The maintenance of established remote contextual fear memory requires ERK5 MAP kinase and ongoing adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus

PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e50455. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050455. Epub 2012 Nov 26.


Adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation has been implicated in several forms of hippocampus-dependent memory. However, its role in the persistence of remote memory is unknown. Furthermore, whether the hippocampus plays a role in maintaining remote contextual memories is controversial. Here we used an inducible gene-specific approach for conditional deletion of erk5 in the adult neurogenic regions of the mouse brain to specifically impair adult neurogenesis. The erk5 gene was conditionally deleted under three different experimental conditions: prior to training for contextual fear, 6 days after training, or 5 weeks after training, We present evidence that remote memory was impaired under all three conditions. These data demonstrate that ongoing adult neurogenesis is required both for the initial establishment and the continued maintenance of remote contextual fear memory, even after the remote memory has transferred into extra-hippocampal regions of the brain 5 weeks after training.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Psychological
  • Fear / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Order
  • Genotype
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Memory, Long-Term / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 7 / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 7 / metabolism*
  • Neurogenesis* / genetics


  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 7