Learning and memory in plants?

by Pythagorean
Tags: learning, memory, plants
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Jan19-14, 06:26 AM
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Experience teaches plants to learn faster and forget slower in environments where it matters

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Plants may lack brains and neural tissues but they do possess
a sophisticated Ca-signalling network in their cells
(Yang and Poovaiah 2003) similar to those underlying
memory processes in animals (Perisse et al. 2009). Specifically,
intracellular Ca ([Ca2+]i) signals are known to
regulate a large variety of functions in all biological organisms
(Berridge et al. 2000), including memory processing
and formation of memory imprints of past events ranging
from minutes to generations through gene expression (Perisse
et al. 2009; Gális et al. 2009). Interestingly in animals,
fluctuations in [Ca2+]i during learning seem to be essential
in priming the organism for the formation of long-term
memory, without affecting short-term memory (Perisse
et al. 2009; Bauer et al. 2002). In plants, this same [Ca2+]i
system is already known to contribute to the formation of
stress imprints (Conrath et al. 2001) and may be responsible
for the long-term memory we observed in Mimosa. As
a matter of fact, in both animals and plants, fluctuations in
[Ca2+]i levels are directly linked to stimulus–response coupling
through changes in the concentration of small molecules
and proteins, including calmodulin (CaM).
Gagliano, M, et al. (2013). Experience teaches plants to learn faster and forget slower in environments where it matters. Oecologia, Epub.
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