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Sci. Signal., 11 January 2011
Vol. 4, Issue 155, p. ec14
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4155ec14]


Neuroscience Mind the Gap (Junction)

Peter R. Stern

Science, AAAS, Cambridge CB2 1LQ, UK

The role of chemical synapses in learning and memory in the adult mammalian brain is well established. In contrast, the more rapid neuronal transmission that is mediated by electrical synapses is not fully understood. Using a variety of different manipulations—including fear conditioning, drugs, and electrophysiological recordings—in freely moving rats, Bissiere et al. discovered that blocking neuronal gap junctions containing connexin 36 controls the acquisition and the consolidation of fear memories within the dorsal hippocampus. It appears that interfering with gap junction–mediated neuronal transmission selectively prevented the formation of a memory during aversive experiences such as fear conditioning.

S. Bissiere, M. Zelikowsky, R. Ponnusamy, N. S. Jacobs, H. T. Blair, M. S. Fanselow, Electrical synapses control hippocampal contributions to fear learning and memory. Science 331, 87–91 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Citation: P. R. Stern, Mind the Gap (Junction). Sci. Signal. 4, ec14 (2011).

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