Date of Award

Spring 2006

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Life & Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Jacqueline Brehe

Second Advisor

John Addis

Third Advisor

Jeffery Morris

Abstract

The goal of the present study was to both inhibit the a-CaM-Kinase II (cc-CaM-K II) enzyme, and to over-express it in neurons in order to observe if the enzyme has a role to play in memory as measured by behavioral and learning tests. An adeno-associated virus (AAV) containing either sense or anti-sense RNA to the a-CaM-K II protein was designed for the over-expression or suppression of the enzyme, respectively. Morriswater and open field mazes were used to test for the effects of the differences in protein concentration on memory and behavior. An increase in protein in the rats receiving sense RNA, as apparent in Western Blots, correlated with significantly greater time in the target quadrant when compared to the controls, as expected if a-CaM-K II protein was involved in the establishment of memory. Concentrations of a-CaM-K II protein in the hippocampi were determined 29 days after introduction of the virus using Western Blots. The concentrations of a-CaM-K II protein in the rats receiving sense RNA ( n = 6 ) were statistically larger (p<0.05 ) compared to the controls (n = 5 ). There were no statistical differences seen between the rats with the anti-sense RNA and the control rats in the behavioral and learning tests. This correlated with the lack of difference in the concentrations of the enzyme in the hippocampi of the rats receiving the anti-sense RNA and controls.

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