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Science 290 (5494): 1170-1174

Copyright © 2000 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

NMDA Receptor-Dependent Synaptic Reinforcement as a Crucial Process for Memory Consolidation

Eiji Shimizu,* Ya-Ping Tang,* Claire Rampon, Joe Z. Tsiendagger

The hippocampal CA1 region is crucial for converting new memories into long-term memories, a process believed to continue for week(s) after initial learning. By developing an inducible, reversible, and CA1-specific knockout technique, we could switch N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor function off or on in CA1 during the consolidation period. Our data indicate that memory consolidation depends on the reactivation of the NMDA receptor, possibly to reinforce site-specific synaptic modifications to consolidate memory traces. Such a synaptic reinforcement process may also serve as a cellular means by which the new memory is transferred from the hippocampus to the cortex for permanent storage.

Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544-1014, USA.
*   These authors contributed equally to this work.

dagger    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jtsien{at}

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