To study the mutualism between Xenorhabdus bacteria and Steinernema nematodes, methods were developed to monitor bacterial presence and location within nematodes. The experimental approach, which can be applied to other systems, entails engineering bacteria to express the green fluorescent protein and visualizing, using fluorescence microscopy bacteria within the transparent nematode.
Microscopic organisms like the free-swimming nematode C. elegans, live and behave in a complex three-dimensional environment. We report on a novel approach that provides analysis of C. elegans using diffraction patterns. This approach consists of tracking the temporal periodicity of diffraction patterns generated by directing laser light through a cuvette.
Two distinct methods to screen plants with root-knot nematodes are described. The described approaches include high-throughput screens with nematodes in a nondestructive manner facilitating the use of these plants in breeding programs.
In this article we present a general protocol for measuring life span of nematodes maintained on solid media with UV-killed bacterial food.
Screening for mutants with phenotypic defects is a straightforward method for identifying genes that function in a given biological process. In this article we describe how to culture free living worms (e.g., Pristionchus pacificus) in the laboratory and show two different mutagenesis methods, EMS and TMP/UV.
Microarray analysis was conducted to determine genetic expression profiles in C. elegans, and real-time PCR was used to validate and quantify microarray data.
Trichuris muris infection is an intestinal model of Th2 immunity where resistant mice generate a protective Th2 response and susceptible mice generate a pathological Th1 response.
Here are some highlights from the March 2012 Issue of Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).
Microfluidic-based Electrotaxis for On-demand Quantitative Analysis of Caenorhabditis elegans' Locomotion
A semi-automated micro-electro-fluidic method to induce on-demand locomotion in Caenorhabditis elegans is described. This method is based on the neurophysiologic phenomenon of worms responding to mild electric fields (“electrotaxis”) inside microfluidic channels. Microfluidic electrotaxis serves as a rapid, sensitive, low-cost, and scalable technique to screen for factors affecting neuronal health.
Stable Isotopic Profiling of Intermediary Metabolic Flux in Developing and Adult Stage Caenorhabditis elegans
Stable isotopic profiling by gas chromatography mass spectrometric analysis of intermediary metabolic flux is described in the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. Methods are detailed for assessing isotopic enrichment in carbon dioxide, organic acids, and amino acids following isotope exposure either during development on agar plates or during adulthood in liquid culture.
We describe a sensitized method to identify postembryonic regulators of protein expression and localization in C. elegans using an RNAi-based genomic screen and an integrated transgene that expresses a functional, fluorescently tagged protein.
We present a method to visualize cuticle in live C. elegans using the red fluorescent lipophilic dye DiI (1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate), which is commonly used in C. elegans to visualize environmentally exposed neurons. With this optimized protocol, alae and annular cuticular structures are stained by DiI and observed using compound microscopy.
RNAi Mediated Gene Knockdown and Transgenesis by Microinjection in the Necromenic Nematode Pristionchus pacificus
In model organisms, transgenesis can manipulate gene functions while RNAi can knockdown specific mRNA transcripts 1-2. This protocol aims to illustrate the techniques needed to introduce stably transmitted DNA and transient double stranded RNA into the necromenic nematode Pristionchus pacificus for studies in evolutionary, developmental, and behavioral biology.
Osmotic Avoidance in Caenorhabditis elegans: Synaptic Function of Two Genes, Orthologues of Human NRXN1 and NLGN1, as Candidates for Autism
Neurexins and neuroligins are membrane-neuron adhesion proteins which perform essential roles in synaptic differentiation and transmission. Neuroligin deficient mutants of C. elegans are defective in detecting osmotic strength, but when they also contain a mutation in the gene coding neurexin, they recover the wild type phenotype.
The method described here utilizes direct injection of entomopathogenic bacteria into the hemocoel of Manduca sexta insect larvae. M. sexta is a commercially available and well-studied insect. Thus, this method represents a simple approach to analyzing host-bacterial interactions from the perspective of one or both partners.
This article describes a technique for the visualization of the early events of embryogenesis in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.
A procedure for liquid-based culturing and dispensing of C. elegans strains expressing fluorescent reporter proteins is described that does not require expensive sorting equipment. This approach can be applied to numerous inducible C. elegans genes for drug discovery or biosensing of contaminants.
Application of a C. elegans Dopamine Neuron Degeneration Assay for the Validation of Potential Parkinson's Disease Genes
This video demonstrates how to use C. elegans to assess dopaminergic neuron neurodegeneration as a model for Parkinson's disease. Furthermore, genetic screens are used to identify factors that either enhance degeneration or are neuroprotective.
