Forebrain-specific knockout of B-raf kinase leads to deficits in hippocampal long-term potentiation, learning, and memory.
ABSTRACT Raf kinases are downstream effectors of Ras and upstream activators of the MEK-ERK cascade. Ras and MEK-ERK signaling play roles in learning and memory (L&M) and neural plasticity, but the roles of Raf kinases in L&M and plasticity are unclear. Among Raf isoforms, B-raf is preferentially expressed in the brain. To determine whether B-raf has a role in synaptic plasticity and L&M, we used the Cre-LoxP gene targeting system to derive forebrain excitatory neuron B-raf knockout mice. This conditional knockout resulted in deficits in ERK activation and hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) and impairments in hippocampus-dependent L&M, including spatial learning and contextual discrimination. Despite the widespread expression of B-raf, this mutation did not disrupt other forms of L&M, such as cued fear conditioning and conditioned taste aversion. Our findings demonstrate that B-raf plays a role in hippocampal ERK activation, synaptic plasticity, and L&M.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Karl Peter Giese, Jun 15, 2015
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ABSTRACT: Mutations in the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway, particularly in the mitogen-activated protein kinase/ERK kinase (MEK) activator B-Raf, are associated with human tumorigenesis and genetic disorders. Hence, B-Raf is a prime target for molecule-based therapies, and understanding its essential biological functions is crucial for their success. B-Raf is expressed preferentially in cells of neuronal origin. Here, we show that in mice, conditional ablation of B-Raf in neuronal precursors leads to severe dysmyelination, defective oligodendrocyte differentiation, and reduced ERK activation in brain. Both B-Raf ablation and chemical inhibition of MEK impair oligodendrocyte differentiation in vitro. In glial cell cultures, we find B-Raf in a complex with MEK, Raf-1, and kinase suppressor of Ras. In B-Raf-deficient cells, more Raf-1 is recruited to MEK, yet MEK/ERK phosphorylation is impaired. These data define B-Raf as the rate-limiting MEK/ERK activator in oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelination and have implications for the design and use of Raf inhibitors.The Journal of Cell Biology 04/2008; 180(5):947-55. DOI:10.1083/jcb.200709069 · 9.69 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Using pharmacological approaches, others have suggested that L-type voltage-gated calcium channels (L-VGCCs) mediate both consolidation and extinction of conditioned fear. In the absence of L-VGCC isoform-specific antagonists, we have begun to investigate the subtype-specific role of LVGCCs in consolidation and extinction of conditioned fear using a molecular genetics approach. Previously, we used this approach to demonstrate that the Ca(v)1.3 isoform mediates consolidation, but not extinction, of contextually conditioned fear. Here, we used mice in which the gene for the L-VGCC pore-forming subunit Ca(v)1.2 was conditionally deleted in forebrain excitatory neurons (Ca(v)1.2(cKO) mice) to address the role of Ca(v)1.2 in consolidation and extinction of conditioned fear. We demonstrate that Ca(v)1.2(cKO) mice consolidate and extinguish conditioned fear as well as control littermates. These data suggest that Ca(v)1.2 is not critical for these processes and together with our previous data argue against a role for either of the brain-expressed L-VGCCs (Ca(v)1.2 or Ca(v)1.3) in extinction of conditioned fear. Additionally, we present data demonstrating that the L-VGCC antagonist nifedipine, which has been used in previous conditioned fear extinction studies, impairs locomotion, and induces an aversive state. We further demonstrate that this aversive state can enter into associations with conditioned stimuli that are present at the time that it is experienced, suggesting that previous studies using nifedipine were likely confounded by drug toxicity. Taken together, our genetic and pharmacological data argue against a role for Ca(v)1.2 in consolidation of conditioned fear as well as a role for L-VGCCs in extinction of conditioned fear.Learning & memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) 02/2008; 15(5):326-34. DOI:10.1101/lm.893808 · 4.38 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The senses of taste and odor are both chemical senses. However, whereas an organism can detect an odor at a relatively long distance from its source, taste serves as the ultimate proximate gatekeeper of food intake: it helps in avoiding poisons and consuming beneficial substances. The automatic reaction to a given taste has been developed during evolution and is well adapted to conditions that may occur with high probability during the lifetime of an organism. However, in addition to this automatic reaction, animals can learn and remember tastes, together with their positive or negative values, with high precision and in light of minimal experience. This ability of mammalians to learn and remember tastes has been studied extensively in rodents through application of reasonably simple and well defined behavioral paradigms. The learning process follows a temporal continuum similar to those of other memories: acquisition, consolidation, retrieval, relearning, and reconsolidation. Moreover, inhibiting protein synthesis in the gustatory cortex (GC) specifically affects the consolidation phase of taste memory, i.e., the transformation of short- to long-term memory, in keeping with the general biochemical definition of memory consolidation. This review aims to present a general background of taste learning, and to focus on recent findings regarding the molecular mechanisms underlying taste-memory consolidation in the GC. Specifically, the roles of neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, immediate early genes, and translation regulation are addressed.Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 01/2011; 5:87. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2011.00087 · 4.16 Impact Factor