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Neuron. 2009 Sep 10;63(5):643-56. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.08.014.

NCS-1 in the dentate gyrus promotes exploration, synaptic plasticity, and rapid acquisition of spatial memory.

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  • 1Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON, M5G 1X5, Canada.


The molecular underpinnings of exploration and its link to learning and memory remain poorly understood. Here we show that inducible, modest overexpression of neuronal calcium sensor 1 (Ncs1) selectively in the adult murine dentate gyrus (DG) promotes a specific form of exploratory behavior. The mice also display a selective facilitation of long-term potentiation (LTP) in the medial perforant path and a selective enhancement in rapid-acquisition spatial memory, phenotypes that are reversed by direct application of a cell-permeant peptide (DNIP) designed to interfere with NCS-1 binding to the dopamine type-2 receptor (D2R). Moreover, the DNIP and the D2R-selective antagonist L-741,626 attenuated exploratory behavior, DG LTP, and spatial memory in control mice. These data demonstrate a role for NCS-1 and D2R in DG plasticity and provide insight for understanding how the DG contributes to the origin of exploration and spatial memory acquisition.

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