We employed an inducible, reversible and region-specific gene knockout technique to investigate the requirements for cortical NMDA receptors (NMDAR) during the various stages (acquisition, consolidation and storage, and retrieval) of nondeclarative, hippocampal-independent memory in mice using a conditioned taste aversion memory paradigm. Here we show that temporary knockout of the cortical NMDAR during either the learning or postlearning consolidation stage, but not during the retrieval stage, causes severe performance deficits in the 1-month taste memory retention tests. More importantly, we found that the consolidation and storage of the long-term nondeclarative taste memories requires cortical NMDAR reactivation. Thus, the dynamic engagement of the NMDAR during the postlearning stage leads us to postulate that NMDAR reactivation-mediated synaptic re-entry reinforcement is crucial for overcoming the destabilizing effects intrinsic to synaptic protein turnover and for achieving consolidation and storage of nondeclarative memories in the brain.
- Conditioned taste aversion
- Long-term memory
- Synaptic re-entry reinforcement
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