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Postsynaptic receptor trafficking underlying a form of associative learning.

To elucidate molecular, cellular, and circuit changes that occur in the brain during learning, we investigated the role of a glutamate receptor subtype in fear conditioning. In this form of learning, animals associate two stimuli, such as a tone and a shock. Here we report that fear conditioning drives AMPA-type glutamate receptors into the synapse of a large fraction of postsynaptic neurons in the lateral amygdala, a brain structure essential for this learning process. Furthermore, memory was reduced if AMPA receptor synaptic incorporation was blocked in as few as 10 to 20% of lateral amygdala neurons. Thus, the encoding of memories in the lateral amygdala is mediated by AMPA receptor trafficking, is widely distributed, and displays little redundancy.

Pubmed ID: 15746389


  • Rumpel S
  • LeDoux J
  • Zador A
  • Malinow R


Science (New York, N.Y.)

Publication Data

April 1, 2005

Associated Grants


Mesh Terms

  • Amygdala
  • Animals
  • Association Learning
  • Conditioning (Psychology)
  • Electrophysiology
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Long-Term Potentiation
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurons
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Protein Transport
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Simplexvirus
  • Synapses
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • Thalamus