Intercellular calcium signaling in a gap junction-coupled cell network establishes asymmetric neuronal fates in C. elegans
AuthorsSchumacher, Jennifer A.
Pirri, Jennifer K.
Alkema, Mark J.
UMass Chan AffiliationsGraduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience Program
Department of Neurobiology
Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
Olfactory Receptor Neurons
Stochastic left-right neuronal asymmetry
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
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AbstractThe C. elegans left and right AWC olfactory neurons specify asymmetric subtypes, one default AWC(OFF) and one induced AWC(ON), through a stochastic, coordinated cell signaling event. Intercellular communication between AWCs and non-AWC neurons via a NSY-5 gap junction network coordinates AWC asymmetry. However, the nature of intercellular signaling across the network and how individual non-AWC cells in the network influence AWC asymmetry is not known. Here, we demonstrate that intercellular calcium signaling through the NSY-5 gap junction neural network coordinates a precise 1AWC(ON)/1AWC(OFF) decision. We show that NSY-5 gap junctions in C. elegans cells mediate small molecule passage. We expressed vertebrate calcium-buffer proteins in groups of cells in the network to reduce intracellular calcium levels, thereby disrupting intercellular communication. We find that calcium in non-AWC cells of the network promotes the AWC(ON) fate, in contrast to the autonomous role of calcium in AWCs to promote the AWC(OFF) fate. In addition, calcium in specific non-AWCs promotes AWC(ON) side biases through NSY-5 gap junctions. Our results suggest a novel model in which calcium has dual roles within the NSY-5 network: autonomously promoting AWC(OFF) and non-autonomously promoting AWC(ON).
SourceDevelopment. 2012 Nov;139(22):4191-201. doi: 10.1242/dev.083428. Link to article on publisher's site
Permanent Link to this Itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14038/37863
Co-author Jennifer Pirri is a doctoral student in the Neuroscience program in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) at UMass Medical School.
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