Send to

Choose Destination
Front Neural Circuits. 2017 Mar 2;11:12. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2017.00012. eCollection 2017.

Synaptic Ensemble Underlying the Selection and Consolidation of Neuronal Circuits during Learning.

Author information

Laboratory of Medical Neuroscience, Institute for Molecular and Cellular Regulation, Gunma University Maebashi, Japan.
Laboratory of Medical Neuroscience, Institute for Molecular and Cellular Regulation, Gunma UniversityMaebashi, Japan; PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology AgencyKawaguchi, Japan.


Memories are crucial to the cognitive essence of who we are as human beings. Accumulating evidence has suggested that memories are stored as a subset of neurons that probably fire together in the same ensemble. Such formation of cell ensembles must meet contradictory requirements of being plastic and responsive during learning, but also stable in order to maintain the memory. Although synaptic potentiation is presumed to be the cellular substrate for this process, the link between the two remains correlational. With the application of the latest optogenetic tools, it has been possible to collect direct evidence of the contributions of synaptic potentiation in the formation and consolidation of cell ensemble in a learning task specific manner. In this review, we summarize the current view of the causative role of synaptic plasticity as the cellular mechanism underlying the encoding of memory and recalling of learned memories. In particular, we will be focusing on the latest optoprobe developed for the visualization of such "synaptic ensembles." We further discuss how a new synaptic ensemble could contribute to the formation of cell ensembles during learning and memory. With the development and application of novel research tools in the future, studies on synaptic ensembles will pioneer new discoveries, eventually leading to a comprehensive understanding of how the brain works.


cell ensemble; dendritic spines; memory; synaptic ensemble

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Frontiers Media SA Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center