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- DNA Typing of HLA-B by PCR with Primer Mixes Utilizing Sequence-Specific Primers
- The aim of this study was to design a resolution typing system for the HLA-B gene. This technique involves a one-step PCR reaction utilizing genomic DNA and sequence-specific primers to determine the specificity of each allele and to produce a larger primer data base ideal for serological analysis. The application of this technique to serological analysis can improve serology detection which is currently hindered by antibody cross-reactivity and the unavailability of useful typing reagents.
- Isolation and analysis of cotton genomic clones encompassing a fatty acid desaturase (FAD2) gene
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids are major structural components of plant chloroplast and endoplasmic reticulum membranes. Two fatty acid desaturases (designated FAD2 and FAD3) desaturate 75% of the fatty acids in the endoplasmic reticulum. The w -6 fatty acid desaturase (FAD2) may be responsible for cold acclimation response, since polyunsaturated phospholipids are important in helping maintain plant viability at lowered temperatures. To study regulation of FAD2 gene expression in cotton, a FAD2 gene was isolated from two genomic libraries using an Arabidopsis FAD2 hybridization probe and a cotton FAD2 5¢ -flanking region gene-specific probe, respectively. A cotton FAD2 gene was found to be in two overlapping genomic clones by physical mapping and DNA sequencing. The cloned DNA fragments are identical in size to cotton FAD2 genomic DNA fragments shown by genomic blot hybridization. The cotton FAD2 coding region has 1,155 bp with no introns and would encode a putative polypeptide of 384 amino acids. The cotton FAD2 enzyme has a high identity of 75% with other plant FAD2 enzymes. The enzyme has three histidine-rich motifs that are conserved in all plant membrane desaturases. These histidine boxes may be the iron-binding domains for reduction of oxygen during desaturation. To confirm that this FAD2 enzyme is functional, a plasmid construct containing the cotton FAD2 coding region was transformed into Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The transformed yeast cells were able to catalyze the conversion of oleic acid (C18:1) into linoleic acid (C18:2). The FAD2 gene contains an intron of 2,967 bp in its 5¢ -flanking region, 11 bp upstream from the initiation codon. The intron could be essential for transcriptional regulation of FAD2 gene expression. Several putative promoter elements occur in the 5¢ -flanking region of this gene. A potential TATA basal promoter element occurs at 41 bp upstream from the cap site. Two presumptive helix-loop-helix (bHLH) motifs that may be seed-specific promoter elements are located at 109 bp and 135 bp upstream from the potential cap site.
- Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor α3 mRNA in Rat Visual System After Monocular Deprivation
- In situ hybridization was used to examine effects of monocular enucleation on nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit cc3 mRNA in the rat dLGNand visual cortex. After 28 days postoperative, there were no significant differences in α3 mRNA density between the contralateral (deprived) and ipsilateral (non-deprived) sides. The lack of obvious effects of visual deprivation on α3 mRNA density suggests that other factors, possibly intrinsic to dLGNand visual cortex, govern the postnatal expression of α3 mRNA.
- Unique applications of cultured neuronal networks in pharmacology, toxicology, and basic neuroscience
- This dissertation research explored the capabilities of neuronal networks grown on substrate integrated microelectrode arrays in vitro with emphasis on utilizing such preparations in three specific application domains: pharmacology and drug development, biosensors and neurotoxicology, and the study of burst and synaptic mechanisms. Chapter 1 details the testing of seven novel AChE inhibitors, demonstrating that neuronal networks rapidly detect small molecular differences in closely related compounds, and reveal information about their probable physiological effects that are not attainable through biochemical characterization alone. Chapter 2 shows how neuronal networks may be used to classify and characterize an unknown compound. The compound, trimethylol propane phosphate (TMPP) elicited changes in network activity that resembled those induced by bicuculline, a known epileptogenic. Further work determined that TMPP produces its effects on network activity through a competitive inhibition of the GABAA receptor. This demonstrates that neuronal networks can provide rapid, reliable warning of the presence of toxic substances, and from the manner in which the spontaneous activity changes provide information on the class of compound present and its potential physiological effects. Additional simple pharmacological tests can provide valuable information on primary mechanisms involved in the altered neuronal network responses. Chapter 3 explores the effects produced by a radical simplification of synaptic driving forces. With all synaptic interactions pharmacologically limited to those mediated through the NMDA synapse, spinal cord networks exhibited an extremely regular burst oscillation characterized by a period of 2.9 ± 0.3 s, with mean coefficients of variation of 3.7, 4.7, and 4.9 % for burst rate, burst duration, and inter-burst interval, respectively (16 separate cultures). The reliability of expression of this oscillation suggests that it may represent a fundamental mechanism of importance during periods of NMDA receptor dominated activity, such as embryonic and early postnatal development. NMDA synapse mediated activity produces a precise oscillatory state that allows the study of excitatory-coupled network dynamics, burst mechanisms, emergent network properties, and structure-function relationships.
- Expression of G-protein Coupled Receptors in Young and Mature Thrombocytes and Knockdown of Gpr18 in Zebrafish
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In this study, a novel method based on biotinylated antibodies and streptavidin coated magnetic beads was used to separate the thrombocyte subpopulations from zebrafish whole blood. DiI-C18, a lipophilic dye, labels only young thrombocytes when used at low concentrations. Commercially available biotinylated anti-Cy3 antibody was used to label the chromophore of DiI-C18 on the young thrombocytes and streptavidin coated magnetic beads were added subsequently, to separate young thrombocytes. The remaining blood cells were probed with custom-made biotinylated anti-GPIIb antibody and streptavidin magnetic beads to separate them from other cells. Further, thrombocytes are equivalents of mammalian platelets. Platelets play a crucial role in thrombus formation. The G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) present on the platelet surface are involved during platelet activation and aggregation processes. So, thrombocytes were studied for the presence of GPCRs. The GPCR mRNA transcripts expressed in the young and mature thrombocytes were subjected to densitometry analysis and pixel intensities of the bands were compared using one way ANOVA. This analysis did not show significant differences between the young and mature GPCR mRNA transcripts but identified a novel GPCR, GPR18 that was not reported in platelets earlier. To study the function of this GPCR, it was knocked down using GPR18 specific antisense morpholino and vivo morpholino. The immunofluorescence experiment indicated the presence of GPR18 on thrombocytes. The results of the assays, such as, time to occlusion (TTO) and time to aggregation (TTA) in response to N-arachidonyl glycine (NAG) as an agonist, showed prolongation of time in GPR18 larval and adult morphants respectively, suggesting that GPR18 plays a role in thrombus formation in zebrafish. In conclusion, our results indicate that GPR18 may be present in zebrafish thrombocytes, it may be involved in thrombus formation and that NAG may be an agonist at GPR18 on thrombocytes.
