Stimulation of cAMP response element (CRE)-mediated transcription during contextual learning

Nat Neurosci. 1998 Nov;1(7):595-601. doi: 10.1038/2830.


Recent studies suggest that the CREB-CRE transcriptional pathway is pivotal in the formation of some types of long-term memory. However, it has not been demonstrated that stimuli that induce learning and memory activate CRE-mediated gene expression. To address this issue, we used a mouse strain transgenic for a CRE-lac Z reporter to examine the effects of hippocampus-dependent learning on CRE-mediated gene expression in the brain. Training for contextual conditioning or passive avoidance led to significant increases in CRE-dependent gene expression in areas CA1 and CA3 of the hippocampus. Auditory cue fear-conditioning, which is amygdala dependent, was associated with increased CRE-mediated gene expression in the amygdala, but not the hippocampus. These data demonstrate that learning in response to behavioral conditioning activates the CRE transcriptional pathway in specific areas of brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology
  • Cyclic AMP / genetics
  • Cyclic AMP / physiology*
  • Fear / physiology
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic / genetics
  • Response Elements / genetics
  • Response Elements / physiology*
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology*


  • Cyclic AMP