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Neuron. 2000 Mar;25(3):587-97.

The LIM homeobox gene ceh-14 confers thermosensory function to the AFD neurons in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Division of Cell Biology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland.


In Caenorhabditis elegans three pairs of neurons, AFD, AIY, and AIZ, play a key role in thermosensation. The LIM homeobox gene ceh-14 is expressed in the AFD thermosensory neurons. ceh-14 mutant animals display athermotactic behaviors, although the neurons are still present and differentiated. Two other LIM homeobox genes, ttx-3 and lin-11, function in the two interneurons AIY and AIZ, respectively. Thus, the three key thermosensory neurons are specified by three different LIM homeobox genes. ceh-14 ttx-3 lin-11 triple mutant animals have a basic cryophilic thermotaxis behavior indicative of a second thermotaxis pathway. Misexpression of ceh-14 in chemosensory neurons can restore thermotactic behavior without impairing the chemosensory function. Thus, ceh-14 confers thermosensory function to neurons.

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