- Evaluating the Habitat Requirements of the Golden Orb Mussel (Quadrula Aurea) for Conservation Purposes
- Many freshwater mussels are imperiled, due to a number of interrelated factors such as habitat alteration, degradation of water quality, and impoundments. The Golden Orb mussel (Quadrula aurea, I. Lea, 1859) is endemic to the state of Texas and is currently a candidate for the endangered species list, as the number of known populations has been declining in recent years. Little is currently known about Q. aurea aside from basic distribution data. This study is focused on evaluating a combination of macro-habitat and micro-habitat variables to determine their influence on the distribution and density of this species. Macro-habitat variables, including dominant land cover, surface geology, and soil erodibility factor, did not have a significant relationship with mussel distributions. The best model of micro-habitat variables that impacts the Q. aurea distributions is comprised of relative substrate stability (RSS) at moderate flows and current velocity at low flows. For all mussel species in this study, current velocity at low flows is the primary variable that influences distribution. Q. aurea are associated with habitats where larger sediment particles (large gravel and cobble) help to stabilize the substrate in areas with higher current velocities. An understanding of the preferred habitats for Q. aurea can be used to help focus conservation efforts and practices.
- Exploring the Evolutionary History of North American Prairie Grouse (Genus: Tympanuchus) Using Multi-locus Coalescent Analyses
- Conservation biologists are increasingly using phylogenetics as a tool to understand evolutionary relationships and taxonomic classification. The taxonomy of North American prairie grouse (sharp-tailed grouse, T. phasianellus; lesser prairie-chicken, T. pallidicinctus; greater prairie-chicken, T. cupido; including multiple subspecies) has been designated based on physical characteristics, geography, and behavior. However, previous studies have been inconclusive in determining the evolutionary history of prairie grouse based on genetic data. Therefore, additional research investigating the evolutionary history of prairie grouse is warranted. In this study, ten loci (including mitochondrial, autosomal, and Z-linked markers) were sequenced across multiple populations of prairie grouse, and both traditional and coalescent-based phylogenetic analyses were used to address the evolutionary history of this genus. Results from this study indicate that North American prairie grouse diverged in the last 200,000 years, with species-level taxa forming well-supported monophyletic clades in species tree analyses. With these results, managers of the critically endangered Attwater's prairie-chicken (T. c. attwateri) can better evaluate whether outcrossing Attwater's with greater prairie-chickens would be a viable management tool for Attwater's conservation.
- Aging Is a Determinant in Anoxia Stress Tolerance in Caenorhabditis Elegans
- Oxygen availability is critical for survival for most organisms. The nematode, C. elegans, has been useful for studying genetic regulation of anoxia tolerance due to the oxygen deprivation response mechanisms shared with other metazoans. Studies examining long-term anoxia (72h, LTA) tolerance have only been conducted at adult day 1. To investigate the effect of aging on anoxia tolerance wild-type and mutant strains were exposed to LTA between adult day 1 and day 9. Wild-type isolates and daf-16(mu86) (FOXO transcription factor regulated by insulin-signaling) and aak-2(gt33) (catalytic subunit of AMP-activated protein kinase) strains were anoxia sensitive at day 1 and displayed increased LTA tolerance with aging correlated with reproductive senescence followed by a decline in survivorhsip through day 9. The daf-2(e1370) (insulin receptor homologue of C. elegans), glp-1(e2141) (a lin-12/Notch receptor) and fog-2(q71) (required for spermatogenesis) strains were LTA-tolerant through day 5. I conclude that aging influences LTA-tolerance in a strain- and age-dependent manner. In addition to being LTA-tolerant the daf-2(e1370) and glp-1(e2141) strains have a longevity phenotype that is suppressed by loss of kri-1 or daf-12. While loss of kri-1 did not suppress the LTA-tolerant phenotype of glp-1(e2141) at day 1 the portion of impaired survivors increased at day 3 and by day 5 tolerance was suppressed. Similarly, when exposed to 4 days of anoxia the glp-1(e2141);daf-12(rh41rh611) double mutant had a reduced survivor rate at all ages analyzed compared to glp-1(e2141) controls. To better understand formation of an anoxia-tolerant physiology I exposed adults to one or more 24h bouts. Recurrent bouts increased LTA tolerance in wild-type hermaphrodites in a dose-dependent manner. Bout-treated daf-16(mu86) animals had increased survival rate compared to controls yet maximum survival remained below age-matched wild-type. Anoxia bouts decreased LTA-tolerance in aak-2(gt33) mutants, indicating the requirement for ATP regulation in establishing an LTA-tolerant phenotype. These data support the idea that anoxia tolerance is multi-factorial and influenced by environment, metabolism, food, reproduction, sex phenotype and likely additional factors.
- Examination of the Relationship Between Glucuronic Acid and Vascular Damage in Rats
- The goal of this experiment was to examine the role of glucuronic acid in the development of vascular damage in the kidneys and retinas of diabetic individuals. Glucuronic acid was provided to rats in their water at various concentrations in order to increase plasma levels of the compound. Kidneys and retinas were excised and compared to control specimens using microscopy to determine the effect of elevated blood glucuronic acid levels on the occurrence of microaneurysms in renal capillary networks. No differences were seen between the treatment and control groups. Further study needs to be conducted to determine a more suitable time frame for this experiment.
- Regulation of Escherichia coli pyrBI Gene Expression in Pseudomonas fluorescens
- Pseudomonas fluorescens does not appear to regulate the enzymes of de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis at the level of gene expression. Little or no apparent repression of pyr gene expression is observed upon addition of exogenous pyrimidines to the growth medium. The Escherichia coli pyrBI genes for aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) were sized down and cloned into the broad host range plasmid, pKT230. Upon introduction into a P.fluorescenspyrB mutant strain, ATCase showed repression in response to exogenously fed pyrimidine compounds. Thus, it was possible to bring about changes in pyrimidine nucleotide pool levels and in transcriptional regulation of gene expression at the same time.
- Age-Dependent Effects Of Chronic GABAA Receptor Blockade In Barrel Cortex
- GABAA receptor binding is transiently increased in rat whisker barrels during the second postnatal week, at a time when neurons in the developing rat cortex are vulnerable to excitotoxic effects. To test whether these GABAA receptors might serve to protect neurons from excessive excitatory input, polymer implants containing the GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline were placed over barrel cortex for a 4-day period in young (postnatal days 8 - 12) and adult rats. In the cortex of young, but not adult rats, the chronic blockade of GABAA receptors resulted in substantial tissue loss and neuron loss. The greater loss of neurons in young rats supports the hypothesis that a high density of GABAA receptors protects neurons from excessive excitatory input during a sensitive period in development.
