Metabolic Control of Development and Adaptations to the Biochemical Environment in the Nematode C. elegans

  • Date: Aug 28, 2019
  • Time: 16:00
  • Speaker: Dr. Sider Penkov
  • University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine Carl Gustav Carus of TU Dresden & Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden
  • Location: Neubau Chemie
  • Room: Seminar Room E 173
  • Host: Prof. Dr. Gert Bange
  • Contact: gert.bange@synmikro.uni-marburg.de

The survival of organisms depends on tight coordination of growth and development with the maintenance of the homeostatic energy balance. I will present a combined biochemical and genetic approach to explore the functional relationship between developmental and metabolic transitions in the nematode C. elegans. First, I will show that in the so- called dauer (enduring) larva, a developmentally arrested stage for survival under harsh conditions, the metabolic mode dictates the state of development. Dauers undergo a metabolic switch to a “stand-by” mode, in which heat production,aerobic respiration, and TCA cycle are significantly reduced. The switch is achieved through a shift in the stoichiometric ratios between competing enzymes that diverts carbon atoms from the TCA cycle towards other metabolic modules. Activation of the TCA cycle by genetic manipulation prevents developmental arrest, suggesting that the metabolic switch controls the transition between growth and quiescence. Next, I will demonstrate that a similar switch is implemented in response to products of microbial fermentation such as ethanol. In that case, dauers modify the enzyme stoichiometric ratios to metabolize these products and secure energy source. However, this modification does not interfere with the“stand-by” mode and developmental arrest. In line with this, dauer larva provided with an optimal amount of ethanol asthe only carbon source survives much longer (up to 150 days). By modeling the metabolism of wild-type dauers and mutants of various signaling pathways, I will present evidence that that the survival of an organism provided with an unlimited source of carbon depends on the balance between lipid storage and energy production.

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