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Weiglein, A., Gerstner, F., Mancini, N., Schleyer, M., Gerber, B. (2019). One-trial learning in larval Drosophila.  Learn. Mem. 26(4): 109--120.
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Research paper

Animals of many species are capable of "small data" learning, that is, of learning without repetition. Here we introduce larval Drosophila melanogaster as a relatively simple study case for such one-trial learning. Using odor-food associative conditioning, we first show that a sugar that is both sweet and nutritious (fructose) and sugars that are only sweet (arabinose) or only nutritious (sorbitol) all support appetitive one-trial learning. The same is the case for the optogenetic activation of a subset of dopaminergic neurons innervating the mushroom body, the memory center of the insects. In contrast, no one-trial learning is observed for an amino acid reward (aspartic acid). As regards the aversive domain, one-trial learning is demonstrated for high-concentration sodium chloride, but is not observed for a bitter tastant (quinine). Second, we provide follow-up, parametric analyses of odor-fructose learning. Specifically, we ascertain its dependency on the number and duration of training trials, the requirements for the behavioral expression of one-trial odor-fructose memory, its temporal stability, and the feasibility of one-trial differential conditioning. Our results set the stage for a neurogenetic analysis of one-trial learning and define the requirements for modeling mnemonic processes in the larva.

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PMC6432171 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Learn. Mem.
    Learning and Memory
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