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PLoS One. 2010 Jul 19;5(7):e11426. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011426.

Quantifying phenotypic variation in isogenic Caenorhabditis elegans expressing Phsp-16.2::gfp by clustering 2D expression patterns.

Author information

1
Seewald Solutions, Vienna, Austria. alex@seewald.at

Abstract

Isogenic populations of animals still show a surprisingly large amount of phenotypic variation between individuals. Using a GFP reporter that has been shown to predict longevity and resistance to stress in isogenic populations of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, we examined residual variation in expression of this GFP reporter. We found that when we separated the populations into brightest 3% and dimmest 3% we also saw variation in relative expression patterns that distinguished the bright and dim worms. Using a novel image processing method which is capable of directly analyzing worm images, we found that bright worms (after normalization to remove variation between bright and dim worms) had expression patterns that correlated with other bright worms but that dim worms fell into two distinct expression patterns. We have analysed a small set of worms with confocal microscopy to validate these findings, and found that the activity loci in these clusters are caused by extremely bright intestine cells. We also found that the vast majority of the fluorescent signal for all worms came from intestinal cells as well, which may indicate that the activity of intestinal cells is responsible for the observed patterns. Phenotypic variation in C. elegans is still not well understood but our proposed novel method to analyze complex expression patterns offers a way to enable a better understanding.

PMID:
20657830
PMCID:
PMC2906502
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0011426
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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