Orientation and navigation behaviors of animals are modulated by past experiences. However, little is known about the mechanisms by which sensory inputs are translated into multi-directional orientation behaviors in an experience-dependent manner. Here, we report a neural mechanism for bidirectional salt-concentration chemotaxis of Caenorhabditis elegans. The salt-sensing neuron ASE right (ASER) is always activated by a decrease of salt concentration, while the directionality of reorientation behaviors is inverted depending on previous salt experiences. AIB, the interneuron postsynaptic to ASER, and neurons farther downstream of AIB show experience-dependent bidirectional responses, which are correlated with reorientation behaviors. These bidirectional behavioral and neural responses are mediated by glutamate released from ASER. Glutamate acts through the excitatory glutamate receptor GLR-1 and inhibitory glutamate receptor AVR-14, both acting in AIB. These findings suggest that experience-dependent reorientation behaviors are generated by altering the magnitude of excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic signals from a sensory neuron to interneurons.
- C. elegans neuroscience
- animal orientation
- behavior organization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)