ResearchPad - caenorhabditis-elegans https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The <i>Caenorhabditis elegans</i> CUB-like-domain containing protein RBT-1 functions as a receptor for <i>Bacillus thuringiensis</i> Cry6Aa toxin]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14753 Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crystal proteins belong to pore-forming toxins (PFTs), which display virulence against target hosts by forming holes in the cell membrane. Cry6A is a nematicidal PFT, which exhibits unique protein structure and different mode of action than Cry5B, another nematicidal PFT. However, little is known about the mode of action of Cry6A. Although an intracellular nematicidal necrosis pathway of Cry6A was reported, its extracellular mode of action remains unknown. We here demonstrate that the CUB-like-domain containing protein RBT-1 acts as a functional receptor of Cry6A, which mediates the intestinal cell interaction and nematicidal activity of this toxin. RBT-1 represents a new class of crystal protein receptors. RBT-1 is dispensable for Cry5B toxicity against nematodes, consistent with that Cry6A and Cry5B have different nematicidal mechanisms. We also find that Cry6A kills nematodes by complex mechanism since rbt-1 mutation did not affect Cry6A-mediated necrosis signaling pathway. This work not only enhances the understanding of Bt crystal protein-nematode mechanism, but is also in favor for the application of Cry6A in nematode control.

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<![CDATA[Disruption of genes associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 lead to common behavioural, cellular and molecular defects in Caenorhabditis elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N5d50b5cf-e057-490e-9c44-60569e9f28d4

Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is an inherited peripheral motor and sensory neuropathy. The disease is divided into demyelinating (CMT1) and axonal (CMT2) neuropathies, and although we have gained molecular information into the details of CMT1 pathology, much less is known about CMT2. Due to its clinical and genetic heterogeneity, coupled with a lack of animal models, common underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In order to gain an understanding of the normal function of genes associated with CMT2, and to draw direct comparisons between them, we have studied the behavioural, cellular and molecular consequences of mutating nine different genes in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (lin-41/TRIM2, dyn-1/DNM2, unc-116/KIF5A, fzo-1/MFN2, osm-9/TRPV4, cua-1/ATP7A, hsp-25/HSPB1, hint-1/HINT1, nep-2/MME). We show that C. elegans defective for these genes display debilitated movement in crawling and swimming assays. Severe morphological defects in cholinergic motors neurons are also evident in two of the mutants (dyn-1 and unc-116). Furthermore, we establish methods for quantifying muscle morphology and use these to demonstrate that loss of muscle structure occurs in the majority of mutants studied. Finally, using electrophysiological recordings of neuromuscular junction (NMJ) activity, we uncover reductions in spontaneous postsynaptic current frequency in lin-41, dyn-1, unc-116 and fzo-1 mutants. By comparing the consequences of mutating numerous CMT2-related genes, this study reveals common deficits in muscle structure and function, as well as NMJ signalling when these genes are disrupted.

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<![CDATA[A DNA repair protein and histone methyltransferase interact to promote genome stability in the Caenorhabditis elegans germ line]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c79a3e8d5eed0c4841d1c27

Histone modifications regulate gene expression and chromosomal events, yet how histone-modifying enzymes are targeted is poorly understood. Here we report that a conserved DNA repair protein, SMRC-1, associates with MET-2, the C. elegans histone methyltransferase responsible for H3K9me1 and me2 deposition. We used molecular, genetic, and biochemical methods to investigate the biological role of SMRC-1 and to explore its relationship with MET-2. SMRC-1, like its mammalian ortholog SMARCAL1, provides protection from DNA replication stress. SMRC-1 limits accumulation of DNA damage and promotes germline and embryonic viability. MET-2 and SMRC-1 localize to mitotic and meiotic germline nuclei, and SMRC-1 promotes an increase in MET-2 abundance in mitotic germline nuclei upon replication stress. In the absence of SMRC-1, germline H3K9me2 generally decreases after multiple generations at high culture temperature. Genetic data are consistent with MET-2 and SMRC-1 functioning together to limit replication stress in the germ line and in parallel to promote other germline processes. We hypothesize that loss of SMRC-1 activity causes chronic replication stress, in part because of insufficient recruitment of MET-2 to nuclei.

