Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nitric oxide plays a vital role in the formation of long-term memory in snails

18.02.2002


Snails can teach us a great deal about how we form memories, according to a group of neuroscientists at the University of Sussex.

Research by Dr Ildikó Kemenes, Professor Paul Benjamin, Professor Michael O’Shea and colleagues shows that nitric oxide plays a vital role in the formation of long-term memory in snails. This is of crucial importance because the gas has already been shown to play such a role in humans and other mammals.

Ideally, scientists would like to use mammals to study the mechanism of memory formation, but mammalian brains are too complex. So, instead, they have to study animals with simpler brains. Snails are an ideal choice because they have unusually large neurons (nerve cells). But, until now no one had conclusively shown that nitric oxide plays a role in the formation of long-term memory in snails.



So, the Sussex team carried out experiments to see whether interfering with nitric oxide, in ways known to prevent mammals forming long-term memory, would have a similar effect on snails.

The experiments made use of a smell-taste association. Snails can be taught to associate the smell of amyl acetate, a chemical that smells like pear drops, with a tasty sugar solution. Subsequently, whenever they smell ‘pear drops’, they begin to make mouth movements in anticipation of food.

The Sussex team injected snails with chemicals that either blocked the production of nitric oxide, or prevented it passing to other neurones, or blocked its action. They found that in each case the snails failed to memorise the association if the injection had been made within five hours after training - the time in which long-term memory is laid down.

This is the best evidence so far that nitric oxide plays a role in the formation of long-term memory in snails. Moreover, this is the first time that anyone has demonstrated such a role in any animal at both the neuronal and the behavioural level.

The findings are published in the current Journal of Neuroscience, issued on February 15.

Alison Field | alphagalileo
Further information:
http://www.sussex.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

nachricht New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>