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Neuron. 1996 Oct;17(4):695-706.

A putative cyclic nucleotide-gated channel is required for sensory development and function in C. elegans.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Anatomy, The University of California, San Francisco 94143-0452, USA.


In vertebrate visual and olfactory systems, a cyclic nucleotide-gated channel couples receptor activation to electrical activity of the sensory neurons. The Caenorhabditis elegans tax-2 gene is required for some forms of olfaction, for chemosensation of salts, and for thermosensation. We show here that tax-2 encodes a predicted subunit of a cyclic nucleotide-gated channel that is expressed in olfactory, gustatory, and thermosensory neurons, implicating this channel in multiple sensory modalities. Some sensory neurons display axon outgrowth defects in tax-2 mutants. Thus, the channel has an unexpected role in sensory neuron development in addition to its role in sensation. Consistent with this proposed dual function, a Tax-2::GFP fusion protein is present both in sensory cilia and in sensory axons.

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