Mechanosensory Control of Locomotion

  • Riddle D
  • Blumenthal T
  • Meyer B
 et al. 
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our behavioral paradigms have been developed to study mechanosensory control of locomotion: nose touch, gentle body touch, tap, and harsh body touch (Chalfie et al. 1985; Way and Chalfie 1989; Chiba and Rankin 1990; Rankin 1991; Kaplan and Horvitz 1993). The neuronal circuitry for each behavioral paradigm has been deduced and, to varying degrees, has been experimentally tested. We first describe here neuronal circuitry and genetic characterization of two behavioral responses to nose touch: nose touch avoidance and head withdrawal. We then discuss circuitry for responses to three distinct types of body touch: localized gentle touch, a diffuse tap delivered over the entire body, and localized harsh touch. Finally, we discuss in detail the molecular genetics of development and function of the six touch receptor cells, which have critical roles in sensory transduction of several of the aforementioned behaviors. In addition to modulation by mechanical stimuli, locomotion can be controlled by chemosensory and thermosensory cues (see Bargmann and Mori, this volume).

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  • Donald L Riddle

  • Thomas Blumenthal

  • Barbara J Meyer

  • James R Priess

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