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Neuron. 2016 Dec 7;92(5):1049-1062. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.10.030. Epub 2016 Nov 17.

Neural Architecture of Hunger-Dependent Multisensory Decision Making in C. elegans.

Author information

  • 1Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
  • 2School of Computing, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK.
  • 3Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
  • 4Department of Biomolecular Sciences, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT 06050, USA.
  • 5Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
  • 6Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; Department of Genetics, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; Kavli Institute for Neuroscience, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. Electronic address: michael.nitabach@yale.edu.

Abstract

Little is known about how animals integrate multiple sensory inputs in natural environments to balance avoidance of danger with approach to things of value. Furthermore, the mechanistic link between internal physiological state and threat-reward decision making remains poorly understood. Here we confronted C. elegans worms with the decision whether to cross a hyperosmotic barrier presenting the threat of desiccation to reach a source of food odor. We identified a specific interneuron that controls this decision via top-down extrasynaptic aminergic potentiation of the primary osmosensory neurons to increase their sensitivity to the barrier. We also establish that food deprivation increases the worm's willingness to cross the dangerous barrier by suppressing this pathway. These studies reveal a potentially general neural circuit architecture for internal state control of threat-reward decision making.

KEYWORDS:

C. elegans; decision making; metabolism; multisensory integration; neural circuits; neuromodulation

PMID:
27866800
PMCID:
PMC5147516
[Available on 2017-12-07]
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2016.10.030
[PubMed - in process]
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