The biochemistry of memory: a new and specific hypothesis

Science  08 Jun 1984:
Vol. 224, Issue 4653, pp. 1057-1063
DOI: 10.1126/science.6144182


Recent studies have uncovered a synaptic process with properties required for an intermediate step in memory storage. Calcium rapidly and irreversibly increases the number of receptors for glutamate (a probable neurotransmitter) in forebrain synaptic membranes by activating a proteinase (calpain) that degrades fodrin, a spectrin-like protein. This process provides a means through which physiological activity could produce long-lasting changes in synaptic chemistry and ultrastructure. Since the process is only poorly represented in the brain stem, it is hypothesized to be responsible for those forms of memory localized in the telencephalon.

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