Research ArticleNeuroscience

Neuronal and Intestinal Protein Kinase D Isoforms Mediate Na+ (Salt Taste)–Induced Learning

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Sci. Signal.  11 Aug 2009:
Vol. 2, Issue 83, pp. ra42
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2000224

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Ubiquitously expressed protein kinase D (PKD) isoforms are poised to disseminate signals carried by diacylglycerol (DAG). However, the in vivo regulation and functions of PKDs are poorly understood. We show that the Caenorhabditis elegans gene, dkf-2, encodes not just DKF-2A, but also a second previously unknown isoform, DKF-2B. Whereas DKF-2A is present mainly in intestine, we show that DKF-2B is found in neurons. Characterization of dkf-2 null mutants and transgenic animals expressing DKF-2B, DKF-2A, or both isoforms revealed that PKDs couple DAG signals to regulation of sodium ion (Na+)–induced learning. EGL-8 (a phospholipase Cβ4 homolog) and TPA-1 (a protein kinase Cδ homolog) are upstream regulators of DKF-2 isoforms in vivo. Thus, pathways containing EGL-8–TPA-1–DKF-2 enable learning and behavioral plasticity by receiving, transmitting, and cooperatively integrating environmental signals targeted to both neurons and intestine.

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