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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 392695, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/392695
Review Article

Long-Term Memory Search across the Visual Brain

Michelin Recherche Technique, S.A., Route André-Piller 30, 1762 Givisiez, Fribourg, Switzerland

Received 31 March 2012; Revised 23 May 2012; Accepted 28 May 2012

Academic Editor: Michael Stewart

Copyright © 2012 Milan Fedurco. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Signal transmission from the human retina to visual cortex and connectivity of visual brain areas are relatively well understood. How specific visual perceptions transform into corresponding long-term memories remains unknown. Here, I will review recent Blood Oxygenation Level-Dependent functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (BOLD fMRI) in humans together with molecular biology studies (animal models) aiming to understand how the retinal image gets transformed into so-called visual (retinotropic) maps. The broken object paradigm has been chosen in order to illustrate the complexity of multisensory perception of simple objects subject to visual —rather than semantic— type of memory encoding. The author explores how amygdala projections to the visual cortex affect the memory formation and proposes the choice of experimental techniques needed to explain our massive visual memory capacity. Maintenance of the visual long-term memories is suggested to require recycling of GluR2-containing α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptors (AMPAR) and β2-adrenoreceptors at the postsynaptic membrane, which critically depends on the catalytic activity of the N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF) and protein kinase PKMζ.