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Thursday, May 24, 2012

The propensity for consuming ethanol in Drosophila requiresrutabagaadenylyl cyclase expression within mushroom body neurons

Alcohol activates reward systems through an unknown mechanism, in some cases leading to alcohol abuse and dependence. Herein, we utilized a two-choice Capillary Feeding assay to address the neural and molecular basis for ethanol self-administration in Drosophila melanogaster.

Wild-type Drosophila demonstrates a significant preference for food containing between 5 and 15% ethanol.

Preferred ethanol self-administration does not appear to be due to caloric advantage, nor due to perceptual biases, suggesting a hedonic bias for ethanol exists in Drosophila.

Interestingly, rutabaga adenylyl cyclase expression within intrinsic mushroom body neurons is necessary for robust ethanol self-administration. The expression of rutabaga in mushroom bodies is also required for both appetitive and aversive olfactory associative memories, suggesting that reinforced behavior has an important role in the ethanol self-administration in Drosophila. However, rutabaga expression is required more broadly within the mushroom bodies for the preference for ethanol-containing food than for olfactory memories reinforced by sugar reward.

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