During larval molts, Caenorhabditis elegans exhibits a sleep-like state (termed lethargus) that is characterized by the absence of feeding and profound locomotion quiescence. The rhythmic pattern of locomotion quiescence and arousal linked to the molting cycle is mediated by reciprocal changes in sensory responsiveness, whereby arousal is associated with increased responsiveness. Sensory neurons arouse locomotion via release of a neuropeptide (PDF-1) and glutamate. Here we identify a second arousing neuropeptide (FLP-2). We show that FLP-2 acts via an orexin-like receptor (FRPR-18), and that FLP-2 and PDF-1 secretion are regulated by reciprocal positive feedback. These results suggest that the aroused behavioral state is stabilized by positive feedback between two neuropeptides.
Keywords: Caenorhabditis elegans; PDF; lethargus; orexin; sleep.
Copyright © 2016 by the Genetics Society of America.