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PLoS One. 2014 Aug 8;9(8):e104456. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104456. eCollection 2014.

Mating damages the cuticle of C. elegans hermaphrodites.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, United States of America; Forest Pathology Laboratory, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.
2
Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, United States of America.
3
Laboratory for Biological Ultrastructure, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, United States of America.

Abstract

Lifespan costs to reproduction are common across multiple species, and such costs could potentially arise through a number of mechanisms. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, it has been suggested that part of the lifespan cost to hermaphrodites from mating results from physical damage owing to the act of copulation itself. Here, we examine whether mating damages the surface of the hermaphrodite cuticle via scanning electron microscopy. It is found that mated hermaphrodites suffered delamination of cuticle layers surrounding the vulva, and that the incidence of such damage depends on genetic background. Unmated hermaphrodites demonstrated almost no such damage, even when cultured in soil with potentially abrasive particles. Thus, a consequence of mating for C. elegans hermaphrodites is physical cuticle damage. These experiments did not assess the consequences of cuticle damage for lifespan, and the biological significance of this damage remains unclear. We further discuss our results within the context of recent studies linking the lifespan cost to mating in C. elegans hermaphrodites to male secretions.

PMID:
25105881
PMCID:
PMC4126722
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0104456
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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