TitleA Simple Microfluidic Chip for Long-Term Growth and Imaging of Caenorhabditis elegans.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsDubey J, Mondal S, Koushika SP
JournalJ Vis Exp
Date Published2022 Apr 11
KeywordsAnimals, Biological Phenomena, Caenorhabditis elegans, Diagnostic Imaging, Microfluidics

Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) have proved to be a valuable model system for studying developmental and cell biological processes. Understanding these biological processes often requires long-term and repeated imaging of the same animal. Long recovery times associated with conventional immobilization methods done on agar pads have detrimental effects on animal health making it inappropriate to repeatedly image the same animal over long periods of time. This paper describes a microfluidic chip design, fabrication method, on-chip C. elegans culturing protocol, and three examples of long-term imaging to study developmental processes in individual animals. The chip, fabricated with polydimethylsiloxane and bonded on a cover glass, immobilizes animals on a glass substrate using an elastomeric membrane that is deflected using nitrogen gas. Complete immobilization of C. elegans enables robust time-lapse imaging of cellular and sub-cellular events in an anesthetic-free manner. A channel geometry with a large cross-section allows the animal to move freely within two partially sealed isolation membranes permitting growth in the channel with a continuous food supply. Using this simple chip, imaging of developmental phenomena such as neuronal process growth, vulval development, and dendritic arborization in the PVD sensory neurons, as the animal grows inside the channel, can be performed. The long-term growth and imaging chip operates with a single pressure line, no external valves, inexpensive fluidic consumables, and utilizes standard worm handling protocols that can easily be adapted by other laboratories using C. elegans.

Alternate JournalJ Vis Exp
PubMed ID35467659
Grant ListP40 OD010440 / OD / NIH HHS / United States