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Science 292 (5525): 2337-2340

Copyright © 2001 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Requirement of ERK Activation for Visual Cortical Plasticity

Graziella Di Cristo,1* Nicoletta Berardi,23dagger Laura Cancedda,1 Tommaso Pizzorusso,12 Elena Putignano,1 Gian Michele Ratto,2 Lamberto Maffei12

Experience-dependent plasticity in the developing visual cortex depends on electrical activity and molecular signals involved in stabilization or removal of inputs. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1,2 (also called p42/44 mitogen-activated protein kinase) activation in the cortex is regulated by both factors. We show that two different inhibitors of the ERK pathway suppress the induction of two forms of long-term potentiation (LTP) in rat cortical slices and that their intracortical administration to monocularly deprived rats prevents the shift in ocular dominance towards the nondeprived eye. These results demonstrate that the ERK pathway is necessary for experience-dependent plasticity and for LTP of synaptic transmission in the developing visual cortex.

1 Scuola Normale Superiore, Piazza Cavalieri, 7 56126 Pisa, Italy.
2 Istituto Neurofisiologia CNR, via Moruzzi 1, 56100 Pisa, Italy.
3 Dipartimento di Psicologia, Università di Firenze, 50123 Firenze, Italy.
*   Present address: Department of Neurobiology, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Post Office Box 100, 1 Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, USA.

dagger    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: berardi{at}in.pi.cnr.it


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