Behavioural tagging is the transformation of a short-term memory, induced by a weak experience, into a long-term memory (LTM) due to the temporal association with a novel experience. The mechanism by which neuronal ensembles, each carrying a memory engram of one of the experiences, interact to achieve behavioural tagging is unknown. Here we show that retrieval of a LTM formed by behavioural tagging of a weak experience depends on the degree of overlap with the neuronal ensemble corresponding to a novel experience. The numbers of neurons activated by weak training in a novel object recognition (NOR) task and by a novel context exploration (NCE) task, denoted as overlapping neurons, increases in the hippocampal CA1 when behavioural tagging is successfully achieved. Optical silencing of an NCE-related ensemble suppresses NOR–LTM retrieval. Thus, a population of cells recruited by NOR is tagged and then preferentially incorporated into the memory trace for NCE to achieve behavioural tagging.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)