Abstracts are provided in the language submitted.
The nematode C. elegans is a leading model to investigate the mechanisms of stress-induced behavioral changes coupled with biochemical mechanisms. Our group has previously characterized C. elegans behavior using a microfluidic-based electrotaxis device and showed that worms display directional motion in the presence of a mild electric field. In this study, we describe the effects of various forms of genetic and environmental stress on the electrotactic movement of animals. Using exposure to chemicals, such as paraquat and tunicamycin, as well as mitochondrial and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) unfolded protein response (UPR) mutants, we demonstrate that chronic stress causes abnormal movement. Furthermore, exposure of C. elegans to several environmental stress-inducing conditions revealed that while chronic heat and dietary restriction caused electrotaxis speed deficits due to prolonged stress, daily exercise had a beneficial effect on the animals, likely due to improved muscle health and transient activation of UPR. Overall, these data demonstrate that the electrotaxis behavior of worms is susceptible to cytosolic, mitochondrial, and ER stress, and that multiple stress response pathways contribute to its preservation in the face of stressful stimuli.
Shane Taylor