Mechanisms of associative action learning. (360G-Wellcome-093438_Z_10_Z)
A major challenge in neurobiology is to explain how experiences can alter a brain to incorporate new information about (1) relationships between stimuli and (2) which actions are consequential. Both kinds of associative learning have been extensively studied, but much less is known about the latter. The fly Drosophila can be trained to form associations between a painful heat pulse and a specific motor program. The lack of external stimuli suggests that this associative process employs informati on about the animal s actions. This information is proposed to be carried by (1) the corollary discharge and reafferent signals that arise from motor commands (2) biochemical signaling pathways that mediate neural plasticity and (3) action representation neurons whose activity is modified by conditioning. I will search for these systems with neurogenetic loss-of-function experiments.
£132,390 17 Jan 2011