Early-life experiencere-organizes neuromodulatory regulation of developmental patterns of behaviorand individuality
Early-life experiences may promote robust and long-lastingbehavioral outputs within populations, but also patterns of behavioralresponses that are variable among individuals, even when initially exposed tothe same early stimulus. In my project, I studied how early-life starvationmodifies behavior and inter-individual diversity across development bymonitoring C. elegans individual behaviors continuously throughout alldevelopmental stages, at high spatiotemporal resolution and under tightlycontrolled conditions. My results show that early starvation generates distinctand discontinuous behavioral effects across different life stages. Bothdopamine and serotonin mediate stage-specific behavioral responses to earlystarvation. While serotonin promotes behavioral sensitivity during early andlate stages of development, dopamine buffers the behavioral response viaspecific receptors during intermediate stages. Moreover, by quantifyinginter-individual behavioral diversity across development within stressed andnon-stressed populations, I found that neuromodulators restrict alterations inindividuality levels by stress. My research reveals that early-life experiencesgenerate complex neuromodulatory regulation of behavioral patterns andindividuality across development.