Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 56, Issue 12, pp 8513–8523 | Cite as

Coincident Pre- and Post-Synaptic Cortical Remodelling Disengages Episodic Memory from Its Original Context

  • Gisella Vetere
  • Antonella Borreca
  • Annabella Pignataro
  • Giulia Conforto
  • Michela Giustizieri
  • Silvia Marinelli
  • Martine Ammassari-TeuleEmail author


The view that the neocortex is remotely recruited for long-term episodic memory recall is challenged by data showing that an intense transcriptional and synaptic activity is detected in this region immediately after training. By measuring markers of synaptic activity at recent and remote time points from contextual fear conditioning (CFC), we could show that pre-synaptic changes are selectively detected 1 day post-training when the memory is anchored to the training context. Differently, pre- and post-synaptic changes are detected 14 days post-training when the memory generalizes to other contexts. Confirming that coincident pre- and post-synaptic remodelling mediates the disengagement of memory from its original context, DREADDs-mediated enhancement of cortical neuron activity during CFC training anticipates expression of a schematic memory and observation of bilateral synaptic remodelling. Together, our data show that the plastic properties of cortical synapses vary over time and specialise in relation to the quality of memory.


Systems consolidation Episodic memory Neocortex Synaptic proteins Miniature EPSC Dendritic spines DREADDs 


Author contributions

These authors equally contributed to this work. GV, MAT and AP designed the experiments. GV and AB run behavioural, western blot/immunohistochemistry, and morphological experiments. SM and MG performed electrophysiological experiments. AP and GC carried out DREADDs experiments. MAT wrote the manuscript.

Funding Information

This work was financially supported by a grant (AGESPAN) from CNR-National Research Council of Italy.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Experimental Neuroscience, Laboratory of PsychobiologyFondazione Santa LuciaRomeItaly
  2. 2.Laboratoire Plasticité du CerveauESPCI-Ecole Supérieure de Physique et Chimie IndustrielleParisFrance
  3. 3.Consiglio Nazionale delle RicercheIstituto di Biologia Cellulare e NeurobiologiaRomeItaly
  4. 4.Consiglio Nazionale delle RicercheIstituto di NeuroscienzeMilanItaly
  5. 5.European Brain Research InstituteRomeItaly

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