Nematodes with their enormous number of species and individuals widespread over the globe have a critical impact on environment and human life. A very successful survival strategy of many nematode species is to switch into an alternative life cycle if environmental conditions are bad – the so called dauer stage. To bring light into the specialized neurobiology and behavior of this highly interesting alternative stage, I am focusing on the dauer larva of the nematode model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. My project aims to map the C. elegans dauer connectome using 3D electron microscopy data sets. With this map of synaptic connections between all neurons I will dissect neural networks for dauer specific functions. Furthermore, I will validate those predictions with further functional tests. Besides that, I am working on correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) to enrich the C. elegans dauer connectome with additional information about protein localization at individual synapses.
Markert, S.M., Bauer, V., Muenz, T.S., Jones, N.G., Helmprobst, F., Britz, S., Sauer, M., Rössler, W., Engstler, M., Stigloher, C. (2017) “Chapter 2 - 3D subcellular localization with superresolution array tomography on ultrathin sections of various species”, in Müller-Reichert, T. and Verkade, P., eds., Correlative Light and Electron Microscopy III, Methods in Cell Biology, Academic Press, 21–47, available: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091679X17300481.
Markert, S.M., Britz, S., Proppert, S., Lang, M., Witvliet, D., Mulcahy, B., Sauer, M., Zhen, M., Bessereau, J.-L., Stigloher, C. (2016) “Filling the gap: adding super-resolution to array tomography for correlated ultrastructural and molecular identification of electrical synapses at the C. elegans connectome”, Neurophotonics, 3(4), 041802, available: https://doi.org/10.1117%2F1.nph.3.4.041802.