What is it about?

All animals need oxygen to survive, and measuring how much oxygen an animal uses is essential to understanding their biology. This measurement is now made easy in these tiny worms, which are popular to use for studying basic phenomena such as energy metabolism. The methods we describe take advantage of modern equipment sold by the Seahorse company, that can measure 96 samples at the same time, and continue measuring after drugs have been added to the samples. We describe in detail how to perform this analysis and how to interpret the results.

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Why is it important?

A lot of large institutions already own this type of instrument, so now anybody who has a project with these worms can spend about one day of their time and instantly know fast they consume oxygen, and how this changes in response to experimental genetic or pharmacologic manipulations. We can only imagine the many applications of this new technology to the field of bioenergetics in animal models.


This work is a group effort of several labs who were all seeking to measure oxygen consumption of tiny (but important!) worms with a convenient technology. We all honed in on this instrument, and started working separately to figure out how to get it to work. When we combined our knowledge and experiences, we were able to develop the current protocol that is now working extremely well. We expect that many labs will be excited to pick up this paper and be able to easily follow the methods.

Dr Beverley M. (Dancy) Rabbitts
Washington State University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A screening-based platform for the assessment of cellular respiration in Caenorhabditis elegans, Nature Protocols, September 2016, Nature,
DOI: 10.1038/nprot.2016.106.
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