Analysis of NPR-1 reveals a circuit mechanism for behavioral quiescence in C.elegans

Seungwon Choi, Marios Chatzigeorgiou, Kelsey P. Taylor, William R. Schafer, Joshua M. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Animals undergo periods of behavioral quiescence and arousal in response to environmental, circadian,or developmental cues. During larval molts, C.elegans undergoes a period of profound behavioral quiescence termed lethargus. Locomotion quiescence during lethargus was abolished in mutants lacking a neuropeptide receptor (NPR-1) and was reduced in mutants lacking NPR-1 ligands (FLP-18 and FLP-21). Wild-type strains are polymorphic for the npr-1 gene, and their lethargus behavior varies correspondingly. Locomotion quiescence and arousal were mediated by decreased and increased secretion of an arousal neuropeptide (PDF-1) from central neurons. PDF receptors (PDFR-1) expressed in peripheral mechanosensory neurons enhanced touch-evoked calcium transients. Thus, a central circuit stimulates arousal from lethargus by enhancing the sensitivity of peripheral mechanosensory neurons in the body. These results define a circuit mechanism controlling a developmentally programmed form of quiescence

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)869-880
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 5 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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