Adenylosuccinate lyase deficiency affects neurobehavior via perturbations to tyramine signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans

Corinna A. Moro, Sabrina A. Sony, Latisha P. Franklin, Shirley Dong, Mia M. Peifer, Kathryn E. Wittig, Wendy Hanna-Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adenylosuccinate lyase deficiency is an ultrarare congenital metabolic disorder associated with muscle weakness and neurobehavioral dysfunction. Adenylosuccinate lyase is required for de novo purine biosynthesis, acting twice in the pathway at non-sequential steps. Genetic models can contribute to our understanding of the etiology of disease phenotypes and pave the way for development of therapeutic treatments. Here, we establish the first model to specifically study neurobehavioral aspects of adenylosuccinate lyase deficiency. We show that reduction of adsl-1 function in C. elegans is associated with a novel learning phenotype in a gustatory plasticity assay. The animals maintain capacity for gustatory plasticity, evidenced by a change in their behavior in response to cue pairing. However, their behavioral output is distinct from that of control animals. We link substrate accumulation that occurs upon adsl-1 deficiency to an unexpected perturbation in tyrosine metabolism and show that a lack of tyramine mediates the behavioral changes through action on the metabotropic TYRA-2 tyramine receptor. Our studies reveal a potential for wider metabolic perturbations, beyond biosynthesis of purines, to impact behavior under conditions of adenylosuccinate lyase deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1010974
JournalPLoS genetics
Issue number9 September
StatePublished - Sep 29 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Cancer Research

Cite this