Tiny worms (nematodes) are stimulated by a low voltage DC electric field and move towards the cathode. This phenomenon, termed “electrotaxis”, is known for more than 50 years but only recently has caught the attention of some researchers.
The electrotactic response of C. elegans, a leading worm model, has been characterized in little detail. Although it has been found that sensory neurons and muscles are involved in this process, how they respond to the electric field and activate directed movement is not known. Additionally, it is also unclear why worms exhibit such a behavior. Does it help in their survival, growth, or finding food? Our group has been busy investigating the electrotaxis movement of worms using a novel microfluidic channel device.
Gupta, S. P. (1962). Galvanotactic reaction of infective larvae of Trichostrongylus retortaeformis. Experimental parasitology, 12, 118–119.
Sukul, N. C. and Croll, N. A. (1978). Influence of Potential Difference and Current on the Electrotaxis of Caenorhaditis elegans. Journal of nematology, 10(4), 314–317.
Gabel, C. V. et al. (2007). Neural circuits mediate electrosensory behavior in Caenorhabditis elegans. The Journal of neuroscience, 27(28), 7586–7596.
Rezai, P., Siddiqui, A., Selvaganapathy, P. R., and Gupta, B. P. (2010). Electrotaxis of Caenorhabditis elegans in a microfluidic environment. Lab on a Chip, 10(2), 220–226.
Gupta, B. P. and Rezai, P. (2016). Microfluidic Approaches for Manipulating, Imaging, and Screening C. elegans. Micromachines, 7, 123; doi:10.3390/mi7070123