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Calcium: The Secret To Honeybees' Memory

Date:
June 17, 2009
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Long-term memory formation in honeybees is instigated by a calcium ion cascade. Researchers have shown that calcium acts as a switch between short- and long-term storage of learned information.
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Long-term memory formation in honeybees is instigated by a calcium ion cascade. Researchers have shown that calcium acts as a switch between short- and long-term storage of learned information.

Jean-Christophe Sandoz led a team of researchers from the CNRS, the Université de Toulouse and the French Calcium Research Network, who carried out the neurological honeybee experiments. He said, "By modulating the intracellular calcium concentration in the insects' brains, we've been able to demonstrate that, during olfactory conditioning, Ca2+ is both a necessary and a sufficient signal for the formation of protein-dependent long-term memory".

Sandoz and his colleagues studied a learned behaviour in the bees, extension of the proboscis in response to olfactory stimuli associated with food. Three days after decreasing calcium levels during learning, the bees stopped responding to the odor, and three days after increasing calcium during learning, bees' response to the odor were stronger. In addition, the researchers found that the increased memory performance in bees induced by increased calcium depended on protein synthesis. According to Sandoz, "We have found here that the modulation of calcium during learning affects long-term memory specifically while leaving learning and short-term memory intact".


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The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Emmanuel Perisse, Valerie Raymond-Delpech, Isabelle Neant, Yukihisa Matsumoto, Catherine Leclerc, Marc Moreau and Jean-Christophe Sandoz. Early calcium increase triggers the formation of olfactory long-term memory in honeybees. BMC Biology, (in press) [link]

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BioMed Central. "Calcium: The Secret To Honeybees' Memory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090615203106.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2009, June 17). Calcium: The Secret To Honeybees' Memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090615203106.htm
BioMed Central. "Calcium: The Secret To Honeybees' Memory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090615203106.htm (accessed May 29, 2015).

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