UNT Theses and Dissertations - 694 Matching Results

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Maturation of Endothermic Capacity within the Avian Developmental Spectrum: A Characterization of Thermoregulatory Metamorphosis
An avian embryo is ectothermic, with body temperature determined by environmental temperature. Upon hatching, the neonate begins a conversion so that endothermic capacity becomes feasible and body temperature becomes independent of environment. Whole animal metabolic rate and ventilation response, cardiovascular development, and maturation of muscle mitochondrial flux were the focus of this dissertation because of the direct role in shivering thermogenesis. Precocial ducks and altricial Double-crested Cormorants exhibit increasing hematocrit and disproportionate increases in fractional heart mass resulting in greater oxygen delivery capacity and increased capacity of muscles to utilize oxygen compared with ectothermic American Alligator and Common Snapping turtles. By selecting for faster growth and higher meat yield in the domestic chicken, differences in whole-animal, tissue, cellular, and regulatory responses are evident between broiler and layer type birds. In the altricial red-winged blackbird, despite appearance of a whole animal endothermic response sometime after 7 dph, capacity of skeletal muscles involved in shivering thermogenesis peaks prior to that time. Thus, full development of endothermy is delayed in this species, allowing the altricial nestling to allocate energy towards growth rather than metabolic maintenance. Hypothyroidism in neonate red-winged blackbirds results in delayed maturation of the cardiovascular system and mitochondrial oxidative capacity of skeletal muscle. Such deficiencies were quickly recovered once the animals returned to a normothyroid state, apparently at the cost of increasing body mass. Insights into onset of thermoregulation provide a more thorough understanding of metabolic and physical transitions a hatchling bird must undergo to reach the adult endothermic phenotype. Endothermic capacity will continue to be at the forefront of physiological research because of the significance of changes between the energetic relations of an animal that must occur with its environment.
Respiratory Responses in the Freshwater Snail (Pomacea Bridgesii) are Differently Affected by Temperature , Body Mass,and Oxygen Avalability
Pomacea bridgesii is a snail species native to tropical and sub-tropical regions, where it usually faces variability in water, temperature and oxygen level. This study of the effect of temperature on mass-specific oxygen consumption (ṀO2) and its relation to body weight shows that the ṀO2 of juvenile snails in normoxia (18-21 kPa) acclimated at temperature of 25°C ranged from 5 to 58 µMol O2/g/h, with a mean of 41.4 ± 18.3 µMol O2/g/h (n=7). Adult snails in normoxia at 25°C show less variation, ranging from 13 to 23 µMol O2/g/h , with a mean of 24.4± 6.1 µMol O2/g/h (n=12). The Q10 value for juvenile snails was higher in the interval 25-30°C (Q 10=5.74) than in the interval 20-25°C (Q10= 0.286). In adult snails, Q10 was higher in the interval 20-25°C (Q10=3.19). ṀO2 of P. bridgesii in relation to body weight showed a negative linear correlation between metabolic rate and body weight with b values between 0.23 and 0.76. Also, both juvenile and adult snails exhibited weak O2 regulation. In general, the different respiratory characteristics between juvenile and adult snails might be related to the differences of individual life history, which caused them to perform differently in face of temperatures change. Additionally, Pomacean snails species originated in tropical habitats where there is a lack of thermal fluctuation. For this reason, Pomacean snails may be less likely to have evolved effective thermal acclimation capabilities.
