Glycoproteins and Memory Formation in the Day-Old Chick

Koles, Kate (1999). Glycoproteins and Memory Formation in the Day-Old Chick. PhD thesis The Open University.



Passive avoidance training in day-old chicks results in a cascade of biochemical, physiological and morphological events lasting for at least 24 hrs after training. One of these steps is an increase in fucose incorporation into synaptic plasma membrane (SPM) glycoproteins, which also occurs in other animal species and learning tasks. In order to identify these fucosylated glycans, the glycosylation profile of chicken synaptic plasma membrane (SPM) glycoproteins has been investigated.

N- and O-linked glycans were released from delipidated pure SPMs by automated hydrazinolysis and fluorescently labelled with 2-aminobenzamide. Labelled glycans were separated according to their size, charge or hydrophilic profile by gel filtration and high-performance liquid chromatography. In the charged glycan fraction, sialylated, sulphated and phosphorylated glycans were detected, whereas the neutral glycan profile was dominated by oligomannosidic structures. Two of the most abundant complex type oligosaccharides have been sequenced.

The neutral glycan profiles from trained and quiet chicks did not show any difference, however there were indications of possible learning related changes in the charged glycan fraction.

In addition to learning related changes, another analysis investigating the biochemical correlates of neural plasticity using the dark-hatching paradigm was performed. A decrease in sialic acid content in the P2 fraction of dark-hatched chicks was noted, which is tentatively attributed to the undersialylation of small, possibly O-linked glycans.

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