Automated imaging of neuronal activity in freely behaving Caenorhabditis elegans

Juliette Ben Arous*, Yoshinori Tanizawa, Ithai Rabinowitch, Didier Chatenay, William R. Schafer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


In order to understand how neuronal circuits control locomotory patterns it is necessary to record neuronal activity of freely behaving animals. Here, using a new automated system for simultaneous recording of behavior and neuronal activity in freely moving Caenorhabditis elegans on standard agar plates, we show that spontaneous reversals from forward to backward locomotion reflect precisely the activity of the AVA command interneurons. We also witness spontaneous activity transients in the PLM sensory neurons during free behavior of the worm in standard conditions. We show that these activity transients are coupled to short spontaneous forward accelerations of the worm.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)229-234
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - 30 Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank N. Chronis for assistance with the microfluidic chambers and K. Miller for the lite-1(ce314) strain. Y.T. is funded by the European Commission's Marie Curie Actions. I.R. is funded by an Israel Science Foundation Bikura postdoctoral fellowship.


  • Behavior
  • C. elegans
  • Calcium imaging
  • Mechanosensory neurons
  • Tracking system


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