Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Fall 5-11-2011

Major Department or Program



Kendra Golden


An organism’s ability to regulate gene expression in response to environmental factors such as nutrition levels and oxygen availabi lity is critical for survival. Previous research has implicated sirtuin genes , which transcribe deacetylase pr oteins that regulate gene expression via deacetylase of either histone proteins or other proteins , in regulation of both oxygen and nutrient availability in mice . This resear ch knocks down sirtuins in the dietary restriction pathway and the hypoxic response pathways in order to examine whether these molecular pathways act in a sirtuin - dependent mechanism in Caenorhabditis elegans . The findings showed that in both pathways, kno ckdown of sirtuin - dependent gene express ion led to a decreased lifespan but di d not mirror the li fespan of the worm strains that were either sirtuin mutant strains or sirtuin RNAi knockdown s in wild type worm strains . This indicates that both pathways are not sirtuin - dependent , although the mechanism of how these pathways increase longevity remains unclear . These findings point to t he need for further research in to the role of sirtuin genes within the cell and whether they actually function as longevity genes.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Longevity -- Genetics, Caenorhabditis elegans, Histone deacetylase, Aging -- Genetic factors, Caloric Restriction, Mutation (Biology), Gene expression, Sirtuins, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2011 -- Biology Department

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Public Accessible Thesis

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