Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Patrick C Bradshaw

Committee Members

Krishna Singh, Chad Frasier, Doug Thewke


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is symptomized by amyloid-beta plaques in the brain and accounts for more than 65 percent of dementia cases. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency can result in similar cognitive impairment and roughly 15% of the elderly are vitamin B12 deficient. Vitamin B12 deficiency results in the accumulation of toxic methylmalonic acid and homocysteine. Hyperhomocysteinemia is a strong risk factor for AD. To test if vitamin B12 deficiency stimulates amyloid-beta toxicity, Caenorhabditis elegans expressing amyloid-beta in muscle were fed either vitamin B12-deficient OP50-1 or vitamin B12-rich HT115(DE3) E. coli bacteria. Increased amyloid-beta toxicity was found in worms fed the 0P50-1 diet. Supplementation of the OP50-1 diet with vitamin B12 did not rescue the increased C. elegans toxicity. Knockdown of either of the only two C. elegans vitamin B12-dependent enzymes metr-1 or mmmc-1 protected against toxicity. Therefore, vitamin B12 deficiency does not stimulate Alzheimer’s amyloid-beta-mediated toxicity in C. elegans.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.