What is it about?

The brain has an amazing capacity to learn and store new memories. Yet, recent studies show that it is also designed to forget memories, to provide for flexibility in decision making as the environment changes. The circuit, cellular, and molecular mechanisms underlying forgetting are largely unknown. We discovered a new gene, named Sickie, that is required for normal forgetting in Drosophila by facilitating the release of dopamine onto neurons that store memory, thereby aiding in the erasure of memory.

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Why is it important?

Our studies continue to define cells and molecules that function in the process of active forgetting. We will be in a much better position to design effective therapeutics for memory disorders with increased knowledge about how the brain forgets memories.

Perspectives

“We have learned much about circuits, cells, and molecules involved in acquiring and storing memories from 60 years of research. But we do forget and forgetting has remained a black box. This is what makes this research exciting. We will never have a good understanding of learning and memory without understanding forgetting.”

Ronald Davis
UF Scripps Biomedical Research

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This page is a summary of: Active forgetting requires Sickie function in a dedicated dopamine circuit in Drosophila, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2204229119.
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