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Quantitative imaging of Caenorhabditis elegans dauer larvae during cryptobiotic transition using optical diffraction tomography

MPS-Authors
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Kim,  Kyoohyun
Guck Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;
Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;
Technische Universität Dresden;

Gade,  Vamshidhar
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;
ETH Zürich;

Kurzchalia,  Teymuras V.
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons241284

Guck,  Jochen
Guck Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;
Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;
Technische Universität Dresden;

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bioRxiv 2021 Kim.pdf
(Preprint), 3MB

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Citation

Kim, K., Gade, V., Kurzchalia, T. V., & Guck, J. (2021). Quantitative imaging of Caenorhabditis elegans dauer larvae during cryptobiotic transition using optical diffraction tomography. bioRxiv:10.1101/2021.04.26.441445.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-6EC9-B
Abstract
Upon starvation or overcrowding, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans enters diapause by forming a dauer larva. This larva can further transit into an anhydrobiotic state and survive harsh desiccation. We previously identified the genetic and biochemical pathways essential for survival — but without an accompanying physical model, the mechanistic understanding of this amazing phenomenon will remain inadequate. Neither microscopic investigation of structural changes upon entry into anhydrobiosis nor the most basic quantitative characterization of material properties of living desiccated larvae, however, have been feasible, due to lack of appropriate techniques. Here, we employed optical diffraction tomography (ODT) to quantitatively assess the internal mass density distribution of living larvae in the reproductive and diapause stages. More importantly, ODT allowed for the first time physical analysis of desiccated dauer larvae: their mass density was significantly increased in the anhydrobiotic state. We also applied ODT on different mutants that are sensitive to desiccation. Remarkably, one of them displayed structural abnormalities in the anhydrobiotic stage that could not be observed either by conventional light or electron microscopy. Our advance opens a door to quantitatively assessing fine differences in material properties and structure necessary to fully understanding an organism on the verge of life and death.