A persistent cellular change in a single modulatory neuron contributes to associative long-term memory

Jones, Nicholas G, Kemenes, Ildikó, Kemenes, György and Benjamin, Paul R (2003) A persistent cellular change in a single modulatory neuron contributes to associative long-term memory. Current Biology, 13 (12). pp. 1064-1069. ISSN 0960-9822

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Most neuronal models of learning assume that changes in synaptic strength are the main mechanism underlying long-term memory (LTM) formation [1]. However, we show here that a persistent depolarization of membrane potential, a type of cellular change that increases neuronal responsiveness, contributes significantly to a long-lasting associative memory trace. The use of a model invertebrate network with identified neurons and known synaptic connectivity had the advantage that the contribution of this cellular change to memory could be evaluated in a neuron with a known function in the learning circuit. Specifically, we used the well-understood motor circuit underlying molluscan feeding [2-4] and showed that a key modulatory neuron involved in the initiation of feeding ingestive movements [5] underwent a long-term depolarization following behavioral associative conditioning [6]. This depolarization led to an enhanced single cell and network responsiveness to a previously neutral tactile conditioned stimulus, and the persistence of both matched the time course of behavioral associative memory. The change in the membrane potential of a key modulatory neuron is both sufficient and necessary to initiate a conditioned response in a reduced preparation and underscores its importance for associative LTM.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The first author was my graduate student, the second a postdoctoral RA on my grant and the third my Sussex collaborator. I was the main electrophysiologist on the project and the chief intellectual contributor to the paper. I contributed 70% of the effort required for the writing of the paper.
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Neuroscience
Depositing User: Ildiko Kemenes
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:57
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2013 07:43
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/23177
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