Publication information

Bibliographic entry:

Solomonia RO, McCabe BJ, Jackson AP, Horn G (1997) “Clathrin proteins and recognition memory.” Neuroscience 80(1):59-67


Strong converging evidence indicates that the intermediate and medial part of the hyperstriatum ventrale (IMHV) of the chick forebrain is a site of recognition memory for the learning process of imprinting. Clathrin proteins have been implicated in synaptic plasticity. In the present study we demonstrate for the first time that they are involved in vertebrate learning. Chicks were trained by exposure to a conspicuous object and their preference for it versus a novel object subsequently measured as a preference score (an index of learning). Trained chicks with low preference scores were classed as "poor learners" and those with high preference scores as "good learners". An additional group of chicks was untrained ("dark-reared"). Tissue was removed from the left and right IMHV, hyperstriatum accessorium and posterior neostriatum 9.5 h or 24 h after training. Clathrin heavy chain and clathrin light chains a and b were assayed using sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting. In the IMHV, and only for clathrin heavy chain, was there a significant effect of training. The effect occurred 24 h but not 9.5 h after training, and was significant only in the left IMHV. In this region at 24 h, there was (i) significantly more clathrin heavy chain in good learners than in dark-reared chicks, and (ii) a significant positive correlation between the amount of clathrin heavy chain and preference score; the amount of protein present in the dark-reared chicks did not differ significantly from the amount predicted from the regression line for trained chicks performing at chance (preference score 50). These findings imply that for the left IMHV, visual experience per se, locomotor activity and other side effects of training did not affect the amount of clathrin heavy chain. Rather, the increase observed was a function of the amounts chick learned and, because it was delayed, is likely to be involved in long-term memory. The results for clathrin heavy chain taken together suggest that enhanced presynaptic events in the IMHV, possibly associated with an increase in synaptic vesicle release/uptake, are important in the recognition memory underlying imprinting.

Online links:Available online from Elsevier Science
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Publication type:Journal Article
Publication status:In print
Publication date:1997 Sep
Record status:PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE