Noelle D. L’Etoile

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P21 activated kinases (PAKs) are major downstream effectors of rac-related small GTPases that regulate various cellular processes. We have identified the new PAK gene max-2 in a screen for mutants disrupted in UNC-6/netrin-mediated commissural axon guidance. There are three Caenorhabditis elegans PAKs. We find that each C. elegans PAK represents a distinct(More)
Most eukaryotic cells express small regulatory RNAs. The purpose of one class, the somatic endogenous siRNAs (endo-siRNAs), remains unclear. Here, we show that the endo-siRNA pathway promotes odor adaptation in C. elegans AWC olfactory neurons. In adaptation, the nuclear Argonaute NRDE-3, which acts in AWC, is loaded with siRNAs targeting odr-1, a gene(More)
The tax-4 and tax-2 genes of Caenorhabditis elegans are essential for normal olfaction, gustation, and thermosensation, suggesting that they have a role in sensory transduction. The predicted products of these genes are similar to the cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channel subunits used in vertebrate vision and olfaction: TAX-4 is highly related to those(More)
Odorant receptors and signaling proteins are localized to sensory cilia on olfactory dendrites. Using a GFP-tagged odorant receptor protein, Caenorhabditis elegans ODR-10, we characterized protein sorting and transport in olfactory neurons in vivo. ODR-10 is transported in rapidly moving dendritic vesicles that shuttle between the cell body and the cilia.(More)
Animals in complex environments must discriminate between salient and uninformative sensory cues. Caenorhabditis elegans uses one pair of olfactory neurons called AWC to sense many different odorants, yet the animal can distinguish each odorant from the others in discrimination assays. We demonstrate that the transmembrane guanylyl cyclase ODR-1 is(More)
Prolonged odor exposure causes a specific, reversible adaptation of olfactory responses. A genetic screen for negative regulators of olfaction uncovered mutations in the cGMP-dependent protein kinase EGL-4 that disrupt olfactory adaptation in C. elegans. G protein-coupled olfactory receptors within the AWC olfactory neuron signal through cGMP and a(More)
Prolonged stimulation leads to specific and stable changes in an animal's behavior. In interneurons, this plasticity requires spatial and temporal control of neuronal protein synthesis. Whether such translational control occurs in sensory neurons is not known. Adaptation of the AWC olfactory sensory neurons of C. elegans requires the cGMP-dependent protein(More)
To navigate a complex and changing environment, an animal's sensory neurons must continually adapt to persistent cues while remaining responsive to novel stimuli. Long-term exposure to an inherently attractive odor causes Caenorhabditis elegans to ignore that odor, a process termed odor adaptation. Odor adaptation is likely to begin within the sensory(More)
While most sensory neurons will adapt to prolonged stimulation by down-regulating their responsiveness to the signal, it is not clear which events initiate long-lasting sensory adaptation. Likewise, we are just beginning to understand how the physiology of the adapted cell is altered. Caenorhabditis elegans is inherently attracted to specific odors that are(More)
The Protein Kinase G, EGL-4, is required within the C. elegans AWC sensory neurons to promote olfactory adaptation. After prolonged stimulation of these neurons, EGL-4 translocates from the cytosol to the nuclei of the AWC. This nuclear translocation event is both necessary and sufficient for adaptation of the AWC neuron to odor. A cGMP binding motif within(More)