Glucose and Altered Ceramide Biosynthesis Impact the Transcriptome and the Lipidome of Caenorhabditis elegans
The worldwide rise of diabetes and obesity has spurred research investigating the molecular mechanisms that mediate the deleterious effects associated with these diseases. Individuals with diabetes and/or obesity are at increased risk from a variety of health consequences, including heart attack, stroke and peripheral vascular disease; all of these complications have oxygen deprivation as the central component of their pathology. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has been established as a model system for understanding the genetic and molecular regulation of oxygen deprivation response, and in recent years methods have been developed to study the effects of excess glucose and altered lipid homeostasis. Using C. elegans, I investigated transcriptomic profiles of wild-type and hyl-2(tm2031) ( a ceramide biosynthesis mutant) animals fed a standard or a glucose supplemented diet. I then completed a pilot RNAi screen of differentially regulated genes and found that genes involved in the endobiotic detoxification pathway (ugt-63 and cyp-25A1) modulate anoxia response. I then used a lipidomic approach to determine whether glucose feeding or mutations in the ceramide biosynthesis pathway or the insulin-like signaling pathway impact lipid profiles. I found that gluocose alters the lipid profile of daf-2(e1370) (an insulin-like receptor mutant) animals. These studies indicate that a transcriptomic approach can be used to discover novel pathways involved in oxygen deprivation response and further validate C. elegans as a model for understanding diabetes and obesity.
Cardiovascular Fetal Programming in Quail (Colinus virginianus), An Avian Comparative Model
The consequences of early embryonic insults and how they affect subsequent life reflects the emerging concept of "fetal programming". The aim of this project is to study the effects of embryonic insults as they subsequently manifest themselves in adults, with emphasis on the heart and vasculature. My experiments establish that fetal programming operates on the bobwhite quail inducing similar changes as those observed in mammalians and other birds. The quail's fast development provides reliable data in a short period of time than other avian models (e.g. domestic chicken). Data on quail showed a correlation between egg mass and hatchling mass; where small eggs produce small hatchlings but a high mortality made it impractical as a stressor for this study. Hypoxia was used as a stressor during embryonic incubation, where it induced a low hatching weight in quail that was not observable in adult birds. Morphological measurements demonstrated an increased ventricular collagen content and reduced ventricular lumen in birds in adults incubated in hypoxia consistent with hypertension. The hematological analyzes showed few differences indicating organ remodeling instead of hematopoietic compensation. The assessment of vascular reactivity pointed out an impaired endothelium dependent relaxation commonly associated to hypertension in birds and mammals. Fetal programming could be a widespread response to an adverse prenatal environment in endotherms and the resulting data from this work contributes to our understanding of fetal programming in vertebrates and its long term consequences.
Maternal Transfer of Dietary Methylmercury and Implications for Embryotoxicity in Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas)
Mercury (Hg) is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant, which is capable of global atmospheric transport. As a result, even the most pristine aquatic ecosystems are affected by atmospheric Hg deposition, following which microbial transformation yield organic Hg forms, the most concerning of which is methylmercury (MeHg). Methylmercury is capable of bioaccumulation and biomagnification in food webs, resulting in potentially toxic body burdens due to regular dietary exposure in long-lived organisms at higher trophic levels. It is also a molecular mimic of some endogenous amino acids, providing a route of transfer from mother to offspring via large amino acid transporters. Exposure during neurodevelopment can lead to serious, irreversible neurological dysfunction, associated with a variety of cognitive and motor abnormalities across species. The present studies evaluate the effects of maternally-transferred dietary MeHg, at environmentally relevant concentrations on early life stage fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Embryos were collected from adult fatheads exposed to one of three diets with varying concentrations of MeHg for 30 days. Adult reproductive metrics were also monitored over the course of the study, with results indicating no effects on spawning frequency, clutch size, or total egg output. In embryos, Hg concentration was a function of female diet and the duration (number of days) of female exposure. Offspring spawned in tanks administered the low Hg diet displayed altered embryonic movement patterns (hyperactivity), decreased time to hatch, decreased mean larval size, and alterations to several metabolite abundances when compared with controls. Significantly altered metabolites include those associated with cellular energetics, fatty acid metabolism, and polyamine synthesis, indicating current environmental exposure scenarios are sufficient to disrupt important cellular pathways. Dysregulation of the dopaminergic system of embryos is also characterized, and may be a possible mechanism by which hyperactive behaviors are observed in these embryos. Offspring from tanks administered the high Hg diet exhibited ...
