Identification of stress-responsive genes in Caenorhabditis elegans using RT-PCR differential display

Nucleic Acids Res. 1998 Apr 1;26(7):1621-7. doi: 10.1093/nar/26.7.1621.


In order to identify genes that are differentially expressed as a consequence of oxidative stress due to paraquat we used the differential display technique to compare mRNA expression patterns in Caenorhabditis elegans . A C.elegans mixed stage worm population and a homogeneous larval population were treated with 100 mM paraquat, in parallel with controls. Induction of four cDNA fragments, designated L-1, M-47, M-96 and M-132, was confirmed by Northern blot analysis with RNA from stressed and unstressed worm populations. A 40-fold increase in the steady-state mRNA level in the larval population was observed for the L-1/M-47 gene, which encodes the detoxification enzyme glutathione S-transferase. A potential stress-responsive transcription factor (M-132) with C2H2-type zinc finger motifs and an N-terminal leucine zipper domain was identified. The M-96 gene encodes a novel stress-responsive protein. Since paraquat is known to generate superoxide radicals in vivo , the response of the C.elegans superoxide dismutase (SOD) genes to paraquat was also investigated in this study. The steady-state mRNA levels of the manganese-type and the copper/zinc-type SODs increased 2-fold in the larval population in response to paraquat, whereas mixed stage populations did not show any apparent increase in the levels of these SOD mRNAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / drug effects
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Genes, Helminth*
  • Glutathione Transferase / biosynthesis
  • Larva
  • Leucine Zippers
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Paraquat / pharmacology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • RNA, Helminth / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis*
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Superoxide Dismutase / biosynthesis
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Zinc Fingers


  • DNA, Complementary
  • RNA, Helminth
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factors
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • Paraquat

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF008590
  • GENBANK/AF009907
  • GENBANK/AF010239