Visual imprinting is a learning process whereby young animals come to prefer a visual stimulus after exposure to it (training). The available evidence indicates that the intermediate medial mesopallium (IMM) in the domestic chick forebrain is a site of memory formation during visual imprinting. We have studied the role of Src, an important non-receptor tyrosine kinase, in memory formation. Amounts of total Src (Total-Src) and its two phosphorylated forms, tyrosine-416 (activated, 416P-Src) and tyrosine-527 (inhibited, 527P-Src), were measured 1 and 24 h after training in the IMM and in a control brain region, the posterior pole of nidopallium (PPN). One hour after training, in the left IMM, we observed a positive correlation between the amount of 527P-Src and learning strength that was attributable to learning, and there was also a positive correlation between 416P-Src and learning strength that was attributable to a predisposition to learn readily. Twenty-four hours after training, the amount of Total-Src increased with learning strength in both the left and right IMM, and amount of 527P-Src increased with learning strength only in the left IMM; both correlations were attributable to learning. A further, negative, correlation between learning strength and 416P-Src/Total-Src in the left IMM reflected a predisposition to learn. No learning-related changes were found in the PPN control region. We suggest that there are two pools of Src; one of them in an active state and reflecting a predisposition to learn, and the second one in an inhibited condition, which increases as a result of learning. These two pools may represent two or more signaling pathways, namely, one pathway downstream of Src activated by tyrosine-416 phosphorylation and another upstream of Src, keeping the enzyme in an inactivated state via phosphorylation of tyrosine-527.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)