Behaviour 2019
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Reward taste conditioning in Drosophila
SIYUAN YANG. Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York, United States

Taste memory allows animals to modulate feeding behavior in accordance with past experience to avoid the consumption of potentially harmful food. It has been shown that appetitive behavior is hardwired in the brain yet can be modulated by experience. So far, the modulation was demonstrated only by pairing the tastants with aversive stimuli like bitter solution. Here, we present a new taste memory assay in fruit flies, where the presentation of a neutral taste stimulus is paired with rewarding sugar intake. We tested an array of neutral or appetitive substances (conditioned stimulus, CS) and rewarding reinforcements (unconditioned stimulus, US) and determined the optimal conditions for a robust and reliable Reward Taste Conditioning assay (RTC). We used fructose as the CS and a sweeter sugar, sucrose, as the US. This CS-US pairing allowed us to characterize the properties of the reinforcing stimuli and the associated memory formation. We also screened neuronal substrate and the genes specific to reward taste learning. In doing this, we can further our understanding of the detailed neuronal architecture underlying reward taste conditioning.