Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First Direct Visualization of Memory Formation in the Brain

24.06.2009
FINDINGS: UCLA and McGill University researchers have, for the first time, “photographed” a memory in the making. The study clarifies one of the ways in which connections in the brain between nerve cells, called synapses, can be changed with experience.

The phenomenon is called “synaptic plasticity,” and is the foundation for how we learn and remember. As we learn, the memories are stored in changes in the strength and/or number of synaptic connections between nerve cells in our brain.

Long lasting changes in synaptic connections are required for long-term memories, and the persistence of these changes requires new gene expression. This is the first study to use fluorescent imaging to directly visualize protein synthesis at individual synapses during learning related synaptic plasticity.

IMPACT: Understanding how synapses can change with experience is critical to understanding behavioral plasticity, and to understanding diseases in which learning and experience-dependent behaviors are impaired. Such diseases include mental retardation, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as anxiety and mood disorders. It also can elucidate potential strategies for improving normal cognition and behavioral plasticity.

JOURNAL: The research appears in the June 19 edition of the journal Science.

AUTHORS: Senior author Kelsey Martin, associate professor of psychiatry and biological chemistry; Dan Ohtan Wang, Sang Mok Kim, Yali Zhao, Hongik Hwang, Satoru K. Miura, all of UCLA; and Wayne S. Sossin, McGill University.

HOW: The researchers used sensory and motor neurons from the sea slug Aplysia Californica that can form connections in culture. The neurons were stimulated with serotonin, which strengthens the synapses, and allowed them to detect new protein synthesis—the making of a memory— using a “translational reporter,” a fluorescent protein that can be easily detected and tracked.

MORE: This is the first study to directly visualize protein synthesis at individual synapses during a long-lasting form of synaptic plasticity. The studies revealed an exquisite level of control over the specificity of regulation of new protein synthesis. “While this was not really surprising to us given the complexity of information processing in the brain,” said Martin, “visualizing the process of protein synthesis at individual synapses, and beginning to discern the elegance of its regulation, leaves us, as biologists, with a wonderful sense of awe.”

Funding: This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the WM Keck Foundation, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The authors report no conflict of interest.

Mark Wheeler | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ucla.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>