Access Type

Open Access Embargo

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Joy Alcedo


In C. elegans, an insulin-like peptide (ILP) network coordinates various physiological

processes, including developmental plasticity, to enhance survival under different environments. During stressful conditions, such as high temperatures, low food and high population density, first-stage larval worms enter an alternative developmental arrest program called dauer. When ideal environmental conditions are restored, worms exit from the dauer stage to go through reproductive adulthood. Different subsets of ILPs regulate the entry into versus the exit from the dauer state. For example, the ILP ins-6 plays a minor role in inhibiting dauer entry from the ASI sensory neurons, but a more primary role in promoting dauer exit from the ASJ sensory neurons. More importantly, INS-6 also acts as a major information relay within the ILP network. Thus, identification of the regulators of ins-6 will presumably also identify the regulators of the ILP network that ensures survival in response to changing environments. In collaboration with two other members of the lab, I performed forward and reverse genetic screens to identify regulators of ins-6 and to determine how these regulators affect developmental plasticity. Through these screens, we isolated mutants that affect ins-6 mRNA in neurons. Thus, these mutants isolated from both screens presumably regulate not only ins-6 activities, but also coordinate the different activities of the ILP network that is critical for animal survival.