Excellent Review Articles of C. elegans

[1] Beyond the connectome: How neuromodulators shape neural circuits

  • Cornelia I. Bargman
  • BioEssays, Volume 34, Issue 6, pages 458–465, June 2012
  • Powerful ultrastructural tools are providing new insights into neuronal circuits, revealing a wealth of anatomically-defined synaptic connections. These wiring diagrams are incomplete, however, because functional connectivity is actively shaped by neuromodulators that modify neuronal dynamics, excitability, and synaptic function.
  • Studies of defined neural circuits in crustaceans, C. elegans, Drosophila, and the vertebrate retina have revealed the ability of modulators and sensory context to reconfigure information processing by changing the composition and activity of functional circuits.
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[2] Behavioral plasticity, learning, and memory in C. elegans

  • Hiroyuki Sasakura, Ikue Mori
  • Current Opinion in Neurobiology 2013, 23:92–99
  • C. elegans exhibits behavior plasticity that appears to correspond to non-associative and associative learning, and short-term and long-term memory. Recent finding revealed that evolutionally conserved molecules such as insulin, monoamines, and neuropeptides are required for the plasticity.
  • They propose the concept of human brain operation from the C. elegans studies.
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[3] Optogenetic manipulation of neural activity in C. elegans: From synapse to circuits and behaviour

  • Steven J. Husson, Alexander Gottschalk, Andrew M. Leifer,
  • Biology of the Cell, Volume 105, Issue 6, pages 235–250, June 2013
  • C. elegans's compact nervous system, quantifiable behaviour, genetic tractability and optical accessibility make it especially amenable to optogenetic interrogation. Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), halorhodopsin (NpHR/Halo) and other common optogenetic proteins have all been expressed in C. elegans.
  • Moreover, recent advances leveraging molecular genetics and patterned light illumination have now made it possible to target photoactivation and inhibition to single cells and to do so in worms as they behave freely.
  • Here, they describe techniques and methods for optogenetic manipulation in C. elegans.
  • They review recent work using optogenetics and C. elegans for neuroscience investigations at the level of synapses, circuits and behaviour..
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[4] Structural Properties of the Caenorhabditis elegans Neuronal Network

  • Lav R. Varshney, Beth L. Chen, Eric Paniagua, David H. Hall, Dmitri B. Chklovskii
  • PLoS Comput Biol 7(2): 2011, e1001066
  • Using materials from White et al. and new electron micrographs, they assembled self-consistent gap junction and chemical synapse networks of hermaphrodite C. elegans.
  • They propose a method to visualize the wiring diagram, which reflects network signal flow.
  • They calculate statistical and topological properties of the network, such as degree distributions, synaptic multiplicities, and small-world properties, that help in understanding network signal propagation.
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[5] Neuronal substrates of complex behaviors in C. elegans

  • de Bono M, Maricq AVi
  • Annu Rev Neurosci. 2005;28:451-501
  • With only five olfactory neurons, C. elegans can dynamically respond to dozens of attractive and repellent odors. Thermosensory neurons enable the nematode to remember its cultivation temperature and to track narrow isotherms. Polymodal sensory neurons detect a wide range of nociceptive cues and signal robust escape responses.
  • Pairing of sensory stimuli leads to long-lived changes in behavior consistent with associative learning. Worms exhibit social behaviors and complex ultradian rhythms driven by Ca(2+) oscillators with clock-like properties.
  • Genetic analysis has identified gene products required for nervous system function and elucidated the molecular and neural bases of behaviors.
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[6] From gene to identified neuron to behaviour in Caenorhabditis elegans

  • Catharine H. Rankin
  • Nature Reviews Genetics 3, 622-630 (August 2002)
  • Understanding the role of genes in behaviour is greatly enhanced by understanding how they affect the function of the neurons that underlie behaviour. The study of behavioural genetics in C. elegans, an organism with a nervous system small enough to allow the role of every neuron in a given behaviour to be known, has given researchers unique insights into how genes contribute to behaviour in general.
  • Many have taken advantage of the unique features of this worm to analyse genes from their sequence to their role in neuronal function and, ultimately, in behaviour.
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