Switch-like and persistent learning in individual Drosophila larvae
Associative learning allows animals to use past experience to predict future events. The circuits underlying memory formation support immediate and sustained changes in function, often in response to a single example. Larval Drosophila is a genetic model for memory formation that can be accessed at molecular, synaptic, cellular, and circuit levels, often simultaneously, but existing behavioral assays for larval learning and memory do not address individual animals, and it has been dicult to form long lasting memories, especially those requiring synaptic reorganization. We demonstrate a new assay for learning and memory capable of tracking the changing preferences of individual larvae. We use this assay to explore how activation of a pair of reward neurons changes the response to the innately aversive gas Carbon Dioxide (CO2). We conrm that when coupled to odor presentation in appropriate temporal sequence, optogenetic reward reduces avoidance of CO2. We nd that learning is switch-like: all-or-none and quantized in two states. Memories can be extinguished by repeated unrewarded exposure to CO2 but are stabilized against extinction by repeated training or overnight consolidation. Finally, we demonstrate long-lasting protein synthesis dependent and independent memory formation.
HHS | National Institutes of Health (NIH), Award: 1DP2EB022359
National Science Foundation (NSF), Award: 1455015
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation)