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J Neurosci. 2007 Oct 10;27(41):11132-8.

Multiple memory traces for olfactory reward learning in Drosophila.

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  • 1Lehrstuhl für Genetik und Neurobiologie, Biozentrum, Universität Würzburg, Am Hubland, D-97074 Würzburg, Germany.


Physical traces underlying simple memories can be confined to a single group of cells in the brain. In the fly Drosophila melanogaster, the Kenyon cells of the mushroom bodies house traces for both appetitive and aversive odor memories. The adenylate cyclase protein, Rutabaga, has been shown to mediate both traces. Here, we show that, for appetitive learning, another group of cells can additionally accommodate a Rutabaga-dependent memory trace. Localized expression of rutabaga in either projection neurons, the first-order olfactory interneurons, or in Kenyon cells, the second-order interneurons, is sufficient for rescuing the mutant defect in appetitive short-term memory. Thus, appetitive learning may induce multiple memory traces in the first- and second-order olfactory interneurons using the same plasticity mechanism. In contrast, aversive odor memory of rutabaga is rescued selectively in the Kenyon cells, but not in the projection neurons. This difference in the organization of memory traces is consistent with the internal representation of reward and punishment.

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