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Nature. 2015 Sep 17;525(7569):333-8. doi: 10.1038/nature15257. Epub 2015 Sep 9.

Labelling and optical erasure of synaptic memory traces in the motor cortex.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Structural Physiology, Center for Disease Biology and Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033.
2
PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology Agency, 4-1-8 Honcho, Kawaguchi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan.
3
CREST, Japan Science and Technology Agency, 4-1-8 Honcho, Kawaguchi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan.
4
Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06032, USA.
5
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.
6
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.
7
Department of Pharmacology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.

Abstract

Dendritic spines are the major loci of synaptic plasticity and are considered as possible structural correlates of memory. Nonetheless, systematic manipulation of specific subsets of spines in the cortex has been unattainable, and thus, the link between spines and memory has been correlational. We developed a novel synaptic optoprobe, AS-PaRac1 (activated synapse targeting photoactivatable Rac1), that can label recently potentiated spines specifically, and induce the selective shrinkage of AS-PaRac1-containing spines. In vivo imaging of AS-PaRac1 revealed that a motor learning task induced substantial synaptic remodelling in a small subset of neurons. The acquired motor learning was disrupted by the optical shrinkage of the potentiated spines, whereas it was not affected by the identical manipulation of spines evoked by a distinct motor task in the same cortical region. Taken together, our results demonstrate that a newly acquired motor skill depends on the formation of a task-specific dense synaptic ensemble.

PMID:
26352471
PMCID:
PMC4634641
DOI:
10.1038/nature15257
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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