The activity-regulated cytoskeletal-associated protein (Arc/Arg3.1) is required for memory consolidation of pavlovian fear conditioning in the lateral amygdala

Jonathan E. Ploski, Vicki J. Pierre, Jason Smucny, Kevin Park, Melissa S. Monsey, Kathie A. Overeem, Glenn E. Schafe

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The activity-regulated cytoskeletal-associated protein (Arc/Arg3.1) is an immediate early gene that has been widely implicated in hippocampal-dependent learning and memory and is believed to play an integral role in synapse-specific plasticity. Here, we examined the role of Arc/Arg3.1 in amygdala-dependent Pavlovian fear conditioning. We first examined the regulation of Arc/Arg3.1 mRNA and protein after fear conditioning and LTP-inducing stimulation of thalamic inputs to the lateral amygdala (LA). Quantitative real-time PCR, in situ hybridization, Western blotting and immunohistochemistry revealed a significant upregulation of Arc/Arg3.1 mRNA and protein in the LA relative to controls. In behavioral experiments, intra-LA infusion of an Arc/Arg3.1 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) was observed to be anatomically restricted to the LA, taken up by LA cells, and to promote significant knockdown of Arc/Arg3.1 protein. Rats given intra-LA infusions of multiple doses of the Arc/Arg3.1 ODN showed an impairment of LTM (tested ∼24 later), but no deficit in STM (tested 3 h later) relative to controls infused with scrambled ODN. Finally, to determine whether upregulation of Arc/Arg3.1 occurs downstream of ERK/MAPK activation, we examined Arc/Arg3.1 expression in rats given intra-LA infusion of the MEK inhibitor U0126. Relative to vehicle controls, infusion of U0126 impaired training-induced increases in Arc/Arg3.1 expression. These findings suggest that Arc/Arg3.1 expression in the amygdala is required for fear memory consolidation, and further suggest that Arc/Arg3.1 regulation in the LA is downstream of the ERK/MAPK signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12383-12395
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 19 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)

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