Notch signaling plays a crucial role on cell fate specification during neuronal development in C. elegans
and vertebrates. In the adult brain, however, the role of Notch signaling on neuronal morphology and function is largely unknown. Now, Wang et al. used Notch-1 antisense (NAS) transgenic mice expressing reduced levels of Notch-1 to demonstrate that Notch signaling is required for synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus, a brain region classically implicated in the acquisition of new memories. These authors found reduced maintenance of LTP and enhanced LTD in NAS-transgenic mice. Impaired LTP in hippocampal slices from NAS-transgenic mice was associated with reduced CBF1 activation, whereas incubation with the Notch ligand Jagged-1 increased Notch activity and LTP.
This data linking Notch signaling and synaptic plasticity, together with recent findings from Alcino Silva’s lab (Costa et al., 2003; also see ARF related news...