Flies Kept in the Dark Lose Long-Term Memories, But Sleep—Or Lack Thereof—Did Not Account for the Difference adminJuly 28, 2023 The team found that flies kept in the dark were unable to maintain a pre-established long-term memory. This was due to the lack of Protein-dispersing factor (Pdf) release, which in turn results in no cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) being produced in the memory center of the fly brain. Credit: Tokyo Metropolitan University They focused on a protein in the brain called the Pigment-dispersing factor (Pdf), known to be expressed in response to light. The researchers discovered that Pdf regulated the transcription of a protein called the cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) in the mushroom bodies, a part of the brain of insects known to be implicated in memory and learning. So they identified the specific molecular mechanism by which light affects the retention of long-term memory. Traumatic experiences are very difficult to forget and can severely impair a victim’s quality of life. But the team’s discoveries show that these memories can, in fact, be significantly affected by environmental factors in living organisms. This opens up the exciting possibilities of new treatments for victims of trauma, perhaps even the ability to erase traumatic memories which prevent them from leading normal lives. The study is published in JNeuroSci.