C. Elegans (c + elegan)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Life Sciences

Selected Abstracts

GATA factors as key regulatory molecules in the development of Drosophila endoderm

Ryutaro Murakami
Essential roles for GATA factors in the development of endoderm have been reported in various animals. A Drosophila GATA factor gene, serpent (srp, dGATAb, ABF), is expressed in the prospective endoderm, and loss of srp activity causes transformation of the prospective endoderm into ectodermal foregut and hindgut, indicating that srp acts as a selector gene to specify the developmental fate of the endoderm. While srp is expressed in the endoderm only during early stages, it activates a subsequent GATA factor gene, dGATAe, and the latter continues to be expressed specifically in the endoderm throughout life. dGATAe activates various functional genes in the differentiated endodermal midgut. An analogous mode of regulation has been reported in Caenorhabditis elegans, in which a pair of GATA genes, end-1/3, specifies endodermal fate, and a downstream pair of GATA genes, elt-2/7, activates genes in the differentiated endoderm. Functional homology of GATA genes in nature is apparently extendable to vertebrates, because endodermal GATA genes of C. elegans and Drosophila induce endoderm development in Xenopus ectoderm. These findings strongly imply evolutionary conservation of the roles of GATA factors in the endoderm across the protostomes and the deuterostomes. [source]

Signal transduction pathways that function in both development and innate immunity

Frederick A. Partridge
Abstract C. elegans is developing in importance as a model for innate immunity. Several signaling pathways are known to be required for immune responses to a diverse range of pathogens, including the insulin signaling, p38 MAP kinase and transforming growth factor-, pathways. These pathways also have roles during development, which can complicate the analysis of their functions in immunity. Recent studies have suggested that immunity in C. elegans is integrated across the organism by both paracrine and neuronal communication, showing the complexity of the immune system in this organism. Developmental Dynamics 239:1330,1336, 2010. 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Non-apoptotic cell death in Caenorhabditis elegans

Manolis Vlachos
Abstract The simple nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans has been instrumental in deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying apoptosis. Beyond apoptosis, several paradigms of non-apoptotic cell death, either genetically or extrinsically triggered, have also been described in C. elegans. Remarkably, non-apoptotic cell death in worms and pathological cell death in humans share numerous key features and mechanistic aspects. Such commonalities suggest that similarly to apoptosis, non-apoptotic cell death mechanisms are also conserved, and render the worm a useful organism, in which to model and dissect human pathologies. Indeed, the genetic malleability and the sophisticated molecular tools available for C. elegans have contributed decisively to advance our understanding of non-apoptotic cell death. Here, we review the literature on the various types of non-apoptotic cell death in C. elegans and discuss the implications, relevant to pathological conditions in humans. Developmental Dynamics 239:1337,1351, 2010. 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Spermatogenesis-defective (spe) mutants of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans provide clues to solve the puzzle of male germline functions during reproduction

Hitoshi Nishimura
Abstract In most species, each sex produces gametes, usually either sperm or oocytes, from its germline during gametogenesis. The sperm and oocyte subsequently fuse together during fertilization to create the next generation. This review focuses on spermatogenesis and the roles of sperm during fertilization in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, where suitable mutants are readily obtained. So far, 186 mutants defective in the C. elegans male germline functions have been isolated, and many of these mutations are alleles for one of the ,60 spermatogenesis-defective (spe) genes. Many cloned spe genes are expressed specifically in the male germline, where they play roles during spermatogenesis (spermatid production), spermiogenesis (spermatid activation into spermatozoa), and/or fertilization. Moreover, several spe genes are orthologs of mammalian genes, suggesting that the reproductive processes of the C. elegans and the mammalian male germlines might share common pathways at the molecular level. Developmental Dynamics 239:1502,1514, 2010. 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

PRP-17 and the pre-mRNA splicing pathway are preferentially required for the proliferation versus meiotic development decision and germline sex determination in Caenorhabditis elegans

