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Nat Neurosci. 2009 Nov;12(11):1438-43. doi: 10.1038/nn.2405. Epub 2009 Sep 27.

CREB regulates excitability and the allocation of memory to subsets of neurons in the amygdala.

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Department of Neurobiology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.


The mechanisms that determine how information is allocated to specific regions and cells in the brain are important for memory capacity, storage and retrieval, but are poorly understood. We manipulated CREB in a subset of lateral amygdala neurons in mice with a modified herpes simplex virus (HSV) and reversibly inactivated transfected neurons with the Drosophila allatostatin G protein-coupled receptor (AlstR)/ligand system. We found that inactivation of the neurons transfected with HSV-CREB during training disrupted memory for tone conditioning, whereas inactivation of a similar proportion of transfected control neurons did not. Whole-cell recordings of fluorescently tagged transfected neurons revealed that neurons with higher CREB levels are more excitable than neighboring neurons and showed larger synaptic efficacy changes following conditioning. Our findings demonstrate that CREB modulates the allocation of fear memory to specific cells in lateral amygdala and suggest that neuronal excitability is important in this process.

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