Cationic peptides erase memories by removing synaptic AMPA receptors through endophilin-mediated endocytosis
Kevin Beier, Eric Stokes, Yinyin Zhuang, Michael Toledano, Jose Vasquez, Ghalia Azouz, May Hui, Isabella Tyler, Xiaoyu Shi, Jason Aoto
Zeta Inhibitory Peptide, ZIP, memory, lon-term potentiation, LTP, PKMz, AMPA receptor, AMPAR
Administration of the Zeta Inhibitory Peptide (ZIP) interferes with memory maintenance and long-term potentiation (LTP). However, mice lacking its putative target, the protein kinase PKMz, exhibit normal learning and memory as well as LTP, making ZIP’s mechanism unclear. Here, we show that ZIP disrupts LTP by removing surface AMPA receptors through its cationic charge alone. This effect was fully blocked by drugs that block macropinocytosis and is dependent on endophilin A2 (endoA2)-mediated endocytosis. ZIP and other cationic peptides selectively removed newly inserted AMPAR nanoclusters, providing a mechanism by which these peptides erase memories without effects on basal synaptic function. Lastly, cationic peptides can be administered locally and/or systemically and can be combined with local microinjection of macropinocytosis inhibitors to modulate memories on local and brain-wide scales. Our findings have critical implications for an entire field of memory mechanisms and highlight a previously unappreciated mechanism by which memories can be lost.