Jessica Amrozowicz Kerins
Abstract In C. elegans, the decision between germline stem cell proliferation and entry into meiosis is controlled by GLP-1 Notch signaling, which promotes proliferation through repression of the redundant GLD-1 and GLD-2 pathways that direct meiotic entry. We identify prp-17 as another gene functioning downstream of GLP-1 signaling that promotes meiotic entry, largely by acting on the GLD-1 pathway, and that also functions in female germline sex determination. PRP-17 is orthologous to the yeast and human pre-mRNA splicing factor PRP17/CDC40 and can rescue the temperature-sensitive lethality of yeast PRP17. This link to splicing led to an RNAi screen of predicted C. elegans splicing factors in sensitized genetic backgrounds. We found that many genes throughout the splicing cascade function in the proliferation/meiotic entry decision and germline sex determination indicating that splicing per se, rather than a novel function of a subset of splicing factors, is necessary for these processes. Developmental Dynamics 239:1555,1572, 2010. 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Extracellular interactome of the FGF receptor,ligand system: Complexities and the relative simplicity of the worm

Urszula M. Polanska
Abstract Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) and their receptors (FGFRs) regulate a multitude of biological functions in embryonic development and in adult. A major question is how does one family of growth factors and their receptors control such a variety of functions? Classically, specificity was thought to be imparted by alternative splicing of the FGFRs, resulting in isoforms that bind specifically to a subset of the FGFs, and by different saccharide sequences in the heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG) co-receptor. A growing number of noncanonical co-receptors such as integrins and neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) are now recognized as imparting additional complexity to classic FGFR signaling. This review will discuss the noncanonical FGFR ligands and speculate on the possibility that they provide additional and alternative means to determining the functional specificity of FGFR signaling. We will also discuss how invertebrate models such as C. elegans may advance our understanding of noncanonical FGFR signaling. Developmental Dynamics 238:277,293, 2009. 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

The acyltransferase gene bus-1 exhibits conserved and specific expression in nematode rectal cells and reveals pathogen-induced cell swelling

Maria J. Gravato-Nobre
Abstract Susceptibility to the rectal pathogen Microbacterium nematophilum provides a means of examining hindgut differentiation in C. elegans. Mutants of bus - 1 are resistant to infection with this pathogen. We show here that bus - 1 encodes a predicted acyltransferase expressed in rectal epithelial cells (K, F, and U), suggesting its involvement in regional surface modification. bus - 1 reporter genes were used to show spatial regulation by hindgut developmental control genes: egl - 38, mab - 9, and mab - 23. A bus - 1::GFP reporter reveals the conspicuous rectal epithelial swelling induced by M. nematophilum. The C. briggsae ortholog of bus - 1 exhibits conserved function and rectal expression, but it is expressed in vulval as well as rectal cells, correlated with pathogen adhesion to both vulval and rectal cells in this species. Another acyltransferase affecting bacterial adhesion, bus - 18/acl - 10, was also identified, which also shows strong rectal expression, but it is expressed in additional epithelial tissues and is required for general surface integrity. Developmental Dynamics 237:3762,3776, 2008. 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Neurotrophic activities of trk receptors conserved over 600 million years of evolution

Gad Beck
Abstract The trk family of receptor tyrosine kinases is crucial for neuronal survival in the vertebrate nervous system, however both C. elegans and Drosophila lack genes encoding trks or their ligands. The only invertebrate representative of this gene family identified to date is Ltrk from the mollusk Lymnaea. Did trophic functions of trk receptors originate early in evolution, or were they an innovation of the vertebrates? Here we show that the Ltrk gene conserves a similar exon/intron order as mammalian trk genes in the region encoding defined extracellular motifs, including one exon encoding a putative variant immunoglobulin-like domain. Chimeric receptors containing the intracellular and transmembrane domains of Ltrk undergo ligand-induced autophosphorylation followed by MAP kinase activation in transfected cells. The chimeras are internalized similarly to TrkA in PC12 cells, and their stimulation leads to differentiation and neurite extension. Knock-down of endogenous Ltrk expression compromises outgrowth and survival of Lymnaea neurons cultured in CNS-conditioned medium. Thus, Ltrk is required for neuronal survival, suggesting that trophic activities of the trk receptor family originated before the divergence of molluscan and vertebrate lineages approximately 600 million years ago. 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Neurobiol 60: 12,20, 2004 [source]

Strategies for DNA interstrand crosslink repair: Insights from worms, flies, frogs, and slime molds

