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EMBO J. 2002 Mar 1;21(5):986-94.

The G-protein gamma subunit gpc-1 of the nematode C.elegans is involved in taste adaptation.

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MGC Department of Cell Biology and Genetics and Centre for Biomedical Genetics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Caenorhabditis elegans has two heterotrimeric G-protein gamma subunits, gpc-1 and gpc-2. Although GPC-1 is specifically expressed in sensory neurons, it is not essential for the detection of odorants or salts. To test whether GPC-1 is involved in sensory plasticity, we developed a water soluble compound adaptation assay. The behaviour of wild-type animals in this assay confirms that prolonged exposure to salts can abolish chemo-attraction to these compounds. This process is time and concentration dependent, partly salt specific and reversible. In contrast, gpc-1 mutant animals show clear deficits in their ability to adapt to NaAc, NaCl and NH4Cl, but normal wild-type adaptation to odorants. Two other loci previously implicated in odorant adaptation, adp-1 and osm-9, are also involved in adaptation to salts. Our finding that G proteins, OSM-9 and ADP-1 are involved in taste adaptation offer the first molecular insight into this process.

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