Genes to remember
Alberini CM. Department of Neuroscience,
Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.
J Exp Biol 1999 Nov;202 ( Pt 21):2887-91


It has been known for several decades that the formation of long-term memory requires gene expression. In recent years, the use of genetic and molecular approaches has led to the identification and characterization of genes and molecules that play a fundamental role in the biological mechanisms underlying learning and memory. From these studies, it appears that molecules and molecular mechanisms essential for the process of memory have been conserved throughout evolution. The cyclic AMP (cAMP)-dependent activation pathway and a cAMP-dependent cascade of gene expression have been shown to be essential for memory formation in Aplysia californica, Drosophila melanogaster and rodents. Moreover, members of the transcription factor family cAMP response element binding proteins (CREBs) seem to represent key molecules for transforming incoming information into long-term memory. Here, we review the studies showing that conserved molecules and biological mechanisms are engaged in simple and complex forms of memory.

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