The team found that flies kept in the dark were unable to maintain a pre-established long-term memory. This was due to the lack of Protein-dispersing factor (Pdf) release, which in turn results in no cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) being produced in the memory center of the fly brain.
CREDIT: Tokyo Metropolitan University
Environmental light shown to affect retention of traumatic long-term memory in flies
Scientists from Tokyo Metropolitan University have discovered that Drosophila flies lose long-term memory (LTM) of a traumatic event when kept in the dark, the first confirmation of environmental light playing a role in LTM maintenance. The team also identified the specific molecular mechanism responsible for this effect. LTMs are notoriously difficult to erase; this work may lead to novel treatments for sufferers of trauma, perhaps even the erasure of life-altering traumatic memories.
It is impossible to remember everything that happens to us in a day. But a particularly shocking event may be consolidated into our long-term memory (LTM), whereby new proteins are synthesized and the neuronal circuits in our brain are modified. Such memories may be devastating to a victim, potentially triggering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yet physiologically speaking, keeping a memory is far from a trivial process; active maintenance is required to keep the changes, protecting against the constant cellular rearrangement and renewal of a living organism. Despite the importance of understanding how memory works in the brain, the mechanism by which this occurs is not yet understood and is a key topic for neuroscience today.
It is well known that light, particularly the cycle of night and day, plays an important role in regulating animal physiology. Examples include circadian rhythm, mood and cognition. But how about long-term memory? Thus, a team led by Prof. Takaomi Sakai from Tokyo Metropolitan University set out to study how light exposure affects the memory of diurnal Drosophila fruit flies. As an instance of long-term memory or trauma, they used the courtship conditioning paradigm, where male flies are exposed to female flies which have already mated. Mated females are known to be unreceptive and exert a stress on male flies which fail to mate. Once the experience is committed to long-term memory, they no longer attempt to court female flies, even when the females around them are unmated.
The team found that conditioned male flies kept in the dark for 2 days or more no longer showed any reluctance to mate, while those on a normal day-night cycle did. This clearly shows that environmental light somehow modified the retention of LTM. This was not due to lack of sleep; flies on a diurnal cycle were slightly sleep deprived to match with flies in the dark, with no effect on the results. Thus, they focused on a protein in the brain called the Pigment-dispersing factor (Pdf), known to be expressed in response to light. For the first time, they found that Pdf regulated the transcription of a protein called the cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) in the mushroom bodies, a part of the brain of insects known to be implicated in memory and learning. Thus, they identified the specific molecular mechanism by which light affects the retention of long-term memory.
Traumatic experiences are very difficult to forget and can severely impair a victim’s quality of life. But the team’s discoveries show that these memories can, in fact, be significantly affected by environmental factors in living organisms. This opens up the exciting possibilities of new treatments for victims of trauma, perhaps even the ability to erase traumatic memories which prevent them from leading normal lives.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- The personal is political: A journey through Palestinian exileon November 29, 2020 at 6:56 am
As a Palestinian, I constantly find myself asking where I belong. The answer is that there is no space for me.
- HRS For The Holidays: More Twinkles, Less Wrinkleson November 26, 2020 at 4:02 pm
If you feel like the stress of 2020 is written all over your face, Hawaii Blue could help!
- Revamped Tar Heels ready to erase memory of last yearon November 24, 2020 at 5:09 am
The COVID-19 pandemic forced an early end to the college basketball season for many teams, but North Carolina was not one of them. In the last ACC game played last season, while Tom Hanks and Rudy ...
- The Continuing Adventures of Ohmon November 23, 2020 at 8:55 am
Ohm Confinement is now a regular weekly series on Electronic Design. We had a short chart with Dr. Ridley about his cartoon series. Dr. Ray Ridley is the creator for Ohm Confinement. Why a cartoon? At ...
- JONES: Fans have say on EE Football Team name amid massive raffle in Joey Moss' memoryon November 22, 2020 at 7:29 pm
The inaugural Joey’s 50-50 smashed all previous records established by the EE Football Team that led all leagues, until recently, in records for 50-50 payouts, including the biggest jackpot of all at ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- 4 Tips for Effectively Managing PTSD Flashbackson November 28, 2020 at 7:00 am
I am almost 10 years post-intensive post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma treatment. Today I am 10 years older and a lot wiser in the ways of trauma and PTSD. Five years ago I just wanted ...
- Remote work could be silver lining of pandemic for some veterans, including those with PTSDon November 27, 2020 at 7:03 am
Remote work options, which have increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, could benefit veterans with complex medical needs or PTSD.
- Miscarriage can trigger PTSD just like surviving a terrorist attack or domestic violenceon November 25, 2020 at 7:09 am
A new study showed that 29% of women who've experienced early pregnancy loss have PTSD symptoms a month later. Some have anxiety and depression too.
- PTSD Amid Coronavirus Outbreak- How Pandemic can Trigger Iton November 24, 2020 at 3:19 pm
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD), victims' initial symptoms include numbness, tiredness, and feeling off for a prolonged period. PTSD DIAGNOSED PEOPLE AFFECTED DUE TO THE PANDEMIC.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Market Size is Anticipated to Reach USD 7.3 Billion By 2025on November 24, 2020 at 2:35 am
Traumatic Stress Disorder Market Synopsis According to Market Research Future (MRFR), the global post-traumatic ...