Electron Microscopical Reconstruction of the Anterior Sensory Anatomy of the Nematode Caenorhabiditis elegans

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Table of contents  -  Abstract  -   Introduction  -   Materials & Methods  -   Results  -   Discussion  -   References


The complete structure of the anterior sensory nervous system of the small nematode C. elegans has benn determined by reconstruction from seral section electronmicrographys. There are 58 neurons in the tip of the head. Fifty-two of these are arranged in sensilla. These include six inner labial sensilla, six outer labial sensilla, four cephalic sensilla and two amphids. Each sensillum consists of ciliated sensory neurons ending in a channel enclosed by two non-neuronal cells, the sheath and socket cells. The amphidial channel opens to the outside as does that of the inner labial sensilla so that these probably contain chemoreceptive neurons. The endings of the other sensilla are embedded in the cuticle and may be mechanoreceptive. The cell bodies of all the neurons lie near the nerve ring and their axons project into the ring or into ventral ganglia. One of the ciliated sensory neurons in each of the six inner labial sensilla makes direct chemical synapses onto a muscle making the sensory-motor neurons. The anatomy of four isogenic animals was compared in detail and found to be largely invariant. The anatomy of juveniles is nearly identical to that of the adult, but males have four additional neuron processes.

Web adaptation, Thomas Boulin, for Wormatlas, 2002