Neuronal temperature perception induces specific defenses that enable C. elegans to cope with the enhanced reactivity of hydrogen peroxide at high temperature

Abstract

Hydrogen peroxide is the most common reactive chemical that organisms face on the microbial battlefield. The rate with which hydrogen peroxide damages biomolecules required for life increases with temperature, yet little is known about how organisms cope with this temperature-dependent threat. Here, we show that Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes use temperature information perceived by sensory neurons to cope with the temperature-dependent threat of hydrogen peroxide produced by the pathogenic bacterium Enterococcus faecium. These nematodes preemptively induce the expression of specific hydrogen peroxide defenses in response to perception of high temperature by a pair of sensory neurons. These neurons communicate temperature information to target tissues expressing those defenses via an insulin/IGF1 hormone. This is the first example of a multicellular organism inducing their defenses to a chemical when they sense an inherent enhancer of the reactivity of that chemical

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