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Survival Assays Using Caenorhabditis elegans


Survival Assays Using Caenorhabditis elegans

Hae-Eun H Park et al. Mol Cells.


Caenorhabditis elegans is an important model organism with many useful features, including rapid development and aging, easy cultivation, and genetic tractability. Survival assays using C. elegans are powerful methods for studying physiological processes. In this review, we describe diverse types of C. elegans survival assays and discuss the aims, uses, and advantages of specific assays. C. elegans survival assays have played key roles in identifying novel genetic factors that regulate many aspects of animal physiology, such as aging and lifespan, stress response, and immunity against pathogens. Because many genetic factors discovered using C. elegans are evolutionarily conserved, survival assays can provide insights into mechanisms underlying physiological processes in mammals, including humans.

Keywords: C. elegans; aging; immunity; lifespan; pathogen; stress; survival.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1. Lifespan assays
Lifespan assays are either performed with solid or liquid media. Solid culture systems using agar-based media are a major method for lifespan assays. Liquid culture systems using S-media are widely used for testing the effects of chemicals on lifespan. Synchronized worms at a specific developmental stage are transferred for manual or automatic counting, and results are then analyzed using various statistical tools.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2. Abiotic stress resistance assays
C. elegans survival assays that measure resistance against various abiotic stresses, such as oxidative stress, heat, cold, osmotic stress, hypoxia, hyperoxia, ultraviolet radiation, endoplasmic reticulum stress, and heavy metal stress, contribute to the investigation of C. elegans responses to internal or external stresses. Shown are various stress-inducing agents with typical assay conditions.
Fig. 3
Fig. 3. C. elegans pathogen resistance assays
Shown are representative pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and parasites used for C. elegans pathogen resistance assays. Specific assays using P. aeruginosa (PA14), the most popular model pathogen for C. elegans, are depicted briefly; slow-killing assays that use small-lawn or big-lawn assays and fast-killing assays are shown.

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