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WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology

David J Reiner, Erik A Lundquist
Members of the protein superfamily of small guanosine triphosphatases, also known as small GTPases, small G-proteins, or the Ras superfamily, are involved in nearly every aspect of cell biology. Small GTPases are tightly regulated molecular switches that make binary on/off decisions through controlled loading of GTP (activation) and hydrolysis of GTP to GDP (inactivation). Small GTPases typically function as nodal points that integrate broad upstream regulatory inputs and disseminate broad effector outputs...
August 16, 2018: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Dennis H Kim, Jonathan J Ewbank
The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans relies on its innate immune defenses to counter infection. In this review, we focus on its response to infection by bacterial and fungal pathogens. We describe the different families of effector proteins that contribute to host defense, as well as the signal transduction pathways that regulate their expression. We discuss what is known of the activation of innate immunity in C. elegans, via pathogen recognition or sensing the damage provoked by infection. Damage causes a stress response; we review the role of stress signaling in host defense to infection...
August 14, 2018: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Xantha Karp
Dauer diapause is a stress-resistant, developmentally quiescent, and long-lived larval stage adopted by Caenorhabditis elegans when conditions are unfavorable for growth and reproduction. This chapter contains methods to induce dauer larva formation, to isolate dauer larvae, and to study pre- and post-dauer stages.
August 9, 2018: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Mary Ann Tuli, Aric Daul, Tim Schedl
Genetic nomenclature for Caenorhabditis species and other nematodes is supervised by WormBase in collaboration with the Caenorhabditis Genetics Center (CGC) and with essential input from the community of scientists working on C. elegans and other nematodes.
August 8, 2018: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Daryl D Hurd
The C. elegans tubulin family is composed of nine α-, six β-, and one γ-tubulin. Tubulins are highly conserved, functioning as α-β heterodimers that assemble into microtubules. These cylindrical and ubiquitous components of the cytoskeleton are critical for nearly all cellular and developmental processes. C. elegans has provided a model for the study of microtubules in multiple settings including separation of chromosomes, cellular polarity, and neuronal sensation. Tubulins and microtubules interact with a long list of other cellular proteins that regulate tubulin homeostasis, modify microtubule dynamics, and control incorporation into or disassociation of higher-order cellular structures such as spindles or ciliary axonemes...
August 4, 2018: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Kathryn K Stein, Andy Golden
In all animals, oocytes are surrounded by an extracellular matrix upon fertilization. This matrix serves similar purposes in each animal. It functions to mediate sperm binding, to prevent polyspermy, to control the chemical environment of the embryo, and to provide physical protection to the embryo as it developes. The synthesis of the C. elegans matrix, or eggshell, begins when the oocyte enters the spermatheca and is fertilized by a single sperm. The process of eggshell synthesis is thought to take place during the completion of the maternal meiotic divisions such that the multi-layered eggshell is completed by anaphase II...
August 2, 2018: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Victor Marc Nigon, Marie-Anne Félix
The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is now a major model organism in biology. The choice of Sydney Brenner to adopt this species in the mid-1960s and the success of his team in raising it to a model organism status have been told (; Brenner, 2001; Ankeny, 2001). Here we review the pre-Brenner history of the use of free-living nematodes as models for general questions in biology. We focus on the period that started in 1899 with the first publication of Emile Maupas mentioning Rhabditis elegans and ended in 1974 with the first publications by Brenner...
September 7, 2017: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Kenneth J Hillers, Verena Jantsch, Enrique Martinez-Perez, Judith L Yanowitz
Sexual reproduction requires the production of haploid gametes (sperm and egg) with only one copy of each chromosome; fertilization then restores the diploid chromosome content in the next generation. This reduction in genetic content is accomplished during a specialized cell division called meiosis, in which two rounds of chromosome segregation follow a single round of DNA replication. In preparation for the first meiotic division, homologous chromosomes pair and synapse, creating a context that promotes formation of crossover recombination events...
May 4, 2017: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Kathrin Gieseler, Hiroshi Qadota, Guy M Benian
In C. elegans, mutants that are defective in muscle function and/or structure are easy to detect and analyze since: 1) body wall muscle is essential for locomotion, and 2) muscle structure can be assessed by multiple methods including polarized light, electron microscopy (EM), Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) tagged proteins, and immunofluorescence microscopy. The overall structure of the sarcomere, the fundamental unit of contraction, is conserved from C. elegans to man, and the molecules involved in sarcomere assembly, maintenance, and regulation of muscle contraction are also largely conserved...
April 13, 2017: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Michael R Koelle
Neurotransmitters signal via G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) to modulate activity of neurons and muscles. C. elegans has ~150 G protein coupled neuropeptide receptor homologs and 28 additional GPCRs for small-molecule neurotransmitters. Genetic studies in C. elegans demonstrate that neurotransmitters diffuse far from their release sites to activate GPCRs on distant cells. Individual receptor types are expressed on limited numbers of cells and thus can provide very specific regulation of an individual neural circuit and behavior...
