Cellular tagging as a neural network mechanism for behavioural tagging

Masanori Nomoto, Noriaki Ohkawa, Hirofumi Nishizono, Jun Yokose, Akinobu Suzuki, Mina Matsuo, Shuhei Tsujimura, Yukari Takahashi, Masashi Nagase, Ayako M. Watabe, Fusao Kato, Kaoru Inokuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12319
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 25 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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