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Searching for the genetic components of long-term memory for operant self-learning in Drosophila

In contrast to many other forms of learning, the genetic components of operant self-learning, a kind of motor-learning, are still poorly understood. So far, only Protein Kinase C (PKC) and FoxP have been identified as necessary for operant self-learning. It is also unknown whether the training procedure used in Drosophila is capable of supporting long-term (i.e., 24h) memory. Here we tested mutants for the gene radish, coding for a RAP-like GTPase activating protein. We found that these mutants do not show any decrement in operant self-learning, but improved operant world-learning, where the flies do not need to show any motor-learning, but color-learning is sufficient. We also tested rover and sitter flies, alleles of the foraging gene, a member of the protein kinase G (PKG) family. We found that PKG does not seem to be involved in operant self-learning, either. We also replicated a difference in heat sensitivity between these two alleles that had been described previously. Both PKG variants as well as a different wild type strain (wild type Berlin) showed savings of the operant memory after a brief (60s) reminder training 24h after the initial training.
In conclusion, operant self-learning appears to be independent of both RAP-like GTPase activating proteins (radish) and PKG (foraging). Long-term memory of operant self-learning is also independent of PKG activity.

Posted on  at 14:45