Recent efforts to identify the molecules that are involved in the maintenance of long-term memories in mammals have focused attention on atypical isoforms of protein kinase C (PKC). Inhibition of these kinases by either the general PKC inhibitor, chelerythrine, or the more specific inhibitor, zeta inhibitory peptide (ZIP), can abolish both long-term potentiation in the hippocampus and as well as spatial, fear, appetitive, and sensorimotor memories. These inhibitors can also abolish long-term facilitation and long-term sensitization in the mollusk Aplysia californica. We have extended these results to an insect, the cockroach Leucophaea maderae. We show that systemic injections of either chelerythrine or ZIP erase long-term olfactory memories in the cockroach, but have no effect on memory acquisition during conditioning. We also show that inhibition of either protein kinase A (PKA) or protein synthesis can block memory acquisition but neither has an effect on the memory once it is formed. The results suggest that sustaining memories in insects requires the persistent activity of one or more isoforms of PKC and point to a strong evolutionary conservation of the molecular mechanisms that underlie the persistence of long-term memories in the central nervous system.
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