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Fruit flies remember a good meal

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New research on the science of appetite has found that the fruit fly brain is wired to remember and crave sweeter, energy-rich foods. After smelling and consuming a meal, such as a glob of sugar, information about the food's energy content is relayed via dopaminergic neurons to a fruit fly's olfactory long-term memory center. High-energy meals generated a more powerful dopamine signal, making it more likely that the fly would remember the odor of the meal when it was next encountered and choose it over other options. Flies had only short-term memories of low-energy meals. The researchers--neuroscientists Pierre-Yves Musso, Paul Tchenio, and Thomas Preat at the CNRS and ESPCI-ParisTech in Paris, France--believe that long term memory formation helps fruit flies avoid pursuing food sources that would be a waste of energy.

Paper Highlights

  • ♦ Delayed energetic supply allows appetitive long-term memory formation
  • ♦ MB-MP1 dopaminergic neurons control appetitive long-term memory consolidation
  • ♦ MB-MP1 oscillations are enhanced after conditioning with an energetic sugar
  • ♦ The DAMB dopaminergic receptor is required for appetitive long-term memory

Note: Material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Cell Press


Pierre-Yves Musso, Paul Tchenio, Thomas Preat. Delayed Dopamine Signaling of Energy Level Builds Appetitive Long-Term Memory in Drosophila.  Cell Reports, Published Online February 19 2015. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.01.036