Npas4 Is a Critical Regulator of Learning-Induced Plasticity at Mossy Fiber-CA3 Synapses during Contextual Memory Formation. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Synaptic connections between hippocampal mossy fibers (MFs) and CA3 pyramidal neurons are essential for contextual memory encoding, but the molecular mechanisms regulating MF-CA3 synapses during memory formation and the exact nature of this regulation are poorly understood. Here we report that the activity-dependent transcription factor Npas4 selectively regulates the structure and strength of MF-CA3 synapses by restricting the number of their functional synaptic contacts without affecting the other synaptic inputs onto CA3 pyramidal neurons. Using an activity-dependent reporter, we identified CA3 pyramidal cells┬áthat were activated by contextual learning and found that MF inputs on these cells were selectively strengthened. Deletion of Npas4 prevented both contextual memory formation and this learning-induced synaptic modification. We further show that Npas4 regulates MF-CA3 synapses by controlling the expression of the polo-like kinase Plk2. Thus, Npas4 is a critical regulator of experience-dependent, structural, and functional plasticity at MF-CA3 synapses during contextual memory formation.

publication date

  • March 7, 2018

published in