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PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51684. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051684. Epub 2012 Dec 17.

A genetic screen for olfactory habituation mutations in Drosophila: analysis of novel foraging alleles and an underlying neural circuit.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA. mark.eddison@ucsf.edu


Habituation is a form of non-associative learning that enables animals to reduce their reaction to repeated harmless stimuli. When exposed to ethanol vapor, Drosophila show an olfactory-mediated startle response characterized by a transient increase in locomotor activity. Upon repeated exposures, this olfactory startle attenuates with the characteristics of habituation. Here we describe the results of a genetic screen to identify olfactory startle habituation (OSH) mutants. One mutation is a transcript specific allele of foraging (for) encoding a cGMP-dependent kinase. We show this allele of for reduces expression of a for-T1 isoform expressed in the head and functions normally to inhibit OSH. We localize for-T1 function to a limited set of neurons that include olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) and the mushroom body (MB). Overexpression of for-T1 in ORNs inhibits OSH, an effect also seen upon synaptic silencing of the ORNs; for-T1 may therefore function in ORNs to decrease synaptic release upon repeated exposure to ethanol vapor. Overall, this work contributes to our understanding of the genes and neurons underlying olfactory habituation in Drosophila.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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