Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Life Sciences

Kinds of Elegans

  • c. elegan
  • caenorhabditis elegan
  • cunninghamella elegan
  • ischnura elegan
  • nematode caenorhabditis elegan
  • scripta elegan

  • Selected Abstracts

    Evolutionary origins of the purinergic signalling system

    ACTA PHYSIOLOGICA, Issue 4 2009
    G. Burnstock
    Abstract Purines appear to be the most primitive and widespread chemical messengers in the animal and plant kingdoms. The evidence for purinergic signalling in plants, invertebrates and lower vertebrates is reviewed. Much is based on pharmacological studies, but important recent studies have utilized the techniques of molecular biology and receptors have been cloned and characterized in primitive invertebrates, including the social amoeba Dictyostelium and the platyhelminth Schistosoma, as well as the green algae Ostreococcus, which resemble P2X receptors identified in mammals. This suggests that contrary to earlier speculations, P2X ion channel receptors appeared early in evolution, while G protein-coupled P1 and P2Y receptors were introduced either at the same time or perhaps even later. The absence of gene coding for P2X receptors in some animal groups [e.g. in some insects, roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans) and the plant Arabidopsis] in contrast to the potent pharmacological actions of nucleotides in the same species, suggests that novel receptors are still to be discovered. [source]

    Caenorhabditis elegans expresses three functional profilins in a tissue-specific manner

    CYTOSKELETON, Issue 1 2006
    D. Polet
    Abstract Profilins are actin binding proteins, which also interact with polyphosphoinositides and proline-rich ligands. On the basis of the genome sequence, three diverse profilin homologues (PFN) are predicted to exist in Caenorhabditis elegans. We show that all three isoforms PFN-1, PFN-2, and PFN-3 are expressed in vivo and biochemical studies indicate they bind actin and influence actin dynamics in a similar manner. In addition, they bind poly(L -proline) and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate micelles. PFN-1 is essential whereas PFN-2 and PFN-3 are nonessential. Immunostainings revealed different expression patterns for the profilin isoforms. In embryos, PFN-1 localizes in the cytoplasm and to the cell,cell contacts at the early stages, and in the nerve ring during later stages. During late embryogenesis, expression of PFN-3 was specifically detected in body wall muscle cells. In adult worms, PFN-1 is expressed in the neurons, the vulva, and the somatic gonad, PFN-2 in the intestinal wall, the spermatheca, and the pharynx, and PFN-3 localizes in a striking dot-like fashion in body wall muscle. Thus the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans expresses three profilin isoforms and is the first invertebrate animal with tissue-specific profilin expression. Cell Motil. Cytoskeleton, 2006.© 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

    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]

    Analysis of conserved residues in the ,pat-3 cytoplasmic tail reveals important functions of integrin in multiple tissues

    Xiaojian Xu
    Abstract Integrin cytoplasmic tails contain motifs that link extracellular information to cell behavior such as cell migration and contraction. To investigate the cell functions mediated by the conserved motifs, we created mutations in the Caenorhabditis elegans ,pat-3 cytoplasmic tail. The ,1D (799FK800), NPXY, tryptophan (784W), and threonine (797TT798) motifs were disrupted to identify their functions in vivo. Animals expressing integrins with disrupted NPXY motifs were viable, but displayed distal tip cell migration and ovulation defects. The conserved threonines were required for gonad migration and contraction as well as tail morphogenesis, whereas disruption of the ,1D and tryptophan motifs produced only mild defects. To abolish multiple conserved motifs, a ,1C-like variant, which results in a frameshift, was constructed. The ,pat-3(,1C) transgenic animals showed cold-sensitive larval arrests and defective muscle structure and gonad migration and contraction. Our study suggests that the conserved NPXY and TT motifs play important roles in the tissue-specific function of integrin. Developmental Dynamics 239:763,772, 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]

    Critical and sensitive periods for reversing the effects of mechanosensory deprivation on behavior, nervous system, and development in Caenorhabditis elegans

