In search of general mechanisms for long-lasting plasticity: Aplysia and the hippocampus

Christopher Pittenger, Eric R. Kandel

Abstract

Long-term synaptic plasticity is thought to underlie many forms of long-lasting memory. Long-lasting plasticity has been most extensively studied in the marine snail Aplysia and in the mammalian hippocampus, where Bliss and Lømo first described long-term potentiation 30 years ago. The molecular mechanisms of plasticity in these two systems have proven to have many similarities. Here, we briefly describe some of these areas of overlap. We then summarize recent advances in our understanding of the mechanisms of long-lasting synaptic facilitation in Aplysia and suggest that these may prove fruitful areas for future investigation in the mammalian hippocampus and at other synapses in the mammalian brain.