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 Degree Discipline: Biology
 Degree Level: Doctoral
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
4-Ethoxymethylphenol: a novel phytoestrogen that acts as an agonist for human estrogen receptors.

4-Ethoxymethylphenol: a novel phytoestrogen that acts as an agonist for human estrogen receptors.

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Date: December 2001
Creator: Pearce, Virginia
Description: Estrogen is the natural agonist of the estrogen receptor (ER). However, certain plant-derived compounds or phytoestrogens have been identified that mimic estrogens and act as agonists and/or antagonists of ERs, depending on subtype and target tissue. Understanding how phytoestrogens interact with ERs, and therefore effect the estrogenic response, may prove beneficial in hormone replacement therapy and in the prevention and treatment of hormone-related diseases. Using Thin Layer Chromatography, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), and proton nuclear nagnetic resonance (HNMR), I identified 4-ethoxymethylphenol (4EM) found in Maclura pomifera. While most phytoestrogens are heterocyclic compounds, 4EM is a simple phenol that acts as an agonist of ER-alpha and -beta in HeLa and MCF-7 cells. To study the effect of 4EM on ER-alpha and -beta activity, I performed transient transfection assays and showed that 4EM activates ER dependent gene transcription in a dose dependent manner in both ER subtypes. Further, 4EM- mediated transcription in ER-alpha, like estrogen, was enhance in the presense of co-activators, SRC-1 (steroid receptor coactivator-1), CBP (CREB binding proteins), and E6-AP (E6-associated protein) and inhibited by trans-4- hydroxytamoxifen (4HT). I found that 4EM was specific for ER and did not activate transcription of the progesterone receptor in HeLa cells.
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Application of cultured neuronal networks for use as biological sensors in water toxicology and lipid signaling.

Application of cultured neuronal networks for use as biological sensors in water toxicology and lipid signaling.

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Date: August 2004
Creator: Dian, Emese Emöke
Description: This dissertation research explored the capabilities of neuronal networks grown on substrate integrated microelectrode arrays in vitro to be applied to toxicological research and lipid signaling. Chapter 1 details the effects of chlorine on neuronal network spontaneous electrical activity and pharmacological sensitivity. This study demonstrates that neuronal networks can maintain baseline spontaneous activity, and respond normally to pharmacological manipulations in the present of three times the chlorine present in drinking water. The findings suggest that neuronal networks may be used as biological sensors to monitor the quality of water and the presence of novel toxicants that cannot be detected by conventional sensors. Chapter 2 details the neuromodulatory effects of N-acylethanolamides (NAEs) on the spontaneous electrical activity of neuronal networks. NAEs are a group of lipids that can mimic the effects of marijuana and can be derived from a variety of plant sources including soy lecithin. The most prominent NAEs in soy lecithin, palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and linoleoylethanolamide (LEA), were tested individually and were found to significantly inhibit neuronal spiking and bursting activity. These effects were potentiated by a mixture of NAEs as found in a HPLC enriched fraction from soy lecithin. Cannabinoid receptor-1 (CB1-R) antagonists and other cannabinoid pathway modulators indicated ...
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Automated Low-cost Instrument for Measuring Total Column Ozone

Automated Low-cost Instrument for Measuring Total Column Ozone

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Date: May 2006
Creator: Nebgen, Gilbert Bernard
Description: Networks of ground-based and satellite borne instruments to measure ultraviolet (UV) sunlight and total column ozone have greatly contributed to an understanding of increased amounts of UV reaching the surface of the Earth caused by stratospheric ozone depletion. Increased UV radiation has important potential effects on human health, and agricultural and ecological systems. Observations from these networks make it possible to monitor total ozone decreases and to predict ozone recovery trends due to global efforts to curb the use of products releasing chemicals harmful to the ozone layer. Thus, continued and expanded global monitoring of ozone and UV is needed. However, existing automatic stratospheric ozone monitors are complex and expensive instruments. The main objective of this research was the development of a low-cost fully automated total column ozone monitoring instrument which, because of its affordability, will increase the number of instruments available for ground-based observations. The new instrument is based on a high-resolution fiber optic spectrometer, coupled with fiber optics that are precisely aimed by a pan and tilt positioning mechanism and with controlling programs written in commonly available software platforms which run on a personal computer. This project makes use of novel low-cost fiber optic spectrometer technology. A cost ...
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Biogeography of Montane Mammals on the Colorado Plateau and Adjacent Regions

