The cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) transcriptional pathway is required for consolidation of hippocampus-dependent memory. In mice, this pathway undergoes a circadian oscillation required for memory persistence that reaches a peak during the daytime. Because mice exhibit polyphasic sleep patterns during the day, this suggested the interesting possibility that cAMP, MAPK activity, and CREB phosphorylation maybe elevated during sleep. Here, we report that cAMP, phospho-p44/42 MAPK, and phospho-CREB are higher in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep compared with awake mice but are not elevated in non-REM sleep. This peak of activity during REM sleep does not occur in mice lacking calmodul in-stimulated adenylyl cyclases, a mouse strain that learns but cannot consolidate hippocampus-dependent memory. We conclude that a preferential increase in cAMP, MAPK activity, and CREB phosphorylation during REM sleep may contribute to hippocampus-dependent memory consolidation.
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