Developmental Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 398 Views May 5, 2023

A basic function of the nervous system is to confer the ability to detect external stimuli and generate appropriate behavioral and physiological responses. These can be modulated when parallel streams of information are provided to the nervous system and neural activity is appropriately altered. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans utilizes a simple and well characterized neural circuit to mediate avoidance or attraction responses to stimuli, such as the volatile odorant octanol or diacetyl (DA), respectively. Aging and neurodegeneration constitute two important factors altering the ability to detect external signals and, therefore, changing behavior. Here, we present a modified protocol to assess avoidance or attraction responses to diverse stimuli in healthy individuals and Caenorhabditis elegans models associated with neurodegenerative diseases.

0 Q&A 1397 Views Mar 20, 2022

Analysis of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) is important for understanding dyshomeostasis within the nucleus, impaired DNA repair mechanisms, and cell death. In the C. elegans germline, DSBs are important indicators of all three above-mentioned conditions. Although multiple methods exist to assess apoptosis in the germline of C. elegans, direct assessment of DSBs without the need for a reporter allele or protein-specific antibody is useful. As such, unbiased immunofluorescent approaches can be favorable. This protocol details a method for using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) to assess DNA DSBs in dissected C. elegans germlines. Germlines are co-labeled with DAPI to allow for easy assessment of DNA DSBs. This approach allows for qualitative or quantitative measures of DNA DSBs.

Graphic abstract:

Schematic for TUNEL labeling of C. elegans germlines.

0 Q&A 2199 Views Dec 20, 2021

Reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species (RONS) are involved in programmed cell death in the context of numerous degenerative and chronic diseases. In particular, the ability of cells to maintain redox homeostasis is necessary for an adaptive cellular response to adverse conditions that can cause damage to proteins and DNA, resulting in apoptosis and genetic mutations. Here, we focus on the 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (DCFH2-DA) assay to detect RONS. Although this fluorescence-based assay is widely utilized due to its high sensitivity to detect changes in cellular redox status that allow measuring alterations in RONS over time, its validity has been a matter of controversy. If correctly carried out, its limitations are understood and results are correctly interpreted, the DCFH2-DA assay is a valuable tool for cell-based studies.

0 Q&A 3147 Views May 20, 2021

Gene activation and cellular biomarkers are commonly monitored using fluorescent signals from transgenic reporters or dyes. These quantifiable markers are critical for biological research and serve as an incredibly powerful tool, even more so when combined with high-throughput screening. Caenorhabditis elegans is a particularly useful model in this regard, as it is inexpensive to grow in vast numbers, has a rapid generation time, is optically transparent, and can readily fit within 384-well plates. However, fluorescence quantification in worms is often cumbersome. Quantification is frequently performed using laborious, low-throughput, bias-prone methods that measure fluorescence in a comparatively small number of individual worms. Here we describe two methods, flow vermimetry using a COPAS BioSorter and an automated imaging platform and analysis pipeline using a Cytation5 multimode plate reader and image analysis software, that enable high-throughput, high-content screening in C. elegans. Flow vermimetry provides a better signal-to-noise ratio with fewer processing steps, while the Cytation5 provides a convenient platform to image samples across time. Fluorescence values from the two methods show strong correlation. Either method can be easily extended to include other parameters, such as the measurement of various metabolites, worm viability, and other aspects of cell physiology. This broadens the utility of the system and allows it to be used for a wide range of molecular biological purposes.

