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Mating damages the cuticle of C. elegans hermaphrodites.

Woodruff GC, Knauss CM, Maugel TK, Haag ES - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: Lifespan costs to reproduction are common across multiple species, and such costs could potentially arise through a number of mechanisms.In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, it has been suggested that part of the lifespan cost to hermaphrodites from mating results from physical damage owing to the act of copulation itself.We further discuss our results within the context of recent studies linking the lifespan cost to mating in C. elegans hermaphrodites to male secretions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, United States of America; Forest Pathology Laboratory, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

ABSTRACT
Lifespan costs to reproduction are common across multiple species, and such costs could potentially arise through a number of mechanisms. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, it has been suggested that part of the lifespan cost to hermaphrodites from mating results from physical damage owing to the act of copulation itself. Here, we examine whether mating damages the surface of the hermaphrodite cuticle via scanning electron microscopy. It is found that mated hermaphrodites suffered delamination of cuticle layers surrounding the vulva, and that the incidence of such damage depends on genetic background. Unmated hermaphrodites demonstrated almost no such damage, even when cultured in soil with potentially abrasive particles. Thus, a consequence of mating for C. elegans hermaphrodites is physical cuticle damage. These experiments did not assess the consequences of cuticle damage for lifespan, and the biological significance of this damage remains unclear. We further discuss our results within the context of recent studies linking the lifespan cost to mating in C. elegans hermaphrodites to male secretions.

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Mating causes vulva cuticle damage in C. elegans hermaphrodites.(A) The vulva of an unmated N2 hermaphrodite. (B) The vulva of a N2 hermaphrodite mated with a male with an N2 background. The arrow denotes where delamination of the cuticle surface near the vulva has occurred. (C–D) Unmated QG2288 hermaphrodites with no apparent physical damage. (E) A rare unmated QG2288 hermaphrodite with damage near the vulva (arrow). (F–I). QG2288 hermaphrodites mated with males of the same strain. Arrows denote the presence of cuticle tearing near the vulva. Scale bars represent ten microns in all panels.
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pone-0104456-g001: Mating causes vulva cuticle damage in C. elegans hermaphrodites.(A) The vulva of an unmated N2 hermaphrodite. (B) The vulva of a N2 hermaphrodite mated with a male with an N2 background. The arrow denotes where delamination of the cuticle surface near the vulva has occurred. (C–D) Unmated QG2288 hermaphrodites with no apparent physical damage. (E) A rare unmated QG2288 hermaphrodite with damage near the vulva (arrow). (F–I). QG2288 hermaphrodites mated with males of the same strain. Arrows denote the presence of cuticle tearing near the vulva. Scale bars represent ten microns in all panels.

Mentions: To evaluate the hypothesis that mating promotes physical damage in hermaphrodites, hermaphrodites either unmated or continuously mated with males for five days were examined under SEM. Initially, this was performed with the N2 strain of C. elegans, a standard laboratory strain known to have low male mating efficiency [27], [30]. In the N2 background, unmated hermaphrodites showed no evidence of physical damage (Figure 1A; Table 1). However, a non-significant fraction of mated N2 hermaphrodites displayed tearing and delamination of the cuticle localized to the vulva region (Figure 1B; Table 1).


Mating damages the cuticle of C. elegans hermaphrodites.

Woodruff GC, Knauss CM, Maugel TK, Haag ES - PLoS ONE (2014)

Mating causes vulva cuticle damage in C. elegans hermaphrodites.(A) The vulva of an unmated N2 hermaphrodite. (B) The vulva of a N2 hermaphrodite mated with a male with an N2 background. The arrow denotes where delamination of the cuticle surface near the vulva has occurred. (C–D) Unmated QG2288 hermaphrodites with no apparent physical damage. (E) A rare unmated QG2288 hermaphrodite with damage near the vulva (arrow). (F–I). QG2288 hermaphrodites mated with males of the same strain. Arrows denote the presence of cuticle tearing near the vulva. Scale bars represent ten microns in all panels.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4126722&req=5

pone-0104456-g001: Mating causes vulva cuticle damage in C. elegans hermaphrodites.(A) The vulva of an unmated N2 hermaphrodite. (B) The vulva of a N2 hermaphrodite mated with a male with an N2 background. The arrow denotes where delamination of the cuticle surface near the vulva has occurred. (C–D) Unmated QG2288 hermaphrodites with no apparent physical damage. (E) A rare unmated QG2288 hermaphrodite with damage near the vulva (arrow). (F–I). QG2288 hermaphrodites mated with males of the same strain. Arrows denote the presence of cuticle tearing near the vulva. Scale bars represent ten microns in all panels.
Mentions: To evaluate the hypothesis that mating promotes physical damage in hermaphrodites, hermaphrodites either unmated or continuously mated with males for five days were examined under SEM. Initially, this was performed with the N2 strain of C. elegans, a standard laboratory strain known to have low male mating efficiency [27], [30]. In the N2 background, unmated hermaphrodites showed no evidence of physical damage (Figure 1A; Table 1). However, a non-significant fraction of mated N2 hermaphrodites displayed tearing and delamination of the cuticle localized to the vulva region (Figure 1B; Table 1).

Bottom Line: Lifespan costs to reproduction are common across multiple species, and such costs could potentially arise through a number of mechanisms.In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, it has been suggested that part of the lifespan cost to hermaphrodites from mating results from physical damage owing to the act of copulation itself.We further discuss our results within the context of recent studies linking the lifespan cost to mating in C. elegans hermaphrodites to male secretions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, United States of America; Forest Pathology Laboratory, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

ABSTRACT
Lifespan costs to reproduction are common across multiple species, and such costs could potentially arise through a number of mechanisms. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, it has been suggested that part of the lifespan cost to hermaphrodites from mating results from physical damage owing to the act of copulation itself. Here, we examine whether mating damages the surface of the hermaphrodite cuticle via scanning electron microscopy. It is found that mated hermaphrodites suffered delamination of cuticle layers surrounding the vulva, and that the incidence of such damage depends on genetic background. Unmated hermaphrodites demonstrated almost no such damage, even when cultured in soil with potentially abrasive particles. Thus, a consequence of mating for C. elegans hermaphrodites is physical cuticle damage. These experiments did not assess the consequences of cuticle damage for lifespan, and the biological significance of this damage remains unclear. We further discuss our results within the context of recent studies linking the lifespan cost to mating in C. elegans hermaphrodites to male secretions.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus