Mutations that prevent associative learning in C. elegans

Behav Neurosci. 1997 Apr;111(2):354-68. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.111.2.354.


The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans offers a promising system for the reductionist study of learning and memory. In this article, classical conditioning in C. elegans is demonstrated with a variety of associative learning assays. These assays allowed for the isolation and behavioral characterization of 2 mutant C. elegans lines impaired in associative learning. Both lines show no short-term or long-term associative conditioning; however, they appear relatively normal in tests of nonassociative learning and sensorimotor function. In combination with the well-described genetics and neuroanatomy of C. elegans, the isolation of mutants selectively, yet completely, blocked in associative learning provides the basis for an effective characterization of the cellular and molecular aspects of associative learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetitive Behavior / physiology
  • Association Learning / physiology*
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology*
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Disorders of Sex Development / genetics
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Species Specificity