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Impact of a Genetically Engineered Probiotic Therapy and Igf-1 Genomics in the Pahenu2 Mouse Model of Pku

Description: Absence of functional phenylalanine hydroxylase results in phenylketonuria (PKU). Viable treatments remain few, expensive and secondary conditions such as osteopenia occur in most PKU patients. Objective 1: Given the recently described roles of gut microbes to aid host digestion, an orally administered genetically engineered probiotic as the delivery vehicle for enzyme replacement therapy was created. The engineered probiotic, pHENOMMenal, produced phenylalanine ammonia lyase with significant production of trans-cinnamate (phenylalanine cleavage product) in vitro and resulted in a reduction of 515 μM in blood phenylalanine when fed to PKU animals for 14 days (from 2307µM ± 264µM to 1792µM ± 261µM, n = 6, P < 0.05). The control probiotic produced no change in blood phenylalanine. Thus, pHENOMMenal treatment in PKU mice demonstrated engineered microbes could compensate for a metabolic deficiency of the host. Objective 2: Evaluate the PAHenu2 mouse model of PKU for a genetic discrepancy causing ocular enlargement and delayed development observed only after the PAHenu2 mutation was crossed to the C57BL/6J mouse. When compared to healthy littermates, ELISA indicated a consistent but insignificant decrease in plasma IGF-1 and an increase in ocular IGF-1 in PKU animals. SNP screening demonstrated a differential inheritance of IGF-1 alleles in healthy and PKU animals based on PAH allele inheritance. Ocular and developmental phenotypes in the PAHenu2 colony match those described in previous IGF-1 studies. Understanding the IGF-1 inheritance discrepancy will enable better osteopenia research using PAHenu2 mice and allow breeding of a healthier mouse colony for continued research. Collectively the results from this work describe a new therapeutic approach for treatment of PKU as well as a better understanding of the PAHenu2 mouse model to study this disease.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Durrer, Katherine Elaine
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Impact of Developmental Stress on Cardiovascular Physiology of Two Archosaur Species: American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and Domestic Chicken (Gallus gallus)

Description: Crocodilians and birds comprise sister taxa of archosaurs, the development of these vertebrates occurs within an egg case that leaves developing embryos susceptible to fluctuations in the nesting environment. Studies suggest that sub-optimal conditions alter morphological growth and cardiovascular physiology. Regulation of the cardiovascular system is immature in the subjects studied, and embryos may rely on humoral rather than neural control of the cardiovascular system. The primary focus of this dissertation was to assess regulatory mechanisms responsible for maintenance of arterial pressure and heart rate. Dehydration stress had marked effects on embryo growth, and altered baseline cardiovascular parameters, while leaving the response to humoral regulator, angiotensin II (Ang II), unaffected. However, dehydrated alligator embryos developed cholinergic tone on heart rate. Hypoxic incubated chicken embryos were reduced in embryo mass, and altered response to humoral regulatory components Ang I and adenosine in addition identifying a novel regulatory component of the cardiovascular response to acute hypoxia. Collectively, these studies add to the existing knowledge of cardiovascular physiology in embryonic archosaurs and suggest that some components of cardiovascular regulation are plastic following developmental stress.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Tate, Kevin B.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Phototoxic Effects of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles on Daphnia Magna

