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Context memory formation requires activity-dependent protein degradation in the hippocampus [RESEARCH]

Numerous studies have indicated that the consolidation of contextual fear memories supported by an aversive outcome like footshock requires de novo protein synthesis as well as protein degradation mediated by the ubiquitin–proteasome system (UPS). Context memory formed in the absence of an aversive stimulus by simple exposure to a novel environment requires de novo protein synthesis in both the dorsal (dHPC) and ventral (vHPC) hippocampus. However, the role of UPS-mediated protein degradation in the consolidation of context memory in the absence of a strong aversive stimulus has not been investigated. In the present study, we used the context preexposure facilitation effect (CPFE) procedure, which allows for the dissociation of context learning from context–shock learning, to investigate the role of activity-dependent protein degradation in the dHPC and vHPC during the formation of a context memory. We report that blocking protein degradation with the proteasome inhibitor clasto-lactacystin β-lactone (βLac) or blocking protein synthesis with anisomycin (ANI) immediately after context preexposure significantly impaired context memory formation. Additionally, we examined 20S proteasome activity at different time points following context exposure and saw that the activity of proteasomes in the dHPC increases immediately after stimulus exposure while the vHPC exhibits a biphasic pattern of proteolytic activity. Taken together, these data suggest that the requirement of increased proteolysis during memory consolidation is not driven by processes triggered by the strong aversive outcome (i.e., shock) normally used to support fear conditioning.

Authors:   Patrick K. Cullen; Nicole C. Ferrara; Shane E. Pullins; Fred J. Helmstetter
Journal:   Learning & Memory
Volume:   24
edition:   11
Year:   2017
Pages:   589
DOI:   10.1101/lm.045443.117
Publication date:   01-Nov-2017
Facts, background information, dossiers
  • memories
  • Formation
  • environment
More about Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
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