- Primary Cilia in the Oligodendrocyte Lineage
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oligodendrocytes migrate from the corpus callosum into the overlying cortex. The incidence of cilia did not change markedly across age groups, and did not vary consistently with the number of processes per cell, which was used as an indication of the maturation stage of OPCs and young OLs. The mean percent of Olig1 immunopositive (Olig1+) cells having cilia across ages was 33.1% + 16.5%, with all ages combined. In O4+ cells of these mice, 56.7 + 3.6% had primary cilia. If it is the case that adult OLs do not have cilia, the point in the lineage when primary cilia are lost is still unknown. Adult mice that had been injected with cyclopamine to block cilia-dependent Shh signaling were examined to determine whether the rate of generating new OPCs was influenced. In the CC of control mice, the numerical density of Olig1+/BrdU+ cells was 1.29 + 0.07/mm2 was reduced to 0.68 + 0.38/mm2 in the cyclopamine-injected group, and the numerical density of all BrdU+ cells (including both Olig1+ and Olig1- cells) of 4.55 + 1.50/mm2 in the control group was reduced to 3.14 + 1.27/mm2 in the cyclopamine-injected group. However, there were only 2 mice in each group and the differences were not statistically significant.
- Automated Low-cost Instrument for Measuring Total Column Ozone
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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 advantage is gained over available units by placing one end of the fiber outdoors to collect sunlight and convey it indoors, thereby allowing the spectrometer and computer to be placed in a controlled environment. This reduces the cost of weatherproofing and thermal compensation. Cost savings also result from a simplified sun targeting system, because only a small pan and tilt device is required to aim the lightweight fiber optic ends. Precision sun-targeting algorithms, optical filter selection, and software to derive ozone from spectral measurements by the spectrometer are a major contribution of this project. This system is a flexible platform which may be adapted to study other atmospheric constituents such as sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and haze.
- Neuronal Network Analyses in vitro of Acute Individual and Combined Responses to Fluoxetine and Ethanol
- Embryonic murine neuronal networks cultured on microelectrode arrays were used to quantify acute electrophysiological effects of fluoxetine and ethanol. Spontaneously active frontal cortex cultures showed highly repeatable, dose-dependent sensitivities to both compounds. Cultures began to respond to fluoxetine at 3 µM and were shut off at 10-16 µM. EC50s mean ± S.D. for spike and burst rates were 4.1 ± 1.5 µM and 4.5 ± 1.1 µM (n=14). The fluoxetine inhibition was reversible and without effect on action potential wave shapes. Ethanol showed initial inhibition at 20 mM, with spike and burst rate EC50s at 52.0 ± 17.4 mM and 56.0 ± 17.0 mM (n=15). Ethanol concentrations above 100 -140 mM led to cessation of activity. Although ethanol did not change the shape and amplitude of action potentials, unit specific effects were found. The combined application of ethanol and fluoxetine was additive. Ethanol did not potentiate the effect of fluoxetine.
- Hepatotoxicity of Mercury to Fish
- Tissue samples from spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) and largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) were collected from Caddo Lake. Gar and bass livers were subjected to histological investigation and color analysis. Liver color (as abs at 400 nm) was significantly correlated with total mercury in the liver (r2 = 0.57, p = 0.02) and muscle (r2 = 0.58, p = 0.01) of gar. Evidence of liver damage as lipofuscin and discoloration was found in both species but only correlated with liver mercury concentration in spotted gar. Inorganic mercury was the predominant form in gar livers. In order to determine the role of mercury speciation in fish liver damage, a laboratory feeding study was employed. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) were fed either a control (0.12 ± 0.002 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), inorganic mercury (5.03 ± 0.309 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), or methylmercury (4.11 ± 0.146 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt) diet. After 78 days of feeding, total mercury was highest in the carcass of zebrafish fed methylmercury (12.49 ± 0.369 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), intermediate in those fed inorganic mercury (1.09 ± 0.117 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), and lowest in fish fed the control diet (0.48 ± 0.038 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt). Total mercury was highest in the viscera of methylmercury fed zebrafish (11.6 ± 1.86 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), intermediate in those fed inorganic diets (4.3 ± 1.08 µg Hg.g-1 dry wt), and lowest in the control fish (below limit of detection). Total mercury was negatively associated with fish length and weight in methylmercury fed fish. Condition factor was not associated with total mercury and might not be the best measure of fitness for these fish. No liver pathologies were observed in zebrafish from any treatment.
- Functional Neural Toxicity and Endocrine Responses in Mice Following Naphthalene Exposure
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a well studied and diverse class of environmental toxicants. PAHs act via the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), and studies have suggested that PAHs may elicit neurological and estrogenic effects. Doses of PAHs between 50 to 150 ppm may elicit neurotoxicity in rodent models. The present study investigated the effects of naphthalene on in vivo steroidogenesis in Swiss Webster male mice, and in vitro neural function of Balb-C/ICR mice frontal cortex neurons. These data suggest that naphthalene may not elicit steroidogenic effects at concentrations ranging from 0.2 to 25 mg/kg/day, following a 7 day subcutaneous dosing regime. In addition, naphthalene may cause functional toxicity of frontal cortex neurons at concentrations of 32 to 160 ppm naphthalene.
- Mechanisms of rapid receptive field reorganization in rat spinal cord
- Rapid receptive field (RF) reorganization of somatosensory neurons in the rat dorsal horn was examined using extracellular single unit recording. Subcutaneous injection of lidocaine into RFs of dorsal horn neurons results in expansion of their RFs within minutes. The expanded RFs appear adjacent to or/and proximal to original RFs. Out of 63 neurons tested, 36 (58%) show RF reorganization. The data suggest that dorsal horn of spinal cord is one of the initial sites for RF reorganization. The neural mechanisms of this effect are not well understood. We propose that changes in biophysical properties (membrane conductance, length constant) of the neurons resulting from lidocaine injection contribute to RF reorganization. Iontophoretic application of glutamate onto dorsal horn neurons that show lidocaine induced RF's expansion were used to test the model. Application of glutamate produced reduction of reorganized RFs in 9 of 20 (45%) tested cells. Application of NBQX produced no effect on either original or expanded RFs indicate that RF shrinkage effects of glutamate involve NMDA receptors. The results are consistent with the prediction of the proposed model. Subcutaneous injection of capsaicin into tactile RFs of low threshold mechanoreceptive dorsal horn neurons produced no effect on the RF sizes that are consistent with other studies. Following the injection, the original RFs were completely silenced (46%) or remained responsive (54%).
