Irrational behavior in C. elegans arises from asymmetric modulatory effects within single sensory neurons

Shachar Iwanir, Rotem Ruach, Eyal Itskovits, Christian O. Pritz, Eduard Bokman, Alon Zaslaver*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

C. elegans worms exhibit a natural chemotaxis towards food cues. This provides a potential platform to study the interactions between stimulus valence and innate behavioral preferences. Here we perform a comprehensive set of choice assays to measure worms’ relative preference towards various attractants. Surprisingly, we find that when facing a combination of choices, worms’ preferences do not always follow value-based hierarchy. In fact, the innate chemotaxis behavior in worms robustly violates key rationality paradigms of transitivity, independence of irrelevant alternatives and regularity. These violations arise due to asymmetric modulatory effects between the presented options. Functional analysis of the entire chemosensory system at a single-neuron resolution, coupled with analyses of mutants, defective in individual neurons, reveals that these asymmetric effects originate in specific sensory neurons.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number3202
JournalNature Communications
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).

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