Master Memory Modulator

Science Signaling  03 Jan 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 205, pp. ec9
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002809

Area CA3 of the hippocampus is required for the fast encoding of contextual memory. However, which CA3-specific molecular pathways regulate contextual memory formation is unclear. Using both loss-of-function and gain-of-function genetic manipulations in mice, Ramamoorthi et al. discovered that activation of the transcription factor Npas4 in CA3 is central to contextual memory formation. Npas4 directly regulates an activity-dependent transcription program. Its transcriptional targets include several well-characterized immediate early genes (IEGs). Npas4 initiates the expression of these IEGs by recruiting RNA polymerase II to their promoter and enhancer regions.

K. Ramamoorthi, R. Fropf, G. M. Belfort, H. L. Fitzmaurice, R. M. McKinney, R. L. Neve, T. Otto, Y. Lin, Npas4 regulates a transcriptional program in CA3 required for contextual memory formation. Science 334, 1669–1675 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]