- Water Quality Aspects of an Intermittent Stream and Backwaters in an Urban North Texas Watershed
- Pecan Creek flows southeast through the City of Denton, Texas. Characterized as an urban watershed, the basin covers approximately 63.5 km2. Pecan Creek is an intermittent stream that receives nonpoint runoff from urban landuses, and the City of Denton's wastewater treatment plant, Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Plant, discharges effluent to the stream. Downstream from the City of Denton and the wastewater treatment plant, Pecan Creek flows about 6,000 m through agricultural, pasture, and forested landscapes into Copas Cove of Lake Lewisville, creating backwater conditions. Pecan Creek water quality and chemistry were monitored from August 1997 to October 2001. Water quality was influenced by seasonal, spatial, climatic, and diurnal dynamics. Wastewater effluent discharged from the Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Plant had the greatest influence on water quality of the stream and backwaters. Water quality monitoring of Pecan Creek demonstrated that dissolved oxygen standards for the protection of aquatic life were being achieved. Water quality modeling of Pecan Creek was completed to assess future increases in effluent flow from the Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Plant. Water quality modeling indicated that dissolved oxygen standards would not be achieved at the future effluent flow of 21 MGD and at NPDES permitted loadings. Model results with application of a safety factor indicated that the maximum allowable concentrations for a 21 MGD discharge would be 2.3 mg/L of ammonia and 7.0 mg/L of biochemical oxygen demand at summer conditions. Drought conditions that occurred from 1998 to 2001 reduced water levels in Lake Lewisville and impacted dissolved oxygen water quality in Pecan Creek. Water quality observations made during the period of drought allowed for the development of a model to estimate the zone of the dissolved oxygen sag in Pecan Creek based on reservoir elevation. Finally, monitoring results were analyzed with nonparametric statistical procedures to detect water quality changes in the backwater area of Pecan Creek, as influenced by storm events.
- Use of GIS and Remote Sensing Technologies to Study Habitat Requirements of Ocelots, Leopardus pardalis, in south Texas
- The goals of this study were to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing technologies to gain a better understanding of habitat requirements of a population of ocelots in south Texas, and then apply this knowledge to form a predictive model to locate areas of suitable habitat in Willacy and Cameron counties, Texas. Satellite imagery from August 1991 and August 2000 were classified into four land cover types: closed canopy, open canopy, water, and urban/barren. These classified images were converted into digital thematic maps for use in resource utilization studies and modeling. Location estimates (762 from 1991 and 406 from 2000) were entered into a GIS in order to extract information about home range and resource selection. Each animal's home range was calculated using both Minimum Convex Polygon (MCP) and Kernel home range estimators (95% and 50%). Habitat parameters of interest were: soil, land cover, human density, road density, and distance to closest road, city and water body. Ocelots were found to prefer closed canopy and avoid open canopy land cover types. Ocelots preferred soils known to support thorn scrub, an indication of the importance of this habitat. Landscape metrics associated with habitat used by ocelots were determined through the use of Patch Analyst, an extension for ArcView 3.2. Contrary to expectations, ocelots utilized areas with greater fragmentation than random areas available for use. However, this use of highly fragmented areas was an indication of the degree of fragmentation of suitable habitat in the area. Further investigation of patch size selection indicated that ocelots used large sized patches disproportionately to availability, indicating a preference for larger patches. A model was created using the resource selection and habitat preference GIS database from 1991. This model was used to identify areas of “optimal”, ”sub-optimal”, and “unsuitable” habitat for ocelots in 2000. This resultant map was compared to known locations of ocelots in 2000. Ocelots were found to prefer optimal habitat and avoid unsuitable habitat, an indication that the model created was valid.
- Effects of Sublethal Copper Exposure on Escape Behavior and Growth of Rana pipiens Tadpoles
- This research is designed to test how sublethal exposure to copper affects tadpole predator-escape behavior and how quickly tadpoles recover. After exposure, tadpoles were separated. Escape behavior was recorded for two-thirds of exposed tadpoles while one-third of the exposed population was measured weekly to determine growth and recovery. Control tadpoles were consumed within 15 minutes whereas those exposed to higher concentrations were consumed at a slower rate, which does not support the hypotheses. Although the rate of predation was lower, tadpoles exposed to higher Cu concentrations were on average, 1.47 cm in total body length. Those exposed to 0.93 mg/L averaged 0.86 cm. After being placed into clean water, treatment tadpoles recovered after 20 days.
- Removal of selected water disinfection byproducts, and MTBE in batch and continuous flow systems using alternative sorbents.
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A study was conducted to evaluate the sorption characteristics of six disinfection byproducts (DBPs) on four sorbents. To investigate sorption of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), specially designed experimental batch and continuous flow modules were developed. The investigated compounds included: chloroform, 1,2-dichloroethane (DCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), bromodichloromethane (BDCM), methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), bromate and bromide ions. Sorbents used included light weight aggregate (LWA), an inorganic porous material with unique surface characteristics, Amberlite® XAD-16, a weakly basic anion exchange resin, Amberjet®, a strongly basic anion exchange resin, and granular activated carbon (GAC). Batch experiments were conducted on spiked Milli-Q® and lake water matrices. Results indicate considerable sorption of TCE (68.9%), slight sorption of bromate ions (19%) and no appreciable sorption for the other test compounds on LWA. The sorption of TCE increased to 75.3% in experiments utilizing smaller LWA particle size. LWA could be a viable medium for removal of TCE from contaminated surface or groundwater sites. Amberlite® was found unsuitable for use due to its physical characteristics, and its inability to efficiently remove any of the test compounds. Amberjet® showed an excellent ability to remove the inorganic anions (>99%), and BDCM (96.9%) from aqueous solutions but with considerable elevation of pH. Continuous flow experiments evaluated GAC and Amberjet® with spiked Milli-Q® and tap water matrices. The tested organic compounds were sorbed in the order of their hydrophobicity. Slight elevation of pH was observed during continuous flow experiments, making Amberjet® a viable option for removal of BDCM, bromate and bromide ions from water. The continuous flow experiments showed that GAC is an excellent medium for removal of the tested VOCs and bromate ion. Each of the test compounds showed different breakthrough and saturation points. The unique design of the continuous flow apparatus used in the study proved to be highly beneficial to assess removal of volatile organic compounds from aqueous solutions.
- Use of geographic information systems for assessing ground water pollution potential by pesticides in central Thailand
- This study employed geographic information systems (GIS) technology to evaluate the vulnerability of groundwater to pesticide pollution. The study area included three provinces (namely, Kanchana Buri, Ratcha Buri, and Suphan Buri) located in the western part of central Thailand. Factors used for this purpose were soil texture, percent slope, primary land use, well depth, and monthly variance of rainfall. These factors were reclassified to a common scale showing potential to cause groundwater contamination by pesticides. This scale ranged from 5 to 1 which means high to low pollution potential. Also, each factor was assigned a weight indicating its influence on the movement of pesticides to groundwater. Well depth, the most important factor in this study, had the highest weight of 0.60 while each of the remaining factors had an equal weight of 0.10. These factors were superimposed by a method called “arithmetic overlay” to yield a composite vulnerability map of the study area. Maps showing relative vulnerability of groundwater to contamination by pesticides were produced. Each of them represented the degree of susceptibility of groundwater to be polluted by the following pesticides: 2,4-D, atrazine, carbofuran, dicofol, endosulfan, dieldrin & aldrin, endrin, heptachlor & heptachlor epoxide, total BHC, and total DDT. These maps were compared to groundwater quality data derived from actual observations. However, only the vulnerability maps of atrazine, endosulfan, total BHC, and heptachlor & heptachlor epoxide showed the best approximation to actual data. It was found that about 7 to 8%, 83 to 88% and 4.9 to 8.7% of the study area were highly, moderately, and lowly susceptible to pesticide pollution in groundwater, respectively. In this study a vulnerability model was developed, which is expressed as follow: V = 0.60CW + 0.10CS + 0.10CR + 0.10CL + 0.10CSL. Its function is to calculate a vulnerability score for a certain area. The factor “V” in the model represents the vulnerability score of a certain area, whereas CW, CS, CR, CL, and CSL represent the values or classes assigned to well depth, soil texture, monthly variance of rainfall, primary land use, and percent slope in that area.
