Detection of immediate-early gene (IEG) expression in the brain allows not only characterizing the role of these genes in synaptic plasticity associated with formation of memory, but also assessment of dynamic interactions between neural networks across wide regions of the brain underlying behavior and cognition. The proposed experiments use IEG detection techniques to investigate both systems- and molecular/cellular-level responses to learning, and how these changes participate in the formation of long-term memory traces.
In Specific Aim 1, I will assess the time-dependent systems-level reorganization of neocortical cellular representations of an experience, and test whether the hippocampus plays a critical role in this reorganization through the combined use of molecular, electrophysiological, systems, and behavioral approaches.
In Specific Aim 2, I will examine the role of IEG activation and subsequent protein synthesis at various stages of learning [in] long-term memory formation. The findings from these studies combined will help delineate the cellular and cell network alterations critical for transforming learned experiences into stable and long-lasting memories ? ?