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Shehata, M., K. Abdou, K. Choko, M. Matsuo, H. Nishizono, and K. Inokuchi, "Autophagy Enhances Memory Erasure through Synaptic Destabilization.", The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, vol. 38, issue 15, pp. 3809-3822, 2018 Apr 11. Abstract

There is substantial interest in memory reconsolidation as a target for the treatment of anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. However, its applicability is restricted by reconsolidation-resistant boundary conditions that constrain the initial memory destabilization. In this study, we investigated whether the induction of synaptic protein degradation through autophagy modulation, a major protein degradation pathway, can enhance memory destabilization upon retrieval and whether it can be used to overcome these conditions. Here, using male mice in an auditory fear reconsolidation model, we showed that autophagy contributes to memory destabilization and its induction can be used to enhance erasure of a reconsolidation-resistant auditory fear memory that depended on AMPAR endocytosis. Using male mice in a contextual fear reconsolidation model, autophagy induction in the amygdala or in the hippocampus enhanced fear or contextual memory destabilization, respectively. The latter correlated with AMPAR degradation in the spines of the contextual memory-ensemble cells. Using male rats in an LTP reconsolidation model, autophagy induction enhanced synaptic destabilization in an NMDAR-dependent manner. These data indicate that induction of synaptic protein degradation can enhance both synaptic and memory destabilization upon reactivation and that autophagy inducers have the potential to be used as a therapeutic tool in the treatment of anxiety disorders. It has been reported that inhibiting synaptic protein degradation prevents memory destabilization. However, whether the reverse relation is true and whether it can be used to enhance memory destabilization are still unknown. Here we addressed this question on the behavioral, molecular, and synaptic levels, and showed that induction of autophagy, a major protein degradation pathway, can enhance memory and synaptic destabilization upon reactivation. We also show that autophagy induction can be used to overcome a reconsolidation-resistant memory, suggesting autophagy inducers as a potential therapeutic tool in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

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