Description: Titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2-NP) are one of the most abundantly utilized nanomaterials in the world. Studies have demonstrated the mechanism of acute toxicity in TiO2-NP to be the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) leading to oxidative stress and mortality in exposed organisms. It has also been demonstrated that the anatase crystalline conformation is capable of catalyzing the cleavage of water molecules to further increase the concentration of ROS in the presence of ultraviolet radiation. This photoenhanced toxicity significantly lowers the toxicity threshold of TiO2-NP to environmentally relevant concentrations (ppb). The goal of this study was to determine whether dietary uptake and accumulation of TiO2-NP in the aquatic filter feeder Daphnia magna resulted in photoenhanced toxicity. D. magna and S. caprincornatum were exposed to aqueous solutions of 20ppm and 200ppm TiO2-NP for 24hrs and then transferred to clean moderately hard water. Samples were taken at various time points, dried, and TiO2 quantified using ICP-MS. Toxicity assays were run on D. magna using three TiO2-NP (20ppm, 200ppm) exposure protocols and two ultraviolet radiation treatments. The first exposure group was exposed to aqueous solutions of TiO2-NP for the duration of the test. The second exposure group was exposed to TiO2-NP for an hour and then transferred to clean water. The third exposure group was fed S. capricornatum that had been allowed to adsorb TiO2-NP. All samples were then placed in an outdoor UV exposure system and exposed to either full spectrum sunlight (with UV) or filtered sunlight (no UV). Here we show that TiO2 uptake peaked at one hour of exposure likely due to sedimentation of the particles out of suspension, thus decreasing bioavailability for the duration of the test. Interetsingly, when D. magna were moved to clean water, aqueous concentrations of TiO2 increase as a result of depuration from the gut ...
Date: December 2013
Creator: Mansfield, Charles M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Detection of Mercury Among Avian Trophic Levels at Caddo Lake and Lake Lewisville, TX

Description: Mercury (Hg) is a globally distributed toxicant that has been shown to have negative effects on birds. in the United States, avian taxa have been shown to possess high Hg concentrations in the northeast, Great Lakes and Everglades ecosystems; however, few studies have measured avian Hg concentrations in other geographic regions. Previous studies have documented high Hg concentrations in multiple organisms in east Texas, but birds were not included in these studies. the main objective of the present study was to quantify Hg concentrations in birds in differing trophic levels at Caddo Lake and Lake Lewisville, TX. Results suggest that Hg concentrations may be high enough to negatively impact some bird taxa, particularly those at high trophic levels, residing at both Caddo Lake and Lake Lewisville.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Schulwitz, Sarah Elizabeth
Partner: UNT Libraries

Examining the Shade/flood Tolerance Tradeoff Hypothesis in Bottomland Herbs Through Field Study and Experimentation

Description: While there is growing evidence that shade/flood tolerance tradeoffs may be important in distributions of bottomland hardwood trees and indications that they should apply to herbs, no studies have definitively explored this possibility. Four years of field data following historic flooding were supplemented with a greenhouse experiment designed to identify interactions congruent with tradeoffs. Fifteen bottomland species were grown in two levels of water availability and three levels of shade over 10 weeks. Results indicate responses of Fimbristylis vahlii and Ammannia robusta are consistent with tradeoffs. Modification of classical allometric responses to shade by substrate saturation indicates a potential mechanism for the tradeoff in A. robusta. Responses indicating potential for increased susceptibility to physical flooding disturbance are also discussed.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Sloop, Jordan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Integrating Concepts in Modern Molecular Biology into a High School Biology Curriculum

Description: More so than any other science in the past several decades, Biology has seen an explosion of new information and monumental discoveries that have had a profound impact on much more than the science itself. Much of this has occurred at the molecular level. Many of these modern concepts, ideas, and technologies, as well as their historical context, can be easily understood and appreciated at the high school level. Moreover, it is argued here that the integration of this is critical for making biology relevant as a modern science. A contemporary high school biology curriculum should adequately reflect this newly acquired knowledge and how it has already has already begun to revolutionize medicine, agriculture, and the study of biology itself. This curriculum provides teachers with a detailed framework for integrating molecular biology into a high school biology curriculum. It is not intended to represent the curriculum for an entire academic year, but should be considered a significant component. In addition to examining key concepts and discoveries, it examines modern molecular techniques, their applications, and their relevance to science and beyond. It also provides several recommended labs and helpful protocols.
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Date: August 2003
Creator: Parker, Timothy P.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Investigation of Pyrimidine Salvage Pathways to Categorize Indigenous Soil Bacteria of Agricultural and Medical Importance and Analysis of the Pyrimidine Biosynthetic Pathway's Enzyme Properties for Correlating Cell Morphology to Function in All Phases of Growth