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<![CDATA[Global transcriptional regulation of innate immunity by ATF-7 in C. elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c784faad5eed0c4840072b2

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has emerged as a genetically tractable animal host in which to study evolutionarily conserved mechanisms of innate immune signaling. We previously showed that the PMK-1 p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway regulates innate immunity of C. elegans through phosphorylation of the CREB/ATF bZIP transcription factor, ATF-7. Here, we have undertaken a genomic analysis of the transcriptional response of C. elegans to infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, combining genome-wide expression analysis by RNA-seq with ATF-7 chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-Seq). We observe that PMK-1-ATF-7 activity regulates a majority of all genes induced by pathogen infection, and observe ATF-7 occupancy in regulatory regions of pathogen-induced genes in a PMK-1-dependent manner. Moreover, functional analysis of a subset of these ATF-7-regulated pathogen-induced target genes supports a direct role for this transcriptional response in host defense. The genome-wide regulation through PMK-1– ATF-7 signaling reveals a striking level of control over the innate immune response to infection through a single transcriptional regulator.

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<![CDATA[GluClR-mediated inhibitory postsynaptic currents reveal targets for ivermectin and potential mechanisms of ivermectin resistance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59fee7d5eed0c484135792

Glutamate-gated chloride channel receptors (GluClRs) mediate inhibitory neurotransmission at invertebrate synapses and are primary targets of parasites that impact drastically on agriculture and human health. Ivermectin (IVM) is a broad-spectrum pesticide that binds and potentiates GluClR activity. Resistance to IVM is a major economic and health concern, but the molecular and synaptic mechanisms of resistance are ill-defined. Here we focus on GluClRs of the agricultural endoparasite, Haemonchus contortus. We demonstrate that IVM potentiates inhibitory input by inducing a tonic current that plateaus over 15 minutes and by enhancing post-synaptic current peak amplitude and decay times. We further demonstrate that IVM greatly enhances the active durations of single receptors. These effects are greatly attenuated when endogenous IVM-insensitive subunits are incorporated into GluClRs, suggesting a mechanism of IVM resistance that does not affect glutamate sensitivity. We discovered functional groups of IVM that contribute to tuning its potency at different isoforms and show that the dominant mode of access of IVM is via the cell membrane to the receptor.

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<![CDATA[Heme peroxidase HPX-2 protects Caenorhabditis elegans from pathogens]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59fefdd5eed0c484135895

Heme-containing peroxidases are important components of innate immunity. Many of them functionally associate with NADPH oxidase (NOX)/dual oxidase (DUOX) enzymes by using the hydrogen peroxide they generate in downstream reactions. Caenorhabditis elegans encodes for several heme peroxidases, and in a previous study we identified the ShkT-containing peroxidase, SKPO-1, as necessary for pathogen resistance. Here, we demonstrated that another peroxidase, HPX-2 (Heme-PeroXidase 2), is required for resistance against some, but not all pathogens. Tissue specific RNA interference (RNAi) revealed that HPX-2 functionally localizes to the hypodermis of the worm. In congruence with this observation, hpx-2 mutant animals possessed a weaker cuticle structure, indicated by higher permeability to a DNA dye, but exhibited no obvious morphological defects. In addition, fluorescent labeling of HPX-2 revealed its expression in the pharynx, an organ in which BLI-3 is also present. Interestingly, loss of HPX-2 increased intestinal colonization of E. faecalis, suggesting its role in the pharynx may limit intestinal colonization. Moreover, disruption of a catalytic residue in the peroxidase domain of HPX-2 resulted in decreased survival on E. faecalis, indicating its peroxidase activity is required for pathogen resistance. Finally, RNA-seq analysis of an hpx-2 mutant revealed changes in genes encoding for cuticle structural components under the non-pathogenic conditions. Under pathogenic conditions, genes involved in infection response were differentially regulated to a greater degree, likely due to increased microbial burden. In conclusion, the characterization of the heme-peroxidase, HPX-2, revealed that it contributes to C. elegans pathogen resistance through a role in generating cuticle material in the hypodermis and pharynx.