Biogeography of Montane Mammals on the Colorado Plateau and Adjacent Regions

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Date: May 2004
Creator: Carr, Carla B.
Description: This study identifies the biogeographic factors that structure small mammal communities on mountains of the Colorado Plateau and adjacent regions. Forty six isolated ranges were characterized across a 5-state study area encompassing the Colorado Plateau, including the central high plateaus of Utah and the Basin and Range Province (i.e. the Great Basin and mountains of Arizona and New Mexico). Presence/absence data of 25 montane mammal species were used to explore the interactions between historical and ecological processes affecting local and regional diversity patterns. Multivariate analyses, such as non-metric dimensional scaling, were used to explore factors which influence community composition. Results of these analyses revealed the Colorado River as a significant biogeographic barrier that affects montane mammal community structure. MtDNA cytochrome b sequence variation was analyzed among populations of the long-tailed vole, Microtus longicaudus, sampled from five interior ranges of the Colorado Plateau- Abajo, LaSal, Henry, and Chuska Mts., and Boulder Mountain of the Aquarius Plateau-and analyzed using traditional phylogenetic approaches (parsimony and likelihood) as well as nested clade analysis. Results support previous documentation of a major east-west phylogeographic break occurring between populations southeast of the Colorado River (eastern Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico) and all other western populations, which ...
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Comparative morphology of sensilla styloconica on the proboscis of North American Nymphalidae and other selected taxa (Lepidoptera): systematic and ecological considerations.

Comparative morphology of sensilla styloconica on the proboscis of North American Nymphalidae and other selected taxa (Lepidoptera): systematic and ecological considerations.

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Date: December 2001
Creator: Petr, Daniel
Description: Sensilla styloconica on the proboscis of 107 species of North American and tropical butterflies were comparatively studied using the scanning electron microscope. Focus was on 76 species of North American Nymphalidae representing 45 genera and 11 subfamilies. Nomenclature for generalized and specific types of nymphalid sensilla is proposed. Written descriptions and micrographs are presented for each species studied. Morphological features were generally consistent for all or most species within genera and sometimes within subfamilies, with specified exceptions. Statistical analysis revealed significant differences for six of eight variables tested between two distinct feeding guilds of North American Nymphalidae. Average number, density, extent of proboscis coverage with sensilla, their total length, and shoulder spine length were all significantly greater in the non-nectar feeding guild than in nectar feeders, and may indicate adaptation for greater efficiency in feeding on flat surfaces. The greater frequency of apical shoulder spines in non-nectar feeders may represent adaptation for protection of sensory pegs from mechanical abrasion during feeding, or for anchoring the flexible proboscis tip to the surface. Correlation analysis revealed 9 out of 28 positive correlations in nectar feeders and 5 out of 28 in non-nectar feeders. Results of preliminary cladistic analysis were not considered to ...
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The developmental physiology of the zebrafish: Influence of environment and cardiovascular attributes

The developmental physiology of the zebrafish: Influence of environment and cardiovascular attributes

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Date: August 2001
Creator: Bagatto, Brian
Description: Temperature effects on the development of the zebrafish embryos and larvae and adults were examined. It was found that the earlier in development a temperature change was performed on an embryo, the more significant the change in survival and/or subsequent development. Thus, viable temperature ranges for zebrafish widened significantly as development proceeded. Adults reared and bred at 25oC produced embryos that were significantly more successful at the lower range of rearing temperatures compared to embryos produced from adults reared at 28oC. The majority of this study focused on the physiological effects of swim training during development in the zebrafish. The earlier in development the zebrafish larvae were trained, the greater the mortality. Trained free swimming larvae had a significantly higher routine oxygen consumption after 11 days of training, and a higher mass specific routine metabolic rate after 8 and 11 days of training. Trained free swimming larvae consumed significantly less oxygen during swimming and were more efficient at locomotion, compared to control larvae. Training enhanced survival during exposure to extreme hypoxia in all age groups. Performance aspects of training were investigated in attempt to quantify training effects and in most cases, trained fish performed significantly better than controls. As blood ...
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Evaluation of City of Denton Sub-Watershed by Benthic Macroinvertebrate Field Experimental Approach

Evaluation of City of Denton Sub-Watershed by Benthic Macroinvertebrate Field Experimental Approach

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Date: August 2006
Creator: Mahato, Mahendra
Description: In this study, two different field experiments were designed to assess the relative influence of urbanization on benthic communities. During spring and summer, four urban and one reference sites from Denton County, Texas were selected for benthic macroinvertebrate evaluation. Statistically significant differences in colonized benthic macroinvertebrate taxa on artificial substrates were observed among the four urban sites and the reference site. Oligochaetes and chironomids were the dominant taxa at all sites. Identification of chironomid larvae at the subfamily and genus level to detect differences between sites had higher statistical power than the evaluation based on total chironomids. At the reference site, Caenis, Cladotanytarsus, Orthocladius, and Ceratopogonidae were the dominant taxa, while the urban sites were dominated by Dero, Physella, Ancylidae, Chironomus, Dicrotendipes, Glyptotendipes, Polypedilum, Pseudochironomus, Stenochironomus, and Tanytarsus. These differences may have been dependent upon differences in hydrologic regime and water quality between sites. Significant differences (ANOVA, p < 0.01) in water quality parameters (alkalinity, hardness, nitrates, phosphates, chlorides, sulfates, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and triazine) were found among water samples collected from the reference and urban sites. During the transfer period, most of the Ephemeroptera and Trichoptera taxa and a few other taxa disappeared from artificial substrates that were colonized ...
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Production and characterization of a novel extracellular polysaccharide produced by Paenibacillus velaei, sp. nov

