What is it about?

When animals learn new tasks, several changes occur. It is known that these changes are associated to the release of specific neurotransmitters, the chemicals that communicate neurons in our brain. Flies are capable of generating and storing new odor memories, like our brains do. Thus, we have learned about our own ability to learn by studying how flies generate and store new memories. It has been shown -by using several genetic tools- that dopamine plays an important role in the generation of new olfactory memories in Drosophila. However, an important issue when studying a biological event is to follow dynamic changes at a timely-manner. There are very few tools available to study the dynamic release of neurotransmitters in the fly brain, and therefore, this is a difficult task. In this work we present a new protocol to study for the first time the release of a family of neurotransmitters, the amines (dopamine, serotonin and octopamine), in Drosophila brain in vivo, while flies are being exposed to stimuli that are associated to the generation of olfactory memories.

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Why is it important?

This is the first time the release of neuroactive amines are evaluated in adult Drosophila brain, in vivo, while animals are being exposed to stimuli associated to olfactory learning and memory. This work provides new insights on dynamic changes in amine release while flies learn


This work provides new information of the contribution of serotonin and octopamine to the generation of olfactory memories, which could be used to better comprehend the changes occuring in Drosophila brain as flies learn. Most of the current models for olfactory learning and memory in Drosophila acknowledge the contribution of dopamine to this phenomenon. They fall short in our understanding of the biological process because do not include the contribution of other neurotransmitters. Our data, and recent results from other groups demonstrating the contribution of serotonin and octopamine, and also GABA and acetylcholine, support the idea that additional players contribute to Drosophila olfactory learning and should be considered in new models that aim at a better understanding of the entire phenomenon.

Dr Jorge M Campusano
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Study of the release of endogenous amines in Drosophila brain in vivo in response to stimuli linked to aversive olfactory conditioning, Journal of Neurochemistry, June 2020, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/jnc.15109.
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