Modulation of serotonin-controlled behaviors by Go in Caenorhabditis elegans

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Science  17 Mar 1995:
Vol. 267, Issue 5204, pp. 1648-1651
DOI: 10.1126/science.7886454


Seven transmembrane receptors and their associated heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-binding proteins (G proteins) have been proposed to play a key role in modulating the activities of neurons and muscles. The physiological function of the Caenorhabditis elegans G protein Go has been genetically characterized. Mutations in the goa-1 gene, which encodes an alpha subunit of Go (G alpha o), cause behavioral defects similar to those observed in mutants that lack the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT), and goa-1 mutants are partially resistant to exogenous 5-HT. Mutant animals that lack G alpha o and transgenic animals that overexpress G alpha o [goa-1(xs) animals] have reciprocal defects in locomotion, feeding, and egg laying behaviors. In normal animals, all of these behaviors are regulated by 5-HT. These results demonstrate that the level of Go activity is a critical determinant of several C. elegans behaviors and suggest that Go mediates many of the behavioral effects of 5-HT.

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