University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology; Waddell Lab

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Document Type



Animals; Appetitive Behavior; Avoidance Learning; Behavior, Animal; Dopaminergic Neurons; Drosophila; Learning; Memory; Mushroom Bodies; Smell


Behavioral Neurobiology | Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience


In Drosophila, anatomically discrete dopamine neurons that innervate distinct zones of the mushroom body (MB) assign opposing valence to odors during olfactory learning. Subsets of MB neurons have temporally unique roles in memory processing, but valence-related organization has not been demonstrated. We functionally subdivided the alphabeta neurons, revealing a value-specific role for the approximately 160 alphabeta core (alphabetac) neurons. Blocking neurotransmission from alphabeta surface (alphabetas) neurons revealed a requirement during retrieval of aversive and appetitive memory, whereas blocking alphabetac only impaired appetitive memory. The alphabetac were also required to express memory in a differential aversive paradigm demonstrating a role in relative valuation and approach behavior. Strikingly, both reinforcing dopamine neurons and efferent pathways differentially innervate alphabetac and alphabetas in the MB lobes. We propose that conditioned approach requires pooling synaptic outputs from across the alphabeta ensemble but only from the alphabetas for conditioned aversion.


Drosophila melanogaster, Memory, Smell, Learning

DOI of Published Version



Neuron. 2013 Sep 4;79(5):945-56. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.07.045. Link to article on publisher's site

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.