Although the importance of spaced training trials in the formation of long-term memory (LTM) is widely appreciated, surprisingly little is known about the molecular mechanisms that support interactions between individual trials. The intertrial dynamics of ERK/MAPK activation have recently been correlated with effective training patterns for LTM. However, whether and how MAPK is required to mediate intertrial interactions remains unknown. Using a novel two-trial training pattern which inducesLTMin Aplysia,we show that the first of two training trials recruits delayed protein synthesis-dependent nuclear MAPK activity that establishes a unique molecular context involving the recruitment of CREB kinase and ApC/EBP and is an essential intertrial signaling mechanism for LTM induction. These findings provide the first demonstration of a requirement for MAPK in the intertrial interactions during memory formation and suggest that the kinetics of MAPK activation following individual experiences determines effective training intervals for LTM formation.
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