0 Q&A 3322 Views Apr 5, 2021

The Target of Rapamycin kinase Complex I (TORC1) is the master regulator of cell growth and metabolism in eukaryotes. In the presence of pro-growth hormones and abundant nutrients, TORC1 is active and drives protein, lipid, and nucleotide synthesis by phosphorylating a wide range of proteins. In contrast, when nitrogen and/or glucose levels fall, TORC1 is inhibited, causing the cell to switch from anabolic to catabolic metabolism, and eventually enter a quiescent state. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, TORC1 inhibition triggers the movement of TORC1 from its position around the vacuole to a single focus/body on the edge of the vacuolar membrane. This relocalization depends on the activity of numerous key TORC1 regulators and thus analysis of TORC1 localization can be used to follow signaling through the TORC1 pathway. Here we provide a detailed protocol for measuring TORC1 (specifically, Kog1-YFP) relocalization/signaling using fluorescence microscopy. Emphasis is placed on procedures that ensure: (1) TORC1-bodies are identified (and counted) correctly despite their relatively low fluorescence and the accumulation of autofluorescent foci during glucose and nitrogen starvation; (2) Cells are kept in log-phase growth at the start of each experiment so that the dynamics of TORC1-body formation are monitored correctly; (3) The appropriate fluorescent tags are used to avoid examining mislocalized TORC1.

0 Q&A 8098 Views Jun 20, 2019
It has been well-established that malondialdehyde (MDA), which is generated during the process of lipid peroxidation, is a commonly known biomarker for oxidative stress. Therefore, the serum levels of MDA are detected by using the lipid peroxidation assay with commercially available kit to determine the induction of oxidative stress in rat models.
0 Q&A 4788 Views Apr 5, 2019
We describe a protocol to measure the contribution of humidity on cell death during the effector-triggered immunity (ETI), the plant immune response triggered by the recognition of pathogen effectors by plant resistance genes. This protocol quantifies tissue cell death by measuring ion leakage due to loss of membrane integrity during the hypersensitive response (HR), the ETI-associated cell death. The method is simple and short enough to handle many biological replicates, which improves the power of test of statistical significance. The protocol is easily applicable to other environmental cues, such as light and temperature, or treatment with chemicals.
1 Q&A 14494 Views Mar 20, 2018
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are generated during normal metabolic processes under aerobic conditions. Since ROS production initiates harmful radical chain reactions on cellular macromolecules, including lipid peroxidation, DNA mutation, and protein denaturation, it has been implicated in a wide spectrum of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, ischemia-reperfusion and aging. Over the past several decades, antioxidants have received explosive attention regarding their protective potential against these deleterious reactions. Accordingly, many analytical methodologies have been developed for the evaluation of the antioxidant capacity of compounds or complex biological samples. Herein, we introduce a simple and convenient method to detect in vivo intracellular ROS levels photometrically in Caenorhabditis elegans using 2’,7’-dichlorofluorescein diacetate (H2DCFDA), a cell permeant tracer.
0 Q&A 11604 Views Jul 5, 2017
Cells and organisms face constant exposure to reactive oxygen species (ROS), either from the environment or as a by-product from internal metabolic processes. To prevent cellular damage from ROS, cells have evolved detoxification mechanisms. The activation of these detoxification mechanisms and their downstream responses represent an overlapping defense response that can be tailored to different sources of ROS to adequately adapt and protect cells. In this protocol, we describe how to measure the sensitivity to oxidative stress from two different sources, arsenite and tBHP, using the nematode C. elegans.
0 Q&A 12786 Views Jan 20, 2017
Eukaryotic cells contain various types of cytoplasmic, non-membrane bound ribonucleoprotein (RNP) granules that consist of non-translating mRNAs and a versatile set of associated proteins. One prominent type of RNP granules is Processing bodies (P bodies), which majorly harbors translationally inactive mRNAs and an array of proteins mediating mRNA degradation, translational repression and cellular mRNA transport (Sheth and Parker, 2003). Another type of RNP granules, the stress granules (SGs), majorly contain mRNAs associated with translation initiation factors and are formed upon stress-induced translational stalling (Kedersha et al., 2000 and 1999). Multiple evidence obtained from studies in unicellular organisms supports a model in which P bodies and SGs physically interact during cellular stress to direct mRNAs for transport, decay, temporal storage or reentry into translation (Anderson and Kedersha, 2008; Decker and Parker, 2012). The quantification, distribution and colocalization of P bodies and/or SGs are essential tools to study the composition of RNP granules and their contribution to fundamental cellular processes, such as stress response and translational regulation. In this protocol we describe a method to quantify P bodies and SGs in somatic tissues of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.

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