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Review
. 2015 Sep 19;370(1677):20140212.
doi: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0212.

Illuminating Neural Circuits and Behaviour in Caenorhabditis Elegans With Optogenetics

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Free PMC article
Review

Illuminating Neural Circuits and Behaviour in Caenorhabditis Elegans With Optogenetics

Christopher Fang-Yen et al. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

The development of optogenetics, a family of methods for using light to control neural activity via light-sensitive proteins, has provided a powerful new set of tools for neurobiology. These techniques have been particularly fruitful for dissecting neural circuits and behaviour in the compact and transparent roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. Researchers have used optogenetic reagents to manipulate numerous excitable cell types in the worm, from sensory neurons, to interneurons, to motor neurons and muscles. Here, we show how optogenetics applied to this transparent roundworm has contributed to our understanding of neural circuits.

Keywords: Caenorhabditis elegans; neural circuits; optogenetics.

Figures

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Overview of the C. elegans nervous system. The majority of neurons are located in several ganglia near the nerve ring. (Online version in colour.)
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Partial circuit diagram of the C. elegans somatic nervous system and musculature. Sensory neurons are represented by triangles, interneurons are represented by hexagons, motor neurons by circles and muscles by diamonds. Arrows represent connections via chemical synapses, which may be excitatory or inhibitory. Dashed lines represent connections by electrical synapses. VNC, ventral nerve cord. (Online version in colour.)

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