Article

Caenorhabditis elegans Feeding Behaviors

Nicolas Dallière, Lindy Holden-Dye, James Dillon, Vincent O'Connor and Robert J. Walker

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Neuroscience


Published online June 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780190264086 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264086.013.190

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The microscopic free-living nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans was the first metazoan to have its genome sequenced and for many decades has served as a genetically tractable model for the investigation of neural mechanisms of behavioral plasticity. Many of its behaviors involve the detection of its food, bacteria, which are ingested and transported to the intestine by a muscular pharynx. The structure of the pharynx and the circuitry of the pharyngeal nervous system that regulates pharyngeal activity have been described in some detail. This has provided a platform for understanding how this simple organism finely tunes its feeding behavior in response to the changing availability and quality of its food, and in the context of its own nutritional status. This resonates with fundamental principles of energy homeostasis that occur throughout the animal kingdom.

Keywords: nematode; pharynx; behavior; adaptation; neurotransmission

Article.  15814 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Invertebrate Neurobiology

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