Submission Date

7-23-2015

Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access

Department

Biology

Faculty Mentor

Rebecca Kohn

Comments

Presented during the 17th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 24, 2015 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are reactive molecules that contain oxygen. ROS are naturally formed as a byproduct of cellular processes that metabolize oxygen. These products continue to react with and damage DNA, proteins, and other macromolecules due to oxidative stress. Individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) symptomatically demonstrate motor dysfunction due to degeneration of dopamine (DA) neurons; oxidative stress being one of the main contributing factors of this neurodegenerative disorder. Caenorhabditis elegans serve as model organisms for genetic study. Within C. elegans, the strain WLZ1 models Parkinson’s disease due to an overexpression of the LRRK2 gene inserted into their genomic sequence, although its pathogenesis is not entirely clear. Antioxidants serve as therapeutic interventions against oxidative stress due to their scavenging abilities to neutralize free-radicals. CoQ10 is an antioxidant that specifically targets the electron transport chain by preventing leakage of oxygen from complex I, a main source of the formation of superoxide. It is hypothesized that therapeutic intervention of CoQ10 would attenuate symptoms of PD present in the WLZ1 strain, with dopamine neurons visualized by green fluorescent protein tagged to the DAergic nervous system.

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