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Awata, H., Takakura, M., Kimura, Y., Iwata, I., Masuda, T., Hirano, Y. (2019). The neural circuit linking mushroom body parallel circuits induces memory consolidation in Drosophila.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 116(32): 16080--16085.
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Memory consolidation is augmented by repeated learning following rest intervals, which is known as the spacing effect. Although the spacing effect has been associated with cumulative cellular responses in the neurons engaged in memory, here, we report the neural circuit-based mechanism for generating the spacing effect in the memory-related mushroom body (MB) parallel circuits in Drosophila To investigate the neurons activated during the training, we monitored expression of phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), ERK <up>phosphorylation of extracellular signal-related kinase (pERK)</up>. In an olfactory spaced training paradigm, pERK expression in one of the parallel circuits, consisting of γm neurons, was progressively inhibited via dopamine. This inhibition resulted in reduced pERK expression in a postsynaptic GABAergic neuron that, in turn, led to an increase in pERK expression in a dopaminergic neuron specifically in the later session during spaced training, suggesting that disinhibition of the dopaminergic neuron occurs during spaced training. The dopaminergic neuron was significant for gene expression in the different MB parallel circuits consisting of α/βs neurons for memory consolidation. Our results suggest that the spacing effect-generating neurons and the neurons engaged in memory reside in the distinct MB parallel circuits and that the spacing effect can be a consequence of evolved neural circuit architecture.

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PMC6690006 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
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