Direct observation of stress response in Caenorhabditis elegans using a reporter transgene

Cell Stress Chaperones. 1999 Dec;4(4):235-42. doi: 10.1379/1466-1268(1999)004<0235:doosri>;2.


Transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans expressing jellyfish Green Fluorescent Protein under the control of the promoter for the inducible small heat shock protein gene hsp-16-2 have been constructed. Transgene expression parallels that of the endogenous hsp-16 gene, and, therefore, allows direct visualization, localization, and quantitation of hsp-16 expression in living animals. In addition to the expected upregulation by heat shock, we show that a variety of stresses, including exposure to superoxide-generating redox-cycling quinones and the expression of the human beta amyloid peptide, specifically induce the reporter transgene. The quinone induction is suppressed by coincubation with L-ascorbate. The ability to directly observe the stress response in living animals significantly simplifies the identification of both exogenous treatments and genetic alterations that modulate stress response, and possibly life span, in C. elegans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Nematoda
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*


  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins