It has been proposed that the alpha and beta divisions of the mushroom bodies support intermediate and long-term memory whereas the gamma lobes support short-term memory. Here we investigate developmentally dependent versus developmentally independent alterations of mushroom body structure with special emphasis on its lobes. We show that in the cockroach mushroom bodies there are two types of plastic remodeling. One is developmental, in which episodic addition of new circuitry to the alpha and beta lobes is accomplished by newly born Kenyon cells. The second is revealed as a persistent alteration of structure within the gamma lobe. In the alpha/beta lobes, newly generated Kenyon cell axons extend glutamate-immunoreactive collaterals across layers of the axons of mature Kenyon cells. At specific times in each developmental episode (instar) these collaterals express ubiquitin, undergo localized degeneration, and are scavenged by glial cells. In contrast, the mature Kenyon cells that comprise the gamma lobe express detectable ubiquitin throughout each developmental episode. This pattern of ubiquitin expression suggests that the gamma lobe circuitry undergoes continuous modification independent of development.
- Learning and memory
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