Forkhead box transcription factor, class O (FOXO) is a mammalian homologue of DAF-16, which is known to regulate the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans and includes subfamilies of forkhead transcription factors such as AFX, FKHRL1, and FKHR. FKHR is phosphorylated on three sites (Thr-24, Ser-256, and Ser-319) in a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt-dependent manner, thereby inhibiting death signals. We here documented dephosphorylation of FKHR following transient forebrain ischemia with its concomitant translocation into the nucleus in neurons in gerbil and mouse brains. The activation of FKHR preceded delayed neuronal death in the vulnerable hippocampal regions following ischemic brain injury. The FKHR activation was accompanied by an increase in DNA binding activity for FKHR-responsive element on the Fas ligand promoter. We also defined FKHR-induced downstream targets such as Fas ligand and Bim in brain ischemia. Therefore, we propose a new strategy to rescue neurons from delayed neuronal death by promoting the survival signaling. Sodium orthovanadate, a protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor, up-regulated Akt activity in the brain and in turn rescue neurons from delayed neuronal death by inhibiting FKHR-dependent or -independent death signals in neurons.
- Brain ischemia
- Delayed neuronal death
- Fas ligand
- Forkhead transcription factor
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