Memory consolidation following learning is a dynamic process. Thus, long-term memory (LTM) formation can be modulated by many factors, including stress. We examined how predator-induced stress enhances LTM formation in the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis at both the behavioral and electrophysiological levels. Training snails in crayfish effluent (CE; i.e., water from an aquarium containing crayfish) significantly enhanced LTM. That is, while memory persists for only 3h in adult control experiments following a single 0.5-h training session in pond water in which the pneumostome receives a contingent tactile stimulus to the pneumostome; when the snails are trained in CE, the memory persists for at least 24h. In juveniles, the data are more dramatic. Juveniles are unable to form LTM in pond water, but form LTM when trained in CE. Here we examined whether juvenile snails form LTM following a one-trial training procedure (1TT). Following the 1TT procedure (a single-trial aversive operant conditioning training procedure), juveniles do not form LTM, unless trained in CE. Concomitantly, we observe changes in the excitability of RPeD11, a key neuron mediating the whole snail withdrawal response, which may be a neural correlate of enhanced memory formation.
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