Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are well known to elicit a plethora of detrimental effects on cellular functions by causing damages to proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. Neurons are particularly vulnerable to ROS, and nearly all forms of neurodegenerative diseases are associated with oxidative stress.

        Guang Li, a PHD candidate(starting from 2013) of the key laboratory of Molecular Biophysics, Ministry of Education, in school of life science and technology, for the first time found that low dose of hydrogen peroxide can enhance worm’s sensory behavior and neuronal function through activating the TRPV channel. This work was accomplished by Guang through 2 years’ hard working in the model organism C.eleganswith the instruction of professor Jianfeng Liu from Huazhong University of Science and Technology and “Changjiang Scholar” lecturerXianzhong Shawn Xu from university of Michigan.

        This work was published online in Nature sibling journal “Nature Communications” with the name “Promotion of behavior and neuronal function by reactive oxygen species in C. elegans”.

        Here, we report the surprising finding that exposing C. elegans to low doses of H2O2 promotes, rather than compromises, sensory behavior and the function of sensory neurons such as ASH. This beneficial effect of H2O2 is mediated by an evolutionarily conserved peroxiredoxin-p38/MAPK signaling cascade. We further show that p38/MAPK signals to AKT and the TRPV channel OSM-9, a sensory channel in ASH neurons. AKT phosphorylates OSM-9, and such phosphorylation is required for H2O2-induced potentiation of sensory behavior and ASH neuron function. Our results uncover a beneficial effect of ROS on neurons, revealing unexpected complexity of the action of oxidative stressors in the nervous system.

       This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China, International Cooperation Fund, “111 Innovation program” and “the Innovative team development plan” in Ministry of Education.

        Since 2010, Jianfeng Liu group from the key laboratory of Molecular Biophysics, Ministry of Education, in school of life science and technology started the collaboration with Xianzhong Shawn Xu group from university of Michigan. We did research on the neurobiology regulated by the membrane ligand with the model organism C.elegans and recruited many talented PHD candidates and post-doctors. Besides, We also got a lot of research achievements which was respectively published in Cell(2013), Cell Metabolism(2013), Cell Reports(2015), Nature Communications(2015) and Neuron(2016)(Guang  is the co-first author of this work). Our group recently find a new function of a seven-transmembrane ligand, which was published in Cell(2016). Guys who are interested in doing research on biology are very welcome to join our research group.