Described here is an in vivo technique to image sub-cellular structures in animals exposed to anoxia using a gas flow through microincubation chamber in conjunction with a spinning disc confocal microscope. This method is straightforward and flexible enough to suit a variety of experimental parameters and model systems.
Chronic infection with soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) causes malabsorption, stunting, and wasting in the growing child. Hence, it is plausible that these infections also reduce the physical fitness of children. Here, we visualize two techniques for the diagnosis of STHs and the 20-meter shuttle run test for assessing children's physical fitness.
Lensfree On-chip Tomographic Microscopy Employing Multi-angle Illumination and Pixel Super-resolution
1Electrical Engineering Department, University of California, Los Angeles, 2Bioengineering Department, University of California, Los Angeles, 3California NanoSystems Institute, University of California, Los Angeles
Lensfree optical tomography is a three-dimensional microscopy technique that offers a spatial resolution of <1 μm × <1 μm × <3 μm in x, y and z dimensions, respectively, over a large imaging-volume of 15-100 mm3, which can be particularly useful for integration with lab-on-a-chip platforms.
When working with media and reagents used to culture microorganisms, aseptic technique must be practiced to ensure contamination is minimized. A variety of plating methods are routinely used to isolate, propagate, or enumerate bacteria and phage, all of which incorporate procedures that maintain the sterility of experimental materials.
Insect hemocytes carry out many important functions, both immune and non-immune, throughout all stages of insect development. Our present knowledge of hemocyte types and function comes from studies on insect genetic models. Here, we present a method for extracting, quantifying and visualizing hemocytes from wild caterpillars.
We have developed a video-rate tracking microscope system that can record and quantify C. elegans behavior at high resolution and high speeds. We have also developed computational methods to reduce the dimensionality of the worm images to a fundamental set of measurements that completely describe the shape of the worm.
Temporal and spatial gene expression analyses have a crucial role in functional genomics. Whole-mount hybridization in situ is useful for determining the localization of transcripts within tissues and subcellular compartments. Here we outline a hybridization in situ protocol with modifications for specific target tissues in mosquitoes.
We describe methods to study aspects of amylopathies in the worm C. elegans. We show how to construct worms expressing human Aβ42 in neurons and how to test their function in behavioral assays. We further show how to obtain primary neuronal cultures that can be used for pharmacological testing.
Oral and intra haemocolic infection of larvae of the greater wax moth Galleria mellonella is described. This insect can be used to study virulence factors of entomopathogenic as well as mammalian opportunistic bacteria. Rearing of the insects, methods of infection and examples of in vivo analysis are described.
1Entomology, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Cali, Colombia, 2Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland, USA
This protocol demonstrates two inoculation methods to introduce the fungal entomopathogen Beauveria bassiana as an endophyte in the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), in preparation for subsequent evaluations of endophytic biological control.
We describe a method to separate organelles by density in living Drosophila embryos. Embryos are embedded in agar and centrifuged. This technique yields reproducible separation of major organelles along the anterior-posterior embryo axis. This method facilitates colocalization experiments and yields organelle fractions for biochemical analysis and transplantation experiments.
A protocol for isolating and activating spermatids from male C. elegans is described here. Cutting the posterior end of male releases spermatids. The spermatids can be activated by addition of protease.
The easiness of maintaining and propagating the nematode C. elegans make it a nice model organism to work with. The possibility of synchronizing worms allows the work with a significant amount of subjects at the same developmental stage, what facilitates the study of one particular process in many animals.
Here we describe methods to test C. elegans associative learning and short- and long-term associative memory. These population assays employ the worms abilities to chemotax toward volatile odorants, and form positive associations upon pairing food with the chemoattractant butanone. Increasing the number of conditioning periods induces long-term memory.
The intensely studied nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans can be transgenically engineered to express the human β-amyloid peptide (Aβ). Induced expression of Aβ in C. elegans muscle leads to a rapid, reproducible paralysis phenotype that can be used to monitor treatments that modulate Aβ toxicity.
Transgenic worms are commonly used in C. elegans research. Described is a simple, yet effective, protocol to introduce transgenes into worms using biolistic bombardment with DNA-coated gold particles. The effort involved and results of bombardment compare favorably with microinjection for the generation of transgenic animals.
