Increase of the RNA-binding protein HuD and posttranscriptional up-regulation of the GAP-43 gene during spatial memory

Alessia Pascale, Pavel A. Gusev, Marialaura Amadio, Tania Dottorini, Stefano Govoni, Daniel L. Alkon, Alessandro Quattrone

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

153 Citations (Scopus)


Neuronal ELAV-like proteins (HuB, HuC, and HuD) are highly conserved RNA-binding proteins able to selectively associate with the 3′ UTR of a subset of target mRNAs and increase their cytoplasmic stability and rate of translation. We previously demonstrated the involvement of these proteins in learning, reporting that they undergo a sustained up-regulation in the hippocampus of mice trained in a spatial discrimination task. Here, we extend this finding, showing that a similar up-regulation occurs in the hippocampus of rats trained in another spatial learning paradigm, the Morris water maze. HuD, a strictly neuron-specific ELAV-like protein, is shown to increase after learning, with a preferential binding to the cytoskeletal fraction. HuD up-regulation is associated with an enhancement of GAP-43 mRNA and protein levels, with an apparently increased HuD colocalization with the GAP-43 mRNA and an increased association of neuronal ELAV-like proteins with the GAP-43 mRNA. These learning-dependent biochemical events appear to be spatiotemporally controlled, because they do not occur in another brain region involved in learning, the retrosplenial cortex, and at the level of protein expression they show extinction 1 month after training despite memory retention. By contrast, HuD mRNA levels still remain increased after 1 month in the CA1 region. This persistence may have implications for long-term memory recall.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1217-1222
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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