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Quantification of Information Encoded by Gene Expression Levels During Lifespan Modulation Under Broad-range Dietary Restriction in C. elegans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere56292
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Early online date16 Aug 2017
Accepted/In press19 May 2017
E-pub ahead of print16 Aug 2017
PublishedAug 2017


King's Authors


Sensory systems allow animals to detect, process, and respond to their environment. Food abundance is an environmental cue that has profound effects on animal physiology and behavior. Recently, we showed that modulation of longevity in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans by food abundance is more complex than previously recognized. The responsiveness of the lifespan to changes in food level is determined
by specific genes that act by controlling information processing within a neural circuit. Our framework combines genetic analysis, high- throughput quantitative imaging and information theory. Here, we describe how these techniques can be used to characterize any gene that has a physiological relevance to broad-range dietary restriction. Specifically, this workflow is designed to reveal how a gene of interest regulates lifespan under broad-range dietary restriction; then to establish how the expression of the gene varies with food level; and finally, to provide an unbiased quantification of the amount of information conveyed by gene expression about food abundance in the environment. When several genes are examined simultaneously under the context of a neural circuit, this workflow can uncover the coding strategy employed by the circuit.

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