The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is an ideal organism for studying neural plasticity and animal behaviors. A total of 302 neurons of a C. elegans hermaphrodite have been classified into 118 neuronal groups. This simple neural circuit provides a solid basis for understanding the mechanisms of the brains of higher animals, including humans. Recent studies that employ modern imaging and manipulation techniques enable researchers to study the dynamic properties of nervous systems with great precision. Behavioral and molecular genetic analyses of this tiny animal have contributed greatly to the advancement of neural circuit research. Here, we will review the recent studies on the neural circuits of C. elegans that have been conducted in Japan. Several laboratories have established unique and clever methods to study the underlying neuronal substrates of behavioral regulation in C. elegans. The technological advances applied to studies of C. elegans have allowed new approaches for the studies of complex neural systems. Through reviewing the studies on the neuronal circuits of C. elegans in Japan, we will analyze and discuss the directions of neural circuit studies.
Sasakura, H., Tsukada, Y., Takagi, S., & Mori, I. (2013). Japanese studies on neural circuits and behavior of Caenorhabditis elegans. Frontiers in Neural Circuits. https://doi.org/10.3389/fncir.2013.00187