- Individual, Social, and Seasonal Behavior of the Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus)
- The purpose of this study is to provide a qualitative, detailed description of individual and social behavior in a free-living population of thirteen-lined ground squirrels. Behavioral differences in relation to various periods of the annual cycle are also evaluated.
- Influence of Acclimation and Acclimatization to Seasonal Temperatures on Metabolism and Energetics in the Rusty Lizard Sceloporus Olivaceus
- Rates and energy equivalents of consumption (C), egestion+ excretion (FU) , assimilation (A), respiration (R) and production (P) were measured in two groups of Sceloporus olivaceus: 1) a laboratory group acclimated at four seasonally encountered temperatures (15, 20, 25 and 30°C) ; and 2) four acclimatization groups collected at different seasons when ambient temperatures corresponded to 15, 20, 25 and 30°C.
- Experimental Trichinosis in Birds
- This work concerns itself with essentially four experiments: (1) the cecum-injective-infection experiment; (2) the anus-injective-infection experiment; (3) the mouth ingestive-infection with larvae, and (4) the mouth ingestive-infection with the flesh of infected rats.
- Mixed Culture of Chlorella Pyrenoidosa TX71105 and a Variant Strain of Bacillus Megaterium
- Very little work has been done on bacteria capable of significantly inhibiting algal growth. This thesis reports the research on mixed cultures of a high-temperature strain of algae, Chlorella pyrenoidosa TX71105, and an organism isolated from the air and tentatively identified as a variant strain of Bacillus megaterium.
- Effects of a Methylcholanthrene-Induced Lymphosarcoma on the Blood of DBA/1J Mice
- This investigation was concerned with characterizing a tumor line induced and maintained in this laboratory. Various chemical assays, cell counts, and electron microscopy were the methods employed to characterize the blood of mice bearing the tumor at days 3, 6, 9, and 12 after injection of the 1.2 x 10^8 tumor cells.
- Studies on the Morphology and Biology of Cotton Rats (Sigmodon hispidus) from Northern Mexico to Southern Nebraska
- This investigation was designed to evaluate the need for retaining both Sigmodon hispidus texianus and Sigmodon hispidus berlandieri as subspecific designations. An attempt was made to demonstrate bioclimatic variation and reproductive seasonality in cotton rats. The validity of applying the results of isolated studies of cotton rat populations to the species as a whole was examined.
- Some Acute Effects of X-Irradiation (LD100) on Plasma and Adrenal Tissue Histamine in Rats
- The effects of a lethal dose (1380 r) of X-irradiation on plasma and adrenal tissue histamine levels of rats were studied. The plasma histamine response was triphasic (increase at 1-3 hours, decrease at 5 and 9 hours and return to control at 24 hours post-irradiation). The adrenal tissue histamine response was found to be biphasic (decrease at 1 to 9 hours and a return to control level at 24 hours post-irradiation).
- Obligately Thermophilic Nitrogen-Fixation in Some Soil Bacteria
- In the work presented here, it is claimed that bacteria have been isolated which are capable of growth at high temperatures utilizing molecular nitrogen as their sole nitrogen source. Soil bacteria were isolated which grew at 55 C in nitrogen-free media. They were found to be obligatory thermophiles in nitrogen-free media and facultative thermophiles in media containing organically bound nitrogen.
- The Larval Lipids of the Chironomid Midge Glyptotendipes Barbipes (Staeger)
- This problem was concerned with determining the total lipid content and individual lipid composition of the larvae of a local chironomid, Glyptotendipes barbipes (Staeger).
- Some Effects of Electrostatic Fields on Brain Activity in Rats
- This study concerned the effects of short-term exposures to continuous (10 kv/meter) and pulsed 20 volts at 640 cps/100 msecs) electrostatic fields on the EEG recorded from external electrodes and hypothalamic activity recorded from implanted electrodes in rats. Each experiment lasted at least 90 minutes. The total energies of the waveforms recorded were integrated and printed out for plotting and analysis. Besides the brain activity, the ECG, respiration, and temperature of the animals were also monitored before, during,and after exposure to the electrostatic fields.
- Nucleotide Sequence of a Bovine Arginine Transfer RNA Gene
- A single plaque-pure lambda clone designated λBA84 that hybridized to a ˆ32P-labeled bovine arginine tRNA was isolated from a bovine genomic library harbored in a lambda bacteriophage vector. A 2.3-kilobase segment of this clone was found to contain an arginine transfer RNAccg gene by Southern blot hybridization analysis and dideoxyribonucleotide DNA sequencing. This gene contains the characteristic RNA polymerase III split promoter sequence found in all eukaryotic tRNAs and a potential RNA polymerase III termination site, consisting of four consecutive thymine residues, in the 3'-flanking region. Several possible cis-acting promoter elements were found within the 5'-flanking region of the sequenced gene. The function of these elements, if any, is unknown.
- Subcellular Localization of N-acylphosphatidyl-ethanolamine Synthase in Cotyledons of Cotton Seedlings
- N-acylation of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) with free fatty acids catalyzed by N-acyl phosphatidylethanolamine (NAPE) synthase was reported in cotyledons of 24-h-old cotton seedlings. Here I report subcellular localization of this enzyme. Differential centrifugation, sucrose density gradient fractionation,aqueous two-phase partitioning and electron microscopy techniques were utilized to elucidate subcellular site(s) of NAPE synthase. Marker enzymes were used to locate organelles in subcellular fractions. Differential centrifugation indicated that NAPE synthase is present in more than one organelle and it is a membrane bound enzyme. Sucrose density gradient fractionations indicated that NAPE synthase is present in membranes derived from endoplasmic reticulum (ER),Golgi and possibly plasma membrane (PM) but not mitochondria, glyoxysomes or plastids. Aqueous two-phase partitioning experiments with cotton and spinach tissues supported these results but Goigi appeared to be the major site of NAPE synthesis. Electron microscopy of subcellular fractions was used to examine isolated fractions to provide visual confirmation of our biochemical results. Collectively, these results indicate that NAPE is synthesized in plant ER, Golgi and possibly PM.
- Pyrimidine Biosynthesis in the Genus Streptomyces : Characterization of Aspartate Transcarbamoylase and Its Interaction with Other Pyrimidine Enzymes
- Aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) of Streptomyces was characterized and its interaction with other pyrimidine enzymes explored.
