Document Type

Honors Project

Publication Date



The daf-19 gene encodes the only RFX transcription factors in C. elegans, producing at least four related protein isoforms, one of which, DAF-19C, is responsible for ciliogenesis. Previous work by Senti and Swoboda (2008) demonstrated that adult worms deficient in all four DAF-19 proteins have extremely aberrant dwelling and roaming behavior on bacterial food. Most intriguingly, the addition of cDNA encoding the DAF-19C isoform restores cilia formation, but does not fully restore wild-type dwelling and roaming behavior. We are suggesting that additional neuron functions are needed to properly execute behaviors and these neuron functions require the activity of other DAF-19 isoforms. We have tested this hypothesis using both classic assays of roaming behavior and a newly developed assay that mimics a patchy food environment to further probe worm foraging behavior. We are assessing the behavior of worms lacking all isoforms of DAF-19 as well as those containing mutant alleles that affect only the larger isoforms of DAF-19 to determine whether these isoforms play a role in nervous system function and worm behavior.

Level of Honors

magna cum laude




Elizabeth De Stasio