[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is well established that Zif268/Egr1, a member of the Egr family of transcription factors, is critical for the consolidation of several forms of memory; however, it is as yet uncertain whether increasing expression of Zif268 in neurons can facilitate memory formation. Here, we used an inducible transgenic mouse model to specifically induce Zif268 overexpression in forebrain neurons and examined the effect on recognition memory and hippocampal synaptic transmission and plasticity. We found that Zif268 overexpression during the establishment of memory for objects did not change the ability to form a long-term memory of objects, but enhanced the capacity to form a long-term memory of the spatial location of objects. This enhancement was paralleled by increased long-term potentiation in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus and by increased activity-dependent expression of Zif268 and selected Zif268 target genes. These results provide novel evidence that transcriptional mechanisms engaging Zif268 contribute to determining the strength of newly encoded memories.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 01/2014; 369(1633):20130159. · 6.23 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The capacity to remember our past experiences and organize our future draws on a number of cognitive processes that allow our brain to form and store neural representations that can be recalled and updated at will. In the brain, these processes require mechanisms of neural plasticity in the activated circuits, brought about by cellular and molecular changes within the neurons activated during learning. At the cellular level, a wealth of experimental data accumulated in recent years provides evidence that signaling from synapses to nucleus and the rapid regulation of the expression of immediate early genes encoding inducible, regulatory transcription factors is a key step in the mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity and the modification of neural networks required for the laying down of memories. In the activated neurons, these transcriptional events are thought to mediate the activation of selective gene programs and subsequent synthesis of proteins, leading to stable functional and structural remodeling of the activated networks, so that the memory can later be reactivated upon recall. Over the past few decades, novel insights have been gained in identifying key transcriptional regulators that can control the genomic response of synaptically activated neurons. Here, as an example of this approach, we focus on one such activity-dependent transcription factor, Zif268, known to be implicated in neuronal plasticity and memory formation. We summarize current knowledge about the regulation and function of Zif268 in different types of brain plasticity and memory processes.
Progress in molecular biology and translational science 01/2014; 122C:89-129. · 2.32 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Coffin-Lowry syndrome (CLS) is a syndromic form of intellectual disability caused by loss-of-function of the RSK2 serine/threonine kinase encoded by the rsk2 gene. Rsk2 knockout mice, a murine model of CLS, exhibit spatial learning and memory impairments, yet the underlying neural mechanisms are unknown. In the current study, we examined performance of Rsk2 knockout mice in cued, trace and contextual fear memory paradigms and identified selective deficits in the consolidation and reconsolidation of hippocampal-dependent fear memories as task difficulty and hippocampal demand increase. Electrophysiological, biochemical and electron microscopy analyses were carried out in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus to explore potential alterations in neuronal functions and structure. In vivo and in vitro electrophysiology revealed impaired synaptic transmission, decreased network excitability and reduced AMPA and NMDA conductance in Rsk2 knockout mice. In the absence of RSK2, standard measures of short-term and long-term potentiation (LTP) were normal, however LTP-induced CREB phosphorylation and expression of the transcription factors EGR1/ZIF268 were reduced and that of the scaffolding protein SHANK3 was blocked, indicating impaired activity-dependent gene regulation. At the structural level, the density of perforated and non-perforated synapses and of multiple spine boutons was not altered, however, a clear enlargement of spine neck width and post-synaptic densities indicate altered synapse ultrastructure. These findings show that RSK2 loss-of-function is associated in the dentate gyrus with multi-level alterations that encompass modifications of glutamate receptor channel properties, synaptic transmission, plasticity-associated gene expression and spine morphology, providing novel insights into the mechanisms contributing to cognitive impairments in CLS.
