Spatial-Memory Formation After Spaced Learning Involves ERKs1/2 Activation Through a Behavioral-Tagging Process.
ABSTRACT: The superiority of spaced over massed learning is an established fact in the formation of long-term memories (LTM). Here we addressed the cellular processes and the temporal demands of this phenomenon using a weak spatial object recognition (wSOR) training, which induces short-term memories (STM) but not LTM. We observed SOR-LTM promotion when two identical wSOR training sessions were spaced by an inter-trial interval (ITI) ranging from 15?min to 7?h, consistently with spaced training. The promoting effect was dependent on neural activity, protein synthesis and ERKs1/2 activity in the hippocampus. Based on the "behavioral tagging" hypothesis, which postulates that learning induces a neural tag that requires proteins to induce LTM formation, we propose that retraining will mainly retag the sites initially labeled by the prior training. Thus, when weak, consecutive training sessions are experienced within an appropriate spacing, the intracellular mechanisms triggered by each session would add, thereby reaching the threshold for protein synthesis required for memory consolidation. Our results suggest in addition that ERKs1/2 kinases play a dual role in SOR-LTM formation after spaced learning, both inducing protein synthesis and setting the SOR learning-tag. Overall, our findings bring new light to the mechanisms underlying the promoting effect of spaced trials on LTM formation.
Project description:Long-term memory (LTM) consolidation requires the synthesis of plasticity-related proteins (PRPs). In addition, we have shown recently that LTM formation also requires the setting of a "learning tag" able to capture those PRPs. Weak training, which results only in short-term memory, can set a tag to use PRPs derived from a temporal-spatial closely related event to promote LTM formation. Here, we studied the involvement of glutamatergic, dopaminergic, and noradrenergic inputs on the setting of an inhibitory avoidance (IA) learning tag and the synthesis of PRPs. Rats explored an open field (PRP donor) followed by weak (tag inducer) or strong (tag inducer plus PRP donor) IA training. Throughout pharmacological interventions around open-field and/or IA sessions, we found that hippocampal dopamine D1/D5- and β-adrenergic receptors are specifically required to induce PRP synthesis. Moreover, activation of the glutamatergic NMDA receptors is required for setting the learning tags, and this machinery further required α-Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II and PKA but not ERK1/2 activity. Together, the present findings emphasize an essential role of the induction of PRPs and learning tags for LTM formation. The existence of only the PRP or the tag was insufficient for stabilization of the mnemonic trace.
Project description:Animals learn through experience and consolidate the memories into long-time storage. Conditioning parameters to induce protein synthesis-dependent long-term memory (LTM) have been the subject of extensive studies in many animals. Here we found a case in which a conditioning trial inhibits or facilitates LTM formation depending on the intervals from preceding trials. We studied the effects of conditioning parameters on LTM formation in olfactory conditioning of maxillary-palpi extension response with sucrose reward in the cockroach Periplaneta americana We found, at first, that translation- and transcription-dependent LTM forms 1 h after training, the fastest so far reported in insects. Second, we observed that multiple-trial training with an intertrial interval (ITI) of 20 or 30 sec, often called massed training, is more effective than spaced training for LTM formation, an observation that differs from the results of most studies in other animals. Third, we found that a conditioning trial inhibits LTM formation when the intervals from preceding trials were in the range of 10-16 min. This inhibitory effect is pairing-specific and is not due to decreased motivation for learning (overtraining effect). To our knowledge, no similar inhibition of LTM formation by a conditioning trial has been reported in any animals. We propose a model to account for the effects of trial number and ITIs on LTM formation. Olfactory conditioning in cockroaches should provide pertinent materials in which to study neuronal and molecular mechanisms underlying the inhibitory and facilitatory processes for LTM formation.
Project description:Forming long-term memory (LTM) often requires repetitive experience spread over time. Studies in Drosophila suggest aversive olfactory LTM is optimal after spaced training, multiple trials of differential odor conditioning with rest intervals. Memory after spaced training is frequently compared to that after the same number of trials without intervals. Here we show that, after spaced training, flies acquire additional information and form an aversive memory for the shock-paired odor and a slowly emerging and more persistent "safety-memory" for the explicitly unpaired odor. Safety-memory acquisition requires repetition, order, and spacing of the training trials and relies on triggering specific rewarding dopaminergic neurons. Co-existence of aversive and safety memories is evident as depression of odor-specific responses at different combinations of junctions in the mushroom body output network; combining two outputs appears to signal relative safety. Having complementary aversive and safety memories augments LTM performance after spaced training by making the odor preference more certain.
