Schema-dependent gene activation and memory encoding in neocortex

Dorothy Tse, Tomonori Takeuchi, Masaki Kakeyama, Yasushi Kajii, Hiroyuki Okuno, Chiharu Tohyama, Haruhiko Bito, Richard G.M. Morris*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

427 Citations (Scopus)


When new learning occurs against the background of established prior knowledge, relevant new information can be assimilated into a schema and thereby expand the knowledge base. An animal model of this important component of memory consolidation reveals that systems memory consolidation can be very fast. In experiments with rats, we found that the hippocampal-dependent learning of new paired associates is associated with a striking up-regulation of immediate early genes in the prelimbic region of the medial prefrontal cortex, and that pharmacological interventions targeted at that area can prevent both new learning and the recall of remotely and even recently consolidated information. These findings challenge the concept of distinct fast (hippocampal) and slow (cortical) learning systems, and shed new light on the neural mechanisms of memory assimilation into schemas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-895
Number of pages5
Issue number6044
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2011


  • 6-Cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione/pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cues
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins/genetics
  • Early Growth Response Protein 1/genetics
  • Genes, Immediate-Early
  • Hippocampus/physiology
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Mental Recall
  • Neocortex/physiology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins/genetics
  • Prefrontal Cortex/physiology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, AMPA/antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate/antagonists & inhibitors
  • Synaptic Transmission/drug effects
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Up-Regulation


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