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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2013 Dec 2;369(1633):20130150. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0150. Print 2014 Jan 5.

Untangling the two-way signalling route from synapses to the nucleus, and from the nucleus back to the synapses.

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  • 1Department of Neurochemistry, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, , Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


During learning and memory, it has been suggested that the coordinated electrical activity of hippocampal neurons translates information about the external environment into internal neuronal representations, which then are stored initially within the hippocampus and subsequently into other areas of the brain. A widely held hypothesis posits that synaptic plasticity is a key feature that critically modulates the triggering and the maintenance of such representations, some of which are thought to persist over time as traces or tags. However, the molecular and cell biological basis for these traces and tags has remained elusive. Here, we review recent findings that help clarify some of the molecular and cellular mechanisms critical for these events, by untangling a two-way signalling crosstalk route between the synapses and the neuronal soma. In particular, a detailed interrogation of the soma-to-synapse delivery of immediate early gene product Arc/Arg3.1, whose induction is triggered by heightened synaptic activity in many brain areas, teases apart an unsuspected 'inverse' synaptic tagging mechanism that likely contributes to maintaining the contrast of synaptic weight between strengthened and weak synapses within an active ensemble.


Arc; CREB; CaMKII; calcium; memory trace; synaptic tag

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