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Biol Proced Online. 2004;6:113-119. Epub 2004 Jun 8.

Using C. elegans to screen for targets of ethanol and behavior-altering drugs.

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  • 1Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, Department of Neurology, Programs in Neuroscience and Biomedical Science, University of California, San Francisco. 5858 Horton Street, Suite 200, Emeryville, California 94608. USA.


Caenorhabditis elegans is an attractive model system for determining the targets of neuroactive compounds. Genetic screens in C. elegans provide a relatively unbiased approach to the identification of genes that are essential for behavioral effects of drugs and neuroactive compounds such as alcohol. Much work in vertebrate systems has identified multiple potential targets of ethanol but which, if any, of those candidates are responsible for the behavioral effects of alcohol is uncertain. Here we provide detailed methodology for a genetic screen for mutants of C. elegans that are resistant to the depressive effects of ethanol on locomotion and for the subsequent behavioral analysis of those mutants. The methods we describe should also be applicable for use in screening for mutants that are resistant or hypersensitive to many neuroactive compounds and for identifying the molecular targets or biochemical pathways mediating drug responses.

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