Learning and memory

Memory is broadly divided into declarative and nondeclarative forms of memory. The hippocampus is required for the formation of declarative memories, while a number of other brain regions including the striatum, amygdala and nucleus accumbens are involved in the formation of nondeclarative memories. The formation of all memories require morphological changes of synapses: new ones must be formed or old ones strengthened. These changes are thought to reflect the underlying cellular basis for persistent memories. Considerable advances have occurred over the last decade in our understanding of the molecular bases of how these memories are formed. A key regulator of synaptic plasticity is a signaling pathway that includes the mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinase. As this pathway is required for normal memory and learning, it is not surprising that mutations in members of this pathway lead to disruptions in learning. Neurofibromatosis, Coffin-Lowry syndrome and Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome are three examples of developmental disorders that have mutations in key components of the MAP kinase signaling pathway.

Learning; Memory; Genetics

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