Jupiter FL (SPX) Apr 15, 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.
"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
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."
The co-authors of the most recent study, "The Long-Term Memory Trace Formed in the Drosophila a/ss Mushroom Body Neurons Is Abolished in Long-Term Memory Mutants," are David-Benjamin G. Akalal and Dinghui Yu of the Baylor College of Medicine. The study was published in the April 13, 2011 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Scripps Research Institute
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here
Single 'ancestor' language theorized
Auckland, New Zealand (UPI) Apr 14, 2011
Modern languages, all 6,000 or so, may have all descended from a single ancestral language spoken in Africa more than 50,000 years ago, a study says. Study author Quentin Atkinson of the University of Auckland in New Zealand says the first migrating populations leaving Africa laid the groundwork for all the world's cultures by taking their single language with them, The Wall Street Jour ... read more
Clinton vows full support for disaster-hit Japan|
Fukushima Cold In 9 Months; Robots To Explore Reactors
Clinton visits Japan as US disaster relief warms ties
Japan nuclear firm sees 'cold shutdown' in 6-9 months
Researchers Discover The Cause Of Irradiation-Induced Instability In Materials Surfaces
Eco-Friendly Treatment For Blue Jeans Offers Alternative To Controversial Sandblasting
Japan's TEPCO pours radiation-absorbing mineral in sea
Ultra-Fast Magnetic Reversal Observed
Ocean Front Is Energetic Contributor To Mixing
Sizzling, landlocked Madrid gets cool new 'beach'
Want to cut shipping costs? Then go fly a kite
Sushi bars in Paris adjust to life after Fukushima
West Antarctic Warming Triggered By Warmer Sea Surface In Tropical Pacific
Arctic Sea Ice Flights Near Completion
ESA Arctic Ice Campaign Takes Off
Sand Drift Explained
New Citrus Variety Released By Uc Riverside Is Very Sweet, Juicy And Low-Seeded
Japan asks Brazil to ease food import rules
Vegetarian magazine defends meat photos
Half EU states negative on GM foods
Increasing activity at Philippine volcano
Hundreds of aftershocks worsen Japan's quake trauma
One year on, Iceland volcano sleeps, but world still quakes
An Electric Yellowstone Makes For Super Visuals
Chinese aid good for Africa: ministers
Senegal opens Chinese-built theatre
UN should not take sides in I.Coast: Medvedev
Sierra Leone investigates a mining land acquisition
Scripps Research Scientists Identify Mechanism Of Long-Term Memory
Are Your Values Right Or Left? The Answer Is More Literal Than You Think
Negative Image Of People Produces Selfish Actions
Single 'ancestor' language theorized
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|