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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 skin consists mostly of extracellular matrix (ECM) composed mainly of collagen, which provides a protective barrier from the environment. The skin continuously experiences harmful stress and damage. As aging progresses, the expression of various genes declines, and physiological functional deterioration occurs. The reduction of collagen accompanying aging impairs the barrier function of the skin and weakens protection from stressors. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, ECM proteins turn over during aging. Older worms of longevity mutants exhibit increased collagen expression, whereas knockdown of collagen genes shortens lifespan. However, it is unclear whether the progression of aging can be delayed by increasing collagen production via an external stimulus. In this study, we examined the effects of collagen tripeptide (CTP), a collagen-derived compound, on lifespan and aging. Our results showed that CTP upregulated collagen genes via the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/SKN-1 pathway. Moreover, CTP extended lifespan and delayed aging through p38 MAPK/SKN-1 pathway. In addition, CTP also induced collagen expression via the p38 MAPK pathway in mammals. Our findings supported that external stimuli such as CTP could promote ECM youthfulness using a conserved signaling pathway, thereby contributing to suppression of aging.
[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] Highlights: • Crystal structure of W. bancrofti GST with its cofactor GSH at 2.3 Å resolution was determined. • Structural comparison against human GST reveals distinct differences in substrate binding sites. • GST xenobiotic binding site is more substrate accessible and reveals non-catalytic binding sites. • Enzyme kinetic assays reveal that antifilarial drug Diethyl carbamazine binds in an uncompetitive manner. • Structural features provide insights to support future design of parasite specific inhibitors. The notoriety of parasitic nematode survival is directly related to chronic pathogenicity, which is evident in human lymphatic filariasis. It is a disease of poverty which causes severe disability affecting more than 120 million people worldwide. These nematodes down-regulate host immune system through a myriad of strategies that includes secretion of antioxidant and detoxification enzymes like glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs). Earlier studies have shown Wuchereria bancrofti GST to be a potential therapeutic target. Parasite GSTs catalyse the conjugation of glutathione to xenobiotic and other endogenous electrophiles and are essential for their long-term survival in lymph tissues. Hence, the crystal structure of WbGST along with its cofactor GSH at 2.3 Å resolution was determined. Structural comparisons against host GST reveal distinct differences in the substrate binding sites. The parasite xenobiotic binding site is more substrate/solvent accessible. The structure also suggests the presence of putative non-catalytic binding sites that may permit sequestration of endogenous and exogenous ligands. The structure of WbGST also provides a case for the role of the π-cation interaction in stabilizing catalytic Tyr compared to stabilization interactions described for other GSTs. Hence, the obtained information regarding crucial differences in the active sites will support future design of parasite specific inhibitors. Further, the study also evaluates the inhibition of WbGST and its variants by antifilarial diethylcarbamazine through kinetic assays.
[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] 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)