Recent work showed that short-term memory (STM) is selectively reduced in GluR1 knockout mice. This raises the possibility that a form of synaptic modification dependent on GluR1 might underlie STM. Studies of synaptic plasticity have shown that stimuli too weak to induce long-term potentiation induce short-term potentiation (STP), a phenomenon that has received little attention. Here we examined several properties of STP and tested the dependence of STP on GluR1. The minimal requirement for inducing STP was examined using a test pathway and a conditioning pathway. Several closely spaced stimuli in the test pathway, forming a single brief burst, were sufficient to induce STP. Thus, STP is likely to be induced by the similar bursts that occur in vivo. STP induction is associative in nature and dependent on the NMDAR. STP decays with two components, a fast component (1.6 ± 0.26 min) and a slower one (19 ± 6.6 min). To test the role of GluR1 in STP, experiments were conducted on GluR1 knockout mice. We found that STP was greatly reduced. These results, taken together with the behavioral work of D. Sanderson et al. [Sanderson, D., Good, M. A., Skelton, K., Sprengel, R., Seeburg, P. H., Nicholas, J., et al. Enhanced long-term and impaired short-term spatial memory in GluA1 AMPA receptor subunit knockout mice: Evidence for a dual-process memory model. Learning and Memory, 2009], provide genetic evidence that STP is a likely mechanism of STM.

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