CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) is an organizer of higher-order chromatin structure and regulates gene expression. Genetic studies have implicated mutations in CTCF in intellectual disabilities. However, the role of CTCF-mediated chromatin structure in learning and memory is unclear. We show that depletion of CTCF in postmitotic neurons, or depletion in the hippocampus of adult mice through viral-mediated knockout, induces deficits in learning and memory. These deficits in learning and memory at the beginning of adulthood are correlated with impaired long-term potentiation and reduced spine density, with no changes in basal synaptic transmission and dendritic morphogenesis and arborization. Cognitive disabilities are associated with downregulation of cadherin and learning-related genes. In addition, CTCF knockdown attenuates fear-conditioning-induced hippocampal gene expression of key learning genes and loss of long-range interactions at the BDNF and Arc loci. This study thus suggests that CTCF-dependent gene expression regulation and genomic organization are regulators of learning and memory.
Keywords: 4C; BDNF; CTCF; arc; chromatin; genomic organization; high order; learning; memory.
Copyright Â© 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.