- Bioconcentration and Morphological Effects of Triclosan on Three Species of Wetland Plants
- Triclosan (TCS) is an antimicrobial compound found in several types of common household products. After being washed down the drain, TCS will then end up in the local watershed. Although numerous studies have been conducted to evaluate the fate and effects of TCS in aquatic environments, there have been no studies evaluating the role arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AM) play in a plants response to TCS exposure. Three species of wetland plants native North Texas were inoculated with AM spores and exposed to 0, 0.4 g/L and 4.0 g/L TCS concentrations. Root morphology of E. prostrata and S. herbacea showed AM and exposure responses. S. herbacea produced the greatest amounts biomass and TCS bioaccumulation, in all but one treatment. It also displayed opposing results to E. prostrata in measures of root length, root surface area, relative root mass, relative shoot mass and shoot:root ratio. TCS root tissue concentrations increased with increased exposures for both E. prostrata and S. herbacea. Even though E. prostrata had the lowest levels in each measure of biomass production, it had the highest amount of root TCS bioaccumulation in the AM inoculated 4.0 g/L treatment. H. laevis was between the other two species in terms of biomass production, and did not demonstrate any exposure or inoculation effects in morphology or TCS accumulation. Overall, no clear patterns were detected, which highlights the fact that further study is required to completely understand the effects compounds like TCS can have on plant community structure, and ultimately ecosystem function.
- Characterization of Arthrobacter Globiformis Aspartate Transcarbamylase Concentrations of Substrates
- This thesis consists of one major section with two subsections. The first subsection investigates the activity of Arthrobacter globiformis aspartate transcarbamylase's specific activity with increasing concentrations of the enzyme's substrate. Dihydroorotase (DHOase) activity was also measured with increasing concentrations of the substrate dihydroorotate. The second subsection collected data in order to classify the enzyme, resulting in a classification into the category of class A ATCases with bifunctional ATCase-DHOase complexes. The thesis provides evidence to broaden understanding of the ATCase and DHOase enzymes for members of the family that Arthrobacter belongs to.
- Comparative Bioavailability of Dietary and Dissolved Cadmium to Freshwater Aquatic Snails
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Heavy metal bioaccumulation in aquatic organisms may occur through direct or indirect uptake routes. Research indicates that the significance of uptake route varies with contaminant and organism exposed. The relative importance of different metal sources in aquatic systems was investigated by exposing freshwater snails to dietary or dissolved sources of cadmium. Snails were exposed to control, contaminated food only, contaminated water only, and contaminated food and water treatments. During the 15-day exposure, samples were taken to determine Cd concentration in snail soft tissue, snail shell, algal food, and overlying water. Analyses of snail soft tissue and shells indicate that exposure route significantly affects Cd concentrations in the tissues. In both cases, dissolved Cd is the primary contributor to metal body burden.
- Pyrimidine Genes in Pseudomonas Species
- This thesis is a comparative study of gene arrangements in Pseudomonas species, and is organized into three major sections. The first section compares gene arrangements for different pathways in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 to determine if the gene arrangements are similar to previous studies. It also serves as a reference for pyrimidine gene arrangements in P. aeruginosa. The second part compares the physical, and genetic maps of P. aeruginosa PAO1 with the genome sequence. The final section compares pyrimidine gene arrangements in three species of Pseudomonas. Pyrimidine biosynthesis and salvage genes will be aligned for P. aeruginosa PAO1, P. putida KT2440, and P. syringae DC3000. The whole study will gives insight into gene patterns in Pseudomonas, with a focus on pyrimidine genes.
- The Ecology and Paleobiogeography of Freshwater Mussels (Family: Unionidae) from Selected River Basins in Texas
- This dissertation has two overall objectives: first, to demonstrate the utility of paleozoological data for ongoing and future mussel-conservation efforts in Texas and second, to evaluate whether simple measures of habitat (e.g., water depth, velocity and particle size) are important for demonstrating the within-habitat spatial separation of mussels. Although these topics may seem disparate, both are important for increasing our understanding of unionid ecology and biogeography. Chapters 1 through 3 examine the use of paleozoological data for mussel conservation. Although these types of data are not new they have rarely been used in mussel conservation efforts within Texas. This is unfortunate because paleozoological data can provide an excellent record of the mussel fauna prior to wide-scale modern impacts and in areas where historical survey data are lacking. Chapter 4 examines whether assessments of microhabitat for mussels using simple measures of habitat (e.g., water velocity, depth and particle size) are useful. Recent studies have suggested that these measures do not explain the mussel distribution in flowing streams. If this is correct, instream flow studies using this approach need to be revised. Results of Chapter 4 indicate that mussels in the lower Brazos River basin are constrained in distribution by the availability of heterogenous substrate. Appendix A, details the first account of a living population of Truncilla macrodon, which is a candidate species for the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The population was found while conducting mussel instream flow studies in the lower Brazos River basin.
- Structure-Function Studies on Aspartate Transcarbamoylase and Regulation of Pyrimidine Biosynthesis by a Positive Activator Protein, PyrR in Pseudomonas putida
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The regulation of pyrimidine biosynthesis was studied in Pseudomonas putida. The biosynthetic and salvage pathways provide pyrimidine nucleotides for RNA, DNA, cell membrane and cell wall biosynthesis. Pyrimidine metabolism is intensely studied because many of its enzymes are targets for chemotheraphy. Four aspects of pyrimidine regulation are described in this dissertation. Chapter I compares the salvage pathways of Escherichia coli and P. putida. Surprisingly, P. putida lacks several salvage enzymes including nucleoside kinases, uridine phosphorylase and cytidine deaminase. Without a functional nucleoside kinase, it was impossible to feed exogenous uridine to P. putida. To obviate this problem, uridine kinase was transferred to P. putida from E. coli and shown to function in this heterologous host. Chapter II details the enzymology of Pseudomonas aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase), its allosteric regulation and how it is assembled. The E. coli ATCase is a dodecamer of two different polypeptides, encoded by pyrBI. Six regulatory (PyrI) and six catalytic (PyrB) polypeptides assemble from two preformed trimers (B3) and three preformed regulatory dimers (I2) in the conserved 2B3:3I2 molecular structure. The Pseudomonas ATCase also assembles from two different polypeptides encoded by pyrBC'. However, a PyrB polypeptide combines with a PyrC. polypeptide to form a PyrB:PyrC. protomer; six of these assemble into a dodecamer of structure 2B3:3C'2. pyrC' encodes an inactive dihydroorotase with pyrB and pyrC' overlapping by 4 bp. Chapter III explores how catabolite repression affects pyrimidine metabolism. The global catabolite repression control protein, Crc, has been shown to affect pyrimidine metabolism in a number of ways. This includes orotate transport for use as pyrimidine, carbon and nitrogen sources. Orotate is important because it interacts with PyrR in repressing the pyr genes. Chapter IV describes PyrR, the positive activator of the pyrimidine pathway. As with other positive activator proteins, when pyrimidine nucleotides are depleted, PyrR binds to DNA thereby enhancing expression of pyrD, pyrE and pyrF genes. When pyrimidine nucleotides are in excess, the PyrR apoprotein binds to orotate, its co-repressor, to shut down all the pyrimidine genes. Like many positive activators, PyrR is subject to autoregulation and has catalytic activity for uracil phosphoribosyltransferase inducible by orotate.
