Abstract Caenorhabditis elegans and its cognate bacterial diet comprise a reliable, widespread model to study diet and microbiota effects on host physiology. Nonetheless, how diet influences the rate at which neurons die remains largely unknown. A number of models have been used in C. elegans as surrogates for neurodegeneration. One of these is a C. elegans strain expressing a neurotoxic allele of the mechanosensory abnormality protein 4 (MEC-4d) degenerin/epithelial Na+ (DEG/ENaC) channel, which causes the progressive degeneration of the touch receptor neurons (TRNs). Using this model, our study evaluated the effect of various dietary bacteria on neurodegeneration dynamics. Although degeneration of TRNs was steady and completed at adulthood in the strain routinely used for C. elegans maintenance (Escherichia coli OP50), it was significantly reduced in environmental and other laboratory bacterial strains.
Citation Urrutia A, García-Angulo VA, Fuentes A, Caneo M, Legüe M, Urquiza S, et al. (2020) Bacterially produced metabolites protect C. elegans neurons from degeneration. PLoS Biol 18(3): e3000638. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000638