Project B4 Heisenberg
In search of time-specific memories in Drosophila
Are memories of insects time-specific or is the well-known temporal specificity of memories in
honeybees and ants an adaptation specific to eusocial insects, in particular to their complicated
(central-place) foraging patterns? Learning / memory paradigms will be developed to test for timespecific memories in the fly Drosophila melanogaster. For instance, it will be investigated, whether flies can be trained to associate in the morning and afternoon different odours with the expectation of food. If time-specific memory can be demonstrated, it will be further characterized. Is it found only with reward or also with punishment? Is a differential training regimen required or are memories per se time-specific? Is time memory used in sky-compass navigation? We will try to condition flies in a flight simulator to maintain a preferred orientation relative to the e-vector of polarized light and study whether they shift this relative preferred orientation with time of day. Is the known clock network involved in time-specific memory, as one would expect? How and where in the brain is time-of-day information 'attached' to the memory trace or neural substrate of the respective behaviour? If time-specific memory can be demonstrated in Drosophila, its neuronal and molecular underpinnings will be investigated.