Research

Learning and memory in Drosophila Fragile X model

Tests for assessing learning and memory in Drosophila are usually either based on avoidance conditioning paradigm or conditioned courtship paradigm. In the first case flies are introduced with two odors. First odor is followed with electrical shock, and the second odor is introduced without the shock. During this “training” flies are supposed to learn to avoid odor flowed with the shock. They are than tested in T-maze to check if they learned to pair the correct odor with the shock. FX flies were more choosing T-maze chambre with shock linked odor than the WT and failed to retain what they’ve learned after 2 minutes and one day showing defects in immediate recall and long-term memory respectively.

In conditioned courtship paradigm during training Drosophila male is paired with unreceptive female for an hour. WT Drosophila usually learns that it’s attempts for copulation will fail and courtship is reduced 40% or more in the final 10 minutes compared to the first 10 minutes of that hour. In old, 20 days age, FX Drosophila this learning during training is reduced compared to the WT but is normal in young Drosophila indicating cognitive decline with age. In the next step mails are paired with receptive female and if their memory is good, because of earlier failed attempts, they should be less interesting for copulation compared with mails that weren’t trained before. Test is performed 2 minutes, one hour, 2-7 hours and one day after training to assess respectively immediate recall memory (earlier referred as learning), short term memory, medium term memory and long-term memory. Young FX Drosophila flies that had satisfying learning during training are showing defects in immediate recall, short term and long-term memory.

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