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Biol Open. 2016 Apr 15;5(4):529-34. doi: 10.1242/bio.015743.

NGT-3D: a simple nematode cultivation system to study Caenorhabditis elegans biology in 3D.

Author information

1
Division of Biological Science and Technology, College of Science and Technology, Yonsei University, Wonju 220-710, South Korea.
2
Division of Biological Science and Technology, College of Science and Technology, Yonsei University, Wonju 220-710, South Korea jinillee@yonsei.ac.kr.

Abstract

The nematodeCaenorhabditiselegansis one of the premier experimental model organisms today. In the laboratory, they display characteristic development, fertility, and behaviors in a two dimensional habitat. In nature, however,C. elegansis found in three dimensional environments such as rotting fruit. To investigate the biology ofC. elegansin a 3D controlled environment we designed a nematode cultivation habitat which we term the nematode growth tube or NGT-3D. NGT-3D allows for the growth of both nematodes and the bacteria they consume. Worms show comparable rates of growth, reproduction and lifespan when bacterial colonies in the 3D matrix are abundant. However, when bacteria are sparse, growth and brood size fail to reach levels observed in standard 2D plates. Using NGT-3D we observe drastic deficits in fertility in a sensory mutant in 3D compared to 2D, and this defect was likely due to an inability to locate bacteria. Overall, NGT-3D will sharpen our understanding of nematode biology and allow scientists to investigate questions of nematode ecology and evolutionary fitness in the laboratory.

KEYWORDS:

C. elegans; Reproduction; Three dimensions

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