A molecular genetic approach was used to test for a role of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) in learning and memory in Drosophila. We used genes encoding a peptide inhibitor of PKA, an N-terminal regulatory subunit fragment containing a pseudosubstrate inhibitory domain, and a wild-type catalytic subunit. These dominantly acting genes were placed under control of the hsp70 promoter and transformed into wild-type flies. Induction of the transgenes by 1 hr heat shock results in overproduction of their RNA in adult flies. The same heat shock treatment disrupts the ability of the flies to learn in an odor discrimination task reinforced with electric shock. The results demonstrate the involvement of PKA in the associative learning of Drosophila.