Skip directly to content

Minimize RSR Award Detail

Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:RUTGERS, THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW JERSEY
Doing Business As Name:Rutgers University New Brunswick
PD/PI:
  • Timothy A Otto
  • (848) 445-8881
  • totto@rci.RUTGERS.EDU
Award Date:06/23/2009
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 588,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 588,000
  • FY 2011=$147,000
  • FY 2012=$147,000
  • FY 2009=$294,000
Start Date:07/01/2009
End Date:06/30/2014
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.074
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Dissociating the contributions of discrete hippocampal subregions to contextual and trace conditioning
Federal Award ID Number:0919159
DUNS ID:001912864
Parent DUNS ID:001912864
Program:Modulation
Program Officer:
  • Edda Thiels
  • (703) 292-8167
  • ethiels@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:33 Knightsbridge Road
City:Piscataway
State:NJ
ZIP:08854-3925
County:Piscataway
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:06

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Rutgers University New Brunswick
Street:33 Knightsbridge Road
City:Piscataway
State:NJ
ZIP:08854-3925
County:Piscataway
Country:US
Cong. District:06

Abstract at Time of Award

There is now widespread agreement that different "types" of memory are processed by different areas of the brain. One of the primary brain areas involved in the processing and temporary storage of some forms of memory is the hippocampus; however, relatively little known about the specific types of memory dependent on the hippocampus and the biological mechanisms underlying this process and storage. Like most brain areas, the hippocampus can be divided into separate functional and anatomical subregions, which have recently been shown to contribute differentially to two forms of memory commonly referred to as contextual memory (i.e. memory for the spatial contexts in which certain events occur) and trace memory (i.e. short-term memory for specific information). This project will systematically examine the contributions of these hippocampal subregions to contextual and trace learning by using techniques designed to temporarily inactivate, or "turn off" these areas either before learning or before recall at a later time. Moreover, recently data suggest that the activity of a specific gene, ARC, is regulated within these brain areas by learning. In order to more fully understand the biochemical processes underlying memory formation, this project will further examine the activity of this learning-related gene within the hippocampus during and after learning. These inactivation and genetic studies will provide a significantly more precise characterization of the types of memory processed by each of these hippocampal subregions as well as the basic biological mechanisms by which this processing and storage occurs. These studies will also provide important training opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students who are pursuing careers in science. Graduate students will receive intensive training in research techniques and scholarship, help mentor undergraduate students, and all will present their research projects at national and international meetings.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

Czerniawski, J., Yoon, T., & Otto, T. "Dissociating space and trace in dorsal and ventral hippocampus." Hippocampus, v.19, 2009, p.20-27.

Parsons, T.C., & Otto, T. "Time-limited involvement of dorsal hippocampus in unimodal discriminative contextual conditioning." Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, v.94, 2010, p.481-487.

Czerniawski, J., Yoon, T., & Otto, T. "Dissociating Space and Trace in Dorsal and Ventral Hippocampus." Hippocampus, v.19, 2009, p.20. doi:10.1002/hipo.20469 

Ramamoorthi, K., Fropf, R., Fitzmaurice, H.L., McKinney, R.M., Belfort, G.M., Neve, R.L., Otto, T., & Lin, Y. "Npas4 regulates a transcriptional program in CA3 required for contextual memory formation." Science, v.334, 2011, p.166.

Czerniawski, J., Ree, F., Chia, C. Ramamoorthi, K., Kumata, Y, & Otto, T. "(2011). The Importance of Having Arc: Expression of the Immediate Early Gene Arc is Required for Hippocampus-dependent Fear Conditioning and Blocked by NMDA Receptor Antagonism." Journal of Neuroscience, v.31, 2011, p.11200-112.

Czerniawski, J., Cox, D., & Otto, T. "Time-course of dorsal and ventral hippocampal involvement in trace fear conditioning." Hippocampus, v., 2011, p..

Czerniawski, J., Ree, F., Chia, C., & Otto, T. "(2012). Dorsal vs. ventral hippocampal contributions to trace and contextual conditioning: Differential effects of regionally selective NMDA receptor antagonism on acquisition and expression." Hippocampus, v.22, 2012, p.1528-1539.

Matzel, L.D., Wass, C., Pizzo, A., Sauce, B., Kawasumi, Y., Sturzoi, T., Ree, F., & Otto, T. "Dopamine D1 Sensitivity in the Prefrontal Cortex Predicts General Cognitive Abilities and is a Target for Working Memory Training." Learning & Memory,, v.20, 2013, p.617-627. doi:10.1101/lm.031971.113 

Ramamoorthi, K., Fropf, R., Fitzmaurice, H.L., McKinney, R.M., Belfort, G.M., Neve, R.L., Otto, T., & Lin, Y. "Npas4 regulates a transcriptional program in CA3 required for contextual memory formation." Science, v.344, 2011, p.. doi:10.1126/science.1208049 

Cox, D., Czerniawski, J., & Otto, T. "Time course of dorsal and ventral hippocampal involvement in the expression of trace fear conditioning." Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, v.97, 2013, p.316-323. doi:10.1016/j.nlm.2013.05.009 

Czerniawski, J., Ree, F., Chia, C., Ramamoorthi, K., Kumata, Y & Otto, T "The Importance of Having Arc: Expression of the Immediate Early Gene Arc is Required for Hippocampus-dependent Fear Conditioning and Blocked by NMDA Receptor Antagonism." Journal of Neuroscience, v.31, 2011, p.. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI,2211-11.2011 

Chia, C., & Otto, T. "Hippocampal Arc (Arg3.1) expression is induced by memory recall and required for memory reconsolidation in trace fear conditioning." Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, v.106, 2013, p.48-55. doi:10.1016/j.nlm.2013.06.021 

Parsons, T.C., & Otto, T. "Time-Limited Involvement of Dorsal Hippocampus in Unimodal Discriminative Contextual Conditioning" Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, v.94, 2010, p.. doi:10.1016/n.nlm.2010.08.015 


Project Outcomes Report

Disclaimer

This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

Through support from NSF, our laboratory has recently discovered that forming new memories and/or recalling old ones “turns on” one gene and its protein product, activity-regulated cytoskeletal protein (Arc), in a brain area called the hippocampus. (The hippocampus is known to be critically involved in many forms of learning, and cell death in the hippocampus is the primary cause of memory impairment during the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease). We have also found that temporarily turning off this gene  in the hippocampus blocks new learning while having no effect on previously established memories. Moreover, we found that expression of the Arc gene is critically dependent on calcium influx through the NMDA receptor, a particular form of neurotransmitter receptor implicated in the initial formation of some forms of memory. In a related, collaborative project with researchers at MIT and reported in Science, we found that learning to relate an unpleasant event with the place where that event occurred activates another gene, Npas4, specifically within a small cluster of brain cells within the hippocampus, in an area called CA3. The results suggest that activation of Npas4 initiates a cascade of intracellular biochemical events that, in turn, strengthen the connections between individual brain cells within the hippocampus and ultimately results in the formation of lasting memories.


Last Modified: 09/30/2014
Modified by: Timothy A Otto

For specific questions or comments about this information including the NSF Project Outcomes Report, contact us.