Role of Caveolin and Adaptation of C. elegans to Hypoxia
Mentor:Hemal Patel, Associate Professor, Anesthesiology, University of California San Diego
Caveolin is a scaffolding protein found in small flask-like invaginations of the cell membrane called the caveolae. Three isoforms of this protein exist, caveolin-1, caveolin-2 and caveolin-3. The role of caveolin in the cell includes regulation of signaling pathways, endocytosis, and ion channel regulation. Current data shows that when certain cells are exposed to a stressor, caveolin is translocated to the different organelles in the cell to aid in dealing with stress. It is yet to be understood if microdomains rich in caveolin serve as a control point for oxygen specific metabolism in the membrane. In this experiment, we utilized C. elegans as a model to test the hypothesis that the overexpression of caveolin adapts C. elegans to hypoxic stress through hypoxic preconditioning, and that this organism level adaptation will be limited in C. elegans expressing Cav-1 and -2. Hypoxia occurs when there is less than normal levels of oxygen available in the environment. We hypothesized that the overexpression of caveolin helps with stress adaptation. The experiment was conducted by exposing C.elegans to a 4 hour sublethal hypoxic exposure followed by 21 hours recovery in normoxia and finally a 21 hour lethal hypoxic exposure. The goal of this study is to further understand the role that caveolin plays in stress adaptation. No significant mortality was observed between the overexpressor, knock out, and wild type. Presentation will discuss findings and the future direction of the study.