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J Neurosci. 2009 May 6;29(18):5726-37. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4033-08.2009.

Identification of flap structure-specific endonuclease 1 as a factor involved in long-term memory formation of aversive learning.

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Molecular and Cellular Cognition Laboratory, Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico.


We previously proposed that DNA recombination/repair processes play a role in memory formation. Here, we examined the possible role of the fen-1 gene, encoding a flap structure-specific endonuclease, in memory consolidation of conditioned taste aversion (CTA). Quantitative real-time PCR showed that amygdalar fen-1 mRNA induction was associated to the central processing of the illness experience related to CTA and to CTA itself, but not to the central processing resulting from the presentation of a novel flavor. CTA also increased expression of the Fen-1 protein in the amygdala, but not the insular cortex. In addition, double immunofluorescence analyses showed that amygdalar Fen-1 expression is mostly localized within neurons. Importantly, functional studies demonstrated that amygdalar antisense knockdown of fen-1 expression impaired consolidation, but not short-term memory, of CTA. Overall, these studies define the fen-1 endonuclease as a new DNA recombination/repair factor involved in the formation of long-term memories.

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