Sigma Xi: 2015 Research Poster Presentation - C. elegans Bacterial Food Identification
Faculty Mentors: Christelle Sabatier, Tracy Ruscetti
C. elegans nematodes navigate through the soil to feed on bacterial cells. Research has shown that worms can be trained to avoid pathogenic bacteria, and be attracted to nutritious bacteria. I have used chemotaxis assays to demonstrate that C. elegans are preferentially attracted to E. coli even when also presented with an equally nutritious food source, B. subtilis. In addition, I have shown that C. elegans continue to be attracted to E. coli even if they have been fed B. subtilis for multiple generations. This is in contrast to previous experiments showing that C. elegans learn to be attracted to nutritious bacteria. I also have preliminary data that C. elegans are preferentially attracted to the supernatant (filtered spent media) of E. coli alone indicating that they are sensing a secreted protein or metabolite produced by the E. coli bacteria to sense lthe location of this food source in their environment.