Reconsolidation of long-term memory in Aplysia

Curr Biol. 2012 Oct 9;22(19):1783-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.07.038. Epub 2012 Aug 9.


When an animal is reminded of a prior experience and shortly afterward treated with a protein synthesis inhibitor, the consolidated memory for the experience can be disrupted; by contrast, protein synthesis inhibition without prior reminding commonly does not disrupt long-term memory [1-3]. Such results imply that the reminding triggers reconsolidation of the memory. Here, we asked whether the behavioral and synaptic changes associated with the memory for long-term sensitization (LTS) of the siphon-withdrawal reflex in the marine snail Aplysia californica [4, 5] could undergo reconsolidation. In support of this idea, we found that when sensitized animals were given abbreviated reminder sensitization training 48-96 hr after the original sensitization training, followed by treatment with the protein synthesis inhibitor anisomycin, LTS was disrupted. We also found that long-term (≥ 24 hr) facilitation (LTF) [6], which can be induced in the monosynaptic connection between Aplysia sensory and motor neurons in dissociated cell culture by multiple spaced pulses of the endogenous facilitatory transmitter serotonin (5-HT) [7, 8], could be eliminated by treating the synapses with one reminder pulse of 5-HT, followed by anisomycin, at 48 hr after the original training. Our results provide a simple model system for understanding the synaptic basis of reconsolidation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Anisomycin / pharmacology
  • Aplysia / drug effects
  • Aplysia / physiology*
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Memory, Long-Term*
  • Motor Neurons / cytology
  • Motor Neurons / drug effects
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Reflex / drug effects
  • Reflex / physiology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / cytology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / drug effects
  • Serotonin / pharmacology
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / physiology*


  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Serotonin
  • Anisomycin