Neurobiology Department; Alkema Lab
Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Behavioral Neurobiology | Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
Dioecious species are a hallmark of the animal kingdom, with opposing sexes responding differently to identical sensory cues. Here, we study the response of C. elegans to the small-molecule pheromone, ascr#8, which elicits opposing behavioral valences in each sex. We identify a novel neuropeptide-neuropeptide receptor (NP/NPR) module that is active in males, but not in hermaphrodites. Using a novel paradigm of neuropeptide rescue that we established, we leverage bacterial expression of individual peptides to rescue the sex-specific response to ascr#8. Concurrent biochemical studies confirmed individual FLP-3 peptides differentially activate two divergent receptors, NPR-10 and FRPR-16. Interestingly, the two of the peptides that rescued behavior in our feeding paradigm are related through a conserved threonine, suggesting that a specific NP/NPR combination sets a male state, driving the correct behavioral valence of the ascr#8 response. Receptor expression within pre-motor neurons reveals novel coordination of male-specific and core locomotory circuitries.
Cellular neuroscience, Neural circuits
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DOI of Published Version
Reilly DK, McGlame EJ, Vandewyer E, Robidoux AN, Muirhead CS, Northcott HT, Joyce W, Alkema MJ, Gegear RJ, Beets I, Srinivasan J. Distinct neuropeptide-receptor modules regulate a sex-specific behavioral response to a pheromone. Commun Biol. 2021 Aug 31;4(1):1018. doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-02547-7. PMID: 34465863; PMCID: PMC8408276. Link to article on publisher's site
Reilly DK, McGlame EJ, Vandewyer E, Robidoux AN, Muirhead CS, Northcott HT, Joyce W, Alkema MJ, Gegear RJ, Beets I, Srinivasan J. (2021). Distinct neuropeptide-receptor modules regulate a sex-specific behavioral response to a pheromone. University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02547-7. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/faculty_pubs/2118
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.