Changes to the environment including contamination are major threats to animal diversity and human wellbeing. Cap 'n' collar transcription factors (CNCs) are master regulators of genes that protect animals from environmental stress. Understanding and predicting how animals and humans respond to environmental stress will require a detailed understanding of CNC regulation and function. The genetic model organism Caenorhabditis elegans has numerous experimental advantages for studying these processes. C. elegans is also a model for understanding the biology of nematodes, which as parasites damage $80 billion of crops per year, burden animal husbandry, and infect as many as 1/3 of humans world-wide. C. elegans has a single CNC named SKN-1. The objectives of this project are to 1) define how SKN-1 is regulated during environmental stress by combining protein biochemistry with transgenic experiments in live animals and 2) use genetics and molecular biology to identify and characterize genes that function with SKN-1. This new knowledge will facilitate a deeper understanding of how animals acclimate and adapt to challenging environments and will provide a foundation for understanding nematode defenses to anti-parasitic drugs and host-immune responses. This project will educate and train students, teachers, and scientists at the pre-collegiate, undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral levels. New concepts and ideas will be translated to ~225 largely pre-medical, dental, veterinary, and doctoral students through a stress biology module in an intensive upper level undergraduate course. Outreach programs will introduce primary school students to nematodes and a training module will introduce high-school teachers to C. elegans as a genetic and molecular model system for education, animal biology, biotechnology, and biomedical research.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS)
Application #
1120130
Program Officer
Steven Ellis
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2011-08-15
Budget End
2016-07-31
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$417,500
Indirect Cost
Name
University of Florida
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Gainesville
State
FL
Country
United States
Zip Code
32611