Chemosensory behavior of semi-restrained Caenorhabditis elegans

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Abstract

A new behavioral assay is described for studying chemosensation in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. This assay presents three main characteristics: (1) the worm is restrained by gluing, preserving correlates of identifiable behaviors; (2) the amplitude and time course of the stimulus are controlled by the experimenter; and (3) the behavior is recorded quantitatively. We show that restrained C. elegans display behaviors comparable to those of freely moving worms. Moreover, the chemosensory response of wild-type glued animals to changes in salt concentration is similar to that of freely moving animals. This glued-worm assay was used to reveal new chemosensory deficits of the potassium channel mutant egl-2. We conclude that the glued worm assay can be used to study the chemosensory regulation of C. elegans behavior and how it is affected by neuronal or genetic manipulations. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Neurobiol, 2005

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