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Scripps Research Institute study shows how brain cells shape temperature preferences
Date:1/29/2013

ese neurons. Flies were tested using a temperature gradient plate; the flies moved from one place to another to express their temperature preferences.

As it turns out, genetic silencing of dopaminergic neurons innervating the mushroom body substantially reduces cold avoidance behavior. "If you give the fly a choice, it will pick San Diego weather every time," Tomchik said, "but if you shut down those nerves, they suddenly don't mind being in Minnesota."

The study also showed dopaminergic neurons respond to cooling with sudden a burst of activity at the onset of a drop in temperature, before settling down to a lower steady-state level. This initial burst of dopamine could function to increase neuronal plasticitythe ability to adaptduring periods of environmental change when the organism needs to acquire new associative memories or update previous associations with temperature changes.


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Contact: Eric Sauter
esauter@scripps.edu
267-337-3859
Scripps Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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