Caenorhabditis elegans male sensory-motor neurons and dopaminergic support cells couple ejaculation and post-ejaculatory behaviors. Academic Article uri icon


  • The circuit structure and function underlying post-coital male behaviors remain poorly understood. Using mutant analysis, laser ablation, optogenetics, and Ca2+ imaging, we observed that following C. elegans male copulation, the duration of post-coital lethargy is coupled to cellular events involved in ejaculation. We show that the SPV and SPD spicule-associated sensory neurons and the spicule socket neuronal support cells function with intromission circuit components, including the cholinergic SPC and PCB and the glutamatergic PCA sensory-motor neurons, to coordinate sex muscle contractions with initiation and continuation of sperm movement. Our observations suggest that the SPV and SPD and their associated dopamine-containing socket cells sense the intrauterine environment through cellular endings exposed at the spicule tips and regulate both sperm release into the hermaphrodite and the recovery from post-coital lethargy.

published proceedings

  • Elife

altmetric score

  • 3.1

author list (cited authors)

  • LeBoeuf, B., Correa, P., Jee, C., & Garca, L. R.

citation count

  • 37

publication date

  • June 2014


published in