Memories: we make them everyday. Some are more significant than others, and many of us can recall them back from the earliest days of our childhood.
Now, scientists have come a step further in understanding how these memories are made and stored in brains. Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University developed a mouse with "glow-in-the-dark" tags that let them watch molecules travel in real time throughout brain cells. From their research:
These insights into the molecular basis of memory were made possible by a technological tour de force never before achieved in animals: a mouse model developed at Einstein in which molecules crucial to making memories were given fluorescent "tags" so they could be observed traveling in real time in living brain cells.
By stimulating these neurons in the hippocampus of the mouse, the scientists were about to watch beta-actin mRNA molecules spring up in the nuclei of neurons.
This observation that neurons selectively activate protein synthesis and then shut it off fits perfectly with how we think memories are made. Frequent stimulation of the neuron would make mRNA available in frequent, controlled bursts, causing beta-actin protein to accumulate precisely where it's needed to strengthen the synapse.
Awesome, don't you think? So meta. You now have memories of a brain making a memory.
[via Daily Mail]