Using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system to study protein homeostasis in a multicellular organism

Ido Karady, Anna Frumkin, Shiran Dror, Netta Shemesh, Nadav Shai, Anat Ben-Zvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The folding and assembly of proteins is essential for protein function, the long-term health of the cell, and longevity of the organism. Historically, the function and regulation of protein folding was studied in vitro, in isolated tissue culture cells and in unicellular organisms. Recent studies have uncovered links between protein homeostasis (proteostasis), metabolism, development, aging, and temperature-sensing. These findings have led to the development of new tools for monitoring protein folding in the model metazoan organism Caenorhabditis elegans. In our laboratory, we combine behavioral assays, imaging and biochemical approaches using temperature-sensitive or naturally occurring metastable proteins as sensors of the folding environment to monitor protein misfolding. Behavioral assays that are associated with the misfolding of a specific protein provide a simple and powerful readout for protein folding, allowing for the fast screening of genes and conditions that modulate folding. Likewise, such misfolding can be associated with protein mislocalization in the cell. Monitoring protein localization can, therefore, highlight changes in cellular folding capacity occurring in different tissues, at various stages of development and in the face of changing conditions. Finally, using biochemical tools ex vivo, we can directly monitor protein stability and conformation. Thus, by combining behavioral assays, imaging and biochemical techniques, we are able to monitor protein misfolding at the resolution of the organism, the cell, and the protein, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere50840
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number82
StatePublished - 18 Dec 2013


  • Aging
  • Biochemistry
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Heat shock response
  • Issue 82
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Protein folding homeostasis
  • Proteostasis
  • Stress
  • Temperature-sensitive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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