Editors' ChoiceSynapses

Memory-Making Events?

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Science's STKE  20 Nov 2001:
Vol. 2001, Issue 109, pp. tw430
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2001.109.tw430

Nerve cells communicate with one another through specialized cell-cell junctions called synapses, and changes in how efficiently information is transferred across these junctions are believed to underlie memory. Antonova et al. examined the clustering of proteins at synapses in culture as they underwent simulated learning. Within minutes of the teaching stimulus, the amount of a key protein required for sending information, synaptophysin, increased on the presynaptic side of the synapse, and there was a parallel increase in GluR1, the postsynaptic receptor that received the information. The change was unexpectedly rapid (appearing within 5 to 10 minutes) and depended on an intact actin cytoskeleton, which suggests that this clustering may reflect the conversion of silent synapses into active ones.

I. Antonova, O. Arancio, A.-C. Trillat, H.-G. Wang, L. Zablow, H. Udo, E. R. Kandel, R. D. Hawkins, Rapid increase in clusters of presynaptic proteins at onset of long-lasting potentiation. Science 294, 1547-1550 (2001). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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