Skip to main content

Data from: Whole-organism behavioral profiling reveals a role for dopamine in state-dependent motor program coupling in C. elegans.

Cite this dataset

Flavell, Steven et al. (2020). Data from: Whole-organism behavioral profiling reveals a role for dopamine in state-dependent motor program coupling in C. elegans. [Dataset]. Dryad.


Animal behaviors are commonly organized into long-lasting states that coordinately impact the generation of diverse motor outputs such as feeding, locomotion, and grooming. However, the neural mechanisms that coordinate these diverse motor programs remain poorly understood. Here, we examine how the distinct motor programs of the nematode C. elegans are coupled together across behavioral states. We describe a new imaging platform that permits automated, simultaneous quantification of each of the main C. elegans motor programs over hours or days. Analysis of these whole-organism behavioral profiles shows that the motor programs coordinately change as animals switch behavioral states. Utilizing genetics, optogenetics, and calcium imaging, we identify a new role for dopamine in coupling locomotion and egg-laying together across states. These results provide new insights into how the diverse motor programs throughout an organism are coordinated and suggest that neuromodulators like dopamine can couple motor circuits together in a state-dependent manner. 


Behavioral and GCaMP data 

Behavioral datasets were collected from animals of the indicated genotypes using a custom microscope described in the manuscript.

GCaMP datasets were collected from freely-moving C. elegans animals, using widefield imaging of animals on agar slides, as described in the manuscript.

Usage notes

For the behavioral data, ther are two files per genotype: 1) Posture.mat and 2) Data.mat. Posture.mat contains the variable "Posture" which consists of the body angles, compendium posture numbers, posture group numbers, coarsened posture group numbers, and hidden behavioral state numbers of each animal throughout a given recording. Each cell of the MATLAB struct corresponds to a single animal's recording. Each genotype's Data.mat file contains the variables "AngVelocity", "AutoFocus", "DMP", "Eggs", "LaserTimes", "Pumping", and "Velocity." The first column of each of these variables contains the animal number and the second column contains the data of interest. 

For each GCaMP dataset, there are 3 files:

(1) gcamp tracking file (a csv with: frame,xcoord,ycoored,intdens,intsub,bgmedian,maxint,area,x,y,sqintdens,sqintsub,sqarea,threshold,animal,redFlag,useTracking)

(2) body angle data file

(3) velocity file


JPB Foundation, Award: PIIF, PNDRF, Picower Fellowship

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Award: R01NS104892

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS 1845663

National Science Foundation, Award: DUE 1734870

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, Award: NARSAD Young Investigator Award