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J Neurosci. 2004 Dec 1;24(48):10858-67.

Nuclear calcium/calmodulin regulates memory consolidation.

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  • 1Institute for Childhood and Neglected Diseases and Department of Cell Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.

Abstract

The neuronal response to a Ca2+ stimulus is a complex process involving direct Ca2+/calmodulin (CaM) actions as well as secondary activation of multiple signaling pathways such as cAMP and ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase). These signals can act in both the cytoplasm and the nucleus to control gene expression. To dissect the role of nuclear from cytoplasmic Ca2+/CaM signaling in memory formation, we generated transgenic mice that express a dominant inhibitor of Ca2+/CaM selectively in the nuclei of forebrain neurons and only after the animals reach adulthood. These mice showed diminished neuronal activity-induced phosphorylation of cAMP response element-binding protein, reduced expression of activity-induced genes, altered maximum levels of hippocampal long-term potentiation, and severely impaired formation of long-term, but not short-term, memory. Our results demonstrate that nuclear Ca2+/CaM signaling plays a critical role in memory consolidation in the mouse.

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