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1- Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences (SUMS), Shiraz, Iran.
2- Basic Sciences in Infectious Diseases Research Center, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.
Information processing in microtubules is an open question that has not been properly addressed yet. It was suggested that microtubules could store and process information in the nervous system or even support consciousness. The unicellular organism, Paramecium caudatum, that has a microtubular structure but does not have a neuron or neural network, shows intelligent behaviors such as associative learning. This may suggest that the microtubules are involved in intelligent behavior, information storage or information processing in paramecium. To test this hypothesis, we have utilized a paramecium learning task in which the organism associates brightness in its swimming medium with attractive cathodal shocks to study the role of microtubules in paramecium learning. We disrupted the microtubular dynamics in paramecium using an antimicrotubular agent (parbendazole) to see if microtubules are an integral part of information storage and processing in paramecium. We observed that while a partial allosteric modulator of GABA (midazolam) could disrupt the learning process in paramecium, the antimicrotubular agent could not interfere with the learning in paramecium. Therefore, our results suggest that microtubules are probably not vital for the learning behavior in P. caudatum. Consequently, our results call for a further revisitation of the microtubular information processing hypothesis.
Type of Study: Original | Subject: Cellular and molecular Neuroscience
Received: 2020/03/25 | Accepted: 2020/07/25

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