Mushroom body-specific profiling of gene expression identifies regulators of long-term memory in Drosophila

  • Widmer, Yves F. Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Bilican, Adem Interfaculty Bioinformatics Unit, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • Bruggmann, Rémy Interfaculty Bioinformatics Unit, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • Sprecher, Simon G. Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
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English Memory formation is achieved by genetically tightly controlled molecular pathways that result in a change of synaptic strength and synapse organization. While for short- term memory traces rapidly acting biochemical pathways are in place, the formation of long-lasting memories requires changes in the transcriptional program of a cell. Although many genes involved in learning and memory formation have been identified, little is known about the genetic mechanisms required for changing the transcriptional program during different phases of long-term memory formation. With Drosophila melanogaster as a model system we profiled transcriptomic changes in the mushroom body, a memory center in the fly brain, at distinct time intervals during long- term memory formation using the targeted DamID technique. We describe the gene expression profiles during these phases and tested 33 selected candidate genes for deficits in long-term memory formation using RNAi knockdown. We identified 10 genes that enhance or decrease memory when knocked-down in the mushroom body. For vajk-1 and hacd1, the two strongest hits, we gained further support for their crucial role in learning and forgetting. These findings show that profiling gene expression changes in specific cell-types harboring memory traces provides a powerful entry point to identify new genes involved in learning and memory. The presented transcriptomic data may further be used as resource to study genes acting at different memory phases.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Biologie
  • English
Biological sciences
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