Fully automated laboratory device for aging studies using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.

David LiaskosElena KatsyubaLaurent Mouchiroud, Johan Auwerx, Matteo Cornaglia

Aging and Cancer – 32nd Pezcoller Symposium


Here we describe an innovative microfluidic platform using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, as an ideal model organism for the study of aging due to its short lifespan and tractable genetics. Our platform allows full automation of the entire process of culture, treatment, imaging and analysis of C. elegans, at unprecedented levels of throughput and standardization. The unique possibilities offered by this microfluidic platform allow the automated execution of customized bioassays for: (i) monitoring C. elegans lifespan and healthspan; (ii) identifying developmental phenotypes that can serve as potential predictors of aging; (iii) quantifying the GFP expression of reporter strains. In particular, to test the potential of our lifespan and healthspan bioassay, we expose wild-type worms to different dietary restriction plans and an anti-aging compound. In this study, we show that the platform allows the detection of early phenotypes related to the aging process, such as size and reproductive aging, and we successfully demonstrate the extended lifespan of C. elegans as a result of precise dietary restriction plans and treatment with a geroprotective drug. Finally, we employ the hsp-6:gfp transgenic strain as a specific reporter for the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt). By treating hsp-6::gfp worms with the antibiotic doxycycline, we can activate the UPRmt and efficiently quantify its level by measuring the fluorescence intensity of the worms.