The Snail transcription factor CES-1 regulates glutamatergic behavior in C. elegans.
Regulation of AMPA-type glutamate receptor (AMPAR) expression and function alters synaptic strength and is a major mechanism underlying synaptic plasticity. Although transcription is required for some forms of synaptic plasticity, the transcription factors that regulate AMPA receptor expression and signaling are incompletely understood. Here, we identify the Snail family transcription factor ces-1 in an RNAi screen for conserved transcription factors that regulate glutamatergic behavior in C. elegans. ces-1 was originally discovered as a selective cell death regulator of neuro-secretory motor neuron (NSM) and I2 interneuron sister cells in C. elegans, and has almost exclusively been studied in the NSM cell lineage. We found that ces-1 loss-of-function mutants have defects in two glutamatergic behaviors dependent on the C. elegans AMPA receptor GLR-1, the mechanosensory nose-touch response and spontaneous locomotion reversals. In contrast, ces-1 gain-of-function mutants exhibit increased spontaneous reversals, and these are dependent on glr-1 consistent with these genes acting in the same pathway. ces-1 mutants have wild type cholinergic neuromuscular junction function, suggesting that they do not have a general defect in synaptic transmission or muscle function. The effect of ces-1 mutation on glutamatergic behaviors is not due to ectopic cell death of ASH sensory neurons or GLR-1-expressing neurons that mediate one or both of these behaviors, nor due to an indirect effect on NSM sister cell deaths. Rescue experiments suggest that ces-1 may act, in part, in GLR-1-expressing neurons to regulate glutamatergic behaviors. Interestingly, ces-1 mutants suppress the increased reversal frequencies stimulated by a constitutively-active form of GLR-1. However, expression of glr-1 mRNA or GFP-tagged GLR-1 was not decreased in ces-1 mutants suggesting that ces-1 likely promotes GLR-1 function. This study identifies a novel role for ces-1 in regulating glutamatergic behavior that appears to be independent of its canonical role in regulating cell death in the NSM cell lineage.
Published In/Presented At
Park, L., Luth, E. S., Jones, K., Hofer, J., Nguyen, I., Watters, K. E., & Juo, P. (2021). The Snail transcription factor CES-1 regulates glutamatergic behavior in C. elegans. PloS one, 16(2), e0245587. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245587
Medical Education | Medicine and Health Sciences
USF-LVHN SELECT Program, USF-LVHN SELECT Program Students