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J Neurosci. 2017 Jul 12;37(28):6661-6672. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3298-16.2017. Epub 2017 Jun 7.

Genome-Wide Temporal Expression Profiling in Caenorhabditis elegans Identifies a Core Gene Set Related to Long-Term Memory.

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Transfaculty Research Platform Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences.
Division of Molecular Neuroscience, Department of Psychology.
Biozentrum, Life Sciences Training Facility, University of Basel, 4056 Basel, Switzerland, and.
Department of Medical Chemistry, Semmelweis University, 1094 Budapest, Hungary.
University Psychiatric Clinics, and.
Division of Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Basel, 4055 Basel, Switzerland.
Transfaculty Research Platform Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences,


The identification of genes related to encoding, storage, and retrieval of memories is a major interest in neuroscience. In the current study, we analyzed the temporal gene expression changes in a neuronal mRNA pool during an olfactory long-term associative memory (LTAM) in Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodites. Here, we identified a core set of 712 (538 upregulated and 174 downregulated) genes that follows three distinct temporal peaks demonstrating multiple gene regulation waves in LTAM. Compared with the previously published positive LTAM gene set (Lakhina et al., 2015), 50% of the identified upregulated genes here overlap with the previous dataset, possibly representing stimulus-independent memory-related genes. On the other hand, the remaining genes were not previously identified in positive associative memory and may specifically regulate aversive LTAM. Our results suggest a multistep gene activation process during the formation and retrieval of long-term memory and define general memory-implicated genes as well as conditioning-type-dependent gene sets.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The identification of genes regulating different steps of memory is of major interest in neuroscience. Identification of common memory genes across different learning paradigms and the temporal activation of the genes are poorly studied. Here, we investigated the temporal aspects of Caenorhabditis elegans gene expression changes using aversive olfactory associative long-term memory (LTAM) and identified three major gene activation waves. Like in previous studies, aversive LTAM is also CREB dependent, and CREB activity is necessary immediately after training. Finally, we define a list of memory paradigm-independent core gene sets as well as conditioning-dependent genes.


C. elegans; CREB; expression; genes; long-term memory; microarray

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