Environmental light is required for maintenance of long-term memory in drosophila

Show Inami, Shoma Sato, Shu Kondo, Hiromu Tanimoto, Toshihiro Kitamoto, Takaomi Sakai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Long-term memory (LTM) is stored as functional modifications of relevant neural circuits in the brain. A large body of evidence indicates that the initial establishment of such modifications through the process known as memory consolidation requires learning-dependent transcriptional activation and de novo protein synthesis. However, it remains poorly understood how the consolidated memory is maintained for a long period in the brain, despite constant turnover of molecular substrates. Using the Drosophila courtship conditioning assay of adult males as a memory paradigm, here, we show that in Drosophila, environmental light plays a critical role in LTM maintenance. LTM is impaired when flies are kept in constant darkness (DD) during the memory maintenance phase. Because light activates the brain neurons expressing the neuropeptide pigment-dispersing factor (Pdf), we examined the possible involvement of Pdf neurons in LTM maintenance. Temporal activation of Pdf neurons compensated for the DD-dependent LTM impairment, whereas temporal knockdown of Pdf during the memory maintenance phase impaired LTM in light/dark cycles. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the transcription factor cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) is required in the memory center, namely, the mushroom bodies (MBs), for LTM maintenance, and Pdf signaling regulates light-dependent transcription via CREB. Our results demonstrate for the first time that universally available environmental light plays a critical role in LTM maintenance by activating the evolutionarily conserved memory modulator CREB in MBs via the Pdf signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1427-1439
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 12


  • CREB
  • Clock neurons
  • Drosophila
  • Long-term memory
  • Memory maintenance
  • Pigment-dispersing factor


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