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Calcium in Kenyon Cell Somata as a Substrate for an Olfactory Sensory Memory in Drosophila

Front Cell Neurosci. 14 May 2018. https://doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2018.00128

Authors/Editors: Lüdke A
Raiser G
Nehrkorn J
Herz AVM
Galizia CG
Szyszka P
Publication Date: 2018
Type of Publication: Journal Articles 2001 - 2018

Abstract

Animals can form associations between temporally separated stimuli. To do so, the nervous system has to retain a neural representation of the first stimulus until the second stimulus appears. The neural substrate of such sensory stimulus memories is unknown. Here, we search for a sensory odor memory in the insect olfactory system and characterize odorant-evoked Ca2+ activity at three consecutive layers of the olfactory system in Drosophila: in olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) and projection neurons (PNs) in the antennal lobe, and in Kenyon cells (KCs) in the mushroom body. We show that the post-stimulus responses in ORN axons, PN dendrites, PN somata, and KC dendrites are odor-specific, but they are not predictive of the chemical identity of past olfactory stimuli. However, the post-stimulus responses in KC somata carry information about the identity of previous olfactory stimuli. These findings show that the Ca2+ dynamics in KC somata could encode a sensory memory of odorant identity and thus might serve as a basis for associations between temporally separated stimuli.

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