The ScreenChip System
Synchronize and Associate Visual Phenotypes with Feeding Behavior
The nematode C. elegans — a simple yet powerful model organism — provides advantages such as a transparent body, easy genetic manipulation, an extensively defined nervous system, a completely sequenced and well-annotated genome, and a short lifespan.
- C. elegans phenotypes are directly related to the underlying genotype, and can give new information about the function of human disease genes and the impact of clinical variants.
- C. elegans homologs have been identified for up to 80% of human genes – See examples
- The striking genetic homologies between C. elegans and humans make it a powerful experimental model for investigating many high-impact diseases and medical conditions.
- The ability to quickly install variant alleles in C. elegans and quantitatively measure the variant phenotypes provides researchers with a path to rapidly address the consequences of gene variation and answer the questions of disease biology. See our Disease Panels.
The ScreenChip System (Figure 1) is a C. elegans screening and phenotyping platform that allows you to:
- Observe, record and playback movements
- Visualize and localize fluorescent probes
- Measure morphology and fluorescent protein expression
- Collect rapid and precise whole animal data
- Assess neuronal and physiological responses to drugs, genetic modifications or environmental changes
- Retrieve your worms after collecting phenotyping data
Figure 1. The ScreenChip System (left) is the size of a multiwell plate so it can fit on your microscope stage (right) and has a very small footprint (Microscope is NOT included in the system). Rapidly measure and analyze your worms’ phenotype with our free software.
Four Steps to Feeding Behavior Data
Step 1: Load
Step 2: Position
Step 3: Acquire
Step 4: Analyze
The ScreenChip system allows you to:
- Collect real-time measurements
- Quantify the effects of aging and mutations (figure 3)
Figure 2. The cannabinoid Anandamide induces hyperphagia in adult worms (red dots). Mean pump frequency versus time in 10 sec. bins (Anandamide, N = 27; Control, N = 41). : Data are shown as mean ± SEM. ANOVA, Treatment, F(1,66) = 7.26, p = 0.009.
Figure 3. Comparison of adult C. elegans worms within the ScreenChip system. Day 1 and Day 13 worms were recorded in a 40 um and 60 um channels respectively. Recording pharyngeal activity uncovered a drastic change in feeding activity, not only in frequency but also in feeding pattern and quality.
Benefits of using the ScreenChip System
- Richer Data. The ScreenChip System enables you to ask and answer questions that are not possible with visual pumping assays. You can explore and discover new phenotypes from real-time measurements. Additional data can be obtained with post-hoc analysis using our free NemaAnalysis software.
- Larger Sample Sizes. The ScreenChip System allows you to record from one worm at a time, up to fifty worms per chip. Larger sample sizes give you more confidence in your data.
- Faster Experiments. Load worms into the ScreenChip, move them into position and record for as long as you want. The ScreenChip system was designed to be used by all levels of researchers, no prior experience is necessary. Watch how to load worms.
- No Guesswork. Our NemAcquire software acquires data automatically in real time during your experiments. Your acquired data can be transferred seamlessly to the NemAnalysis software for in-depth data analysis. The analyzed data for each worm can be easily exported in an Excel format.
Assembly & Workflow
The ScreenChip System is comprised of a recording dock, a compact amplifier, associated cables, tubing and connectors, ScreenChips, and NemAquire software. The ScreenChip System is used with standard lab equipment: a microscope, a vacuum source and a computer (Mac or PC).
Setup takes less than ten minutes. Easy-to-follow instructions guide you through setting up your system. The system has a small footprint and will comfortably fit on dissecting or inverted microscope stages.
Experimental design is limited only by your creativity! You can compare different genotypes (e.g., wild-type and mutant); screen compounds against C. elegans human disease models, and aging; characterize drug pharmacology; analyze RNAi effects, and the list goes on. Learn more
The operator determines how many worms to record, and the duration of each recording. For example, in 4-5 hours, an operator can make 2-minute recordings from 100 worms. This can represent up to ~50,000 pumps, providing exceptional statistical power for distinguishing subtle phenotypes. Each recording is saved as a separate data file, with user-entered experimental notes. Data files are saved with a .txt extension and can be uploaded to the analysis platform of your choice (MATLAB, IGOR, LabChart, etc). Data can also be quickly and easily analyzed with our NemAnalysis software.
The NemaMetrix ScreenChip platform was developed for C. elegans, a non-parasitic species. The system may also be used to work with many different worms including C. briggsae and P. pacificus. This enables comparative studies with C. elegans in developmental biology, population genetics, and ecology. Learn more about the compatibility with other worm species