Neurobiology of Disease 06/2013; · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: New neurons are continuously added to the dentate gyrus of the adult mammalian brain. During the critical period of a few weeks after birth when newborn neurons progressively mature, a restricted fraction is competitively selected to survive in an experience-dependent manner, a condition for their contribution to memory processes. The mechanisms that control critical stages of experience-dependent functional incorporation of adult newborn neurons remain largely unknown. Here, we identify a unique transcriptional regulator of the functional integration of newborn neurons, the inducible immediate early gene zif268/egr1. We show that newborn neurons in zif268-KO mice undergo accelerated death during the critical period of 2-3 wk around their birth and exhibit deficient neurochemical and morphological maturation, including reduced GluR1 expression, increased NKCC1/KCC2b chloride cotransporter ratio, altered dendritic development, and marked spine growth defect. Investigating responsiveness of newborn neurons to activity-dependent expression of zif268 in learning, we demonstrate that in the absence of zif268, training in a spatial learning task during this critical period fails to recruit newborn neurons and promote their survival, leading to impaired long-term memory. This study reveals a previously unknown mechanism for the control of the selection, functional maturation, and experience-dependent recruitment of dentate gyrus newborn neurons that depends on the inducible immediate early gene zif268, processes that are critical for their contribution to hippocampal-dependent long-term memory.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2013; · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Compelling evidence points to the existence of independent cellular processes involved in the consolidation and reconsolidation of memory. For instance, a double dissociation has been reported between hippocampal Extracellular-Regulated Kinase-1/2 (ERK1/2) activity being necessary for contextual fear conditioning (CFC) consolidation but not reconsolidation. Conversely, hippocampal expression of the immediate early gene Zif268 is necessary for CFC reconsolidation but not consolidation. Since we previously reported that ERK1/2 controls the transcription of Zif268 in the hippocampus, we examined the precise role of ERK1/2 activity and Zif268 gene expression dosage in CFC memory processing. For this, we first assessed performance of Zif268 homozygous and heterozygous mutant mice in a CFC paradigm. Whereas Zif268-/- mice displayed a deficit of both consolidation and reconsolidation, Zif268+/- mice displayed a selective deficit of reconsolidation only, therefore pointing to the relationship between Zif268 gene expression dosage and CFC memory processing. Zif268 gene expression dosage interfered with the reconsolidation process if and only if CFC memory was relatively recently encoded and directly reactivated. Furthermore, CFC memory strengthening previously reported to involve Zif268 expression in the hippocampus was spared in Zif268+/- mice. Finally, blocking ERK1/2 activity prior to CFC retrieval prevented the deficit of reconsolidation observed in Zif268+/- mice. Collectively, these results highlight a tight relationship between Zif268 gene expression dosage and CFC memory processing. They also suggest that ERK1/2 activity upon CFC memory recall is necessary for its retrieval, a prerequisite for its reactivation and subsequent reconsolidation.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(8):e72006. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Memory consolidation refers to a slow process that stabilises a memory trace after initial acquisition of novel events. The consolidation theory posits that once a memory is stored in the brain, it remains fixed for the lifetime of the memory. However, compelling evidence has suggested that upon recall, memories can re-enter a state of transient instability, requiring further stabilisation to be available once again for recall. Since its rehabilitation in the past ten years, this process of reconsolidation of memory after recall stimulated intense debates in the field of cognitive neuroscience. In this review we compile this plentiful literature with a particular emphasis on some of the key questions that have emerged from the reconsolidation theory. We focus on tracing the characterisation of the boundary conditions that constrain the occurrence of memory reconsolidation. We also discuss accumulating evidence supporting the idea that reconsolidation, as implied by its definition, is not a mere repetition of consolidation. We review seminal studies that uncovered specific mechanisms recruited during reconsolidation that are not always crucially involved in consolidation. We next address the physiological significance of reconsolidation since several lines of evidence support the idea that reconsolidation, as opposed to consolidation, may offer a unique opportunity to update memories. We finally discuss recent evidence for or against the potential that the process of memory reconsolidation offers for ongoing efforts to develop novel strategies to combat pathogenic memories.
Progress in Neurobiology 08/2012; 99(1):61-80. · 9.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dystrophin, the protein responsible for X-linked Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), is normally expressed in both muscle and brain, which explains that its loss also leads to cognitive deficits. The utrophin protein, an autosomal homolog, is a natural candidate for dystrophin replacement in patients. Pharmacological upregulation of endogenous utrophin improves muscle physiology in dystrophin-deficient mdx mice, and represents a potential therapeutic tool that has the advantage of allowing delivery to various organs following peripheral injections. Whether this could alleviate cognitive deficits, however, has not been explored. Here, we first investigated basal expression of all utrophins and dystrophins in the brain of mdx mice and found no evidence for spontaneous compensation by utrophins. Then, we show that systemic chronic, spaced injections of arginine butyrate (AB) alleviate muscle alterations and upregulate utrophin expression in the adult brain of mdx mice. AB selectively upregulated brain utrophin Up395, while reducing expression of Up113 and Up71. This, however, was not associated with a significant improvement of behavioral functions typically affected in mdx mice, which include exploration, emotional reactivity, spatial and fear memories. We suggest that AB did not overcome behavioral and cognitive dysfunctions because the regional and cellular expression of utrophins did not coincide with dystrophin expression in untreated mice, nor did it in AB-treated mice. While treatments based on the modulation of utrophin may alleviate DMD phenotypes in certain organs and tissues that coexpress dystrophins and utrophins in the same cells, improvement of cognitive functions would likely require acting on specific dystrophin-dependent mechanisms.
