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Nat Neurosci. 2011 May;14(5):612-9. doi: 10.1038/nn.2805. Epub 2011 Apr 17.

A Drosophila model for alcohol reward.

Author information

1
Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA. karla.kaun@ucsf.edu

Abstract

The rewarding properties of drugs contribute to the development of abuse and addiction. We developed a new assay for investigating the motivational properties of ethanol in the genetically tractable model Drosophila melanogaster. Flies learned to associate cues with ethanol intoxication and, although transiently aversive, the experience led to a long-lasting attraction for the ethanol-paired cue, implying that intoxication is rewarding. Temporally blocking transmission in dopaminergic neurons revealed that flies require activation of these neurons to express, but not develop, conditioned preference for ethanol-associated cues. Moreover, flies acquired, consolidated and retrieved these rewarding memories using distinct sets of neurons in the mushroom body. Finally, mutations in scabrous, encoding a fibrinogen-related peptide that regulates Notch signaling, disrupted the formation of memories for ethanol reward. Our results thus establish that Drosophila can be useful for understanding the molecular, genetic and neural mechanisms underling the rewarding properties of ethanol.

PMID:
21499254
PMCID:
PMC4249630
DOI:
10.1038/nn.2805
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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