Visualizing a single neuron in the nematode C. elegans
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"C .elegans is a free living soil nematode that is a great model organism to study nervous system function. To date C . elegans remains only organism whose nervous system has been mapped. It is transparent, making it an outstanding organism to study gene function using fluorescent proteins such as the Green fluorescent protein (GFP) and bioluminescent proteins. This image shows C .elegans stained with an antibody detecting the cell body of a single motor neuron called M4. M4 is located in the feeding organ of the worm called the pharynx. It forms synapses with pharyngeal muscles to control peristalsis, which is a feeding behavior. The other nuclei in the pharynx are stained with DAPI in blue. The goal of my research is to identify genes that are expressed in M4 and understand how they regulate M4 synapse assembly. This worm expresses an RNA binding protein that will bind to messenger RNA of genes expressed in the M4 neuron. This image was acquired with a Zeiss fluorescent microscope at a 63X magnification using Axiovision software."