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Nat Neurosci. 2000 Jun;3(6):533-5.

Rapid and selective induction of BDNF expression in the hippocampus during contextual learning.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, Downing Site, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 3EB, UK.


The hippocampus is required for many forms of long-term memory in both humans and animals, and formation of long-lasting memories requires the synthesis of new proteins. Furthermore, the long-term potentiation (LTP) of hippocampal synapses, a widely studied model of memory, also depends on both de novo gene transcription and protein synthesis and results in the activation of transcription from promotors containing the cAMP response element (CRE). Expression of several genes is induced during the establishment of LTP; these include the immediate-early genes (IEGs) BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), zif268 and C/EBPbeta (CCAAT-enhancer binding protein beta), all of which contain CRE sites within their promotor regions. However, these genes induced by LTP are not known to be rapidly induced following learning in a natural setting. Here we demonstrate rapid and selective induction of BDNF expression during hippocampus-dependent contextual learning.

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