Department of Neurobiology; Waddell Lab; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience Program
Dopaminergic neurons provide reward learning signals in mammals and insects [1-4]. Recent work in Drosophila has demonstrated that water-reinforcing dopaminergic neurons are different to those for nutritious sugars . Here, we tested whether the sweet taste and nutrient properties of sugar reinforcement further subdivide the fly reward system. We found that dopaminergic neurons expressing the OAMB octopamine receptor  specifically convey the short-term reinforcing effects of sweet taste . These dopaminergic neurons project to the beta'2 and gamma4 regions of the mushroom body lobes. In contrast, nutrient-dependent long-term memory requires different dopaminergic neurons that project to the gamma5b regions, and it can be artificially reinforced by those projecting to the beta lobe and adjacent alpha1 region. Surprisingly, whereas artificial implantation and expression of short-term memory occur in satiated flies, formation and expression of artificial long-term memory require flies to be hungry. These studies suggest that short-term and long-term sugar memories have different physiological constraints. They also demonstrate further functional heterogeneity within the rewarding dopaminergic neuron population.
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Citation: Curr Biol. 2015 Mar 16;25(6):751-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.01.036. Epub 2015 Feb 26. Link to article on publisher's site
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Current biology : CB
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Huetteroth, Wolf; Perisse, Emmanuel; Lin, Suewei; Klappenbach, Martin; Burke, Christopher J.; and Waddell, Scott, "Sweet taste and nutrient value subdivide rewarding dopaminergic neurons in Drosophila" (2015). GSBS Student Publications. 1986.