Neuropeptide feedback modifies odor-evoked dynamics in Caenorhabditis elegans olfactory neurons

Nat Neurosci. 2010 May;13(5):615-21. doi: 10.1038/nn.2526. Epub 2010 Apr 4.


Many neurons release classical transmitters together with neuropeptide co-transmitters whose functions are incompletely understood. Here we define the relationship between two transmitters in the olfactory system of C. elegans, showing that a neuropeptide-to-neuropeptide feedback loop alters sensory dynamics in primary olfactory neurons. The AWC olfactory neuron is glutamatergic and also expresses the peptide NLP-1. Worms with nlp-1 mutations show increased AWC-dependent behaviors, suggesting that NLP-1 limits the normal response. The receptor for NLP-1 is the G protein-coupled receptor NPR-11, which acts in postsynaptic AIA interneurons. Feedback from AIA interneurons modulates odor-evoked calcium dynamics in AWC olfactory neurons and requires INS-1, a neuropeptide released from AIA. The neuropeptide feedback loop dampens behavioral responses to odors on short and long timescales. Our results point to neuronal dynamics as a site of behavioral regulation and reveal the ability of neuropeptide feedback to remodel sensory networks on multiple timescales.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / drug effects
  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / anatomy & histology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Feedback, Physiological / drug effects
  • Feedback, Physiological / physiology*
  • Glutamic Acid / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Nonlinear Dynamics*
  • Odorants*
  • Olfactory Pathways / cytology*
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide Y / genetics
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide Y / physiology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / drug effects*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Transfection / methods


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Peptides
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide Y
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Calcium