Transcriptional analysis of the response of C. elegans to ethanol exposure

M.G. Sterken, M.H. van Wijk, Elizabeth Quamme, J.A.G. Riksen, Lucinda Carnell, Laura Mathies, A.E. Davies, J.E. Kammenga, Jill Bettinger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Ethanol-induced transcriptional changes underlie important physiological responses to ethanol that are likely to contribute to the addictive properties of the drug. We examined the transcriptional responses of Caenorhabditis elegans across a timecourse of ethanol exposure, between 30 min and 8 h, to determine what genes and genetic pathways are regulated in response to ethanol in this model. We found that short exposures to ethanol (up to 2 h) induced expression of metabolic enzymes involved in metabolizing ethanol and retinol, while longer exposure (8 h) had much more profound effects on the transcriptome. Several genes that are known to be involved in the physiological response to ethanol, including direct ethanol targets, were regulated at 8 h of exposure. This longer exposure to ethanol also resulted in the regulation of genes involved in cilia function, which is consistent with an important role for the effects of ethanol on cilia in the deleterious effects of chronic ethanol consumption in humans. Finally, we found that food deprivation for an 8-h period induced gene expression changes that were somewhat ameliorated by the presence of ethanol, supporting previous observations that worms can use ethanol as a calorie source.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10993
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2021


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