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EMBO Rep. 2011 Jul 8;12(8):855-62. doi: 10.1038/embor.2011.120.

Identification of the AFD neuron as the site of action of the CREB protein in Caenorhabditis elegans thermotaxis.

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Group of Molecular Neurobiology, Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8602, Japan.


Behaviour is a consequence of computation in neural circuits composed of massive synaptic connections among sensory neurons and interneurons. The cyclic AMP response element-binding protein (CREB) responsible for learning and memory is expressed in almost all neurons. Nevertheless, we find that the Caenorhabditis elegans CREB orthologue, CRH-1, is only required in the single bilateral thermosensory neuron AFD, for a memory-related behaviour. Restoration of CRH-1 in AFD of CREB-depleted crh-1 mutants rescues its thermotactic defect, whereas restorations in other neurons do not. In calcium-imaging analyses, the AFD neurons of CREB-depleted crh-1 mutants exhibit an abnormal response to temperature increase. We present a new platform for analysing the mechanism of behavioural memory at single-cellular resolution within the neural circuit.

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