Scientific American just highlighted the Silvalab's discovery of memory allocation and linking in a special issue on Revolutions in Science: 13 Discoveries that Could Change Everything. Although mechanisms involved in encoding, storing and retrieving memory have attracted a great deal of attention, the processes that allocate individual memories to specific neurons within a network have remained elusive. Similarly, although the processes that connect and link information across time are critical for survival, they have also remained unexplored. In a series of high profile papers (see below), using methods, such as optogenetics and a new generation of head mounted fluorescent microscopes, the Silvalab discovered that there are mechanisms that modulate which cells and synapses go on to store a given memory, and that these so called memory allocation mechanisms are critical to link memories across time.
Key Memory Allocation and Memory Linking Publications from the Silvalab:
Frank, A. C., S. Huang, M. Zhou, A. Gdalyahu, G. Kastellakis, T. K. Silva, E. Lu, X. Wen, P. Poirazi, J. T. Trachtenberg and A. J. Silva (2018). "Hotspots of dendritic spine turnover facilitate clustered spine addition and learning and memory." Nat Commun 9(1): 422.(link)
Lisman, John, Cooper, Katie, Segal, Megha, and Silva, Alcino J. Memory formation depends on both synapse specific modifications of synaptic strength and cell-specific increases in excitability. Nature Neuroscience 2018
Alcino J Silva How the Brain Builds Memory Chains. Scientific American July 2017
Denise J. Cai, Daniel Aharoni, Tristan Shuman, Justin Shobe, Jeremy Biane, Weilin Song, Brandon Wei, Michael Veshkini, Mimi La-Vu, Jerry Lou, Sergio Flores, Isaac Kim, Yoshitake Sano, Miou Zhou, Karsten Baumgaertel, Ayal Lavi, Masakazu Kamata, Mark Tuszynski, Mark Mayford, Peyman Golshani and Alcino J. Silva. A shared neural ensemble links distinct contextual memories encoded close in time. Nature 534, 115–118 (02 June 2016) (PDF)
Kastellakis, G., Silva, AJ and Poirazi, P, Linking memories across time via synapse clustering in nonlinear dendrites. Cell Reports, Volume 17, Issue 6, p1491–1504, 1 November 2016 (PDF)
Rogerson, T., B. Jayaprakash, D.J. Cai, Y. Sano, Y.S. Lee, Y. Zhou, P. Bekal, K. Deisseroth, and A.J. Silva, Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms for Trapping and Activating Emotional Memories. PLoS One, 2016. 11(8): p. e0161655.(PDF)
Sano, Y, Shobe, JL, Zhou, M, Huang, S, Cai, DJ, Roth, BL, Kamata, M, and Silva, AJ. CREB regulates memory allocation in the insular cortex. Current Biology 2014 (PDF). For a Scientist article on this research paper click here
Czajkowski, R, Jayaprakash, B, Wiltgen, B, Rogerson, T, Karlsson, MG, Barth, A, Trachtenberg, J, and Silva, AJ. Encoding and storage of spatial information in the retrosplenial cortex, PNAS Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 (PDF)
Thomas Rogerson, Denise J. Cai, Adam Frank, Yoshitake Sano, Justin Shobe, Manuel F. Lopez-Aranda & Alcino J. Silva. Synaptic tagging during memory allocation. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 15, 157–169 (2014) PMID: 24496410 (PDF)
Silva, A. J., Y. Zhou, et al. (2009). "Molecular and cellular approaches to memory allocation in neural circuits." Science 326(5951): 391-395.(PDF)
Zhou, Y., J. Won, et al. (2009). "CREB regulates excitability and the allocation of memory to subsets of neurons in the amygdala." Nat Neurosci. (PDF)
Han, J. H., S. A. Kushner, et al. (2007). "Neuronal competition and selection during memory formation." Science 316(5823): 457-460.(PDF).
Won, J. and A. J. Silva (2008). "Molecular and cellular mechanisms of memory allocation in neuronetworks." Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 89(3): 285-292.