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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Nov 9;101(45):16058-63. Epub 2004 Nov 2.

A clock gene, period, plays a key role in long-term memory formation in Drosophila.

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  • 1Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, 3-39-22 Showa-Machi, Maebashi 371-8511, Japan.


The cAMP-responsive transcription factor, CREB, is required for formation of long-term memory (LTM) in Drosophila melanogaster and regulates transcription of a circadian clock gene, period (per). Involvement of CREB both in LTM and circadian rhythm raises the possibility that per also plays a role in LTM. Assaying the experience-dependent courtship inhibition in male flies as a measure for LTM, we show here that per mutants are defective in LTM formation. This defect was rescued by induction of a wild-type per transgene in a per-null mutant, and overexpression of per enhanced LTM formation in the wild-type background. Furthermore, we found that synaptic transmission through per-expressing cells is most likely to be required during retrieval of LTM. In contrast, mutations in other clock genes (timeless, dClock, and cycle) did not affect LTM formation. Thus, independent of the core oscillator of circadian clock, per plays a key role in LTM formation.

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