Enhanced locomotion caenorhabditis elegans in structured microfluidic environments

Hyejin Hwang, Seong Won Nam, Fernando Martinez, Robert H. Austin, William S. Ryu, Sungsu Park

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Behavioral studies of Caenorhabditis elegans traditionally are done on the smooth surface of agar plates, but the natural habitat of C. elegans and other nematodes is the soil, a complex and structured environment. In order to investigate how worms move in complex environments, we have developed a technique to study C. elegans locomotion in structures fabricated from agar. A microfluidic structure containing an array of posts was designed and the movement of worms in these structures was studied by video microscopy. We discovered that worms are capable of a novel mode of locomotion - a combination of the fast oscillatory movements of swimming with the efficiency of crawling. When the wavelength of the worms matched the spatial scale of the post array, the microstructure directed and increased the swimming speed C. elegans ten-fold. However, we found that the swimming speed of mutants defective in mechanosensation (mec-4, mec-10) did not increase, which suggests this enhanced locomotion depends in part on mechanosensory feedback. The worms sense of touch is likely important in how C. elegans navigate complex, structured environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences, uTAS 2007
EditorsJean-Louis Viovy, Patrick Tabeling, Stephanie Descroix, Laurent Malaquin
PublisherChemical and Biological Microsystems Society
Pages131-133
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9780979806407
StatePublished - 2007
Event11th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences, uTAS 2007 - Paris, France
Duration: Oct 7 2007Oct 11 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 11th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences, uTAS 2007

Conference

Conference11th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences, uTAS 2007
CountryFrance
CityParis
Period10/7/0710/11/07

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Bioengineering

Keywords

  • C. elegans
  • Mechanosensation
  • Micropattern
  • Soft lithography

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  • Cite this

    Hwang, H., Nam, S. W., Martinez, F., Austin, R. H., Ryu, W. S., & Park, S. (2007). Enhanced locomotion caenorhabditis elegans in structured microfluidic environments. In J-L. Viovy, P. Tabeling, S. Descroix, & L. Malaquin (Eds.), Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences, uTAS 2007 (pp. 131-133). (Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences, uTAS 2007). Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society.