Chemical detoxification of small molecules by Caenorhabditis elegans

ACS Chem Biol. 2013 Feb 15;8(2):309-13. doi: 10.1021/cb300520u. Epub 2012 Nov 26.


Caenorhabditis elegans lives in compost and decaying fruit, eats bacteria and is exposed to pathogenic microbes. We show that C. elegans is able to modify diverse microbial small-molecule toxins via both O- and N-glucosylation as well as unusual 3'-O-phosphorylation of the resulting glucosides. The resulting glucosylated derivatives have significantly reduced toxicity to C. elegans, suggesting that these chemical modifications represent a general mechanism for worms to detoxify their environments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Molecular Structure
  • Phenazines / metabolism*
  • Phenazines / pharmacology
  • Phenazines / toxicity*
  • Small Molecule Libraries / chemistry
  • Small Molecule Libraries / metabolism
  • Small Molecule Libraries / pharmacology
  • Small Molecule Libraries / toxicity
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Phenazines
  • Small Molecule Libraries