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, 17 (3), e12426

Experience-dependent Neural Plasticity, Learning, and Memory in the Era of Epitranscriptomics


Experience-dependent Neural Plasticity, Learning, and Memory in the Era of Epitranscriptomics

L J Leighton et al. Genes Brain Behav.


In this short review, we highlight recent findings in the emerging field of epitranscriptomic mechanisms and discuss their potential role in neural plasticity, learning and memory. These include the influence of RNA modifications on activity-induced RNA structure states, RNA editing and RNA localization, and how qualitative state changes in RNA increase the functional diversity and information-carrying capacity of RNA molecules. We predict that RNA modifications may be just as important for synaptic plasticity and memory as quantitative changes in transcript and protein abundance, but with the added advantage of not being required to signal back to the nucleus, and therefore better suited to be coordinated with the temporal dynamics of learning.

Keywords: RNA modification; brain; epitranscriptomics; memory; neuron; plasticity.


Figure 1
Figure 1
A) RNA modifications can alter the structure of RNA, which then influences its interaction with RNA binding proteins. This is particularly relevant for long noncoding RNAs which become functionalized depending on their structure state, B) RNA modifications may influence RNA editing as m6A is a known target for deamination (A–I conversion). This would result in altered protein translation driven from the same initial transcript, C) RNA modification on mRNA can alter its ability to be sequestered to the ribosome for translation or to other nuclear subcompartments for further processing (alternative splicing) or degradation as well as transport to the synapse. D) In each compartment of the neuron, RNA modifications may impact the fine-tuning of RNA function, this would be particularly important at activated synapses where specificity is critical plasticity, learning and memory.

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