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Forming long-term memory (LTM) often requires repetitive experience spread over time. Studies in Drosophila suggest aversive olfactory LTM is optimal after spaced training, multiple trials of differential odor conditioning with rest intervals. Memory after spaced training is frequently compared to that after the same number of trials without intervals. Here we show that, after spaced training, flies acquire additional information and form an aversive memory for the shock-paired odor and a slowly emerging and more persistent "safety-memory" for the explicitly unpaired odor. Safety-memory acquisition requires repetition, order, and spacing of the training trials and relies on triggering specific rewarding dopaminergic neurons. Co-existence of aversive and safety memories is evident as depression of odor-specific responses at different combinations of junctions in the mushroom body output network; combining two outputs appears to signal relative safety. Having complementary aversive and safety memories augments LTM performance after spaced training by making the odor preference more certain.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





977 - 991.e4


memory, spaced training, safety learning, dopamine, Drosophila, Animals, Avoidance Learning, Conditioning, Classical, Dopaminergic Neurons, Drosophila melanogaster, Memory, Long-Term, Mushroom Bodies, Neurons, Odorants, Safety, Smell, Time Factors