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Nat Commun. 2015 Jan 13;6:5655. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6655.

Reciprocal inhibition between sensory ASH and ASI neurons modulates nociception and avoidance in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Key Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics of Ministry of Education, Institute of Biophysics and Biochemistry, and Department of Biophysics and Molecular Physiology, College of Life Science and Technology, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 1037 Luoyu Road, Wuhan 430074, China.
School of Chemical Engineering and Pharmacy, Wuhan Institute of Technology, Wuhan 430073, China.


Sensory modulation is essential for animal sensations, behaviours and survival. Peripheral modulations of nociceptive sensations and aversive behaviours are poorly understood. Here we identify a biased cross-inhibitory neural circuit between ASH and ASI sensory neurons. This inhibition is essential to drive normal adaptive avoidance of a CuSO4 (Cu(2+)) challenge in Caenorhabditis elegans. In the circuit, ASHs respond to Cu(2+) robustly and suppress ASIs via electro-synaptically exciting octopaminergic RIC interneurons, which release octopamine (OA), and neuroendocrinally inhibit ASI by acting on the SER-3 receptor. In addition, ASIs sense Cu(2+) and permit a rapid onset of Cu(2+)-evoked responses in Cu(2+)-sensitive ADF neurons via neuropeptides possibly, to inhibit ASHs. ADFs function as interneurons to mediate ASI inhibition of ASHs by releasing serotonin (5-HT) that binds with the SER-5 receptor on ASHs. This elaborate modulation among sensory neurons via reciprocal inhibition fine-tunes the nociception and avoidance behaviour.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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