Immediate-early gene responses in the avian song control system: cloning and expression analysis of the canary c-jun cDNA

Kent L. Nastiuk, Claudio V. Mello, Julia M. George, David F. Clayton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown that song presentation results in a rapid rise in mRNA levels for the ZENK gene (the avian homologue of zif-268, Egr-1, NGFI-A, and Krox-24) in specific parts of the songbird forebrain. Metrazole-induced seizures also cause an increase in ZENK mRNA, even more widely throughout the telencephalon. Surprisingly, however, little or no ZENK induction by either stimulus was observed in several forebrain areas involved in auditory processing and song production. To learn whether this pattern of regulation is specific to ZENK, we examined the response of another 'immediate-early' gene, c-jun. Here we first describe the identification, cloning and sequence analysis of a canary cDNA encoding c-jun. Then, by in situ hybridization we show that c-jun is also induced by song or seizure, and in a pattern mostly similar to ZENK. As with ZENK, no induction of c-jun is observed in the androgen receptor-containing song nuclei or within the primary thalamo-recipient auditory area of the forebrain. Thus common immediate early gene responses appear to be selectively uncoupled from physiological activation in these specific forebrain regions, which are also characterized by tight developmental, hormonal and seasonal regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-309
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Canary
  • Immediate early gene
  • Metrazole
  • NGFI-A
  • Songbird
  • Zebra finch
  • c-jun
  • zif-268

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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