Effects of Brain Brain Injury on Primary Cilia of Glial Cells and Pericytes
Glial cells maintain homeostasis that is essential to neuronal function. Injury to the nervous system leads to the activation and proliferation of glial cells and pericytes, which helps to wall off the damaged region and restore homeostatic conditions. Sonic hedgehog is a mitogen which is implicated in injury-induced proliferation of glial cells and pericytes. The mitogenic effects of sonic hedgehog require primary cilia, but the few reports on glial or pericyte primary cilia do not agree about their abundance and did not address effects of injury on these cilia. Primary cilia are microtubule-based organelles that arise from the centrosome and are retracted before cells divide. Depending on cell type, proteins concentrated in cilia can transduce several mitotic, chemosensory, or mechanosensory stimuli. The present study investigated effects of stab wound injury on the incidence and length of glial and pericyte primary cilia in the area adjacent to the injury core. Astrocytes, polydendrocytes and pericytes were classified by immunohistochemistry based on cell-type markers. In normal adult mice, Arl13b immunoreactive primary cilia were present in a majority of each cell type examined: astrocytes, 98±2%; polydendrocytes, 87±6%; and pericytes, 79±13% (mean ± SEM). Three days post-injury, cilium incidence decreased by 24% in astrocytes (p< 0.008) and 41% in polydendrocytes (p< 0.002), but there was no significant effect in pericytes. Polydendrocytes labeled with the cell cycle marker Ki67 were less likely to have cilia compared to resting, Ki67- polydendrocytes. Considering post-injury rates of proliferation for astrocytes and polydendrocytes, it appears that resorption of cilia due to cell cycle entry may account for much of the loss of cilia in polydendrocytes but was not sufficient to account for the loss of cilia in astrocytes. Under normal conditions, astrocytes rarely divide, and they maintain non-overlapping territories. However, three days after injury, there was a 7-fold increase in ...
Glucose Induces Sensitivity to Oxygen Deprivation and Alters Gene Expression in Caenorhabditis Elegans
An organisms’ diet represents an exogenous influence that often yields colossal effects on long-term health and disease risk. The overconsumption of dietary sugars for example, has contributed to significant increases in obesity and type-2 diabetes; health issues that are costly both economically and in terms of human life. Individuals who are obese or are type-2 diabetic often have compromised oxygen delivery and an increased vulnerability to oxygen-deprivation related complications, such as ischemic strokes, peripheral arterial disease and myocardial infarction. Thus, it is of interest to identify the molecular changes glucose supplementation or hyperglycemia can induce, which ultimately compromise oxygen deprivation responses. By utilizing the Caenorhabditis elegans genetic model system, which is anoxia tolerant, I determined that a glucose-supplemented diet negatively impacts responses to anoxia and that the insulin-like signaling pathway, through fatty acid and ceramide biosynthesis and antioxidant activity, modulates anoxia survival. Additionally, a glucose-supplemented diet induces lipid accumulation. Use of RNA-sequencing analysis to compare gene expression responses in animals fed either a standard or glucose-supplemented diet revealed that glucose impacts the expression of genes involved with multiple cellular processes including lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, stress responses, cell division, and extracellular functions. Several of the genes we identified are homologous to human genes that are differentially regulated in response to metabolic diseases, suggesting that there may be conserved gene expression responses between C. elegans supplemented with glucose and a diabetic and/or obese state observed in humans. These findings support the utility of C. elegans to model specific aspects of the T2D disease process (e.g., glucose-induced sensitivity to oxygen deprivation) and identify potentially novel regulators of common complications seen in hyperglycemic and T2D patients (e.g., macrovascular complications).
