Prof. Ken Lukowiak (Calgary Univ.)
How stress alters the ability to form long-term memory
Stress can alter adaptive behaviours, and as well either enhance or diminish learning, memory formation and/or memory recall. I will focus my talk on how environmentally relevant stressors (e.g. predator detection, crowding, and low concentrations of environmental Ca++) alter memory performance in the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis. I will also present data showing that an epigenetic process may underlie the changes in the ability to form memory brought about by the environmental stressors. I will further show that memory forming capabilities are heritable and that they differ between different strains that are geographically close to each other. Finally, I will present data showing neural correlates of this altered ability to form memory as a result of experiencing stress in a neuron, RPeD1, that has been shown to be a necessary site for long-term memory formation, extinction, reconsolidation and forgetting.