Reduction in ovulation or male sex phenotype increases long-term anoxia survival in a daf-16-independent manner in Caenorhabditis elegans

Physiol Genomics. 2009 Feb 2;36(3):167-78. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.90278.2008. Epub 2008 Dec 2.


Identifying genotypes and phenotypes that enhance an organism's ability to survive stress is of interest. We used Caenorhabditis elegans mutants, RNA interference (RNAi), and the chemical 5-fluorodeoxyuridine (FUDR) to test the hypothesis that a reduction in progeny would increase oxygen deprivation (anoxia) survival. In the hermaphrodite gonad, germ line processes such as spermatogenesis and oogenesis can be simultaneously as well as independently disrupted by genetic mutations. We analyzed genetic mutants [glp-1(q158), glp-4(bn2ts), plc-1(rx1), ksr-1(ku68), fog-2(q71), fem-3(q20), spe-9(hc52ts), fer-15(hc15ts)] with reduced progeny production due to various reproductive defects. Furthermore, we used RNAi to inhibit the function of gene products in the RTK/Ras/MAPK signaling pathway, which is known to be involved in a variety of developmental processes including gonad function. We determined that reduced progeny production or complete sterility enhanced anoxia survival except in the case of sterile hermaphrodites [spe-9(hc52ts), fer-15(hc15ts)] undergoing oocyte maturation and ovulation as exhibited by the presence of laid unfertilized oocytes. Furthermore, the fog-2(q71) long-term anoxia survival phenotype was suppressed when oocyte maturation and ovulation were induced by mating with males that have functional or nonfunctional sperm. The mutants with a reduced progeny production survive long-term anoxia in a daf-16- and hif-1-independent manner. Finally, we determined that wild-type males were able to survive long-term anoxia in a daf-16-independent manner. Together, these results suggest that the insulin signaling pathway is not the only mechanism to survive oxygen deprivation and that altering gonad function, in particular oocyte maturation and ovulation, leads to a physiological state conducive for oxygen deprivation survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology*
  • Female
  • Floxuridine / pharmacology
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Ovulation / physiology*
  • Phenotype
  • RNA Interference
  • Reproduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors
  • daf-16 protein, C elegans
  • Floxuridine