It is widely appreciated that memory processing engages a wide range of molecular signaling cascades in neurons, but how these cascades are temporally and spatially integrated is not well understood. To explore this important question, we used Aplysia californica as a model system.We simultaneously examined the timing and subcellular location of two signaling molecules, MAPK (ERK1/2) and protein kinase A (PKA), both of which are critical for the formation of enduring memory for sensitization. We also explored their interaction during the formation of enduring synaptic facilitation, a cellular correlate of memory, at tail sensory-to-motor neuron synapses. We find that repeated tail nerve shock (TNS, an analog of sensitizing training) immediately and persistently activates MAPK in both sensory neuron somata and synaptic neuropil. In contrast, we observe immediate PKA activation only in the synaptic neuropil. It is followed by PKA activation in both compartments 1 h after TNS. Interestingly, blocking MAPK activation during, but not after, TNS impairs PKA activation in synaptic neuropil without affecting the delayed PKA activation in sensory neuron somata. Finally, by applying inhibitors restricted to the synaptic compartment, we show that synapticMAPK activation during TNS is required for the induction of intermediate-term synaptic facilitation,which leads to the persistent synaptic PKA activation required to maintain this facilitation. Collectively, our results elucidate how MAPK and PKA signaling cascades are spatiotemporally integrated in a single neuron to support synaptic plasticity underlying memory formation.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Oct 30 2012|
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