C. elegans AWA Olfactory Neurons Fire Calcium-Mediated All-or-None Action Potentials

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

  • Qiang Liu
  • Philip B. Kidd
  • May Dobosiewicz
  • Cornelia I. Bargmann

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-70.e17
Journal / PublicationCell
Volume175
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

Neurons in Caenorhabditis elegans and other nematodes have been thought to lack classical action potentials. Unexpectedly, we observe membrane potential spikes with defining characteristics of action potentials in C. elegans AWA olfactory neurons recorded under current-clamp conditions. Ion substitution experiments, mutant analysis, pharmacology, and modeling indicate that AWA fires calcium spikes, which are initiated by EGL-19 voltage-gated CaV1 calcium channels and terminated by SHK-1 Shaker-type potassium channels. AWA action potentials result in characteristic signals in calcium imaging experiments. These calcium signals are also observed when intact animals are exposed to odors, suggesting that natural odor stimuli induce AWA spiking. The stimuli that elicit action potentials match AWA's specialized function in climbing odor gradients. Our results provide evidence that C. elegans neurons can encode information through regenerative all-or-none action potentials, expand the computational repertoire of its nervous system, and inform future modeling of its neural coding and network dynamics. Although all-or-none action potentials are crucial for information processing in many animals, identifying them in the C. elegans nervous system, where they had not previously been observed, will allow them to be studied in concert with other models.

Research Area(s)

  • action potential, C. elegans, calcium channels, chemotaxis, neurophysiology, olfaction

Bibliographic Note

Publication details (e.g. title, author(s), publication statuses and dates) are captured on an “AS IS” and “AS AVAILABLE” basis at the time of record harvesting from the data source. Suggestions for further amendments or supplementary information can be sent to [email protected].

Citation Format(s)

C. elegans AWA Olfactory Neurons Fire Calcium-Mediated All-or-None Action Potentials. / Liu, Qiang; Kidd, Philip B.; Dobosiewicz, May et al.
In: Cell, Vol. 175, No. 1, 20.09.2018, p. 57-70.e17.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review