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

Descrizione del progetto

Stimolare le api mellifere per comprendere la formazione della memoria

La formazione e la rimozione dei ricordi è uno dei campi di studio più interessanti, con numerosi esperimenti correlati condotti in laboratorio. Tuttavia, i processi neuronali responsabili della creazione dei ricordi, o della loro plasticità, devono essere studiati in vivo; per poter essere compresi, questi processi devono essere studiati nelle loro reti naturali. Questo, tuttavia, non è un compito facile. Il progetto MEM-ENTO, finanziato dall’UE, ha raccolto la sfida e studierà la formazione della memoria animale nelle api mellifere. Il progetto condurrà esperimenti di imaging a lungo termine e monitorerà il sistema olfattivo dell’ape mellifera, per descrivere i cambiamenti funzionali e biologici causati dall’apprendimento associativo e le dinamiche funzionali di uno stimolo. MEM-ENTO aiuterà gli scienziati a comprendere la formazione della memoria nel comportamento degli animali a livello neurale.

Obiettivo

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.

Coordinatore

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS
Contribution nette de l'UE
€ 196 707,84
Indirizzo
RUE MICHEL ANGE 3
75794 Paris
Francia

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Regione
Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Tipo di attività
Research Organisations
Collegamenti
Costo totale
€ 196 707,84