Project description:The detection and abundance of Escherichia coli in water is used to monitor and mandate the quality of drinking and recreational water. Distinguishing commensal waterborne E. coli isolates from those that cause diarrhea or extraintestinal disease in humans is important for quantifying human health risk. A DNA microarray was used to evaluate the distribution of virulence genes in 148 E. coli environmental isolates from a watershed in eastern Ontario, Canada, and in eight clinical isolates. Their pathogenic potential was evaluated with Caenorhabditis elegans, and the concordance between the bioassay result and the pathotype deduced by genotyping was explored. Isolates identified as potentially pathogenic on the basis of their complement of virulence genes were significantly more likely to be pathogenic to C. elegans than those determined to be potentially nonpathogenic. A number of isolates that were identified as nonpathogenic on the basis of genotyping were pathogenic in the infection assay, suggesting that genotyping did not capture all potentially pathogenic types. The detection of the adhesin-encoding genes sfaD, focA, and focG, which encode adhesins; of iroN2, which encodes a siderophore receptor; of pic, which encodes an autotransporter protein; and of b1432, which encodes a putative transposase, was significantly associated with pathogenicity in the infection assay. Overall, E. coli isolates predicted to be pathogenic on the basis of genotyping were indeed so in the C. elegans infection assay. Furthermore, the detection of C. elegans-infective environmental isolates predicted to be nonpathogenic on the basis of genotyping suggests that there are hitherto-unrecognized virulence factors or combinations thereof that are important in the establishment of infection.
Project description:In plants and in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, an RNAi signal can trigger gene silencing in cells distant from the site where silencing is initiated. In plants, this signal is known to be a form of dsRNA, and the signal is most likely a form of dsRNA in C. elegans as well. Furthermore, in C. elegans, dsRNA present in the environment or expressed in ingested bacteria is sufficient to trigger RNAi (environmental RNAi). Ingestion and soaking delivery of dsRNA has also been described for other invertebrates. Here we report the identification and characterization of SID-2, an intestinal luminal transmembrane protein required for environmental RNAi in C. elegans. SID-2, when expressed in the environmental RNAi defective species Caenorhabditis briggsae, confers environmental RNAi.
Project description:The Caenorhabditis elegans oocyte is a highly amenable system for forward and reverse genetic analysis of receptor-mediated endocytosis. We describe the use of transgenic strains expressing a vitellogenin::green fluorescent protein (YP170::GFP) fusion to monitor yolk endocytosis by the C. elegans oocyte in vivo. This YP170::GFP reporter was used to assay the functions of C. elegans predicted proteins homologous to vertebrate endocytosis factors using RNA-mediated interference. We show that the basic components and pathways of endocytic trafficking are conserved between C. elegans and vertebrates, and that this system can be used to test the endocytic functions of any new gene. We also used the YP170::GFP assay to identify rme (receptor-mediated endocytosis) mutants. We describe a new member of the low-density lipoprotein receptor superfamily, RME-2, identified in our screens for endocytosis defective mutants. We show that RME-2 is the C. elegans yolk receptor.
Project description:Neurodegeneration has been correlated with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage and exposure to environmental toxins, but causation is unclear. We investigated the ability of several known environmental genotoxins and neurotoxins to cause mtDNA damage, mtDNA depletion, and neurodegeneration in Caenorhabditis elegans. We found that paraquat, cadmium chloride and aflatoxin B1 caused more mitochondrial than nuclear DNA damage, and paraquat and aflatoxin B1 also caused dopaminergic neurodegeneration. 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) caused similar levels of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA damage. To further test whether the neurodegeneration could be attributed to the observed mtDNA damage, C. elegans were exposed to repeated low-dose ultraviolet C radiation (UVC) that resulted in persistent mtDNA damage; this exposure also resulted in dopaminergic neurodegeneration. Damage to GABAergic neurons and pharyngeal muscle cells was not detected. We also found that fasting at the first larval stage was protective in dopaminergic neurons against 6-OHDA-induced neurodegeneration. Finally, we found that dopaminergic neurons in C. elegans are capable of regeneration after laser surgery. Our findings are consistent with a causal role for mitochondrial DNA damage in neurodegeneration, but also support non mtDNA-mediated mechanisms.
Project description:Caenorhabditis elegans is a powerful model for studying gene regulation, as it has a compact genome and a wealth of genomic tools. However, identification of regulatory elements has been limited, as DNA-binding motifs are known for only 71 of the estimated 763 sequence-specific transcription factors (TFs). To address this problem, we performed protein binding microarray experiments on representatives of canonical TF families in C. elegans, obtaining motifs for 129 TFs. Additionally, we predict motifs for many TFs that have DNA-binding domains similar to those already characterized, increasing coverage of binding specificities to 292 C. elegans TFs (?40%). These data highlight the diversification of binding motifs for the nuclear hormone receptor and C2H2 zinc finger families and reveal unexpected diversity of motifs for T-box and DM families. Motif enrichment in promoters of functionally related genes is consistent with known biology and also identifies putative regulatory roles for unstudied TFs.
