Nerve cells or neurons in the brain carry our memories. But how those memories form is still not well understood. One way that researchers investigate such processes is with simple models, such as Caenorhabditis elegans, a transparent worm with a single neuron.
These worms are not born to prefer certain temperatures, but when grown at a specific temperature they will naturally gravitate toward it when placed in an environment with a varied climate.
In research reported in Neuron, scientists show that two kinds of plasticity, the ability of the brain to change, work together in a single C. elegans neuron to create a memory. In one mechanism, the environmental temperature is sensed, and the neuron can cause the animal to move in response. But this neuron also plays a role in the development of a preference for a temperature. Hear more about the work from the video, which is the graphical abstract from the publication of the research.