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<![CDATA[Serotonin and neuropeptides are both released by the HSN command neuron to initiate Caenorhabditis elegans egg laying]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536ad5d5eed0c484a479f2

Neurons typically release both a small-molecule neurotransmitter and one or more neuropeptides, but how these two types of signal from the same neuron might act together remains largely obscure. For example, serotonergic neurons in mammalian brain express the neuropeptide Substance P, but it is unclear how this co-released neuropeptide might modulate serotonin signaling. We studied this issue in C. elegans, in which all serotonergic neurons express the neuropeptide NLP-3. The serotonergic Hermaphrodite Specific Neurons (HSNs) are command motor neurons within the egg-laying circuit which have been shown to release serotonin to initiate egg-laying behavior. We found that egg-laying defects in animals lacking serotonin were far milder than in animals lacking HSNs, suggesting that HSNs must release other signal(s) in addition to serotonin to stimulate egg laying. While null mutants for nlp-3 had only mild egg-laying defects, animals lacking both serotonin and NLP-3 had severe defects, similar to those of animals lacking HSNs. Optogenetic activation of HSNs induced egg laying in wild-type animals, and in mutant animals lacking either serotonin or NLP-3, but failed to induce egg laying in animals lacking both. We recorded calcium activity in the egg-laying muscles of animals lacking either serotonin, NLP-3, or both. The single mutants, and to a greater extent the double mutant, showed muscle activity that was uncoordinated and unable to expel eggs. Specifically, the vm2 muscles cells, which are direct postsynaptic targets of the HSN, failed to contract simultaneously with other egg-laying muscle cells. Our results show that the HSN neurons use serotonin and the neuropeptide NLP-3 as partially redundant co-transmitters that together stimulate and coordinate activity of the target cells onto which they are released.

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<![CDATA[Redescription of Corydoras undulatus Regan, 1912 (Siluriformes: Callichthyidae), with comments on the identity of Corydoras latus Pearson, 1924]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c58d620d5eed0c4840316aa

A redescription of Corydoras undulatus Regan, 1912 is presented. The original description of C. undulatus is very succinct, as is its diagnosis, which is based only on external morphology. Additional information in the scientific literature on this species is scarce. Specimens from the distribution area of this species were analyzed; Paraná and Paraguay river basins in Argentina, Uruguay river basin in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, and the Laguna dos Patos system in Brazil. Morphological analysis, principal component analysis (PCA), meristic comparison and osteological description were performed. Corydoras undulatus can be distinguished from its congeners mainly by having the following combination of characters: mesethmoid short, with anterior tip short, smaller than 50% of the entire bone length; posterior margin of the pectoral-fin spine with nearly all serrations directed towards origin of spine; pectoral-fin spine with conical serrations; and its peculiar color pattern. The analysis of the material from the different basins did not indicate relevant morphological differences, suggesting that the species presents a wide distribution in La Plata and Laguna dos Patos drainages. The shared geographic distribution between these two systems is also present in other fish species. The current work presents data about the type locality, taxonomy, osteology, distribution and ontogenetic variation of color pattern in C. undulatus. Comments on the identity of a very similar congener, Corydoras latus, will also be provided.

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<![CDATA[The nuclear hormone receptor NHR-86 controls anti-pathogen responses in C. elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c466d5eed0c4845e86e5

Nuclear hormone receptors (NHRs) are ligand-gated transcription factors that control adaptive host responses following recognition of specific endogenous or exogenous ligands. Although NHRs have expanded dramatically in C. elegans compared to other metazoans, the biological function of only a few of these genes has been characterized in detail. Here, we demonstrate that an NHR can activate an anti-pathogen transcriptional program. Using genetic epistasis experiments, transcriptome profiling analyses and chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing, we show that, in the presence of an immunostimulatory small molecule, NHR-86 binds to the promoters of immune effectors to activate their transcription. NHR-86 is not required for resistance to the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa at baseline, but activation of NHR-86 by this compound drives a transcriptional program that provides protection against this pathogen. Interestingly, NHR-86 targets immune effectors whose basal regulation requires the canonical p38 MAPK PMK-1 immune pathway. However, NHR-86 functions independently of PMK-1 and modulates the transcription of these infection response genes directly. These findings characterize a new transcriptional regulator in C. elegans that can induce a protective host response towards a bacterial pathogen.

