Visualizing Calcium Flux in Freely Moving Nematode Embryos. Academic Article uri icon


  • The lack of physiological recordings from Caenorhabditis elegans embryos stands in stark contrast to the comprehensive anatomical and gene expression datasets already available. Using light-sheet fluorescence microscopy to address the challenges associated with functional imaging at this developmental stage, we recorded calcium dynamics in muscles and neurons and developed analysis strategies to relate activity and movement. In muscles, we found that the initiation of twitching was associated with a spreading calcium wave in a dorsal muscle bundle. Correlated activity in muscle bundles was linked with early twitching and eventual coordinated movement. To identify neuronal correlates of behavior, we monitored brainwide activity with subcellular resolution and identified a particularly active cell associated with muscle contractions. Finally, imaging neurons of a well-defined adult motor circuit, we found that reversals in the eggshell correlated with calcium transients in AVA interneurons.

publication date

  • May 9, 2017