Hepatitis D Antigens Cause Growth Retardation and Brood-Size Reduction in C. Elegans

Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2011 Jan 1;3:380-90. doi: 10.2741/e253.


Caenorhabditis elegans is a model organism that has been used to study human bacterial and viral pathogenesis. We report here the expression of human hepatitis delta viral antigens (HDAg) in C. elegans and measure the effect on the sterility, growth, and brood size in transgenic worms. Expression of HDAg under two different promoters, fib-1 (a ubiquitous promoter) and myo-2 (a pharynx-specific promoter), was achieved in C. elegans using dicistronic or tricistronic vectors derived from the operon CEOP5428. Transgenic worms expressing HDAg ubiquitously resulted in 20% to 70% sterility while those expressing HDAg in the pharynx displayed 70% sterility. Most of worms expressing HDAg in pharynx were arrested at larvae stage 2 or 3 and displayed a 70% reduction in brood size. Domain mapping experiments suggested that the nuclear localization signal of HDAg is required for the observed effect. Heat-shock induction of HDAg expression revealed that L4 larvae were the most sensitive to brood size reduction. These studies demonstrate that C. elegans can provide an additional model for studying HDAg interactions with host targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / growth & development*
  • Clutch Size / genetics
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • Fertility / genetics
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Hepatitis delta Antigens / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Microinjections
  • Microscopy
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • RNA Interference
  • Reproduction / genetics*


  • DNA Primers
  • Hepatitis delta Antigens