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J Biol Chem. 2007 Sep 14;282(37):27527-35. Epub 2007 Jul 16.

ERK and mTOR signaling couple beta-adrenergic receptors to translation initiation machinery to gate induction of protein synthesis-dependent long-term potentiation.

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Departments of Physiology and Psychiatry, and Centre for Neuroscience, University of Alberta School of Medicine, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


beta-Adrenergic receptors critically modulate long-lasting synaptic plasticity and long-term memory in the mammalian hippocampus. Persistent long-term potentiation of synaptic strength requires protein synthesis and has been correlated with some forms of hippocampal long-term memory. However, the intracellular processes that initiate protein synthesis downstream of the beta-adrenergic receptor are unidentified. Here we report that activation of beta-adrenergic receptors recruits ERK and mammalian target of rapamycin signaling to facilitate long-term potentiation maintenance at the level of translation initiation. Treatment of mouse hippocampal slices with a beta-adrenergic receptor agonist results in activation of eukaryotic initiation factor 4E and the eukaryotic initiation factor 4E kinase Mnk1, along with inhibition of the translation repressor 4E-BP. This coordinated activation of translation machinery requires concomitant ERK and mammalian target of rapamycin signaling. Taken together, our data identify distinct signaling pathways that converge to regulate beta-adrenergic receptor-dependent protein synthesis during long-term synaptic potentiation in the hippocampus. We suggest that beta-adrenergic receptors play a crucial role in gating the induction of long-lasting synaptic plasticity at the level of translation initiation, a mechanism that may underlie the ability of these receptors to influence the formation of long-lasting memories.

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