Parceling out the sites and mechanisms of reward-, relief- and safety-memories in Drosophila
The dichotomy of search/approach versus escape/avoidance is fundamental to motivated behaviour. We study how six different kinds of memory modulate this balance. This is of translational importance as they define independent opportunities for interference. There can be three different kinds of memory for learned approach: animals and man alike approach a cue if it predicts i) reward, ii) relief from shock, or iii) shock-absence. In turn, learned avoidance can be based on memories predicting iv) shock, v) loss of reward, or vi) absence of reward. We study the organization of these six processes in Drosophila, focussing on the evolutionarily conserved Synapsin protein, and the mushroom body, a ‘cortical’ brain region of insects.