Worm Research Lab

McMaster University

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research [2017/10/24 13:01]
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research [2020/10/28 19:36] (current)
admin updated research projects
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 ~~socialite:icon twitter facebook googleplus linkedin pinterest tumblr~~ ~~socialite:icon twitter facebook googleplus linkedin pinterest tumblr~~
  
-How cells form tissues? How do they communicate with each other and respond to environmental signals? How cell-cell interactions give rise to complex animal behavior? Finding answers to these major questions requires identification of key genes and understanding their expression and functional crosstalk. Since such genes are also linked to diseases such as cancers and neuronal degeneration, a detailed knowledge of the regulatory networks of gene interactions and function will ultimately help develop treatments for major illnesses thereby improving human health.\\+How cells form tissues? How do they communicate with each other and respond to environmental signals? How cell-cell interactions give rise to complex animal behavior? How external and internal signals control stress response and aging in animals? Finding answers to these major questions requires identification of key genes and understanding their expression and functional crosstalk. Since many such genes are also linked to diseases such as cancersneuronal degeneration and premature death, a detailed knowledge of the regulatory networks of gene interactions and function will ultimately help develop treatments for major illnesses thereby improving human health and lifespan.\\
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-My group is investigating three fundamental biological processes, namely, cell signaling, cell proliferation, and cell differentiation, in two established animal models, //C. elegans// and //C. briggsae//. These two nematode species (or worms) offer many experimental advantages including rapid development (~3 days from egg to adult), transparency, small (~1 mm), hermaphroditic life style, and compact genome (~100 megabases). Approximately two-thirds of the genes in worms have human homologs and many of the gene function and cellular and molecular processes are conserved all the way to human.\\+My group is investigating fundamental biological processes, e.g., cell signaling, cell proliferation, cell differentiation, and regulation of stress response, in two well-established animal models, //C. elegans// and //C. briggsae//. These two nematode species (or worms) offer many experimental advantages including rapid development (~3 days from egg to adult), transparency, small size (~1 mm), hermaphroditic life style, and compact genome (~100 megabases). Approximately two-thirds of the genes in worms have human homologs and many of the gene function and cellular and molecular processes are conserved all the way to human.\\
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 Major areas of research in our lab focus on:\\ Major areas of research in our lab focus on:\\
   * Tissue morphogenesis   * Tissue morphogenesis
   * Cancer genetics   * Cancer genetics
 +  * Signaling pathway function, crosstalk, and transcriptional regulation
   * Comparative and evolutionary genetics (read [[http://www.briggsae.org/|here]])   * Comparative and evolutionary genetics (read [[http://www.briggsae.org/|here]])
   * Neurobiology and behavior (read more about it [[http://www.macwormlab.net/labchip/|here]])    * Neurobiology and behavior (read more about it [[http://www.macwormlab.net/labchip/|here]]) 
-  * Signaling pathway function, crosstalk, and transcriptional regulation+  * Regulation of stress response and aging
  
  
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-==== LIM-HOX gene lin-11 ==== +One of the genes that we have investigated for their role in reproductive system development is a LIM homeobox transcription factor LIN-11. Our findings have established that LIN-11 is a key regulator of vulval morphogenesis. In //lin-11// mutant animals, vulval cells fail to acquire correct identities and inappropriately fuse with each other (Gupta et.al, 2003). Thus, //lin-11// confers cell identity by regulating the expression of cell type-specific genes. We are taking a variety of approaches in Genetics, Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics to understand the molecular basis of //lin-11// regulation and its downstream targets during vulval morphogenesis (e.g., see [[https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28215941/|Amon & Gupta, 2017]]).\\
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-One of the projects involves investigating the regulation and function of a LIM homeobox transcription factor LIN-11. LIN-11 is a key regulator of vulval morphogenesis. In //lin-11// mutant animals, vulval cells fail to acquire correct identities and inappropriately fuse with each other (Gupta et.al, 2003). Thus, //lin-11// confers cell identity by regulating the expression of cell type-specific genes. We are taking a variety of approaches in Genetics, Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics to understand the molecular basis of //lin-11// regulation and its downstream targets during vulval morphogenesis.\\+
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-==== Wnt Signalling ====+More recently, we have collaborated with Dr. Chamberlin (Ohio State University, USA) to discover a new class of genes that inhibit cell proliferation (termed 'inappropriate vulva proliferation' or //ivp//). Our work ([[https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31960924/|Chamberlin et al. 2019]]) has revealed that //ivp// genes encode novel, nuclear proteins that are important for chromatin-mediated gene regulation. 
  
