Arp2/3 and VASP are essential for fear memory formation in lateral amygdala

Sreetama Basu, Irina Kustanovich, Raphael Lamprecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The actin cytoskeleton is involved in key neuronal functions such as synaptic transmission and morphogenesis. However, the roles and regulation of actin cytoskeleton in memory formation remain to be clarified. In this study, we unveil the mechanism whereby actin cytoskeleton is regulated to form memory by exploring the roles of the major actin-regulatory proteins Arp2/3, VASP, and formins in long-term memory formation. Inhibition of Arp2/3, involved in actin filament branching and neuronal morphogenesis, in lateral amygdala (LA) with the specific inhibitor CK-666 during fear conditioning impaired long-term, but not short-term, fear memory. The inactive isomer CK-689 had no effect on memory formation. We observed that Arp2/3 is colocalized with the actin-regulatory protein profilin in LA neurons of fear-conditioned rats. VASP binding to profilin is needed for profilin-mediated stabilization of actin cytoskeleton and dendritic spine morphology. Microinjection of poly-proline peptide [G(GP5)3] into LA, to interfere with VASP binding to profilin, impaired long-term but not short-term fear memory formation. Control peptide [G(GA5)3] had no effect. Inhibiting formins, which regulate linear actin elongation, in LA during fear conditioning by microinjecting the formin-specific inhibitor SMIFH2 into LA had no effect on long-term fear memory formation. We conclude that Arp2/3 and VASP, through the profilin binding site, are essential for the formation of long-term fear memory in LA and propose a model whereby these proteins subserve cellular events, leading to memory consolidation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0302-16.2016
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Basu et al.


  • Amygdala
  • Arp2/3
  • Fear conditioning
  • Formins
  • Learning and memory
  • VASP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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