Open Access

Using C. elegans to screen for targets of ethanol and behavior-altering drugs

Biological Procedures Online6:610113

Received: 23 April 2004

Accepted: 2 June 2004


Caenorhabditis elegans is an attractive model system for determining the targets of neuroactive compounds. Genetic screens in C. elegans provide a relatively unbiased approach to the identification of genes that are essential for behavioral effects of drugs and neuroactive compounds such as alcohol. Much work in vertebrate systems has identified multiple potential targets of ethanol but which, if any, of those candidates are responsible for the behavioral effects of alcohol is uncertain. Here we provide detailed methodology for a genetic screen for mutants of C. elegans that are resistant to the depressive effects of ethanol on locomotion and for the subsequent behavioral analysis of those mutants. The methods we describe should also be applicable for use in screening for mutants that are resistant or hypersensitive to many neuroactive compounds and for identifying the molecular targets or biochemical pathways mediating drug responses.

Indexing terms

Alcohol Behavior Genetics Invertebrate