Structural Properties of the Caenorhabditis elegans Neuronal Network

Varshney, L. R., Chen, B. L., Paniagua, E., Hall, D. H., Chklovskii, D. B. (2011) Structural Properties of the Caenorhabditis elegans Neuronal Network. Plos Computational Biology, 7 (2). ISSN 1553-734X

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URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21304930
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1001066

Abstract

Despite recent interest in reconstructing neuronal networks, complete wiring diagrams on the level of individual synapses remain scarce and the insights into function they can provide remain unclear. Even for Caenorhabditis elegans, whose neuronal network is relatively small and stereotypical from animal to animal, published wiring diagrams are neither accurate nor complete and self-consistent. Using materials from White et al. and new electron micrographs we assemble whole, self-consistent gap junction and chemical synapse networks of hermaphrodite C. elegans. We propose a method to visualize the wiring diagram, which reflects network signal flow. We calculate statistical and topological properties of the network, such as degree distributions, synaptic multiplicities, and small-world properties, that help in understanding network signal propagation. We identify neurons that may play central roles in information processing, and network motifs that could serve as functional modules of the network. We explore propagation of neuronal activity in response to sensory or artificial stimulation using linear systems theory and find several activity patterns that could serve as substrates of previously described behaviors. Finally, we analyze the interaction between the gap junction and the chemical synapse networks. Since several statistical properties of the C. elegans network, such as multiplicity and motif distributions are similar to those found in mammalian neocortex, they likely point to general principles of neuronal networks. The wiring diagram reported here can help in understanding the mechanistic basis of behavior by generating predictions about future experiments involving genetic perturbations, laser ablations, or monitoring propagation of neuronal activity in response to stimulation.

Item Type: Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: small-world networks nervous-system complex networks c-elegans circuit reconstruction synaptic connectivity ascaris-lumbricoides neural circuit random graphs behavior
Subjects: organism description > animal > C elegans
organism description > animal
organs, tissues, organelles, cell types and functions > tissues types and functions > neural networks
organs, tissues, organelles, cell types and functions > tissues types and functions
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Chklovskii lab
Watson School > Publications
Depositing User: Matt Covey
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2013 16:44
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2014 20:20
PMCID: PMC3033362
Related URLs:
URI: http://repository.cshl.edu/id/eprint/27115

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