- Analysis of a Cotton Gene Cluster for the Antifungal Protein Osmotin
- Three overlapping genomic clones covering 29.0 kilobases of cotton DNA were found to encompass a cluster of two presumptive osmotin genes (OSMI and OSMII) and two osmotin pseudogenes (OSMIII and OSMIV). A segment of 16,007 basepairs of genomic DNA was sequenced from the overlapping genomic clones (GenBank Accessions AY303690 and AF304007). The two cotton osmotin genes were found to have open reading frames of 729 basepairs without any introns, and would encode presumptive osmotin preproteins of 242 amino acids. The open reading frames of the genes are identical in sequence to two corresponding cDNA clones (GenBank Accessions AF192271 and AY301283). The two cDNA inserts are almost full-length, since one lacks codons for the four N-terminal amino acids, and the other cDNA insert lacks the coding region for the 34 N-terminal amino acids. The cotton osmotin preproteins can be identified as PR5 proteins from their similarities to the deduced amino acid sequences of other plant osmotin PR5 preproteins. The preproteins would have N-terminal signal sequences of 24 amino acids, and the mature 24 kilodalton isoforms would likely be targeted for extracellular secretion. Prospective promoter elements, including two ethylene response elements, implicated as being positive regulatory elements in the expression of a number of PR-proteins, occur in the 5'-flanking regions. The mature osmotin proteins accumulate in cotton plants treated with the inducers ethephon and hydrogen peroxide. Thus, the two cotton osmotin genes encode osmotin proteins. The coding regions of the two genes have been expressed and isolated as fusion polypeptides in a bacterial expression system. Binary constructs containing the open reading frames of the two osmotin genes under the control of the 35S CaMV promoter have been generated for eventual production of transgenic Arabidopsis and cotton plants for potential constitutive expression of the osmotin proteins for increased resistance against fungal pathogens.
- Microsatellite-based genetic profiling for the management of wild and captive flamingo populations.
- Flamingo species generate tremendous interest whether they are small captive groups or wild populations numbering in the thousands. Genetic pedigrees are invaluable for maintaining maximum genetic diversity in captive, as well as wild, populations. However, presently there is a general lack of genetic data for flamingo populations. Microsatellites are loci composed of 2-6 base pair tandem repeats, scattered throughout higher eukaryotic genomes, often exhibiting high levels of polymorphism and heterozygosity. These loci are thus important genetic markers for identity, parentage and population studies. Here, six microsatellite loci were isolated from a microsatellite-enriched Caribbean flamingo partial genomic library. Two are compound complex repeats and four are perfect trinucleotide repeats. Each locus was amplified from Caribbean, African greater, Chilean and lesser flamingo genomic DNAs. Heterozygosity frequencies were calculated for Caribbean (range 0.12-0.90) and African greater flamingos (range 0.23-0.94) loci. All six microsatellite loci were found to be in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and linkage disequilibrium analyses did not suggest linkage for any pair of two greater flamingo subspecies (African and Caribbean) loci. At least five of the loci also exhibit polymorphism in Chilean and lesser flamingos, but due to small sample numbers, relevant allele/heterozygosity frequency calculations could not be estimated. Nucleotide sequence comparisons of the amplicons derived from the four flamingo groups reveal a high level of sequence conservation at all loci. Although small sample numbers again limit the data for lesser flamingos and to some degree for the Chilean birds, the sequences of the two greater flamingo subspecies were identical and the number of nonconserved nucleotides appears to be higher for lesser/greater comparisons than for Chilean/greater comparisons. This is consistent with Chilean flamingos being a different species within the same genus as the greater flamingos, while lesser flamingos belong to a separate genus. Parentage analyses on suggested African greater flamingo family groups from Disney's Animal Kingdom's collection were performed using microsatellite data. Results confirmed many suggested family groups but in other cases one or more of the suggested parents were clearly excluded. The six microsatellite loci isolated provide a new population management tool useful for both wild and captive flamingo populations.
- Simulation of physical and chemical processes in reservoirs: Two case studies.
- Managing water quality aspects requires the use of integrative tools that allow a holistic approach to this problem. Water quality models coupled to hydrodynamic models are these tools. This study presents the application of the water quality model WASP coupled to the hydrodynamic model DYNHYD for two distinct reservoirs: Lake Texoma and Tocoma Reservoir. Modeling the former included simulations of water velocities, water level, and four chemical and physical compounds: chlorides, dissolved oxygen (DO), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), and total suspended solids (TSS); and validation of the results by comparing with observed values during March - May, 1997. The latter is still under project status and the simulation was performed in a prospective way. The analysis included simulations of water velocities under current and for expected conditions, DO and BOD. Both models, DYNHYD and WASP, fitted pretty well to observed conditions for Lake Texoma and for where Tocoma Reservoir has been planned. Considering management and decision support purposes, the role of boundary and loading conditions also was tested. For Lake Texoma, controlling boundary conditions for chlorides is a determinant factor for water quality of the system. However, DO and TSS in the reservoir are governed by additional process besides the condition of the boundary. Estimated loadings for this system did not provided significant effects, even though the allocation of a load for chlorides resulted in significant changes in the trend for expected chloride concentrations at the Washita River Arm of Lake Texoma. For Tocoma Reservoir, the expected concentration of DO all over the reservoir is going to driven by boundary conditions, as well as by the management of autochthonous BOD loadings provided by vegetation decomposition. These two factors will be determinant for the resulting water quality of the future reservoir.
- Impaired virulence factor production in a dihydroorotate dehydrogenase mutant (pyrD) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
- Previous research in our laboratory showed that when knockout mutations were created in the pyrB and pyrC genes of the pyrimidine pathway in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, not only were the resultant mutants auxotrophic for pyrimidines but they were also impaired in virulence factor production. Such a correlation had not been previously reported for P. aeruginosa, a ubiquitous opportunistic pathogen in humans. In an earlier study it was reported that mutants blocked in one of the first three enzymes of the pyrimidine pathway in the non-pathogenic strain P. putida M produced no pyoverdin pigment while mutants blocked in the later steps produced copious amounts of pigment, just like the wild type. This study probed for the same connection between pyrimidine auxotrophy and pigment production applied in P. aeruginosa. To that end a knockout mutation was created in pyrD, the fourth step in the pyrimidine pathway which encodes dihydroorotate dehydrogenase. The resulting mutant required pyrimidines for growth but produced wild type pigment levels. Since the pigment pyoverdin is a siderophore it may also be considered a virulence factor, other virulence factors were quantified in the mutant. These included casein protease, hemolysin, elastase, swimming, swarming and twitching motility, and iron binding capacity. In all cases these virulence factors were significantly decreased in the mutant. Even supplementing with uracil did not attain wild type levels. Starvation of the pyrimidine mutant for uracil caused increased specific activity of the pyrimidine enzymes, suggesting that regulation of the pyrimidine pathway occurred at the level of transcription. This effect has also been reported for P. oleovorans. The present research consolidates the idea that pyrimidine auxotrophs cause decreased pathogenicity in P. aeruginosa. Such a finding may open the search for chemotherapy targets in cystic fibrosis and burn victims where P. aeruginosa is an infecting agent.
