“Sexual Interactions Induce Early Death in Nematodes: Strategies and Counterstrategies,” by Dr. Lauren N. Booth, Department of Genetics, Stanford.
Sexual interactions can dramatically influence health, but the molecular mechanism is poorly understood because the sexes are typically kept separate in biomedical research. In C. elegans and its relatives, interactions between the sexes negatively impact health. I have found that sexual interactions impact health through several genetic pathways that additively contribute to a reduction in health and lifespan. Interestingly, sexual interactions impact health via both highly conserved pathways that play a general role in health as well as novel pathways that play a more specific role in regulating health in response to sexual interactions. While sexual interactions shorten lifespan, I have also discovered that these effects can be counteracted via a gamete-to-soma communication pathway that promotes protection of the soma from sexual stress. This protective pathway has evolved more than once in nematodes, suggesting that it may be key for their reproductive success. Together, these findings shed new light on the molecular effects of sexual interactions on health and has revealed novel pathways that regulate health in response to sexual and gamete signals.
Monday, January 27 at 9:30 am, Michael Smith Laboratories Lecture Theatre, MSL 102