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Glia-derived neurons are required for sex-specific learning in C. elegans

Sammut, M; Cook, SJ; Nguyen, KCQ; Felton, T; Hall, DH; Emmons, SW; Poole, RJ; (2015) Glia-derived neurons are required for sex-specific learning in C. elegans. Nature , 526 (7573) 10.1038/nature15700. Green open access

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Abstract

Sex differences in behaviour extend to cognitive-like processes such as learning but the underlying dimorphisms in neural circuit development and organization that generate these behavioural differences are largely unknown. Here we define at the single-cell level, from development, through neural circuit connectivity, to function, the neural basis of a sex-specific learning in the nematode C. elegans. We show that sexual conditioning, a form of associative learning, requires a pair of male-specific interneurons whose progenitors are fully differentiated glia. These neurons are born during sexual maturation and incorporated into pre-exisiting sex-shared circuits to couple chemotactic responses to reproductive priorities. Our findings reveal a general role for glia as neural progenitors across metazoan taxa and demonstrate that the addition of sex-specific neuron types to brain circuits during sexual maturation is an important mechanism for the generation of sexually dimorphic plasticity in learning.

Type: Article
Title: Glia-derived neurons are required for sex-specific learning in C. elegans
Location: UK
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/nature15700
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature15700
Language: English
Keywords: Learning, transdifferentiation, glia, C. elegans, sexual dimorphism
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Cell and Developmental Biology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1470875
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