The G-protein gamma subunit gpc-1 of the nematode C.elegans is involved in taste adaptation

EMBO J. 2002 Mar 1;21(5):986-94. doi: 10.1093/emboj/21.5.986.


Caenorhabditis elegans has two heterotrimeric G-protein gamma subunits, gpc-1 and gpc-2. Although GPC-1 is specifically expressed in sensory neurons, it is not essential for the detection of odorants or salts. To test whether GPC-1 is involved in sensory plasticity, we developed a water soluble compound adaptation assay. The behaviour of wild-type animals in this assay confirms that prolonged exposure to salts can abolish chemo-attraction to these compounds. This process is time and concentration dependent, partly salt specific and reversible. In contrast, gpc-1 mutant animals show clear deficits in their ability to adapt to NaAc, NaCl and NH4Cl, but normal wild-type adaptation to odorants. Two other loci previously implicated in odorant adaptation, adp-1 and osm-9, are also involved in adaptation to salts. Our finding that G proteins, OSM-9 and ADP-1 are involved in taste adaptation offer the first molecular insight into this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / pharmacology
  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics
  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Ammonium Chloride / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / drug effects
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology*
  • Chemotaxis / physiology
  • GTP-Binding Protein gamma Subunits*
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Ion Channels / genetics
  • Ion Channels / physiology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Smell / physiology
  • Sodium Acetate / pharmacology
  • Sodium Chloride / pharmacology
  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • Taste / genetics
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels


  • Acetates
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • GTP-Binding Protein gamma Subunits
  • Ion Channels
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • OSM-9 protein, C elegans
  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels
  • gpc-1 protein, C elegans
  • gpc-2 protein, C elegans
  • Ammonium Chloride
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sodium Acetate
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins
  • ammonium acetate