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Requirement of ERK Activation for Visual Cortical Plasticity

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Science  22 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5525, pp. 2337-2340
DOI: 10.1126/science.1059075

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Abstract

Experience-dependent plasticity in the developing visual cortex depends on electrical activity and molecular signals involved in stabilization or removal of inputs. Extracellular signal–regulated kinase 1,2 (also called p42/44 mitogen-activated protein kinase) activation in the cortex is regulated by both factors. We show that two different inhibitors of the ERK pathway suppress the induction of two forms of long-term potentiation (LTP) in rat cortical slices and that their intracortical administration to monocularly deprived rats prevents the shift in ocular dominance towards the nondeprived eye. These results demonstrate that the ERK pathway is necessary for experience-dependent plasticity and for LTP of synaptic transmission in the developing visual cortex.

  • * Present address: Department of Neurobiology, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Post Office Box 100, 1 Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: berardi{at}in.pi.cnr.it

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