Daily Roundup: Memory Modification

The latest in the spate of memory-related findings comes from the researchers at New York University and the University of California, Irvine. We’ve seen the effects of broad protein synthesis and how the interruption of the PKMZeta enzyme can cause long-term memory loss. Spatially, we’ve also seen how neurons can be stimulated to trigger memories. And at a lower level, scientists have identified how the Npsa4 gene is crucial for consolidating memories.

Now we have a little more information about how the molecules MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) and PKA (cAMP-dependent protein kinase) are responsible for memory retention. According to the press release from NYU, PKA production increases for short term memory (30 minutes) in the sea slugs (really) being studied, and MAPK enters the picture when it comes to longer term memories. Interestingly, the creation of long-term memories involves both MAPK and PKA, with the former stimulating the latter’s involvement.

The abstracts that I found describing the proteins’ behavior were written several years ago, so I’m curious about the state of the research in memory modification and recall. I’d be interested to know what the authors think about the PKMZeta enzyme and how that plays into this research.

Additional info:

1. MAPK abstract on learning: http://learnmem.cshlp.org/content/12/5/538.short

2. PKA’s role in learning: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2632788/

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