Jenifer Kaldun

The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is able to form long term memory (LTM) in classical olfactory learning assays, where an odor is paired with a reward (sugar) or punishment (electric shock). To establish LTM transcription and translation are needed but the local requirement of translation remains poorly understood. In my PhD I will shed light on the translational requirement by using a cold-sensitive ricin toxin A, which is functional and inactivates ribosome at 29°C but has no effect on 18°C. The flies are then tested if they are able to produce LTM.

An important regulator of learning, memory and forgetting is the dopamine signaling pathway. Dopamine signaling relays the reward and punishment signals or rather external and internal information to the mushroom bodies (MBs) for environmental conditions based behavioral decisions. Drosophila melanogaster is reported to have three dopamine receptors, that are found in the MBs: dop1R1 (dumb) and dop1R2 (damb) both type 1 dopamine receptor leading to increased cAMP signaling, and dop2R, a type 2 dopamine receptor leading to decreased cAMP signaling. By creating CRISPR/Cas9 based GFP-HA-fusion proteins and conditional knockout  allelels of dopamine receptors I will generate knock-outs in specific neurons by using the FRT-Flip system.