Thresholds and Legacy Effects of Tropical Floodplain Fish Assemblages in Response to Flood Attributes
Natural flow regimes are critical for sustaining biodiversity and river integrity. Floods and droughts form an important component of river systems and control population sizes and species diversity across space and time. Modification of flow regimes, including disruption of the timing, magnitude and duration of flooding, is a global problem, and many new impoundments are planned for large river-floodplain ecosystems in the tropics. Flow modifications may cause dramatic non-linear responses in population sizes and have lasting effects through time, but such topics are poorly investigated over multi-year scales, especially in highly diverse tropical ecosystems. Using a long-term dataset from the Upper Paraná River floodplain, Brazil, I tested for threshold and legacy effects of fish assemblages to flood attributes, such as timing, magnitude, duration, rate of change and variation. Specifically, I hypothesized that long duration, high magnitude floods would elicit threshold responses in long-distance migratory fish species and these responses result in significant legacy effects detectable over multiple years. Consistent positive threshold responses to increasing flood duration and magnitude were detected for many species and not significantly correlated with reproductive guilds. Legacy effects were prevalent (i.e. identified for more than 90% of species) and including flood attributes from previous years increased variance explained in species abundances by 15-20% compared to contemporary flood attributes alone. Contrary to my hypotheses, flood duration did not elicit strong legacy effects and species from the same reproductive guild did not have similar legacy effects models. The prevalence of legacy effects across almost all species in this diverse study system highlights the need to consider such dynamics in other systems. My results provide targets for management and conservation actions, such as environmental flow releases from upstream reservoirs. Environmental flows releases may play a significant role in sustainability of the floodplain and other tropical floodplain ecosystems affected by ...
Phenotypic Morphological Plasticity Induced by Environmental Salt Stress in the Brine Shrimp, Artemia franciscana
Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of an organism to express different phenotypes in response to biotic or abiotic environmental cues. The ability of an organism to make changes during development to adjust to changes in its environment is a key to survival. Sexually reproducing organisms that have short life cycles and that are easy to raise in the laboratory are more conducive for developmental phenotypic plasticity. Considerable research has already been carried out on the brine shrimp, Artemia franciscana, regarding its morphology due to changing salinities. There is, however, little research considering subsequent generations and how there morphology might be affected by parental experiences. This study has examined: 1) the morphological effects of different rearing regimes of different salinity levels, and 2) the epigenetic transgenerational transfer of these morphological traits in A. franciscana. Measurements included rate of growth (as measured by instar), body size, body length, and other morphological traits. A gradual increase to more hyperosmotic conditions during development produced brine shrimp that were larger in size and also more developmentally advanced. Salinity stress experienced by adults had increased the growth rate in the F1 offspring of A. franciscana. Collectively, these data indicate that Artemia franciscana is a tractable model for investigating phenotypic plasticity. These findings have added to the ever-growing field of developmental phenotypic plasticity while also providing more information on the natural history and adaptive abilities of A. franciscana.
A High-fat Meal Alters Post-prandial mRNA Expression of SIRT1, SIRT4, and SIRT6
Sirtuins (SIRT) regulate the transcription of various genes involved in the development of diet-induced obesity and chronic disease; however, it is unknown how they change acutely following a high-fat meal. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a high-fat meal (65% kcals/d; 85% fat recommendation), on SIRT1-7 mRNA expression in blood leukocytes at 1, 3, and 5-h post-prandial. Men and women (N=24) reported to the lab following an overnight fast (>12H). Total RNA was isolated and reverse transcribed prior to using a Taqman qPCR technique with 18S rRNA as a normalizer to determine SIRT1-7 mRNA expression. An additional aliquot of serum was used to measure triglycerides. Data was analyzed using a RM ANOVA with P<0.05. Triglycerides (P<0.001; 124%) peaked at 3-h. SIRT 1 (P=0.004; 70%), and SIRT 6 (P=0.017; 53%) decreased expression at 3-h. SIRT4 (P=0.024) peaked at 5H relative to baseline (70%) and 3-h (68%). To our knowledge, this is the first study to report that consumption of a high-fat meal transiently alters SIRT mRNA expression consistent in a pattern that mirrors changes in serum triglycerides. Decrease in expression of SIRT1 and SIRT6 combined with an increased SIRT4 would be consistent with an increase in metabolic disease risk if maintained on a chronic basis.
