Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 194, Issue 9, pp 821–828 | Cite as

Circadian stress tolerance in adult Caenorhabditis elegans

  • Sergio H. Simonetta
  • Andrés Romanowski
  • Alicia N. Minniti
  • Nibaldo C. Inestrosa
  • Diego A. Golombek
Original Paper


Circadian rhythms control several behaviors through neural networks, hormones and gene expression. One of these outputs in invertebrates, vertebrates and plants is the stress resistance behavior. In this work, we studied the circadian variation in abiotic stress resistance of adult C. elegans as well as the genetic mechanisms that underlie such behavior. Measuring the stress resistance by tap response behavior we found a rhythm in response to osmotic (NaCl LC50 = 340 mM) and oxidative (H2O2 LC50 = 50 mM) shocks, with a minimum at ZT0 (i.e., lights off) and ZT12 (lights on), respectively. In addition, the expression of glutathione peroxidase (C11E4.1) and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (gpdh-1) (genes related to the control of stress responses) also showed a circadian fluctuation in basal levels with a peak at night. Moreover, in the mutant osr-1 (AM1 strain), a negative regulator of the gpdh-1 pathway, the osmotic resistance rhythms were masked at 350 mM but reappeared when the strain was treated with a higher NaCl concentration. This work demonstrates for the first time that in the adult nematode, C. elegans stress responses vary daily, and provides evidence of an underlying rhythmic gene expression that governs these behaviors.


Caenorhabditis elegans Circadian rhythm Stress Osmotic Oxidative 



Caenorhabditis Genetics Center


Circadian time


Abnormal Dauer formation


Dark–dark (constant darkness)




Glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase


Glutathione peroxidase


Heat shock protein


Lethal concentration 50




Methionine sulfoxide-S-reductase


Nematode growth medium


Osmotic stress-resistant


Zeitgeber time



This work was supported by funding from the National Science Agency and the National University of Quilmes (Argentina). SHS is a fellow of the National Scientific and Technical Investigations Council (CONICET), and AR had fellowships from the Pharmaceutical and Chemical Industry Studies Center (CEDIQUIFA) and the Scientific Investigations Commission (CIC). Studies in Chile were supported by the National Science and Technology Research Council of Chile (CONICYT). The strains used in this work were provided by the CGC center, which is supported by the NIH, and the C. elegans knockout consortium.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergio H. Simonetta
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrés Romanowski
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alicia N. Minniti
    • 3
  • Nibaldo C. Inestrosa
    • 3
  • Diego A. Golombek
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciencia y TecnologíaUniversidad Nacional de QuilmesBernal, Pcia de Buenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.National Research Council (CONICET)Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Centro de Regulación Celular y Patología “Joaquín V. Luco” (CRCP), MIFAB, Facultad de Ciencias BiológicasPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile

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