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J Neurosci. 2001 Aug 1;21(15):5520-7.

Impairment of mossy fiber long-term potentiation and associative learning in pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide type I receptor-deficient mice.

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Divisions of Molecular Biology of the Cell and Experimental Pathology, German Cancer Research Center, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


The pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) type I receptor (PAC1) is a G-protein-coupled receptor binding the strongly conserved neuropeptide PACAP with 1000-fold higher affinity than the related peptide vasoactive intestinal peptide. PAC1-mediated signaling has been implicated in neuronal differentiation and synaptic plasticity. To gain further insight into the biological significance of PAC1-mediated signaling in vivo, we generated two different mutant mouse strains, harboring either a complete or a forebrain-specific inactivation of PAC1. Mutants from both strains show a deficit in contextual fear conditioning, a hippocampus-dependent associative learning paradigm. In sharp contrast, amygdala-dependent cued fear conditioning remains intact. Interestingly, no deficits in other hippocampus-dependent tasks modeling declarative learning such as the Morris water maze or the social transmission of food preference are observed. At the cellular level, the deficit in hippocampus-dependent associative learning is accompanied by an impairment of mossy fiber long-term potentiation (LTP). Because the hippocampal expression of PAC1 is restricted to mossy fiber terminals, we conclude that presynaptic PAC1-mediated signaling at the mossy fiber synapse is involved in both LTP and hippocampus-dependent associative learning.

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