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PLoS Comput Biol. 2017 Jul 24;13(7):e1005657. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005657. eCollection 2017 Jul.

β-adrenergic signaling broadly contributes to LTP induction.

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The Krasnow Institute for Advanced Studies, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, United States of America.
Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.


Long-lasting forms of long-term potentiation (LTP) represent one of the major cellular mechanisms underlying learning and memory. One of the fundamental questions in the field of LTP is why different molecules are critical for long-lasting forms of LTP induced by diverse experimental protocols. Further complexity stems from spatial aspects of signaling networks, such that some molecules function in the dendrite and some are critical in the spine. We investigated whether the diverse experimental evidence can be unified by creating a spatial, mechanistic model of multiple signaling pathways in hippocampal CA1 neurons. Our results show that the combination of activity of several key kinases can predict the occurrence of long-lasting forms of LTP for multiple experimental protocols. Specifically Ca2+/calmodulin activated kinase II, protein kinase A and exchange protein activated by cAMP (Epac) together predict the occurrence of LTP in response to strong stimulation (multiple trains of 100 Hz) or weak stimulation augmented by isoproterenol. Furthermore, our analysis suggests that activation of the β-adrenergic receptor either via canonical (Gs-coupled) or non-canonical (Gi-coupled) pathways underpins most forms of long-lasting LTP. Simulations make the experimentally testable prediction that a complete antagonist of the β-adrenergic receptor will likely block long-lasting LTP in response to strong stimulation. Collectively these results suggest that converging molecular mechanisms allow CA1 neurons to flexibly utilize signaling mechanisms best tuned to temporal pattern of synaptic input to achieve long-lasting LTP and memory storage.

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