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The mysterious case of the C. elegans gut granule: death fluorescence, anthranilic acid and the kynurenine pathway

Coburn, C; Gems, D; (2013) The mysterious case of the C. elegans gut granule: death fluorescence, anthranilic acid and the kynurenine pathway. Frontiers in Genetics , 4 , Article 151. 10.3389/fgene.2013.00151. Green open access

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Abstract

Gut granules are lysosome-like organelles with acidic interiors that are found in large numbers within the intestine of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. They are particularly prominent when viewed under ultraviolet light, which causes them to emit intense blue fluorescence. Yet the function of these large and abundant organelles in this heavily-studied model organism remains unclear. One possibility is that they serve as storage organelles, for example of zinc. A new clue to gut granule function is the identification of the blue fluorescent material that they contain as a glycosylated form of anthranilic acid, which is derived from tryptophan by action of the kynurenine pathway. This compound can also serve a surprising role as a natural, endogenous marker of organismal death.

Type: Article
Title: The mysterious case of the C. elegans gut granule: death fluorescence, anthranilic acid and the kynurenine pathway
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2013.00151
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2013.00151
Language: English
Additional information: © 2013 Coburn and Gems. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. PMCID: PMC3735983
Keywords: C. elegans, Aging, Death fluorescence, Gut granule, Kynurenine, Lipofuscin, Organismal death, Tryptophan
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1414547
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