Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Pharmacology & Toxicology

First Advisor

Jill Bettinger


An individual’s naïve level of response (LR) to ethanol is predictive of their lifetime likelihood to abuse alcohol. LR is heavily genetically influenced, suggesting that the genes responsible for LR may also be central to the development of abuse disorders. Our laboratory uses the model organism C. elegans to investigate the genetic influences on responses to acute ethanol exposure. We recently found that changes in TAG levels can alter LR. From this result we investigated the role of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) as well enzymes involved in lipid modifications of proteins. We found that LC-PUFAs are necessary for acute functional tolerance and that supplementation of eicosapentaenoic acid is able to rescue AFT. We also identified mutations in several palmitoyltransferases, a thioesterase, and elongases that alter AFT. These novel results highlight the importance of fatty acids in the response to ethanol and suggest exciting new potential therapeutic targets.


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