Table 4 Comparison of neurotransmitter usage in the male-specific, hermaphrodite-specific, and sex-shared nervous system
AttributesShared Nervous System (294 Neurons)Male-specific (93 Neurons, %)Hermaphrodite-Specific (8 Neurons, %)
Hermaphrodite (%)Male (%)
Acetylcholine151 (51)153 (52)48 (52)8 (100)
Glutamate78 (27)78 (27)16 (17)0 (0)
GABAa33 (11)33 (11)11 (11)0 (0)
Aminergica (5HT, DA, OA, Tyr)17 (6)19 (6)20 (22)2 (25)
Orphan VGAT(+)b5 (2)5 (2)4 (4)0 (0)
None of the abovec22 (7)20 (7)10 (11)0 (0)
Cotransmissiond12 (4)14 (5)16 (16)2 (25)
  • Percentages in parentheses indicate the respective neuron number relative to the total number of neurons in the shared or sex-specific nervous system. Note that numbers do not simply add up to the total number of neurons because some neurons use multiple transmitters. GABA, γ-aminobutyric acid; 5HT, 5-hydroxytryptamine; DA, dopamine; OA, octopamine; Tyr, tyramine; VGAT, vesicular GABA transporter; Glu, glutamate.

  • a Only those that antibody-stain for GABA or 5HT and express the vesicular transporter to release GABA or 5HT. This excludes a number of neurons that only take up the respective neurotransmitter and/or release it by unknown means, if they release it all.

  • b These neurons do not contain GABA and must transport some other transmitter, possibly glycine (see Discussion). Only neurons that exclusively express unc-47/VGAT are included in this count, many others express this gene as well (see text).

  • c Refers to neurons that do not express any known neurotransmitter transporter: ASI, AVF, AVH, AVJ, AWA, BDU, PVM, PVW only in hermaphrodites, RIP, RMG, and I4. Note we have also included the CAN in this category since no synthesizing enzymes for monoamines are expressed in this neuron class.

  • d Refers to the following combinations: ACh + Glu, ACh + GABA; ACh, Glu, or GABA neurotransmitters + aminergic transmitters [only cat-1(+)] (ACh/5HT; Glu/5HT, Glu/DA, Glu/Tyr; GABA/5HT).