Two novel DEG/ENaC channel subunits expressed in glia are needed for nose-touch sensitivity in Caenorhabditis elegans

Lu Han, Ying Wang, Rachele Sangaletti, Giulia D'Urso, Yun Lu, Shai Shaham, Laura Bianchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Neuronal DEG/ENaC (degenerin and epithelial Na+ channel) Na+ channels have been implicated in touch sensation. For example, MEC-4 is expressed in touch neurons in Caenorhabditis elegans and mediates gentle-touch response. Similarly, homologous mammalian ASIC2 and ASIC3 are expressed in sensory neurons and produce touch phenotypes when knocked out in mice. Here, we show that novel DEG/ENaC subunits DELM-1 and DELM-2 (degenerin-like channel mechanosensory linked-1 and degenerin-like channel mechanosensory linked-2) are expressed in glia associated with touch neurons in C. elegans and that their knock-out causes defects in mechanosensory behaviors related to nose touch and foraging, which are mediated by OLQ and IL1 sensory neurons. Cell-specific rescue supports that DELM-1 and DELM-2 are required cell-autonomously in glia to orchestrate mechanosensory behaviors. Electron microscopy reveals that in delm-1 knock-outs, OLQ and IL1 sensory neurons and associated glia are structurally normal. Furthermore, we show that knock-out of DELM-1 and DELM-2 does not disrupt the expression or cellular localization of TRPA-1, a TRP channel needed in OLQ and IL1 neurons for touch behaviors. Rather, rescue of the delm-1 nose-touch-insensitive phenotype by expression of a K+ channel in socket glia and of a cationic channel in OLQ neurons suggests that DELM channels set basal neuronal excitability. Together, our data show that DELM-1 and DELM-2 are expressed in glia associated with touch neurons where they are not needed for neuronal structural integrity or cellular distribution of neuronal sensory channels, but rather for their function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)936-949
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 16 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Two novel DEG/ENaC channel subunits expressed in glia are needed for nose-touch sensitivity in Caenorhabditis elegans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this