An Interneuronal Chemoreceptor Required for Olfactory Imprinting in C. elegans

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Science  29 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5735, pp. 787-790
DOI: 10.1126/science.1114209

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Animals alter their behavioral patterns in an experience-dependent manner. Olfactory imprinting is a process in which the exposure of animals to olfactory cues during specific and restricted time windows leaves a permanent memory (“olfactory imprint”) that shapes the animal's behavior upon encountering the olfactory cues at later times. We found that Caenorhabditis elegans displays olfactory imprinting behavior that is mediated by a single pair of interneurons. To function in olfactory imprinting, this interneuron pair must express a G protein–coupled chemoreceptor family member encoded by the sra-11 gene. Our study provides insights into the cellular and molecular basis of olfactory imprinting and reveals a function for a chemosensory receptor family member in interneurons.

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