Project description:Long-term memory (LTM) formation usually requires repeated, spaced learning events and is achieved by the synthesis of specific proteins. Other memory forms require a single learning experience and are independent of protein synthesis. We investigated in two closely related parasitic wasp species, Cotesia glomerata and Cotesia rubecula, whether natural differences in foraging behaviour are correlated with differences in LTM acquisition and formation. These parasitic wasp species lay their eggs in young caterpillars of pierid butterflies and can learn to associate plant odours with a successful egg laying experience on caterpillars on the odour-producing plant. We used a classical conditioning set-up, while interfering with LTM formation through translation or transcription inhibitors. We show here that C. rubecula formed LTM after three spaced learning trials, whereas C. glomerata required only a single trial for LTM formation. After three spaced learning trials, LTM formation was complete within 4 h in C. glomerata, whereas in C. rubecula, LTM formation took 3 days. Linking neurobiology with ecology, we argue that this species-specific difference in LTM acquisition and formation is adaptive given the extreme differences in both the number of foraging decisions of the two wasp species and in the spatial distributions of their respective hosts in nature.
Project description:Because of the relative simplicity of its nervous system, Caenorhabditis elegans is a useful model organism to study learning and memory at cellular and molecular levels. For appetitive conditioning in C. elegans, food has exclusively been used as an unconditioned stimulus (US). It may be difficult to analyze neuronal circuits for associative memory since food is a multimodal combination of olfactory, gustatory, and mechanical stimuli. Here, we report classical appetitive conditioning and associative memory in C. elegans, using 1-nonanol as a conditioned stimulus (CS), and potassium chloride (KCl) as a US. Before conditioning, C. elegans innately avoided 1-nonanol, an aversive olfactory stimulus, and was attracted by KCl, an appetitive gustatory stimulus, on assay agar plates. Both massed training without an intertrial interval (ITI) and spaced training with a 10-min ITI induced significant levels of memory of association regarding the two chemicals. Memory induced by massed training decayed within 6 h, while that induced by spaced training was retained for more than 6 h. Animals treated with inhibitors of transcription or translation formed the memory induced by spaced training less efficiently than untreated animals, whereas the memory induced by massed training was not significantly affected by such treatments. By definition, therefore, memories induced by massed training and spaced training are classified as short-term memory (STM) and long-term memory (LTM), respectively. When animals conditioned by spaced training were exposed to 1-nonanol alone, their learning index was lower than that of untreated animals, suggesting that extinction learning occurs in C. elegans. In support of these results, C. elegans mutants defective in nmr-1, encoding an NMDA receptor subunit, formed both STM and LTM less efficiently than wild-type animals, while mutations in crh-1, encoding a ubiquitous transcription factor CREB required for memory consolidation, affected LTM, but not STM. The paradigm established in the present study should allow us to elucidate neuronal circuit plasticity for appetitive learning and memory in C. elegans.
Project description:A property of long-term memory (LTM) induction is the requirement for repeated training sessions spaced over time. This augmentation of memory formation with spaced resting intervals is called the spacing effect. We now show that in Drosophila, the duration of resting intervals required for inducing LTM is regulated by activity levels of the protein tyrosine phosphatase corkscrew (CSW). Overexpression of wild-type CSW in mushroom body neurons shortens the inter-trial interval required for LTM induction, whereas overexpression of constitutively active CSW proteins prolongs these resting intervals. These gain-of-function csw mutations are associated with a clinical condition of mental retardation. Biochemical analysis reveals that LTM-inducing training regimens generate repetitive waves of CSW-dependent MAPK activation, the length of which appears to define the duration of the resting interval. Constitutively active CSW proteins prolong the resting interval by altering the MAPK inactivation cycle. We thus provide insight into the molecular basis of the spacing effect.
