Memory Extinction, Learning Anew, and Learning the New: Dissociations in the Molecular Machinery of Learning in Cortex

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Science  23 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5512, pp. 2417-2419
DOI: 10.1126/science.1058165

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The rat insular cortex (IC) subserves the memory of conditioned taste aversion (CTA), in which a taste is associated with malaise. When the conditioned taste is unfamiliar, formation of long-term CTA memory depends on muscarinic and β-adrenergic receptors, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and protein synthesis. We show that extinction of CTA memory is also dependent on protein synthesis and β-adrenergic receptors in the IC, but independent of muscarinic receptors and MAPK. This resembles the molecular signature of the formation of long-term memory of CTA to a familiar taste. Thus, memory extinction shares molecular mechanisms with learning, but the mechanisms of learning anew differ from those of learning the new.

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