Phosphagen kinases are enzymes that catalyze the reversible reaction that transfers a phosphate group from ATP to a guanidino compound and are usually used for storage of phosphates and rapid utilization of energy. There are eight known phosphagen kinases but the two that are of interest are creatine kinase (CK) and arginine kinase (AK). Creatine kinase is the most studied phosphagen kinases and is found in humans and other vertebrates. To determine its effects, a study with creatine kinase gene knockout mice was done. The results indicated that the mice with the CK had a decrease in muscle burst activity and increased mitochondrial volume compared to mice with CK Arginine kinase is a phosphagen kinase that is found mainly in invertebrates and has not been extensively studied. In order to determine if arginine kinase functions like creatine kinase in invertebrates, C. elegans will be used as a model organism. C. elegans will be a good model organism due to its AK genes being characterized and confirmed for enzymatic activity. The main goal of this research will be to determine the effects arginine kinase gene deletions have on muscle physiology by comparing results in three different strains, the wild type (N2), a cytoplasmic AK gene deletion (F44), and a mitochondrial AK gene deletion (W10). Differences between the strains will be determined by examining thrashing, recoil, and pharyngeal pumping, and mitochondrial volume in C. elegans. The hypothesis is that the mutant strains (F44 and W10) will have decreased burst muscle activity in the thrashing, recoil, and pharyngeal pumping tests and have increased mitochondrial volume when compared with the wild type (N2). The importance of this study is to further understand how arginine kinase functions and affects invertebrates and also to help elucidate complex behaviors in higher functioning vertebrates.


Fraga, Dean

Second Advisor

Mullen-Davis, Melissa


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Kathryn Timar