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Genetics. 2000 May;155(1):85-104.

A transmembrane guanylyl cyclase (DAF-11) and Hsp90 (DAF-21) regulate a common set of chemosensory behaviors in caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7360, USA.


Caenorhabditis elegans daf-11 and daf-21 mutants share defects in specific chemosensory responses mediated by several classes of sensory neurons, indicating that these two genes have closely related functions in an assortment of chemosensory pathways. We report that daf-11 encodes one of a large family of C. elegans transmembrane guanylyl cyclases (TM-GCs). The cyclic GMP analogue 8-bromo-cGMP rescues a sensory defect in both daf-11 and daf-21 mutants, supporting a role for DAF-11 guanylyl cyclase activity in this process and further suggesting that daf-21 acts at a similar step. daf-11::gfp fusions are expressed in five identified pairs of chemosensory neurons in a pattern consistent with most daf-11 mutant phenotypes. We also show that daf-21 encodes the heat-shock protein 90 (Hsp90), a chaperone with numerous specific protein targets. We show that the viable chemosensory-deficient daf-21 mutation is an unusual allele resulting from a single amino acid substitution and that the daf-21 null phenotype is early larval lethality. These results demonstrate that cGMP is a prominent second messenger in C. elegans chemosensory transduction and suggest a previously unknown role for Hsp90 in regulating cGMP levels.

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