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[en] The utility of a new target gene (fem-3) is described for investigating the molecular nature of mutagenesis in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. As a principal attribute, this system allows for the selection, maintenance and molecular analysis of any type of mutation that disrupts the gene, including deletions. In this study, 86 mutant strains were isolated, of which 79 proved to have mutations in fem-3. Twenty of these originally tested as homozygous inviable. Homozygous inviability was expected, as Stewart and coworkers had previously observed that, unlike in other organisms, most UV radiation-induced mutations in C. elegans are chromosomal rearrangements of deficiencies (Mutat. Res 249, 37-54, 1991). However, additional data, including Southern blot analyses on 49 of the strains, indicated that most of the UV radiation-induced fem-3 mutations were not deficiencies, as originally inferred from their homozygous inviability. Instead, the lethals were most likely ''coincident mutations'' in linked, essential genes that were concomitantly induced. As such, they were lost owing to genetic recombination during stock maintenance. As in mammalian cells, yeast and bacteria, the frequency of coincident mutations was much higher than would be predicted by chance. (Author)
[en] The National Research Council has outlined the need for non-mammalian toxicological models to test the potential health effects of a large number of chemicals while also reducing the use of traditional animal models. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is an attractive alternative model because of its well-characterized and evolutionarily conserved biology, low cost, and ability to be used in high-throughput screening. A high-throughput method is described for quantifying the reproductive capacity of C. elegans exposed to chemicals for 48 h from the last larval stage (L4) to adulthood using a COPAS Biosort. Initially, the effects of exposure conditions that could influence reproduction were defined. Concentrations of DMSO vehicle ≤ 1% did not affect reproduction. Previous studies indicated that C. elegans may be influenced by exposure to low pH conditions. At pHs greater than 4.5, C. elegans reproduction was not affected; however below this pH there was a significant decrease in the number of offspring. Cadmium chloride was chosen as a model toxicant to verify that automated measurements were comparable to those of traditional observational studies. EC50 values for cadmium for automated measurements (176-192 μM) were comparable to those previously reported for a 72-h exposure using manual counting (151 μM). The toxicity of seven test toxicants on C. elegans reproduction was highly correlative with rodent lethality suggesting that this assay may be useful in predicting the potential toxicity of chemicals in other organisms.
[en] Research has demonstrated the toxic effects of methylmercury (MeHg), yet molecular mechanisms underlying its toxicity are not completely understood. Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) offers a unique biological model to explore mechanisms of MeHg toxicity given many advantages associated with its ease of use and genetic power. Since our previous work indicated neurotoxic resistance of C. elegans to MeHg, the present study was designed to examine molecular mechanisms associated with this resistance. We hypothesized MeHg would induce expression of gst, hsp or mtl in vivo since glutathione (GSH), heat shock proteins (HSPs), and metallothioneins (MTs) have shown involvement in MeHg toxicity. Our studies demonstrated a modest, but significant increase in fluorescence in gst-4::GFP and mtl-1::GFP strains at an acute, low L1 MeHg exposure, whereas chronic L4 MeHg exposure induced expression of gst-4::GFP and hsp-4::GFP. Knockout gst-4 animals showed no alterations in lethality sensitivity compared to wildtype animals whereas mtl knockouts displayed increased sensitivity to MeHg exposure. GSH levels were increased by acute MeHg treatment and depleted with chronic exposure. We also demonstrate that MeHg induces hormesis, a phenotype whereby a sublethal exposure to MeHg rendered C. elegans resistant to subsequent exposure to the organometal. The involvement of gst-4, hsp-4, mtl-1, and mtl-2 in hormesis was examined. An increase in gst-4::GFP expression after a low-dose acute exposure to MeHg indicated that gst-4 may be involved in this response. Our results implicate GSH, HSPs, and MTs in protecting C. elegans from MeHg toxicity and show a potential role of gst-4 in MeHg-induced hormesis.
[en] The impact of dead discards, originating from beam trawl fishing on the nematode community from the Tagus estuary was investigated in terms of vertical distribution of the dominant nematode groups. Sediment cores were collected from a mud-flat from the Tagus estuary. Crangoncrangon (Linnaeus, 1758) carcasses were added to the surface of the cores, simulating the settling of dead discards on the sediment. The vertical distribution of the dominant nematode groups was determined up to 4 cm deep at four different moments in time post deposition (0, 2, 4 and 6 h) and compared to control cores. The C.crangon addition to the sediment led to the formation of black spots and therefore oxygen depleted areas at the sediment surface. The Chromadora/Ptycholaimellus group, normally dominant at the surface layer, migrated downwards due to their high sensibility to toxic conditions. Sabatieria presented the opposite trend and became the dominant group at the surface layer. Since Sabatieria is tolerant to oxygen stressed conditions and high sulphide concentrations, we suggest that it migrated opportunistically towards an unoccupied niche. Daptonema, Metachromadora and Terschellingia did not show any vertical migration, reflecting their tolerance to anoxic and high sulphidic conditions. Our study showed that an accumulation of dead discards at the sediment surface might therefore alter the nematode community vertical distribution. This effect is apparently closely related to toxic conditions in the sediment, induced by the deposition of C.crangon at the sediment surface. These alterations might be temporal and reflect an adaptation of the nematode community to dynamic intertidal environments
[en] Programmed cell clearance is a highly regulated physiological process of elimination of dying cells that occurs rapidly and efficiently in healthy organisms. It thus ensures proper development as well as homeostasis. Recent studies have disclosed a considerable degree of conservation of cell clearance pathways between nematodes and higher organisms. The externalization of the anionic phospholipid phosphatidylserine (PS) has emerged as an important “eat-me” signal for phagocytes and its exposition on apoptotic cells is controlled by phospholipid translocases and scramblases. However, there is mounting evidence that PS exposure occurs not only in apoptosis, but may also be actively expressed on the surface of cells undergoing other forms of cell death including necrosis; PS is also expressed on the surface of engulfing cells. Additionally, PS may act as a “save-me” signal during axonal regeneration. Here we discuss mechanisms of PS exposure and its recognition by phagocytes as well as the consequences of PS signaling in nematodes and in mammals. - Highlights: • Cell clearance pathways are conserved between nematodes and mammals. • Phosphatidylserine (PS) externalization is a common signal for cell clearance. • Translocases and scramblases are involved in PS exposure during apoptosis. • PS also functions as a “save-me” signal to mediate the fusion of injured axons. • Definitions of cell death should take into account whether/how cells are cleared.
[en] The objective of this work is to develop resistance to root-knot nematodes in tomato by induction, selection and utilization of the newly created resistant strains. Seeds of two varieties of tomato Lycopersicon esculentum L., namely Amcopack and Supermarmande, were subjected to various doses of gamma rays ranging from 10 Krads to 40 Krads in an effort to gain resistance to Meloidogyne incognita Chitwood, the prevalent species of nematodes in Lebanon. The variety Supermarmande seemed not to be affected by irradiation while Amcopack gained some resistance with a corresponding increase in the dose of radiation. The data suggest that in a variety like Amcopack, irradiation may stimulate resistance while in others like Supermarmande, susceptibility is not reduced with a corresponding increase of dosage. Those alterations in reaction within varieties may be due to genetic differences which allow some varieties to acquire resistance to nematodes when exposed to certain dosages, while others to suffer seriously due to sensitivity. (author)