A cellular and regulatory map of the cholinergic nervous system of C. Elegans

Laura Pereira, Paschalis Kratsios, Esther Serrano-Saiz, Hila Sheftel, Avi E. Mayo, David H. Hall, John G. White, Brigitte LeBoeuf, L. Rene Garcia, Uri Alon, Oliver Hobert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Nervous system maps are of critical importance for understanding how nervous systems develop and function. We systematically map here all cholinergic neuron types in the male and hermaphrodite C. elegans nervous system. We find that acetylcholine (ACh) is the most broadly used neurotransmitter and we analyze its usage relative to other neurotransmitters within the context of the entire connectome and within specific network motifs embedded in the connectome. We reveal several dynamic aspects of cholinergic neurotransmitter identity, including a sexually dimorphic glutamatergic to cholinergic neurotransmitter switch in a sex-shared interneuron. An expression pattern analysis of ACh-gated anion channels furthermore suggests that ACh may also operate very broadly as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. As a first application of this comprehensive neurotransmitter map, we identify transcriptional regulatory mechanisms that control cholinergic neurotransmitter identity and cholinergic circuit assembly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12432
Issue numberDECEMBER2015
StatePublished - Dec 25 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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