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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Department: Department of Biological Sciences
Manipulating Sucrose Proton Symporters to Understand Phloem Loading

Manipulating Sucrose Proton Symporters to Understand Phloem Loading

Date: August 2013
Creator: Dasgupta, Kasturi
Description: Phloem vascular tissues transport sugars synthesized by photosynthesis in mature leaves by a process called phloem loading in source tissues and unloading in sink tissues. Phloem loading in source leaves is catalyzed by Suc/H+ symporters (SUTs) which are energized by proton motive force. In Arabidopsis the principal and perhaps exclusive SUT catalyzing phloem loading is AtSUC2. In mutant plants harboring a T-DNA insertion in each of the functional SUT-family members, only Atsuc2 mutants demonstrate overtly debilitated phloem transport. Analysis of a mutant allele (Atsuc2-4) of AtSUC2 with a T-DNA insertion in the second intron showed severely stunted phenotype similar to previously analyzed Atsuc2 null alleles. However unlike previous alleles Atsuc2-4 produced viable seeds. Analysis of phloem specific promoters showed that promoter expression was regulated by Suc concentration. Unlike AtSUC2p, heterologous promoter CoYMVp was not repressed under high Suc conc. Further analysis was conducted using CoYMVp to test the capacity of diverse clades in SUT-gene family for transferring Suc in planta in Atsuc2 - / - mutant background. AtSUC1 and ZmSUT1 from maize complemented Atsuc2 mutant plants to the highest level compared to all other transporters. Over-expression of the above SUTs in phloem showed enhanced Suc loading and transport, but against ...
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Metabolic Engineering in Plants to Control Source/sink Relationship and Biomass Distribution

Metabolic Engineering in Plants to Control Source/sink Relationship and Biomass Distribution

Date: August 2013
Creator: Lahiri, Ipsita
Description: Traditional methods like pruning and breeding have historically been used in crop production to divert photoassimilates to harvested organs, but molecular biotechnology is now poised to significantly increase yield by manipulating resource partitioning. It was hypothesized that metabolic engineering in targeted sink tissues can favor resource partitioning to increase harvest. Raffinose Family Oligosaccharides (RFOs) are naturally occurring oligosaccharides that are widespread in plants and are responsible for carbon transport, storage and protection against cold and drought stress. Transgenic plants (GRS47, GRS63) were engineered to generate and transport more RFOs through the phloem than the wild type plants. The transgenic lines produced more RFOs and the RFOs were also detected in their phloem exudates. But the 14CO2 labeling and subsequent thin layer chromatography analysis showed that the RFOs were most likely sequestered in an inactive pool and accumulate over time. Crossing GRS47 and GRS63 lines with MIPS1 plants (that produces more myo-inositol, a substrate in the RFO biosynthetic pathway) did not significantly increase the RFOs in the crossed lines. For future manipulation of RFO degradation in sink organs, the roles of the endogenous α-galactosidases were analyzed. The alkaline α-galactosidases (AtSIP1 and AtSIP2 in Arabidopsis) are most likely responsible for digesting RFOs ...
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Quantifying Forest Vertical Structure to Determine Bird Habitat Quality in the Greenbelt Corridor, Denton, Tx

Quantifying Forest Vertical Structure to Determine Bird Habitat Quality in the Greenbelt Corridor, Denton, Tx

Date: August 2013
Creator: Matsubayashi, Shiho
Description: This study presents the integration of light detection and range (LiDAR) and hyperspectral remote sensing to create a three-dimensional bird habitat map in the Greenbelt Corridor of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. This map permits to examine the relationship between forest stand structure, landscape heterogeneity, and bird community composition. A biannual bird census was conducted at this site during the breeding seasons of 2009 and 2010. Census data combined with the three-dimensional map suggest that local breeding bird abundance, community structure, and spatial distribution patterns are highly influenced by vertical heterogeneity of vegetation surface. For local breeding birds, vertical heterogeneity of canopy surface within stands, connectivity to adjacent forest patches, largest forest patch index, and habitat (vegetation) types proved to be the most influential factors to determine bird community assemblages. Results also highlight the critical role of secondary forests to increase functional connectivity of forest patches. Overall, three-dimensional habitat descriptions derived from integrated LiDAR and hyperspectral data serve as a powerful bird conservation tool that shows how the distribution of bird species relates to forest composition and structure at various scales.
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Synthetic Peptides Model Instability of Cardiac Myosin Subfragment-2