Description: This dissertation comprises three parts and is presented in two chapters. Chapter 1 concerns Arthrobacter, a bacterium with an intriguing growth cycle. Whereas most bacteria exist as either a rod or coccus, this bacterium shares the rod/coccus lifestyle. It therefore seemed important to examine the growth regulatory pathways from the rod and coccus. The committed step, that catalyzed by aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase), in the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway was chosen. The ATCase in Arthrobacter is like the well known Pseudomonas enzyme except that it has an active dihydroorotase (DHOase) associated. Included in Chapter 1 is the description of a microorganism, Burkholderia cepacia, whose ATCase has characteristics that are at once reminiscent of bacteria, mammals, and fungi. It differs in size or aggregation based on environmental conditions. In addition, it has an active DHOase associated with the ATCase, like Arthrobacter. B. cepacia is important both medically and for bioremediation. Since B. cepacia is resistant to most antibiotics, its unique ATCase is a prime target for inhibition. Whereas the first chapter deals with the de novo pathway to making pyrimidines, which is found mainly in the lag and log phase, Chapter 2 addresses the salvage pathway, which comes more into play during the stationary phase. This section focuses on the isolation, identification, and grouping of a number of natural soil bacteria from various soil locations. These organisms are important agriculturally, medically, and industrially. Addition of these soil isolates to poor soils has been found to improve the soil. In a previous study by D.A. Beck, the salvage schemes for a number of laboratory strains of microorganisms were determined. Nine separate classes of salvage were designated by determining the salvage enzymes present. In this study emphasis has been placed on soil bacteria, which had not previously been analyzed. A number of species of soil ...
Date: May 2003
Creator: Meixner, Jeffery Andrew
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Physiological Age-Grading System for Female Hydrellia pakistanae Deonier (Diptera: Ephydridae)

Description: Conflicting opinions about the effectiveness of H. pakistanae as a biological control agent for hydrilla prompt researchers to find a method for assessing the fly's success. Developing a physiological age-grading system for the fly using ovarian morphology to detect changes in reproductive activity is useful for evaluating reproductive status of the fly in field populations. Changes in the appearance of follicular relics in ovaries with oviposition provide a reliable method to estimate fecundity. Characteristics of follicular relics were used to develop a system with eight physiological age classes, three nulliparous and five parous. Changes that occur in the fat body were used to assist in classification of nulliparous females or those with low egg counts.
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Date: December 2002
Creator: Lenz, Jennifer Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Use of Genetic Polymorphisms and Discriminant Analysis in Evaluating Genetic Polymorphisms as a Predictor of Population

Description: Discriminant analysis is a procedure for identifying the relationships between qualitative criterion variables and quantitative predictor variables. Data bases of genetic polymorphisms are currently available that group such polymorphisms by ethnic origin or nationality. Such information could be useful to entities that base financial determinations upon predictions of disease or to medical researchers who wish to target prevention and treatment to population groups. While the use of genetic information to make such determinations is unlawful in states and confidentiality and privacy concerns abound, methods for human “redlining” may occur. Thus, it is necessary to investigate the efficacy of the relationship of certain genetic information to ethnicity to determine if a statistical analysis can provide information concerning such relationship. The use of the statistical technique of discriminant analysis provides a tool for examining such relationship.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Howell, Bruce F.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Investigations of neuronal network responses to electrical stimulation in murine spinal cultures.