Mitch McVey
Abstract DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICLs) are complex lesions that covalently link both strands of the DNA double helix and impede essential cellular processes such as DNA replication and transcription. Recent studies suggest that multiple repair pathways are involved in their removal. Elegant genetic analysis has demonstrated that at least three distinct sets of pathways cooperate in the repair and/or bypass of ICLs in budding yeast. Although the mechanisms of ICL repair in mammals appear similar to those in yeast, important differences have been documented. In addition, mammalian crosslink repair requires other repair factors, such as the Fanconi anemia proteins, whose functions are poorly understood. Because many of these proteins are conserved in simpler metazoans, nonmammalian models have become attractive systems for studying the function(s) of key crosslink repair factors. This review discusses the contributions that various model organisms have made to the field of ICL repair. Specifically, it highlights how studies performed with C. elegans, Drosophila, Xenopus, and the social amoeba Dictyostelium serve to complement those from bacteria, yeast, and mammals. Together, these investigations have revealed that although the underlying themes of ICL repair are largely conserved, the complement of DNA repair proteins utilized and the ways in which each of the proteins is used can vary substantially between different organisms. Environ. Mol. Mutagen., 2010. 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Toxicity of manufactured zinc oxide nanoparticles in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans

Hongbo Ma
Abstract Information describing the possible impacts of manufactured nanoparticles on human health and ecological receptors is limited. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the potential toxicological effects of manufactured zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs; 1.5 nm) compared to aqueous zinc chloride (ZnCl2) in the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Toxicity of both types of Zn was investigated using the ecologically relevant endpoints of lethality, behavior, reproduction, and transgene expression in a mtl-2::GFP (gene encoding green fluorescence protein fused onto the metallothionein-2 gene promoter) transgenic strain of C. elegans. Zinc oxide nanoparticles showed no significant difference from ZnCl2 regarding either lethality or reproduction in C. elegans, as indicated by their median lethal concentrations (LC50s; p = 0.29, n = 3) and median effective concentrations (EC50s; Z = 0.835, p = 0.797). Also, no significant difference was found in EC50s for behavioral change between ZnO-NPs (635 mg Zn/L; 95% confidence interval [CI], 477,844 mg Zn/L) and ZnCl2 (546 mg Zn/L; 95% CI, 447,666 mg Zn/L) (Z = 0.907, p = 0.834). Zinc oxide nanoparticles induced transgene expression in the mtl-2::GFP transgenic C. elegans in a manner similar to that of ZnCl2, suggesting that intracellular biotransformation of the nanoparticles might have occurred or the nanoparticles have dissolved to Zn2+ to enact toxicity. These findings demonstrate that manufactured ZnO-NPs have toxicity to the nematode C. elegans similar to that of aqueous ZnCl2. [source]

Toxicological assessment of chemicals using Caenorhabditis elegans and optical oxygen respirometry

Katherine Schouest
Abstract Oxygen consumption is indicative of an organism's metabolic state, whereby alterations in respiration rate can result from the presence of different stimuli. Here, we develop a novel approach based on quenched fluorescence oxygen sensing and respirometry method for toxicity screening assays using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Previously, C. elegans was established as a useful model in soil and aquatic toxicology studies. For existing toxicology screening approaches with C. elegans, however, the endpoint is lethality. In addition, the assay time frame for the existing approaches is considerably longer than that for the approach described here. We present a sensitive, robust, high-throughput platform using standard laboratory equipment for toxicological studies by measuring respiration rate in C. elegans animals using a phosphorescent probe. [source]

Transgenic strains of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as biomonitors of metal contamination

L. K. Cioci
Abstract Transition metal contamination poses a serious environmental and human health threat. The bioavailability of transition metals in environmental samples can best be assessed with living organisms. A transgenic strain of the free-living soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has been engineered for monitoring the bioavailability of metals. A reporter transgene consisting of a fragment of the promoter from the C. elegans metallothionein-2 gene (mtl-2) that controls the transcription of a ,-galactosidase reporter (lacZ) has been integrated into the genome of this organism. By using these transgenic C. elegans, the toxicological response to metals in samples can be quickly measured with a simple histochemical staining assay. The C. elegans that contain the mtl-2:lacZ transgene provide a more sensitive assay of exposure to cadmium, mercury, zinc, and nickel than 24-h LC50 assays or those using nematodes with heat-shock protein,based reporter transgenes. This study demonstrates that C. elegans that contain mtl-2:lacZ transgenes can function as sensitive toxicological indicators of metals. [source]

