Long-term memory performance depends upon gating system

Storing and retrieving memories is among the most important tasks our intricate brains must perform, yet how that happens at a molecular level remains incompletely understood. A new study from the lab of Neuroscience Professor Ronald Davis, PhD, at Scripps Research, Florida, sheds light on one element of that memory storage process, namely the storage and retrieval of a type of hardwired long-term memory.

The Davis team found that moving memories to long-term storage involves the interplay of multiple genes, a known group whose activity must be upregulated, and, unexpectedly, another gatekeeping gene set, Ras, and its downstream connecting molecules, which are down-regulated. If either Ras or its downstream connector Raf are silenced, long-term memory storage is eliminated, the team writes in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, published the week of Jan. 13.

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