Manipulating the brain to over-express a protein can selectively erase short- and long-term fear memories in mice without compromising other memories or harming neurons, according to a study out this week in Neuron. The findings offer "a molecular paradigm by which we can actually erase a specific memory," linkurl:Joe Tsien,;http://www.gra.org/EminentScholarsDetail/tabid/368/xmmid/1072/xmid/193/xmview/2/school/Medical%20College%20of%20Georgia/Default.aspx a neuroscientist at the Medical College of Georgia and lead author of the paper, told The Scientist in an Email. "This opens a door to better understand memory circuits in the brain." When working with the neurotransmitter NMDA to create a transgenic "smart mouse" he called linkurl:Doogie;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53346/ in the late 1990s, Tsien noticed that a downstream protein, Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase II (CaMKII), physically interacted with the receptor for NMDA. To better understand CaMKII's involvement in the various stages of memory -- learning, consolidation, storage, and recall -- Tsien's group developed a linkurl:transgenic mouse;http://www.pnas.org/content/100/7/4287.abstract that over-expressed αCaMKII, a form of the...
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