Aversive olfactory memory is formed in the mushroom bodies in Drosophila melanogaster. Memory retrieval requires mushroom body output, but the manner in which a memory trace in the mushroom body drives conditioned avoidance of a learned odor remains unknown. To identify neurons that are involved in olfactory memory retrieval, we performed an anatomical and functional screen of defined sets of mushroom body output neurons. We found that MB-V2 neurons were essential for retrieval of both short- and long-lasting memory, but not for memory formation or memory consolidation. MB-V2 neurons are cholinergic efferent neurons that project from the mushroom body vertical lobes to the middle superiormedial protocerebrum and the lateral horn. Notably, the odor response of MB-V2 neurons was modified after conditioning. As the lateral horn has been implicated in innate responses to repellent odorants, we propose that MB-V2 neurons recruit the olfactory pathway involved in innate odor avoidance during memory retrieval.
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