Wnt transmembrane signaling and long-term spatial memory

Tabatadze, N., Tomas, C., McGonigal, R. , Lin, B., Schook, A. and Routtenberg, A. (2012) Wnt transmembrane signaling and long-term spatial memory. Hippocampus, 22(6), pp. 1228-1241. (doi: 10.1002/hipo.20991) (PMID:22180023) (PMCID:PMC3311779)

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Transmembrane signaling mechanisms are critical for regulating the plasticity of neuronal connections underlying the establishment of long-lasting memory (e.g., Linden and Routtenberg (1989) Brain Res Rev 14:279–296; Sossin (1996) Trends Neurosci 19:215–218; Mayr and Montminy (2001) Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 2:599–609; Chen et al. (2011) Nature 469:491–497). One signaling mechanism that has received surprisingly little attention in this regard is the well-known Wnt transmembrane signaling pathway even though this pathway in the adult plays a significant role, for example, in postsynaptic dendritic spine morphogenesis and presynaptic terminal neurotransmitter release (Inestrosa and Arenas (2010) Nat Rev Neurosci 11:77–86). The present report now provides the first evidence of Wnt signaling in spatial information storage processes. Importantly, this Wnt participation is specific and selective. Thus, spatial, but not cued, learning in a water maze selectively elevates the levels in hippocampus of Wnt 7 and Wnt 5a, but not the Wnt 3 isoform, indicating behavioral selectivity and isoform specificity. Wnt 7 elevation is subfield-specific: granule cells show an increase with no detectable change in CA3 neurons. Wnt 7 elevation is temporally specific: increased Wnt signaling is not observed during training, but is seen 7 days and, unexpectedly, 30 days later. If the Wnt elevation after learning is activity-dependent, then it may be possible to model this effect in primary hippocampal neurons in culture. Here, we evaluate the consequence of potassium or glutamate depolarization on Wnt signaling. This represents, to our knowledge, the first demonstration of an activation-dependent elevation of Wnt levels and surprisingly an increased number of Wnt-stained puncta in neurites suggestive of trafficking from the cell body to neuronal processes, probably dendrites. It is proposed that Wnt signaling pathways regulate long-term information storage in a behavioral-, cellular-, and isoform-specific manner.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McGonigal, Dr Rhona
Authors: Tabatadze, N., Tomas, C., McGonigal, R., Lin, B., Schook, A., and Routtenberg, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
Journal Name:Hippocampus
ISSN (Online):1098-1063
Published Online:19 December 2011

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