Send to

Choose Destination
G3 (Bethesda). 2017 Sep 7;7(9):2969-2977. doi: 10.1534/g3.117.300080.

The Caenorhabditis elegans Female-Like State: Decoupling the Transcriptomic Effects of Aging and Sperm Status.

Author information

Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Caltech, Pasadena, California 91125.
Department of Human Genetics, Department of Biological Chemistry, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095.
Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, Caltech, Pasadena, California 91125.
Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Caltech, Pasadena, California 91125


Understanding genome and gene function in a whole organism requires us to fully comprehend the life cycle and the physiology of the organism in question. Caenorhabditis elegans XX animals are hermaphrodites that exhaust their sperm after 3 d of egg-laying. Even though C. elegans can live for many days after cessation of egg-laying, the molecular physiology of this state has not been as intensely studied as other parts of the life cycle, despite documented changes in behavior and metabolism. To study the effects of sperm depletion and aging of C. elegans during the first 6 d of adulthood, we measured the transcriptomes of first-day adult hermaphrodites and sixth-day sperm-depleted adults, and, at the same time points, mutant fog-2(lf) worms that have a feminized germline phenotype. We found that we could separate the effects of biological aging from sperm depletion. For a large subset of genes, young adult fog-2(lf) animals had the same gene expression changes as sperm-depleted sixth-day wild-type hermaphrodites, and these genes did not change expression when fog-2(lf) females reached the sixth day of adulthood. Taken together, this indicates that changing sperm status causes a change in the internal state of the worm, which we call the female-like state. Our data provide a high-quality picture of the changes that happen in global gene expression throughout the period of early aging in the worm.


RNA-seq; aging; epistasis; genetic interactions; germline sex determination; life cycle

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center