A tyramine-gated chloride channel coordinates distinct motor programs of a Caenorhabditis elegans escape response.
A key feature of escape responses is the fast translation of sensory information into a coordinated motor output. In C. elegans, anterior touch initiates a backward escape response in which lateral head movements are suppressed. Here, we show that tyramine inhibits head movements and forward locomotion through the activation of a tyramine-gated chloride channel, LGC-55. lgc-55 mutant animals have defects in reversal behavior and fail to suppress head oscillations in response to anterior touch. lgc-55 is expressed in neurons and muscle cells that receive direct synaptic inputs from tyraminergic motor neurons. Therefore, tyramine can act as a classical inhibitory neurotransmitter. Activation of LGC-55 by tyramine coordinates the output of two distinct motor programs, locomotion and head movements that are critical for a C. elegans escape response.
PubMed ID: 19477154
PMC ID: PMC2804440
Article link: Neuron.
Grant support: GM084491 NIGMS NIH HHS , R01 GM084491-01 NIGMS NIH HHS , R01 GM084491 NIGMS NIH HHS