Allocating, Tagging, and Linking Memories

Megha Sehgal, Miou Zhou, Denise J. Cai, Ayal Lavi, Shan Huang, Alcino J. Silva

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The formation, stabilization, and editing of memory engrams has been a subject of active research in neuroscience. By comparison, little is known regarding the mechanisms that determine which synapses and neurons (synaptic and neuronal allocation, respectively) go on to encode a given memory. Memory allocation mechanisms are critical for controlling the size of engrams, their strength, longevity, and ultimately how they are linked or related to other engrams. Here, we review recent research of the mechanisms that underlie memory allocation. Specifically, we discuss how mechanisms such as neuronal intrinsic excitability, synaptic tagging and capture, synaptic cross talk, and spine clustering can influence synaptic and neuronal allocation during memory formation. We propose that higher order memory processes, such as memory linking, integration, and inference, are made possible due to specific memory allocation mechanisms that ensure storage in ways that facilitate effective updating and integration at a later time. Finally, we finish by considering the future directions and challenges for memory allocation studies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLearning and Memory
Subtitle of host publicationA Comprehensive Reference
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780128052914
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioral tagging
  • Intrinsic excitability
  • Memory allocation
  • Memory linking
  • Synaptic clustering
  • Synaptic tagging


Dive into the research topics of 'Allocating, Tagging, and Linking Memories'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this