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Novel storage mechanism allows command, control of memory
Date:3/5/2013

HOUSTON -- (March 4, 2013) Introductions at a party seemingly go in one ear and out the other. However, if you meet someone two or three times during the party, you are more likely to remember his or her name. Your brain has taken a short-term memory the introduction and converted it into a long-term one. The molecular key to this activity is mTORC2 (mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2), according to researchers at Baylor College of Medicine (http://www.bcm.edu) in an article that appeared online in the journal Nature Neuroscience (http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nn.3351.html).

"Memory consolidation is a fundamental process," said Dr. Mauro Costa-Mattioli (http://neuro.neusc.bcm.tmc.edu/?sct=gfaculty&prf=50), assistant professor of neuroscience at BCM and corresponding author of the report. "Memories are at the center of our identity. They allow us to remember people, places and events for a long time, even a lifetime. Understanding the precise mechanism by which memories are stored in the brain will lead to the development of new treatments for conditions associated with memory loss".

For the last five decades, neuroscientists have known that making long-lasting memories is dependent on the ability of brain cells (neurons) to synthesize new proteins. In their studies, Costa-Mattioli and his colleagues found a new mechanism by which memories are stored in the brain. The newly discovered mTORC2 regulates memory formation by modulating actin fibers, an important component of the architectural structure of the neuron.

"These actin fibers allow long-lasting changes in synaptic strength and ultimately long-term memories," said Wei Huang, a BCM graduate student and first autho
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Contact: Glenna Picton
picton@bcm.edu
713-798-4710
Baylor College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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