Learning assays for C. elegans are known to be challenging due to the fragility of the phenotype, hence, the ease by which it can be disturbed. For several months, our teams at KU Leuven struggled to implement the Murphy lab’s short-term associative memory assay, failing to obtain proper control data despite having implemented other learning assays without noteworthy incidents. We are aware that others in the field have struggled with this assay as well.

To address this issue, the Murphy lab supported us in troubleshooting their protocol both in Belgium as well as during a stay at their lab in the USA. We discovered several small and seemingly trivial differences which showed to be of major importance for the success of this assay. These observations allowed us to successfully perform the assay in Belgium, where it had not worked previously.

In order to enable others to smoothly implement this assay in their labs, the updated protocol is described on the Murphy and Schoofs labs’ webpages.

Weblink Murphy lab: http://www.molbio1.princeton.edu/labs/murphy/protocols.html

Weblink Schoofs lab: https://bio.kuleuven.be/df/ls/research/positive-butanone-associative-memory-assay