Structural Components of Synaptic Plasticity and Memory Consolidation.
The time course of the requirement for local protein synthesis in the stabilization of learning-related synaptic growth and the persistence of long-term memory was examined using Aplysia bifurcated sensory neuron-motor neuron cultures. We find that, following repeated pulses of serotonin (5-HT), the local perfusion of emetine, an inhibitor of protein synthesis, or a TAT-AS oligonucleotide directed against ApCPEB blocks long-term facilitation (LTF) at either 24 or 48 hr and leads to a selective retraction of newly formed sensory neuron varicosities induced by 5-HT. By contrast, later inhibition of local protein synthesis, at 72 hr after 5-HT, has no effect on either synaptic growth or LTF. These results define a specific stabilization phase for the storage of long-term memory during which newly formed varicosities are labile and require sustained CPEB-dependent local protein synthesis to acquire the more stable properties of mature varicosities required for the persistence of LTF.