Article abstract


Nature Neuroscience 12, 1438 - 1443 (2009)
Published online: 27 September 2009 | doi:10.1038/nn.2405

CREB regulates excitability and the allocation of memory to subsets of neurons in the amygdala

Yu Zhou1,2,3,4,7, Jaejoon Won1,2,3,4, Mikael Guzman Karlsson1,2,3,4, Miou Zhou1,2,3,4, Thomas Rogerson1,2,3,4, Jayaprakash Balaji1,2,3,4, Rachael Neve5, Panayiota Poirazi6 & Alcino J Silva1,2,3,4


The mechanisms that determine how information is allocated to specific regions and cells in the brain are important for memory capacity, storage and retrieval, but are poorly understood. We manipulated CREB in a subset of lateral amygdala neurons in mice with a modified herpes simplex virus (HSV) and reversibly inactivated transfected neurons with the Drosophila allatostatin G protein–coupled receptor (AlstR)/ligand system. We found that inactivation of the neurons transfected with HSV-CREB during training disrupted memory for tone conditioning, whereas inactivation of a similar proportion of transfected control neurons did not. Whole-cell recordings of fluorescently tagged transfected neurons revealed that neurons with higher CREB levels are more excitable than neighboring neurons and showed larger synaptic efficacy changes following conditioning. Our findings demonstrate that CREB modulates the allocation of fear memory to specific cells in lateral amygdala and suggest that neuronal excitability is important in this process.

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  1. Department of Neurobiology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.
  2. Semel Institute, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.
  3. Department of Psychology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.
  4. Brain Research Institute, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.
  5. Picower Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
  6. Computational Biology Laboratory, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB), Foundation of Research and Technology Hellas, Vassilika Vouton, Heraklion, Crete, Greece.
  7. Present address: Department of Physiology, Medical College of Qingdao University, Qingdao, China.

Correspondence to: Alcino J Silva1,2,3,4 e-mail: silvaa@mednet.ucla.edu



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