Locomotion analysis identifies roles of mechanosensory neurons in governing locomotion dynamics of C. elegans

Emiliano Cohen, Eviatar Yemini, William Schafer, Dror G. Feitelson, Millet Treinin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The simple and well-characterized nervous system of C. elegans facilitates the analysis of mechanisms controlling behavior. Locomotion is a major behavioral output governed by multiple external and internal signals. Here, we examined the roles of lowand high-threshold mechanosensors in locomotion, using high-resolution and detailed analysis of locomotion and its dynamics. This analysis revealed a new role for touch receptor neurons in suppressing an intrinsic direction bias of locomotion. We also examined the response to noxious mechanical stimuli, which was found to involve several locomotion properties and to last several minutes. Effects on different locomotion properties have different half-lives and depend on different, partly overlapping sets of sensory neurons. PVD and FLP, high-threshold mechanosensors, play a major role in some of these responses. Overall, our results demonstrate the power of detailed, prolonged and high-resolution analysis of locomotion and locomotion dynamics in enabling better understanding of gene and neuron function.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3639-3648
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Locomotion
  • Mechanosensation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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