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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 184083, 12 pages
Review Article

New Insights on Retrieval-Induced and Ongoing Memory Consolidation: Lessons from Arc

1Instituto de Neurobiología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Campus Juriquilla, Boulevard Juriquilla 3001, Col. Juriquilla, 76230 Santiago de Querétaro, QRO, Mexico
2Instituto de Fisiología Celular, UNAM, Ciudad Universitaria, 04510 México, DF, Mexico
3Departamento de Ciencias de la Salud, Unidad Lerma, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM), Avenida de las Garzas No. 10, 52005 Lerma, MEX, Mexico

Received 15 December 2014; Revised 26 February 2015; Accepted 3 March 2015

Academic Editor: Pedro Bekinschtein

Copyright © 2015 Jean-Pascal Morin et al. 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.


The mainstream view on the neurobiological mechanisms underlying memory formation states that memory traces reside on the network of cells activated during initial acquisition that becomes active again upon retrieval (reactivation). These activation and reactivation processes have been called “conjunctive trace.” This process implies that singular molecular events must occur during acquisition, strengthening the connection between the implicated cells whose synchronous activity must underlie subsequent reactivations. The strongest experimental support for the conjunctive trace model comes from the study of immediate early genes such as c-fos, zif268, and activity-regulated cytoskeletal-associated protein. The expressions of these genes are reliably induced by behaviorally relevant neuronal activity and their products often play a central role in long-term memory formation. In this review, we propose that the peculiar characteristics of Arc protein, such as its optimal expression after ongoing experience or familiar behavior, together with its versatile and central functions in synaptic plasticity could explain how familiarization and recognition memories are stored and preserved in the mammalian brain.