April 9, 2015
Finding locations in the brain where memories are formed, and understanding how memories are retrieved to instruct behaviour, are major goals of neuroscience. A recent study from the Waddell lab in Neuron localised memories to specific pathways in the output network of the fruit fly mushroom bodies. Surprisingly, reward and punishment learning altered odour-driven-activity of this connection in opposite directions. Moreover, it was possible to mimic learning by directly manipulating the specific output pathways in naïve flies. Regulation of the efficiency of this synaptic junction therefore appears especially important for memories to guide either odour-driven approach or avoidance behaviour. The full paper can be viewed, Owald et al. (2015).
David Owald discusses his work in a short film, entitled Where Memories Live.