The Effect of Post-exercise Ethanol Consumption on the Acute Hormonal Response to Heavy Resistance Exercise in Women
The purpose of this study was to examine the hormonal response to acute ethanol ingestion following a bout of heavy resistance exercise in women. Eight resistance trained women completed two identical acute heavy resistance exercise tasks (AHRET). From 10-20 minutes post-AHRET, participants consumed either a grain ethanol or a placebo beverage. Blood was collected before (PRE) and immediately after the AHRET (IP) and then every 20 minutes for five hours. Blood collected after beverage ingestion was pooled into 3 batches (phases: 20-40 minutes, 60-120 minutes, and 140-300 minutes post-exercise) and analyzed for serum total testosterone (TT), free testosterone (FT), insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), human growth hormone (GH), cortisol (COR), and estradiol (E2) concentrations. Circulating concentrations of TT were significantly greater at P20-40 than at PRE, P60-120, and P140-300. Circulating concentrations of FT were significantly greater at P20-40 than at all other times. Circulating concentrations of GH were significantly greater at IP than at PRE, P60-120, and P140-300. Circulating concentrations of COR were significantly greater at P20-40 than at all other times. Additionally, COR concentrations at P140-300 were significantly lower than at all other times. Circulating concentrations of IGF-1 were significantly greater at P20-40 than at P60-120 and P140-300. Circulating concentrations of E2 were significantly greater at P20-40 than at all other times. In summary, the present study demonstrated an acute modulation of the neuroendocrine milieu following a heavy resistance exercise bout in women. Ethanol ingestion appeared to have no significant effect on the characteristics of acute hormonal augmentation in TT, FT, GH, COR, IGF-1, or E2.
Characterizing the Molecular Changes of Austrofundulus limnaeus As It Develops Towards and Enters Diapause II
Austrofundulus limnaeus is a species of annual killifish which inhabits ephemeral ponds in South America. The species is able to survive seasonally desiccating ponds due to their ability to produce robust embryos. The embryos of this species are capable of entering a developmental arrest, termed diapause II, which precedes the onset of drought. While in this arrested state embryos exhibit the greatest tolerance to anoxia of any characterized vertebrate at 25ºC. Furthermore, when raised at 30ºC, embryos escape the entrance to diapause II and go on to develop directly. Currently, little is known about the molecular mechanisms which induce and maintain this developmentally arrested state. In this study I have developed methods to analyze changes in histone modifications in the context of diapause II. Histone modifications were chosen due to their extreme conservation and well characterized role as modulators of gene expression in other systems. Results utilizing adapted immunobased assays show significant changes in the global amount of H3S10P, H3K27me and H3K4me, as the embryos progress from early embryogenesis through the exit of diapause. Additionally, it is revealed that there exists a degree of phenotypic plasticity with regards to the entrance into diapause II which is modulated by the environment (severe hypoxia 0.1% O2). This work builds a foundation for future histone modification studies and contributes the development of several tools to the field. This study contributes to a greater molecular understanding of the cue(s) which influence the remarkable phenomenon of obligate developmental arrest in a vertebrate embryo.
Environmental Modulation of the Onset of Air-breathing of the Siamese Fighting Fish and the Blue Gourami
This study determined the effect of hypoxia on air-breathing onset and physiological and morphological characters in larvae of the air breathing fishes Trichopodus trichopterus and Betta splendens. Larvae were exposed intermittently (12/12 h daily) to 20, 17, and 14 kPa of PO2 from 1 to 40 days post-fertilization. Survival, onset of air breathing, wet body mass, O2, Pcrit were measured every 5 dpf. Hypoxia advanced by 4 days, and delayed by 9 days, the onset of air breathing in Betta and Trichopodus, respectively. Hypoxia increased larval body length, wet mass, and labyrinth organ respiratory surface of Betta, but did not affect these factors in Trichopodus. Hypoxic exposure increased O2 by 50-100% at each day throughout larval development in Betta, but had no effect on larval Trichopodus. Hypoxia decreased Pcrit in Betta by 37%, but increased Pcrit in Trichopodus by 70%. Larval Betta reared in hypoxia showed a modified heart rate:opercular rate ratio (3:1 to 2:1), but these changes did not occur in Trichopodus. Compared to Betta, the blood of Trichopodus had a higher P50 and much smaller Bohr and Root effects. These interspecific differences are likely due to ecophysiological differences: Betta is a non- obligatory air-breather after 36 dpf with a slow lifestyle reflected in its low metabolism, while Trichopodus is an obligatory air-breather past 32 dpf with an athletic fast lifestyle and accompanying high metabolism.