Production and characterization of a novel extracellular polysaccharide produced by Paenibacillus velaei, sp. nov

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Date: August 2000
Creator: Sukplang, Patamaporn
Description: Paenibacillus velaei, sp. nov. is a soil bacterium capable of producing an unusually large amount of exopolysaccharide (EPS). The EPS contains glucose, mannose, galactose and fucose in a molar ratio of 4:2:1:1. The molecular weight of the EPS is higher than 2x106. The viscosity of 1% EPS is 1300 cP when measured at a shear rate of 1 sec-1. Physiological parameters for optimal production of the EPS were studied and it was found that 1.4 g dry weight per 1 l of medium was produced when the bacteria were grown at 30EC and the pH adjusted at 7± 0.2 in a medium containing glucose as the carbon source. Growing the bacteria on different carbon sources did not alter the quantity or the composition of the EPS produced. No toxicity effects were observed in mice or rats when EPS was administered in amounts ranging from 20 to 200 mg per kg body weight. The data obtained from physical, chemical and biological properties suggest that the EPS may be employed in several industrial and environmental applications. It is an excellent emulsifier, it holds 100 times its own weight in water, it is not toxic, and it can be used to remove mercury, ...
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Pyrimidine Enzyme Specific Activity at Four Different Phases of Growth in Minimal and Rich Media, and Concomitant Virulence Factors Evaluation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Pyrimidine Enzyme Specific Activity at Four Different Phases of Growth in Minimal and Rich Media, and Concomitant Virulence Factors Evaluation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

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Date: December 2005
Creator: Azad, Kamran Nikkhah
Description: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram-negative rod, aerobic, non-fermenting, oxidase positive, pigment producing, and nutritionally versatile bacterium. Infections by P. aeruginosa are the most important cause of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients, given virulence factor production that suppresses antibiotic therapy and promotes persistent infection. This research is the first comprehensive report of the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway for all phases of growth in minimal and rich media coupled with the evaluation of virulence factor production of P. aeruginosa in comparison to four other bacterial species (Pseudomonas putida, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Burkholderia cepacia, and Escherichia coli wild-type strains). Cellular growth and passing genetic information to the next generation depend on the synthesis of purines and pyrimidines, the precursors of DNA and RNA. The pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway is essential and found in most organisms, with the exception of a few parasites that depend upon the pyrimidine salvage pathway for growth. Both the pyrimidine biosynthetic and salvage enzymes are targets for chemotherapeutic agents. In our laboratory, research on pyrimidine auxotrophic mutants showed the role of the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway and its intermediates on P. aeruginosa metabolism and impaired virulence factors production. The present research shows that pyrimidine enzymes are active in all phases of growth, ...
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Submerged wood inhabiting macoinvertebrates of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, Texas: Assemblage analyses, comparisons to the benthic fauna, and a study of  Cyrnellus fraternus (Trichoptera: Polycentropodidae)

Submerged wood inhabiting macoinvertebrates of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, Texas: Assemblage analyses, comparisons to the benthic fauna, and a study of Cyrnellus fraternus (Trichoptera: Polycentropodidae)

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Date: August 2001
Creator: Johnson, Zane B.
Description: Taxonomic composition and spatio-temporal variability of macroinvertebrates inhabiting snags were examined from an 8-km segment of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. Seventy-seven macroinvertebrate taxa were collected from submerged wood during the study. Assemblages were highly variable spatially and temporally, especially among seasons. An ordination of species and environment did not find snag taxa to have striking correlations with many of the selected environmental variables, although there were some trends in flow-mediated species distributions. There were significant seasonal differences in the abundances of some taxa, particularly among the Chironomidae (Diptera). The Tribe Orthocladiini was numerically abundant during the winter, while the Tribes Chironomini and Tanytarsini dominated the summer and autumn. Additionally, this study included a secondary production and microdistribution analysis of a population of the caddisfly Cyrnellus fraternus. Distributions of C. fraternus were restricted to snags, the most stable substratum for retreat building and for resisting periodic high waters. Larvae were not found in the soft sand and mud benthic habitats near submerged wood. The insects were multivoltine with a minimum of three generations per year. Pupae were collected July through September and adults emerged from May through October. The population overwintered as larvae. Estimated annual production was 1,015.4 ...
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