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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
15-Jun-2009

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Contact: Graeme Baldwin
graeme.baldwin@biomedcentral.com
44-787-741-1853
BioMed Central
@biomedcentral

Calcium -- the secret to honeybees' memory

Long-term memory formation in honeybees is instigated by a calcium ion cascade. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Biology have shown that calcium acts as a switch between short- and long-term storage of learned information.

Jean-Christophe Sandoz led a team of researchers from the CNRS, the Université de Toulouse and the French Calcium Research Network, who carried out the neurological honeybee experiments. He said, "By modulating the intracellular calcium concentration in the insects' brains, we've been able to demonstrate that, during olfactory conditioning, Ca2+ is both a necessary and a sufficient signal for the formation of protein-dependent long-term memory".

Sandoz and his colleagues studied a learned behaviour in the bees, extension of the proboscis in response to olfactory stimuli associated with food. Three days after decreasing calcium levels during learning, the bees stopped responding to the odor, and three days after increasing calcium during learning, bees' response to the odor were stronger. In addition, the researchers found that the increased memory performance in bees induced by increased calcium depended on protein synthesis. According to Sandoz, "We have found here that the modulation of calcium during learning affects long-term memory specifically while leaving learning and short-term memory intact".

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Notes to Editors

1. Early calcium increase triggers the formation of olfactory long-term memory in honeybees
Emmanuel Perisse, Valerie Raymond-Delpech, Isabelle Neant, Yukihisa Matsumoto, Catherine Leclerc, Marc Moreau and Jean-Christophe Sandoz
BMC Biology (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/imedia/1846754724250450_article.pdf?random=280561
After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcbiol/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

2. BMC Biology - the flagship biology journal of the BMC series - publishes research and methodology articles of special importance and broad interest in any area of biology and biomedical sciences. BMC Biology (ISSN 1741-7007) is covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, BIOSIS, CAS, Scopus, EMBASE, Zoological Record, Thomson Reuters (ISI) and Google Scholar.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.



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