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Neuron. 2001 Aug 30;31(4):617-30.

The C. elegans glutamate receptor subunit NMR-1 is required for slow NMDA-activated currents that regulate reversal frequency during locomotion.

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Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112, USA.


The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) subtype of glutamate receptor is important for synaptic plasticity and nervous system development and function. We have used genetic and electrophysiological methods to demonstrate that NMR-1, a Caenorhabditis elegans NMDA-type ionotropic glutamate receptor subunit, plays a role in the control of movement and foraging behavior. nmr-1 mutants show a lower probability of switching from forward to backward movement and a reduced ability to navigate a complex environment. Electrical recordings from the interneuron AVA show that NMDA-dependent currents are selectively disrupted in nmr-1 mutants. We also show that a slowly desensitizing variant of a non-NMDA receptor can rescue the nmr-1 mutant phenotype. We propose that NMDA receptors in C. elegans provide long-lived currents that modulate the frequency of movement reversals during foraging behavior.

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