Nitric oxide signals that Aplysia have attempted to eat, a necessary component of memory formation after learning that food is inedible

Ayelet Katzoff, Tziona Ben-Gedalya, Itay Hurwitz, Nimrod Miller, Yehoshua Z. Susswein, Abraham J. Susswein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Inhibiting nitric oxide (NO) synthesis during learning that food is inedible in Aplysia blocks subsequent memory formation. To gain insight into the function of NO transmission during learning we tested whether blocking NO synthesis affects aspects of feeding that are expressed both in a nonlearning context and during learning. Inhibiting NO synthesis with L-NAME and blocking guanylyl cyclase with methylene blue decreased the efficacy of ad libitum feeding. D-NAME had no effect. L-NAME also decreased rejection responses frequency, but did not affect rejection amplitude. The effect of L-NAME was explained by a decreased signaling that efforts to swallow are not successful, leading to a decreased rejection rate, and a decreased ability to reposition and subsequently consume food in ad libitum feeding. Signaling that animals have made an effort to swallow is a critical component of learning that food is inedible. Stimulation of the lips with food alone did not produce memory, but stimulation combined with the NO donor SNAP did produce memory. Exogenous NO at a concentration causing memory also excited a key neuron responding to NO, the MCC. Block of the cGMP second-messenger cascade during training by methylene blue also blocked memory formation after learning. Our data indicate that memory arises from the contingency of three events during learning that food is inedible. One of the events is efforts to swallow, which are signaled by NO by cGMP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1247-1257
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Volume96
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2006

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