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Cell. 1995 Jun 16;81(6):905-15.

Impairment of spatial but not contextual memory in CaMKII mutant mice with a selective loss of hippocampal LTP in the range of the theta frequency.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.


We assessed hippocampal-dependent memory in mice with a Ca(2+)-independent form of CaMKII generated by the introduction of an aspartate at amino acid 286. The CaMKII-Asp-286 mice show normal LTP at high frequency stimulation, but in the 5-10 Hz range, they show a shift in the frequency-response curve favoring LTD. This range of frequencies is similar to the theta rhythm, which is associated with exploration in rodents. Using the Barnes maze to assess spatial memory, we found the transgenic mice could not learn to navigate to a specific location using spatial cues. In contrast, one line of transgenic mice performed normally in contextual fear conditioning, a task that is also hippocampal dependent. This dissociation between spatial and contextual memory suggests that even though both require the hippocampus, they may be mediated by different synaptic mechanisms.

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