Persistent increased PKMζ in long-term and remote spatial memory

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Abstract

PKMζ is an autonomously active PKC isoform that is thought to maintain both LTP and long-term memory. Whereas persistent increases in PKMζ protein sustain the kinase's action in LTP, the molecular mechanism for the persistent action of PKMζ during long-term memory has not been characterized. PKMζ inhibitors disrupt spatial memory when introduced into the dorsal hippocampus from 1 day to 1 month after training. Therefore, if the mechanisms of PKMζ's persistent action in LTP maintenance and long-term memory were similar, persistent increases in PKMζ would last for the duration of the memory, far longer than most other learning-induced gene products. Here we find that spatial conditioning by aversive active place avoidance or appetitive radial arm maze induces PKMζ increases in dorsal hippocampus that persist from 1 day to 1 month, coinciding with the strength and duration of memory retention. Suppressing the increase by intrahippocampal injections of PKMζ-antisense oligodeoxynucleotides prevents the formation of long-term memory. Thus, similar to LTP maintenance, the persistent increase in the amount of autonomously active PKMζ sustains the kinase’s action during long-term and remote spatial memory maintenance.

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