Analogous to learning and memory storage, long-term potentiation (LTP) is divided into induction and maintenance phases. Testing the hypothesis that the mechanism of LTP maintenance stores information requires reversing this mechanism in vivo and finding out whether long-term stored information is lost. This was not previously possible. Recently however, persistent phosphorylation by the atypical protein kinase C isoform, protein kinase Mzeta (PKMζ), has been found to maintain late LTP in hippocampal slices. Here we show that a cell-permeable PKMζ inhibitor, injected in the rat hippocampus, both reverses LTP maintenance in vivo and produces persistent loss of 1-day-old spatial information. Thus, the mechanism maintaining LTP sustains spatial memory.
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