Long-term memory (LTM) formation depends on the conversed cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB)-dependent gene transcription followed by de novo protein synthesis. Thirsty fruit flies can be trained to associate an odor with water reward to form water-reward LTM (wLTM), which can last for over 24 hours without a significant decline. The role of de novo protein synthesis and CREB-regulated gene expression changes in neural circuits that contribute to wLTM remains unclear. Here, we show that acute inhibition of protein synthesis in the mushroom body (MB) αβ or γ neurons during memory formation using a cold-sensitive ribosome-inactivating toxin disrupts wLTM. Furthermore, adult stage-specific expression of dCREB2b in αβ or γ neurons also disrupts wLTM. The MB αβ and γ neurons can be further classified into five different neuronal subsets including αβ core, αβ surface, αβ posterior, γ main, and γ dorsal. We observed that the neurotransmission from αβ surface and γ dorsal neuron subsets is required for wLTM retrieval, whereas the αβ core, αβ posterior, and γ main are dispensable. Adult stage-specific expression of dCREB2b in αβ surface and γ dorsal neurons inhibits wLTM formation. In vivo calcium imaging revealed that αβ surface and γ dorsal neurons form wLTM traces with different dynamic properties, and these memory traces are abolished by dCREB2b expression. Our results suggest that a small population of neurons within the MB circuits support long-term storage of water-reward memory in Drosophila.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research