Measuring Movement to Determine Physiological Roles of Acetylcholinesterase Classes in <I>Caenorhabditis elegans</I>


  • Paul C. Melstrom
  • Phillip L. Williams


acetylcholinesterase, behavior, Caenorhabditis elegans, genetics, inhibitor, method, movement, physiology, technique.


A difference in movement has been hypothesized to exist between Caenorhabditis elegans strains lacking one of two main genes for acetylcholinesterase (AChE), ace-1(+) and ace-2(+). We explored the precision of movement as an endpoint by measuring and comparing the movements of these strains (VC505 and GG202, respectively) and of N2 (wild-type). The order of movement of the strains is: N2 > VC505 > GG202; therefore, loss of the ace-2(+) gene is more detrimental to movement. We then compared the sensitivities of the three strains to an AChE inhibitor (propoxur) by generating movement-concentration curves, identifying effective concentrations that decreased movement by 50% (EC50), and comparing them. EC50 show an order of: N2 ≈ GG202 < VC505. Therefore, the enzymes encoded by ace-1(+) were more susceptible to propoxur than those of ace-2(+), suggesting that the innate difference in the AChE classes' contributions to movement will not always determine the strain sensitivity. Measuring movement was sufficiently precise to record differences following genetic manipulation and further chemical exposure.