Laboratory for Molecular Neurobiology of Memory
Laboratory head: Prof. Raphael Lamprecht
The ability to efficiently store memory in the brain is a fundamental process needed for daily functions and its impairment is associated with human mental disorders. The formation of long-term memory (LTM) is believed to involve alterations of synaptic efficacy within selected synapses which are mediated by changes in synaptic transmission and alterations in synaptic contacts. We study the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie memory formation, storage and retrieval.
Toward these ends, we use the classical fear conditioning paradigm, which is a simple form of associative learning. Fear conditioning is a useful behavioral assay for studying the cellular and molecular basis of learning and memory because the brain area underlying fear memory formation, the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA), has been identified. In addition, the acquisition of fear conditioning is fast and its memory is robust and long-lasting, properties which facilitate the correlation of cellular events in LA with phases of learning, consolidation and retrieval.
By employing multidisciplinary approaches which include behavioral, molecular screening (e.g. proteomics, transcriptomics), manipulation of protein functions (e.g. optogenetic, genetically modified mice), and anatomical (e.g. imaging of neuronal morphology) techniques we study cellular and molecular processes in LA underlying fear memory formation and retrieval.
Using the above approaches we investigate the roles of signal transmission between neurons, changes in neuronal connectivity and morphology, signal transduction and gene expression in fear memory formation and synaptic plasticity in LA.
New studies are now published:
Jana S, Dines M, Lalzar M, Lamprecht R. Fear Conditioning Leads to Enduring Alterations in RNA Transcripts in Hippocampal Neuropil that are Dependent on EphB2 Forward Signaling. Mol Neurobiol. 2023 Apr;60(4):2320-2329. doi: 10.1007/s12035-022-03191-w.
Costa JF, Dines M, Agarwal K, Lamprecht R. Rac1 GTPase activation impairs fear conditioning-induced structural changes in basolateral amygdala neurons and long-term fear memory formation. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2022 Dec 15. doi: 10.1038/s41386-022-01518-8.
Ilovich O, Dines M, Paul BK, Barkai E, Lamprecht R. Nck1 activity in lateral amygdala regulates long-term fear memory formation. Transl Psychiatry. 2022 Nov 12;12(1):475. doi: 10.1038/s41398-022-02244-x.
Mana R, Ilovich O, Dines M, Lamprecht R. EphrinA4 mimetic peptide impairs fear conditioning memory reconsolidation in lateral amygdala. Sci Rep. 2022 Oct 22;12(1):17731. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-21519-3.