Navigation Links
Scripps Research scientists identify mechanism of long-term memory

JUPITER, FL, April 13, 2011 Using advanced imaging technology, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have identified a change in chemical influx into a specific set of neurons in the common fruit fly that is fundamental to long-term memory.

The study was published in the April 13, 2011 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

"In studying fruit flies' learning and long-term memory storage, we observed an increase in calcium influx into a specific set of brain neurons in normal fruit flies that was absent in 26 different mutants known to impair long-term memory,," said Ron Davis, chair of the Scripps Research Department of Neuroscience, who led the study. "This logical conclusion is that this increase, which we call a memory trace, is a signature component of long-term memory."

The memory trace in question is an increased influx of calcium into a set of neurons after long-term memory forms in a part of the insect brain known as mushroom bodies, a pair of oversized lobes known to mediate learning and memory, particularly the memories of smell. They have been compared to the hippocampus, a site of memory formation in humans.

Increases in calcium influx also occur with learning in other animal models, Davis said, and it seems highly likely a similar correlation exists in humans.

Measuring Memory Traces

To measure the changes in the Drosophila neurons, Davis and his colleagues used functional optical imaging, an advanced technology that his laboratory helped pioneer for the study of learning and memory. Using protein sensors that become fluorescent when calcium levels are increased, the team was able to highlight changes in the levels of calcium influx into the mushroom body neurons in response to odor learning. These observed memory traces occur in parallel with behavioral changes.

Interestingly, these memory traces occur only with spaced conditioning where the insects receive multiple episodes of learning but with periods of rest between each episode. Spaced conditioning is required for long-term memories to form.

In an earlier study last December, also published in The Journal of Neuroscience, Davis found not only that fruit flies receiving spaced conditioning exhibited a long-term memory trace, but also that their memories lasted between four and seven days. In flies that were given a single episode of learning, memory formation lasted only a day and the long-term memory trace failed to form. These two studies are the newest in a series of six studies on the topic, including those published in the journal Neuron in 2004 and 2006, Cell in 2005, and Nature Neuroscience in 2008. Davis reviewed all of his studies of memory traces in the most recent issue of Neuron.

"The phenomenon of spaced conditioning is conserved across all species," Davis said. "No one really knows why it's important to long-term memory formation but there appears to be something magical about that rest period during learning."


Contact: Mika Ono
Scripps Research Institute

Related biology news :

1. Scripps research team solves structure of beneficial virus
2. Scripps research team sheds light on immune system suppression
3. Scripps Florida scientists awarded $1.5M to fight major water and food parasites
4. Scripps research scientists identify compounds for stem-cell production from adult cells
5. Scripps research scientists identify blood component that turns bacteria virulent
6. Scripps research team defines new painkilling chemical pathway
7. Dolphin population stunted by fishing activities, Scripps/NOAA study finds
8. Scripps Research scientists shed light on how DNA is unwound so that its code can be read
9. Scripps scientists develop first examples of RNA that replicates itself indefinitely
10. Scripps scientists create first crystal structure of an intermediate particle in virus assembly
11. Historical photographs expose decline in Floridas reef fish, new Scripps study finds
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/2/2016)... Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems, Biometrics & ... & Other Service  The latest report from ... of the global Border Security market . Visiongain ... billion in 2016. Now: In November 2015 ... and hardware technologies for advanced video surveillance. ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... NEW YORK , May 16, 2016   ... authentication solutions, today announced the opening of an IoT ... to strengthen and expand the development of embedded ... provides an unprecedented level of convenience and security with ... to authenticate one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 ... of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung SDS, ... partnership that will provide end customers with a more ... payment services.      (Logo: ) ... financial services, but it also plays a fundamental part in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... SPRING, Md. , June 23, 2016 A ... collected from the crime scene to track the criminal down. ... and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The ... genome sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that asks ... systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at the ... York City . The teams, chosen ... MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. Keynote ... of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Durham, NC (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... Odense University Hospital in Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being ... (fat) tissue. The results could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, ... 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% lower to ... down 0.17%. has initiated coverage on the following equities: ... (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... BIND ). Learn more about these stocks by accessing their ...
Breaking Biology Technology: