Making long-term memories requires DNA damage

  1. The centrosome in a cell coordinates cell division.
  2. Neurons don’t divide. (Usually, after maturation?)
  3. The centrosome in neurons in the hippocampus is specialized to form long-term memories.
  4. With intrinsic error, these centrosomes participate in cycles of DNA repair that appeared to organize individual neurons into memory assemblies.
  5. This specialization of the immune response entails local inflammation such as is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Cell division and the immune response have been highly conserved in animal life over millions of years, enabling life to continue while providing protection from foreign pathogens,” Dr. Radulovic said.

“It seems likely that over the course of evolution, hippocampal neurons have adopted this immune-based memory mechanism by combining the immune response’s DNA-sensing TLR9 pathway with a DNA repair centrosome function to form memories without progressing to cell division.”