Gene expression of Caenorhabditis elegans neurons carries information on their synaptic connectivity

Alon Kaufman*, Gideon Dror, Isaac Meilijson, Eytan Ruppin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The claim that genetic properties of neurons significantly influence their synaptic network structure is a common notion in neuroscience. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans provides an exciting opportunity to approach this question in a large-scale quantitative manner. Its synaptic connectivity network has been identified, and, combined with cellular studies, we currently have characteristic connectivity and gene expression signatures for most of its neurons. By using two complementary analysis assays we show that the expression signature of a neuron carries significant information about its synaptic connectivity signature, and identify a list of putative genes predicting neural connectivity. The current study rigorously quantifies the relation between gene expression and synaptic connectivity signatures in the C. elegans nervous system and identifies subsets of neurons where this relation is highly marked. The results presented and the genes identified provide a promising starting point for further, more detailed computational and experimental investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1561-1567
Number of pages7
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Volume2
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2006

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