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Title: A Neuromechanical Model of Multiple Network Rhythmic Pattern Generators for Forward Locomotion in C. elegans
Multiple mechanisms contribute to the generation, propagation, and coordination of the rhythmic patterns necessary for locomotion in Caenorhabditis elegans . Current experiments have focused on two possibilities: pacemaker neurons and stretch-receptor feedback. Here, we focus on whether it is possible that a chain of multiple network rhythmic pattern generators in the ventral nerve cord also contribute to locomotion. We use a simulation model to search for parameters of the anatomically constrained ventral nerve cord circuit that, when embodied and situated, can drive forward locomotion on agar, in the absence of pacemaker neurons or stretch-receptor feedback. Systematic exploration of the space of possible solutions reveals that there are multiple configurations that result in locomotion that is consistent with certain aspects of the kinematics of worm locomotion on agar. Analysis of the best solutions reveals that gap junctions between different classes of motorneurons in the ventral nerve cord can play key roles in coordinating the multiple rhythmic pattern generators.
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Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience
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National Science Foundation
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