Matters of Memory_Eric Kadel and CPEB3 Prions

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(Credit: Lab of David Sulzer, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center)

The authors argue that the long term mice memories are preserved with Prions (protein infectious particles). Although regular prions cause damage to the cells there is a type of prions identified in mice as CPEB3 that work inside the neurons to maintain long-term memories.

Prion aggregates renew themselves by continually recruiting newly made soluble prions into the aggregates. “This ongoing maintenance is crucial,” said Dr. Kandel. “It’s how you remember, for example, your first love for the rest of your life.”

This discovery, states Kandel in his “In Search of Memory”, raised the intriguing possibility—so far only that—that spatial maps may become fixed when an animal’s attention triggers the release of dopamine in the hippocampus and that dopamine initiates a selfperpetuating state also mediated by CPEB.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ATTENTION IN STABILIZING THE SPATIAL MAP raises another question: Is the spatial map, a map formed by learning, similar in all of us? Specifically, do men and women use the same strategies to find their way around an environment? (…) Gender differences in forming the spatial map take on additional significance when considered in a broader context: To what degree do men’s and women’s brain structures and cognitive styles differ? Are those differences innate, or do they stem from learning and socialization?

References

Long-term Memories Are Maintained by Prion-like Proteins, Article Published in July 2, 2015, Full article available here

Kandel, E. R., 2006, In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind, Book available here
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