Traces of Drosophila memory

Neuron. 2011 Apr 14;70(1):8-19. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.03.012.


Studies using functional cellular imaging of living flies have identified six memory traces that form in the olfactory nervous system after conditioning with odors. These traces occur in distinct nodes of the olfactory nervous system, form and disappear across different windows of time, and are detected in the imaged neurons as increased calcium influx or synaptic release in response to the conditioned odor. Three traces form at or near acquisition and coexist with short-term behavioral memory. One trace forms with a delay after learning and coexists with intermediate-term behavioral memory. Two traces form many hours after acquisition and coexist with long-term behavioral memory. The transient memory traces may support behavior across the time windows of their existence. The experimental approaches for dissecting memory formation in the fly, ranging from the molecular to the systems, make it an ideal system for elucidating the logic by which the nervous system organizes and stores different temporal forms of memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mushroom Bodies / physiology
  • Odorants
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology*
  • Olfactory Perception / physiology*
  • Smell / physiology