Deceivingly dynamic: Learning-dependent changes in stathmin and microtubules.

Neurobiology of learning and memory

PubMedID: 26211874

Uchida S, Shumyatsky GP. Deceivingly dynamic: Learning-dependent changes in stathmin and microtubules. Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2015;.
Microtubules, one of the major cytoskeletal structures, were previously considered stable and only indirectly involved in synaptic structure and function in mature neurons. However, recent evidence demonstrates that microtubules are dynamic and have an important role in synaptic structure, synaptic plasticity, and memory. In particular, learning induces changes in microtubule turnover and stability, and pharmacological manipulation of microtubule dynamics alters synaptic plasticity and long-term memory. These learning-induced changes in microtubules are controlled by the phosphoprotein stathmin, whose only known cellular activity is to negatively regulate microtubule formation. During the first eight hours following learning, changes in the phosphorylation of stathmin go through two phases causing biphasic shifts in microtubules stability/instability. These shifts, in turn, regulate memory formation by controlling in the second phase synaptic transport of the GluA2 subunit of AMPA receptors. Improper regulation of stathmin and microtubule dynamics has been observed in aged animals and in patients with Alzheimer's disease and depression. Thus, recent work on stathmin and microtubules has identified new molecular players in the early stages of memory encoding.