Learning and memory storage is a complex process that has proven challenging to tackle. It is likely that, in nature, the instructive value of reinforcing experiences is acquired rather than innate. The association between seemingly neutral stimuli increases the gamut of possibilities to create meaningful associations and the predictive power of moment-by-moment experiences. Here we report physiological and behavioral evidence of olfactory unimodal sensory preconditioning in fruit flies. We show that the presentation of a pair of odors (S1 and S2) before one of them (S1) is associated with electric shocks elicits a conditional response not only to the trained odor (S1) but to the odor previously paired with it (S2). This occurs even if the S2 odor was never presented in contiguity with the aversive stimulus. In addition, we show that inhibition of the small G protein Rac1, a known forgetting regulator, facilitates the association between S1/S2 odors. These results indicate that flies can infer value to olfactory stimuli based on the previous associative structure between odors, and that inhibition of Rac1 lengthens the time window of the olfactory 'sensory buffer', allowing the establishment of associations between odors presented in sequence.
All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- Isaac Cervantes-Sandoval
- Isaac Cervantes-Sandoval
- Prachi Shah
- Isaac Cervantes-Sandoval
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Sonia Sen, Tata Institute for Genetics and Society, India
© 2022, Martinez-Cervantes et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Perceptual decisions about sensory input are influenced by fluctuations in ongoing neural activity, most prominently driven by attention and neuromodulator systems. It is currently unknown if neuromodulator activity and attention differentially modulate perceptual decision-making and/or whether neuromodulatory systems in fact control attentional processes. To investigate the effects of two distinct neuromodulatory systems and spatial attention on perceptual decisions, we pharmacologically elevated cholinergic (through donepezil) and catecholaminergic (through atomoxetine) levels in humans performing a visuo-spatial attention task, while we measured electroencephalography (EEG). Both attention and catecholaminergic enhancement improved decision-making at the behavioral and algorithmic level, as reflected in increased perceptual sensitivity and the modulation of the drift rate parameter derived from drift diffusion modeling. Univariate analyses of EEG data time-locked to the attentional cue, the target stimulus, and the motor response further revealed that attention and catecholaminergic enhancement both modulated pre-stimulus cortical excitability, cue- and stimulus-evoked sensory activity, as well as parietal evidence accumulation signals. Interestingly, we observed both similar, unique, and interactive effects of attention and catecholaminergic neuromodulation on these behavioral, algorithmic, and neural markers of the decision-making process. Thereby, this study reveals an intricate relationship between attentional and catecholaminergic systems and advances our understanding about how these systems jointly shape various stages of perceptual decision-making.
The relationship between obesity and human brain structure is incompletely understood. Using diffusion-weighted MRI from ∼30,000 UK Biobank participants, we test the hypothesis that obesity (waist-to-hip ratio, WHR) is associated with regional differences in two micro-structural MRI metrics: isotropic volume fraction (ISOVF), an index of free water, and intra-cellular volume fraction (ICVF), an index of neurite density. We observed significant associations with obesity in two coupled but distinct brain systems: a prefrontal/temporal/striatal system associated with ISOVF and a medial temporal/occipital/striatal system associated with ICVF. The ISOVF~WHR system colocated with expression of genes enriched for innate immune functions, decreased glial density, and high mu opioid (MOR) and other neurotransmitter receptor density. Conversely, the ICVF~WHR system co-located with expression of genes enriched for G-protein coupled receptors and decreased density of MOR and other receptors. To test whether these distinct brain phenotypes might differ in terms of their underlying shared genetics or relationship to maps of the inflammatory marker C-reactive Protein (CRP), we estimated the genetic correlations between WHR and ISOVF (rg = 0.026, P = 0.36) and ICVF (rg = 0.112, P < 9×10−4) as well as comparing correlations between WHR maps and equivalent CRP maps for ISOVF and ICVF (P<0.05). These correlational results are consistent with a two-way mechanistic model whereby genetically determined differences in neurite density in the medial temporal system may contribute to obesity, whereas water content in the prefrontal system could reflect a consequence of obesity mediated by innate immune system activation.