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This project focuses on testing a particular theory of the cellular and network level dynamics that underlie memory formation. The 'synaptic tagging' theory proposed earlier by the grantees has, at its core, the notion that the events which trigger memory formation may often trigger no more than the potential to make a memory. Whether or not a lasting memory occurs depends upon subtle heterosynaptic interactions between (1) glutamatergic systems (that set 'synaptic tags' and induce short-term changes in synaptic efficacy) and (2) neuromodulatory inputs (that set in train the synthesis and distribution of 'plasticity proteins'). The approach to date has been to focus on certain counterintuitive predictions of this hypothesis, at least one of which has been upheld. This project contains other paradoxical predictions such as the idea that short-lasting memory traces can be turned into longer-lasting ones through such synaptic-tag/plasticity protein interactions without reactivation of the memory in question.The collaboration would also bring together two laboratories whose primary expertise is electrophysiology (Magdeburg) and behaviour (Edinburgh) in an integrative endeavour concerned with an important aspect of neural adaptivity - the neural mechanisms of learning andmemory.

Partners :
  • Richard Morris, Dept. of Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh , U.K.
  • J.U Frey, Leibniz-Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany


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