Transgenic Nematodes as Biosensors of Environmental Stress

  • David I. De Pomerai
  • Helen E. David
  • Rowena S. Power
  • Mohammed H. A. Z. Mutwakil
  • Clare Daniells
Part of the Focus on Biotechnology book series (FOBI, volume 3A)


Three transgenic strains of the soil nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, have been evaluated as biosensors of environmental stress. These strains carry lacZ and/or GFP reporter genes under the control of stress-inducible heat-shock promoters. The activation of heat-shock genes is a universal cellular response to protein damage, whether caused by heat, toxic chemicals or radiation. Using the transgenic reporter strains, reporter expression is inducible in aquatic or soil media by a wide range of environmental stressors including heavy metals, pesticides and microwave radiation. Induced reporter products can be detected very simply and cheaply (much more so than authentic heat-shock proteins), but C. elegans itself poses intrinsic limitations of sensitivity as a test organism.


Microwave Radiation Caenorhabditis Elegans Reporter Expression Soil Nematode Transgenic Strain 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • David I. De Pomerai
    • 1
  • Helen E. David
    • 1
  • Rowena S. Power
    • 1
  • Mohammed H. A. Z. Mutwakil
    • 1
  • Clare Daniells
    • 1
  1. 1.Molecular Toxicology Division, School of Biological SciencesUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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