Generic Origin of Locomotion
 Systematic profiling of Caenorhabditis elegans locomotive behaviors reveals additional components in G-protein Gαq signaling
- Hui Yu et al. (Paul W. Sternberg and Weiwei Zhong)
- PNAS, 2013 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1310468110
- Genetic screens have been widely applied to uncover genetic mechanisms of movement disorders. However, most screens rely on human observations of qualitative differences.
- Here we demonstrate the application of an automatic imaging system to conduct a quantitative screen for genes regulating the locomotive behavior in Caenorhabditis elegans.
- Two hundred twenty-seven neuronal signaling genes with viable homozygous mutants were selected for this study. We tracked and recorded each animal for 4 min and analyzed over 4,400 animals of 239 genotypes to obtain a quantitative, 10-parameter behavioral profile for each genotype. We discovered 87 genes whose inactivation causes movement defects, including 50 genes that had never been associated with locomotive defects.
- Computational analysis of the high-content behavioral profiles predicted 370 genetic interactions among these genes. Network partition revealed several functional modules regulating locomotive behaviors, including sensory genes that detect environmental conditions, genes that function in multiple types of excitable cells, and genes in the signaling pathway of the G protein Gαq, a protein that is essential for animal life and behavior.
- Science Daily, July 1, 2013