ASI regulates satiety quiescence in C. elegans

J Neurosci. 2013 Jun 5;33(23):9716-24. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4493-12.2013.


In Caenorhabditis elegans, satiety quiescence mimics behavioral aspects of satiety and postprandial sleep in mammals. On the basis of calcium-imaging, genetics, and behavioral studies, here we report that a pair of amphid neurons, ASI, is activated by nutrition and regulates worms' behavioral states specifically promoting satiety quiescence; ASI inhibits the switch from quiescence to dwelling (a browsing state) and accelerates the switch from dwelling to quiescence. The canonical TGFβ pathway, whose ligand is released from ASI, regulates satiety quiescence. The mutants of a ligand, a receptor and SMADs in the TGFβ pathway all eat more and show less quiescence than wild-type. The TGFβ receptor in downstream neurons RIM and RIC is sufficient for worms to exhibit satiety quiescence, suggesting neuronal connection from ASI to RIM and RIC is essential for feeding regulation through the TGFβ pathway. ASI also regulates satiety quiescence partly through cGMP signaling; restoring cGMP signaling in ASI rescues the satiety quiescence defect of cGMP signaling mutants. From these results, we propose that TGFβ and cGMP pathways in ASI connect nutritional status to promotion of satiety quiescence, a sleep-like behavioral state.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology*
  • Cyclic GMP / physiology
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Protein Kinases / physiology*
  • Satiation / physiology*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Protein Kinases
  • quiescence-induced kinase
  • Cyclic GMP