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Persistent sodium current is a nonsynaptic substrate for long-term associative memory
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 22:16 authored by Eugeny S Nikitin, Dimitris V Vavoulis, Ildiko KemenesIldiko Kemenes, Vincenzo Marra, Zsolt Pirger, Maximilian Michel, Jianfeng Feng, Michael O'Shea, Paul R Benjamin, George KemenesGeorge Kemenes
Although synaptic plasticity is widely regarded as the primary mechanism of memory , forms of nonsynaptic plasticity, such as increased somal or dendritic excitability or membrane potential depolarization, also have been implicated in learning in both vertebrate and invertebrate experimental systems [2-7]. Compared to synaptic plasticity, however, there is much less information available on the mechanisms of specific types of nonsynaptic plasticity involved in well-defined examples of behavioral memory. Recently, we have shown that learning-induced somal depolarization of an identified modulatory cell type (the cerebral giant cells, CGCs) of the snail Lymnaea stagnalis encodes information that enables the expression of long-term associative memory . The Lymnaea CGCs therefore provide a highly suitable experimental system for investigating the ionic mechanisms of nonsynaptic plasticity that can be linked to behavioral learning. Based on a combined behavioral, electrophysiological, immunohistochemical, and computer simulation approach, here we show that an increase of a persistent sodium current of this neuron underlies its delayed and persistent depolarization after behavioral single-trial classical conditioning. Our findings provide new insights into how learning-induced membrane level changes are translated into a form of long-lasting neuronal plasticity already known to contribute to maintained adaptive modifications at the network and behavioral level .
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