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Neuron. 2009 May 28;62(4):526-38. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.04.013.

A tyramine-gated chloride channel coordinates distinct motor programs of a Caenorhabditis elegans escape response.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.

Abstract

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.

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PMID:
19477154
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2804440
Free PMC Article

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