Amino acid sequences containing the palindromic tripeptide RER, matching amino acids 328–330 of the amyloid precursor protein APP, when injected intracerebrally prior to or just after training, protect against memory loss induced by amyloid-beta (Aβ) in a one-trial passive avoidance task in the young chick. RER also acts as a cognitive enhancer, strengthening memory for a weak version of the task. N-terminal acylation of RER protects it against rapid degradation, and AcRER is effective in restoring memory if administered peripherally. Biotinylated RER binds to chick neuronal perikarya in an APP-displaceable manner via 66 and ≈ 110 kDa neuronal cell membrane proteins. We suggest that RER binding is likely to exert effects on memory retention via receptor-mediated events that include activation of second messenger pathways. These findings suggest that RER and its derivatives may offer a novel approach to enhancing the neuroprotective effects of APP and alleviating the effects of memory loss in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.