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Essays Biochem. 1998;33:165-78.

The matter of mind: molecular control of memory.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


A widely accepted hypothesis suggests that changes in synaptic strength underlie the formation of memories in the brain. LTP is a mechanism of synaptic strengthening. Induction of LTP depends on NMDA receptor activation, and its expression depends in part on protein kinase activity. Studies of knock-out mice suggest that LTP is critical for hippocampus-based memory. Genetic studies in Drosophila implicate cAMP metabolism in classical conditioning, a form of unconscious memory. Consolidating memories for long-term retention depends on the cAMP-inducible transcription factor CREB.

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