    Susan Rai
    Abstract In these studies the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans was used as a model to investigate ways to reverse the effects of mechanosensory deprivation on behavior and development. Rose et al. (J Neurosci 2005; 25:7159,7168) showed that worms reared in isolation responded significantly less to a mechanical tap stimulus, were significantly smaller, and expressed significantly lower levels of a postsynaptic glutamate receptor subunit on the command interneurons of the tap response circuit and a presynaptic vesicle marker in the tap sensory neurons compared with worms raised in groups. Here, brief mechanical stimulation at any time throughout development reversed the effects of isolation on the response to tap and on postsynaptic glutamate receptor expression on the command interneurons, suggesting there is no critical period for these measures. In contrast to the high level of plasticity in glutamate receptor subunit expression on the interneurons, low levels of stimulation only rescued vesicle expression in the tap sensory neurons early in development and progressively higher levels of stimulation were required as the worm developed, suggesting a sensitive period immediately after hatching, followed by a period of decreasing plasticity. Stimulation during the first three stages of larval development, but not later, rescued the effects of isolation on worm length, suggesting there is a critical period for this measure that ends in the third larval stage. These results indicate that different effects of early isolation required different amounts and/or timing of stimulation to be reversed. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2007. [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]

    Drosophila neuropeptide F mediates integration of chemosensory stimulation and conditioning of the nervous system by food

    Ping Shen
    Abstract The conserved neuropeptide Y (NPY) signaling pathway has been strongly implicated in the stimulation of food uptake in vertebrates as well as in the regulation of food conditioned foraging behaviors of Caenorhabditis elegans. Using in situ RNA hybridization and immunocytochemistry, we report the neuronal network of Drosophila neuropeptide F (dNPF), a human NPY homologue, in the larval central nervous system and its food-dependent modifications. We provide indications that gustatory stimulation by sugar, but not its ingestion or metabolism, is sufficient to trigger long-term, dose-dependent alterations of the dNPF neuronal circuit through both dnpf activation and increased synaptic transmission. Our results strongly suggest that the dNPF neuronal circuit is an integral part of the sensory system that mediates food signaling, providing the neural basis for understanding how invertebrate NPY regulates food response. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Neurobiol 47: 16,25, 2001 [source]

    Monogenic migraine syndromes highlight novel drug targets

    J. Jay Gargus
    Abstract In the post-genomic era, the paradigm for drug discovery has changed, as every gene may become a potential target. Genetic diseases provide a special window into gene target selection. This approach is being applied to migraine making use of the genes and mutations causing familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM). FHM is caused by missense mutations in CACNA1A, altering a neuronal P/Q Ca2+ channel, in ATP1A2, altering ,2 Na,K-ATPase, and in SCN1A, altering a neuronal sodium channel. These genes provide insights into migraine pathogenesis that likely extend to other forms of migraine as well. Since the three FHM genes are only co-expressed in neurons, FHM is a neuronal, not a vascular, disease and because they all encode ion transport proteins, FHM is a neuronal channelopathy,meaning meta-stable neuronal hyperexcitability is the substrate of migraine, much as it is for genetic epilepsy syndromes. This similarity is reinforced, since different mutations of all three FHM genes can produce seizure syndromes. This has implications for drug discovery in that seizure medications already known to modulate the FHM channel mechanisms warrant more targeted development, and that drugs targeted to vascular headaches, such as the historically effective triptans, or experimental botulinum toxin, may well work by similar nonvascular mechanisms. Finally, in model neurogenetic systems such as Caenorhabditis elegans, the FHM genes also provide both a comprehensive means to discover all genes involved in their signaling pathway,genes potentially involved in common forms of the disease, and an in vivo whole animal means to screen rapidly for novel therapeutics. Drug Dev Res 68:432,440, 2007. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

    Correlated morphological and colour differences among females of the damselfly Ischnura elegans