Project description:For accurate gene expression quantification, normalization of gene expression data against reliable reference genes is required. It is known that the expression levels of commonly used reference genes vary considerably under different experimental conditions, and therefore, their use for data normalization is limited. In this study, an unbiased identification of reference genes in Caenorhabditis elegans was performed based on 145 microarray datasets (2296 gene array samples) covering different developmental stages, different tissues, drug treatments, lifestyle, and various stresses. As a result, thirteen housekeeping genes (rps-23, rps-26, rps-27, rps-16, rps-2, rps-4, rps-17, rpl-24.1, rpl-27, rpl-33, rpl-36, rpl-35, and rpl-15) with enhanced stability were comprehensively identified by using six popular normalization algorithms and RankAggreg method. Functional enrichment analysis revealed that these genes were significantly overrepresented in GO terms or KEGG pathways related to ribosomes. Validation analysis using recently published datasets revealed that the expressions of newly identified candidate reference genes were more stable than the commonly used reference genes. Based on the results, we recommended using rpl-33 and rps-26 as the optimal reference genes for microarray and rps-2 and rps-4 for RNA-sequencing data validation. More importantly, the most stable rps-23 should be a promising reference gene for both data types. This study, for the first time, successfully displays a large-scale microarray data driven genome-wide identification of stable reference genes for normalizing gene expression data and provides a potential guideline on the selection of universal internal reference genes in C. elegans, for quantitative gene expression analysis.
Project description:When Caenorhabditis elegans senses dauer pheromone (daumone), signaling inadequate growth conditions, it enters the dauer state, which is capable of long-term survival. However, the molecular pathway of dauer entry in C. elegans has remained elusive. To systematically monitor changes in gene expression in dauer paths, we used a DNA microarray containing 22,625 gene probes corresponding to 22,150 unique genes from C. elegans. We employed two different paths: direct exposure to daumone (Path 1) and normal growth media plus liquid culture (Path 2). Our data reveal that entry into dauer is accomplished through the multi-step process, which appears to be compartmentalized in time and according to metabolic flux. That is, a time-course of dauer entry in Path 1 shows that dauer larvae formation begins at post-embryonic stage S4 (48 h) and is complete at S6 (72 h). Our results also suggest the presence of a unique adaptive metabolic control mechanism that requires both stage-specific expression of specific genes and tight regulation of different modes of fuel metabolite utilization to sustain the energy balance in the context of prolonged survival under adverse growth conditions. It is apparent that worms entering dauer stage may rely heavily on carbohydrate-based energy reserves, whereas dauer larvae utilize fat or glyoxylate cycle-based energy sources. We created a comprehensive web-based dauer metabolic database for C. elegans (www.DauerDB.org) that makes it possible to search any gene and compare its relative expression at a specific stage, or evaluate overall patterns of gene expression in both paths. This database can be accessed by the research community and could be widely applicable to other related nematodes as a molecular atlas.
Project description:Environmental toxicants influence development, behavior, and ultimately survival. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has proven to be an exceptionally powerful model for toxicological studies. Here, we develop novel technologies to describe the effects of cyanide toxicity with high spatiotemporal resolution. Importantly, we use these methods to examine the genetic underpinnings of cyanide resistance. Caenorhabditis elegans that lack the EGL-9 oxygen sensing enzyme have been shown to be resistant to hydrogen cyanide (HCN) gas produced by the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1. We demonstrate that the cyanide resistance exhibited by egl-9 mutants is completely dependent on the HIF-1 hypoxia-inducible factor and is mediated by the cysl-2 cysteine synthase, which likely functions in metabolic pathways that inactivate cyanide. Further, the expression of cysl-2 correlates with the degree of cyanide resistance exhibited in each genetic background. We find that each mutant exhibits similar relative resistance to HCN gas on plates or to aqueous potassium cyanide in microfluidic chambers. The design of the microfluidic devices, in combination with real-time imaging, addresses a series of challenges presented by mutant phenotypes and by the chemical nature of the toxicant. The microfluidic assay produces a set of behavioral parameters with increased resolution that describe cyanide toxicity and resistance in C. elegans, and this is particularly useful in analyzing subtle phenotypes. These multiparameter analyses of C. elegans behavior hold great potential as a means to monitor the effects of toxicants or chemical interventions in real time and to study the biological networks that underpin toxicant resistance.
Project description:The mechanisms of action of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in monogenean parasites of the genus Cichlidogyrus were investigated through a microarray hybridization approach using genomic information from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The effects of two concentrations of AgNPs were explored, low (6 µg/L Ag) and high (36 µg/L Ag). Microarray analysis revealed that both concentrations of AgNPs activated similar biological processes, although by different mechanisms. Expression profiles included genes involved in detoxification, neurotoxicity, modulation of cell signaling, reproduction, embryonic development, and tegument organization as the main biological processes dysregulated by AgNPs. Two important processes (DNA damage and cell death) were mostly activated in parasites exposed to the lower concentration of AgNPs. To our knowledge, this is the first study providing information on the sub-cellular and molecular effects of exposure to AgNPs in metazoan parasites of fish.
Project description:Microinjection is the most frequently used tool for genetic transformation of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, facilitating the transgenic expression of genes, genome editing by the clustered regularly interspersed short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9 system, or transcription of dsRNA for RNA intereference (RNAi). Exogenous DNA is delivered into the developing oocytes in the germline of adult hermaphrodites, which then generate transgenic animals among their offspring. In this protocol, we describe the microinjection procedure and the subsequent selection of transgenic progeny.