Human Molecular Genetics 03/2012; 21(10):2263-76. · 7.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in neuronal plasticity, learning, and memory. Levels of BDNF and its main receptor TrkB (TrkB.TK) have been reported to be decreased while the levels of the truncated TrkB (TrkB.T1) are increased in Alzheimer's disease. We show here that incubation with amyloid-β increased TrkB.T1 receptor levels and decreased TrkB.TK levels in primary neurons. In vivo, APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic mice (APdE9) showed an age-dependent relative increase in cortical but not hippocampal TrkB.T1 receptor levels compared with TrkB.TK. To investigate the role of TrkB isoforms in Alzheimer's disease, we crossed AP mice with mice overexpressing the truncated TrkB.T1 receptor (T1) or the full-length TrkB.TK isoform. Overexpression of TrkB.T1 in APdE9 mice exacerbated their spatial memory impairment while the overexpression of TrkB.TK alleviated it. These data suggest that amyloid-β changes the ratio between TrkB isoforms in favor of the dominant-negative TrkB.T1 isoform both in vitro and in vivo and supports the role of BDNF signaling through TrkB in the pathophysiology and cognitive deficits of Alzheimer's disease.
Neurobiology of aging 12/2011; 33(6):1122.e23-39. · 5.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is caused by the absence of dystrophin, a protein that fulfills important functions in both muscle and brain. The mdx mouse model of DMD, which also lacks dystrophin, shows a marked reduction in γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA(A))-receptor clustering in central inhibitory synapses and enhanced long-term potentiation (LTP) at CA3-CA1 synapses of the hippocampus. We have recently shown that U7 small nuclear RNAs modified to encode antisense sequences and expressed from recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vectors are able to induce skipping of the mutated exon 23 and to rescue expression of a functional dystrophin-like product both in the muscle and nervous tissue in vivo. In the brain, this rescue was accompanied by restoration of both the size and number of hippocampal GABA(A)-receptor clustering. Here, we report that 25.2±8% of re-expression two months after intrahippocampal injection of rAAV reverses the abnormally enhanced LTP phenotype at CA3-CA1 synapses of mdx mice. These results suggests that dystrophin expression indirectly influences synaptic plasticity through modulation of GABA(A)-receptor clustering and that re-expression of the otherwise deficient protein in the adult can significantly alleviate alteration of neural functions in DMD.
Neurobiology of Disease 05/2011; 43(3):635-41. · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mental retardation is a feature of X-linked Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) which likely results from the loss of the brain full-length (Dp427) and short C-terminal products of the dystrophin gene, such as Dp71. The loss of Dp427 or Dp71 is known to alter hippocampal glutamate-dependent synaptic transmission and plasticity in mice. Although dystrophins have a selective postsynaptic expression in brain, a putative role in retrograde regulation of transmitter release was suggested by studies in Drosophila. Here we used electron microscopy to analyze the distribution of synaptic vesicles in CA1 hippocampal axospinous non perforated-excitatory synapses of mice lacking Dp427 or Dp71 compared to control littermates. We found that the density of morphologically-docked vesicles is increased and the vesicle size is reduced in mice lacking Dp427, while in Dp71-null mice there is a decrease in the density of vesicles located in the vicinity of the active zone and an increase in the vesicle size and in the width of synaptic clefts. This is the first indication that the loss of mammalian brain dystrophins impacts on the presynaptic ultrastructural organization of central glutamatergic synapses, which may explain some of the alterations of synapse function and plasticity that contribute to intellectual disability in DMD.
