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Gene expression changes of Caenorhabditis elegans larvae during molting and sleep-like lethargus.

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Turek,  M.
Research Group of Sleep and Waking, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Bringmann,  H.
Research Group of Sleep and Waking, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Turek, M., & Bringmann, H. (2014). Gene expression changes of Caenorhabditis elegans larvae during molting and sleep-like lethargus. PLoS One, 9(11): e113269. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113269.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-4352-6
Abstract
During their development, Caenorhabditis elegans larvae go through four developmental stages. At the end of each larval stage, nematodes molt. They synthesize a new cuticle and shed the old cuticle. During the molt, larvae display a sleep-like behavior that is called lethargus. We wanted to determine how gene expression changes during the C. elegans molting cycle. We performed transcriptional profiling of C. elegans by selecting larvae displaying either sleep-like behavior during the molt or wake behavior during the intermolt to identify genes that oscillate with the molting-cycle. We found that expression changed during the molt and we identified 520 genes that oscillated with the molting cycle. 138 of these genes were not previously reported to oscillate. The majority of genes that had oscillating expression levels appear to be involved in molting, indicating that the majority of transcriptional changes serve to resynthesize the cuticle. Identification of genes that control sleep-like behavior during lethargus is difficult but may be possible by looking at genes that are expressed in neurons. 22 of the oscillating genes were expressed in neurons. One of these genes, the dopamine transporter gene dat-1, was previously shown in mammals and in C. elegans to control sleep. Taken together, we provide a dataset of genes that oscillate with the molting and sleep-wake cycle, which will be useful to investigate molting and possibly also sleep-like behavior during lethargus.