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Spine-Type-Specific Recruitment of Newly Synthesized AMPA Receptors with Learning

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Science  22 Feb 2008:
Vol. 319, Issue 5866, pp. 1104-1107
DOI: 10.1126/science.1149967

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Abstract

The stabilization of long-term memories requires de novo protein synthesis. How can proteins, synthesized in the soma, act on specific synapses that participate in a given memory? We studied the dynamics of newly synthesized AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs) induced with learning using transgenic mice expressing the GluR1 subunit fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP-GluR1) under control of the c-fos promoter. We found learning-associated recruitment of newly synthesized GFP-GluR1 selectively to mushroom-type spines in adult hippocampal CA1 neurons 24 hours after fear conditioning. Our results are consistent with a “synaptic tagging” model to allow activated synapses to subsequently capture newly synthesized receptor and also demonstrate a critical functional distinction in the mushroom spines with learning.

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