The inositol trisphosphate receptor regulates a 50-second behavioral rhythm in C. elegans

Paola Dal Santo, Mary Logan, Andrew D. Chisholm, Erik M. Jorgensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

156 Scopus citations


The C. elegans defecation cycle is characterized by the contraction of three distinct sets of muscles every 50 s. Our data indicate that this cycle is regulated by periodic calcium release mediated by the inositol trisphosphate receptor (IP3 receptor). Mutations in the IP3 receptor slow down or eliminate the cycle, while overexpression speeds up the cycle. The IP3 receptor controls these periodic muscle contractions nonautonomously from the intestine. In the intestinal cells, calcium levels oscillate with the same period as the defecation cycle and peak calcium levels immediately precede the first muscle contraction. Mutations in the IP3 receptor slow or eliminate these calcium oscillations. Thus, the IP3 receptor is an essential component of the timekeeper for this cycle and represents a novel mechanism for the control of behavioral rhythms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)757-767
Number of pages11
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 17 1999
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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