Knock down of Caenorhabditis elegans cutc-1 Exacerbates the Sensitivity Toward High Levels of Copper

Sara Calafato, Suresh Swain, Samantha Hughes, Peter Kille, Stephen R. Stuerzenbaum*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (SciVal)


Copper, though toxic in excess, is an essential trace element that serves as a cofactor in many critical biological processes such as respiration, iron transport, and oxidative stress protection. To maintain this balance between requirement and toxicity, biological systems have developed intricate systems allowing the preservation of homeostasis while ensuring delivery of copper to the appropriate cellular component. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans was exploited to assess the effects of copper toxicity at the population level to identify key changes in life cycle traits including, lethality, brood size, generation time, growth, and life span. To enhance our understanding of the complexities of copper homeostasis at the genetic level, the expression profile and functional significance of a putative copper cytoplasmic metallochaperone cutc-1 were analyzed. Using quantitative PCR technology, cutc-1 was found to be downregulated with increasing CuSO(4) concentrations. However, although total (whole body) copper levels increased in nematodes exposed to elevated levels of copper, wild-type and knock down of cutc-1 by RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) were statistically indistinguishable. Nevertheless, RNAi of cutc-1 affected brood size, growth and induced a marked increase in protruding vulva and bagging phenotypes at higher copper exposures. This indicates that cutc-1 plays a crucial role in the protection from excess copper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-391
Number of pages8
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number2
Early online date22 Aug 2008
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2008


  • CUTC


Dive into the research topics of 'Knock down of Caenorhabditis elegans cutc-1 Exacerbates the Sensitivity Toward High Levels of Copper'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this