Date of Award

Spring 2016

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Dr. Jay Pieczynski

Committee Member

Dr. Susan Walsh

Committee Member

Dr. Bobby Fokidis


The cilium is an organelle utilized by the cell for signaling purposes. Olfaction is a process that utilizes cilia for cell signaling, specifically as the starting point of the neuronal olfactory pathway, by which volatile odorant molecules trigger neuronal depolarization and subsequent behavioral modification. Related to cilia function and development is the process of intraflagellar transport (IFT): the bidirectional movement of channels, receptors, and other proteins by motors along the microtubules of the cilia, including odorant receptors. The phenomenon of odorant habituation upon continuous exposure to an attractant chemical has been previously confirmed, but the role of IFT in this process is not well understood. This study aims to elucidate a possible coupled relationship between cell signaling by cilia and the rate of transport of proteins through IFT by altering the variables of lifelong chemical exposure and chemical concentration in the soil-living nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. By conducting chemotaxis behavioral assays on both wildtype worms and worms lacking retrograde IFT, we have implicated retrograde IFT variability as the mechanism by which the cilia modulates behavior in response to different chemical environments.

Included in

Cell Biology Commons