Worm Plasmids and Resources
The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans or “the worm”) is widely used as a genetic model organism due to their rapid life cycle (3 days from egg to adult) and easy lab maintenance. Worms are particularly well suited for studies in cell biology, development, and aging. Scientists can knock down genes by feeding worms bacteria expressing dsRNA or use CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to easily engineer specific transgenic worm lines. The transparent body of the C. elegans hermaphrodite consists of 959 somatic cells, which makes them attractive for imaging and fluorescence microscopy experiments. The C. elegans genome is well studied and hundreds of reporters have been developed and characterized which allow researchers to express desired constructs in precise cell types and/or developmental timeframes. Here we highlight some of the plasmids and tools available at Addgene for use in worms.
Plasmid Tools for Use in Worms
The table below highlights plasmids that contain tools for use in worm research. This includes CRISPR, RNAi, empty backbones, fluorescent proteins, and Cre expression plasmids. Large collections or kits are described below and not included in this table. For a more complete list of plasmids that can be used in worms, search Addgene's entire collection.
Plasmids Expressing Worm Genes/Inserts
The table below lists plasmids that contain a worm (C. elegans, C. briggsae, etc.) gene or sequence:
Don’t see your gene listed? Know of some great plasmid tools for the community that aren't in the repository? Help us widen our resources for the community by depositing your useful tools, or by suggesting plasmids for the collection.
Plasmid Kits and Collections
Kits are sets of plasmids intended for use together (e.g. cloning and expression systems) and therefore supplied as one item. Collections are plasmids grouped by a specific topic, but can only be ordered individually.
- Read Addgene's CRISPR Guide for a general introduction to CRISPR technology.
- Addgene's worm CRISPR resources include plasmids expressing Cas9, empty gRNA backbones, and constructs for endogenous tagging. Some examples of useful worm CRISPR resources, along with links to protocols, can be found below:
- SapTrap-SEC kit for C. elegans genome engineering - Bob Goldstein Lab. Contains a set of plasmids for building homologous repair templates that incorporate a self-excising drug selection cassette (SEC). More information regarding this kit can be found at the Goldstein Lab website.
- SapTrap CRISPR/Cas Toolkit - Erik Jorgensen Lab. A collection of plasmids that streamlines the production of targeting vectors for tag insertion using CRISPR/Cas9 and the selection of C. elegans strains.
- CRISPR plasmids from John Calarco's lab as described in Heritable genome editing in C. elegans via a CRISPR-Cas9 system.
- Cloning-free CRISPR for C. elegans, which uses purified Cas9, such as that expressed from pHO4d-Cas9 from Michael Nonet. Protocol can be found at the Seydoux lab website.
- Co-CRISPR plasmids that facilitate detection of genome-editing events. Developed in Craig Mello's lab and described in A Co-CRISPR Strategy for Efficient Genome Editing in Caenorhabditis elegans. A modified approach has also been developed by the Fire laboratory and described in Efficient Marker-Free Recovery of Custom Genetic Modifications with CRISPR/Cas9 in Caenorhabditis elegans.
Mos1 Based Transgenesis
- miniMos Transgenesis Kit - Erik Jorgensen Lab. This kit contains 29 plasmids used to generate transgenic nematodes, including C. elegans and C. briggsae.
- Other related miniMos plasmids can be found on the Jorgensen Lab page.
- More information on miniMos and MosSCI plasmids can be found on Christian Frøkjær-Jensen's Wormbuilder website.
- Fire Lab C. elegans Vector Kit - Andrew Fire Lab. A set of vectors for C. elegans research, including lacZ and GFP fusion vectors.
- C. elegans optimized fluorophores - Andrew Fire Lab. Available with and without PATC, which diminishes epigenetic silencing in the germline.
- A "FLP-Out" system for controlled gene expression in Caenorhabditis elegans. - Jane Hubbard Lab. Plasmids for the temporal and spatial control of gene expression in C. elegans by combining expression of the FLP recombinase from either a heat-shock promoter or a tissue-specific promoter and expression of the target FLP-out cassette from either a ubiquitous or a tissue-specific promoter.
- cGAL and Split cGAL plasmids - Paul Sternberg Lab. Plasmids for the temperature-robust GAL4-UAS system in C. elegans.
- Synthetic biology constructs - Browse Addgene's collection of synthetic biology plasmids for use in C. elegans.
Addgene Blog Posts
- An “elegans” Approach to Better CRISPR/Cas9 Editing Efficiency Fluorescent Tagging of Endogenous Genes with SapTrap
- Even more elegant: Single injection CRISPR/Cas9 in C. elegans
- Caenorhabditis Genetics Center (CGC) - The CGC collects, maintains, and distributes stocks of C. elegans.
- Silencing Genomes - Cold Spring Harbor's guide to RNAi in C. elegans
- WormAtlas - A database featuring behavioral and structural anatomoy of C. elegans.
- WormBase - A consortium of biologists and computer scientists dedicated to providing the research community with accurate, current, accessible information concerning the genetics, genomics and biology of C. elegans and related nematodes.
- WormBook - A comprehensive, open-access collection of original, peer-reviewed chapters covering topics related to the biology of C. elegans and other nematodes.
- Wormbuilder - Describes methods to engineer the genome of the genetic model organism C. elegans.