Memory is not a stable record of experience, but instead is an ongoing process that allows existing memories to be modified with new information through a reconsolidation-dependent updating process. For a previously stable memory to be updated, the memory must first become labile through a process called destabilization. Destabilization is a protein degradation-dependent process that occurs when new information is presented. Following destabilization, a memory becomes stable again through a protein synthesis-dependent process called restabilization. Much work remains to fully characterize the mechanisms that underlie both destabilization and subsequent restabilization, however. In this article, we briefly review the discovery of reconsolidation as a potential mechanism for memory updating. We then discuss the behavioral paradigms that have been used to identify the molecular mechanisms of reconsolidation-dependent memory updating. Finally, we outline what is known about the molecular mechanisms that support the memory updating process. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying reconsolidation-dependent memory updating is an important step toward leveraging this process in a therapeutic setting to modify maladaptive memories and to improve memory when it fails.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry