Date of Award

August 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biological Sciences

Committee Member

Yuqing Dong

Committee Member

Min Cao

Committee Member

William S Baldwin

Committee Member

Charles D Rice


With recent advances in medicine, life expectancy has been steadily increasing. This increasing geriatric populous encounter various age-associated diseases including decline in immunity called immunosenescence, which renders them susceptible to an extended array of pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus. These nosocomial pathogens gain resistance to a variety of antibiotics, hence a strong innate immune system is important for host survival. Caenorhabditis elegans has no complex immune system. Hence, it is an excellent model to study the innate immune response.

Royal jelly, a nutraceutical has been previously shown to prolong the lifespan and UV, oxidative and heat shock resistance in C. elegans. Here, I show that royal jelly supplementation can promote survival of C. elegans when infected with several pathogens across ages of the worm. Royal jelly supplementation introduced since developmental stages or from later ages can protect the worms from pathogenic infections. Although royal jelly is known to have antibacterial properties, it does not inhibit the growth of these pathogens at the concentrations used in this study. Royal jelly improves the integrity of the C. elegans gut which contributes to immunity of the worm.

Through episatasis genetic assays the involvement of DAF-16/ FOXO and Insulin like signaling pathway (ILS) in royal jelly mediated improvement of immunity was observed.The conserved immune response pathway in C. elegans p38 MAPK and the canonical Wnt signaling are also required for royal jelly mediated immune response.



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