Plasticity of the Electrical Connectome of C. elegans.

Cell (2019-01-29)
Abhishek Bhattacharya, Ulkar Aghayeva, Emily G Berghoff, Oliver Hobert

The specific patterns and functional properties of electrical synapses of a nervous system are defined by the neuron-specific complement of electrical synapse constituents. We systematically examined the molecular composition of the electrical connectome of the nematode C. elegans through a genome- and nervous-system-wide analysis of the expression patterns of the invertebrate electrical synapse constituents, the innexins. We observe highly complex combinatorial expression patterns throughout the nervous system and found that these patterns change in a strikingly neuron-type-specific manner throughout the nervous system when animals enter an insulin-controlled diapause arrest stage under harsh environmental conditions, the dauer stage. By analyzing several individual synapses, we demonstrate that dauer-specific electrical synapse remodeling is responsible for specific aspects of the altered locomotory and chemosensory behavior of dauers. We describe an intersectional gene regulatory mechanism involving terminal selector and FoxO transcription factors mediating dynamic innexin expression plasticity in a neuron-type- and environment-specific manner.

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2,3-Butanedione, analytical standard
Trimethylamine solution, 25 wt. % in H2O
2-Octanone, analytical standard