Sensory mechanisms that influence physiology: the aging process
For optimal survival, an animal has to process complex environmental information to generate the appropriate physiological responses. An interesting demonstration of this sensory influence on physiology is the observation that subsets of gustatory and olfactory neurons can either shorten or lengthen C. elegans lifespan under a given environment, responses that can also be present in Drosophila. Accordingly, the nature of these neurons suggests that some of the cues that affect lifespan are food-derived and that perception of these cues alone can exert different effects on lifespan. Consistent with this idea, we have recently found that the sensory system can promote two kinds of dietary influences on lifespan: dependence on food type/composition versus restriction of food intake levels. We have also shown that the sensory influence on lifespan via food-type recognition involves the activities of specific neuropeptide signaling pathways under particular environmental conditions.
Now, we are looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral scientist to join us in further elucidating how neuropeptide signaling processes food-type information that alters C. elegans physiology, and consequently lifespan. Candidates should have expertise in genetics and molecular biology. Interested individuals should please send their CV, a brief cover letter describing their research experience and 3 references to:
Joy Alcedo, PhD
Wayne State University
Department of Biological Sciences
5047 Gullen Mall
Detroit, MI 48202
Maier, W., Adilov, B., Regenass, M., and Alcedo, J. (2010). A neuromedin U receptor acts with the sensory system to modulate food type-dependent effects on C. elegans lifespan. PLoS Biol 8, e1000376. (*These authors contributed equally to this work.)
Alcedo, J., Maier, W., and Ch’ng, Q. (2010). Sensory influence on homeostasis and lifespan: molecules and circuits. In: Tavernarakis N (ed), Protein Metabolism and Homeostasis in Aging. Landes Bioscience, Austin, TX, pp. 197-210. (http://www.landesbioscience.com/curie/chapter/4546/)
Alcedo, J. and Kenyon, C. (2004). Regulation of C. elegans longevity by specific gustatory and olfactory neurons. Neuron 41, 45-55.