Emerging roles for MEF2 transcription factors in memory

Authors

  • A. J. Rashid,

    1. Program in Neurosciences & Mental Health, Hospital for Sick Children
    2. Department of Psychology
    3. Department of Physiology
    4. Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
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  • C. J. Cole,

    1. Program in Neurosciences & Mental Health, Hospital for Sick Children
    2. Department of Psychology
    3. Department of Physiology
    4. Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
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  • S. A. Josselyn

    Corresponding author
    1. Program in Neurosciences & Mental Health, Hospital for Sick Children
    2. Department of Psychology
    3. Department of Physiology
    4. Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
    • Corresponding author: S. A. Josselyn, Program in Neurosciences & Mental Health, Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Ave., Toronto, ON M5G 1X8, Canada. E-mail: sheena.josselyn@sickkids.ca

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Abstract

In the brain, transcription factors are critical for linking external stimuli to protein production, enabling neurons and neuronal networks to adapt to the ever-changing landscape. Gene transcription and protein synthesis are also vital for the formation of long-term memory. Members of the myocyte enhancer factor-2 (MEF2) family of transcription factors have a well-characterized role in the development of a variety of tissues, but their role in the adult brain is only beginning to be understood. Recent evidence indicates that MEF2 regulates the structural and synaptic plasticity underlying memory formation. However, in stark contrast to most other transcription factors implicated in memory, MEF2-mediated transcription constrains (rather than promotes) memory formation. Here, we review recent data examining the role of MEF2 in adult memory formation in rodents.

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