Ubiquitin-Proteasome System Inhibition Promotes Long-Term Depression and Synaptic Tagging/Capture

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A balance of protein synthesis and degradation is critical for the dynamic regulation and implementation of long-term memory storage. The role of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) in regulating the plasticity at potentiated synapses is well studied, but its roles in depressed synaptic populations remain elusive. In this study, we probed the possibility of regulating the UPS by inhibiting the proteasome function during the induction of protein synthesis-independent form of hippocampal long-term depression (early-LTD), an important component of synaptic plasticity. Here, we show that protein degradation is involved in early-LTD induction and interfering with this process facilitates early-LTD to late-LTD. We provide evidence here that under the circumstances of proteasome inhibition brain-derived neurotrophic factor is accumulated as plasticity-related protein and it drives the weakly depressed or potentiated synapses to associativity. Thus, UPS inhibition promotes LTD and establishes associativity between weakly depressed or potentiated synapses through the mechanisms of synaptic tagging/capture or cross-capture.

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