The molecular basis of natural variation in cold stress response in Caenorhabditis elegans

J. Stastna, L.B. Snoek, Nell Nei, Yiru A. Wang, J.A.G. Riksen, J.E. Kammenga, S.C. Harvey

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic


Temperature regulation is generally a critical requirement for survival and proliferation, with the ability to survive both chronic and acute cold stress often being essential for wild-type fitness. Understanding how eukaryotic cells respond to low temperatures is also crucially important in aspects of biotechnology and medicine. In general, effects of low temperature depend on the severity of the stress and has been implicated the genes and pathways that regulate membrane lipid composition in cold stress survival. In comparison to what is known about the response to high temperature stress, low temperature stress is less well understood.

Here we present an analysis of natural variation in cold stress resistance in the nematode C. elegans. Several approaches were taken to study this, these included testing in novel 4-parent recombinant inbred lines (RILs) and wild isolates. The results uncovered extensive variation in response to cold shock treatment and, for the first time, linked cold stress survival to the regulation of translation in C. elegans. Critically, genes previously identified in cold response cannot explain the variation detected. We have identified variation in eftu-2 (a homologue of human eEF-2), a gene important for the elongation step in protein synthesis, as the main genetic variant explaining the response to cold stress.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2017


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