Neurobiology of Disease 03/2011; 43(1):134-41. · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activity-dependent regulation of Egr1/Zif268, a transcription factor (TF) of the Egr family, is essential for stabilization of dentate gyrus synaptic plasticity and consolidation and reconsolidation of several forms of memory. The gene can be rapidly induced in selective brain circuits after certain types of learning or after recall. Here, we focused on area CA1 and examined regulation of Egr1, Egr2, and Egr3 mRNA and protein, and their DNA binding activity to the Egr response element (ERE) at different times after LTP in vivo and after learning and recall of a fear memory. We found LTP in CA1 leads to rapid induction of the three Egrs, however only Egr1 protein was overexpressed without a co-ordinated change in binding activity, indicating a fundamental difference between CA1 and dentate gyrus LTP. Our investigations in fear memory reveal that both learning and retrieval lead to an increase in binding of constitutively expressed Egr1 and Egr3 to the ERE, but not Egr2. Memory recall was also associated with increased Egr1 protein translation. The nature and temporal dynamics of these changes and tests for interactions between TFs suggest that in addition to ERE-mediated transcription, Egr1 in CA1 may interact with the TF c-Fos to regulate genes via other DNA response elements.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Egr1, a member of the Egr family of transcription factors, and Arc are immediate early genes known to play major roles in synaptic plasticity and memory. Despite evidence that Egr family members can control Arc transcriptional regulation, demonstration of a selective role of Egr1 alone is lacking. We investigated the extent to which activity-dependent Arc expression is dependent on Egr1 by analyzing Arc mRNA expression using fluorescence insitu hybridization in the dorsal dentate gyrus and CA1 of wild-type (WT) and Egr1 knockout mice. Following electroconvulsive shock, we found biphasic expression of Arc in area CA1 in mice, consisting in a rapid (30 min) and transient wave followed by a second late-phase of expression (8 h), and a single but prolonged wave of expression in the dentate gyrus. Egr1 deficiency abolished the latest, but not the early wave of Arc expression in CA1, and curtailed that of the dentate gyrus. Since the early wave of Arc expression was not affected in Egr1 mutant mice, we next analyzed behaviorally induced Arc expression patterns as an index of neural ensemble activation in the dentate gyrus and area CA1 of WT and Egr1 mutant mice. Spatial exploration of novel or familiar environments induced in mice a single early and transient wave of Arc expression in the dentate gyrus and area CA1, which were not affected in Egr1 mutant mice. Analyses of Arc-expressing cells revealed that exploration recruits similar size dentate gyrus and CA1 neural ensembles in WT and Egr1 knockout mice. These findings suggest that hippocampal neural ensembles are normally activated immediately following spatial exploration in Egr1 knockout mice, indicating normal hippocampal encoding of information. They also provide evidence that in condition of strong activation Egr1 alone can control late-phases of activity-dependent Arc transcription in the dentate gyrus and area CA1 of the hippocampus.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 01/2011; 5:48. · 4.76 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alterations in curvature of the post synaptic density (PSD) and apposition zone (AZ), are believed to play an important role in determining synaptic efficacy. In the present study we have examined curvature of PSDs and AZs 24 h following homosynaptic long-term potentiation (LTP), and heterosynaptic long-term depression (LTD) in vivo, in awake adult rats. High frequency stimulation (HFS) applied to the medial perforant path to the dentate gyrus induced LTP while HFS stimulation of the lateral perforant path induced LTD in the middle molecular layer of the dentate gyrus (DG). Curvature changes were analysed in this area using three dimensional (3-D) reconstructions of electron microscope images of ultrathin serial sections. Very large and significant changes in 3-D measurements of AZ and PSD curvature occurred 24 h following both LTP and LTD, with a flattening of the normal concavity of mushroom spine heads and a change to convexity for thin spines. An N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist CPP (3-[(R)-2-Carboxypiperazin-4-yl]-propyl-1-phosphonic acid) blocked the changes in curvature of mushroom and thin spine PSDs and apposition zones, actually increasing the concavity of mushroom spines as the spine engulfed the presynaptic bouton. In order to establish whether these changes resulted from the effect of the NMDA antagonist or from its coincidence with synaptic activation during testing we examined the effects of CPP alone on PSD and apposition zone curvature. It was found that CPP alone also caused a small decrease in curvature of both PSD and apposition zone of mushroom and thin spines.