    Abstract 1.,The female-limited colour polymorphic damselfly Ischnura elegans has proven to be an interesting study organism both as an example of female sexual polymorphism, and in the context of the evolution of colour polymorphism, as a model of speciation processes. 2.,Previous research suggests the existence of correlations between colour morph and other phenotypic traits, and the different female morphs in I. elegans may be pursuing alternative phenotypically integrated strategies. However, previous research on morphological differences in southern Swedish individuals of this species was only carried out on laboratory-raised offspring from a single population, leaving open the question of how widespread such differences are. 3.,The present study therefore analysed multi-generational data from 12 populations, investigating morphological differences between the female morphs in the field, differences in the pattern of phenotypic integration between morphs, and quantified selection on morphological traits. 4.,It was found that consistent morphological differences indeed existed between the morphs across populations, confirming that the previously observed differences were not simply a laboratory artefact. It was also found, somewhat surprisingly, that despite the existence of sexual dimorphism in body size and shape, patterns of phenotypic integration differed most between the morphs and not between the sexes. Finally, linear selection gradients showed that female morphology affected fecundity differently between the morphs. 5.,We discuss the relevance of these results to the male mimicry hypothesis and to the existence of potential ecological differences between the morphs. [source]

    Experimental evolution of dispersal in spatiotemporally variable microcosms

    ECOLOGY LETTERS, Issue 10 2003
    Nicholas A. Friedenberg
    Abstract The world is an uncertain place. Individuals' fates vary from place to place and from time to time. Natural selection in unpredictable environments should favour individuals that hedge their bets by dispersing offspring. I confirm this basic prediction using Caenorhabditis elegans in experimental microcosms. My results agree with evolutionary models and correlations found previously between habitat stability and individual dispersal propensity in nature. However, I also find that environmental variation that triggers conditional dispersal behaviour may not impose selection on baseline dispersal rates. These findings imply that an increased rate of disturbance in natural systems has the potential to cause an evolutionary response in the life history of impacted organisms. [source]

    Host range of Asobara japonica (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a larval parasitoid of drosophilid flies

    Shinsuke IDEO
    Abstract We studied the host range of Asobara japonica, a larval-pupal parasitoid of drosophilid flies. Habitat selection was found to be an important determinant of host range in this parasitoid; it attacked drosophilid larvae breeding on banana and mushrooms, but seldom attacked those breeding on decayed leaves. This parasitoid was able to use diverse drosophilid taxa as hosts. Attack by A. japonica sometimes killed hosts at the larval stage, and therefore parasitoid larvae also died. Drosophila elegans and D. busckii suffered particularly high larval mortality due to the attack by A. japonica (in the latter species only when young larvae were attacked). Many individuals of D. subpulchrella also died at the pupal stage without producing parasitoids when they were parasitized at the late larval stage. In contrast, D. bipectinata, D. ficusphila, D. immigrans, D. formosana and D. albomicans were resistant to attack: large proportions of the larvae of these drosophilid species grew to adulthood, even in the presence of parasitoids. On the basis of phylogenetic information, we concluded that phylogenetic position has only limited importance as a factor determining whether a species is suitable as a host for A. japonica, at least within the genus Drosophila. [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]

    Novel DNA repair alkyltransferase from Caenorhabditis elegans

    Sreenivas Kanugula
    Abstract O6 -Alkylguanine DNA-alkyltransferase (AGT) is a widely distributed DNA repair protein that protects living organisms from endogenous and exogenous alkylation damage to DNA at the O6 -position of guanine. The search of the C. elegans genome database for an AGT protein revealed the presence of a protein (cAGT-2) with some similarity to known AGTs in addition to the easily recognized cAGT-1 protein. The predicted protein sequence of cAGT-2 contains the amino acid sequence ,ProCysHisPro, at the presumed active site of the protein, whereas all other known AGTs have ,ProCysHisArg,. A truncated version of the cAGT-2 protein was expressed in E. coli. This purified recombinant protein was able to repair O6 -methylguanine and O4 -methylthymine adducts in DNA in vitro and also reacted with the bulky benzyl adduct in O6 -benzylguanine. This fragment of cAGT-2 (104 amino acids) is the smallest protein possessing AGT activity yet described. The full-length cAGT-2 protein (274 amino acids) totally lacks the N-terminal domain present in all other known AGTs but has a long C-terminal extension that has significant homology to histone 1C. Expression of cAGT-2 in an E. coli strain lacking endogenous AGT activity provided modest but statistically significant resistance to the toxicity of N -methyl- N,-nitro- N -nitrosoguanidine, confirming that cAGT-2 is an alkyltransferase. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 38:235,243, 2001. © 2001 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]

