The long-term stability of new hippocampal place fields requires new protein synthesis.
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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The hippocampus is critical for formation of spatial memories. Hippocampal pyramidal neurons in freely behaving animals exhibit spatially selective firing patterns, which taken together form an internal representation of the environment. This representation is thought to contribute to the hippocampal spatial memory system. Behavioral long-term memories differ from short-term memories in requiring the synthesis of new proteins. Does the development of the internal hippocampal representation also require the synthesis of new proteins? We found that blocking protein synthesis in the brain of mice by 95% does not affect short-term stability of newly formed hippocampal place fields but abolishes stability in the long term. By contrast, inhibiting protein synthesis does not affect the retention and recall of previously established fields in a familiar environment, indicating that protein synthesis-dependent reconsolidation is not required for recall. Our results indicate that place fields parallel both behavioral memories and the late phase of long-term potentiation in requiring the synthesis of new proteins for consolidation.