Neuroscience

Animal behavior follows dopamine rewards

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Science  26 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6204, pp. 1575
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6204.1575-b

In auditory fear conditioning, mice learn to associate auditory cues, such as a tone, with mild footshocks. Forming associations like this, then remembering them long-term (called fear memory consolidation), is an important strategy for navigating one's environment. To understand the molecular basis of fear memory consolidation, Dias et al. investigated the contribution microRNAs, small bits of RNA that modulate gene expression. They discovered an important role for the microRNA-34a, which targeted components of a particular signaling pathway (the so-called Notch pathway) that is normally involved in development. MicroRNA-34a caused a transient decrease in Notch-dependent signalling in the amygdala, which was important for fear memory consolidation.

Neuron 83, 906 (2014).

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