The pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis can acquire conditioned taste aversion (CTA) as a long-term memory. CTA is caused by the temporal pairing of a stimulus, such as sucrose (the conditioned stimulus; CS), with another stimulus, such as electric shock (the unconditioned stimulus; US). Previous studies have demonstrated changes in both cellular and molecular properties in a pair of neurons known as the cerebral giant cells (CGCs), suggesting that these neurons play a key role in CTA. Here we examined the necessity of the pair of CGC somata for the learning, memory formation and memory recall of CTA by using the soma ablation technique. There was no difference in the feeding response elicited by the CS before and after ablation of the CGC somata. Ablation of the CGC somata before taste-aversion training resulted in the learning acquisition, but the memory formation was not observed 24 h later. We next asked whether memory was present when the CGC somata were ablated 24 h after taste-aversion training. The memory was present before performing the somata ablation. However, when we tested snails five days after somata ablation, the memory recall was not present. Together the data show that: 1) the somata of the CGCs are not necessary for learning acquisition; 2) the somata are necessary for memory formation; and 3) the somata are necessary for memory recall. That is, these results demonstrate that the CGCs function in the long-term memory of CTA in Lymnaea.
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