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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2015, Article ID 650780, 21 pages
Review Article

Behavioral Tagging: A Translation of the Synaptic Tagging and Capture Hypothesis

1Instituto de Biologia Celular y Neurociencias “Dr. Eduardo De Robertis”, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, C1121ABG Buenos Aires, Argentina
2Departamento de Fisiologia, Biologia Molecular y Celular Dr. Hector Maldonado, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, C1428EGA Buenos Aires, Argentina

Received 12 January 2015; Accepted 12 March 2015

Academic Editor: Emiliano Merlo

Copyright © 2015 Diego Moncada 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.


Similar molecular machinery is activated in neurons following an electrical stimulus that induces synaptic changes and after learning sessions that trigger memory formation. Then, to achieve perdurability of these processes protein synthesis is required for the reinforcement of the changes induced in the network. The synaptic tagging and capture theory provided a strong framework to explain synaptic specificity and persistence of electrophysiological induced plastic changes. Ten years later, the behavioral tagging hypothesis (BT) made use of the same argument, applying it to learning and memory models. The hypothesis postulates that the formation of lasting memories relies on at least two processes: the setting of a learning tag and the synthesis of plasticity related proteins, which once captured at tagged sites allow memory consolidation. BT explains how weak events, only capable of inducing transient forms of memories, can result in lasting memories when occurring close in time with other behaviorally relevant experiences that provide proteins. In this review, we detail the findings supporting the existence of BT process in rodents, leading to the consolidation, persistence, and interference of a memory. We focus on the molecular machinery taking place in these processes and describe the experimental data supporting the BT in humans.