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The role of CamKII during sensitization in the medicinal leech


, : The role of CamKII during sensitization in the medicinal leech. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts 27(1): 234

Calcium-calmodulin dependent protein kinase II (CamKII) has been shown to participate in a number of cellular events that contribute to learning and memory in both invertebrates and vertebrates. Using the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, we will assess the role of CamKII during sensitization of the leech whole body shortening reflex. Sensitization is a form of non-associative learning where a behavior is enhanced following delivery of a strong, usually noxious, stimulus. The cellular mechanisms that mediate sensitization are of interest because they are thought to contribute to more complex, associative forms of learning. The leech is an ideal system for studying the physiological basis of learning because its nervous system is well characterized and individual neurons have been identified that are critical for sensitization of the shortening reflex. Using both Western blot analysis and whole-mount immunohistochemical staining, we have detected a CamKII-like protein in the leech central nervous. The potential role of CamKII in sensitization will be examined by bath application of KN-62, a specific inhibitor of CamKII, during this form of non-associative learning.

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