Of Glia and Senses

Science Signaling  04 Nov 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 44, pp. ec379
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.144ec379

Sensory organs are the main conduit by which an animal perceives its environment, and these organs have been remarkably conserved in anatomy, morphology, and molecular biology from Caenorhabditis elegans to humans. To explore the role of glial cells in sensory perception, Bacaj et al. (see the Perspective by Reichenbach and Pannicke) examined their functions in the amphid, the largest C. elegans sense organ, and revealed essential functions for glia in regulating neuronal morphology and activity. The sheath glial cell of the amphid is required for several functional aspects of the ensheathed sensory neurons.

T. Bacaj, M. Tevlin, Y. Lu, S. Shaham, Glia are essential for sensory organ function in C. elegans. Science 322, 744-747 (2008). [Abstract] [Full Text]

A. Reichenbach, T. Pannicke, A new glance at glia. Science 322, 693-694 (2008). [Summary] [Full Text]