Previous results have suggested that the Ras signaling pathway is involved in learning and memory. Ras is activated by nucleotide exchange factors, such as the calmodulin-activated guanine-nucleotide releasing factor 1 (Ras-GRF1). To test whether Ras-GRF1 is required for learning and memory, we inactivated the Ras-GRF1 gene in mice. These mutants performed normally in a rota-rod motor coordination task, and in two amygdala-dependent tasks (inhibitory avoidance and contextual conditioning). In contrast the mutants were impaired in three hippocampus-dependent learning tasks: contextual discrimination, the social transmission of food preferences, and the hidden-platform version of the Morris water maze. These studies indicate that Ras-GRF1 plays a role in hippocampal-dependent learning and memory.
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