The Role of Cysteinyl Leukotriene Receptor 2 in Thrombocyte Aggregation
Cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 2, a G-protein coupled receptor known to be expressed and functional on human platelets. However, it seems that upon ligand activation the cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 2 activates a variety of signaling pathways in multiple cell types among different species. Previously, a former laboratory member Vrinda Kulkarni found cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 2 to be expressed on the surface of adult zebrafish thrombocytes. In this work I studied the characteristics of aggregation in adult zebrafish thrombocytes with the knockdown of cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 2. I used a newly developed knockdown method to study the function of cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 2. Knockdown of the cysteinyl leukotriene was confirmed using RT-PCR results showed p=.001, reduced sell surface level of expression of the cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 2 results showed that p=.002. I found that the knockdown of cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 2 results in prothrombotic thrombocytes by using flow cytometry p=.0001.
Impact of a Genetically Engineered Probiotic Therapy and IGF-1 Genomics in the PAHenu2 Mouse Model of PKU
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.
Studies on Zebrafish Thrombocyte Function
Thrombocytes are important players in hemostasis. There is still much to be explored regarding the molecular basis of the thrombocyte function. In our previous microarray analysis data, we found IFT122 (an intraflagellar transport protein known to be involved in cilia formation) transcripts in zebrafish thrombocytes. Given recent discoveries of non-ciliary roles for IFTs, we examined the possibility that IFT122 affects thrombocyte function. We studied the role of IFT122 in thrombocyte function. We also found that IFT122 plays a central role in thrombocyte activation initiated by the agonists ADP, collagen, PAR-1 peptide and epinephrine. Although the receptors for ADP, PAR-1 peptide and epinephrine are present in the zebrafish genome, the collagen receptor GPVI was missing. In this study, we identified G6fL as a collagen receptor in zebrafish thrombocytes. Furthermore, IFT knockdown results in reduction in Wnt signaling. The Wnt signaling has been shown to be involved in megakaryocyte proliferation and proplatelets production. Therefore, defects in IFT could lead to thrombocytopenia. Splenectomy is performed in humans to treat such conditions. Therefore, in this study we developed a survival surgery protocol for splenectomy. We have shown that number of thrombocytes and their microparticles increase following splenectomy in zebrafish. Thus overall the studies on thrombocyte function in zebrafish could enhance fundamental knowledge on hemostasis and may provide future target candidates for therapies.
Effect of Acute Alcohol Ingestion on Resistance Exercise Induced mTORC1 Signaling in Human Muscle
The purpose of this project was to further elucidate the effects post-exercise alcohol ingestion. This project had many novel aspects including using a resistance exercise (RE) only exercise design and the inclusion of women. To our knowledge, we are the first to investigate the effect of post-RE alcohol ingestion in women. In the first chapter of this project, information on the prevalence of alcohol use and the importance of skeletal muscle as a dynamic and metabolic tissue was provided. In chapter two, the effects of post-RE alcohol ingestion in men and women are detailed. The major findings of this study was that although RE elicited similar mTORC1 signaling both in men and in women, alcohol ingestion appeared to only attenuate RE-induced phosphorylation of the mTORC1 signaling pathway in men. The third chapter focused on examining the effects of post-RE alcohol ingestion on acute testosterone bioavailability. The primary findings of this study was that alcohol substantially elevated serum total and free testosterone concentrations during recovery from a bout of resistance exercise. The fourth chapter detailed factors that contribute to bone density in men. The major findings of this study was that young adult male long-distance runners who participated in resistance training at least once per week had greater bone mineral density than their non-resistance trained and non-exercise trained peers.