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<![CDATA[Epicatechin modulates stress-resistance in C. elegans via insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c58d64cd5eed0c484031b1e

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has been used to examine the influence of epicatechin (EC), an abundant flavonoid in the human diet, in some stress biomarkers (ROS production, lipid peroxidation and protein carbonylation). Furthermore, the ability of EC to modulate the expression of some key genes in the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway (IIS), involved in longevity and oxidative or heat shock stress response, has also been explored. The final aim was to contribute to the elucidation of the mechanisms involved in the biological effects of flavonoids. The results showed that EC-treated wild-type C. elegans exhibited increased survival and reduced oxidative damage of biomolecules when submitted to thermal stress. EC treatment led to a moderate elevation in ROS levels, which might activate endogenous mechanisms of defense protecting against oxidative insult. The enhanced stress resistance induced by EC was found to be mediated through the IIS pathway, since assays in daf-2, age-1, akt-1, akt-2, sgk-1, daf-16, skn-1 and hsf-1 loss of function mutant strains failed to show any heat-resistant phenotype against thermal stress when treated with EC. Consistently, EC treatment upregulated the expression of some stress resistance associated genes, such as gst-4, hsp-16.2 and hsp-70, which are downstream regulated by the IIS pathway.

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<![CDATA[An analog of glibenclamide selectively enhances autophagic degradation of misfolded α1-antitrypsin Z]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c521814d5eed0c48479726d

The classical form of α1-antitrypsin deficiency (ATD) is characterized by intracellular accumulation of the misfolded variant α1-antitrypsin Z (ATZ) and severe liver disease in some of the affected individuals. In this study, we investigated the possibility of discovering novel therapeutic agents that would reduce ATZ accumulation by interrogating a C. elegans model of ATD with high-content genome-wide RNAi screening and computational systems pharmacology strategies. The RNAi screening was utilized to identify genes that modify the intracellular accumulation of ATZ and a novel computational pipeline was developed to make high confidence predictions on repurposable drugs. This approach identified glibenclamide (GLB), a sulfonylurea drug that has been used broadly in clinical medicine as an oral hypoglycemic agent. Here we show that GLB promotes autophagic degradation of misfolded ATZ in mammalian cell line models of ATD. Furthermore, an analog of GLB reduces hepatic ATZ accumulation and hepatic fibrosis in a mouse model in vivo without affecting blood glucose or insulin levels. These results provide support for a drug discovery strategy using simple organisms as human disease models combined with genetic and computational screening methods. They also show that GLB and/or at least one of its analogs can be immediately tested to arrest the progression of human ATD liver disease.

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<![CDATA[Diapause induces functional axonal regeneration after necrotic insult in C. elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c46652ed5eed0c484517d84

Many neurons are unable to regenerate after damage. The ability to regenerate after an insult depends on life stage, neuronal subtype, intrinsic and extrinsic factors. C. elegans is a powerful model to test the genetic and environmental factors that affect axonal regeneration after damage, since its axons can regenerate after neuronal insult. Here we demonstrate that diapause promotes the complete morphological regeneration of truncated touch receptor neuron (TRN) axons expressing a neurotoxic MEC-4(d) DEG/ENaC channel. Truncated axons of different lengths were repaired during diapause and we observed potent axonal regrowth from somas alone. Complete morphological regeneration depends on DLK-1 but neuronal sprouting and outgrowth is DLK-1 independent. We show that TRN regeneration is fully functional since animals regain their ability to respond to mechanical stimulation. Thus, diapause induced regeneration provides a simple model of complete axonal regeneration which will greatly facilitate the study of environmental and genetic factors affecting the rate at which neurons die.

