Experience-dependent Plasticity in the Mushroom Bodies of the Honey Bee Brain

Experience-dependent Plasticity in the Mushroom Bodies of the Honey Bee Brain

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I am interested in the mechanisms that modify brain structure in response to experience. The model organism under study is Apis mellifera, the European honey bee. The honey bee has a rich behavioral repertoire that can easily be studied both in the laboratory and under natural conditions. The goal of these projects is to understand how a worker bees' experience as a forager alters its brain structure and gene expression. My focus is the cholinergic inputs that travel from the antennal lobes to the mushroom bodies. Previous work has shown that forager bees have an increase in volume of the neuropil associated with the mushroom bodies, a region of the insect brain implicated in learning, memory, and multimodal sensory integration. To study this phenomenon, I have developed an assay to control foraging experience in the lab while incorporating the effects of social and environmental conditions on the brain. Using this method, I determined the influence of metabotropic muscarinic cholinergic receptors in experience-dependent brain plasticity in the honey bee using neuroanatomical methods and genomic tools (microarrays).Schematic diagram outlining the cholinergic pathway, (a) Biosynthesis of acetylcholine by the enzyme choline acetyl transferase (ChAT) involves the combination of dietary choline and acetyl CoA. (b) ACh is stored within the synaptic vesiclesanbsp;...


Title:Experience-dependent Plasticity in the Mushroom Bodies of the Honey Bee Brain
Author: Nyla Ismail
Publisher:ProQuest - 2008
ISBN-13:

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