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Open Access Research article

Characterization of the beta amyloid precursor protein-like gene in the central nervous system of the crab Chasmagnathus. Expression during memory consolidation

Maria Sol Fustiñana, Pablo Ariel, Noel Federman, Ramiro Freudenthal and Arturo Romano*

Author Affiliations

Laboratorio de Neurobiología de la Memoria, Departamento de Fisiología, Biología Molecular y Celular, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires. IFIByNE, CONICET. Ciudad Universitaria, Pab. II, 2do piso (1428EHA). Buenos Aires, Argentina

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BMC Neuroscience 2010, 11:109  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-11-109

Published: 1 September 2010

Abstract

Background

Human β-amyloid, the main component in the neuritic plaques found in patients with Alzheimer's disease, is generated by cleavage of the β-amyloid precursor protein. Beyond the role in pathology, members of this protein family are synaptic proteins and have been associated with synaptogenesis, neuronal plasticity and memory, both in vertebrates and in invertebrates. Consolidation is necessary to convert a short-term labile memory to a long-term and stable form. During consolidation, gene expression and de novo protein synthesis are regulated in order to produce key proteins for the maintenance of plastic changes produced during the acquisition of new information.

Results

Here we partially cloned and sequenced the beta-amyloid precursor protein like gene homologue in the crab Chasmagnathus (cappl), showing a 37% of identity with the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster homologue and 23% with Homo sapiens but with much higher degree of sequence similarity in certain regions. We observed a wide distribution of cappl mRNA in the nervous system as well as in muscle and gills. The protein localized in all tissues analyzed with the exception of muscle. Immunofluorescence revealed localization of cAPPL in associative and sensory brain areas. We studied gene and protein expression during long-term memory consolidation using a well characterized memory model: the context-signal associative memory in this crab species. mRNA levels varied at different time points during long-term memory consolidation and correlated with cAPPL protein levels

Conclusions

cAPPL mRNA and protein is widely distributed in the central nervous system of the crab and the time course of expression suggests a role of cAPPL during long-term memory formation.