Counteracting Environmental Chemicals with Coenzyme Q10: An Educational Primer for Use with “Antioxidant CoQ10 Restores Fertility by Rescuing Bisphenol A-Induced Oxidative DNA Damage in the Caenorhabditis elegans Germline”


Environmental toxicants are chemicals that negatively affect human health. Although there are numerous ways to limit exposure, the ubiquitous nature of certain environmental toxicants makes it impossible to avoid them entirely. Consequently, scientists are continuously working toward developing strategies for combating their harmful effects. Using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, a model with many genetic and physiological similarities to humans, researchers in the Colaiácovo laboratory have identified several molecular mechanisms by which the toxic agent bisphenol A (BPA) interferes with reproduction. Here, we address their recent discovery that a widely available compound, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), can rescue BPA-induced damage. This work is significant in that it poses a low-cost method for improving reproductive success in humans. The goal of this primer is to assist educators and students with navigating the paper entitled “Antioxidant CoQ10 Restores Fertility by Rescuing Bisphenol A-Induced Oxidative DNA Damage in the Caenorhabditis elegans Germline.” It is ideally suited for integration into an upper-level undergraduate course such as Genetics, Cell and Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology, or Toxicology. The primer provides background information on the history of BPA, the utility of the C. elegans germ line as a model for studying reproductive toxicity, and research methods including assessment of programmed cell death, fluorescent microscopy applications, and assays to quantify gene expression. Questions for deeper exploration in-class or online are provided.Related article in GENETICS: Hornos Carneiro MF, Shin N, Karthikraj R, Barbosa F Jr, Kannan K, Colaiácovo MP. Antioxidant CoQ10 restores fertility by rescuing bisphenol A-induced oxidative DNA damage in the Caenorhabditis elegans Germline. Genetics 214:381-395.

Authors: Beatrix R Bradford, Nicole E Briand, Nina Fassnacht, Esabelle D Gervasio, Aidan M Nowakowski, Theresa C FitzGibbon, Stephanie Maurina, Alexis V Benjamin, MaryEllen Kelly, Paula M Checchi
; Full Source: Genetics 2020 Dec;216(4):879-890. doi: 10.1534/genetics.120.303577.