Memory, reconsolidation and extinction in Lymnaea require the soma of RPeD1

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2004;551:311-8. doi: 10.1007/0-387-27023-x_47.


The central pattern generator (CPG) that drives aerial respiratory behaviour in Lymnaea consists of 3 neurons. One of these, RPeD1--the cell that initiates activity in the circuit, plays an absolutely necessary role as a site for memory formation, memory reconsolidation, and extinction. Using an operant conditioning training procedure that results in a long-term non-declarative memory (LTM), we decrease the occurrence of aerial respiratory behaviour. Since snails can still breathe cutaneously learning this procedure is not harmful. Concomitant with behavioural memory are changes in the spiking activity of RPeD1. Going beyond neural correlates of memory we directly show that RPeD1 is a necessary site for LTM formation. Expanding on this finding we show that this neuron is also a necessary site for memory reconsolidation and 'Pavlovian' extinction. As far as we can determine, this is the first time a single neuron has been shown to be a necessary site for these different aspects memory. RPeD1 is thus a key neuron mediating different hierarchical aspects of memory. We are now in a position to determine the necessary neuronal, molecular and proteomic events in this neuron that are causal to memory formation, reconsolidation and extinction.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Operant*
  • Learning
  • Lymnaea / physiology*
  • Memory*
  • Neurons / physiology*