Honors College | Scholars Week Theses Presentations

Title

PAM-1 and autophagy pathways intersect to regulate gametogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Biology/Biomedical Science

Minor

Chemistry

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Chris Trzepacz, PhD

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Autophagy, the cell's recycling system, is a highly-conserved survival mechanism of the cell. Autophagy has been implicated in the mediation of the removal of cytotoxic aggregates, such as those linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's and Alzheimer's disease. Studies in several model organisms have identified numerous genes involved in mediating autophagy, including the Puromycin sensitive aminopeptidase (Psa). The Caenorhabditis elegans orthologue of Psa, pam-1, also governs fertility. Along with apoptosis, a form of regulated cell death, autophagy has been found to be required for efficient C. elegans embryogenesis. We have examined the involvement of PAM-1 in the autophagic regulation of gametogenesis. Through suppression of C. elegans autophagy genes, we observed changes in pam-1 influenced fertility metrics and have examined expression patterns of PAM-1 under suppression of autophagy, stimulation of autophagy, and under normal physiological conditions. Our results can provide insight into autophagic regulation and C. elegans oogenesis, and by extension, these processes in higher eukaryotes such as ourselves.

Affiliations

Honors Thesis

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PAM-1 and autophagy pathways intersect to regulate gametogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans

Autophagy, the cell's recycling system, is a highly-conserved survival mechanism of the cell. Autophagy has been implicated in the mediation of the removal of cytotoxic aggregates, such as those linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's and Alzheimer's disease. Studies in several model organisms have identified numerous genes involved in mediating autophagy, including the Puromycin sensitive aminopeptidase (Psa). The Caenorhabditis elegans orthologue of Psa, pam-1, also governs fertility. Along with apoptosis, a form of regulated cell death, autophagy has been found to be required for efficient C. elegans embryogenesis. We have examined the involvement of PAM-1 in the autophagic regulation of gametogenesis. Through suppression of C. elegans autophagy genes, we observed changes in pam-1 influenced fertility metrics and have examined expression patterns of PAM-1 under suppression of autophagy, stimulation of autophagy, and under normal physiological conditions. Our results can provide insight into autophagic regulation and C. elegans oogenesis, and by extension, these processes in higher eukaryotes such as ourselves.