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Changes in postural syntax characterize sensory modulation and natural variation of C. elegans locomotion

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Item Type:Article
Title:Changes in postural syntax characterize sensory modulation and natural variation of C. elegans locomotion
Creators Name:Schwarz, R.F. and Branicky, R. and Grundy, L.J. and Schafer, W.R. and Brown, A.E.X.
Abstract:Locomotion is driven by shape changes coordinated by the nervous system through time; thus, enumerating an animal's complete repertoire of shape transitions would provide a basis for a comprehensive understanding of locomotor behaviour. Here we introduce a discrete representation of behaviour in the nematode C. elegans. At each point in time, the worm's posture is approximated by its closest matching template from a set of 90 postures and locomotion is represented as sequences of postures. The frequency distribution of postural sequences is heavy-tailed with a core of frequent behaviours and a much larger set of rarely used behaviours. Responses to optogenetic and environmental stimuli can be quantified as changes in postural syntax: worms show different preferences for different sequences of postures drawn from the same set of templates. A discrete representation of behaviour will enable the use of methods developed for other kinds of discrete data in bioinformatics and language processing to be harnessed for the study of behaviour.
Keywords:Animal Behavior, Cluster Analysis, Computational Biology, Locomotion, Optogenetics, Animals, Caenorhabditis elegans
Source:PLoS Computational Biology
Publisher:Public Library of Science
Page Range:e1004322
Date:21 August 2015
Official Publication:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004322
PubMed:View item in PubMed
Related to:
https://edoc.mdc-berlin.de/16858/Preprint version

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