The non-coding RNA BC1 regulates experience-dependent structural plasticity and learning

Nat Commun. 2017 Aug 17;8(1):293. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00311-2.


The brain cytoplasmic (BC1) RNA is a non-coding RNA (ncRNA) involved in neuronal translational control. Absence of BC1 is associated with altered glutamatergic transmission and maladaptive behavior. Here, we show that pyramidal neurons in the barrel cortex of BC1 knock out (KO) mice display larger excitatory postsynaptic currents and increased spontaneous activity in vivo. Furthermore, BC1 KO mice have enlarged spine heads and postsynaptic densities and increased synaptic levels of glutamate receptors and PSD-95. Of note, BC1 KO mice show aberrant structural plasticity in response to whisker deprivation, impaired texture novel object recognition and altered social behavior. Thus, our study highlights a role for BC1 RNA in experience-dependent plasticity and learning in the mammalian adult neocortex, and provides insight into the function of brain ncRNAs regulating synaptic transmission, plasticity and behavior, with potential relevance in the context of intellectual disabilities and psychiatric disorders.Brain cytoplasmic (BC1) RNA is a non-coding RNA that has been implicated in translational regulation, seizure, and anxiety. Here, the authors show that in the cortex, BC1 RNA is required for sensory deprivation-induced structural plasticity of dendritic spines, as well as for correct sensory learning and social behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendritic Spines / metabolism
  • Dendritic Spines / physiology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / genetics
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neocortex / cytology
  • Neocortex / metabolism
  • Neocortex / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / genetics
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Pyramidal Cells / metabolism
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Pyramidal Cells / ultrastructure
  • RNA, Small Cytoplasmic / genetics*
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Social Behavior
  • Synaptic Transmission / genetics
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology
  • Vibrissae / metabolism
  • Vibrissae / physiology


  • BC1 RNA
  • RNA, Small Cytoplasmic