Internal state alters sensory behaviors to optimize survival strategies. The neuronal mechanisms underlying hunger-dependent behavioral plasticity are not fully characterized. Here we show that feeding state alters C. elegans thermotaxis behavior by engaging a modulatory circuit whose activity gates the output of the core thermotaxis network. Feeding state does not alter the activity of the core thermotaxis circuit comprised of AFD thermosensory and AIY interneurons. Instead, prolonged food deprivation potentiates temperature responses in the AWC sensory neurons, which inhibit the postsynaptic AIA interneurons to override and disrupt AFD-driven thermotaxis behavior. Acute inhibition and activation of AWC and AIA, respectively, restores negative thermotaxis in starved animals. We find that state-dependent modulation of AWC-AIA temperature responses requires INS-1 insulin-like peptide signaling from the gut and DAF-16 FOXO function in AWC. Our results describe a mechanism by which functional reconfiguration of a sensory network via gut-brain signaling drives state-dependent behavioral flexibility.
- Piali Sengupta
- Nathan Harris
- Nathan Harris
- Asuka Takeishi
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Oliver Hobert, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, United States
© 2020, Takeishi et al.
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