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JIP1-Mediated JNK Activation Negatively Regulates Synaptic Plasticity and Spatial Memory.

The c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signal transduction pathway is implicated in learning and memory. Here, we examined the role of JNK activation mediated by the JNK-interacting protein 1 (JIP1) scaffold protein. We compared male wild-type mice with a mouse model harboring a point mutation in the Jip1 gene that selectively blocks JIP1-mediated JNK activation. These male mutant mice exhibited increased NMDAR currents, increased NMDAR-mediated gene expression, and a lower threshold for induction of hippocampal long-term potentiation. The JIP1 mutant mice also displayed improved hippocampus-dependent spatial memory and enhanced associative fear conditioning. These results were confirmed using a second JIP1 mutant mouse model that suppresses JNK activity. Together, these observations establish that JIP1-mediated JNK activation contributes to the regulation of hippocampus-dependent, NMDAR-mediated synaptic plasticity and learning.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The results of this study demonstrate that c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation induced by the JNK-interacting protein 1 (JIP1) scaffold protein negatively regulates the threshold for induction of long-term synaptic plasticity through the NMDA-type glutamate receptor. This change in plasticity threshold influences learning. Indeed, mice with defects in JIP1-mediated JNK activation display enhanced memory in hippocampus-dependent tasks, such as contextual fear conditioning and Morris water maze, indicating that JIP1-JNK constrains spatial memory. This study identifies JIP1-mediated JNK activation as a novel molecular pathway that negatively regulates NMDAR-dependent synaptic plasticity and memory.

Pubmed ID: 29540552 RIS Download

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Associated grants

  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: S11 NS055883
  • Agency: NIA NIH HHS, Id: SC1 AG046907
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: U54 NS083932

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