March 3, 2016: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Mark E Viney, James B Lok
Strongyloides is a genus of parasitic nematodes that, unusually, has a free-living adult generation. Here we introduce the biology of this genus, especially the fascinating but complex life-cycle, together with an overview of the taxonomy, morphology, genetics, and genomics of this genus.
July 16, 2015: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Ann K Corsi, Bruce Wightman, Martin Chalfie
A little over 50 years ago, Sydney Brenner had the foresight to develop the nematode (round worm) Caenorhabditis elegans as a genetic model for understanding questions of developmental biology and neurobiology. Over time, research on C. elegans has expanded to explore a wealth of diverse areas in modern biology including studies of the basic functions and interactions of eukaryotic cells, host-parasite interactions, and evolution. C. elegans has also become an important organism in which to study processes that go awry in human diseases...
June 18, 2015: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Adam Antebi
Nuclear receptors are transcription factors that often respond to small molecule metabolites and fat-soluble compounds to regulate gene expression. They broadly govern development, reproduction, metabolism, and homeostasis in diverse metazoan species and their dysregulation is associated with numerous diseases. Work in C. elegans has shed light on the seminal role of nuclear receptors in life history regulation, stem cell progression, developmental timing, cell fate specification, nutrient sensing, metabolism, and longevity...
June 9, 2015: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Thomas Blumenthal, Paul Davis, Alfonso Garrido-Lecca
Nearly 15% of the ~20,000 C. elegans genes are contained in operons, multigene clusters controlled by a single promoter. The vast majority of these are of a type where the genes in the cluster are ~100 bp apart and the pre-mRNA is processed by 3' end formation accompanied by trans-splicing. A spliced leader, SL2, is specialized for operon processing. Here we summarize current knowledge on several variations on this theme including: (1) hybrid operons, which have additional promoters between genes; (2) operons with exceptionally long (> 1 kb) intercistronic regions; (3) operons with a second 3' end formation site close to the trans-splice site; (4) alternative operons, in which the exons are sometimes spliced as a single gene and sometimes as two genes; (5) SL1-type operons, which use SL1 instead of SL2 to trans-splice and in which there is no intercistronic space; (6) operons that make dicistronic mRNAs; and (7) non-operon gene clusters, in which either two genes use a single exon as the 3' end of one and the 5' end of the next, or the 3' UTR of one gene serves as the outron of the next...
2015: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Keith Nehrke
The facilitated movement of ions across cell membranes can be characterized as occurring through active (ATP-dependent), secondary active (coupled), or passive transport processes. Each of these processes is mediated by a diverse group of membrane proteins. Over the past fifteen years, studies of membrane transport in C. elegans have benefited from the fact that worms are anatomically simple, easily and economically cultured, and genetically tractable. These experimental advantages have been instrumental in defining how membrane transport processes contribute to whole organism physiology...
December 23, 2014: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Lindy Holden-Dye, Robert J Walker
Parasitic nematodes infect many species of animals throughout the phyla, including humans. Moreover, nematodes that parasitise plants are a global problem for agriculture. As such, these nematodes place a major burden on human health, on livestock production, on the welfare of companion animals and on crop production. In the 21st century there are two major challenges posed by the wide-spread prevalence of parasitic nematodes. First, many anthelmintic drugs are losing their effectiveness because nematode strains with resistance are emerging...
December 16, 2014: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Ann Rose
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 4, 2014: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Gabriella Pásti, Michel Labouesse
A distinctive feature of polarized epithelial cells is their specialized junctions, which contribute to cell integrity and provide platforms to orchestrate cell shape changes. This chapter discusses the composition, assembly and remodeling of C. elegans cell-cell (CeAJ) and hemidesmosome-like cell-extracellular matrix junctions (CeHD), proteins that anchor the cytoskeleton, and mechanisms involved in establishing epithelial polarity. Major recent progress in this area has come from the analysis of mechanisms that maintain cell polarity, which involve lipids and trafficking, and on the impact of mechanical forces on junction remodeling...
November 4, 2014: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
John Spieth, Daniel Lawson, Paul Davis, Gary Williams, Kevin Howe
In the early stage of the C. elegans sequencing project, the ab initio gene prediction program Genefinder was used to find protein-coding genes. Subsequently, protein-coding genes structures have been actively curated by WormBase using evidence from all available data sources. Most coding loci were identified by the Genefinder program, but the process of gene curation results in a continual refinement of the details of gene structure, involving the correction and confirmation of intron splice sites, the addition of alternate splicing forms, the merging and splitting of incorrect predictions, and the creation and extension of 5' and 3' ends...
October 29, 2014: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
Martin Chalfie, Anne C Hart, Catharine H Rankin, Miriam B Goodman
C. elegans detect and respond to diverse mechanical stimuli using neuronal circuitry that has been defined by decades of work by C. elegans researchers. In this WormMethods chapter, we review and comment on the techniques currently used to assess mechanosensory response. This methods review is intended both as an introduction for those new to the field and a convenient compendium for the expert. A brief discussion of commonly used mechanosensory assays is provided, along with a discussion of the neural circuits involved, consideration of critical protocol details, and references to the primary literature...
July 31, 2014: WormBook: the Online Review of C. Elegans Biology
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