The influence of nicotine on the expression of Fos family proteins, which specifically formed complexes with the AP-1 sequence, was assessed. mRNA for c-Fos, c-jun and jun-B were up-regulated at 0.5 h after nicotine treatment, elevated c-Fos also being apparent after withdrawal. Although nicotine failed to up-regulate the mRNA level of the fra-1 gene, the Fra-1 protein was highly expressed after both treatment and withdrawal. These results indicate that nicotine treatment may affect the transcriptional activity of many genes through c-Fos and c-Jun protein expression in neural cells, and that Fra-1 protein may make a contribution. These changes in immediately early genes (IEGs) may be associated with nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
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