The roles of AMPA receptor trafficking regulatory proteins in fear memory formation and maintenance in lateral amygdalaGrant Type: Young Investigator Grant, Second Year
Institute: Department of Neurobiology and Ethology, University of Haifa
Long-term memory formation is believed to involve alterations of synaptic efficacy between neurons. One of the key proteins that is involved in synaptic transmission and contributes to synaptic efficacy is the AMPA receptor. AMPA receptors are composed of different subunits encoded by four different genes (GluR1-GluR4). Studies have shown that fear conditioning leads to the insertion of GluR1 containing subunits into synapses in lateral amygdala (LA) and that this process is essential for fear memory formation. In addition, it was shown that GluR2 subunit in synapses in LA is needed for the maintenance of fear memory. We will use molecular tools to disrupt the interaction of GluR1 or GluR2 containing AMPA receptors with specific interacting proteins that regulate AMPA trafficking. We will then explore the effects of such inhibition on AMPA levels in LA and on fear memory acquisition, consolidation and retention. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms leading to AMPA trafficking in LA synapses will contribute to our understanding of fear memory formation and can facilitate the development of therapeutically agents for patients prone to excessive fear and might help to prevent some of the debilitating consequences of fear learning.