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Cell Stress Chaperones. 2003 Spring;8(1):1-7.

Exposure to the metabolic inhibitor sodium azide induces stress protein expression and thermotolerance in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Biology/Toxicology, Ashland University, Ashland, OH 44805, USA.


Historically, sodium azide has been used to anesthetize the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans; however, the mechanism by which it survives this exposure is not understood. In this study, we report that exposure of wild-type C elegans to 10 mM sodium azide for up to 90 minutes confers thermotolerance (defined as significantly increased survival probability [SP] at 37 degrees C) on the animal. In addition, sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed enhanced Hsp70 expression, whereas Western blot analysis revealed the induction of Hsp16. We also tested the only known C elegans Hsp mutant def-21 (codes for Hsp90), which constitutively enters the stress-resistant state known as the dauer larvae. Daf-21 mutants also acquire sodium azide-induced thermotolerance, whereas 3 non-Hsp, constitutive dauer-forming mutants exhibited a variable response to azide exposure. We conclude that the ability of C elegans to survive exposure to azide is associated with the induction of at least 2 stress proteins.

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