Worm Breeder's Gazette 15(4): 43 (October 1, 1998)

These abstracts should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.

The Effects of Benzo[a]pyrene (cough cough!) on C. elegans

Larry Miller, Phil Hartman

Department of Biology, Texas Christian University,, Fort Worth, Texas 76129

The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) is a
major carcinogenic component of cigarette smoke and many other
combustibles. Wild-type (N2) and four radiation hypersensitive mutants
(rad-1, rad-2, rad-3 and rad-7) were exposed to different B[a]P
concentrations for either one or 24 hours. Survivorship curves were
generated for both embryos and L1s. In addition, hermaphrodites were
exposed to B[a]P and the effects on brood sizes were measured. Relative
to most studies, very high B[a]P concentrations were required to
significantly reduce survival or brood sizes in C. elegans. All strains
showed greater sensitivity with longer exposure. Surprisingly, the rad
mutants were no more sensitive than wild type. Since no recessive lethal
mutations were detected in the 500 plates screened using the eT1
balancer system, B[a]P does not readily induce mutations in C. elegans.
Finally, using a specific and sensitive RIA, no adducts were detected in
C. elegans DNA extracted from animals exposed to high B[a]P
concentrations. The extreme resistance of C. elegans is likely due to
the failure of this nematode to metabolize B[a]P into more toxic and
mutagenic compounds.