Alcohol-specific transcriptional dynamics of memory reconsolidation and relapse

Koral Goltseker, Patricia Garay, Katherine Bonefas, Shigeki Iwase, Segev Barak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Relapse, a critical issue in alcohol addiction, can be attenuated by disruption of alcohol-associated memories. Memories are thought to temporarily destabilize upon retrieval during the reconsolidation process. Here, we provide evidence for unique transcriptional dynamics underpinning alcohol memory reconsolidation. Using a mouse place-conditioning procedure, we show that alcohol-memory retrieval increases the mRNA expression of immediate-early genes in the dorsal hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex, and that alcohol seeking is abolished by post-retrieval non-specific inhibition of gene transcription, or by downregulating ARC expression using antisense-oligodeoxynucleotides. However, since retrieval of memories for a natural reward (sucrose) also increased the same immediate-early gene expression, we explored for alcohol-specific transcriptional changes using RNA-sequencing. We revealed a unique transcriptional fingerprint activated by alcohol memories, as the expression of this set of plasticity-related genes was not altered by sucrose-memory retrieval. Our results suggest that alcohol memories may activate two parallel transcription programs: one is involved in memory reconsolidation in general, and another is specifically activated during alcohol-memory processing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number55
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


FundersFunder number
Iran National Science Foundation
Tel Aviv University
Israel Science Foundation968-13, 1916-13
National Institutes of HealthNS089896, MH127485, NS116008, NS125449
Directorate for Education and Human Resources1256260


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