Electotaxis - Stimulation by Electric Fields

Important Papers

[1] Neural Circuits Mediate Electrosensory Behavior in Caenorhabditis elegans

  • Christopher V. Gabel et al, Samuel Lab (Harvard University)
  • The Journal of Neuroscience, July 11, 2007 • 27(28):7586 –7596
  • C. elegans deliberately crawls toward the negative pole in an electric field. By quantifying the movements of individual worms navigating electric fields, they showed that C. elegans prefers to crawl at specific angles to the direction of the electric field in persistent periods of forward movement and that the preferred angle is proportional to field strength.
  • C. elegans reorients itself in response to time-varying electric fields by using sudden turns and reversals, standard reorientation maneuvers that C. elegans uses during other modes of motile behavior. Mutation or laser ablation that disrupts the structure and function of amphid sensory neurons also disrupts electrosensory behavior.
  • By imaging intracellular calcium dynamics among the amphid sensory neurons of immobilized worms, They showed that specific amphid sensory neurons are sensitive to the direction and strength of electric fields.
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[2] Running Worms: C. elegans Self-Sorting by Electrotaxis

  • Xavier Manière, Félix Lebois, Ivan Matic, Benoit Ladoux, ean-Marc Di Meglio, Pascal Hersen mail
  • PLoS ONE 6(2): e16637
  • Interestingly, when submitted to a moderate electric field, C. Elegans move steadily along straight trajectories. Here, they report an inexpensive method to measure worms crawling velocities and sort them within a few minutes by taking advantage of their electrotactic skills. This method allows to quantitatively measure the effect of mutations and aging on worm's crawling velocity.
  • They also show that worms with different locomotory phenotypes can be spatially sorted, fast worms traveling away from slow ones.
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