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Behavioral and immune responses to infection require Gαq - RhoA signaling in C. elegans.

Mcmullan, Rachel; Anderson, Alexandra and Nurrish, Stephen (2012). Behavioral and immune responses to infection require Gαq - RhoA signaling in C. elegans. PLoS pathogens, 8(2), article no. e1002530.

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Following pathogen infection the hosts' nervous and immune systems react with coordinated responses to the danger. A key question is how the neuronal and immune responses to pathogens are coordinated, are there common signaling pathways used by both responses? Using C. elegans we show that infection by pathogenic strains of M. nematophilum, but not exposure to avirulent strains, triggers behavioral and immune responses both of which require a conserved Gαq-RhoGEF Trio-Rho signaling pathway. Upon infection signaling by the Gαq pathway within cholinergic motorneurons is necessary and sufficient to increase release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and increase locomotion rates and these behavioral changes result in C. elegans leaving lawns of M. nematophilum. In the immune response to infection signaling by the Gαq pathway within rectal epithelial cells is necessary and sufficient to cause changes in cell morphology resulting in tail swelling that limits the infection. These Gαq mediated behavioral and immune responses to infection are separate, act in a cell autonomous fashion and activation of this pathway in the appropriate cells can trigger these responses in the absence of infection. Within the rectal epithelium the Gαq signaling pathway cooperates with a Ras signaling pathway to activate a Raf-ERK-MAPK pathway to trigger the cell morphology changes, whereas in motorneurons Gαq signaling triggers behavioral responses independent of Ras signaling. Thus, a conserved Gαq pathway cooperates with cell specific factors in the nervous and immune systems to produce appropriate responses to pathogen. Thus, our data suggests that ligands for Gq coupled receptors are likely to be part of the signals generated in response to M. nematophilum infection.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2012 McMullan et al.
ISSN: 1553-7374
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Genetic analysis of post-developmental Rho GTPase signaling: identification and characterization of Rho signaling pathways required during the C. elegans immune response. (Transfer In)088409/B/09/ZWellcome Trust
Extra Information: 17 pp.
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Life, Health and Chemical Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 44170
Depositing User: Rachel Mcmullan
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2015 09:58
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 18:00
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