This Thursday, Prof. Katarzyna Radwanska, who leads the Laboratory of Molecular Basis of Behavior, will give a lecture entitled: Ultrastructural Analysis of Memory.
Plasticity of glutamatergic synapses in the hippocampus is believed to underlie learning and memory processes. Surprisingly, very few studies report long-lasting structural changes of synapses induced by behavioral training. It remains, therefore, unclear which synaptic changes in the hippocampus contribute to memory storage. I will compare how long-term potentiation of synaptic transmission (LTP) (a primary form of synaptic plasticity and cellular model of memory) and behavioral training affect hippocampal glutamatergic synapses at the ultrastructural level enabled by electron microscopy. The literature indicates that while LTP induces growth of dendritic spines and post-synaptic densities (PSD), that represent postsynaptic part of a glutamatergic synapse, after behavioral training there is transient (< 6 hr) synaptogenesis and long-lasting (> 24 hr) increase in PSD volume (without a significant change of dendritic spine volume), indicating that training-induced PSD growth may reflect long-term enhancement of synaptic functions. Additionally, formation of multi-innervated spines (MIS), is associated with long-term memory in aged mice and LTP-deficient mutant mice. Since volume of PSD, as well as atypical synapses, can be reliably observed only with electron microscopy, I argue that the ultrastructural level of analysis is required to reveal synaptic changes that are associated with long-term storage of information in the brain. Finally, I will argue that synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus may be important for spatial choice (i.e. choice that uses spatial information), rather than spatial memory.
Meeting ID: 966 1729 0469