Here are some highlights from the August 2011 Issue of Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).
Here we present a protocol for performing solid plate-based dietary restriction in C. elegans with killed bacteria.
We describe a protocol using C. elegans and RNAi feeding libraries that allows automated measurement of multiple parameters such as fluorescence, size and opacity of individual worms in a population. We give one example of a screen to identify genes involved in anti-fungal innate immunity in C. elegans.
In this protocol we present a method to measure Caenorhabditis elegans lifespan in 96 well microtiter plates.
This paper details how to use continuous-flow hypoxia chambers to generate atmospheres with defined concentrations of O2 to understand biological responses to decreased O2. This system is easy to setup and maintain, and flexible enough to suit a wide range of O2 concentrations and model systems
1Center for Human Genetic Research and Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 2Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
We present robust biochemical and microscopic methods for studying Caenorhabditis elegans lipid stores. A rapid, simple, fixing-staining procedure for fluorescent lipid droplet imaging leverages the spectral properties of the lipophilic dye Nile red. We then present biochemical measurement of triglycerides and phospholipids using solid phase extraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.
Using RNA-mediated Interference Feeding Strategy to Screen for Genes Involved in Body Size Regulation in the Nematode C. elegans
1Department of Science, Borough of Manhattan Community College, City Universtiy of New York (CUNY), 2Department of Biology, Queens College, The City University of New York (CUNY), 3Biochemistry Program, The Graduate Center, Queens College, The City University of New York (CUNY)
We demonstrate how to use the RNAi feeding technique to knock down target genes and score body size phenotype in C. elegans. This method could be used for a large scale screen to identify potential genetic components of interest, such as those involved in body size regulation by DBL-1/TGF-β signaling.
A method of quantitatively evaluating the chemotactic response of Caenorhabditis elegans is described. A chemotactic index (CI) was employed as a way to precisely evaluate the response of worms to certain targets, and serve as a platform of comparison between strains and compounds of interest.
This video demonstrates how to employ two neural stimulants, aldicarb and pentylenetetrazole (PTZ), in complementary ways to study synaptic function in the nematode, C. elegans. This complementary approach may also be used to shed light on evolutionarily conserved mechanisms for modulating neuronal synchrony and has implications for epilepsy and seizures.
Differential Imaging of Biological Structures with Doubly-resonant Coherent Anti-stokes Raman Scattering (CARS)
A combination of three single wavelength short-pulsed lasers is used to generate coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) and doubly-resonant CARS (DR-CARS). The difference between these signals provides enhanced sensitivity for otherwise difficult to detect coherent Raman signals, enabling imaging of weak Raman scatterers.
1Department of Biological Sciences and Institute for Neuroscience, George Washington University, 2Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 3Department of Cell and Tissue Biology, University of California San Francisco
Here we describe a molecular readout of long-term olfactory adaptation in Caenorhabditis elegans. The Protein Kinase G, EGL-4, is necessary for stable adaptation responses in the primary sensory neuron pair called AWC. During prolonged odor exposure EGL-4 translocates from the cytosol to nucleus of the AWC.
A vertical, T-maze olfactometer is described for assaying the behavioral response of arthropods. The olfactometer allows the experimenter to measure choices performed by test subjects when subjected to two potential odor fields. Both attraction to and repulsion from odorants can be measured with this device.
Long-term, High-resolution Confocal Time Lapse Imaging of Arabidopsis Cotyledon Epidermis during Germination
We describe a protocol using chamber slides and media to immobilize plant cotyledons for confocal imaging of the epidermis over several days of development, documenting stomatal differentiation. Fluorophore-tagged proteins can be tracked dynamically by expression and subcellular localization, increasing understanding of their possible roles during cell division and cell-type differentiation.
A protocol to cut neurons in C. elegans with a MicroPoint pulsed laser is presented. We describe setting up the system, immobilizing worms, and severing labeled neurons. Advantages include a relatively low-cost system and the ability to sever neuronal processes or ablate cells in vivo.
With its small transparent body, well-documented neuroanatomy and a host of amenable genetic techniques and reagents, C. elegans makes an ideal model organism for in vivo neuronal imaging using relatively simple, low-cost techniques. Here we describe single neuron imaging within intact adult animals using genetically encoded fluorescent calcium indicators.
The C. elegans embryo is a powerful system for studying cell biology and development. We present a protocol for live imaging of C. elegans embryos utilizing DIC optics or fluorescence using readily available epifluorescent microscopes and open-source software.