Recent studies of long-term synaptic plasticity and long-term memory have demonstrated that the same functional endpoint, such as long-term potentiation, can be induced through distinct signaling pathways engaged by different patterns of stimulation. A critical question raised by these studies is whether different induction pathways either converge onto a common molecular mechanism or engage different molecular cascades for the maintenance of long-term plasticity. We directly examined this issue in the context of memory for sensitization in the marine mollusk Aplysia. In this system, training with a single tail shock normally induces short-term memory (< 30 min) for sensitization of tail-elicited siphon withdrawal, whereas repeated spaced shocks induce both intermediate-term memory (ITM) (>90 min) and long-term memory (>24 hr). We now show that a single tail shock can also induce ITM that is expressed selectively at the trained site (site-specific ITM). Although phenotypically similar to the form of ITM induced by repeated trials, the mechanisms by which site-specific ITM is induced and maintained are distinct. Unlike repeated-trial ITM, site-specific ITM requires neither protein synthesis nor PKA activity for induction or maintenance. Rather, the induction of site-specific ITM requires calpain-dependent proteolysis of activated PKC, yielding a persistently active PKC catalytic fragment (PKM) that also serves to maintain the memory in the intermediate-term temporal domain. Thus, two unique forms of ITM that have different induction requirements also use distinct molecular mechanisms for their maintenance.
- Protein synthesis
- Synaptic facilitation