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Circadian timing of metabolism in C. elegans

Final Report Summary - TIMETAB (Circadian timing of metabolism in C. elegans)

Biological clocks, introduce temporal structure into biological processes, synchronizing events between each other and to the external environment. We are interested on the reciprocal relationship between metabolism and biological rhythms, namely circadian and developmental oscillations. To investigate this, we use the nematode C. elegans, a well-established model for metabolic research and emergent for the study of biological timing. We think that research on C. elegans, an amenable genetic model with short life and generation times will add up important information to the field of biological rhythms.
Multicellular organisms need to adapt their growth to the environmental conditions, like food availability. This means that the developmental clock has to be slowed or even halted in some cases. For this purpose, organisms rely on cell non-autonomous signalling from nutrient sensing pathways that are conserved across metazoans. The signalling from these pathways has to convey the environmental information and adjust proliferation across the different tissues of the organism.
During the implementation of the TiMetab project we have applied a novel technique that we developed (Olmedo et al., 2015. Genetics, 201) to analyse in detail the developmental phenotypes of mutants of the conserved insulin-signalling pathway. We have also measured how the amount of food impacts the speed of the developmental clock. Furthermore, we have studied how starvation induced arrest impacts the later development of the animal.
The results derived from this project are advancing our understanding of C. elegans developmental rhythms and especially of its nutritional control. Besides the inherent relevance for developmental biology, this topic is relevant to human health since imbalance of energy homeostasis is involved in diseases like cancer, diabetes and obesity.


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