The Persistence of Long-Term Memory: A Molecular Approach to Self-Sustaining Changes in Learning-Induced Synaptic Growth

Neuron. 2004 Sep 30;44(1):49-57. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2004.09.017.


Recent cellular and molecular studies of both implicit and explicit memory storage suggest that experience-dependent modulation of synaptic strength and structure is a fundamental mechanism by which these diverse forms of memory are encoded and stored. For both forms of memory storage, some type of synaptic growth is thought to represent the stable cellular change that maintains the long-term process. In this review, we discuss recent findings on the molecular events that underlie learning-related synaptic growth in Aplysia and discuss the possibility that an active, prion-based mechanism is important for the maintenance of the structural change and for the persistence of long-term memory.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Time