Reliable Screening of Dye Phototoxicity by Using a Caenorhabditis elegans Fast Bioassay

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  • Javier Ignacio Bianchi, Fundación Instituto Leloir, CONICET. Patricias Argentinas 435, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Argentina
  • Juan Carlos Stockert, Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Cantoblanco, Madrid, Spain
  • Lucila Ines Buzz, Fundación Instituto Leloir, CONICET. Patricias Argentinas 435, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Argentina
  • Alfonso Blazquez-Castro, Denmark
  • Sergio Hernán Simonetta, Fundación Instituto Leloir, CONICET. Patricias Argentinas 435, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Argentina

Phototoxicity consists in the capability of certain innocuous molecules to become toxic when subjected to suitable illumination. In order to discover new photoactive drugs or characterize phototoxic pollutants, it would be advantageous to use simple biological tests of phototoxicy. In this work, we present a pilot screening of 37 dyes to test for phototoxic effects in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. Populations of this nematode were treated with different dyes, and subsequently exposed to 30 min of white light. Behavioral outcomes were quantified by recording the global motility using an infrared tracking device (WMicrotracker). Of the tested compounds, 17 dyes were classified as photoactive, being phloxine B, primuline, eosin Y, acridine orange and rose Bengal the most phototoxic. To assess photoactivity after uptake, compounds were retested after washing them out of the medium before light irradiation. Dye uptake into the worms was also analyzed by staining or fluorescence. All the positive drugs were incorporated by animals and produced phototoxic effects after washing. We also tested the stress response being triggered by the treatments through reporter strains. Endoplasmic reticulum stress response (hsp-4::GFP strain) was activated by 22% of phototoxic dyes, and mitochondrial stress response (hsp-6::GFP strain) was induced by 16% of phototoxic dyes. These results point to a phototoxic perturbation of the protein functionality and an oxidative stress similar to that reported in cell cultures. Our work shows for the first time the feasibility of C. elegans for running phototoxic screenings and underscores its application on photoactive drugs and environmental pollutants assessment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume10
Issue6
Pages (from-to)e0128898
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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