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.
- Caenorhabditis elegans