It is well established that the activity of chromatin-modifying enzymes is crucial for regulating gene expression associated with hippocampal-dependent memories. However, very little is known about how these epigenetic mechanisms influence the formation of cortically dependent memory, particularly when there is competition between opposing memory traces, such as that which occurs during the acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear. Here we demonstrate, in C57BL/6mice, that the activityofp300/CBP-associated factor (PCAF) within the infralimbic prefrontal cortex is required for long-term potentiation and is necessary for the formation of memory associated with fear extinction, but not for fear acquisition. Further, systemic administration of the PCAF activator SPV106 enhances memory for fear extinction and prevents fear renewal. The selective influence of PCAF on fear extinction is mediated, in part, by a transient recruitment of the repressive transcription factor ATF4tothe promoter of the immediate early genezif268, which competitively inhibits its expression. Thus, within the context of fear extinction, PCAF functions as a transcriptional coactivator, which may facilitate the formation of memory for fear extinction by interfering with reconsolidation of the original memory trace.
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