We originally reported that members of the family of transcription factors NF-κB/Rel can specifically recognize two identical sequences, referred to as APPκB sites, which are present in the 5'-regulatory region of the APP gene. Here we show that the APPκB sites interact specifically with a complex which contains one of the subunits of the family, defined as p50 protein, and that they act as positive modulators of gene transcription in cells of neural origin. Additionally, the nuclear complex specifically binding to the APPκB sites is constitutively expressed in primary neurons from rat cerebellum and it is up-regulated in response to both the inflammatory cytokine interleukin- 1β (IL-1β) and the excitatory amino acid glutamate. Since IL-1, whose levels are known to be induced in brain of individuals affected by Alzheimer's disease, and glutamate, are stimuli which have been regarded as major actors on the stage of neurodegenerative processes, we believe our evidence as potentially relevant for understanding the neuropathology associated with Alzheimer's disease.
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