A 3'UTR pumilio-binding element directs translational activation in olfactory sensory neurons

Neuron. 2009 Jan 15;61(1):57-70. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2008.11.012.


Prolonged stimulation leads to specific and stable changes in an animal's behavior. In interneurons, this plasticity requires spatial and temporal control of neuronal protein synthesis. Whether such translational control occurs in sensory neurons is not known. Adaptation of the AWC olfactory sensory neurons of C. elegans requires the cGMP-dependent protein kinase EGL-4. Here, we show that the RNA-binding PUF protein FBF-1 is required in the adult AWC for adaptation. In the odor-adapted animal, it increases translation via binding to the egl-4 3' UTR. Further, the PUF protein may localize translation near the sensory cilia and cell body. Although the RNA-binding PUF proteins have been shown to promote plasticity in development by temporally and spatially repressing translation, this work reveals that in the adult nervous system, they can work in a different way to promote experience-dependent plasticity by activating translation in response to environmental stimulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions / genetics*
  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Base Sequence
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / anatomy & histology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Odorants
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / cytology
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / physiology*
  • Pentanols / chemistry
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Smell / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcriptional Activation*


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • GLD-3 protein, C elegans
  • Pentanols
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • fem-3-binding protein, C elegans
  • nos-1 protein, C elegans
  • isopentyl alcohol
  • Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • EGL-4 protein, C elegans