Consolidation of long-term memory (LTM) is a complex process requiring synthesis of new mRNAs and proteins. Many studies have characterized the requirement for de novo mRNA and protein synthesis; however, few studies have comprehensively identified genes regulated during LTM consolidation. We show that consolidation of long-term contextual memory in the hippocampus triggers altered expression of numerous genes encompassing many aspects of neuronal function. Like contextual memory formation, this altered gene expression required NMDA receptor activation and was specific for situations in which the animal formed an association between a physical context and a sensory stimulus. Using a bioinformatics approach, we found that regulatory elements for several transcription factors are over-represented in the upstream region of genes regulated during consolidation of LTM. Using a knock-out mouse, we found that c-rel, one of the transcription factors identified in our bioinformatics study, is necessary for hippocampus-dependent long-term memory formation.
- Transcription factor
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