Project description:Memory is initially labile and gradually consolidated over time through new protein synthesis into a long-lasting stable form. Studies of odor-shock associative learning in Drosophila have established the mushroom body (MB) as a key brain structure involved in olfactory long-term memory (LTM) formation. Exactly how early neural activity encoded in thousands of MB neurons is consolidated into protein-synthesis-dependent LTM remains unclear. Here, several independent lines of evidence indicate that changes in two MB vertical lobe V3 (MB-V3) extrinsic neurons are required and contribute to an extended neural network involved in olfactory LTM: (i) inhibiting protein synthesis in MB-V3 neurons impairs LTM; (ii) MB-V3 neurons show enhanced neural activity after spaced but not massed training; (iii) MB-V3 dendrites, synapsing with hundreds of MB ?/? neurons, exhibit dramatic structural plasticity after removal of olfactory inputs; (iv) neurotransmission from MB-V3 neurons is necessary for LTM retrieval; and (v) RNAi-mediated down-regulation of oo18 RNA-binding protein (involved in local regulation of protein translation) in MB-V3 neurons impairs LTM. Our results suggest a model of long-term memory formation that includes a systems-level consolidation process, wherein an early, labile olfactory memory represented by neural activity in a sparse subset of MB neurons is converted into a stable LTM through protein synthesis in dendrites of MB-V3 neurons synapsed onto MB ? lobes.
Project description:The capacity to form long-lasting social memories is critical to our health and survival. cAMP signaling in the ventral hippocampal formation (VHIPP) appears to be required for social memory formation, but the phosphodiesterase (PDE) involved remains unknown. Previously, we showed that PDE11A, which degrades cAMP and cGMP, is preferentially expressed in CA1 and subiculum of the VHIPP. Here, we determine whether PDE11A is expressed in neurons where it could directly influence synaptic plasticity and whether expression is required for the consolidation and/or retrieval of social memories. In CA1, and possibly CA2, PDE11A4 is expressed throughout neuronal cell bodies, dendrites (stratum radiatum), and axons (fimbria), but not astrocytes. Unlike PDE2A, PDE9A, or PDE10A, PDE11A4 expression begins very low at postnatal day 7 (P7) and dramatically increases until P28, at which time it stabilizes to young adult levels. This expression pattern is consistent with the fact that PDE11A is required for social long-term memory (LTM) formation during adolescence and adulthood. Male and female PDE11 knockout (KO) mice show normal short-term memory (STM) for social odor recognition (SOR) and social transmission of food preference (STFP), but no LTM 24?h post training. Importantly, PDE11A KO mice show normal LTM for nonsocial odor recognition. Deletion of PDE11A may impair memory consolidation by impairing requisite protein translation in the VHIPP. Relative to WT littermates, PDE11A KO mice show reduced expression of RSK2 and lowered phosphorylation of S6 (pS6-235/236). Together, these data suggest PDE11A is selectively required for the proper consolidation of recognition and associative social memories.
Project description:Memory formation involves multiple molecular mechanisms, the nature and components of which are essential to understand these processes. Drosophila is a powerful model to identify genes important for the formation and storage of consolidated memories because the molecular mechanisms and dependence of these processes on particular brain regions appear to be generally conserved. We present evidence that the highly conserved ubiquitin ligase Neuralized (Neur) is expressed in the adult Drosophila mushroom body (MB) alpha/beta lobe peripheral neurons and is a limiting factor for the formation of long-term memory (LTM). We show that loss of one copy of neur gene results in significant LTM impairment, whereas overexpression of Neur in the peripheral neurons of the alpha/beta lobes of the adult MBs results in a dosage-dependent enhancement of LTM. In contrast, learning, early memories, or anesthesia-resistant memory are not affected. We also demonstrate that the role of Neuralized in LTM formation is restricted within the neurons of the periphery of the alpha/beta lobes, and we suggest that this structural subdivision of the MBs participates in the formation of LTM.
Project description:Extensive neurogenetic analysis has shown that memory formation depends critically on cAMP-protein kinase A (PKA) signaling. Details of how this pathway is involved in memory formation, however, remain to be fully elucidated. From a large-scale behavioral screen in Drosophila, we identified the yu mutant to be defective in one-day memory after spaced training. The yu mutation disrupts a gene encoding an A-kinase anchoring protein (AKAP). AKAPs comprise a family of proteins, which determine the subcellular localization of PKAs and thereby critically restrict cAMP signaling within a cell. Further behavioral characterizations revealed that long-term memory (LTM) was disrupted specifically in the yu mutant, whereas learning, short-term memory and anesthesia-resistant memory all appeared normal. Another independently isolated mutation of the yu gene failed to complement the LTM defect associated with the yu mutation, and this phenotypic defect could be rescued by induced acute expression of a yu(+) transgene, suggesting that yu functions physiologically during memory formation. AKAP Yu is expressed preferentially in the mushroom body (MB) neuroanatomical structure, and expression of a yu(+) transgene to the MB, but not to other brain regions, is sufficient to rescue the LTM defect of the yu mutant. These observations lead us to conclude that proper localization of PKA by Yu AKAP in MB neurons is required for the formation of LTM.