Genetic Mechanisms for Anoxia Survival in C. Elegans

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Oxygen deprivation can be pathological for many organisms, including humans. Consequently, there are several biologically and economically relevant negative impacts associated with oxygen deprivation. Developing an understanding of which genes can influence survival of oxygen deprivation will enable the formulation of more effective policies and practices. In this dissertation, genes that influence adult anoxia survival in the model metazoan system, C. elegans, are identified and characterized. Insulin-like signaling, gonad function and gender have been shown to influence longevity and stress resistance in the soil nematode, C. elegans. Thus, either of these two processes or gender may influence anoxia survival. The ... continued below

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Mendenhall, Alexander R. August 2008.

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  • Mendenhall, Alexander R.

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Oxygen deprivation can be pathological for many organisms, including humans. Consequently, there are several biologically and economically relevant negative impacts associated with oxygen deprivation. Developing an understanding of which genes can influence survival of oxygen deprivation will enable the formulation of more effective policies and practices. In this dissertation, genes that influence adult anoxia survival in the model metazoan system, C. elegans, are identified and characterized. Insulin-like signaling, gonad function and gender have been shown to influence longevity and stress resistance in the soil nematode, C. elegans. Thus, either of these two processes or gender may influence anoxia survival. The hypothesis that insulin-like signaling alters anoxia survival in C. elegans is tested in Aim I. The hypotheses that gonad function or gender modulates anoxia survival are tested in Aim II. Insulin-like signaling affects anoxia survival in C. elegans. Reduction of insulin-like signaling through mutation of the insulin-like receptor, DAF-2, increases anoxia survival rates in a gpd-2/3 dependent manner. The glycolytic genes gpd-2/3 are necessary for wild-type response to anoxia, and sufficient for increasing anoxia survival through overexpression. Gonad function and gender both affect anoxia survival in C. elegans. A reduction of ovulation and oocyte maturation, as measured by oocyte flux, is associated with enhanced anoxia survival in all cases examined to date. Reduction of function of several genes involved in germline development and RTK/Ras/MAPK signaling reduce ovulation and oocyte maturation while concurrently increasing anoxia survival. The act of mating does not influence anoxia survival, but altering ovulation through breeding or chemical treatment does. The male phenotype also increases anoxia survival rates independent of genotype. These studies have identified and characterized over ten different genotypes that affect adult survival of anoxia in C. elegans. Before these studies were conducted, there were no genes known to influence adult anoxia survival in C. elegans. Furthermore, these studies have begun to uncouple mechanisms of longevity and stress resistance.

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  • August 2008

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  • May 11, 2009, 8:08 p.m.

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Mendenhall, Alexander R. Genetic Mechanisms for Anoxia Survival in C. Elegans, dissertation, August 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9062/: accessed June 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .