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Research Article

Anthranilate Fluorescence Marks a Calcium-Propagated Necrotic Wave That Promotes Organismal Death in C. elegans

  • Cassandra Coburn,

    Affiliation: Institute of Healthy Ageing, and Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom

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  • Erik Allman,

    Affiliation: Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, United States of America

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  • Parag Mahanti,

    Affiliation: Boyce Thompson Institute and Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States of America

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  • Alexandre Benedetto,

    Affiliation: Institute of Healthy Ageing, and Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom

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  • Filipe Cabreiro,

    Affiliation: Institute of Healthy Ageing, and Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom

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  • Zachary Pincus,

    Affiliation: Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America

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  • Filip Matthijssens,

    Affiliation: Department of Biology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

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  • Caroline Araiz,

    Affiliation: Institute of Healthy Ageing, and Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom

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  • Abraham Mandel,

    Affiliation: Institute of Healthy Ageing, and Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom

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  • Manolis Vlachos,

    Affiliation: Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece

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  • Sally-Anne Edwards,

    Affiliation: Institute of Healthy Ageing, and Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom

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  • Grahame Fischer,

    Affiliation: Institute of Healthy Ageing, and Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom

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  • Alexander Davidson,

    Affiliation: Institute of Healthy Ageing, and Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom

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  • Rosina E. Pryor,

    Affiliation: Institute of Healthy Ageing, and Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom

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  • Ailsa Stevens,

    Affiliation: Institute of Healthy Ageing, and Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom

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  • Frank J. Slack,

    Affiliation: Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America

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  • Nektarios Tavernarakis,

    Affiliation: Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece

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  • Bart P. Braeckman,

    Affiliation: Department of Biology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

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  • Frank C. Schroeder,

    Affiliation: Boyce Thompson Institute and Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States of America

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  • Keith Nehrke,

    Affiliations: Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, United States of America, Department of Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, United States of America

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  • David Gems mail

    david.gems@ucl.ac.uk

    Affiliation: Institute of Healthy Ageing, and Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, United Kingdom

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  • Published: July 23, 2013
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001613

Reader Comments (1)

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Calcium propagated waves as THE discontinuity signal in life?

Posted by nati on 27 Jul 2013 at 14:51 GMT

It was very interesting and fascinating to go through this paper and the following discussions,
thank you for sharing the complex work behind this study. It appears as a milestone.
I do not have the knowledge and experience to deeply understand all the different technical aspects reported in the paper, but I found peculiar the coincidence of a calcium programmed wave at death and birth of a living organism.
If a passage from life to death may involve a calcium regulated transition, in the same way, also the beginning of a new life (egg fertilization) is characterized by a calcium wave. May these waves represent discontinuities, at the very beginning and end, of life’s continuous process? May both these phenomena have a more general role at "organismal" level?
The mechanisms at the origin of a new life in the fertilized oocyte are characterized by a complex series of processes triggered by a wave of calcium increase, which blocks polyspermy in a point of no return (Wessel GM, Wong JL. doi: 10.1002/mrd.21090; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.g...).
Calcium signaling surrounding the fertilization process in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, as well as for other species, has been described (Cell Calcium Special Issue and Singaravelua G, Singsona A: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016...). Oocyte activation processes that occur during fertilization represent a highly conserved event through the course of evolution. (Ramos I, Wessel GM; doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2012.11.011; www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubm...)
The systemic collapse/development underlying whole organismal death/birth remains poorly understood and enticing from different perspectives.
The reported mechanisms open new fields for studies in biomedical sciences, and could also pose new bioethical questions (e.g. on in vitro fertilization, abortion as well as on emergency medicine issues such as resuscitation or euthanasia).
A new (fluorescent) brightness can shed some more light on cells and organisms, at their very beginning and very end as living beings.
Thank you.

No competing interests declared.