-Another project deals with the regulation of Wnt Signal transduction pathway. Wnt proteins form a family of highly conserved secreted signaling molecules that regulate cell-to-cell interactions during embryogenesis. Insights into the mechanisms of Wnt action have emerged from several systems: genetics in //Drosophila// and //C. elegans//; biochemistry in cell culture and ectopic gene expression in Xenopus embryos. Mutations in Wnt genes or Wnt pathway components lead to specific developmental defects, while various human diseases, including cancer, are caused by abnormal Wnt signaling. As currently understood, Wnt proteins bind to receptors of the Frizzled and LRP families on the cell surface. Through several cytoplasmic relay components, the signal is transduced to beta-catenin, which enters the nucleus and forms a complex with TCF to activate transcription of Wnt target genes.\\+ 
 +---- 
 +===== Stress response and aging ===== 
 +Another major focus of our lab is to investigate the mechanism of stress response and how it affects the behaviour and aging of animals.  
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 +We have found that an Axin family member in //C. elegans//, termed //pry-1//, plays an essential role in the maintenance of stress response and normal lifespan of animals. Axins are bona-fide components of Wnt signal transduction pathway ([[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6956378/|see this review]]). Mutations in Wnt signaling components lead to a variety of defects. As currently understood, Wnt proteins bind to receptors of the Frizzled and LRP families on the cell surface. Through Axin and several other cytoplasmic relay components, the signal is transduced to beta-Catenin, which enters the nucleus and interacts with TCF to regulate gene expression changes.\\ 
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 +Interestingly, our work has suggested that PRY-1's role in aging does not involve any of the known factors of Wnt signaling. The data demonstrate that PRY-1 interacts with AAK-2 (AMP Kinase) and DAF-16 (FOXO family member), presumably in the form of a complex, to regulate genes involved in lifespan maintenance [[https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.22.055962v1.full|read the paper]].\\
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 ===== Electrotaxis ===== ===== Electrotaxis =====
  
-{{ :images:electrotaxis.gif?400|}}Our lab is also investigating the electrotaxis phenomenon in nematodes, the neuronal basis of this behavior, and its applications.\\+{{ :images:electrotaxis.gif?400|}}Our lab is also investigating the mechanism of electrotaxis behaviour in nematodes and its applications.\\
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-**Electrotaxis is the movement of organisms in response to an electric field stimulus.** In collaboration with Ravi Selvaganapathy (Mechanical Engineering, McMaster University) <color blue>we provided the first evidence of electrotaxis in //C. elegans// in a microfluidic channel environment (Rezai et al., Lab Chip 2010). We showed that low voltage DC electric field induces worms to swim towards cathode with a characteristic speed. This response is robust, instantaneous and highly sensitive.</color> Subsequently, we demonstrated that dopamine (DA) neurons play important role in mediating the electrotaxis behavior. The involvement of DA signalling provides a basis to model Parkinson's disease in //C. elegans//, and to investigate the mechanism of neurodegeneration and to identify neuorprotective chemicals. +**Electrotaxis is the movement of the organism in response to an electric field stimulus.** In collaboration with Ravi Selvaganapathy (Mechanical Engineering, McMaster University) <color blue>we provided the first evidence of electrotaxis response of //C. elegans// in a microfluidic device (Rezai et al., Lab Chip 2010). We demonstrated that worms, when exposed to a low voltage DC current inside a liquid-filled micro-channel, move in a directed manner towards cathode with a characteristic speed. This response is robust, instantaneousand highly sensitive.</color> Subsequently, we demonstrated that dopamine (DA) neurons play an important role in mediating the behavior. The involvement of DA signalling provides a basis to model Parkinson's disease in //C. elegans//, and to investigate the mechanism of neurodegeneration as well as to screen for chemicals with neuorprotective properties
research.1508850068.txt.gz · Last modified: 2017/10/24 13:01 by 127.0.0.1