Regulation of C. elegans longevity by specific gustatory and olfactory neurons

Neuron. 2004 Jan 8;41(1):45-55. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(03)00816-x.


The life span of C. elegans is extended by mutations that inhibit the function of sensory neurons. In this study, we show that specific subsets of sensory neurons influence longevity. We find that certain gustatory neurons inhibit longevity, whereas others promote longevity, most likely by influencing insulin/IGF-1 signaling. Olfactory neurons also influence life span, and they act in a distinct pathway that involves the reproductive system. In addition, we find that a putative chemosensory G protein-coupled receptor that is expressed in some of these sensory neurons inhibits longevity. Together our findings imply that the life span of C. elegans is regulated by environmental cues and that these cues are perceived and integrated in a complex and sophisticated fashion by specific chemosensory neurons.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology
  • Denervation
  • Fatty Acids / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go / physiology
  • Gonads / physiology
  • Longevity / physiology*
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / physiology*
  • Pheromones / physiology
  • Receptor, Insulin / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Taste / physiology*


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Fatty Acids
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Odr-2 protein, C elegans
  • Pheromones
  • daumone, C elegans
  • odr-3 protein, C elegans
  • DAF-2 protein, C elegans
  • Receptor, Insulin
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go