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Signaling From Neural Impulses To Genes

R. Douglas Fields

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Nerve impulses regulate expression of genes that control receptors, channels, enzymes, and structural proteins. This activity-dependent feedback allows adaptation to changing requirements and environmental conditions. The signal transduction mechanisms carrying information from the cell membrane to the nucleus are becoming well characterized, but a more dynamic view of intracellular signaling is emerging to explain cellular responses to specific patterns of neural impulses. This review analyzes this interface between electrophysiology and molecular cell biology to examine the signals, substrates, and processes that enable the nervous system to regulate its structure and function as a consequence of its own operation.