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A cilia-mediated environmental input induces solitary behaviour in Caenorhabditis elegans and Pristionchus pacificus nematodes

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Nematodes respond to a multitude of environmental cues. For example, the social behaviours clumping and bordering were described as a mechanism of hyperoxia avoidance in Caenorhabditis elegans and Pristionchus pacificus. A recent study in P. pacificus revealed a novel regulatory pathway that inhibits social behaviour in a response to an as yet unknown environmental cue. This environmental signal is recognised by ciliated neurons, as mutants defective in intraflagellar transport (IFT) proteins display social behaviours. The IFT machinery represents a large protein complex and many mutants in genes encoding IFT proteins are available in C. elegans. However, social phenotypes in C. elegans IFT mutants have never been reported. Here, we examined 15 previously isolated C. elegans IFT mutants and found that most of them showed strong social behaviour. These findings indicate conservation in the inhibitory mechanism of social behaviour between P. pacificus and C. elegans.

Affiliations: 1: Department for Integrative Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Max-Planck Ring 9, 72076 Tübingen, Germany

*Corresponding author, e-mail:

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