DNA repair process key to memory formation, study finds

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In a caller study published successful nan diary Nature, researchers recovered that nan recruitment of neurons to representation circuits is preceded by a cascade of molecular events induced during learning, which includes double-stranded deoxyribonucleic acerb (DNA) harm successful hippocampal neuronal clusters and repair mediated by toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9).

 Billion Photos / ShutterstockStudy: Formation of representation assemblies done nan DNA-sensing TLR9 pathway. Image Credit: Billion Photos / Shutterstock


Memories are formed erstwhile neurons successful nan hippocampus acquisition semipermanent molecular adaptations to shape cortical microcircuits successful consequence to stimuli. This process is energy-intensive and involves important morphological and biochemical changes. These molecular changes are believed to origin transient breaks successful nan double-stranded DNA.

Studies person besides explored nan domiciled of intrinsic neuronal and pre-existing developmental programs successful representation statement and person recovered that transcriptional factors specified arsenic cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-response constituent binding macromolecule (CREB) are progressive successful nan process. Recent investigation has besides focused connected knowing really interneuronal perineuronal nets power inhibitory inputs to neuronal assemblies to stabilize representation circuits.

About nan study

In nan coming study, nan researchers attempted to understand and place immoderate overarching processes that integrated pre-existing developmental mechanisms and stimulus-initiated pathways that influenced neurons to perpetrate to assemblies aliases microcircuits circumstantial to memory.

Murine models were utilized to analyse transcriptional profiles of neurons successful nan dorso-hippocampal regions for much than 48 hours to understand immediate, early, and delayed cistron expressions and macromolecule signaling. For this analysis, mice were subjected to contextual fearfulness conditioning, and hippocampus samples obtained either 4 aliases 21 days aft nan conditioning were utilized for bulk ribonucleic acerb (RNA) sequencing.

Given that transient breaks successful double-stranded DNA are known to beryllium induced during neuronal activity for nan induction of contiguous early cistron expression, they hypothesized that nan DNA harm induced by learning activity mightiness beryllium much extended and sustained successful discrete populations of neurons. Immunofluorescence labeling was conducted utilizing antibodies circumstantial for nan phospho-histone γH2AX binding to double-stranded DNA breaks to understand nan root of nan contextual fearfulness conditioning-generated extranuclear double-stranded DNA fragments.

Brain sections were besides collected an hr aft contextual fearfulness conditioning to analyse nan γH2AX signals associated pinch contiguous early cistron expression. Additionally, nan baseline look of CREB, which has already been identified to play a domiciled successful memory, was besides analyzed utilizing immunostaining. The researchers besides examined nan upregulation of nan Fos macromolecule during representation reactivation and nan respective roles of contiguous early cistron look and DNA harm repair.

Based connected their recognition of inflammatory signaling successful these neuronal populations, nan researchers further investigated whether these inflammatory responses were a consequence of nan double-stranded DNA breaks induced during learning aliases nan inflammation had a circumstantial domiciled to play successful representation formation. Given nan domiciled of TLR9 successful these inflammatory responses, they conducted TLR9 knockout experiments successful circumstantial neurons to find really it impacted representation formation.

Additionally, azygous atomic RNA sequencing was performed to qualify cistron look changes successful neuronal and non-neuronal hippocampal compartment populations owed to nan effect of contextual fearfulness conditioning and neuron-specific knockout of TLR9. The researchers besides examined nan contributions of infiltrating immune cells and cell-free DNA from humor successful representation statement and nan upregulation of TLR9 signaling.


The study recovered that learning and representation statement progressive ruptures successful nan atomic envelope, nan merchandise of histone into nan perinuclear region, and persistent breaks successful double-stranded DNA successful clusters of neurons successful nan Cornu Ammonis 1 (CA1) region of nan hippocampus. Furthermore, these damages to nan double-stranded DNA and atomic letter cover were followed by TLR9 signaling activation, a resulting inflammatory response, and nan accumulation of centrosomal complexes to repair nan damaged double-stranded DNA.

The domiciled of TLR9-associated inflammatory responses successful nan constitution of learning-induced representation was confirmed erstwhile TLR9 knockout successful circumstantial neurons resulted successful representation impairments and nan blunting of cistron look changes linked to contextual fearfulness conditioning. TLR9 was besides recovered to play an important domiciled successful nan statement of DNA damage, repairing centrosomal complexes, ciliogenesis, and nan building of perineuronal nets.

The results suggested that learning-associated stimuli triggered a cascade of molecular events that included double-stranded DNA harm and DNA repair mediated by TLR9 successful circumstantial neuronal clusters successful nan hippocampus that recruited these neurons for representation formation. The researchers besides speculated that erstwhile TLR9 usability is compromised, errors successful this basal system could lead to cognitive impairments, psychiatric disorders, acceleration of senescence, and neurodegenerative disorders.


To summarize, nan study recovered that learning-associated stimuli trigger a cascade of DNA harm and TLR9-mediated DNA repair that perpetrate hippocampal neuronal clusters to representation formation. The inflammatory responses mediated by TLR9 person a captious domiciled successful representation formation, and impairments successful TLR9 usability could beryllium implicated successful cognitive, neurodegenerative, and psychiatric disorders.

Journal reference:

  • Jovasevic, V., Wood, E. M., Cicvaric, A., Zhang, H., Petrovic, Z., Carboncino, A., … Radulovic, J. (2024). Formation of representation assemblies done nan DNA-sensing TLR9 pathway. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/s41586024072207, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-024-07220-7