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When animals learn, plasticity in brain networks that respond to specific cues results in a change in the behavior that these cues elicit. Individual network components in the mushroom bodies of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster represent cues, learning signals and behavioral outcomes of learned experience. Recent findings have highlighted the importance of dopamine-driven plasticity and activity in feedback and feedforward connections, between various elements of the mushroom body neural network. These computational motifs have been shown to be crucial for long term olfactory memory consolidation, integration of internal states, re-evaluation and updating of learned information. The often recurrent circuit anatomy and a prolonged requirement for activity in parts of these underlying networks, suggest that self-sustained and precisely timed activity is a fundamental feature of network computations in the insect brain. Together these processes allow flies to continuously adjust the content of their learned knowledge and direct their behavior in a way that best represents learned expectations and serves their most pressing current needs.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Opin Neurobiol

Publication Date





51 - 58


Animals, Brain, Computer Simulation, Drosophila, Learning, Models, Neurological, Neural Pathways, Neurons