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C. elegans Heavy Metal Model Service

With the development of human production activities, industrial and agricultural wastewater emissions, environmental pollution is serious and causes concerns. Heavy metals are persistent environmental pollutants that have harmful effects on human health by altering the function and structure of proteins or by generating ROS. With exposure stemming from multiple sources, including contact with contaminated food, water, air, or soil, there is a potential chance for significant human exposure to heavy metals. Bioaccumulation of heavy metals causes severe diseases in humans, such as carcinogenesis, neurodegeneration and renal dysfunction.

Heavy metal stress assay in C. elegans

It is reported that molecules used to detoxity heavy metals are evolutionarily well conserved. Furthermore, because of the complexity of mammalian systems and the reductionist approach inherent to cell culture systems, it is difficult to elucidate the mechanism(s) of metal detoxification in mammals. Previous studies have revealed that many genes, involving detoxification enzymes, transcription factors and signaling factors, are taken part in the protection from heavy metals in C. elegans. The nematodes offer the advantage of an in vivo system that is less complex than the mammalian system which can produce considerable insight and valuable information regarding the multiple and varied processes of metal detoxification. Therefore, we provide services to test heavy metal stress using the C. elegans model for researchers to get insights into the pathology of relevant human diseases, and screen for relevant drugs.

C. elegans heavy metal model service in CD BioSciences

Because heavy metals adversely affect human health, extra precaution is required when conducting the experiment. Therefore, we suggest collaborating with trained professionals for this study. Since abundance in the environment and the availability of toxicological data in the literature involving nematodes and other organisms, several heavy metals, including cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn), are chosen to establish the C. elegans heavy metal model. And heavy metals used in the assay can be customized as requested. It is notable that different mutants exhibit different lethal dosages, so experiments should be optimized for specific conditions. A successful model should also consider the physiological endpoints, behavioral endpoints, and enzymatic endpoints for the assessment of heavy metal toxicity.

For C. elegans, responses against heavy metals can be monitored by the expression of reporter genes using worm strains carrying an appropriate GFP reporter. Two protocols are offered, including the acute assay in liquid is used to determine the expression of reporter genes that are induced by short exposure with heavy metals, as well as the preparation of protein extracts of treated worms. The assay on the Petri dish is applied for a small number of worms (20-100 worms) in a desired developmental stage, but not for embryo. Furthermore, if worm protein extracts are needed for immunoblotting, the acute assay for immunoblotting is also applied.

C. elegans heavy metal model service
 Establishment of the heavy metal model Cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn)
Assessment of heavy metal toxicity Two physiological endpoints: growth and reproduction.
Three behavioral endpoints: head thrash frequency, body bend frequency and feeding
Two enzymatic endpoints: acetylcholine esterase (AChE) and superoxide dismutase (SOD)
Monitoring response to heavy metal  Acute reporter assay in liquid
Acute reporter assay on dish

CD BioSciences is dedicated to providing the best service to accelerate the achievement of our customers' research goals. Here we provide a suitable platform for exploring the processes of metal detoxification to insights into the pathology of related human diseases, and to develop a screening system for relevant drugs. If you are interested in this area, please be free to contact us for more details.


  1. Jiang Y, et al. ( 2016). "Sublethal Toxicity Endpoints of Heavy Metals to the Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans". PLoS One. 11(1):e0148014.
  2. Pastuhov, S. I., et al. (2017). "Heavy Metal Stress Assay of Caenorhabditis elegans". Bio-protocol 7(11): e2312.
  3. Pastuhov, S. I., et al. ( 2016). "The Core Molecular Machinery Used for Engulfment of Apoptotic Cells Regulates the JNK Pathway Mediating Axon Regeneration in Caenorhabditis elegans". J Neurosci 36(37): 9710-9721.

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