Dr Mario de Bono

Mario de Bono

University position

Group Leader, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Dr Mario de Bono is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology



Home page

http://www2.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/groups/... (personal home page)

Research Themes

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Systems and Computational Neuroscience


We seek to understand how neural networks are assembled, function and evolve.

C. elegans is a powerful system to study neural circuits. The worm has exactly 302 neurons each of which can be identified. EM reconstructions have identified synaptic connections made by each neuron, providing a wiring diagram. By combining genetics, molecular and cell biology, and neural imaging we can dissect how these circuits work.

The worm inhabits humus where it feeds on microbes. To forage it integrates multiple cues, e.g., signals from bacteria and other animal, levels of ambient O2 and CO2. We are studying the genetic and neural architectures that allow these responses to be integrated and modified by experience.

Foraging strategies vary across natural C. elegans isolates, providing an opportunity also to investigate how neural circuits and behaviour evolve.

Conservation in neural signalling means our results are often generally applicable to other animals, including mammals.

Research Focus



neural signalling


natural variation

neural circuit

Clinical conditions




Behavioural analysis

Calcium imaging

Confocal microscopy

Fluorescence microscopy

Laser cell ablation

Recombinant protein expression



Peter Evans

Birgitta Olofsson

William Schafer

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Persson A, Gross E, Laurent P, Busch KE, Bretes H, de Bono M (2009), “Natural variation in a neural globin tunes oxygen sensing in wild Caenorhabditis elegans.” Nature 458(7241):1030-3 Details

    de Bono M, Bargmann CI (1998), “Natural variation in a neuropeptide Y receptor homolog modifies social behavior and food response in C. elegans.” Cell 94(5):679-89 Details



    Chen C, Itakura E, Weber KP, Hegde RS, de Bono M (2014), “An ER complex of ODR-4 and ODR-8/Ufm1 specific protease 2 promotes GPCR maturation by a Ufm1-independent mechanism.” PLoS Genet 10(3):e1004082 Details

    Linneweber GA, Jacobson J, Busch KE, Hudry B, Christov CP, Dormann D, Yuan M, Otani T, Knust E, de Bono M, Miguel-Aliaga I (2014), “Neuronal control of metabolism through nutrient-dependent modulation of tracheal branching.” Cell 156(1-2):69-83 Details


    Chen C, Fenk LA, de Bono M (2013), “Efficient genome editing in Caenorhabditis elegans by CRISPR-targeted homologous recombination.” Nucleic Acids Res 41(20):e193 Details

    Couto A, Oda S, Nikolaev VO, Soltesz Z, de Bono M (2013), “In vivo genetic dissection of O2-evoked cGMP dynamics in a Caenorhabditis elegans gas sensor.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110(35):E3301-10 Details

    Kodama-Namba E, Fenk LA, Bretscher AJ, Gross E, Busch KE, de Bono M (2013), “Cross-modulation of homeostatic responses to temperature, oxygen and carbon dioxide in C. elegans.” PLoS Genet 9(12):e1004011 Details

    Rodriguez M, Snoek LB, De Bono M, Kammenga JE (2013), “Worms under stress: C. elegans stress response and its relevance to complex human disease and aging.” Trends Genet 29(6):367-74 Details


    Busch KE, Laurent P, Soltesz Z, Murphy RJ, Faivre O, Hedwig B, Thomas M, Smith HL, de Bono M (2012), “Tonic signaling from O₂ sensors sets neural circuit activity and behavioral state.” Nat Neurosci 15(4):581-91 Details


    Arellano-Carbajal F, Briseño-Roa L, Couto A, Cheung BH, Labouesse M, de Bono M (2011), “Macoilin, a conserved nervous system-specific ER membrane protein that regulates neuronal excitability.” PLoS Genet 7(3):e1001341 Details

    Bretscher AJ, Kodama-Namba E, Busch KE, Murphy RJ, Soltesz Z, Laurent P, de Bono M (2011), “Temperature, oxygen, and salt-sensing neurons in C. elegans are carbon dioxide sensors that control avoidance behavior.” Neuron 69(6):1099-113 Details

    Milward K, Busch KE, Murphy RJ, de Bono M, Olofsson B (2011), “Neuronal and molecular substrates for optimal foraging in Caenorhabditis elegans.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108(51):20672-7 Details


