Two pathways are required for ultrasound-evoked behavioral changes in Caenorhabditis elegans

PLoS One. 2022 May 5;17(5):e0267698. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0267698. eCollection 2022.


Ultrasound has been shown to affect the function of both neurons and non-neuronal cells, but, the underlying molecular machinery has been poorly understood. Here, we show that at least two mechanosensitive proteins act together to generate C. elegans behavioral responses to ultrasound stimuli. We first show that these animals generate reversals in response to a single 10 msec pulse from a 2.25 MHz ultrasound transducer. Next, we show that the pore-forming subunit of the mechanosensitive channel TRP-4, and a DEG/ENaC/ASIC ion channel MEC-4, are both required for this ultrasound-evoked reversal response. Further, the trp-4;mec-4 double mutant shows a stronger behavioral deficit compared to either single mutant. Finally, overexpressing TRP-4 in specific chemosensory neurons can rescue the ultrasound-triggered behavioral deficit in the mec-4 null mutant, suggesting that both TRP-4 and MEC-4 act together in affecting behavior. Together, we demonstrate that multiple mechanosensitive proteins likely cooperate to transform ultrasound stimuli into behavioral changes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins* / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans* / metabolism
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Ion Channels
  • Mec-4 protein, C elegans
  • Membrane Proteins