Serotonergic Modulation of Novelty Habituation During Exploration in Drosophila



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In a natural environment, animals must attend to and process countless streams of stimuli. Novel stimuli, or a change in the environment, may signal an opportunity for food, mates or indicate danger. A novel stimulus may elicit an approach response motivating an animal to inspect and learn about the new environmental feature. Locomotor exploration allows an animal to gain information about the features in the environment. However, animals can attend to only one stimulus at a time. Once the aim of exploring has been achieved, the exploratory behaviors triggered by novelty should cease to allow the animal to attend to other tasks. Novelty habituation is the process whereby an animal gradually decreases behaviors elicited by novelty, as the unfamiliar transitions to familiar. Herein, this study demonstrates that the decrease in locomotor activity Drosophila display in the open-filed arena is habituation to the novelty presented by the arena. In addition, experiments presented here show that serotonin signaling modulates locomotor activity, that the 5-HT1A receptor may be required in / and  neurons of the mushroom bodies for locomotor modulation and that activation of the Dorsal Paired Medial neurons and possibly the Posterior Lateral Protocerebrum neurons is sufficient to decrease locomotor activity in the open-field arena. These data suggest a putative serotonergic circuit that modulates locomotor exploration in response to plasticity in the mushroom bodies as novelty transitions to familiarity.



Serotonin, Habituation


Portions of this document appear in: de la Flor, Miguel, Lijian Chen, Claire Manson-Bishop, Tzu-Chun Chu, Kathya Zamora, Danielle Robbins, Gemunu Gunaratne, and Gregg Roman. "Drosophila increase exploration after visually detecting predators." PloS one 12, no. 7 (2017): e0180749.