Mentor: Dr. Xantha Karp
Research: Secondary Screen to Validate Genes Downstream of daf-16 in the Regulation of col-19p::gfp During Dauer
Stem cells are capable of self-renewing, but some are also multipotent, which means they can produce different cell types. These stem cells can go into quiescence, or cell arrest, to remain healthy. Analogous to human stem cells, C. elegans has seam cells that maintain multipotency during the quiescent and stress-resistant dauer stage. Quiescence in mammals is promoted by the transcription factor family FOXO. In C. elegans the ortholog daf-16 promotes quiescence in dauer larvae making C. elegans a prime model organism. Mutant daf-16 dauer larvae express an adult seam cell fate marker, col-19p::gfp, indicating that daf-16 is important to block adult cell fate in dauer larvae. We identified three transcription factors that may regulate adult cell fate expression in daf-16 dauer larvae.