471629 Quantitative Synaptic Aging Characterization in Caenorhabditis Elegans As a Neuronal Health Metric

Tuesday, November 15, 2016: 9:24 AM
Continental 9 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Sahand Saberi Bosari, Daniel Midkiff and Adriana San-Miguel, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

The multicellular organism C. elegans has been widely studied as a model for multiple fundamental biological processes, ranging from gene silencing to apoptosis, metabolism, and neurogenesis. In particular, C. elegans has had a large impact in aging research. Using this model organism, it was first discovered that aging is a genetically controlled process. Aging is becoming a major challenge in today’s society. Lifespan has been dramatically increased; yet serious age-associated diseases significantly impact the quality of life at older age. Better understanding the aging process should shed light on disease prevention and on environmental and life-long variables that could significantly improve quality of life at older age.

In this study, we aim to better understand age-induced neuronal decline in C. elegans. In particular, we focus on morphological and functional characterization of synaptic connections. We apply quantitative high-throughput experimental platforms, which integrate microfluidics, computer vision, and automation, to obtain large data sets of multi-parametric characterization of synaptic sites. Morphological characterization is based on imaging a set of representative synaptic-localized fluorescent fusion proteins. Functional characterization is based on quantitative drug resistance and optogenetic stimulation. Through the combination of these quantitative platforms, we focus on elucidating the main changes that occur at synaptic connections in populations of animals at various points during their lifespan, and potential genetic, environmental, or activity-driven prevention strategies for age-induced neuronal decline.

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See more of this Session: Development and Aging
See more of this Group/Topical: Food, Pharmaceutical & Bioengineering Division