Description: Spontaneous activity in neuronal networks in vitro is common and has been well documented. However, alteration of spontaneous activity in such networks via conditioning electrical stimulation has received much less experimental attention. Two different patterns of electrical stimulation were used to enhance or depress the level of spontaneous activity in spinal cord cultures. High-frequency stimulation (HFS), a method routinely shown to increase the efficacy of synaptic transmission, was employed to augment spontaneous activity. Low-frequency stimulation (LFS), the technique often applied to depress synaptic efficacy, was employed to decrease spontaneous activity. In addition, LFS was used to reverse the effect of HFS on spontaneous activity. Likewise, HFS was applied to counter the effect of LFS. Because these networks were grown on multi-microelectrode plates (MMEPs), this allowed the simultaneous stimulation of any combination of the 64 electrodes in the array. Thus, the possible differences in response to single versus multi-electrode stimulation were also addressed. Finally, test-pulses were delivered before and after the conditioning stimulation on the same stimulation electrode(s) in order to assess the change in mean evoked action potentials (MEAPs). Dissociated spinal tissue from embryonic mice was allowed to mature into self-organized networks that exhibited spontaneous bursting activity after two weeks of incubation. Spontaneous activity was monitored from up to 14 recording channels simultaneously. Although uniform responses to stimulation across all recording electrodes were rarely observed, a large majority of the recording channels had similar responses. Spontaneous activity was increased in 52% of 89 HFS trials, whereas activity was decreased in 35% of 75 LFS trials. The duration of most of these increases was less than 5 minutes. When there were substantial and long-term (> 15 min) changes in spontaneous activity, the opposing stimulation pattern successfully reversed the effect of the previous stimulation. The percent change in MEAPs following conditioning stimulation ...
Date: December 2001
Creator: Sparks, Christopher A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

General Biology Lecture and Laboratory Curriculum Outline in a Two or Four-Year College

Description: In July of 1999, I wrote to 24 Texas junior and community colleges (and one four-year institution) describing my thesis agenda of a general biology lecture and laboratory syllabus for introductory biology students. I requested the titles and authors of the general biology textbooks and laboratory manuals they were currently using, the publishers of these texts, and the edition of said texts. I then contacted publishers of the various textbooks who, in turn, directed me to the Dallas-area representatives for further inquiries. I assimilated the various authors' general biology topics into a two-semester syllabus of lecture and one semester of laboratory. The document is not a text manuscript, but an all-inclusive listing of a general biology syllabus broken down by subject.
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Date: August 2000
Creator: Moreland, Amy L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Anatomy and Physiology Syllabus for Community Colleges

Description: This syllabus includes both lecture notes and laboratory activities for a two-semester anatomy and physiology community college course. The syllabus is based on a 16-week semester that is comprised of a three-hour lecture section and a one-hour laboratory class each week. Both the lecture course and laboratory are necessary to fulfill the requirement for anatomy and physiology. Laboratory activities coincide with lectures to enhance understanding of each topic by providing visual and hands-on experiments for the concepts learned in the lecture. Laboratory quizzes will be given each week to help students maintain a working knowledge of the material learned in the laboratory. This course is appropriate for the typical anatomy and physiology student and should benefit both students who plan to major in biology and also those who are non-biology majors. Because subject matter in anatomy and physiology is quite difficult, the importance of attendance and good study skills is stressed.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Schulz, Leslie
Partner: UNT Libraries

Genetics Lecture and Laboratory Syllabus for a Junior-Level Course

Description: The following is a complete syllabus for a college level genetics course. The syllabus contains lecture outlines and notes for each chapter, along with a list of transparencies needed. The quizzes and exams are prepared and placed at the beginning of the syllabus. The beginning of the course will consist of a lecture to introduce the students to the basics of genetics, followed by many applications of genetics. The process of cell division will be mastered by the students, as well as Mendelian genetics, quantitative genetics, chromosome mapping, and inheritance. The replication, synthesis, and organization of DNA are also discussed within the lectures. The final topics that will be covered using this syllabus are genetics of cancer and immunology and population genetics. These topics are essential for a detailed genetics course. The syllabus is written in great detail, and will require a full semester to be completed. The book used in association with this syllabus is Essentials of Genetics by William S. Klug and Michael R. Cummings.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Harper, Kasey
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Comparison of Predicted and Actual Trophic Status of Lake Ray Roberts, Texas Based on Chlorophyll A