    Interspecific Differences in Responses to Predation Risk May Confer Competitive Advantages to Invasive Freshwater Turtle Species

    ETHOLOGY, Issue 2 2008
    Nuria Polo-Cavia
    The nature of competitive interactions between native and introduced invasive species is unclear. In the Iberian Peninsula, the introduced red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) is an invasive species that is competing and displacing the endangered native Spanish terrapin (Mauremys leprosa). We hypothesized that interspecific differences in antipredatory behavior might confer competitive advantages to introduced T. scripta. We examined whether interspecific differences in responses to predation risk affect the time that turtles remained hidden in the shell before using an active escape to water. Both turtle species adjusted hiding times by balancing predation threat, microhabitat conditions and the costs of remaining hidden. However, introduced T. scripta showed longer hiding times before escaping than native M. Leprosa, which, in contrast, switched from waiting hidden in the shell to escape to deep water as soon as possible. These interspecific differences might result from the risk of facing different types of predators in different microhabitats (land vs. water) in their original habitats. However, in anthropogenically altered habitats where predators have been greatly reduced, T. scripta may avoid potential costs of unnecessary repeated escape responses to water (e.g. interruption of basking). These behavioral asymmetries could contribute to the greater competitive ability of introduced T. scripta within anthropogenically disturbed environments. [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]

    Synthesis and Hormonal Activity of the (25S)-Cholesten-26-oic Acids , Potent Ligands for the DAF-12 Receptor in Caenorhabditis elegans

    René Martin
    Abstract Using a highly stereoselective Evans aldol reaction for the introduction of the stereogenic center at C-25, we describe an efficient synthesis of the orthogonally diprotected (25S)-26-hydroxycholesterol 11. In a few synthetic steps, this crucial intermediate 11 has been converted into the four (25S)-cholesten-26-oic acids 1,4, which have been obtained in 12,15 steps and 19,53,% overall yield based on commercially available 3,-hydroxychol-5-en-24-oic acid (5). Our biological studies of the compounds 1,4 reveal that (25S)-,7 -dafachronic acid (1) represents the most active steroidal ligand for the hormonal receptor DAF-12 in Caenorhabditis elegans. Moreover, the saturated (25S)-dafachronic acid (3) represents a new ligand for this receptor and the (25S)-steroidal acids are more active as compared to their corresponding (25R)-counterparts.(© Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, 69451 Weinheim, Germany, 2009) [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 4 2008
    Thomas P. Gosden
    Selective regimes and phenotypic optima could either change smoothly and in a clinal fashion or be spatially organized in a more unpredictable mosaic pattern over the geographic landscape. When natural or sexual selection is driven by intra- or interspecific biotic interactions, fine-grained spatial variation in selective regimes could result in selection mosaics rather than clinal variation in selection. We investigated temporal variation and spatial organization in sexual selection on male body size along an ecological coastal-inland gradient of a polymorphic damselfly Ischnura elegans. Body size increased in a clinal fashion along this gradient: animals were smaller in size at the coast, but became larger in the inland areas. In contrast, the sexual selection regimes on male body size showed evidence of more fine-grained spatial organization with no evidence for a clinal pattern and low spatial autocorrelations between populations. These spatially fine-grained sexual selection regimes varied in sign and magnitude and were driven by a combination of the densities of heritable female color morphs and local female body sizes. We suggest that the spatial organization of the selective regimes can be interpreted as a sexual selection mosaic that is influenced by highly localized density- and frequency-dependent social interactions. [source]


