News about the Role of the Transcription Factor REST in Neurons: From Physiology to Pathology

Jose M. Garcia-Manteiga, Rosalba D'Alessandro, Jacopo Meldolesi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


RE-1 silencing transcription factor (REST) (known also as NRSF) is a well-known transcription repressor whose strong decrease induces the distinction of neurons with respect to the other cells. Such distinction depends on the marked increased/decreased expression of specific genes, accompanied by parallel changes of the corresponding proteins. Many properties of REST had been identified in the past. Here we report those identified during the last 5 years. Among physiological discoveries are hundreds of genes governed directly/indirectly by REST, the mechanisms of its neuron/fibroblast conversions, and the cooperations with numerous distinct factors induced at the epigenetic level and essential for REST specific functions. New effects induced in neurons during brain diseases depend on the localization of REST, in the nucleus, where functions and toxicity occur, and in the cytoplasm. The effects of REST, including cell aggression or protection, are variable in neurodegenerative diseases in view of the distinct mechanisms of their pathology. Moreover, cooperations are among the mechanisms that govern the severity of brain cancers, glioblastomas, and medulloblastomas. Interestingly, the role in cancers is relevant also for therapeutic perspectives affecting the REST cooperations. In conclusion, part of the new REST knowledge in physiology and pathology appears promising for future developments in research and brain diseases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 29 2019


  • brain cancers
  • cooperation of REST with factors
  • differential gene expression
  • differential role of REST in the nucleus versus cytoplasm
  • epilepsy
  • future therapies
  • miRNAs
  • neurodegenerative diseases
  • neuronal proteins
  • REST increase/decrease
  • REST level

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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