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A requirement for long-term memory is that neurons and synapses are able to translate complex patterns of electrical activity into long-lasting functional alterations of neuronal tissue. This is achieved by activity-dependent regulation of gene transcription and protein synthesis. The proposed project involves i) the investigation of signalling pathways mediating activity-dependent gene expression, ii) the correlation of neuronal plasticity and gene expression and iii) the elucidation of the consequence of activity-induced protein synthesis on network properties. The experimental approach is based on i) transgenic mice expressing fluorescent proteins under the control of regulatory sequences of a potassium channel and on ii) laser scanning microscopy in conjunction with electrophysiological methods.
Intracellular signalling cascades will be studied using pharmacological manipulations and by means of antisense oligonucleotides directed against specific transcription factors in hippocampal slice cultures from mature transgenic mice. Elucidation of signal transduction pathways involved in plasticity-related gene-expression and the consequences of activity-dependent gene-regulation for network properties will provide valuable new information necessary for understanding the mechanisms of long-term memory in the brain.

  • Thomas Behnisch, Leibniz-Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg , Germany
  • Thomas Knöpfel Brain Science Institute, RIKEN


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