Multiple spaced trials of aversive differential conditioning can produce two independent long-term memories (LTMs) of opposite valence. One is an aversive memory for avoiding the conditioned stimulus (CS+), and the other is a safety memory for approaching the non-conditioned stimulus (CS-). Here, we show that a single trial of aversive differential conditioning yields one merged LTM (mLTM) for avoiding both CS+ and CS-. Such mLTM can be detected after sequential exposures to the shock-paired CS+ and unpaired CS-, and be retrieved by either CS+ or CS-. The formation of mLTM relies on triggering aversive-reinforcing dopaminergic neurons and subsequent new protein synthesis. Expressing mLTM involves αβ Kenyon cells and corresponding approach-directing mushroom body output neurons (MBONs), in which similar-amplitude long-term depression of responses to CS+ and CS- seems to signal the mLTM. Our results suggest that animals can develop distinct strategies for occasional and repeated threatening experiences.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- Qian Li
- Yi Zhong
The funders had no role in study design, data collection, and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- K VijayRaghavan, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India
- Received: January 13, 2021
- Accepted: July 18, 2021
- Accepted Manuscript published: July 19, 2021 (version 1)
© 2021, Zhao et al.
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