Hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) is a robust and long-lasting form of synaptic plasticity that is the leading candidate for a cellular mechanism contributing to mammalian learning and memory. Investigations over the past decade have revealed that the biochemistry of LTP induction involves mechanisms of great subtlety and complexity. This review highlights themes that have emerged as a result of our increased knowledge of the signal transduction pathways involved in the induction of NMDA receptor-dependent LTP in area CA1 of the hippocampus. Among these themes are signal amplification, signal integration and signal coordination. Here we use these themes as an organizing context for reviewing the profusion of signaling mechanisms involved in the induction of LTP.