‘Oscar Wilde called memory “the diary that we all carry about with us.” Now a team of scientists has developed a way to see where and how that diary is written.
Led by Don Arnold and Richard Roberts of USC, the team engineered microscopic probes that light up synapses in a living neuron in real time by attaching fluorescent markers onto synaptic proteins — all without affecting the neuron’s ability to function.
The fluorescent markers allow scientists to see live excitatory and inhibitory synapses for the first time and, importantly, how they change as new memories are formed.
“When you make a memory or learn something, there’s a physical change in the brain. It turns out that the thing that gets changed is the distribution of synaptic connections,” said Arnold.’
Photo by: Don Arnold
For more information: http://news.usc.edu/files/2013/06/living-neuron.jpg