Encoding of Contextual Fear Memory Requires De Novo Proteins in the Prelimbic Cortex Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Endoderm
  • Mesoderm
  • Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells
  • Nodal Protein
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Tumor Protein p73
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Wnt3 Protein


  • © 2016 Society of Biological PsychiatryBackground Despite our understanding of the significance of the prefrontal cortex in the consolidation of long-term memories, its role in the encoding of long-term memories remains elusive. Here we investigated the role of new protein synthesis in the mouse medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in encoding contextual fear memory. Methods Because a change in the association of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) to polyribosomes is an indicator of new protein synthesis, we assessed the changes in polyribosome-associated mRNAs in the mPFC following contextual fear conditioning (CFC) in the mouse. Differential gene expression in the mPFC was identified by polyribosome profiling (n = 18). The role of new protein synthesis in the mPFC was determined by focal inhibition of protein synthesis (n = 131) and by intraprelimbic cortex manipulation (n = 56) of Homer3, a candidate identified from polyribosome profiling. Results We identified several mRNAs that are differentially and temporally recruited to polyribosomes in the mPFC following CFC. Inhibition of protein synthesis in the prelimbic (PL) cortex but not in the anterior cingulate cortex region of the mPFC immediately after CFC disrupted encoding of contextual fear memory. Intriguingly, inhibition of new protein synthesis in the PL cortex 6 hours after CFC did not impair encoding. Furthermore, expression of Homer3, an mRNA enriched in polyribosomes following CFC, in the PL cortex constrained encoding of contextual fear memory. Conclusions Our studies identify several molecular substrates of new protein synthesis in the mPFC and establish that encoding of contextual fear memories require new protein synthesis in PL subregion of mPFC.

publication date

  • March 2017



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC5423757

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.bpsc.2016.10.002

PubMed ID

  • 28503670

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 158

end page

  • 169


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