Agarose Microchambers for Long-term Calcium Imaging of Caenorhabditis elegans

J Vis Exp. 2015 Jun 24;(100):e52742. doi: 10.3791/52742.

Abstract

Behavior is controlled by the nervous system. Calcium imaging is a straightforward method in the transparent nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to measure the activity of neurons during various behaviors. To correlate neural activity with behavior, the animal should not be immobilized but should be able to move. Many behavioral changes occur during long time scales and require recording over many hours of behavior. This also makes it necessary to culture the worms in the presence of food. How can worms be cultured and their neural activity imaged over long time scales? Agarose Microchamber Imaging (AMI) was previously developed to culture and observe small larvae and has now been adapted to study all life stages from early L1 until the adult stage of C. elegans. AMI can be performed on various life stages of C. elegans. Long-term calcium imaging is achieved without immobilizing the animals by using short externally triggered exposures combined with an electron multiplying charge-coupled device (EMCCD) camera recording. Zooming out or scanning can scale up this method to image up to 40 worms in parallel. Thus, a method is described to image behavior and neural activity over long time scales in all life stages of C. elegans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / chemistry
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism*
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / methods*
  • Models, Animal
  • Neurons / chemistry
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Sepharose

Substances

  • Sepharose
  • Calcium