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The role of body wall muscles in C. elegans locomotion

Boyle, J.H. and Cohen, N. (2007) The role of body wall muscles in C. elegans locomotion. In: olde Scheper, T., (ed.) Proceedings of the Seventh International Workshop on Information Processing in Cells and Tissues 2007. IPCAT 2007, 29-31 August 2007, Oxford, UK. Librix.eu , pp. 363-375.

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Over the past four decades, one of the simplest nervous systems across the animal kingdom, that of the nematode worm C. elegans, has drawn increasing attention. This system is the subject of an intensive concerted effort to understand the behaviour of an entire living animal, from the bottom up and the top down. C. elegans locomotion, in particular, has been the subject of a number of models, but there is as yet no general agreement about the key (rhythm generating) elements. In this paper we investigate the role of one component of the locomotion subsystem, namely the body wall muscles, with a focus on the role of inter-muscular gap junctions. We construct a detailed electrophysiological model which suggests that these muscles function, to a first approximation, as mere actuators and have no obvious rhythm generating role. Furthermore, we show that within our model inter-muscular coupling is too weak to have a significant electrical effect. These results rule out muscles as key generators of locomotion, pointing instead to neural activity patterns. More specifically, the results imply that the reduced locomotion velocity observed in unc-9 mutants is likely to be due to reduced neuronal rather than inter-muscular coupling.

Item Type: Proceedings Paper
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: Subsequently published in a revised form as: Boyle, J.H. and Cohen, N. (2007) Caenorhabditis elegans body wall muscles are simple actuators. Biosystems, 94 (1-2). pp. 363-375. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biosystems.2008.05.025
Keywords: Caenorhabditis elegans locomotion, body wall muscles, gap junctions, conductance based models
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Engineering (Leeds) > School of Computing (Leeds)
Depositing User: Miss Jamie Grant
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2009 17:03
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:06
Status: Published
Publisher: Librix.eu
Refereed: No
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7952

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