Whole-genome analysis of 60 G protein-coupled receptors in Caenorhabditis elegans by gene knockout with RNAi

Curr Biol. 2003 Sep 30;13(19):1715-20. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2003.09.003.


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest family of genes in animal genomes and represent more than 2% of genes in humans and C. elegans. These evolutionarily conserved seven-transmembrane proteins transduce a diverse range of signals. In view of their pivotal role in cell signaling, it is perhaps surprising that decades of genetic analysis in C. elegans, and recent genome-wide RNAi screens, have identified very few GPCR mutants. Therefore, we screened all GPCRs predicted to bind either small-molecule neurotransmitters or neuropeptides by using RNAi and quantitative behavioral assays. This shows that C16D6.2, C25G6.5, C26F1.6, F35G8.1, F41E7.3, and F59C12.2 are likely to be involved in reproduction, whereas C15B12.5, C10C6.2, C24A8.4, F15A8.5, F59D12.1, T02E9.1, and T05A1.1 have a role in locomotion. Gene deletions for F35G8.1 and T05A1.1 resulted in the same phenotype as that seen with RNAi. As some GPCRs may be resistant to RNAi, or may result in abnormalities not screened for here, the actual proportion of nonredundant receptors with an assayable function is probably greater. Strikingly, most phenotypes were observed for NPY-like receptors that may bind neuropeptides. This is consistent with the known actions of neuropeptides on the body wall muscle and reproductive tract in nematodes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genome*
  • Litter Size
  • Locomotion / genetics
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • Phylogeny*
  • RNA Interference
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Reproduction / genetics
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*


  • Neuropeptides
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled