Proto-oncogene c-fos and the regulation of vasopressin gene expression during dehydration

Jian M. Ding, Wayne C. Carver, Louis Terracio, James Buggy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Secretion of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH) vasopressin is increased when body fluid homeostasis is disturbed by dehydration. Associated with this increased secretion is an elevation of vasopressin mRNA in magnocellular hypothalamic neurons projecting to the posterior pituitary. The proto-oncogene c-fos codes for a nuclear phospho-protein Fos which binds to specific DNA elements and acts as a transcriptional regulator coupling short-term extracellular stimuli to long-term responses by altering secondary target gene expression. This study in rats examined the time courses of dehydration induced c-fos expression and the change of vasopressin gene expression in the magnocellular neurons of the hypothalamus. Immunocytochemical and in situ hybridization study demonstrated that c-fos was induced by acute intracellular dehydration in the hypothalamic magnocellular nuclei of paraventricular (PVN), supraoptic (SON), and accessory groups such as nucleus circularis. Double-label immunocytochemical study co-localized Fos and vasopressin-neurophysin immunoreactivity in the same magnocellular neurons in the SON and PVN. In situ hybridization analysis after acute dehydration revealed a rapid and transient c-fos induction followed by a persistent increase in vasopressin mRNA for up to 2 days even after rehydration. Furthermore, prevention of c-fos translation by pretreatment with protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide attenuated this dehydration induced increase in vasopressin mRNA. This study demonstrated that an increase in vasopressin transcription after acute dehydration is dependent on an early phase of protein synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-255
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Brain Research
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Feb 1994


  • Cycloheximide
  • Dehydration
  • In situ hybridization
  • Vasopressin
  • c-fos
  • mRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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