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<![CDATA[Using the drug-protein interactome to identify anti-ageing compounds for humans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa5f7d5eed0c484caa9c2

Advancing age is the dominant risk factor for most of the major killer diseases in developed countries. Hence, ameliorating the effects of ageing may prevent multiple diseases simultaneously. Drugs licensed for human use against specific diseases have proved to be effective in extending lifespan and healthspan in animal models, suggesting that there is scope for drug repurposing in humans. New bioinformatic methods to identify and prioritise potential anti-ageing compounds for humans are therefore of interest. In this study, we first used drug-protein interaction information, to rank 1,147 drugs by their likelihood of targeting ageing-related gene products in humans. Among 19 statistically significant drugs, 6 have already been shown to have pro-longevity properties in animal models (p < 0.001). Using the targets of each drug, we established their association with ageing at multiple levels of biological action including pathways, functions and protein interactions. Finally, combining all the data, we calculated a ranked list of drugs that identified tanespimycin, an inhibitor of HSP-90, as the top-ranked novel anti-ageing candidate. We experimentally validated the pro-longevity effect of tanespimycin through its HSP-90 target in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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<![CDATA[The planar cell polarity protein VANG-1/Vangl negatively regulates Wnt/β-catenin signaling through a Dvl dependent mechanism]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c141e7ad5eed0c484d26c9a

Van Gogh-like (Vangl) and Prickle (Pk) are core components of the non-canonical Wnt planar cell polarity pathway that controls epithelial polarity and cell migration. Studies in vertebrate model systems have suggested that Vangl and Pk may also inhibit signaling through the canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway, but the functional significance of this potential cross-talk is unclear. In the nematode C. elegans, the Q neuroblasts and their descendants migrate in opposite directions along the anteroposterior body axis. The direction of these migrations is specified by Wnt signaling, with activation of canonical Wnt signaling driving posterior migration, and non-canonical Wnt signaling anterior migration. Here, we show that the Vangl ortholog VANG-1 influences the Wnt signaling response of the Q neuroblasts by negatively regulating canonical Wnt signaling. This inhibitory activity depends on a carboxy-terminal PDZ binding motif in VANG-1 and the Dishevelled ortholog MIG-5, but is independent of the Pk ortholog PRKL-1. Moreover, using Vangl1 and Vangl2 double mutant cells, we show that a similar mechanism acts in mammalian cells. We conclude that cross-talk between VANG-1/Vangl and the canonical Wnt pathway is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism that ensures robust specification of Wnt signaling responses.

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<![CDATA[Stress-responsive and metabolic gene regulation are altered in low S-adenosylmethionine]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c08418ed5eed0c484fca068

S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) is a donor which provides the methyl groups for histone or nucleic acid modification and phosphatidylcholine production. SAM is hypothesized to link metabolism and chromatin modification, however, its role in acute gene regulation is poorly understood. We recently found that Caenorhabditis elegans with reduced SAM had deficiencies in H3K4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) at pathogen-response genes, decreasing their expression and limiting pathogen resistance. We hypothesized that SAM may be generally required for stress-responsive transcription. Here, using genetic assays, we show that transcriptional responses to bacterial or xenotoxic stress fail in C. elegans with low SAM, but that expression of heat shock genes are unaffected. We also found that two H3K4 methyltransferases, set-2/SET1 and set-16/MLL, had differential responses to survival during stress. set-2/SET1 is specifically required in bacterial responses, whereas set-16/MLL is universally required. These results define a role for SAM in the acute stress-responsive gene expression. Finally, we find that modification of metabolic gene expression correlates with enhanced survival during stress.

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<![CDATA[Function and regulation of the Caenorhabditis elegans Rab32 family member GLO-1 in lysosome-related organelle biogenesis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bf3295ed5eed0c4843beab4

