Synaptic Growth and Transcriptional Regulation in Drosophila

  • Cynthia Barber
  • J. Troy Littleton


The elucidation of the underlying molecular mechanisms that allow learning and memory storage in the nervous system is one of the most exciting challenges in current neuroscience research. While memory storage in vertebrates can persist for a short time in the presence of mRNA transcription or protein translation blockers, these memories last for only a few hours and do not undergo consolidation into longer-term information storage. Physiological studies in the hippocampus have demonstrated that the late phases of long-term potentiation (LTP) depend on transcription and translation (kelleher, Govindarajan, Jung, Kang and Tonegawa, 2004; Kelleher, Govindarajan and Tonegawa, 2004). Transcription-dependent brain plasticity is also evident in invertebrates, as overexpression of a dominant-negative CREB (cAMP-responsive element binding protein) transgene is sufficient to block long-term memory storage in Drosophila (Yin, Wallach, Del Vecchio, Wilder, Zhou, Quinn and Tully 1994). Through a combination of genetic approaches using the Drosophila neuromuscular junction to study synaptic growth regulation, and genome-wide microarray studies in Drosophila mutants with altered neuronal activity, it has become clear that a critical target for transcriptional recoding during neuronal plasticity involves changes in synaptic wiring. Here we review both the mechanisms of activity-dependent transcriptional regulation in Drosophila, as well as how this regulation interfaces with the control of synaptic growth and function.


Synaptic Plasticity Mushroom Body Synaptic Structure Olfactory Learning Synaptic Growth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia Barber
  • J. Troy Littleton

There are no affiliations available

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