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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2013 Sep;104:64-72. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2013.04.012. Epub 2013 May 21.

Learning and memory: an emergent property of cell motility.

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Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA 91766, USA.


In this review, we develop the argument that the molecular/cellular mechanisms underlying learning and memory are an adaptation of the mechanisms used by all cells to regulate cell motility. Neuronal plasticity and more specifically synaptic plasticity are widely recognized as the processes by which information is stored in neuronal networks engaged during the acquisition of information. Evidence accumulated over the last 25 years regarding the molecular events underlying synaptic plasticity at excitatory synapses has shown the remarkable convergence between those events and those taking place in cells undergoing migration in response to extracellular signals. We further develop the thesis that the calcium-dependent protease, calpain, which we postulated over 25 years ago to play a critical role in learning and memory, plays a central role in the regulation of both cell motility and synaptic plasticity. The findings discussed in this review illustrate the general principle that fundamental cell biological processes are used for a wide range of functions at the level of organisms.


Actin polymerization; Calpain; Cell motility; Learning and memory; Synaptic plasticity

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