Co-transmission of neuropeptides and monoamines choreograph the C. elegans escape response
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AbstractCo-localization and co-transmission of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides is a core property of neural signaling across species. While co-transmission can increase the flexibility of cellular communication, understanding the functional impact on neural dynamics and behavior remains a major challenge. Here we examine the role of neuropeptide/monoamine co-transmission in the orchestration of the C. elegans escape response. The tyraminergic RIM neurons, which coordinate distinct motor programs of the escape response, also co-express the neuropeptide encoding gene flp-18. We find that in response to a mechanical stimulus, flp-18 mutants have defects in locomotory arousal and head bending that facilitate the omega turn. We show that the induction of the escape response leads to the release of FLP-18 neuropeptides. FLP-18 modulates the escape response through the activation of the G-protein coupled receptor NPR-5. FLP-18 increases intracellular calcium levels in neck and body wall muscles to promote body bending. Our results show that FLP-18 and tyramine act in different tissues in both a complementary and antagonistic manner to control distinct motor programs during different phases of the C. elegans flight response. Our study reveals basic principles by which co-transmission of monoamines and neuropeptides orchestrate in arousal and behavior in response to stress.
Florman JT, Alkema MJ. Co-transmission of neuropeptides and monoamines choreograph the C. elegans escape response. PLoS Genet. 2022 Mar 3;18(3):e1010091. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1010091. PMID: 35239681; PMCID: PMC8932558. Link to article on publisher's site