The intermediate and medial mesopallium (IMM) of the domestic chick forebrain has previously been shown to be a memory system for visual imprinting. Learning-related changes occur in certain plasma membrane and mitochondrial proteins in the IMM. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis/mass spectrometry has been employed to identify more comprehensively learning-related expression of proteins in the membrane-mitochondrial fraction of the IMM 24 h after training. We inquired whether amounts of these proteins in the IMM and a control region (posterior pole of the nidopallium, PPN) are correlated with a behavioral estimate of memory for the imprinting stimulus. Learning-related increases in amounts of the following proteins were found in the left IMM, but not the right IMM or the left or right PPN: (i) membrane cognin; (ii) a protein resembling the P32 subunit of splicing factor SF2; (iii) voltage-dependent anionic channel-1; (iv) dynamin-1; (v) heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A2/B1. Learning-related increases in some transcription factors involved in mitochondrial biogenesis were also found, without significant change in mitochondrial DNA copy number. The results indicate that the molecular processes involved in learning and memory underlying imprinting include protein stabilization, increased mRNA trafficking, synaptic vesicle recycling, and specific changes in the mitochondrial proteome.
Keywords: IMHV; IMM; cognin; dynamin; learning; membrane and mitochondrial proteins; recognition memory.