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The Contribution of Spatial and Temporal Molecular Networks in the Induction of Long-term Memory and Its Underlying Synaptic Plasticity

1 Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, NY, USA;
2 Department of Biology, New York University, New York, NY, USA;
3 Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA;
4 Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Topical Section: Advances in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience Theory

The ability to form long-lasting memories is critical to survival and thus is highly conserved across the animal kingdom. By virtue of its complexity, this same ability is vulnerable to disruption by a wide variety of neuronal traumas and pathologies. To identify effective therapies with which to treat memory disorders, it is critical to have a clear understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms which subserve normal learning and memory. A significant challenge to achieving this level of understanding is posed by the wide range of distinct temporal and spatial profiles of molecular signaling induced by learning-related stimuli. In this review we propose that a useful framework within which to address this challenge is to view the molecular foundation of long-lasting plasticity as composed of unique spatial and temporal molecular networks that mediate signaling both within neurons (such as via kinase signaling) as well as between neurons (such as via growth factor signaling). We propose that evaluating how cells integrate and interpret these concurrent and interacting molecular networks has the potential to significantly advance our understanding of the mechanisms underlying learning and memory formation.
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