Bridging the Gap and Staying Local

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Science  19 Jun 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5934, pp. 1527-1528
DOI: 10.1126/science.1176484

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Long-term memory storage requires the transcription of specific genes in neurons (1). It also requires that the proteins encoded by these transcripts localize to regions in the neurons that forge the communicative neuronal connections, or synapses (2). Yet, how do gene products generated in the neuronal cell body (soma) “know” to which of all the neuron's synapses (up to 30,000) they have to be targeted? Two reports, by Wang et al. (3) on page 1536 of this issue and by Okada et al. (4), explore how long-lasting memory can be implemented at specific synapses.