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Nat Neurosci. 2011 Jun 26;14(8):984-92. doi: 10.1038/nn.2854.

Regulation of behavioral plasticity by systemic temperature signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Group of Molecular Neurobiology, Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan.


Animals cope with environmental changes by altering behavioral strategy. Environmental information is generally received by sensory neurons in the neural circuit that generates behavior. However, although environmental temperature inevitably influences an animal's entire body, the mechanism of systemic temperature perception remains largely unknown. We show here that systemic temperature signaling induces a change in a memory-based behavior in C. elegans. During behavioral conditioning, non-neuronal cells as well as neuronal cells respond to cultivation temperature through a heat-shock transcription factor that drives newly identified gene expression dynamics. This systemic temperature signaling regulates thermosensory neurons non-cell-autonomously through the estrogen signaling pathway, producing thermotactic behavior. We provide a link between systemic environmental recognition and behavioral plasticity in the nervous system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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