A primer on pheromone signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans for systems biologists

Patrick T. McGrath, Ilya Ruvinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Individuals communicate information about their age, sex, social status, and recent life history with other members of their species through the release of pheromones, chemical signals that elicit behavioral or physiological changes in the recipients. Pheromones provide a fascinating example of information exchange: animals have evolved intraspecific languages in the presence of eavesdroppers and cheaters. In this review, we discuss the recent work using the nematode C. elegans to decipher its chemical language through the analysis of ascaroside pheromones. Genetic dissection has started to identify the enzymes that produce pheromones and the neural circuits that process these signals. Ecological experiments have characterized the biotic environment of C. elegans and its relatives, including ecological relationships with a variety of species that sense or release similar blends of ascarosides. Systems biology approaches should be fruitful in understanding the organization and function of communication systems in C. elegans.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages23-30
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Systems Biology
Volume13
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

Fingerprint

Dissection
Pheromone
Pheromones
Caenorhabditis elegans
Communication systems
Animals
Enzymes
Networks (circuits)
Language
Experiments
Systems Biology
Communication Systems
Communication
Experiment

Keywords

  • Chemical communication
  • Chemoreceptors
  • Pheromones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Drug Discovery
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Modeling and Simulation

Cite this

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A primer on pheromone signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans for systems biologists. / McGrath, Patrick T.; Ruvinsky, Ilya.

In: Current Opinion in Systems Biology, Vol. 13, 01.02.2019, p. 23-30.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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