The extraordinary AFD thermosensor of C. elegans

  • Miriam B. Goodman
  • Piali Sengupta
Invited Review


The nematode C. elegans exhibits complex thermal experience-dependent navigation behaviors in response to environmental temperature changes of as little as 0.01°C over a > 10°C temperature range. The remarkable thermosensory abilities of this animal are mediated primarily via the single pair of AFD sensory neurons in its head. In this review, we describe the contributions of AFD to thermosensory behaviors and temperature-dependent regulation of organismal physiology. We also discuss the mechanisms that enable this neuron type to adapt to recent temperature experience and to exhibit extraordinary thermosensitivity over a wide dynamic range.


Thermosensation C. elegans AFD Receptor guanylyl cyclases Phosphodiesterases Adaptation 



Related work in the authors’ labs is supported in part by the NIH (R35 GM22463 and P01 GM103770—P.S., and R01 NS047715—M.B.G.) and funding from the Mathers Foundation (M.B.G.).


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular and Cellular PhysiologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biology and National Center for Behavioral GenomicsBrandeis UniversityWalthamUSA

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