Strengthened connections between engrams encode specific memories

BMB Rep. 2018 Aug;51(8):369-370. doi: 10.5483/BMBRep.2018.51.8.176.


In previous studies, memory storage was localized to engram cells distributed across the brain. While these studies have provided an individual cellular profile of engram cells, their synaptic connectivity, or whether they follow Hebbian mechanisms, remains uncertain. Therefore, our recent study investigated whether synapses between engram cells exhibit selectively enhanced structural and functional properties following memory formation. This was accomplished using a newly developed technique called "dual-eGRASP". We found that the number and size of spines on CA1 engram cells that receive inputs from CA3 engram cells were larger than at other synapses. We further observed that this enhanced connectivity correlated with induced memory strength. CA3 engram synapses exhibited increased release probability, while CA1 engram synapses produced enhanced postsynaptic responses. CA3 engram to CA1 engram projections showed strong occlusion of long-term potentiation. We demonstrated that the synaptic connectivity of CA3 to CA1 engram cells was strengthened following memory formation. Our results suggest that Hebbian plasticity occurs during memory formation among engram cells at the synapse level. [BMB Reports 2018; 51(8): 369-370].

Publication types

  • News

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / physiology
  • CA3 Region, Hippocampal / physiology
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology*