Automated high-content phenotyping from the first larval stage till the onset of adulthood of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans
The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is increasingly used as a model for human biology. However, in vivo culturing platforms for C. elegans allowing high-content phenotyping during their life cycle in an automated fashion are lacking so far. Here, a multiplexed microfluidic platform for the rapid high-content phenotyping of populations of C. elegans down to single animal resolution is presented. Nematodes are (i) reversibly and regularly confined during their life inside tapered channels for imaging fluorescence signal expression and to measure their growth parameters, and (ii) allowed to freely move in microfluidic chambers, during which the swimming behavior was video-recorded. The obtained data sets are analyzed in an automated way and 19 phenotypic parameters are extracted. Our platform is employed for studying the effect of bacteria dilution, a form of dietary restriction (DR) in nematodes, on a worm model of Huntington's disease and demonstrates the influence of DR on disease regression.