Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Improving Old Memories

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Sci. Signal.  08 Mar 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 163, pp. ec73
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4163ec73

Can memory be improved? In vivo experiments using pharmacological inhibition of the enzyme protein kinase Mζ (PKMζ) in the insular cortex have shown that long-term conditioned taste aversion memory can be blocked. Now, Shema et al. show that overexpression of PKMζ in the rat insular cortex enhances memory, including memory that was formed long before the enzyme was overexpressed. The enhancement appears to affect more than a single memory. Thus, modulation of PKMζ can alter memories, even months after the initial encoding.

R. Shema, S. Haramati, S. Ron, S. Hazvi, A. Chen, T. C. Sacktor, Y. Dudai, Enhancement of consolidated long-term memory by overexpression of protein kinase Mζ in the neocortex. Science 331, 1207–1210 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]