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Cell. 1998 Sep 4;94(5):679-89.

Natural variation in a neuropeptide Y receptor homolog modifies social behavior and food response in C. elegans.

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


Natural isolates of C. elegans exhibit either solitary or social feeding behavior. Solitary foragers move slowly on a bacterial lawn and disperse across it, while social foragers move rapidly on bacteria and aggregate together. A loss-of-function mutation in the npr-1 gene, which encodes a predicted G protein-coupled receptor similar to neuropeptide Y receptors, causes a solitary strain to take on social behavior. Two isoforms of NPR-1 that differ at a single residue occur in the wild. One isoform, NPR-1 215F, is found exclusively in social strains, while the other isoform, NPR-1 215V, is found exclusively in solitary strains. An NPR-1 215V transgene can induce solitary feeding behavior in a wild social strain. Thus, isoforms of a putative neuropeptide receptor generate natural variation in C. elegans feeding behavior.

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