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WormBook. 2006 Jan 6:1-14.

Mechanosensation.

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1
Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, School of Medicine-Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5345, USA. mbgoodmn@stanford.edu

Abstract

Wild C. elegans and other nematodes live in dirt and eat bacteria, relying on mechanoreceptor neurons (MRNs) to detect collisions with soil particles and other animals as well as forces generated by their own movement. MRNs may also help animals detect bacterial food sources. Hermaphrodites and males have 22 putative MRNs; males have an additional 46 MRNs, most, if not all of which are needed for mating. This chapter reviews key aspects of C. elegans mechanosensation, including MRN anatomy, what is known about their contributions to behavior as well as the neural circuits linking MRNs to movement. Emerging models of the mechanisms used to convert mechanical energy into electrical signals are also discussed. Prospects for future research include expanding our understanding of the molecular basis of mechanotransduction and how activation of MRNs guides and modulates behavior.

PMID:
18050466
PMCID:
PMC2806189
DOI:
10.1895/wormbook.1.62.1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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