Temperature sensing by an olfactory neuron in a circuit controlling behavior of C. elegans

Atsushi Kuhara, Masatoshi Okumura, Tsubasa Kimata, Yoshinori Tanizawa, Ryo Takano, Koutarou D. Kimura, Hitoshi Inada, Kunihiro Matsumoto, Ikue Mori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Citations (Scopus)


Temperature is an unavoidable environmental cue that affects the metabolism and behavior of any creature on Earth, yet how animals perceive temperature is poorly understood. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans "memorizes" temperatures, and this stored information modifies its subsequent migration along a temperature gradient. We show that the olfactory neuron designated AWC senses temperature. Calcium imaging revealed that AWC responds to temperature changes and that response thresholds differ depending on the temperature to which the animal was previously exposed. In the mutant with impaired heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-binding protein (G protein)-mediated signaling, AWC was hyperresponsive to temperature, whereas the AIY interneuron (which is postsynaptic to AWC) was hyporesponsive to temperature. Thus, temperature sensation exhibits a robust influence on a neural circuit controlling a memory-regulated behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-807
Number of pages5
Issue number5877
Publication statusPublished - 2008 May 9
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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