Epigenetic Mechanisms: Critical Contributors to Long-Term Memory Formation.
ABSTRACT Recent advances in chromatin biology have identified a role for epigenetic mechanisms in the regulation of neuronal gene expression changes, a necessary process for proper synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Experimental evidence for dynamic chromatin remodeling influencing gene transcription in postmitotic neurons grew from initial reports describing posttranslational modifications of histones, including phosphorylation and acetylation occurring in various brain regions during memory consolidation. An accumulation of recent studies, however, has also highlighted the importance of other epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation and histone methylation, as playing a role in memory formation. This present review examines learning-induced gene transcription by chromatin remodeling underlying long-lasting changes in neurons, with direct implications for the study of epigenetic mechanisms in long-term memory formation and behavior. Furthermore, the study of epigenetic gene regulation, in conjunction with transcription factor activation, can provide complementary lines of evidence to further understanding transcriptional mechanisms subserving memory storage.
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ABSTRACT: The inhibitor κB protein kinase/nuclear factor κB (IKK/NF-κB) signaling pathway is critical for synaptic plasticity. However, the role of IKK/NF-κB in drug withdrawal-associated conditioned place aversion (CPA) memory is unknown. Here, we showed that inhibition of IKK/NF-κB by sulphasalazine (SSZ; 10 mM, i.c.v.) selectively blocked the extinction but not acquisition or expression of morphine-induced CPA in rats. The blockade of CPA extinction induced by SSZ was abolished by sodium butyrate, an inhibitor of histone deacetylase. Thus, the IKK/NF-κB signaling pathway might play a critical role in the extinction of morphine-induced CPA in rats and might be a potential pharmacotherapy target for opiate addiction.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(6):e39696. · 4.09 Impact Factor