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Distinct neural circuits establish the same chemosensory behavior in C. elegans

Banerjee, Navonil and Shih, Pei-Yin and Rojas Palato, Elisa J. and Sternberg, Paul W. and Hallem, Elissa A. (2021) Distinct neural circuits establish the same chemosensory behavior in C. elegans. . (Unpublished)

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Animals frequently exhibit the same behavior under different environmental or physiological conditions. To what extent these behaviors are generated by similar vs. distinct mechanisms is unclear. Moreover, the circumstances under which divergent neural mechanisms establish the same behavior, and the molecular signals that regulate the same behavior across conditions, are poorly understood. We show that in C. elegans, distinct neural mechanisms mediate the same chemosensory behavior at two different life stages. Both dauer larvae and starved adults are attracted to carbon dioxide (CO₂), but CO₂ attraction is mediated by distinct sets of interneurons at the two life stages. Some interneurons mediate CO₂ response only in dauers, some show CO2-evoked activity in adults and dauers but contribute to CO₂ response only in adults, and some show CO₂-evoked activity that opposes CO₂ attraction in adults but promotes CO₂ attraction in dauers. We also identify a novel role for insulin signaling in establishing life-stage-specific CO₂ responses by modulating interneuron activity. Further, we show that a combinatorial code of both shared and life-stage-specific molecular signals regulate CO₂ attraction. Our results identify a mechanism by which the same chemosensory behavior can be generated by distinct neural circuits, revealing an unexpected complexity to chemosensory processing.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Shih, Pei-Yin0000-0003-3082-9242
Rojas Palato, Elisa J.0000-0002-5747-8764
Sternberg, Paul W.0000-0002-7699-0173
Hallem, Elissa A.0000-0003-0260-3174
Additional Information:The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY 4.0 International license. This version posted August 17, 2021. We thank the Caenorhabditis Genetics Centre, the C. elegans Knockout Consortium, Oliver Hobert, Cori Bargmann, Gary Ruvkun, Shai Shaham, Ikue Mori, Yuichi Iino, and Mario de Bono for strains. We thank Astra Bryant, Michelle Castelletto, and Ricardo Frausto for insightful comments on the manuscript. This work was funded by NIH F32 AI147617 (N.B.), NIH MARC T34 GM008563 (E.R.P.), NIH UF1 NS111697 (P.W.S.), and NIH R01 DC017959 and an HHMI Faculty Scholar Award (E.A.H.). Author Contributions: N.B., P.-Y.S., P.W.S., and E.A.H. conceived the study. N.B. and E.R.P. performed experiments. N.B. and E.R.P. analyzed the data. N.B., E.R.P., and E.A.H. wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. The authors declare no competing interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIH Postdoctoral FellowshipF32 AI147617
NIH Predoctoral FellowshipT34 GM008563
NIHUF1 NS111697
NIHR01 DC017959
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210821-151507927
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Official Citation:Distinct neural circuits establish the same chemosensory behavior in C. elegans. Navonil Banerjee, Pei-Yin Shih, Elisa J. Rojas Palato, Paul W. Sternberg, Elissa A. Hallem. bioRxiv 2021.08.17.456617; doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:110355
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:21 Aug 2021 16:11
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 19:40

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