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Neuron Names

Each C. elegans neuron name consists of one, two or three uppercase letters indicating class based on anatomy and synaptic connectivity. In some cases a number indicating the neuron number within one class follows the letters. If the neurons are radially symmetrical, each cell name is followed by L (left), R (right), D (dorsal), or V (ventral) (Albertson and Thomson, 1976; White et al., 1986; Hobert et al., 2016). Most of these names were originally assigned in the Brenner lab in the 1970s.

This table includes information on the origin of each neuron name with the neuron name letters highlighted in red in the next column. Additional relevant information is included in the “Notes” column. Thank you to John White and Oliver Hobert for helping to curate this list.

Origin of the Name Notes
ADA Anterior Process from Deirid Commissure A
ADE Anterior DEirid Neuron
ADF Amphid Dual Ciliated Ending F
ADL Amphid Dual Ciliated Ending L
AFD Amphid Finger-like Endings D 
AIA Anterior Interneuron A
AIB Anterior Interneuron B
AIM Anterior Interneuron M
AIN Anterior Interneuron N
AIY Anterior Interneuron Y
AIZ Anterior Interneuron Z
ALA Anterior Lateral Neuron A
ALM Anterior Lateral Microtubule Neuron
ALN Anterior Lateral Neuron N  "N" for continuity with ALM, with which ALN posterior process is associated
AQR Anterior, Q-cell Derived Receptor
AS A-type Short Motor Neuron Short because its ventral sensory field is short
ASE Amphid Single Cilium E
ASG Amphid Single Cilium G
ASH Amphid Single Cilium H
ASI Amphid Single Cilium I
ASJ Amphid Single Cilium J
ASK Amphid Single Cilium K
AUA Amphid-associated Unknown Receptor A Note that "unknown receptor (UR)" is also used for URA, URB, URY, URX
AVA Anterior Ventral Process A Formerly called alpha
AVB Anterior Ventral Process B Formerly called beta
AVD Anterior Ventral Process D
AVE Anterior Ventral Process E
AVF Anterior Ventral Process F
AVG Anterior Ventral Process G
AVH Anterior Ventral Process H
AVJ Anterior Ventral Process J
AVK Anterior Ventral Process K
AVL Anterior Ventral Process L
AVM Anterior Ventral Microtubule Neuron
AWA Amphid Wing Neuron A
AWB Amphid Wing Neuron B
AWC Amphid Wing Neuron C
BAG BAG-like Dendritic Ending
BDU Black Vesicles, Deirid Locale, Unknown Function  
CAN Excretory CANal-associated Neuron
CEP CEPhalic Sensory Neuron
DA Dorsal A-type Motor Neuron
DB Dorsal B-type Motor Neuron
DD Dorsal D-type Motor Neuron
DVA Dorsorectal Ganglion Ventral Process A
DVB Dorsorectal Ganglion Ventral Process B
DVC Dorsorectal Ganglion Ventral Process C
FLP FLaP-like Dendritic Ending
HSN Hermaphrodite-Specific Neuron
I1 Interneuron 1 (pharynx)
I2 Interneuron 2 (pharynx)
I3 Interneuron 3 (pharynx)
I4 Interneuron 4 (pharynx)
I5 Interneuron 5  (pharynx)
I6 Interneuron 6  (pharynx)
IL1 Inner Labial 1
IL2 Inner Labial 2
LUA LUmbar Ganglion A
M1 Motor Neuron  1 (pharynx)
M2 Motor Neuron 2  (pharynx)
M3 Motor Neuron 3 (pharynx)
M4 Motor Neuron 4 (pharynx)
M5 Motor Neuron 5 (pharynx)
MC Marginal Cell Neuron (pharynx) Distal axon runs close to the marginal cell
MI Motor/Interneuron (pharynx)
NSM NeuroSecretory Motor Neuron (pharynx)
OLL Outer Labial Lateral Dendrite
OLQ Outer Labial Quadrant Dendrite
PDA Preanal Cell Body Dorsal Axon A
PDB Preanal Cell Body Dorsal Axon B
PDE Posterior DEirid
PHA PHasmid Neuron A
PHB PHasmid Neuron B
PHC PHasmid Neuron C  Dendrite is actually posterior to phasmid
PLM Posterior Lateral Microtubule Neuron
PLN Posterior Lateral N "N" for continuity with PLM, with which PLN is associated
PQR Posterior Q-cell Derived Receptor
PVC Posterior Ventral Process C
PVD Posterior Ventral Process D
PVM Posterior Ventral Microtubule Neuron
PVN Posterior Ventral Process N "N" for continuity with PLM, with which PLN anterior process is associated
PVP Posterior Ventral Process P
PVQ Posterior Ventral Process Q
PVR Posterior Ventral Process R
PVT Posterior Ventral Process T
PVW Posterior Ventral Process W
RIA Ring Interneuron A
RIB Ring Interneuron B
RIC Ring Interneuron C
RID Ring Interneuron D
RIF Ring Interneuron F
RIG Ring Interneuron G
RIH Ring Interneuron H
RIM Ring Interneuron M
RIP Ring Interneuron P
RIR Ring Interneuron R
RIS Ring Interneuron S
RIV Ring Interneuron V
RMD Ring Motor Neuron D
RME Ring Motor Neuron E
RMF Ring Motor Neuron F
RMG Ring Motor Neuron G
RMH Ring Motor Neuron H
SAA Sublateral Anterior A
SAB Sublateral Anterior B
SDQ Sublateral Dorsal Q-cell Derived
SIA Sublateral Interneuron A Now shown to be motor neuron (Cook et al., 2019)
SIB Sublateral Interneuron B Now shown to be motor neuron (Cook et al., 2019)
SMB Sublateral Motor Neuron B
SMD Sublateral Motor Neuron D
URA Unknown Receptor, not Ciliated A
URB Unknown Receptor, not Ciliated B
URX Unknown Receptor, not Ciliated X
URY Unknown Receptor, not Ciliated Y
VA Ventral A-type Motor Neuron
VB Ventral B-type Motor Neuron
VC Ventral C-type Motor Neuron
VD Ventral D-type Motor Neuron
Origin of the Name Notes
CA C-type Neuron, Anterior Daughter after Division C = parallel lineage to VC neurons for hermaphrodite
CEM CEphalic Male Sensory Neuron
CP C-type Neuron, Posterior Daughter after Division C = parallel lineage to VC neurons for hermaphrodite
DVE Dorsorectal Ventral Process E
DVF Dorsorectal Ventral Process F
DX Dorsorectal Interneuron X
EF E or F Lineage Neuron Before change in nomenclature of F to U lineage
HOA HOok Neuron A
HOB HOok Neuron B
MCM Mystery Cell of the Male Sammut et al., 2015
PCA PostCloacal Sensilla Neuron A
PCB PostCloacal Sensilla Neuron B
PCC PostCloacal Sensilla Neuron C
PDC Preanal Cell with Dorsal Process C
PGA Preanal Ganglion Cell  A
PHD PHasmid Neuron D Molina-Garcia et al., 2020
PVS Posterior Ventral Process S Same lineage as PVPR in hermaphrodite - differences in connectivity
PVU Posterior Ventral Process U Same lineage as PVPL in hermaphrodite - differences in connectivity
PVV Posterior Ventral Process V
PVX Posterior Ventral Process X
PVY Posterior Ventral Process Y
PVZ Posterior Ventral Process Z
RnA Ray neuron A
RnB Ray neuron B
SPC SPicule Neuron C
SPD SPicule Neuron D
SPV SPicule Neuron V