remains unclear whether memories reside in our genes, it is clear that several gene transcription factors play a role in determining how easily and reliably changes in neuronal communication can be established. The works included in this book help to explain the evidence for two specific transcription factors, cAMP response element-binding (CREB) and NF-κB, being involved in synaptic plasticity. Furthermore, recent evidence is presented for how alterations in the normal functioning of these transcription factors can play a role is some specific disease processes. These topics included are essential reading for any student of the mind, and particularly for those of us engaged in synaptic plasticity research.

Brian R. Christie

Division of Medical Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC

The Island Medical Program, University of British Columbia, Victoria, BC