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dystrophin, the cytoskeletal protein whose defect is responsible for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), is normally expressed in both muscles and brain. Genetic loss of brain dystrophin in the mdx mouse model of DMD reduces the capacity for type A gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA(A))-receptor clustering in central inhibitory synapses, which is thought to be a main molecular defect leading to brain and cognitive alterations in this syndrome. U7 small nuclear RNAs modified to encode antisense sequences and expressed from recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vectors have proven efficient after intramuscular injection to induce skipping of the mutated exon 23 and rescue expression of a functional dystrophin-like product in muscle tissues of mdx mice in vivo. Here, we report that intrahippocampal injection of a single dose of rAAV2/1-U7 can rescue substantial levels of brain dystrophin expression (15-25%) in mdx mice for months. This is sufficient to completely restore GABA(A)-receptor clustering in pyramidal and dendritic layers of CA1 hippocampus, suggesting exon-skipping strategies offer the prospect to investigate and correct both brain and muscle alterations in DMD. This provides new evidence that in the adult brain dystrophin is critical for the control of GABA(A)-receptor clustering, which may have an important role in activity-dependent synaptic plasticity in hippocampal circuits.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The B-raf proto-oncogene exerts essential functions during development and adulthood. It is required for various processes, such as placental development, postnatal nervous system myelination and adult learning and memory. The mouse B-raf gene encodes several isoforms resulting from alternative splicing of exons 8b and 9b located in the hinge region upstream of the kinase domain. These alternative sequences modulate the biochemical and biological properties of B-Raf proteins. To gain insight into the physiological importance of B-raf alternative splicing, we generated two conditional knockout mice of exons 8b and 9b. Homozygous animals with a constitutive deletion of either exon are healthy and fertile, and survive up to 18 months without any visible abnormalities, demonstrating that alternative splicing is not essential for embryonic development and brain myelination. However, behavioural analyses revealed that expression of exon 9b-containing isoforms is required for B-Raf function in hippocampal-dependent learning and memory. In contrast, mice mutated on exon 8b are not impaired in this function. Interestingly, our results suggest that exon 8b is present only in eutherians and its splicing is differentially regulated among species.
PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(12):e15272. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The idea that an already consolidated memory can become destabilized after recall and requires a process of reconsolidation to maintain it for subsequent use has gained much credence over the past decade. Experimental studies in rodents have shown pharmacological, genetic, or injurious manipulation at the time of memory reactivation can disrupt the already consolidated memory. Despite the force of experimental data showing this phenomenon, a number of questions have remained unanswered and no consensus has emerged as to the conditions under which a memory can be disrupted following reactivation. To date most rodent studies of reconsolidation are based on negatively reinforced memories, in particular fear-associated memories, while the storage and stability of forms of memory that do not rely on explicit reinforcement have been less often studied. In this review, we focus on recognition memory, a paradigm widely used in humans to probe declarative memory. We briefly outline recent advances in our understanding of the processes and brain circuits involved in recognition memory and review the evidence that recognition memory can undergo reconsolidation upon reactivation. We also review recent findings suggesting that some molecular mechanisms underlying consolidation of recognition memory are similarly recruited after recall to ensure memory stability, while others are more specifically engaged in consolidation or reconsolidation. Finally, we provide novel data on the role of Rsk2, a mental retardation gene, and of the transcription factor zif268/egr1 in reconsolidation of object-location memory, and offer suggestions as to how assessing the activation of certain molecular mechanisms following recall in recognition memory may help understand the relative importance of different aspects of remodeling or updating long-lasting memories.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 01/2010; 4:177. · 4.76 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Long-term morphological synaptic changes associated with homosynaptic long-term potentiation (LTP) and heterosynaptic long-term depression (LTD) in vivo, in awake adult rats were analyzed using three-dimensional (3-D) reconstructions of electron microscope images of ultrathin serial sections from the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus. For the first time in morphological studies, the specificity of the effects of LTP and LTD on both spine and synapse ultrastructure was determined using an N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist CPP (3-[(R)-2-carboxypiperazin-4-yl]-propyl-1-phosphonic acid). There were no differences in synaptic density 24 h after LTP or LTD induction, and CPP alone had no effect on synaptic density. LTP increased significantly the proportion of mushroom spines, whereas LTD increased the proportion of thin spines, and both LTP and LTD decreased stubby spine number. Both LTP and LTD increased significantly spine head evaginations (spinules) into synaptic boutons and CPP blocked these changes. Synaptic boutons were smaller after LTD, indicating a pre-synaptic effect. Interestingly, CPP alone decreased bouton and mushroom spine volumes, as well as post-synaptic density (PSD) volume of mushroom spines.These data show similarities, but also some clear differences, between the effects of LTP and LTD on spine and synaptic morphology. Although CPP blocks both LTP and LTD, and impairs most morphological changes in spines and synapses, CPP alone was shown to exert effects on aspects of spine and synaptic structure.