Cell type-specific modifications of conventional endosomal trafficking pathways lead to the formation of lysosome-related organelles (LROs). C. elegans gut granules are intestinally restricted LROs that coexist with conventional degradative lysosomes. The formation of gut granules requires the Rab32 family member GLO-1. We show that the loss of glo-1 leads to the mistrafficking of gut granule proteins but does not significantly alter conventional endolysosome biogenesis. GLO-3 directly binds to CCZ-1 and they both function to promote the gut granule association of GLO-1, strongly suggesting that together, GLO-3 and CCZ-1 activate GLO-1. We found that a point mutation in GLO-1 predicted to spontaneously activate, and function independently of it guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF), localizes to gut granules and partially restores gut granule protein localization in ccz-1(-) and glo-3(-) mutants. CCZ-1 forms a heterodimeric complex with SAND-1(MON1), which does not function in gut granule formation, to activate RAB-7 in trafficking pathways to conventional lysosomes. Therefore, our data suggest a model whereby the function of a Rab GEF can be altered by subunit exchange. glo-3(-) mutants, which retain low levels of GLO-3 activity, generate gut granules that lack GLO-1 and improperly accumulate RAB-7 in a SAND-1 dependent process. We show that GLO-1 and GLO-3 restrict the distribution of RAB-7 to conventional endolysosomes, providing insights into the segregation of pathways leading to conventional lysosomes and LROs.

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<![CDATA[2,4-Diaminothieno[3,2-d]pyrimidines, a new class of anthelmintic with activity against adult and egg stages of whipworm]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b5fed7c463d7e1703b809c3

The human whipworm Trichuris trichiura is a parasite that infects around 500 million people globally, with consequences including damage to physical growth and educational performance. Current drugs such as mebendazole have a notable lack of efficacy against whipworm, compared to other soil-transmitted helminths. Mass drug administration programs are therefore unlikely to achieve eradication and new treatments for trichuriasis are desperately needed. All current drug control strategies focus on post-infection eradication, targeting the parasite in vivo. Here we propose developing novel anthelmintics which target the egg stage of the parasite in the soil as an adjunct environmental strategy. As evidence in support of such an approach we describe the actions of a new class of anthelmintic compounds, the 2,4-diaminothieno[3,2-d]pyrimidines (DATPs). This compound class has found broad utility in medicinal chemistry, but has not previously been described as having anthelmintic activity. Importantly, these compounds show efficacy against not only the adult parasite, but also both the embryonated and unembryonated egg stages and thereby may enable a break in the parasite lifecycle.

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<![CDATA[The importance of mechanical constraints for proper polarization and psuedo-cleavage furrow generation in the early Caenorhabditis elegans embryo]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b4f2cd2463d7e25bffba872

Intracellular polarization, where a cell specifies a spatial axis by segregation of specific factors, is a fundamental biological process. In the early embryo of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), polarization is often accompanied by deformations of the cortex, a highly contractile structure consisting of actin filaments cross-linked by the motor protein myosin (actomyosin). It has been suggested that the eggshell surrounding the early embryo plays a role in polarization although its function is not understood. Here we develop a mathematical model which couples a reaction-diffusion model of actomyosin dynamics with a phase field model of the cell cortex to implicitly track cell shape changes in the early C. elegans embryo. We investigate the potential rigidity effect of the geometric constraint imposed by the presence and size of the eggshell on polarization dynamics. Our model suggests that the geometric constraint of the eggshell is essential for proper polarization and the size of the eggshell also affects the dynamics of polarization. Therefore, we conclude that geometric constraint on a cell might affect the dynamics of a biochemical process.

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<![CDATA[The long and short of lifespan regulation by Argonautes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b49cac9463d7e33e4eac05c ]]> <![CDATA[A sensory-motor neuron type mediates proprioceptive coordination of steering in C. elegans via two TRPC channels]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b28b93c463d7e146ff345d4

Animal locomotion is mediated by a sensory system referred to as proprioception. Defects in the proprioceptive coordination of locomotion result in uncontrolled and inefficient movements. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying proprioception are not fully understood. Here, we identify two transient receptor potential cation (TRPC) channels, trp-1 and trp-2, as necessary and sufficient for proprioceptive responses in C. elegans head steering locomotion. Both channels are expressed in the SMDD neurons, which are required and sufficient for head bending, and mediate coordinated head steering by sensing mechanical stretches due to the contraction of head muscle and orchestrating dorsal head muscle contractions. Moreover, the SMDD neurons play dual roles to sense muscle stretch as well as to control muscle contractions. These results demonstrate that distinct locomotion patterns require dynamic and homeostatic modulation of feedback signals between neurons and muscles.

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