Background: Novel taste memories, critical for animal survival, are consolidated to form long term memories which are dependent on translation regulation in the gustatory cortex (GC) hours following acquisition. However, the role of transcription regulation in the process is unknown. Results: Here, we report that transcription in the GC is necessary for taste learning in rats, and that drinking and its consequences, as well as the novel taste experience, affect transcription in the GC during taste memory consolidation. We show differential effects of learning on temporal dynamics in set of genes in the GC, including Arc/Arg3.1, known to regulate the homeostasis of excitatory synapses. Conclusions: We demonstrate that in taste learning, transcription programs were activated following the physiological responses (i.e., fluid consumption following a water restriction regime, reward, arousal of the animal, etc.) and the specific information about a given taste (i.e., taste novelty). Moreover, the cortical differential prolonged kinetics of mRNA following novel versus familiar taste learning may represent additional novelty related molecular response, where not only the total amount, but also the temporal dynamics of transcription is modulated by sensory experience of novel information.
- Temporal dynamics