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability to form long-term memories exists very early during ontogeny; however, the properties of early memory processes, brain structures involved and underlying cellular mechanisms are poorly defined. Here, we examine the role of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), a member of the mitogen-activated protein kinase/ERK signaling cascade, which is crucial for adult memory, in the consolidation and reconsolidation of an early memory using a conditioned taste aversion paradigm in 3-day-old rat pups. We show that intraperitoneal injection of SL327, the upstream mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase inhibitor, impairs both consolidation and reconsolidation of early memory, leaving short-term memory after acquisition and after reactivation intact. The amnesic effect of SL327 diminishes with increasing delays after acquisition and reactivation. Biochemical analyses revealed ERK hyperphosphorylation in the amygdala but not the hippocampus following acquisition, suggesting functional activation of the amygdala as early as post-natal day 3, although there was no clear evidence for amygdalar ERK activation after reactivation. These results indicate that, despite an immature brain, the basic properties of memory and at least some of the molecular mechanisms and brain structures implicated in aversion memory share a number of similarities with the adult and emerge very early during ontogeny.
European Journal of Neuroscience 11/2009; 30(10):1923-30. · 3.75 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Zif268 is a transcriptional regulator that plays a crucial role in maintenance of the late phases of hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) and consolidation of spatial memories. Because the hippocampal place cell system is essential for long-term spatial memory, we tested the hypothesis that zif268 is required for long-term stability of hippocampal place cell representations by recording CA1 place cells in mice lacking zif268. We found that zif268 gene deletion destabilized the representation of a familiar environment after exposure to a novel environment and impaired the long-term (24 h), but not short-term (1 h), stability of newly formed representations. These impairments could be rescued by repeated exposure to the novel environment, however. These results indicate that zif268 contributes to the long-term stability of spatial representations in CA1 and support the notion that the long-term stability of place cell representations requires transcription-dependent mechanisms similar to those observed in LTP.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2009; 106(28):11771-5. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is caused by deficient expression of the cytoskeletal protein, dystrophin. One third of DMD patients also have mental retardation (MR), likely due to mutations preventing expression of dystrophin and other brain products of the DMD gene expressed from distinct internal promoters. Loss of Dp71, the major DMD-gene product in brain, is thought to contribute to the severity of MR; however, the specific function of Dp71 is poorly understood.
Complementary approaches were used to explore the role of Dp71 in neuronal function and identify mechanisms by which Dp71 loss may impair neuronal and cognitive functions. Besides the normal expression of Dp71 in a subpopulation of astrocytes, we found that a pool of Dp71 colocalizes with synaptic proteins in cultured neurons and is expressed in synaptic subcellular fractions in adult brains. We report that Dp71-associated protein complexes interact with specialized modular scaffolds of proteins that cluster glutamate receptors and organize signaling in postsynaptic densities. We then undertook the first functional examination of the brain and cognitive alterations in the Dp71-null mice. We found that these mice display abnormal synapse organization and maturation in vitro, altered synapse density in the adult brain, enhanced glutamatergic transmission and reduced synaptic plasticity in CA1 hippocampus. Dp71-null mice show selective behavioral disturbances characterized by reduced exploratory and novelty-seeking behavior, mild retention deficits in inhibitory avoidance, and impairments in spatial learning and memory.
Results suggest that Dp71 expression in neurons play a regulatory role in glutamatergic synapse organization and function, which provides a new mechanism by which inactivation of Dp71 in association with that of other DMD-gene products may lead to increased severity of MR.
PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(8):e6574. · 3.73 Impact Factor