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Ethanol-induced transcriptional changes underlie important physiological responses to ethanol that are likely to contribute to the addictive properties of the drug. We examined the transcriptional responses of Caenorhabditis elegans across a timecourse of ethanol exposure, between 30 min and 8 h, to determine what genes and genetic pathways are regulated in response to ethanol in this model. We found that short exposures to ethanol (up to 2 h) induced expression of metabolic enzymes involved in metabolizing ethanol and retinol, while longer exposure (8 h) had much more profound effects on the transcriptome. Several genes that are known to be involved in the physiological response to ethanol, including direct ethanol targets, were regulated at 8 h of exposure. This longer exposure to ethanol also resulted in the regulation of genes involved in cilia function, which is consistent with an important role for the effects of ethanol on cilia in the deleterious effects of chronic ethanol consumption in humans. Finally, we found that food deprivation for an 8-h period induced gene expression changes that were somewhat ameliorated by the presence of ethanol, supporting previous observations that worms can use ethanol as a calorie source.
Sterken, M. G., van Wijk, M. H., Quamme, E. C., Riksen, J. A. G., Carnell, L., Mathies, L. D., Davies, A. G., Kammenga, J. E., & Bettinger, J. C. (2021). Transcriptional analysis of the response of C. elegans to ethanol exposure. Scientific Reports, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-90282-8
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This article was originally published Open Access in Scientific Reports. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.