Electrical Coupling in Caenorhabditis elegans Mechanosensory Circuits

I. Rabinowitch*, W. R. Schafer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Electrical synapses formed by gap junctions are widespread in the human brain as well as in simpler nervous systems. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, with its completely mapped connectome of 302 neurons and approximately 4000 electrical synapses, is therefore well suited to investigate the functional importance of electrical coupling in neuronal microcircuits. We have found that hub-and-spoke gap junction circuit in C. elegans mediates the integration of mechanosensory information to control nose touch avoidance behavior. A combination of lateral facilitation between active inputs and inhibitory shunting to inactive inputs implements an analog coincidence detector, a property that might be shared with other hub-and-spoke circuits. We also describe transgenic methods for the synthetic insertion of ectopic gap junctions, which may have broad experimental applications.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationNetwork Functions and Plasticity
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives from Studying Neuronal Electrical Coupling in Microcircuits
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780128034996
ISBN (Print)9780128034712
StatePublished - 18 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • C. elegans
  • Hub and spoke
  • Innexin
  • Mechanosensation


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