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Fabrizio Capitano (Université de Rome)

Regional differences in the molecular mechanisms underlying spatial memory formation

Long-term memory formation is accompanied by changes in neuronal morphology and connectivity. Such changes are driven by molecular cascades which bind neuronal activity to long-lasting modifications of synapses. In particular, several evidences have been provided about the pivotal role of genes expression regulation. Although different studies supported the view that learning involves the parallel processing of information within a complex network of brain regions, anatomical differences have been reported in the temporal dynamic of plastic changes, as well as in the timing of memory acquisition. However, few studies investigated whether such differences could be due to regional specificities in neuronal molecular machinery. Experiments presented here explored this issue using a comparative approach to analyze processes of transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene regulation induced by spatial learning over a distributed network including cortical and subcortical regions. They provide the evidence that different brain regions can be characterized by peculiarities in the molecular machinery involved in spatial memory formation.