Neuronal regulation of chemosensory signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans
Ezak, Meredith Jean
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All animals rely on their ability to sense and respond to their constantly changing environments to survive. Caenorhabditis elegans depend heavily upon their ability to taste and smell chemical information in their soil habitat to find favorable conditions and avoid noxious environments. While similar signal transduction pathways are implicated in both C. elegans and vertebrate chemosensation, there are still large gaps in our understanding of the mechanisms used to regulate signaling in these systems. I have sought to define cellular pathways that modulate signaling activity, and ultimately responsiveness, of chemosensory neurons in C. elegans. I describe herein the identification of cell- and modality-specific pathways that regulate neuronal activity in response to aberrant signaling, as well as a novel mechanism by which neuronal cells may regulate expression of sensory genes to directly impact cellular activity.