Detection of Mitochondrial Toxicity of Environmental Pollutants Using Caenorhabditis elegans
This chapter summarizes some of what is known about environmental mitotoxicants and mechanisms of pollutant-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. It outlines some of the challenges and factors that complicate the research community's ability, and discusses the use of the nematode model organism Caenorhabditis elegans to study mitochondrial toxicity. The chapter reviews the mitochondrial biology of this organism, mitochondrial assays available, strengths and limitations of Caenorhabditis elegans, and selects mitochondrial toxicity discoveries. It also highlights some of the biological and genetic advantages that make Caenorhabditis elegans an excellent in vivo model for investigating mitochondrial toxicity. The chapter further discusses important differences that should be kept in mind when designing experiments in Caenorhabditis elegans to study disruption of mitochondrial functions by exposure to environmental contaminants. It highlights another related contribution from the Caenorhabditis elegans field: the role of mitochondria in mediating lifespan-related stress responses, which has been extensively studied in Caenorhabditis elegans.