Regulation of miRNA expression during neural cell specification

Lena Smirnova
Abstract MicroRNA (miRNA) are a newly recognized class of small, noncoding RNA molecules that participate in the developmental control of gene expression. We have studied the regulation of a set of highly expressed neural miRNA during mouse brain development. Temporal control is a characteristic of miRNA regulation in C. elegans and Drosophila, and is also prominent in the embryonic brain. We observed significant differences in the onset and magnitude of induction for individual miRNAs. Comparing expression in cultures of embryonic neurons and astrocytes we found marked lineage specificity for each of the miRNA in our study. Two of the most highly expressed miRNA in adult brain were preferentially expressed in neurons (mir-124, mir-128). In contrast, mir-23, a miRNA previously implicated in neural specification, was restricted to astrocytes. mir-26 and mir-29 were more strongly expressed in astrocytes than neurons, others were more evenly distributed (mir-9, mir-125). Lineage specificity was further explored using reporter constructs for two miRNA of particular interest (mir-125 and mir-128). miRNA-mediated suppression of both reporters was observed after transfection of the reporters into neurons but not astrocytes. miRNA were strongly induced during neural differentiation of embryonic stem cells, suggesting the validity of the stem cell model for studying miRNA regulation in neural development. [source]

A sensitized genetic background reveals evolution near the terminus of the Caenorhabditis germline sex determination pathway

Robin Cook Hill
SUMMARY Caenorhabditis elegans and Caenorhabditis briggsae are both self-fertile hermaphroditic nematodes that evolved independently from male/female ancestors. In C. elegans, FEM-1, FEM-2, and FEM-3 specify male fates by promoting proteolysis of the male-repressing transcription factor, TRA-1. Phenotypes of tra-1 and fem mutants are consistent with this simple linear model in the soma, but not in the germline. While both XX and XO tra-1(lf) mutants have functional male somas, they produce both sperm and oocytes. Further, all three tra-1; fem double mutants retain the expected male soma, but make only oocytes (the germline fem phenotype). Thus, a poorly characterized tra-1 activity is important for sustained male spermatogenesis, and the fem genes affect germline sexual fate independently of their role in regulating TRA-1. C. briggsae tra-1 mutants are phenotypically identical to their C. elegans counterparts, while the fem mutants differ in the germline: XX and XO C. elegans fem mutants are true females, but in C. briggsae they are self-fertile hermaphrodites. To further explore how C. briggsae hermaphrodites regulate germline sex, we analyzed Cb-tra-1/Cb-fem interactions. Cb-tra-1 is fully epistatic to Cb-fem-2 in the germline, unlike the orthologous C. elegans combination. In contrast, Cb-fem-3 shifts the Cb-tra-1(lf) germline phenotype to that of a nearly normal hermaphrodite in the context of a male somatic gonad. This suggests that Cb-fem-3 is epistatic to Cb-tra-1(lf) (as in C. elegans), and that the normal control of C. briggsae XX spermatogenesis targets Cb-tra-1 -independent factors downstream of Cb-fem-3. The effect of Cb-fem-3(lf) on Cb-tra-1(lf) is not mediated by change in the expression of Cb-fog-3, a likely direct germline target of Cb-tra-1. As Cb-fem-2 and Cb-fem-3 have identical single mutant phenotypes, Cb-tra-1 provides a sensitized background that reveals differences in how they promote male germline development. These results represent another way in which C. briggsae germline sex determination is incongruent with that of the outwardly similar C. elegans. [source]

Hypoxia-inducible factor as a physiological regulator

Patrick H. Maxwell
Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) is a transcription complex which responds to changes in oxygen, providing cells with a master regulator that coordinates changes in gene transcription. HIF operates in all mammalian cell types and is ancient in evolutionary terms, being conserved in C. elegans and D. melanogaster. This review summarizes recent insights into the molecular events that link reduced oxygenation to HIF activation and emerging insights into the extensive role of HIF in a broad range of physiological processes. [source]

Stage-specific expression of Caenorhabditis elegans ribonuclease H1 enzymes with different substrate specificities and bivalent cation requirements

FEBS JOURNAL, Issue 2 2006
Hiromi Kochiwa
Ribonuclease H1 (RNase H1) is a widespread enzyme found in a range of organisms from viruses to humans. It is capable of degrading the RNA moiety of DNA,RNA hybrids and requires a bivalent ion for activity. In contrast with most eukaryotes, which have one gene encoding RNase H1, the activity of which depends on Mg2+ ions, Caenorhabditis elegans has four RNase H1-related genes, and one of them has an isoform produced by alternative splicing. However, little is known about the enzymatic features of the proteins encoded by these genes. To determine the differences between these enzymes, we compared the expression patterns of each RNase H1-related gene throughout the development of the nematode and the RNase H activities of their recombinant proteins. We found gene-specific expression patterns and different enzymatic features. In particular, besides the enzyme that displays the highest activity in the presence of Mg2+ ions, C. elegans has another enzyme that shows preference for Mn2+ ion as a cofactor. We characterized this Mn2+ -dependent RNase H1 for the first time in eukaryotes. These results suggest that there are at least two types of RNase H1 in C. elegans depending on the developmental stage of the organism. [source]

