Title

AWCON Mediates Navigation to Preferred Range of Field strength in a DC Electric Field

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Room 137B

Start Date

15-5-2014

End Date

15-5-2014

Keywords

Electrotaxis, C.elegans, Neurons

Abstract

C. elegans will orient and travel in a straight uninterrupted path directly towards the negative pole of a DC electric field, a behavior referred to as electrotaxis. Additionally, animals widen their approach angles proportionally to increasing field strength. To elucidate the neural basis for this behavior we utilized an approximately uniform field that is fixed in direction and magnitude. We determined that C. elegans navigate to a specific gradient of field strength by altering approach trajectories towards the negative pole. eat-4 mutants are severely electrotaxis defective and addition of the wild-type eat-4 gene in AWC neurons recovers the behavior. The pair of AWC neurons are functionally asymmetric in regard to chemotaxis and have been shown to express different genes; in particular, the AWCON neuron expresses the STR-2 receptor. To test the role of the AWC neurons in electrotaxis behavior we examined: ceh-36 mutant animals, which are defective in the terminal differentiation of the AWC neurons, inx-19 mutants, which express both neurons as AWCOFF/OFF, and nsy-1 mutants, which express both neurons as AWCON. We found that only nsy-1 mutant animals are able to sense field gradient, suggesting AWCON is required for electrotaxis behavior. Here, we demonstrated that AWCON functions as an electro-sensory neuron allowing animals to sense and adjust approach trajectories angles to match the preferred field strength.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Carnell, Lucinda

Additional Mentoring Department

Biological Sciences

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May 15th, 11:40 AM May 15th, 12:00 PM

AWCON Mediates Navigation to Preferred Range of Field strength in a DC Electric Field

SURC Room 137B

C. elegans will orient and travel in a straight uninterrupted path directly towards the negative pole of a DC electric field, a behavior referred to as electrotaxis. Additionally, animals widen their approach angles proportionally to increasing field strength. To elucidate the neural basis for this behavior we utilized an approximately uniform field that is fixed in direction and magnitude. We determined that C. elegans navigate to a specific gradient of field strength by altering approach trajectories towards the negative pole. eat-4 mutants are severely electrotaxis defective and addition of the wild-type eat-4 gene in AWC neurons recovers the behavior. The pair of AWC neurons are functionally asymmetric in regard to chemotaxis and have been shown to express different genes; in particular, the AWCON neuron expresses the STR-2 receptor. To test the role of the AWC neurons in electrotaxis behavior we examined: ceh-36 mutant animals, which are defective in the terminal differentiation of the AWC neurons, inx-19 mutants, which express both neurons as AWCOFF/OFF, and nsy-1 mutants, which express both neurons as AWCON. We found that only nsy-1 mutant animals are able to sense field gradient, suggesting AWCON is required for electrotaxis behavior. Here, we demonstrated that AWCON functions as an electro-sensory neuron allowing animals to sense and adjust approach trajectories angles to match the preferred field strength.