Translating Memories

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Science  07 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5612, pp. 1487
DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5612.1487b

Long-term memory, observed as behavioral plasticity in the whole animal, is expressed at the cellular scale by changes in synaptic transmission (or how neurons communicate with each other). These changes depend on the transcription of genes encoding synaptic proteins and on translation of the corresponding messenger RNAs (mRNAs). To define the molecular players in these acts, Dubnau et al. have performed a microarray analysis of flies subjected to a long-term memory protocol and a genetic screen for mutants defective in long-term memory formation. They find a group of candidate genes—including moesin, staufen, and pumilio—whose common characteristic is their involvement in mRNA metabolism (localization, transport, and translation), suggesting that plastic changes in behavior result from synapse-specific mobilization and deployment of mRNAs. — GJC

Curr. Biol.13, 286 (2003).

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