The role of RNA in learning and memory

Professor Kenneth Kosik discusses some of the key issues relating to local changes at the synapse that mediate learning. RNA is particularly important in this regard.

Because we know that learning and memory at some level involves changes at the synapse, and one of the changes at the synapse has to do with protein translation, that area of investigation has become very, very hot. And the research questions involved here are: one, if translation is going to occur at the synapse, we have to get RNA out there. So, problem number one is how do RNAs travel out to the dendrite? Problem number two is how are RNAs selected for going to the dendrite? Once the RNA is out there, that has been selected travel there, and has gotten out there by some mechanism, how is the RNA selected for undergoing active translation as problem number three? Because before the actual activation occurs, that RNA has to remain silenced and the silencing of RNAs in dendrites and their activation as a result of synaptic activity is perhaps the kernel of what many neurobiologists are interested in today.

rna, protein translation, dendrites, synapse, learning, memory, cell, kenneth, kosik

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