Research Highlight: To favor survival under food shortage, the brain disables costly memory

ENP researcher Thomas Préat studies the neural circuitry of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. He and colleague Pierre-Yves Plaçais recently published a fascinating finding on how the brain conserves energy in periods of starvation. They revealed that the slow oscillations necessary for long-term memory formation were abolished when flies were in a starved state. When they artificially activated these oscillations long-term memory could be induced in starved flies, but fly survival decreased. Their findings suggest that the brain has its own methods for conserving energy in periods of food shortage.

Check out the article in the journal Science:

Plaçais PY and Préat T. To favor survival under food shortage, the brain disables costly memory. Science. 25 January 2013. 339:440-442.

Key words: Drosophila Long-term memory formation Dopaminergic neurons UAS-GAL4

Figure 2a from Plaçais and Préat, Science, 2013. Illustration of pairs of dopaminergic neurons in the Drosophila brain included in the NP0047-Gal4 driver.