Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Plastic changes at the presynaptic sites of the mushroom body (MB) principal neurons called Kenyon cells (KCs) are considered to represent a neuronal substrate underlying olfactory learning and memory. It is generally believed that presynaptic and postsynaptic sites of KCs are spatially segregated. In the MB calyx, KCs receive olfactory input from projection neurons (PNs) on their dendrites. Their presynaptic sites, however, are thought to be restricted to the axonal projections within the MB lobes. Here, we show that KCs also form presynapses along their calycal dendrites, by using novel transgenic tools for visualizing presynaptic active zones and postsynaptic densities. At these presynapses, vesicle release following stimulation could be observed. They reside at a distance from the PN input into the KC dendrites, suggesting that regions of presynaptic and postsynaptic differentiation are segregated along individual KC dendrites. KC presynapses are present in γ-type KCs that support short- and long-term memory in adult flies and larvae. They can also be observed in α/β-type KCs, which are involved in memory retrieval, but not in α'/β'-type KCs, which are implicated in memory acquisition and consolidation. We hypothesize that, as in mammals, recurrent activity loops might operate for memory retrieval in the fly olfactory system. The newly identified KC-derived presynapses in the calyx are, inter alia, candidate sites for the formation of memory traces during olfactory learning.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurosci

Publication Date





9696 - 9707


Animals, Dendrites, Drosophila, Immunohistochemistry, Microscopy, Confocal, Mushroom Bodies, Neurons, Synapses, Synaptic Vesicles