Physical forces are transduced into chemical reactions, thereby ultimately making a large impact on the whole-animal level phenotypes such as homeostasis, development and behavior. To understand mechano-chemical transduction, mechanical input should be quantitatively delivered with controllable vibration properties–frequency, amplitude and duration, and its chemical output should be noninvasively quantified in an unconstrained animal. However, such an experimental system has not been established so far. Here, we develop a noninvasive and unconstrained mechanochemical imaging microscopy. This microscopy enables us to evoke nano-scale nonlocalized vibrations with controllable vibration properties using a piezoelectric acoustic transducer system and quantify calcium response of a freely moving C. elegans
at a single cell resolution. Using this microscopy, we clearly detected the calcium response of a single interneuron during C. elegans
escape response to nano-scale vibration. Thus, this microscopy will facilitate understanding of in vivo mechanochemical physiology in the future.
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