Mutations in a cyclic nucleotide-gated channel lead to abnormal thermosensation and chemosensation in C. elegans

Neuron. 1996 Oct;17(4):707-18. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)80202-0.


The C. elegans tax-4 mutants are abnormal in multiple sensory behaviors: they fail to respond to temperature or to water-soluble or volatile chemical attractants. We show that the predicted tax-4 gene product is highly homologous to vertebrate cyclic nucleotide-gated channels. Tax-4 protein expressed in cultured cells functions as a cyclic nucleotide-gated channel. The green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged functional Tax-4 protein is expressed in thermosensory, gustatory, and olfactory neurons mediating all the sensory behaviors affected by the tax-4 mutations. The Tax-4::GFP fusion is partly localized at the sensory endings of these neurons. The results suggest that a cyclic nucleotide-gated channel is required for thermosensation and chemosensation and that cGMP is an important intracellular messenger in C. elegans sensory transduction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Cattle
  • Chemotaxis
  • Cyclic GMP / metabolism*
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Genes, Helminth
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / biosynthesis*
  • Ion Channels / chemistry
  • Ion Channels / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Potassium Channels / chemistry
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Rats
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Second Messenger Systems
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Shaker Superfamily of Potassium Channels
  • Temperature


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Ion Channels
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Potassium Channels
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Sh protein, Drosophila
  • Shaker Superfamily of Potassium Channels
  • tax-4 protein, C elegans
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Cyclic GMP

Associated data

  • GENBANK/D86922