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Science. 2015 May 29;348(6238):1007-13. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa5542. Epub 2015 May 28.

Memory. Engram cells retain memory under retrograde amnesia.

Author information

1
RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Department of Biology and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
2
RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Department of Biology and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
3
RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Department of Biology and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. tonegawa@mit.edu.

Abstract

Memory consolidation is the process by which a newly formed and unstable memory transforms into a stable long-term memory. It is unknown whether the process of memory consolidation occurs exclusively through the stabilization of memory engrams. By using learning-dependent cell labeling, we identified an increase of synaptic strength and dendritic spine density specifically in consolidated memory engram cells. Although these properties are lacking in engram cells under protein synthesis inhibitor-induced amnesia, direct optogenetic activation of these cells results in memory retrieval, and this correlates with retained engram cell-specific connectivity. We propose that a specific pattern of connectivity of engram cells may be crucial for memory information storage and that strengthened synapses in these cells critically contribute to the memory retrieval process.

PMID:
26023136
PMCID:
PMC5583719
DOI:
10.1126/science.aaa5542
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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