Accurate biometal quantification per individual Caenorhabditis elegans
In the life sciences, small model-organisms are an established research platform. Due to the economy of culturing and maintenance animals such as the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, and the fly Drosophila melanogaster, have been instrumental for investigating key genetic pathways, early development, neuronal function, as well as disease pathogenesis and toxicology. Small model organisms have also found utility in the study of inorganic biochemistry, where the role of metal ion cofactors are investigated for numerous fundamental cellular processes. The metabolism and homeostasis of metal ions is also central to many aspects of biology and disease. Accurate quantification of endogenous metal ion content is an important determinant for many biological questions. There is currently no standardised method for quantifying biometal content in individual C. elegans or estimating the variation between individuals within clonal populations. Here, we have determined that ten or more adults are required to quantify physiologically important metals via inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The accuracy and precision of this method was then compared to synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM) to determine the variation between isogenic, developmentally synchronous C. elegans adults.
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