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Longitudinal imaging of Caenorhabditis elegans in a microfabricated device reveals variation in behavioral decline during aging

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Cite this article as: eLife 2017;6:e26652 doi: 10.7554/eLife.26652

Abstract

The roundworm C. elegans is a mainstay of aging research due to its short lifespan and easily manipulable genetics. Current, widely used methods for long-term measurement of C. elegans are limited by low throughput and the difficulty of performing longitudinal monitoring of aging phenotypes. Here we describe the WorMotel, a microfabricated device for long-term cultivation and automated longitudinal imaging of large numbers of C. elegans confined to individual wells. Using the WorMotel, we find that short-lived and long-lived strains exhibit patterns of behavioral decline that do not temporally scale between individuals or populations, but rather resemble the shortest and longest lived individuals in a wild type population. We also find that behavioral trajectories of worms subject to oxidative stress resemble trajectories observed during aging. Our method is a powerful and scalable tool for analysis of C. elegans behavior and aging.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Matthew A Churgin

    Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-2299-0124
  2. Sang-Kyu Jung

    Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Chih-Chieh Yu

    Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Xiangmei Chen

    Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. David M Raizen

    Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-5935-0476
  6. Christopher Fang-Yen

    Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States
    For correspondence
    cfangyen@gmail.com
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-4568-3218

Funding

National Institutes of Health (R01-NS-084835)

  • Matthew A Churgin
  • Christopher Fang-Yen

Ellison Medical Foundation (AG-NS-1109-13)

  • Sang-Kyu Jung
  • Xiangmei Chen

European Commission (633589)

  • Christopher Fang-Yen

National Institutes of Health (R01-NS-088432)

  • David M Raizen
  • Christopher Fang-Yen

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (BR2012-084)

  • Christopher Fang-Yen

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Piali Sengupta, Brandeis University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: March 10, 2017
  2. Accepted: May 22, 2017
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: May 24, 2017 (version 1)
  4. Accepted Manuscript updated: May 31, 2017 (version 2)
  5. Version of Record published: June 26, 2017 (version 3)
  6. Version of Record updated: October 27, 2017 (version 4)

Copyright

© 2017, Churgin et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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