Description: Two years before impoundment, the trophic status of Lake Ray Roberts was predicted by applying the total phosphorus input into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) eutrophication model. Predicted mean summer epilimnetic (MSE) chlorophyll a of Elm Fork arm, Isle duBois arm and Main Body were in the eutrophic category of the OECD model. Observed MSE chlorophyll a two years after impoundment of Elm Fork arm, Isle duBois and Main Body had not reached their predicted means and were at the mesotrophic-eutrophic boundary of the OECD model. Six years after impoundment, observed MSE chlorophyll a for Main Body, was closer to its predicted mean and in the eutrophic category of the OECD model. Six years after impoundment, Elm Fork arm was the most productive area of Lake Ray Roberts. Observed means of chlorophyll a, total phosphates, suspended solids and turbidity were often highest in the Elm Fork arm. Wastewater effluent from Gainesville and Valley View, TX, had an impact on productivity in Elm Fork arm.
Date: May 1999
Creator: Lytle, Lili Lisa
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Organic Surface Amendments on Soil Nutrients and Initial Tree Establishment

Description: This study examined the effects of replicating woodland soil surface horizonation on the nutrient status of underlying soils and the initial establishment and growth of trees. A total of 283 container grown trees were planted in a bufferzone around a future landfill site. Control amendments consisted of an 8 cm layer (0.5 m3) of wood chips applied in a circular area of 4.6 m2 around the trees' planting pit. For the treatment, a 2.5 cm layer of composted biosolids (0.15 m3 or 80 Mg/ha) was applied in a circular area of 4.6 m2 around the trees' planting pit followed by an 8 cm layer (0.5 m3) of wood chips. The results indicate that the replication of woodland soil surface attributes using composted biosolids can significantly improve the nutrient status of underlying soil. Some significant effects were seen under control conditions, too. However, the effects on tree establishment and growth parameters were, for the most part, not statistically significant.
Date: May 1999
Creator: Thuesen, Kevin (Kevin Andrew)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Development of an In Vitro Protoplast Culture System for Albizia Lebek (L.) Benth., an Economically Important Leguminous Tree

Description: An in vitro system of generating protoplasts from their callus cultures was established. The friable callus was more productive in terms of producing protoplasts than the green compact callus. The concentration of the various cell wall degrading enzymes had an effect on the viability of the protoplasts in the medium. The protoplast system developed from the experiments was stable and could be used for the transformation experiments of Albizia lebek and for other plant improvement practices.
Date: August 1998
Creator: Sinha, Debleena
Partner: UNT Libraries

Development and Application of an Assessment Protocol for Watershed Based Biomonitoring

Description: With numerous bioassessment methodologies available, a regional protocol needs to be developed to ensure that results are comparable. A regional assessment protocol was developed that includes collecting five benthic macroinvertebrate samples, identifying organisms to genus, and calculating the following metrics: Number of Taxa, Total Number of Individuals, Simpson's Diversity Index, Shannon's Diversity Index, Percent Contribution of Dominant Taxa, Hilsenhoffs Biotic Index, and Percent Contribution of Dipterans. Once the protocol was developed, it was used to assess the Bayou Chico tributaries and watershed. All three tributaries had been significantly impacted by human activity as had the watershed as a whole. This study indicates that a regional protocol could be developed and is appropriate for biomonitoring at the watershed scale.
Date: May 1998
Creator: Schwartz, Joseph Howard
Partner: UNT Libraries

Light Spectra Distributions in Temperate Conifer-Forest Canopy Gaps, Oregon and in Tropical Cloud-Forest Canopy, Venezuela

