Genetic Control of Vulval and Uterine Coordination in C. elegans: cog-3

Project: Research project

Project Details


The long-term goal of the Hanna-Rose lab is to understand how internal organs develop in a coordinated fashion to allow a fully formed organism to function. As a model for coordinated organ development, they examine formation of the vulva and the uterus in the organism C. elegans, a microscopic worm. A mutant called cog-3 (connection of gonad defective) is at the center of their proposed work. In cog-3 mutant worms, the vulva and the uterus do not connect to one another, resulting in a physical blockage in the pathway to and from the uterus, analogous to a birth defect. cog-3 plays a surprising role in promoting this functional connection. It promotes temporal synchronization of the development of the uterine and vulval tissues so that a connection can form between the two organs at the appropriate time. In the cog-3 mutants the uterus develops later than the vulva, while they would be expected to develop simultaneously. The Hanna-Rose lab proposes to discover the molecular identity of cog-3 and then probe how cog-3 controls temporal development. Dr. Hanna-Rose will involve undergraduate and graduate students in this research to provide hands-on research experience that teaches these future scientists how to use the scientific method to approach any biological problem of interest. By accomplishing these aims, these researchers will shed light on how formation of a functional connection between lumens of two tubular organs in C. elegans is established. The principles they decipher will have wide reaching significance in understanding organ formation. Ultimately, the lab aims to apply knowledge of how organogenesis of the vulval-uterine connection in C. elegans is executed to understanding how defects in organogenesis during mammalian development can result in physical birth defects.

Effective start/end date8/1/077/31/11


  • National Science Foundation: $422,500.00


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