Editors' ChoiceNeurobiology

Firming Up Memories

Science's STKE  14 Nov 2000:
Vol. 2000, Issue 58, pp. tw4
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2000.58.tw4

Much evidence links the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor to memory formation, but its role in memory consolidation, a process that can take days or weeks after initial learning, has not been clear. Shimizu et al. generated animals in which they could selectively eliminate NMDA receptor function in hippocampal CA1 neurons at any time. The learning of two well-established memory tasks required intact NMDA receptors for the consolidation of memories. By changing the time after learning at which NMDA receptors were turned on or off, they could rule out an effect on memory retrieval. Memory consolidation appears to require activation of NMDA receptors after the initial learning has taken place.

Shimizu, E., Tang, Y.-P., Rampon, C., and Tsien, J.Z. (2000) NMDA receptor-dependent synaptic reinforcement as a crucial process for memory consolidation. Science 290: 1170-1174. [Abstract] [Full Text]