Chronic ethanol exposure produces changes in behavior that may result from effects of ethanol on gene expression. To identify potentially ethanol- regulated genes, mRNA differential display was used to screen the expressed genes in whole brain of mice chronically exposed to ethanol vapors. Mice genetically selected for susceptibility (Withdrawal Seizure-Prone; WSP) or resistance (Withdrawal Seizure-Resistant; WSR) to ethanol withdrawal convulsions were exposed to either ethanol vapor (ETOH group) or air (CTL group) for 72 h. A putative ethanol-regulated product was isolated; nucleotide sequence analysis of this product revealed >85% nucleotide identity to human neuroendocrine-specific protein (NSP) gene. Northern analysis of the expression of this product revealed hybridization to two transcripts (~3.0 kb and 1.4 kb) on blots containing whole brain RNA, consistent with the transcript sizes of hNSP. Ethanol-induced regulation of mNSP was suggested in whole brain of WSP mice, but not in WSR mice, by Northern blot analysis. One transcript (3.0 kb) suggests a 26% increase in relative abundance in whole brain of ethanol-exposed WSP mice, while there was no effect of ethanol on abundance of the 1.4-kb transcript in WSP mice. No effects of ethanol were observed for WSR mice. These preliminary findings suggest that mNSP represents a novel ethanol-induced gene in mice selected for genetic susceptibility to severe ethanol withdrawal.
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