Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Scientific Reports



DOI of Original Publication



Originally published at

Date of Submission

December 2015


The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a widely used model for genetic dissection of animal behaviors. Despite extensive technical advances in imaging methods, it remains challenging to visualize and quantify C. elegans behaviors in three-dimensional (3-D) natural environments. Here we developed an innovative 3-D imaging method that enables quantification of C. elegans behavior in 3-D environments. Furthermore, for the first time, we characterized 3-D-specific behavioral phenotypes of mutant worms that have defects in head movement or mechanosensation. This approach allowed us to reveal previously unknown functions of genes in behavioral regulation. We expect that our 3-D imaging method will facilitate new investigations into genetic basis of animal behaviors in natural 3-D environments.


Copyright © 2015, Macmillan Publishers Limited. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit

Is Part Of

VCU Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Publications

srep09564-s1.docx (824 kB)
Supplementary Figures and Methods (799 kB)
Three-dimensional reconstructed images of a wild-type C. elegans recorded for 3 minutes. (8741 kB)
A series of movies showing wild-type, vab-10 and eat-4 mutant animals that crawled in 3-D environments.