College of Veterinary Medicine

Research in IPN

John W. Wright, Ph.D.

  John W. Wright, Ph.D.

Dr. "Jay" Wright, Regents Professor,
Department of Psychology
Phone: (509) 335-2329

Dr. Wright's laboratory has determined that a new angiotensin receptor subtype (AT4) is involved in the acquisition of associative and spatial learning and in memory consolidation. This receptor subtype is heavily distributed in brain structures known to play important roles in cognitive processing such as hippocampus, neocortex and habenula, and in sensory and motor areas such as thalamus and cerebellum.

Intracerebroventricular (icv) infusion of AT4 agonists have been shown to facilitate the acquisition of spatial learning, while the icv infusion of AT4 antagonists significantly interferes with such acquisition. A strong positive correlation was derived between the formation of new memories and the activation of membrane metaloproteases (MMP) in the hippocampus. His laboratory is presently testing the hypothesis that memory consolidation for newly acquired spatial information occurs primarily during the theta wave stage of sleep and only if MMP activation is permitted to occur. The disruption of theta wave stage during sleep has been shown to interfere with memory consolidation by other laboratories (Winson, Science 1978, 201: 160-163; Smith & Rhodes, Physiol. and Behav. 1996, 59: 93-97; Smith & Rose, Behav. Neurosci. 1997, 11:1197-1204). If this hypothesis is confirmed, Dr. Wrights lab will determine whether chronic icv infusion of an AT4 agonist facilitates theta wave sleep and MMP activation; and whether infusion of AT4 antagonist disrupts theta wave sleep and MMP production. Confirmation of this hypothesis may suggest an endogenous mechanism of plasticity underlying memory and coding.

Biographical Information

John W. Wright, Professor, completed his B.A. and M.S. in psychology at Western Washington University in 1966 and 1968, respectively, and his Ph.D. in experimental psychology at Michigan State University in 1971. He was a postdoctoral fellow in biophysics at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan in 1971-72 and was an assistant professor of psychology at Fordham University from 1972-75 before coming to Washington State University.

Selected Publications

Wilson, W.L., Roques, B.P., Llorens-Cortes, C., Speth, R.C., Harding, J.W. and Wright, J.W. 2005.  Roles of brain angiotensin II and III in thirst and sodium appetite.  Brain Research, 1060: 108-117. 

Murphy, E.S., Harding, J.W., Muhunthan, K., Holtfreter, K.L. and Wright, J.W.   2005. Role of mitogen-activated protein kinases during recovery from head-shake response habituation in rats.  Brain Research 1050: 170-179. 

Davis, C.J., Kramar, E.A., De, A., Meighan, P.C., Simasko, S.M., Wright, J.W., and Harding, J.W. 2006.  AT4 receptor activation increases intacellular calcium influx and induces a non-N-methyl-D-aspartate dependent form of long-term potentiation.  Neuroscience, 137: 1369-1379. 

Meighan, P.C., Meighan, P.C., Choudhury, P., Davis, C.J., Olson, M.L., Zornes, P.A., Wright, J.W. and Harding, J.W.  2006.  Effects of extracellular matrix-degrading proteasesmatrix metalloproteinases 3 and 9 on spatial learning and synaptic plasticity.  Journal of Neurochemsitry, 96:1227-1241.

Wright, J.W. and Harding, J.W.  2006.  Angiotensins in brain function.  In Handbook of Neurochemistry and Molecular Neurobiology, 3rd Edition.  Ed. R. Lim.  Springer/Verlag Press.

Wright, J.W. and Harding, J.W.  2006.  The role of brain angiotensin system in learning, memory, and neural plasticity.  In Progress in Learning Research.  Ed. F. Columbus.  Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Last Edited: Apr 09, 2013 10:29 AM   

IPN, PO Box 647620, 205 Veterinary and Biomedical Research, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-7620, 509-335-6624 Contact UsSafety Links