A conserved neuropeptide system links head and body motor circuits to enable adaptive behavior

Elife. 2021 Nov 12;10:e71747. doi: 10.7554/eLife.71747.

Abstract

Neuromodulators promote adaptive behaviors that are often complex and involve concerted activity changes across circuits that are often not physically connected. It is not well understood how neuromodulatory systems accomplish these tasks. Here, we show that the Caenorhabditis elegans NLP-12 neuropeptide system shapes responses to food availability by modulating the activity of head and body wall motor neurons through alternate G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) targets, CKR-1 and CKR-2. We show ckr-2 deletion reduces body bend depth during movement under basal conditions. We demonstrate CKR-1 is a functional NLP-12 receptor and define its expression in the nervous system. In contrast to basal locomotion, biased CKR-1 GPCR stimulation of head motor neurons promotes turning during local searching. Deletion of ckr-1 reduces head neuron activity and diminishes turning while specific ckr-1 overexpression or head neuron activation promote turning. Thus, our studies suggest locomotor responses to changing food availability are regulated through conditional NLP-12 stimulation of head or body wall motor circuits.

Keywords: C. elegans; G protein-coupled receptor; cholecystokinin; local search; neural circuits; neuropeptide; neuroscience.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology*
  • Locomotion / genetics
  • Neuropeptides / genetics*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / physiology*

Substances

  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • ckr-1 protein, C elegans
  • ckr-2 protein, C elegans