    EVOLUTION, Issue 4 2000
    Larissa L. Vassilieva
    Abstract. Spontaneous mutation to mildly deleterious alleles has emerged as a potentially unifying component of a variety of observations in evolutionary genetics and molecular evolution. However, the biological significance of hypotheses based on mildly deleterious mutation depends critically on the rate at which new mutations arise and on their average effects. A long-term mutation-accumulation experiment with replicate lines of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans maintained by single-progeny descent indicates that recurrent spontaneous mutation causes approximately 0.1% decline in fitness per generation, which is about an order of magnitude less than that suggested by previous studies with Drosophila. Two rather different approaches, Bateman-Mukai and maximum likelihood, suggest that this observation, along with the observed rate of increase in the variance of fitness among lines, is consistent with a genomic deleterious mutation rate for fitness of approximately 0.03 per generation and with an average homozygous effect of approximately 12%. The distribution of mutational effects for fitness appears to have a relatively low coefficient of variation, being no more extreme than expected for a negative exponential, and for one composite fitness measure (total progeny production) approaches constancy of effects. These results are derived from assays in a benign environment. At stressful temperatures, estimates of the genomic deleterious mutation rate (for genes expressed at such temperatures) is sixfold lower, whereas those for the average homozygous effect is approximately eightfold higher. Our results are reasonably compatible with existing estimates for flies, when one considers the differences between these species in the number of germ-line cell divisions per generation and the magnitude of transposable element activity. [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]

    Characterization of the Hox cluster from the mosquito Anopheles gambiae (Diptera: culicidae)

    Thomas P. Powers
    SUMMARY The Hox genes have been found to encode transcription factors, which specify the morphological identity of structures along the anteroposterior axis of animals ranging from worms to mice. The canonical set of nine genes is organized in a cluster in the genome of several protostomes and deuterostomes. However, within insects, whereas the Hox genes are organized in a single cluster in the beetle Tribolium castaneum, they are split into two separate groups in the flies Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila virilis. The significance of a split Hox cluster is unknown and has been observed in only one organism outside the Drosophila lineage: the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We have cloned a majority of the Hox genes from the mosquito Anopheles gambiae (Diptera: Culicidae) and compared their genomic organization with that of Tribolium and Drosophila to determine if a split Hox cluster is found in dipterans aside from the Drosophilidae. We find that the Hox genes in Anopheles, as in Tribolium, are organized in a single cluster that spans a genomic region of at least 700 kb. This finding suggests that, within the insect genome, the partition of the Hox cluster may have evolved exclusively within the Drosophila lineage. The genomic structures of the resident genes, however, appear to be largely conserved between A. gambiae and D. melanogaster. [source]

    Identification of differentially expressed genes in psoriasis using expression profiling approaches

    K. Itoh
    Abstract:, To identify differentially expressed genes which play causal roles in pathogenesis and maintenance for psoriasis, we used BodyMapping and introduced amplified fragment length polymorphism approaches. From the BodyMap database, we selected 2007 genes which specifically expressed in epithelial tissues. Among 2007 genes, we surveyed genes which differentially expressed in involved or uninvolved psoriatic lesional skin samples compared with atopic dermatitis, mycosis fungoides, and normal skin samples. As a result of surveying 2007 genes, 241 genes were differentially expressed only in involved psoriatic skin but not in the other samples. Hierarchical cluster analysis of gene expression profiles showed that 13 independent psoriatic-involved skin samples clustered tightly together, reflecting highly similar expression profiles. Using the same 2007 gene set, we examined gene expression levels in five serial lesions from distal uninvolved psoriatic skin to involved psoriatic plaque. We identified seven genes such as alpha-1-microglobulin/bikunin precursor, calnexin, claudin 1, leucine zipper down-regulated in cancer 1, tyrosinase-related protein 1, Yes-associated protein 1, and unc-13-like protein (Coleonyx elegans) which show high-expression levels only in uninvolved psoriatic lesions. These seven genes, which were reported to be related to apoptosis or antiproliferation, might have causal roles in pathophysiology in psoriasis. [source]