Genome characterization, analysis of virulence and transformation of Microbacterium nematophilum, a coryneform pathogen of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans

Tatiana Akimkina
Abstract A coryneform bacterium designated Microbacterium nematophilum has previously been reported to act as a pathogen for Caenorhabditis elegans. This bacterium is able to colonize the rectum of infected worms and cause localized swelling, constipation and slowed growth. Additional isolates and analysis of this bacterium are described here. Tests of pathogenicity on other Caenorhabditis nematodes show that M. nematophilum infection is lethal to most species in the genus, in contrast to its relatively mild effects on C. elegans. The size and geometry of the pathogen genome have been determined as a closed circular molecule of 2.85 Mb with high G+C content. Bacteria also harbor a 55 kb plasmid, pMN1, which is largely composed of a lysogenic bacteriophage genome. Mutagenesis experiments have yielded stable avirulent mutants of M. nematophilum. As a first step towards molecular genetic analysis, methods for low-efficiency transformation of M. nematophilum have been developed. [source]

Purification and characterization of a glutathione S -transferase from the fungus Cunninghamella elegans

Chang-Jun Cha
Abstract Cunninghamella elegans grown on Sabouraud dextrose broth had glutathione S -transferase (GST) activity. The enzyme was purified 172-fold from the cytosolic fraction (120,000g) of the extract from a culture of C. elegans, using Q-Sepharose ion exchange chromatography and glutathione affinity chromatography. The GST showed activity against 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene, 1,2-dichloro-4-nitrobenzene, 4-nitrobenzyl chloride, and ethacrynic acid. Sodium dodecyl sulfate,polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis gel filtration chromatography revealed that the native enzyme was homodimeric with a subunit of Mr 27,000. Comparison by Western blot analysis implied that this fungal GST had no relationship with mammalian ,-, ,-, and ,-class GSTs, although it showed a small degree of cross-reactivity with a ,-class GST. The N-terminal amino acid sequence of the purified enzyme showed no significant homology with other known GSTs. [source]

FLR-2, the glycoprotein hormone alpha subunit, is involved in the neural control of intestinal functions in Caenorhabditis elegans

GENES TO CELLS, Issue 10 2009
Akane Oishi
The intestine plays an essential role in organism-wide regulatory networks in both vertebrates and invertebrates. In Caenorhabditis elegans, class 1 flr genes (flr-1, flr-3 and flr-4) act in the intestine and control growth rates and defecation cycle periods, while class 2 flr genes (flr-2, flr-5, flr-6 and flr-7) are characterized by mutations that suppress the slow growth of class 1 flr mutants. This study revealed that flr-2 gene controls antibacterial defense and intestinal color, confirming that flr-2 regulates intestinal functions. flr-2 encoded the only glycoprotein hormone alpha subunit in C. elegans and was expressed in certain neurons. Furthermore, FLR-2 bound to another secretory protein GHI-1, which belongs to a family of lipid- and lipopolysaccharide-binding proteins. A ghi-1 deletion mutation partially suppressed the short defecation cycle periods of class 1 flr mutants, and this effect was enhanced by flr-2 mutations. Thus, FLR-2 acts as a signaling molecule for the neural control of intestinal functions, which is achieved in a functional network involving class 1 and class 2 flr genes as well as ghi-1. These results are informative to studies of glycoprotein hormone signaling in higher animals. [source]

[FeFe]-hydrogenase-like gene is involved in the regulation of sensitivity to oxygen in yeast and nematode

