Reem Yassine

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School


First Advisor

Hannah Seidel

Second Advisor

Aaron Liepman

Third Advisor

Marianne Laporte


Tumorous growth affects nearby healthy tissues, as seen in wasting disease experienced by cancer patients, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. We studied tumor growth in C.elegans, a microscopic worm that shares many genes with humans and has the ability to grow tumors in its reproductive system. To test whether tumors cause stress in nearby tissues, we used genetic crosses to create strains containing tumors and fluorescent-based stress reporters for the following physiological stresses: endoplasmic reticulum unfolded protein response (hsp-4p::GFP), heat shock (hsp-6.2p::GFP), and infection (irg-1p::GFP). We found that expression of the hsp-4p::GFP reporter was inhibited by the presence of a tumor at baseline conditions. The hsp-6.2p::GFP reporter and the irg-1p::GFP reporter demonstrated no significant difference in expression between tumorous and non-tumorous worms at baseline. Stress reporter expression following acute heat shock was also examined. There was no significant difference in hsp-4p: :GFP expression 24 hours following acute heat shock. In comparison to non-tumorous C.elegans, tumorous C.elegans demonstrated higher hsp-16.2p::GFP expression 4 hours following acute heat shock. We also found that tumorous C.elegans worms containing a tumor in their reproductive system have larger body size and greater fat content than do wildtype C.elegans.

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