Temperature-robustness in a neural gene network that links diet to ageing

QueeLim Ch'ng (primary)
Developmental Neurobiology
Chris Barnes (secondary)
Cell and Developmental Biology


Brain-body communication plays a central role in modulating ageing in response to diet. How the brain effectively encodes nutrient information despite environmental fluctuations is a fundamental question in biology. Using a systems biology approach that combines genetics and neuroscience, we investigate temperature-dependent plasticity in a C. elegans neural network that encodes food abundance to modulate lifespan. This plasticity in network connectivity reflects novel forms of neural computations that enable the organism to adjust its lifespan in response to food, despite big changes in temperature. We will combine high-throughput microscopy, advanced genetics, and modelling to study temperature-robustness in this neural network.


1 Patel DS, Diana G, Entchev EV, Zhan M, Lu H, and Ch’ng Q. (2019) A Multicellular Network Mechanism for Temperature-Robust Food Sensing. Cell Reports 33:108521 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108521

2 Diana G., Patel D. S., Entchev E. V., Zhan M., Lu H., and Ch’ng Q. (2017) Genetic control of encoding strategy in a food-sensing neural circuit. eLife 2017;6:e24040 https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.24040

3 Zhan M., Crane M. M., Entchev E. V., Caballero A., Fernandes de Abreu D., Ch’ng Q, and Lu H. (2015) Automated Processing of Imaging Data Through Multi-Tiered Classification of Biological Structures Illustrated Using Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS Comp Biol 24;11(4):e1004194. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004194

4 Entchev E. V., Patel D. S., Zhan M., Steele A, Lu H. and Ch’ng Q. (2015) A Gene-Expression-Based Neural Code for Food Abundance that Mediates Dietary Effects on Lifespan. eLife 4:e06259 https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.06259

5 Fernandes de Abreu D., Caballero A., Fardel P., Stroustrup N., Chen Z., Lee K., Keyes W. D., Nash Z. M., López-Moyado I. F., Vaggi F., Cornils A., Regenass M., Neagu A., Ostojic I., Chang L., Cho Y., Sifoglu D., Shen Y., Fontana W., Lu H., Csikasz-Nagy A., Murphy C., Antebi A., Blanc E., Apfeld J., Zhang Y., Alcedo J. and Ch’ng Q. (2014) An Insulin-to-Insulin Regulatory Network Orchestrates Phenotypic Specificity in Development and Physiology. PLoS Genet, 10(3):e1004225. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1004225

Genes, development and STEM* approaches to biology
Area of Biology
Techniques & Approaches
EngineeringGeneticsImage ProcessingMathematics / StatisticsMicroscopy / ElectrophysiologyMolecular BiologySimulation / Modelling