GENES TO CELLS, Issue 4 2009
Michihiko Fujii
Oxygen is essential for the life of aerobic organisms, but reactive oxygen species (ROS) derived from oxygen can be a threat for it. Many genes are involved in generation of ROS, but not much attention has been focused on the reactions from which ROS are generated. We therefore screened for mutants that showed an increased sensitivity to oxidative stress in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and isolated a novel mutant, oxy-4(qa5001). This mutant showed an increased sensitivity to a high concentration of oxygen, and decreased longevity at 20 C but not at 26 C. The genetic analysis has revealed that oxy-4 had a causative mutation in an [FeFe]-hydrogenase-like gene (Y54H5A.4). In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a deletion of NAR1, a possible homologue of oxy-4, also caused a similar increased sensitivity to oxygen. [FeFe]-hydrogenases are enzymes that catalyze both the formation and the splitting of molecular hydrogen, and function in anaerobic respiration in anaerobes. In contrast, [FeFe]-hydrogenase-like genes identified in aerobic eukaryotes do not generate hydrogen, and its functional roles are less understood. Our results suggested that [FeFe]-hydrogenase-like genes were involved in the regulation of sensitivity to oxygen in S. cerevisiae and C. elegans. [source]

Dicer-related drh-3 gene functions in germ-line development by maintenance of chromosomal integrity in Caenorhabditis elegans

GENES TO CELLS, Issue 9 2007
Masaharu Nakamura
In the course of systematic RNA interference (RNAi)-based screens with helicase-like genes in Caenorhabditis elegans, we have identified the drh-3(D2005.5) gene as a candidate gene for protection against X-ray irradiation. This gene encodes a novel RNA helicase-like protein that is similar to two nematode Dicer-related helicases (DRH). Here, we have showed the increased expression of drh-3 transcripts during maturation of larvae to adults, and characterized the phenotype of drh-3 -interferred nematodes using feeding RNAi method. RNAi-mediated depletion of the drh-3 transcripts caused embryonic lethality of F1 progeny and temperature-sensitive reproductive capacity but did not affect the nematode life span. F1 progeny from drh-3(RNAi) animals exhibited increased lethality after X-ray irradiation or exposure to camptothecin. In drh-3(RNAi) worms, aggregated chromosomes were observed in diakinesis oocyte nuclei. In developing early zygotic embryos from drh-3(RNAi) worms, abnormally segregated chromosomes were observed and embryonic development was largely arrested at the mid-stages of embryogenesis. Finally, examination of checkpoint responses in mitotic germ cells with regards to replication arrest by hydroxyurea and X-ray-induced DNA damage suggested that both checkpoints function normally under these genotoxic stress conditions. Taken together, these results indicate that the drh-3 gene is essential for the development of germ-lines by maintaining chromosomal integrity in C. elegans. [source]

Neural circuit-dependent odor adaptation in C. elegans is regulated by the Ras-MAPK pathway

GENES TO CELLS, Issue 6 2005
Takaaki Hirotsu
The molecular machinery that mediates odor adaptation in the olfactory neurons is well documented in various animal species. However, types of adaptation that depend on neural circuits are mostly unexplored. We report here that the Ras-MAPK pathway is essential for such a type of odor adaptation, called early adaptation, in C. elegans. Early adaptation requires a pair of AIY interneurons, which receive synaptic inputs from olfactory neurons. Mutants of the Ras-MAPK pathway show defects in early adaptation. Continued exposure to an odorant causes activation of MAP kinase not only in the olfactory neurons, but also in the AIY interneurons. While activity of the Ras-MAPK pathway in the olfactory neurons is important for odor perception, its activity in the AIY interneurons is important for odor adaptation. Our results thus reveal a dual role of the Ras-MAPK pathway in sensory processing in the nervous system of C. elegans. [source]

An evolutionarily conserved gene required for proper microtubule architecture in Caenorhabditis elegans

GENES TO CELLS, Issue 2 2004
Satoshi Ogawa
Microtubules are involved in many cellular events during the cell cycle and also in a variety of early embryonic developmental processes. Their architecture and properties change dramatically during the cell cycle and are properly regulated. However, these regulatory mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. C05D11.3 gene of Caenorhabditis elegans encodes a low molecular weight protein that is evolutionarily conserved from yeasts to mammals. A mouse homolog of the C05D11.3 product, APACD (ATP binding protein associated with cell differentiation), contains a thioredoxin-like domain and P-loop, and is present in both the nucleus and the cytoplasm, showing often localization to centrosomes and midbody. In C. elegans, C05D11.3 is expressed throughout development with higher levels of expression in most cells of the nervous system and in vulva. C05D11.3 RNAi-treated embryos show apparent defects in pronuclear migration or nuclear-centrosome rotation, and exhibit little astral microtubules and defective small spindles. These results indicate that C05D11.3, an evolutionarily conserved gene, is essential for proper microtubule organization and function in C. elegans. This gene family may be a conserved regulator of microtubule dynamics and function. [source]

