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In eLife

The ability of animals to process dynamic sensory information facilitates foraging in an ever-changing environment. However, molecular and neural mechanisms underlying such ability remain elusive. The ClC anion channels/transporters play a pivotal role in cellular ion homeostasis across all phyla. Here, we find a ClC chloride channel is involved in salt concentration chemotaxis of Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetic screening identified two altered-function mutations of clh-1 that disrupt experience-dependent salt chemotaxis. Using genetically encoded fluorescent sensors, we demonstrate that CLH-1 contributes to regulation of intracellular anion and calcium dynamics of salt-sensing neuron, ASER. The mutant CLH-1 reduced responsiveness of ASER to salt stimuli in terms of both temporal resolution and intensity, which disrupted navigation strategies for approaching preferred salt concentrations. Furthermore, other ClC genes appeared to act redundantly in salt chemotaxis. These findings provide insights into the regulatory mechanism of neuronal responsivity by ClCs that contribute to modulation of navigation behavior.

Park Chanhyun, Sakurai Yuki, Sato Hirofumi, Kanda Shinji, Iino Yuichi, Kunitomo Hirofumi


C. elegans, adaptive behavior, chemotaxis, chloride channel, genetics, genomics, neuroscience, sensory processing