Enhancement of DNA damage repair potential in germ cells of Caenorhabditis elegans by a volatile signal from their irradiated partners.


Key Laboratory of High Magnetic Field and Ion Beam Physical Biology, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei, 230031, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]


Radiation-induced bystander effects have been demonstrated within organisms. Recently, it is found that the organisms can also signal irradiation cues to their co-cultured partners in a waterborne manner. In contrast, there is a limited understanding of radiation-induced airborne signaling between individuals, especially on the aspect of DNA damage responses (DDR). Here, we establish a co-culture experimental system using Caenorhabdis elegans in a top-bottom layout, where communication between "top" and "bottom" worms is airborne. The radiation response of top worms is evaluated using radio-adaptive response (RAR) of embryonic lethality (F1), which reflects an enhancement in repair potential of germ cells to subsequent DNA damage. It is shown that gamma-irradiation of bottom worms alleviates the embryonic lethality of top worms caused by 25 Gy of subsequent gamma-irradiation, i.e. RAR, indicating that a volatile signal might play an essential role in radiation-induced inter-worm communication. The RAR is absent in the top worms impaired in DNA damage checkpoint, nucleotide excision repair, and olfactory sensory neurons, respectively. The induction of RAR is restricted to the mitotic zone of the female germline of hermaphrodites. These results indicate that the top worms sense the volatile signal through cephalic sensory neurons, and the neural stimulation distantly modulates the DDR in germ mitotic cells, leading to the enhancement of DNA damage repair potential. The volatile signal is produced specifically by the L3-stage bottom worms and functionally distinct from the known sex pheromone. Its production and/or release are regulated by water-soluble ascaroside pheromones in a population-dependent manner.


C. elegans,DNA damage repair,Embryonic lethality,Inter-worm communication,Radio-adaptive responses,

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