Neuronal p38 MAPK signalling: an emerging regulator of cell fate and function in the nervous system

GENES TO CELLS, Issue 11 2002
Kohsuke Takeda
p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), together with extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) and c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs), constitute the MAPK family. Multiple intracellular signalling pathways that converge on MAPKs exist in all eukaryotic cells and play pivotal roles in a wide variety of cellular functions. p38 MAPKs and JNKs, also termed stress-activated protein kinases (SAPKs), are preferentially activated by various cytotoxic stresses and cytokines and appear to be potent regulators of stress-induced apoptosis. Whereas JNKs have been shown to play pivotal roles in the regulation of neuronal apoptosis, the role of p38 MAPKs in the nervous system is poorly understood. However, accumulating evidence from mammalian cell culture systems and the strong genetic tool C. elegans suggests that neuronal p38 signalling has diverse functions beyond the control of cell death and survival. This review focuses on possible roles for the p38 pathway in the nervous system, with principal emphasis placed on the roles in neuronal cell fate decision and function. [source]

Aurora-B phosphorylates Histone H3 at serine28 with regard to the mitotic chromosome condensation

GENES TO CELLS, Issue 1 2002
Hidemasa Goto
Background:, Histone H3 (H3) phosphorylation plays important roles in mitotic chromosome condensation. We reported that H3 phosphorylation occurs at Ser28, as well as at Ser10 during mitosis, at least in mammals. Aurora B was recently demonstrated to be responsible for Ser10 phosphorylation in S. cerevisiae, C. elegans, Drosophila and Xenopus egg extract. Results:, We compared the distribution of Aurora-B with that of H3 phosphorylation. Aurora-B was primarily localized in the heterochromatin of late G2 phase cells, where only Ser10 phosphorylation was observed. The treatment of such cells with calyculin A induced Ser28 phosphorylation in the Aurora-B-localized area. During prophase to metaphase, Aurora-B was distributed in condensing chromosomes where Ser10 and Ser28 were phosphorylated. Aurora-B can phosphorylate H3-Ser10 and -Ser28 in nucleosomes in vitro. Transfection of a dominant-negative mutant of Aurora-B resulted in a reduction of H3 phosphorylation, not only at Ser10 but also Ser28, during mitosis. Conclusions:, With regard to mitotic chromosome condensation, Aurora-B directly phosphorylated H3, not only at Ser10 but also at Ser28. The level of Ser28 phosphorylation is diminished to undetectable levels by PP1 phosphatase prior to entry into mitosis. [source]

BIP, a BRAM-interacting protein involved in TGF-, signalling, regulates body length in Caenorhabditis elegans

GENES TO CELLS, Issue 7 2001
Katsura Sugawara
Background The TGF-, superfamily has diverse biological activities and is involved in the early development of animals. We previously identified a novel family member, BMP receptor associated molecule (BRAM), which binds to the intracellular domain of BMP type IA receptor and is involved in the BMP signalling pathway. Results To identify novel molecules involved in TGF-, signalling pathways, we performed yeast two-hybrid screening using BRAM as bait. From a Xenopus cDNA library, we cloned a cDNA encoding 693 amino acids and containing the motif for an oxysterol binding protein (OSBP), which we designated BRAM interacting protein (BIP). We then isolated a BIP homologue from the Caenorhabditis elegans that encodes 733 amino acids and also contains the OSBP-like motif. Immunoprecipitation and Western blotting studies revealed that C. elegans BIP could interact with the C. elegans BRAM homologues BRA-1 and BRA-2. C. elegans BIP was expressed in pharyngeal muscle, hypodermis and several neuronal cells, an expression pattern overlaps with those of BRA-1 and BRA-2. Finally, we found that inhibition of BIP expression in C. elegans by double stranded RNA interference produces a Sma phenotype. Conclusions BIP was isolated using the yeast two-hybrid systems. BIP may function in the TGF-, pathway and regulate body length in C. elegans. [source]

MSI-1, a neural RNA-binding protein, is involved in male mating behaviour in Caenorhabditis elegans

