Pathogen response genes mediate Caenorhabditis elegans innate immunity.

Hannah AnthonyAnthony
Advisor - Jennifer Powell

Innate immunity is crucial in the response and defense against pathogens for invertebrates and vertebrates alike. The soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a useful model to study the eukaryotic innate immune response to microbial pathogenesis. Prior research indicates that the protein receptor FSHR-1 plays an important role in the innate recognition of intestinal infection due to pathogen consumption. Determining what genes are controlled by FSHR-1 may uncover an unknown pathway significant to the C. elegans immune system as well as innate immunity in higher eukaryotes. A fluorescent transgenic reporter was constructed for a candidate pathogen response gene due to its FSHR-1-dependent transcriptional induction in worms infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The spatial expression of this putative pathogen response gene was characterized in transgenic worms under both control and pathogenic conditions. RNA interference was performed to assess the FSHR-1 dependency of this expression pattern.