Olfactory circuits and behaviors of nematodes

Sophie Rengarajan, Elissa A Hallem
2016 Current Opinion in Neurobiology  
Over one billion people worldwide are infected with parasitic nematodes. Many parasitic nematodes actively search for hosts to infect using volatile chemical cues, so understanding the olfactory signals that drive host seeking may elucidate new pathways for preventing infections. The free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a powerful model for parasitic nematodes: because sensory neuroanatomy is conserved across nematode species, an understanding of the microcircuits that mediate
more » ... n in C. elegans may inform studies of olfaction in parasitic nematodes. Here we review circuit mechanisms that allow C. elegans to respond to odorants, gases, and pheromones. We also highlight work on the olfactory behaviors of parasitic nematodes that lays the groundwork for future studies of their olfactory microcircuits. and sound [4] [5] [6] [7] . These advances have greatly expanded our knowledge of how olfactory microcircuits drive behavior and how these circuits are contextually modulated. Different nematode species share conserved positional sensory neuroanatomy [8, 9] , and thus understanding how C. elegans microcircuits generate olfactory behaviors may have direct implications for how analogous microcircuits operate in parasitic nematodes. Although the microcircuits underlying olfactory preferences in parasitic nematodes are poorly understood, recent studies have elucidated the divergent olfactory preferences of different parasitic nematode species. Here we review the olfactory behaviors of free-living and parasitic nematodes, and highlight some of the microcircuit computations underlying olfactory behaviors in C. elegans. Olfaction in C. elegans
doi:10.1016/j.conb.2016.09.002 pmid:27668755 pmcid:PMC5123917 fatcat:ccoodrqazzcklix5oinm4cvxau