Student Theses and Dissertations


Carl Procko

Date of Award


Document Type


RU Laboratory

Shaham Laboratory


sensory neuron receptive endings, glia remodeling, glia fusion, C. elegans, dauer larvae, AWC amphid neurons


Neuronal receptive endings such as dendritic spines and sensory protrusions are structurally remodeled by experience. How receptive endings acquire their remodeled shapes is not well understood. In response to environmental stressors, including starvation, crowding and high temperature, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans enters a diapause state, termed dauer, which is accompanied by remodeling of sensory neuron receptive endings. Here, we demonstrate that sensory receptive endings of the AWC amphid neurons in dauer animals remodel in the confines of a compartment defined by the amphid sheath glial cells that envelop these endings. The glia remodel concomitantly with and independently of AWC receptive endings to delimit AWC receptive ending growth. Remodeling of the glia requires the Otd/Otx transcription factor TTX-1, the C2H2 zinc finger transcription factor ZTF-16, the fusogen AFF-1, and likely the VEGFR-related protein VER-1, all acting within the glial cell. ver-1 expression is induced by dauer entry and by cultivation at high temperature, and requires direct binding of TTX-1 and perhaps also ZTF-16 to ver-1 regulatory sequences. Our results demonstrate that experience-induced changes in glial compartment size provide spatial constraints on neuronal receptive ending growth.


A thesis presented to the faculty of The Rockefeller University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

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