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Science 338 (6106): 543-545

Copyright © 2012 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Vasopressin/Oxytocin-Related Signaling Regulates Gustatory Associative Learning in C. elegans

Isabel Beets1, Tom Janssen1, Ellen Meelkop1,*, Liesbet Temmerman1, Nick Suetens1, Suzanne Rademakers2, Gert Jansen2, and Liliane Schoofs1,{dagger}

1 Department of Biology, Functional Genomics and Proteomics Unit, KU Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.
2 Department of Cell Biology, Erasmus MC, 3000 CA Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Figure 1
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Fig. 1. ntc-1 encodes a VP/OT-related peptide, nematocin, that signals through the NTR-1 receptor. (A) Dose-response curves for calcium responses evoked by nematocin (CFLNSCPYRRYamide) and its C-terminally truncated variant CFLNSCPY (13) in CHO cells either expressing NTR-1 or transfected with an empty vector (negative control). Each point (±SEM) represents the average of two independent experiments performed in triplicate. Dose-response data are shown as relative (%) to the highest value (100% activation) after normalization to the maximum calcium response. (B) Domain structures of NTC-1 and human VP and OT (13). Predicted proprotein convertase sites are in purple and green; N’, amino terminus; C’, C terminus. (C and D) Expression of ntc-1::gfp reporter transgene. (E and F) Expression of ntr-1::gfp transgene. (C to F) Left and right panels are labeled confocal Z-stack projections of the head and tail region (L1 wild-type hermaphrodite), respectively. Asterisks mark fluorescence in the intestine, resulting from the co-injection marker Pelt-2::mCherry. Scale bars represent 10 μm. A, anterior; P, posterior; D, dorsal; V, ventral.


Figure 2
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Fig. 2. Nematocin signaling regulates gustatory plasticity. (A) Gustatory plasticity of ntr-1 and ntc-1 mutants. The mean chemotaxis index toward 25 mM NaCl of animals preexposed in buffer with (conditioned) or without (naive) NaCl is plotted. osm-9 mutants were used as positive control. (B and C) ntr-1 or ntc-1 were expressed by cell-specific promoters in the ntr-1(tm2765) or ntc-1(tm2385) background, respectively, and gustatory plasticity of transgenic animals was tested. (D and E) Responses of wild-type and ntr-1(tm2765) animals after 4 or 72 hours of culture on plates containing 2 mM dopamine (DA) or serotonin (5-HT). Open and solid bars represent naive and NaCl-conditioned behaviors, respectively. For (A) to (C), responses were compared to wild type (unless indicated otherwise) by one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tukey post-hoc comparison. For (D) and (E), statistical significance scores refer to the relative change in mutant behavior compared with wild-type changes upon dopamine or serotonin exposure and were based on coefficients of a fitted linear model. *P < 0.05, **P < 0.01, ***P < 0.001; error bars indicate SEM (n ≥ 4 assays).


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