Synthetic Peptides Model Instability of Cardiac Myosin Subfragment-2

Date: August 2013
Creator: Taei, Nasrin
Description: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a heart-related abnormality, is the most prevalent cause of sudden death in young athletes at sporting events. A cluster of cardiomyopathy mutations are localized in β-cardiac myosin at the N-terminal region of subfragment-2. Using resonance energy transfer probes, a synthetic peptide model system was developed to study stability of the coiled coil (S2 fragment) structure by determining monomer-dimer equilibrium of the peptide. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer and MacroModel software suite were used to obtain distance measurements along with measurement of coiled coil formation. The model peptide was used to characterize the effects of disease-causing-mutations and examine potential candidate drugs (polyamines) to counteract effects of mutations causing HCM. Distance measurements between donor and acceptor probes obtained by computational simulation and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) were consistent. Measurements also agreed with simulations of unlabeled wildtype, indicating coiled coil structural stability of the peptide. Interaction of the site-specific antibody with the peptide strongly inhibited dimerization and destabilized coiled coil structure of the peptide. Presence of negatively charged glutamate residues in the region of subfragment-2 strongly suggested a potential interaction site for positively charged polyamines. Binding of certain polyamines, such as poly-L-Lysine 11 residues and poly-D-Lysine 17 residues, demonstrated the ...
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Tissue-specific Bioconcentration Factor of the Synthetic Steroid Hormone Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (Mpa) in the Common Carp, Cyprinus Carpia

Tissue-specific Bioconcentration Factor of the Synthetic Steroid Hormone Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (Mpa) in the Common Carp, Cyprinus Carpia

Date: August 2013
Creator: Steele IV, William B.
Description: Due to the wide spread occurrence of medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), a pharmaceutical compound, in wastewater effluent and surface waters, the objectives of this work were to determine the tissue specific uptake and bioconcentration factor (BCF) for MPA in common carp. BCFs were experimentally determined for MPA in fish using a 14-day laboratory test whereby carp where exposed to 100 μg/L of MPA for a 7-day period followed by a depuration phase in which fish were maintained in dechlorinated tap water for an additional 7 days. MPA concentrations in muscle, brain, liver and plasma were determined by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS). The results from the experiment indicate that MPA can accumulate in fish, however, MPA is not considered to be bioaccumulative based on regulatory standards (BCF ≥ 1000). Although MPA has a low BCF value in common carp, this compound may cause reproductive effects in fish at environmentally relevant concentrations.
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Aging Is a Determinant in Anoxia Stress Tolerance in Caenorhabditis Elegans

Aging Is a Determinant in Anoxia Stress Tolerance in Caenorhabditis Elegans

Date: May 2013
Creator: Goy, Jo M.
Description: 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 ...
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Bioconcentration and Morphological Effects of Triclosan on Three Species of Wetland Plants

Bioconcentration and Morphological Effects of Triclosan on Three Species of Wetland Plants

Date: May 2013
Creator: Smith, Caleb M.
Description: 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 ...
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Evaluating the Habitat Requirements of the Golden Orb Mussel (Quadrula Aurea) for Conservation Purposes

Evaluating the Habitat Requirements of the Golden Orb Mussel (Quadrula Aurea) for Conservation Purposes

Date: May 2013
Creator: Hammontree, Sarah
Description: 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 ...
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Examination of the Relationship Between Glucuronic Acid and Vascular Damage in Rats

Examination of the Relationship Between Glucuronic Acid and Vascular Damage in Rats

Date: May 2013
Creator: Moore, Ryan
Description: 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.
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Exploring the Evolutionary History of North American Prairie Grouse (Genus: Tympanuchus) Using Multi-locus Coalescent Analyses

Exploring the Evolutionary History of North American Prairie Grouse (Genus: Tympanuchus) Using Multi-locus Coalescent Analyses

Date: May 2013
Creator: Galla, Stephanie J.
Description: 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.
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