- Genetic and Cellular Analysis of Anoxia-Induced Cell Cycle Arrest in Caenorhabditis elegans
- The soil-nematode Caenorhabditis elegans survives oxygen deprivation (anoxia < 0.001 kPa of O2, 0% O2) by entering into a state of suspended animation during which cell cycle progression at interphase, prophase and metaphase stage of mitosis is arrested. I conducted cell biological characterization of embryos exposed to various anoxia exposure times, to demonstrate the requirement and functional role of spindle checkpoint gene san-1 during brief anoxia exposure. I conducted a synthetic lethal screen, which has identified genetic interactions between san-1, other spindle checkpoint genes, and the kinetochore gene hcp-1. Furthermore, I investigated the genetic and cellular mechanisms involved in anoxia-induced prophase arrest, a hallmark of which includes chromosomes docked at the nuclear membrane. First, I conducted in vivo analysis of embryos carried inside the uterus of an adult and exposed to anoxic conditions. These studies demonstrated that anoxia exposure prevents nuclear envelope breakdown (NEBD) in prophase blastomeres. Second, I exposed C. elegans embryos to other conditions of mitotic stress such as microtubule depolymerizing agent nocodazole and mitochondrial inhibitor sodium azide. Results demonstrate that NEBD and chromosome docking are independent of microtubule function. Additionally, unlike anoxia, exposure to sodium azide causes chromosome docking in prophase blastomeres but severely affects embryonic viability. Finally, to identify the genetic mechanism(s) of anoxia-induced prophase arrest, I conducted extensive RNA interference (RNAi) screen of a subset of kinetochore and inner nuclear membrane genes. RNAi analysis has identified the novel role of 2 nucleoporins in anoxia-induced prophase arrest.
- Influence of copper on resistance of Lumbricus terrestris to bacterial challenge
- Earthworms, Lumbricus terrestris, were challenged orally and intracoelomically with two bacterial species, Aeromonas hydrophila and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and mortality rates were observed. Neither were found to be particularly pathogenic at injected doses of up to 108 bacteria per earthworm. The influence of Cu++ (as CuSO4) on the earthworm's response to bacterial challenge was investigated by exposing earthworms to sublethal levels of Cu++ prior to bacterial challenge. Exposure at sublethal concentrations up to 3 m g/cm2 did not have a pronounced influence on host resistance to challenge as measured by earthworm mortality. Cu++ increased the earthworm's ability to agglutinate rabbit erythrocytes, indicating that Cu++ exposure caused coelomocyte death, autolysis and release of agglutinins into the coelom, possibly explaining resistance to bacterial challenge.
- Chronic Hypoxia and Hyperoxia Modifies Morphology and Vegf Expression of the Lungs of the Developing Chicken (Gallus Gallus Domesticus)
- This study determines effects of oxygen levels on morphology and VEGF expression of developing chicken lungs following incubation in normoxia (21% O2), hypoxia (15% O2) or hyperoxia (30% O2), until developmental days 16 or 18. Lung morphology was assessed using light microscopy, while VEGF expression was determined with ELISA. In hypoxia, the proportion of parabronchial tissue and parabronchi including lumina increased from day 16 to 18 (61 to 68% and 74.2 to 82.2%, respectively). Non-parabronchial tissue was higher in hypoxia than in hyperoxia on day 16 (26 to 20%). However, by day 18, there were no differences between groups. VEGF expression was 33% higher in hypoxia than in hyperoxia on day 16 (736 vs. 492 pg/ml). On day 18, VEGF expression was 43% higher in hyperoxia than in normoxia (673 to 381pg/ml), and remained elevated by 40% in hypoxia over normoxia (631 pg/ml). VEGF may be a mechanism by which parabronchial tissue is stimulated from day 16 to 18 following exposure to chronic hypoxia.
- Zebrafish Von Willebrand Factor
- In humans, von Willebrand factor (vWF) is a key component in hemostasis and acts as a 'cellular adhesive' by letting the circulating platelets bind to exposed subendothelium. It also acts as a carrier and stabilizer of factor VIII (FVIII). A dysfunction or reduction of vWF leads to von Willebrand disease (vWD), resulting in bleeding phenotype which affects 1% of the population. Currently there are a variety of animal models used for the study of vWF and vWD; however, they do not possess the advantages found in zebrafish. Therefore, we set out to establish zebrafish as a model for the investigation of vWF and vWD through the use of bioinformatics and various molecular techniques. Using bioinformatics we found that the vWF gene is located on chromosome 18, that the GPIb? protein sequence is conserved. Confirmation of vWF production was shown by means of immunostaining and by RT-PCR, in thrombocytes as well as in veins and arteries. Evidence of vWF involvement in hemostasis and thrombosis was shown using MO and VMO technology to produce a vWD like phenotype, resulting in an increase in TTO and TTA, as well as a reduction in FVIII when blood was tested using the kPTT assay, coinciding with a decrease in vWF. Stimate treatment provided opposite results of MO and VMO, showing a decrease in TTO and TTA. Investigation of the role of microparticles in hemostasis and their interaction with vWF resulted in a conclusion that the GPIb? receptor should exist on MPs and that it may interact not only with zebrafish vWF but also with human UL-vWF. Agglutination of MPs in the presence of UL-vWF but in the absence of ristocetin and plasma, treatment with ADAMTS-13 abolishing the interaction between MPs and UL-vWF provided evidence that vWF interacts with MPs probably with the GPIb?. We also found that TMPs agglutinate within the vessel wall in vivo when treated with Stimate. In conclusion, this research provided evidence for the presence of vWF in zebrafish and its conserved role in hemostasis. In addition to this we also showed that MPs also participation in hemostasis.
- Beta-adrenergic Blockade Via Atenolol and Its Effects on Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, and Renal Morphology in the Developing Chicken Gallus Gallus Domesticus
- Chicken embryos were chronically exposed to the ?1- blocker atenolol during one of three stages: mesonephros (E7-E9), mesonephros-metanephros (E11-E13), or metanephros (E15-E17). Mesonephros group hearts were larger than all other groups (P < 0.01). Mesonephros and metanephros group kidneys were larger than all remaining groups (P < 0.0001). The mesonephros group nephron number was ~40% lower than control values (P = 0.002). Glomerular areas were 26% and 18% larger than the control group in the mesonephros and metanephros groups, respectively (P < 0.001). These data suggest an E7-E9 critical window of cardiovascular and renal development for atenolol. Acute atenolol exposure in E15 embryos showed an increase in mean arterial pressure with all but the highest dose. All doses significantly decreased heart rate.