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Postsynaptic receptor trafficking underlying a form of associative learning.

Science (New York, N.Y.) | Apr 1, 2005

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 RIS Download

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