Mushroom Body Ablation Impairs Short-Term Memory And Long-Term Memory Of Courtship Conditioning In Drosophila Melanogaster

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We have evaluated the role of the Drosophila mushroom bodies (MBs) in courtship conditioning, in which experience with mated females causes males to reduce their courtship toward virgins ( Siegel and Hall 1979). Whereas previous studies indicated that MB ablation abolished learning in an olfactory conditioning paradigm ( deBelle and Heisenberg 1994), MB-ablated males were able to learn in the courtship paradigm. They resumed courting at naive levels within 30 min after training, however, while the courtship of control males remained depressed 1 hr after training. We also describe a novel courtship conditioning paradigm that established long-term memory, lasting 9 days. In MB-ablated males, memory dissipated completely within 1 day. Our results indicate that the MBs are not required for learning and immediate recall of courtship conditioning but are required for consolidation of short-term and long-term associative memories.