Computational rules for chemotaxis in the nematode C. elegans

J Comput Neurosci. 1999 May-Jun;6(3):263-77. doi: 10.1023/a:1008857906763.


We derive a linear neural network model of the chemotaxis control circuit in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and demonstrate that this model is capable of producing nematodelike chemotaxis. By expanding the analytic solution for the network output in time-derivatives of the network input, we extract simple computational rules that reveal how the model network controls chemotaxis. Based on these rules we find that optimized linear networks typically control chemotaxis by computing the first time-derivative of the chemical concentration and modulating the body turning rate in response to this derivative. We argue that this is consistent with behavioral studies and a plausible mechanism for at least one component of chemotaxis in real nematodes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Chemotaxis / physiology*
  • Linear Models
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Orientation / physiology