    Weber KP, De S, Kozarewa I, Turner DJ, Babu MM, de Bono M (2010), “Whole genome sequencing highlights genetic changes associated with laboratory domestication of C. elegans.” PLoS One 5(11):e13922 Details


    Cohen M, Reale V, Olofsson B, Knights A, Evans P, de Bono M (2009), “Coordinated regulation of foraging and metabolism in C. elegans by RFamide neuropeptide signaling.” Cell Metab 9(4):375-85 Details


    Bretscher AJ, Busch KE, de Bono M (2008), “A carbon dioxide avoidance behavior is integrated with responses to ambient oxygen and food in Caenorhabditis elegans.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105(23):8044-9 Details

    Kammenga JE, Phillips PC, De Bono M, Doroszuk A (2008), “Beyond induced mutants: using worms to study natural variation in genetic pathways.” Trends Genet 24(4):178-85 Details

    Olofsson B, de Bono M (2008), “Sleep: dozy worms and sleepy flies.” Curr Biol 18(5):R204-6 Details


    Gumienny TL, MacNeil LT, Wang H, de Bono M, Wrana JL, Padgett RW (2007), “Glypican LON-2 is a conserved negative regulator of BMP-like signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans.” Curr Biol 17(2):159-64 Details


    Rogers C, Persson A, Cheung B, de Bono M (2006), “Behavioral motifs and neural pathways coordinating O2 responses and aggregation in C. elegans.” Curr Biol 16(7):649-59 Details

    Salecker I, Häusser M, de Bono M (2006), “On the axonal road to circuit function and behaviour: Workshop on The Assembly and Function of Neuronal Circuits.” EMBO Rep 7(6):585-9 Details


    Cheung BH, Cohen M, Rogers C, Albayram O, de Bono M (2005), “Experience-dependent modulation of C. elegans behavior by ambient oxygen.” Curr Biol 15(10):905-17 Details

    de Bono M, Maricq AV (2005), “Neuronal substrates of complex behaviors in C. elegans.” Annu Rev Neurosci 28:451-501 Details


    Cheung BH, Arellano-Carbajal F, Rybicki I, de Bono M (2004), “Soluble guanylate cyclases act in neurons exposed to the body fluid to promote C. elegans aggregation behavior.” Curr Biol 14(12):1105-11 Details

    MacKenzie IZ, Bichler J, Mason GC, Lunan CB, Stewart P, Al-Azzawi F, De Bono M, Watson N, Andresen I (2004), “Efficacy and safety of a new, chromatographically purified rhesus (D) immunoglobulin.” Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 117(2):154-61 Details


    de Bono M (2003), “Molecular approaches to aggregation behavior and social attachment.” J Neurobiol 54(1):78-92 Details

    Rogers C, Reale V, Kim K, Chatwin H, Li C, Evans P, de Bono M (2003), “Inhibition of Caenorhabditis elegans social feeding by FMRFamide-related peptide activation of NPR 1” Nature Neuroscience 6:1178-85

    Rogers C, Reale V, Kim K, Chatwin H, Li C, Evans P, de Bono M (2003), “Inhibition of Caenorhabditis elegans social feeding by FMRFamide-related peptide activation of NPR-1.” Nat Neurosci 6(11):1178-85 Details


    Coates JC, de Bono M (2002), “Antagonistic pathways in neurons exposed to body fluid regulate social feeding in Caenorhabditis elegans” Nature 419:925-9

    Coates JC, de Bono M (2002), “Antagonistic pathways in neurons exposed to body fluid regulate social feeding in Caenorhabditis elegans.” Nature 419(6910):925-9 Details

    de Bono M, Tobin DM, Davis MW, Avery L, Bargmann CI (2002), “Social feeding in Caenorhabditis elegans is induced by neurons that detect aversive stimuli.” Nature 419(6910):899-903 Details


    de Bono M, Hodgkin J (1996), “Evolution of sex determination in caenorhabditis: unusually high divergence of tra-1 and its functional consequences.” Genetics 144(2):587-95 Details


    de Bono M, Zarkower D, Hodgkin J (1995), “Dominant feminizing mutations implicate protein-protein interactions as the main mode of regulation of the nematode sex-determining gene tra-1.” Genes Dev 9(2):155-67 Details


    Zarkower D, De Bono M, Aronoff R, Hodgkin J (1994), “Regulatory rearrangements and smg-sensitive alleles of the C. elegans sex-determining gene tra-1.” Dev Genet 15(3):240-50 Details