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Learn Mem. 2013 Sep 16;20(10):531-9. doi: 10.1101/lm.031377.113.

Growth factor signaling and memory formation: temporal and spatial integration of a molecular network.

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Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, New York 10003, USA.


Growth factor (GF) signaling is critically important for developmental plasticity. It also plays a crucial role in adult plasticity, such as that required for memory formation. Although different GFs interact with receptors containing distinct types of kinase domains, they typically signal through converging intracellular cascades (e.g., Ras-MEK-MAPK) to mediate overlapping functional endpoints. Several GFs have been implicated in memory formation, but due to a high level of convergent signaling, the unique contributions of individual GFs as well as the interactions between GF signaling cascades during the induction of memory is not well known. In this review, we highlight the unique roles of specific GFs in dendritic plasticity, and discuss the spatial and temporal profiles of different GFs during memory formation. Collectively, the data suggest that the roles of GF signaling in long-lasting behavioral and structural plasticity may be best viewed as interactive components in a complex molecular network.

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