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It is believed that long-term memory (LTM) cannot be formed immediately because it must go through a protein synthesis-dependent consolidation process. However, the current study uses Drosophila aversive olfactory conditioning to show that such processes are dispensable for context-dependent LTM (cLTM). Single-trial conditioning yields cLTM that is formed immediately in a protein-synthesis independent manner and is sustained over 14 days without decay. Unlike retrieval of traditional LTM, which requires only the conditioned odour and is mediated by mushroom-body neurons, cLTM recall requires both the conditioned odour and reinstatement of the training-environmental context. It is mediated through lateral-horn neurons that connect to multiple sensory brain regions. The cLTM cannot be retrieved if synaptic transmission from any one of these centres is blocked, with effects similar to those of altered encoding context during retrieval. The present study provides strong evidence that long-term memory can be formed easily without the need for consolidation.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Animals, Animals, Genetically Modified, Dopaminergic Neurons, Drosophila Proteins, Female, Luminescent Proteins, Memory, Long-Term, Microscopy, Confocal, Mushroom Bodies, Neural Pathways, Odorants, Synaptic Transmission