Description: Light spectra distributions were measured in two different montane forests: temperate and tropical. Spectral light measurements were made in different sized canopy gaps in the conifer forest at H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon, USA. Researchers at Oregon State University created these gaps of 20 m, 30 m, and 50 m in diameter. In the tropical cloud forest, spectral light measurements were made in two plots that were permanently established at La Mucuy Parque Nacional in Venezuela, in collaboration with researchers at Universidad de Los Andes. In both studies, spectra and distributions of physiologically active light were analyzed: red, far-red, R/FR ratio, and blue light.
Date: December 1997
Creator: Monteleone, Susan Elaine
Partner: UNT Libraries

Remote Sensing of Landscape-Level Ecological Attributes at Ray Roberts Lake in North Texas

Description: Biological diversity is a key component in assessing ecosystem health. Alteration, degradation and loss of habitat due to human influence is currently the primary stressor resulting in decreases in diversity. Reliable assessment of large areas in terms of biological integrity are needed for conservation and preservation efforts. Remotely sensed data provide an integrated view of reflected electromagnetic energy over large areas of the earth. These energy patterns provide unique spectral signatures which can be correlated to land cover and habitat. This research sought relationships between traditional ecological measures and information gathered from satellite digital imagery. Reliable interpretation of earth surface characteristics relies largely on accurate rectification to a map projection and subsequent thematic classification. Use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) for rectification was superior than digitizing topographical maps. Differentially corrected GPS locations provided optimum rectification with SPOT satellite imagery while marginally better rectifications were obtained for Landsat MSS imagery using uncorrected GPS positions. SPOT imagery provided more accurate land cover classifications than did MSS. Detection of temporal land cover change using MSS imagery was hampered by confusion among intermediate successional classes. Confusion between upland and bottomland forest classes occurred with both SPOT and MSS. Landscape analyses using thematic maps produced from the previously discussed endeavors suggested that terrestrial habitat in the Ray Roberts Lake area became more fragmented and complex in shape. Habitat patches became smaller but more numerous. Forested areas were most effected and conservation efforts should focus on management strategies that promote vegetation succession and forest maturation. Remotely sensed SPOT data were successfully used to predict tree basal area. There were no significant relationships found with other in situ measures or between MSS data and any vegetation measures. Remote sensing provided information suitable for large scale projects concerning landscape-level ecological issues. Rectification and classification accuracies were the ...
Date: December 1997
Creator: Smith, David P. (David Paul), 1956-
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Use of Similarity Indicies to Assess the Spatial Differences of the Phytoplankton Communities in Lake Ray Roberts, Texas

Description: A study of the phytoplankton communities of Lake Ray Roberts was conducted at three sampling sites on two sampling dates during the summer of 1995, assessing both community structure and chlorophyll a concentrations. Eight similarity indices were then used to characterize and compare the communities of these sites. Both community similarity and chlorophyll a concentrations were evaluated using a minimum detectable difference equation to determine the amount of change that must occur in these parameters in order to be deemed statistically significant. The Bray-Curtis Index was shown to be the most adequate index evaluated, and was subsequently used in conjunction with bootstrap analysis to determine the similarity between the three sampling sites.
Date: August 1996
Creator: Banks, Kenneth E. (Kenneth Edward)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Evaluation of a Constructed Wetland to Reduce Toxicity from Diazinon at the Pecan Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Denton, TX

Description: The City of Denton Pecan Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility has periodically failed effluent toxicity testing. A Toxicity Identification Evaluation has determined that Diazinon in the effluent is contributing to the observed toxicity. Chlorpyrifos is also implicated as a factor. The City of Denton constructed a half acre experimental wetland to remove Diazinon related toxicity. Results from spiking and microcosm experiments indicate that the wetland can reduce the Diazinon.
Date: May 1996
Creator: Baerenklau, Amy L. (Amy Lyn)
Partner: UNT Libraries