The cyclic nucleotide gated channel subunit CNG-1 instructs behavioral outputs in Caenorhabditis elegans by coincidence detection of nutritional status and olfactory input

Neurosci Lett. 2016 Oct 6;632:71-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2016.08.037. Epub 2016 Aug 22.


In mammals, olfactory subsystems have been shown to express seven-transmembrane G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in a one-receptor-one-neuron pattern, whereas in Caenorhabditis elegans, olfactory sensory neurons express multiple G-protein coupled odorant receptors per olfactory sensory neuron. In both mammalian and C. elegans olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs), the process of olfactory adaptation begins within the OSN; this process of negative feedback within the mammalian OSN has been well described in mammals and enables activated OSNs to desensitize their response cell autonomously while attending to odors detected by separate OSNs. However, the mechanism that enables C. elegans to adapt to one odor and attend to another odor sensed by the same olfactory sensory neuron remains unclear. We found that the cyclic nucleotide gated channel subunit CNG-1 is required to promote cross adaptation responses between distinct olfactory cues. This change in sensitivity to a pair of odorants after persistent stimulation by just one of these odors is modulated by the internal nutritional state of the animal, and we find that this response is maintained across a diverse range of food sources for C. elegans. We also reveal that CNG-1 integrates food related cues for exploratory motor output, revealing that CNG-1 functions in multiple capacities to link nutritional information with behavioral output. Our data describes a novel model whereby CNG channels can integrate the coincidence detection of appetitive and olfactory information to set olfactory preferences and instruct behavioral outputs.

Keywords: Adaptation; C. elegans; CNG channel; Olfaction.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chemotaxis / physiology*
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels / genetics
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels / metabolism*
  • Ion Channels / genetics
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Odorants
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Odorant / metabolism
  • Smell / physiology*


  • CNG-1 protein, C elegans
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels
  • Ion Channels
  • Receptors, Odorant