2016 Volume 92 Issue 8 Pages 346-357
Memory retrieval requires both accuracy and speed. Olfactory learning of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster serves as a powerful model system to identify molecular and neuronal substrates of memory and memory-guided behavior. The behavioral expression of olfactory memory has traditionally been tested as a conditioned odor response in a simple T-maze, which measures the result, but not the speed, of odor choice. Here, we developed multiplexed T-mazes that allow video recording of the choice behavior. Automatic fly counting in each arm of the maze visualizes choice dynamics. Using this setup, we show that the transient blockade of serotonergic neurons slows down the choice, while leaving the eventual choice intact. In contrast, activation of the same neurons impairs the eventual performance leaving the choice speed unchanged. Our new apparatus contributes to elucidating how the speed and the accuracy of memory retrieval are implemented in the fly brain.