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Science 296 (5573): 1706-1709

Copyright © 2002 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Operant Reward Learning in Aplysia: Neuronal Correlates and Mechanisms

Björn Brembs,* Fred D. Lorenzetti,* Fredy D. Reyes, Douglas A. Baxter, John H. Byrnedagger

Operant conditioning is a form of associative learning through which an animal learns about the consequences of its behavior. Here, we report an appetitive operant conditioning procedure in Aplysia that induces long-term memory. Biophysical changes that accompanied the memory were found in an identified neuron (cell B51) that is considered critical for the expression of behavior that was rewarded. Similar cellular changes in B51 were produced by contingent reinforcement of B51 with dopamine in a single-cell analog of the operant procedure. These findings allow for the detailed analysis of the cellular and molecular processes underlying operant conditioning.

Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, W. M. Keck Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, The University of Texas-Houston Medical School, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
*   These authors contributed equally to this work.

dagger    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: john.h.byrne{at}uth.tmc.edu



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