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Gene Expression and Memory

#G-1148


Gene Expression and Long-Term Recognition Memory

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-CGM/Cytology, Genetics and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology
  • BIO-CHM/Biochemistry/Biotechnology

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
08.04.2004

Leading Institute
Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia / Beritashvili Institute of Physiology, Georgia, Tbilisi

Collaborators

  • University of Cambridge / Department of Zoology, UK, Cambridge\nUniversity of Cambridge / Department of Biochemistry, UK, Cambridge

Project summary

The major purpose of the project is to analyze molecular mechanisms of long-term recognition memory (LTRM). A major impediment to understanding the molecular basis of learning and memory has been the identification of brain regions involved in the storage process. This impediment has largely been overcome in the case of visual imprinting. Imprinting is a learning process by which the young of certain species, including domestic chicks, come to recognize an object as a result of being exposed to it. There is strong converging evidence that a restricted part of the chick forebrain, the intermediate and medial part of the hyperstriatum ventrale (IMHV) stores information acquired through imprinting. Advantage was taken of this localization to investigate gene expression and LTRM using an approach that makes no a priori assumptions about particular genes and their protein products - suppression subtractive hybridization. The experiments were conducted using IMHV samples pooled from two groups of trained chicks (“Good learners” and “Poor Learners”). More than 35 up- or down-regulated genes (candidate genes) were identified (1). However, these changes do not necessarily reflect changes related to learning; they may simply reflect random variation between the samples. Therefore, as a first step, the translation products of two candidate genes, myristoylated, alanine-rich C kinase substrate (MARCKS) and amyloid precursor protein (APP) were investigated further. In the left IMHV (but not in control regions) the levels of these two proteins increased significantly with the strength of learning (1). We now wish to build on these findings and systematically to investigate further changes in gene expression. The aims of this project are:

(i) to further study the role of APP in LTRM by analyzing changes in all its metabolites 24 h after training;

(ii) to study MARCKS phosphorylation and its redistribution in cells 24 h after training;

(iii) to inquire whether quantitative learning-specific changes occur in the mRNAs of the 33 candidate genes already identified 24 h after training;

(iv) to determine whether there are time-dependent changes in gene expression 2 h and 10 h after training for those genes whose expression level is changed in a learning-specific way at 24 h;

(v) to identify the full-length cDNAs of candidate genes for which no homology was found within public DNA database;

(vi) to investigate differential gene expression 2 h after training.


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The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.

 

ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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