The role of the biogenic amine tyramine in latent inhibition learning in the honey bee, Apis mellifera
Animals must learn to ignore stimuli that are irrelevant to survival, which is a process referred to as ‘latent inhibition’. This process has been shown to be genetically heritable (Latshaw JS, Mazade R, Sinakevitch I, Mustard JA, Gadau J, Smith BH (submitted)). The locus containing the AmTYR1 gene has been shown through quantitative trait loci mapping to be linked to strong latent inhibition in honey bees. The Smith lab has been able to show a correlation between learning and the AmTYR1 receptor gene through pharmacological inhibition of the receptor. In order to further confirm this finding, experiments were designed to test how honey bees learn with this receptor knocked out. Here this G-protein coupled receptor for the biogenic amine tyramine is implemented as an important factor underlying latent inhibition in honey bees. It is shown that double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) and Dicer-substrate small interfering RNA (dsiRNA) that are targeted to disrupt the tyramine receptors specifically affects latent inhibition but not excitatory associative conditioning. The results therefore identify a distinct reinforcement pathway for latent inhibition in insects.