JOURNAL ARTICLE

The histone lysine demethylase Kdm6b is required for activity-dependent preconditioning of hippocampal neuronal survival

Ranjula Wijayatunge, Liang-Fu Chen, Young May Cha, Anthony S Zannas, Christopher L Frank, Anne E West
Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences 2014, 61: 187-200
24983519
Enzymes that regulate histone lysine methylation play important roles in neuronal differentiation, but little is known about their contributions to activity-regulated gene transcription in differentiated neurons. We characterized activity-regulated expression of lysine demethylases and lysine methyltransferases in the hippocampus of adult male mice following pilocarpine-induced seizure. Pilocarpine drove a 20-fold increase in mRNA encoding the histone H3 lysine 27-specific demethylase Kdm6b selectively in granule neurons of the dentate gyrus, and this induction was recapitulated in cultured hippocampal neurons by bicuculline and 4-aminopyridine (Bic + 4AP) stimulation of synaptic activity. Because activity-regulated gene expression is highly correlated with neuronal survival, we tested the requirement for Kdm6b expression in Bic + 4AP induced preconditioning of neuronal survival. Prior exposure to Bic + 4AP promoted neuronal survival in control neurons upon growth factor withdrawal; however, this effect was ablated when we knocked down Kdm6b expression. Loss of Kdm6b did not disrupt activity-induced expression of most genes, including that of a gene set previously established to promote neuronal survival in this assay. However, using bioinformatic analysis of RNA sequencing data, we discovered that Kdm6b knockdown neurons showed impaired inducibility of a discrete set of genes annotated for their function in inflammation. These data reveal a novel function for Kdm6b in activity-regulated neuronal survival, and they suggest that activity- and Kdm6b-dependent regulation of inflammatory gene pathways may serve as an adaptive pro-survival response to increased neuronal activity.

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