Date of Submission

Spring 2021

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Heather L. Bennett

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Oxygen is vital for multicellular organisms to respire, produce energy, and ultimately survive. Anoxia, as medically defined, is a complete deprivation of oxygen to the brain and is considered one of the deadliest injuries. Evidence shows that a short period of sublethal stress can protect cells from the harmful effects of anoxia in an effect known as preconditioning. While the benefits of hypoxic or ischemic preconditioning have been documented in several organisms, it remains unclear how anoxic preconditioning is working. Recent work by Bennett et al. showed that inactivation of the general nervous system, specific neuronal groups including cholinergic and GABAergic neurons, or body wall muscles prior to a 48-hour anoxic insult conferred a survival benefit in C. elegans. This indicates that the nervous system and GABA signaling are driving the preconditioning response to oxygen deprivation. GABAergic neurons connect to enteric, body wall, and head muscles. GABA mutants show defects in enteric. function, locomotion, and foraging. Currently, it is unclear how loss of GABA signaling yields protection against oxygen deprivation and which specific GABAergic genes are responsible. This paper proposes a series of anoxic assays testing how loss-of-function in GABAergic genes affects survival in order to locate the GABAergic genes responsible for conferring the protective effect under anoxia. The information gained from these experiments will highlight the role of GABA in sensitivity to oxygen deprivation.

Open Access Agreement

On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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