The C. elegans glutamate receptor subunit NMR-1 is required for slow NMDA-activated currents that regulate reversal frequency during locomotion

Neuron. 2001 Aug 30;31(4):617-30. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(01)00394-4.


The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) subtype of glutamate receptor is important for synaptic plasticity and nervous system development and function. We have used genetic and electrophysiological methods to demonstrate that NMR-1, a Caenorhabditis elegans NMDA-type ionotropic glutamate receptor subunit, plays a role in the control of movement and foraging behavior. nmr-1 mutants show a lower probability of switching from forward to backward movement and a reduced ability to navigate a complex environment. Electrical recordings from the interneuron AVA show that NMDA-dependent currents are selectively disrupted in nmr-1 mutants. We also show that a slowly desensitizing variant of a non-NMDA receptor can rescue the nmr-1 mutant phenotype. We propose that NMDA receptors in C. elegans provide long-lived currents that modulate the frequency of movement reversals during foraging behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • Interneurons / chemistry
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis / physiology
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, Glutamate / analysis
  • Receptors, Glutamate / genetics
  • Receptors, Glutamate / metabolism
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / analysis
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / genetics*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • NMR-1 protein, C elegans
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • glr-1 protein, C elegans