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Tracing memory formation in a behaving animal: analysis of learning-induced morpho-functional plasticity along the bee’s olfactory system

Descripción del proyecto

Estimulación de abejas melíferas para comprender la formación de recuerdos

La formación y extinción de recuerdos es uno de los campos de estudio más apasionantes y muchos de sus experimentos se llevan a cabo en laboratorios. Sin embargo, los procesos neuronales responsables de la creación de recuerdos, o su plasticidad, deben investigarse «in vivo» en sus redes naturales si se quieren comprender bien, aunque esto no es tarea fácil. El proyecto financiado con fondos europeos MEM-ENTO ha asumido el reto y estudiará la formación de memoria animal en abejas melíferas activas. El proyecto llevará a cabo experimentos de imagenología de larga duración y controlará el sistema olfativo de las abejas melíferas, a fin de describir los cambios funcionales y biológicos provocados por el aprendizaje asociativo y la dinámica funcional de los estímulos. MEM-ENTO ayudará a los científicos a comprender la formación de recuerdos en animales despiertos a escala neuronal.

Objetivo

Memory formation and extinction are fascinating aspects of brain functions. Observation of ex vivo and in vitro experiments provided a framework for understanding associative memory-related plasticity. However, memories are generated via local neuronal interactions within the context of their global networks, and understanding their formation requires in vivo studies in naturalistic conditions, which remain technically challenging. Here, I will use a functional calcium imaging approach to investigate memory formation and extinction in behaving honeybees. I will adopt the honeybee as a model system because of the accumulated knowledge on associative learning, the availability of a behavioural read-out for both appetitive and aversive memory formation, and its robustness, which allows for long-lasting imaging experiments. I will focus on its olfactory system because of the optical accessibility, and its analogy with the vertebrate one. Previous works have established the methods for honeybee brain imaging analysis in vivo during appetitive and aversive conditioning. Within this project, I will perform long-term imaging experiments in behaving animals, while monitoring the process of short and long-term memory formation and extinction in the three main neuropils of the olfactory system: the antennal lobe (the primary odour processing centre), the mushroom bodies (possibly dedicated to odour recognition), and the lateral horn (involved in odour valence evaluation). My specific goals are (1) characterizing the morphological and functional changes induced by associative learning throughout these neuropils, (2) highlighting the functional dynamics of a stimulus representation during short and long-term memory formation and extinction, and (3) comparing the memory engram of positive and negative associations. This project will provide important insight on the neural correlates of memory formation and extinction in a behaving animal.

Coordinador

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS
Aportación neta de la UEn
€ 196 707,84
Dirección
RUE MICHEL ANGE 3
75794 Paris
Francia

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Región
Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Tipo de actividad
Research Organisations
Enlaces
Coste total
€ 196 707,84