Cyclin Y regulates spatial learning and memory flexibility through distinct control of the actin pathway

Mol Psychiatry. 2023 Mar;28(3):1351-1364. doi: 10.1038/s41380-022-01877-0. Epub 2022 Nov 25.


Spatial learning and memory flexibility are known to require long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), respectively, on a cellular basis. We previously showed that cyclin Y (CCNY), a synapse-remodeling cyclin, is a novel actin-binding protein and an inhibitory regulator of functional and structural LTP in vitro. In this study, we report that Ccny knockout (KO) mice exhibit enhanced LTP and weak LTD at Schaffer collateral-CA1 synapses in the hippocampus. In accordance with enhanced LTP, Ccny KO mice showed improved spatial learning and memory. However, although previous studies reported that normal LTD is necessary for memory flexibility, Ccny KO mice intriguingly showed improved memory flexibility, suggesting that weak LTD could exert memory flexibility when combined with enhanced LTP. At the molecular level, CCNY modulated spatial learning and memory flexibility by distinctively affecting the cofilin-actin signaling pathway in the hippocampus. Specifically, CCNY inhibited cofilin activation by original learning, but reversed such inhibition by reversal learning. Furthermore, viral-mediated overexpression of a phosphomimetic cofilin-S3E in hippocampal CA1 regions enhanced LTP, weakened LTD, and improved spatial learning and memory flexibility, thus mirroring the phenotype of Ccny KO mice. In contrast, the overexpression of a non-phosphorylatable cofilin-S3A in hippocampal CA1 regions of Ccny KO mice reversed the synaptic plasticity, spatial learning, and memory flexibility phenotypes observed in Ccny KO mice. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that LTP and LTD cooperatively regulate memory flexibility. Moreover, CCNY suppresses LTP while facilitating LTD in the hippocampus and negatively regulates spatial learning and memory flexibility through the control of cofilin-actin signaling, proposing CCNY as a learning regulator modulating both memorizing and forgetting processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actin Depolymerizing Factors / metabolism
  • Actins*
  • Animals
  • Cyclins / genetics
  • Cyclins / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Spatial Learning*
  • Synapses / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Cyclins
  • Actin Depolymerizing Factors