Identification of specific mRNAs affected by treatments producing long- term facilitation in Aplysia

Raymond E. Zwartjes, Henry West, Samer Hattar, Xiaoyun Ren, Florence Noel, Marta Nuñez-Regueiro, Kathleen MacPhee, Ramin Homayouni, Michael T. Crow, John H. Byrne, Arnold Eskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neural correlates of long-term sensitization of defensive withdrawal reflexes in Aplysia occur in sensory neurons in the pleural ganglia and can be mimicked by exposure of these neurons to serotonin (5-HT). Studies using inhibitors indicate that transcription is necessary for production of long- term facilitation by 5-HT. Several mRNAs that change in response to 5-HT have been identified, but the molecular events responsible for long-term facilitation have not yet been fully described. To detect additional changes in mRNAs, we investigated the effects of 5-HT (1.5 hr) on levels of mRNA in pleural-pedal ganglia using in vitro translation. Four mRNAs were affected by 5-HT, three of which were identified as calmodulin (CAM), phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK), and a novel gene product (protein 3). Using RNase protection assays, we found that 5-HT increased all three mRNAs in the pleural sensory neurons. CAM and protein 3 mRNAs were also increased in the sensory neurons by sensitization training. Furthermore, stimulation of peripheral nerves of pleural-pedal ganglia, an in vitro analog of sensitization training, increased the incorporation of labeled amino acids into CAM, PGK, and protein 3. These results: indicate that increases in CAM, PGK, and protein 3 are part of the early response of sensory neurons to stimuli that produce long-term facilitation, and that CAM and protein 3 could have a role in the generation of long-term sensitization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-495
Number of pages18
JournalLearning and Memory
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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