Poster Title

Uncovering the Molecular Mechanism Behind Associative Learning in C. elegans

Research Mentor(s)

Jacqueline Rose

Affiliated Department

Psychology

Sort Order

55

Start Date

14-5-2015 10:00 AM

End Date

14-5-2015 2:00 PM

Document Type

Event

Abstract

The current project uses the Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) model organism to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind associate learning. Calcium/calmodulin-kinase II (CaMKII) is a molecule that has long been linked to learning. In C. elegans the gene unc-43 encodes the ortholog of CaMKII. Our lab has previously demonstrated that worms have deficits in learning when a particular isoform of CaMKII is knocked out. The worm CaMKII strain, unc-43(gk452), carries a deletion mutation for the CaMKIIT isoform and shows learning deficits as measured by assays including, associative chemotaxis, and chemoavoidance. The current study aims to determine if this strain shows similar deficits following introduction of a rapid acquisition protocol involving stimulus pairing. To this end, a low frequency tone (100 Hz; CS) produces a vibration that the worm comes to associate with a light (either UV or blue wavelength; US). Data indicate that the unc-43(gk452) strain responds differently following pairing compared to controls. Current work includes generating a rescue strain using microinjection to restore exon 1 of this CaMKII isoform and determining if this is sufficient to return learning to wild-type levels.

Rights

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Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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May 14th, 10:00 AM May 14th, 2:00 PM

Uncovering the Molecular Mechanism Behind Associative Learning in C. elegans

Psychology

The current project uses the Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) model organism to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind associate learning. Calcium/calmodulin-kinase II (CaMKII) is a molecule that has long been linked to learning. In C. elegans the gene unc-43 encodes the ortholog of CaMKII. Our lab has previously demonstrated that worms have deficits in learning when a particular isoform of CaMKII is knocked out. The worm CaMKII strain, unc-43(gk452), carries a deletion mutation for the CaMKIIT isoform and shows learning deficits as measured by assays including, associative chemotaxis, and chemoavoidance. The current study aims to determine if this strain shows similar deficits following introduction of a rapid acquisition protocol involving stimulus pairing. To this end, a low frequency tone (100 Hz; CS) produces a vibration that the worm comes to associate with a light (either UV or blue wavelength; US). Data indicate that the unc-43(gk452) strain responds differently following pairing compared to controls. Current work includes generating a rescue strain using microinjection to restore exon 1 of this CaMKII isoform and determining if this is sufficient to return learning to wild-type levels.