Guo, AK (reprint author), Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Neurosci, State Key Lab Neurosci, Shanghai Inst Biol Sci, Shanghai 200031, Peoples R China.,firstname.lastname@example.org
Reversal learning has been widely used to probe the implementation of cognitive flexibility in the brain. Previous studies in monkeys identified an essential role of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in reversal learning. However, the underlying circuits and molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we use the T-maze to investigate the neural mechanism of olfactory reversal learning in Drosophila. By adding a reversal training cycle to the classical learning protocol, we show that wild-type flies are able to reverse their choice according to the alteration of conditioned stimulus (CS)-unconditioned stimulus (US) contingency. The reversal protocol induced a specific suppression of the initial memory, an effect distinct from memory decay or extinction. GABA down-regulation in the anterior paired lateral (APL) neurons, which innervate the mushroom bodies (MBs), eliminates this suppression effect and impairs normal reversal. These findings reveal that inhibitory regulation from the GABAergic APL neurons facilitates olfactory reversal learning by suppressing initial memory in Drosophila.