Neurobiology of caenorhabditis elegans locomotion: Where do we stand?

Julijana Gjorgjieva, David Biron, Gal Haspel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Animals use a nervous system for locomotion in some stage of their life cycle. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, a major animal model for almost all fields of experimental biology, has long been used for detailed studies of genetic and physiological locomotion mechanisms. Of its 959 somatic cells, 302 are neurons that are identifiable by lineage, location, morphology, and neurochemistry in every adult hermaphrodite. Of those, 75 motoneurons innervate body wall muscles that provide the thrust during locomotion. In this Overview, we concentrate on the generation of either forward- or backward-directed motion during crawling and swimming. We describe locomotion behavior, the parts constituting the locomotion system, and the relevant neuronal connectivity. Because it is not yet fully understood how these components combine to generate locomotion, we discuss competing hypotheses and models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-486
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


  • Animal behavior
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Locomotion
  • Neurobiology


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