Gareema Dhiman – Research on Capitol Hill 2021

(Mentor: Erik Jorgensen)

Neurons constantly fuse and recycle synaptic vesicles. Like other organelles, synaptic vesicles and proteins must be removed when damaged or overused. However, a pathway for removal of this material is unknown. Members of the Jorgensen lab have recently discovered a new organelle in C. elegans called a surveillant, which is produced when the worms undergo severe stress. Surveillants have important similarities to the main degradative organelle of the cell, the lysosome; however, unlike lysosomes, surveillants are transported to and from synapses. To better understand surveillants, we aim to answer two main questions. First, what is an endogenous marker of surveillants? Second, what is the synaptic cargo collected by surveillants? To address the first question, we will use the genetic integration technique CRISPR to tag the lysosomal protein SCAV-3 to see if it localizes to surveillants. To address the second, we are tagging synaptic vesicle proteins and other active zone proteins to see if they are taken up by surveillants. Our preliminary data shows that the synaptic vesicle protein synaptogyrin (SNG-1) is not found in surveillants. Currently, we are determining if the active zone protein ELKS-1 is a cargo of surveillants. This research is important for broadening our understanding of how neurons respond to severe stress, with relevance to human diseases such as stroke.

House Representative:
Mike J Petersen
Senate Representative: Chris Wilson