Individual differences in episodic memory are highly heritable. Several studies have linked a polymorphism in the gene encoding the KIBRA protein to episodic memory performance. Results regarding CLSTN2, the gene encoding the synaptic protein calsyntenin 2, have been less consistent, possibly pointing to interactions with other genes. Given that both KIBRA and CLSTN2 are expressed in the medial temporal lobe and have been linked to synaptic plasticity, we investigated whether KIBRA and CLSTN2 interactively modulate episodic memory performance (n=383). We replicated the beneficial effect of the KIBRA T-allele on episodic memory, and discovered that this effect increases with the associative demands of the memory task. Importantly, the memory-enhancing effect of the KIBRA T-allele was boosted by the presence of the CLSTN2 C-allele, which positively affected memory performance in some previous studies. In contrast, the presence of CLSTN2 C-allele led to reduced performance in subjects homozygous for the KIBRA C-allele. Overall, these findings suggest that KIBRA and CLSTN2 interactively modulate episodic memory performance, and underscore the need for delineating the interactive effects of multiple genes on brain and behavior.
2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.