4 years ago

Modulation of sensory information processing by a neuroglobin in Caenorhabditis elegans [Neuroscience]

Modulation of sensory information processing by a neuroglobin in Caenorhabditis elegans [Neuroscience]
Yu Toyoshima, Mario de Bono, Shigekazu Oda

Sensory receptor neurons match their dynamic range to ecologically relevant stimulus intensities. How this tuning is achieved is poorly understood in most receptors. The roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans avoids 21% O2 and hypoxia and prefers intermediate O2 concentrations. We show how this O2 preference is sculpted by the antagonistic action of a neuroglobin and an O2-binding soluble guanylate cyclase. These putative molecular O2 sensors confer a sigmoidal O2 response curve in the URX neurons that has highest slope between 15 and 19% O2 and approaches saturation when O2 reaches 21%. In the absence of the neuroglobin, the response curve is shifted to lower O2 values and approaches saturation at 14% O2. In behavioral terms, neuroglobin signaling broadens the O2 preference of Caenorhabditis elegans while maintaining avoidance of 21% O2. A computational model of aerotaxis suggests the relationship between GLB-5–modulated URX responses and reversal behavior is sufficient to broaden O2 preference. In summary, we show that a neuroglobin can shift neural information coding leading to altered behavior. Antagonistically acting molecular sensors may represent a common mechanism to sharpen tuning of sensory neurons.

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