Differential requirement of de novo Arc protein synthesis in the insular cortex and the amygdala for safe and aversive taste long-term memory formation

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Abstract

Several immediate early genes products are known to be involved in the facilitation of structural and functional modifications at distinct synapses activated through experience. The IEG-encoded protein Arc (activity regulated cytoskeletal-associated protein) has been widely implicated in long-term memory formation and stabilization. In this study, we sought to evaluate a possible role for de novo Arc protein synthesis in the insular cortex (IC) and in the amygdala (AMY) during long-term taste memory formation. We found that acute inhibition of Arc protein synthesis through the infusion of antisense oligonucleotides administered in the IC before a novel taste presentation, affected consolidation of a safe taste memory trace (ST) but spared consolidation of conditioned taste aversion (CTA). Conversely, blocking Arc synthesis within the AMY impaired CTA consolidation but had no effect on ST long-term memory formation. Our results suggest that Arc-dependent plasticity during taste learning is required within distinct structures of the medial temporal lobe, depending on the emotional valence of the memory trace.

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