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Front. Neural Circuits | doi: 10.3389/fncir.2018.00094

A Pipeline for Volume Electron Microscopy of the Caenorhabditis elegans Nervous System

 Ben Mulcahy1*,  Daniel Witvliet1, 2, Douglas Holmyard3, 4, James Mitchell5,  Aravinthan D. Samuel5* and  Mei Zhen1, 2, 6*
  • 1Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Canada
  • 2Departments of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Canada
  • 3Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, Canada
  • 4Nanoscale Biomedical Imaging Facility, Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning, The Hospital for Sick Children, Canada
  • 5Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, United States
  • 6Departments of Physiology, University of Toronto, Canada

The ‘connectome’, a comprehensive wiring diagram of synaptic connectivity, is achieved through volume electron microscopy (vEM) analysis of an entire nervous system and all associated non-neuronal tissues. White et al. (1986) pioneered the fully manual reconstruction of a connectome using C. elegans. Recent advances in vEM allow mapping new C. elegans connectomes with increased throughput, and reduced subjectivity. Current vEM studies aim to not only fill the remaining gaps in the original connectome, but also address fundamental questions including how the connectome changes during development, the nature of individuality, sexual dimorphism, and how genetic and environmental factors regulate connectivity. Here we describe our current vEM pipeline and projected improvements for the study of the C. elegans nervous system and beyond.

Keywords: C. elegans, Volume electron microscopy, connectome, Nervous System, high-pressure freezing

Received: 16 Aug 2018; Accepted: 08 Oct 2018.

Edited by:

Yoshiyuki Kubota, National Institute for Physiological Sciences (NIPS), Japan

Reviewed by:

Kerrianne Ryan, Dalhousie University, Canada
John G. White, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Mulcahy, Witvliet, Holmyard, Mitchell, Samuel and Zhen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Ben Mulcahy, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Toronto, Canada, benmulcahy406@gmail.com
Prof. Aravinthan D. Samuel, Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States, samuel@physics.harvard.edu
Prof. Mei Zhen, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Toronto, Canada, zhen@lunenfeld.ca