Compartmentalized cGMP responses of olfactory sensory neurons in Caenorhabditis elegans

Hisashi Shidara, Kohji Hotta, Kotaro Oka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) plays a crucial role as a second messenger in the regulation of sensory signal transduction in many organisms. In AWC olfactory sensory neurons of Caenorhabditis elegans, cGMP also has essential and distinctive functions in olfactory sensation and adaptation. According to molecular genetic studies, when nematodes are exposed to odorants, a decrease in cGMP regulates cGMP-gated channels for olfactory sensation. Conversely, for olfactory adaptation, an increase in cGMP activates protein kinase G to modulate cellular physiological functions. Although these opposing cGMP responses in single neurons may occur at the same time, it is unclear how cGMP actually behaves in AWC sensory neurons. A hypothetical explanation for opposing cGMP responses is region-specific behaviors in AWC: for odor sensation, cGMP levels in cilia could decrease, whereas odor adaptation is mediated by increased cGMP levels in soma. Therefore, we visualized intracellular cGMP in AWC with a genetically encoded cGMP indicator, cGi500, and examined spatiotemporal cGMP responses inAWCneurons. The cGMP imaging showed that, after odor exposure, cGMP levels in AWC cilia decreased transiently, whereas levels in dendrites and soma gradually increased. These region-specific responses indicated that the cGMP responses inAWCneurons are explicitly compartmentalized. In addition, we performed Ca2+ imaging to examine the relationship between cGMP and Ca2+. These results suggested that AWC sensory neurons are in fact analogous to vertebrate photoreceptor neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3753-3763
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 5


  • C. elegans
  • CGMP imaging
  • Compartment
  • Sensory neuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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