Receptor-type guanylate cyclase is required for carbon dioxide sensation by Caenorhabditis elegans.

Hallem EA, Spencer WC, McWhirter RD, Zeller G, Henz SR, R├Ątsch G, Miller DM, Horvitz HR, Sternberg PW, Ringstad N
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 108 (1): 254-9

PMID: 21173231 · PMCID: PMC3017194 · DOI:10.1073/pnas.1017354108

CO(2) is both a critical regulator of animal physiology and an important sensory cue for many animals for host detection, food location, and mate finding. The free-living soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans shows CO(2) avoidance behavior, which requires a pair of ciliated sensory neurons, the BAG neurons. Using in vivo calcium imaging, we show that CO(2) specifically activates the BAG neurons and that the CO(2)-sensing function of BAG neurons requires TAX-2/TAX-4 cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channels and the receptor-type guanylate cyclase GCY-9. Our results delineate a molecular pathway for CO(2) sensing and suggest that activation of a receptor-type guanylate cyclase is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism by which animals detect environmental CO(2).

MeSH Terms (20)

Animals Base Sequence Biological Evolution Caenorhabditis elegans Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins Carbon Dioxide Chemotaxis Cluster Analysis DNA Primers Gene Components Guanylate Cyclase Ion Channels Microscopy, Confocal Molecular Sequence Data Neurons Phylogeny Receptors, Guanylate Cyclase-Coupled Sequence Analysis, DNA Smell Transgenes

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