Linking New Information to a Reactivated Memory Requires Consolidation and Not Reconsolidation Mechanisms
PLoS Biol. 2005-08-23; 3(9): e293
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A new memory is initially labile and becomes stabilized through a process of
consolidation, which depends on gene expression. Stable memories, however, can
again become labile if reactivated by recall and require another phase of protein
synthesis in order to be maintained. This process is known as reconsolidation.
The functional significance of the labile phase of reconsolidation is unknown;
one hypothesis proposes that it is required to link new information with
reactivated memories. Reconsolidation is distinct from the initial consolidation,
and one distinction is that the requirement for specific proteins or general
protein synthesis during the two processes occurs in different brain areas. Here,
we identified an anatomically distinctive molecular requirement that doubly
dissociates consolidation from reconsolidation of an inhibitory avoidance memory.
We then used this requirement to investigate whether reconsolidation and
consolidation are involved in linking new information with reactivated memories.
In contrast to what the hypothesis predicted, we found that reconsolidation does
not contribute to the formation of an association between new and reactivated
information. Instead, it recruits mechanisms similar to those underlying
consolidation of a new memory. Thus, linking new information to a reactivated
memory is mediated by consolidation and not reconsolidation mechanisms.