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Cell. 1999 Oct 15;99(2):221-37.

A transient, neuron-wide form of CREB-mediated long-term facilitation can be stabilized at specific synapses by local protein synthesis.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Center for Neurobiology and Behavior College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.


In a culture system where a bifurcated Aplysia sensory neuron makes synapses with two motor neurons, repeated application of serotonin (5-HT) to one synapse produces a CREB-mediated, synapse-specific, long-term facilitation, which can be captured at the opposite synapse by a single pulse of 5-HT. Repeated pulses of 5-HT applied to the cell body of the sensory neuron produce a CREB-dependent, cell-wide facilitation, which, unlike synapse-specific facilitation, is not associated with growth and does not persist beyond 48 hr. Persistent facilitation and synapse-specific growth can be induced by a single pulse of 5-HT applied to a peripheral synapse. Thus, the short-term process initiated by a single pulse of 5-HT serves not only to produce transient facilitation, but also to mark and stabilize any synapse of the neuron for long-term facilitation by means of a covalent mark and rapamycin-sensitive local protein synthesis.

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