Function of the Drosophila CPEB protein Orb2 in long-term courtship memory

Nat Neurosci. 2007 Dec;10(12):1587-93. doi: 10.1038/nn1996. Epub 2007 Oct 28.


Both long-term behavioral memory and synaptic plasticity require protein synthesis, some of which may occur locally at specific synapses. Cytoplasmic polyadenylation element-binding (CPEB) proteins are thought to contribute to the local protein synthesis that underlies long-term changes in synaptic efficacy, but a role has not been established for them in the formation of long-term behavioral memory. We found that the Drosophila melanogaster CPEB protein Orb2 is acutely required for long-term conditioning of male courtship behavior. Deletion of the N-terminal glutamine-rich region of Orb2 resulted in flies that were impaired in their ability to form long-term, but not short-term, memory. Memory was restored by expressing Orb2 selectively in fruitless (fru)-positive gamma neurons of the mushroom bodies and by providing Orb2 function in mushroom bodies only during and shortly after training. Our data thus demonstrate that a CPEB protein is important in long-term memory and map the molecular, spatial and temporal requirements for its function in memory formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Courtship*
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Memory Disorders / genetics
  • Mushroom Bodies / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Sequence Deletion / genetics
  • Time Factors


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • orb protein, Drosophila
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins