Magdeburg Update – December 2014

Impact of memory expression on larval chemotaxis

We are working on a joint publication with Matthieu Louis and Sam Reid from the CRG. We analyze learned and innate olfactory behavior and propose a model of how an olfactory memory is integrated with ongoing sensory-motor processing to organize adaptive search behavior in Drosophila.

Tracking and analyzing larval chemotaxis

We continue to improve our larval tracker and its software. Especially, we focus on resolving simple and short collisions between animals, thus decreasing the fragmentation of the paths. At the same time, we explore a new approach of analyzing larval locomotion and chemotaxis, based on the cycles of peristaltic movement. A ‘pipeline’ of data processing is being set up.

Learning the specific quality of taste reinforcement

We continue our work regarding whether larval Drosophila may not only remember the value of reinforcement (How much?), but also its quality (What?). From the available literature, such nuanced memories for the quality of reinforcement would be unexpected, and would pose a challenge to present models of how insect memory is organized.


The neuronal basis of learning and memory

We continue our efforts, jointly with HHMI Janelia Farms, to identify all mushroom body extrinsic neurons that are necessary for learning and/or learned behavior. We are currently establishing a setup to optogentically activate those neurons. In the meantime, we continue on revealing the connectivity of mushroom body intrinsic and extrinsic neurons.

MINIMAL-related publications in 2014 from our group include

Chen Y-C, Gerber B 2014 Generalization- and discrimination-tasks yield concordant measures of perceived distance between odours and their binary mixtures in larval Drosophila. Journal of Experimental Biology, 217, 2071-2077.

König C, Schleyer M, Leibiger J, El-Keredy A, Gerber B 2014 Bitter-sweet processing in larval Drosophila. Chemical Senses, 39, 489-505.

Niewalda T, Jeske I, Michels B, Gerber B 2014 ‘Peer pressure’ in larval Drosophila? Biol Open, 3, 575-582.

Saumweber T, Carmen Cano C, Klessen J, Eichler K, Fendt M, Gerber B 2014 Immediate and punitive impact of mechanosensory disturbance on olfactory behaviour of larval Drosophila. Biol Open, 1005-1010.

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