Characterization of the rapid transcriptional response to long-term sensitization training in Aplysia californica

Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2014 Dec:116:27-35. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2014.07.009. Epub 2014 Aug 10.


We used a custom-designed microarray and quantitative PCR to characterize the rapid transcriptional response to long-term sensitization training in the marine mollusk Aplysia californica. Aplysia were exposed to repeated noxious shocks to one side of the body, a procedure known to induce a long-lasting, transcription-dependent increase in reflex responsiveness that is restricted to the side of training. One hour after training, pleural ganglia from the trained and untrained sides of the body were harvested; these ganglia contain the sensory nociceptors which help mediate the expression of long-term sensitization memory. Microarray analysis from 8 biological replicates suggests that long-term sensitization training rapidly regulates at least 81 transcripts. We used qPCR to test a subset of these transcripts and found that 83% were confirmed in the same samples, and 86% of these were again confirmed in an independent sample. Thus, our new microarray design shows strong convergent and predictive validity for analyzing the transcriptional correlates of memory in Aplysia. Fully validated transcripts include some previously identified as regulated in this paradigm (ApC/EBP and ApEgr) but also include novel findings. Specifically, we show that long-term sensitization training rapidly up-regulates the expression of transcripts which may encode Aplysia homologs of a C/EBPγ transcription factor, a glycine transporter (GlyT2), and a vacuolar-protein-sorting-associated protein (VPS36).

Keywords: Encoding; Long-term memory; Microarray; Transcription factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aplysia / genetics
  • Central Nervous System Sensitization / genetics*
  • Electroshock
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Reflex / physiology
  • Tissue Array Analysis
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology*
  • Up-Regulation