A novel mechanism of pH buffering in c. Elegans glia: Bicarbonate transport via the voltage-gated C1C C1 channel CLH-1

Jeff Grant, Cristina Matthewman, Laura Bianchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


An important function of glia is the maintenance of the ionic composition and pH of the synaptic microenvironment. In terms of pH regulation, HCO3 buffering has been shown to be important in both glia and neurons. Here, we used in vivo fluorescent pH imaging and RNA sequencing of the amphid sheath glia of Caenorhabditis elegans to reveal a novel mechanism of cellular HCO3 uptake. While the classical mechanism of HCO3 uptake involves Na+/HCO3 cotransporters, here we demonstrate that the C. elegans ClC Cl channel CLH-1 is highly permeable to HCO3 and mediates HCO3 uptake into amphid sheath glia. CLH-1 has homology and electrophysiological properties similar to the mammalian ClC-2 Cl channel. Our data suggest that, in addition to maintaining synaptic Cl concentration, these channels may also be involved in maintenance of synaptic pH via HCO3 flux. These findings provide an exciting new facet of study regarding how pH is regulated in the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16377-16397
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 16 2015



  • Bicarbonate
  • C. elegans
  • Chloride channels
  • Glia
  • pH
  • RNA sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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