Early Tagging of Cortical Networks Is Required for the Formation of Enduring Associative Memory
Science. 2011-02-18; 331(619): 924-928
Early tagging of cortical networks is required for the formation of enduring associative memory.
Although formation and stabilization of long-lasting associative memories are thought to require time-dependent coordinated hippocampal-cortical interactions, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we present evidence that neurons in the rat cortex must undergo a “tagging process” upon encoding to ensure the progressive hippocampal-driven rewiring of cortical networks that support remote memory storage. This process was AMPA- and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-dependent, information-specific, and capable of modulating remote memory persistence by affecting the temporal dynamics of hippocampal-cortical interactions. Post-learning reinforcement of the tagging process via time-limited epigenetic modifications resulted in improved remote memory retrieval. Thus, early tagging of cortical networks is a crucial neurobiological process for remote memory formation whose functional properties fit the requirements imposed by the extended time scale of systems-level memory consolidation.