GENES TO CELLS, Issue 11 2000
Akinori Yoda
Neural RNA-binding proteins are thought to play important roles in neural development and the functional regulation of postmitotic neurones by mediating post-transcriptional gene regulation. RNA-binding proteins belonging to the Musashi family are highly expressed in the nervous system; however, their roles are poorly understood. We identified a Caenorhabditis elegans Musashi homologue, MSI-1, whose RNA-recognition motifs show extensive similarity to those of Drosophila and vertebrate Musashi proteins. We isolated a msi-1 mutant and found males with this mutation to have a mating defect. C. elegans male mating behaviour includes a distinct series of steps: response to contact, backing, turning, vulva location, spicule insertion, and sperm transfer. msi-1 is required for the turning and vulva location steps. Like other Musashi family members, MSI-1 is expressed specifically in neural cells, including male-specific neurones required for turning and vulva location. However, msi-1 was not expressed in proliferating neural progenitors in C. elegans, unlike the Musashi family genes in other systems. Our results suggest that msi-1 is expressed specifically in postmitotic neurones in C. elegans. msi-1 is required for full development of male mating behaviour, possibly through regulation of msi-1 expressing neurones. [source]

Ethanol preference in C. elegans

J. Lee
Caenorhabditis elegans senses multiple environmental stimuli through sensory systems and rapidly changes its behaviors for survival. With a simple and well-characterized nervous system, C. elegans is a suitable animal model for studying behavioral plasticity. Previous studies have shown acute neurodepressive effects of ethanol on multiple behaviors of C. elegans similar to the effect of ethanol on other organisms. Caenorhabditis elegans also develops ethanol tolerance during continuous exposure to ethanol. In mammals, chronic ethanol exposure leads to ethanol tolerance as well as increased ethanol consumption. Ethanol preference is associated with the development of tolerance and may lead to the development of ethanol dependence. In this study, we show that C. elegans is a useful model organism for studying chronic effects of ethanol, including the development of ethanol preference. We designed a behavioral assay for testing ethanol preference after prolonged ethanol exposure. Despite baseline aversive responses to ethanol, animals show ethanol preference after 4 h of pre-exposure to ethanol and exhibit significantly enhanced preference for ethanol after a lifetime of ethanol exposure. The cat-2 and tph-1 mutant animals have defects in the synthetic enzymes for dopamine and serotonin, respectively. These mutants are deficient in the development of ethanol preference, indicating that dopamine and serotonin are required for this form of behavioral plasticity. [source]

State-dependency in C. elegans

J. C. Bettinger
Memory and the expression of learned behaviors by an organism are often triggered by contextual cues that resemble those that were present when the initial learning occurred. In state-dependent learning, the cue eliciting a learned behavior is a neuroactive drug; behaviors initially learned during exposure to centrally acting compounds such as ethanol are subsequently recalled better if the drug stimulus is again present during testing. Although state-dependent learning is well documented in many vertebrate systems, the molecular mechanisms underlying state-dependent learning and other forms of contextual learning are not understood. Here we demonstrate and present a genetic analysis of state- dependent adaptation in Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans normally exhibits adaptation, or reduced behavioral response, to an olfactory stimulus after prior exposure to the stimulus. If the adaptation to the olfactory stimulus is acquired during ethanol administration, the adaptation is subsequently displayed only if the ethanol stimulus is again present. cat-1 and cat-2 mutant animals are defective in dopaminergic neuron signaling and are impaired in state dependency, indicating that dopamine functions in state-dependent adaptation in C. elegans. [source]

The DEAD box RNA helicase VBH-1 is required for germ cell function in C. elegans

L. Silvia Salinas
Abstract Vasa and Belle are conserved DEAD box RNA helicases required for germ cell function. Homologs of this group of proteins in several species, including mammals, are able to complement a mutation in yeast (DED1) suggesting that their function is highly conserved. It has been proposed that these proteins are required for mRNA translation regulation, but their specific mechanism of action is still unknown. Here we describe functions of VBH-1, a C. elegans protein closely related to Belle and Vasa. VBH-1 is expressed specifically in the C. elegans germline, where it is associated with P granules, the C. elegans germ plasm counterpart. vbh-1(RNAi) animals produce fewer offspring than wild type because of defects in oocyte and sperm production, and embryonic lethality. We also find that VBH-1 participates in the sperm/oocyte switch in the hermaphrodite gonad. We conclude that VBH-1 and its orthologs may perform conserved roles in fertility and development. genesis 45:533,546, 2007. 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]