Translating memories: The role of protein biosynthesis in synpatic plasticity

Cara J. Westmark, James S. Malter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The 1990s, "The Decade of the Brain", resulted in major scientific advances involving brain imaging, gene therapy, brain/robotic interfacing and the neurobiology and molecular biology of learning and memory. However, despite these critical insights, we still do not know exactly how thoughts or memories are formed or stored in the brain, which leaves much exciting research for the twenty-first and probably centuries to come. This review will elaborate on recent advances in the field of protein biosynthesis as related to synaptic plasticity. We will discuss the molecular players (RNA binding proteins and neuronal mRNAs), the signal transduction pathways that have been implicated in learning and memory and how localized translation of selected mRNAs is involved in synaptic plasticity. We will also discuss the pathology of human diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Fragile X syndrome, autism and Down syndrome, which show altered or diminished protein synthesis dependent synaptic plasticity. Learning and memory are manifested in their highest form in humans and allow for the retrieval of and action on past events. Understanding the pathology of these neurological disorders will elucidate the normal mechanisms of memory formation and storage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProtein Biosynthesis
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)9781606921562
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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