rutabaga1 (rut1), a Drosophila learning mutant, has adenylate cyclase (EC 126.96.36.199) with reduced basal activity and the absence of calcium/calmodulin-stimulated activity. A second learning mutant, dunce, is defective in cyclic AMP degradation due to decreased or absent phosphodiesterase activity. These opposing biochemical defects allow rut1 to partially suppress the female sterility caused by elevated cyclic AMP levels in dunce flies. Selection of mutations that suppress dunce sterility has led to the isolation of two rutabaga alleles. The alleles (rut2 and rut3) decrease basal adenylate cyclase activity [Bellen, H. J., Gregory, B. K., Olsson, C. L. & Kiger, J. A. (1987) Dev. Biol. 121, 432-444] but, unlike the original rutabaga mutation, leave the calcium/calmodulin-stimulated activity intact. Behaviorally, the two alleles also differ from rut1. One of the mutations partially rescues the dunce learning defect, and flies bearing both alleles learn. Calcium responsiveness may thus be the crucial component of adenylate cyclase activity required for associative learning.