Persistent sodium current is a nonsynaptic substrate for long-term associative memory

Nikitin, Eugeny S, Vavoulis, Dimitris V, Kemenes, Ildikó, Marra, Vincenzo, Pirger, Zsolt, Michel, Maximilian, Feng, Jianfeng, O'Shea, Michael, Benjamin, Paul R and Kemenes, György (2008) Persistent sodium current is a nonsynaptic substrate for long-term associative memory. Current Biology, 18 (16). pp. 1221-1226. ISSN 0960-9822

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Although synaptic plasticity is widely regarded as the primary mechanism of memory [1], forms of nonsynaptic plasticity, such as increased somal or dendritic excitability or membrane potential depolarization, also have been implicated in learning in both vertebrate and invertebrate experimental systems [2-7]. Compared to synaptic plasticity, however, there is much less information available on the mechanisms of specific types of nonsynaptic plasticity involved in well-defined examples of behavioral memory. Recently, we have shown that learning-induced somal depolarization of an identified modulatory cell type (the cerebral giant cells, CGCs) of the snail Lymnaea stagnalis encodes information that enables the expression of long-term associative memory [8]. The Lymnaea CGCs therefore provide a highly suitable experimental system for investigating the ionic mechanisms of nonsynaptic plasticity that can be linked to behavioral learning. Based on a combined behavioral, electrophysiological, immunohistochemical, and computer simulation approach, here we show that an increase of a persistent sodium current of this neuron underlies its delayed and persistent depolarization after behavioral single-trial classical conditioning. Our findings provide new insights into how learning-induced membrane level changes are translated into a form of long-lasting neuronal plasticity already known to contribute to maintained adaptive modifications at the network and behavioral level [8].

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Neuroscience
Subjects: Q Science
Depositing User: Ildiko Kemenes
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:14
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2013 14:32
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