This summer I am picking up where Hannah left off on a project she worked on during her rotation here (with her guidance 🙂 ). I’ll be studying sex differences in entry and exit from dauer. For anyone who is unfamiliar with dauer, it is an alternative larval stage that young c. elegans enter in the face of certain stressors, such as high population density and limited food. Worms entering dauer undergo morphological and physiological changes that allow them to survive up to several months in poor conditions. Hopefully, I’ll also have the chance to look at the potential roles of three different pathways known to be involved in the regulation of dauer arrest: the guanalyl cyclase pathway, the TGFβ-like pathway, and the insulin-like pathway. I hope to be able to do this by inducing dauer arrest using identified components of dauer pheromone (a blend of ascarosides 2 and 3), and by observing entry and exit from dauer in him-5 and potentially daf-11, daf-7, and daf-2 single mutants.
Currently, we’re just working on adapting a procedure used by Srinivasan et al., 2008 in which they were able to induce dauer arrest using different combinations of ascarosides 2, 3, and 4 with varying success. So far, it looks like this will definitely take some trial and error!
Check back in a few days to hear about my newest successes (and otherwise)!