Cognition, Behavior, and Memory

Author: Malena Cortasa | Email: malenacortasa@gmail.com

Malena Cortasa , Canela Pedreira González , Lia Frenkel

1° Laboratorio de Neurociencias del Tiempo – Instituto de Biociencias, Biotecnología y Biología traslacional – Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales – Universidad de Buenos Aires

The neurobiological basis of time estimation has not been clearly established yet. One possibility is that It encloses cognitive processes such as attention and/or working memory. We hypothesise that time estimation could be a type of immediate/short-term memory in which time itself is the stimulus that launches a behaviour. We developed an automatized interval-timing experimental setup for Drosophila melanogaster in which an isolated fly is presented at a fixed interval with a sucrose drop that is only available for 10s. We analysed the animal proboscis extension response (PER) over time and previous results showed that training increases the time until PER, anticipating the occurrence of the drop. Here we investigate if rutabaga, a well known gen involved in short-term memory mechanisms, is also engaged in time estimation. Firstly, we downregulated rutabaga in the mushroom bodies, neuropiles involved in learning and memory. Surprisingly, we found both morphologic and functional phenotypes in the eyes of experimental flies. We thus adopted an auxin-inducible gene expression system that enables rutabaga downregulation without all the undesirable phenotypes. Later, we check on the arousal state of these flies and their controls. Finally, we are evaluating the necessity of rutabaga in the mushroom bodies for the ability to estimate time or, at least, to demonstrate a time-reference memory.