Control of Neuronal Network in Caenorhabditis elegans
Caenorhabditis elegans, a soil dwelling nematode, is evolutionarily rudimentary and contains only * 300 neurons which are connected to each other via chemical synapses and gap junctions. This structural connectivity can be perceived as nodes and edges of a graph. Controlling complex networked systems (such as nervous system) has been an area of excitement for mankind. Various methods have been developed to identify specific brain regions, which when controlled by external input can lead to
... vement of control over the state of the system. But in case of neuronal connectivity network the properties of neurons identified as driver nodes is of much importance because nervous system can produce a variety of states (behaviour of the animal). Hence to gain insight on the type of control achieved in nervous system we implemented the notion of structural control from graph theory to C. elegans neuronal network. We identified 'driver neurons' which can provide full control over the network. We studied phenotypic properties of these neurons which are referred to as 'phenoframe' as well as the 'genoframe' which represents their genetic correlates. We find that the driver neurons are primarily motor neurons located in the ventral nerve cord and contribute to biological reproduction of the animal. Identification of driver neurons and its characterization adds a new dimension in controllability of C. elegans neuronal network. This study suggests the importance of driver neurons and their utility to control the behaviour of the organism. Fig 2. Diagrammatic representation of C. elegans nervous system. The gastrointestinal tract lies in the middle of the body. Pharyngeal and circumferential ring neurons (yellow) are responsible for communication between dorsal nerve cord and ventral nerve cord.