Scientists pinpoint the location and timing of memory formation in mice

Megan Molteni in Stat News:

A mouse finds itself in a box it’s seen before; inside, its white walls are bright and clean. Then, a door opens. On the other side, a dark chamber awaits. The mouse should be afraid. Stepping into the shadows means certain shock — 50 hertz to the paws, a zap the animal was unfortunate enough to have experienced just the day before. But when the door slides open this time, there is no freezing, no added caution. The mouse walks right in.


The memory of this place, of this shock, of these bad feelings had been erased overnight by a team of neuroscientists at four leading research institutions in Japan using lasers, a virus, and a fluorescent protein normally produced in the body of sea anemones. Their work, published Thursday in Science, pinpoints for the first time the precise timing and location of minute brain changes that underlie the formation and consolidation of new memories.

More here.