The Effectiveness of Hybrid Problem-Based Learning versus Manual-Based Learning in the Microbiology Laboratory
Promising results from the use of problem-based learning (PBL) as a teaching method in medical programs have encouraged many institutions to incorporate PBL into their curricula. This study investigates how applying hybrid-PBL (H-PBL) in a microbiology laboratory impacts students' higher-order thinking as compared to applying a lecture-based pedagogy. The experimental design compared the learning outcomes of two groups of students: the control group and the H-PBL group, for whom PBL cases comprised 30% of the curriculum. Both groups were taught basic skills for the microbiology lab by the same instructor. Using the traditional teaching style for the control group, the instructor offered each student what they needed for their experiments. The H-PBL group practiced experimental design, data analysis, theory proposal, and created research questions by using six study cases that were closely linked to the area of study. The outcome was measured using a pre- and post- assessment consisting of 24 questions that was designed by following Bloom's taxonomy of learning levels. A one-way ANOVA was used to analyze the data. The results showed that for the first three levels of Bloom's taxonomy— knowledge, comprehension, and application—there were no statistically significant differences between the H-PBL and control group gain scores as determined by a one-way ANOVA. For the knowledge level, f (1, 78) = .232, and p = .632; for the comprehension level, f (1, 78) = .004, and p = .951; and for the application level f (1, 78) =. 028, and p =.863. On the other hand, the gain scores for the three higher levels—analysis, evaluation, and creativity—improved for the H-PBL group. The analysis level showed statistically significant differences, with f (1, 78) = 4.012, and p = .049. Also, there were statistically significant differences in students' performance at the evaluation level, with f (1, 78) = 11.495, ...
Clustering Algorithms for Time Series Gene Expression in Microarray Data
Clustering techniques are important for gene expression data analysis. However, efficient computational algorithms for clustering time-series data are still lacking. This work documents two improvements on an existing profile-based greedy algorithm for short time-series data; the first one is implementation of a scaling method on the pre-processing of the raw data to handle some extreme cases; the second improvement is modifying the strategy to generate better clusters. Simulation data and real microarray data were used to evaluate these improvements; this approach could efficiently generate more accurate clusters. A new feature-based algorithm was also developed in which steady state value; overshoot, rise time, settling time and peak time are generated by the 2nd order control system for the clustering purpose. This feature-based approach is much faster and more accurate than the existing profile-based algorithm for long time-series data.
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.
Effects of Peripheral Nerve Injury on the Cells of the Dorsal Root Ganglion: a Role for Primary Cilia
Primary cilia are ubiquitous sensory organelles found on most cell types including cells of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG). The DRG are groups of peripheral neurons that relay sensory information from the periphery to the CNS. Other cell types in the DRG include a type of glial cell, the satellite glial cells (SGCs). The SGCs surround the DRG neurons and, with the neurons, form functional sensory units. Currently are no reports describing the numbers of DRG cells that have cilia. We found that 26% of the SGCs had primary cilia. The incidence of cilia on neurons varied with neuron size, a property that roughly correlates with physiological characteristics. We found that 29% of the small, 16% of the medium and 5% of the large neurons had primary cilia. Primary cilia have been shown to have a role in cell proliferation in a variety of cell types. In some of the cells the cilia mediate the proliferative effects of Sonic hedgehog (Shh). In the CNS, Shh signaling through primary cilia affects proliferation during development as well as following injury, but no studies have looked at this function in the PNS. The SGCs and neurons of the DRG undergo complex changes following peripheral nerve injury such as axotomy. One marked change seen after axotomy is SGC proliferation and at later stages, neuronal death. We found that following axotomy there is a significant increase in the percentage of SGCs with primary cilia. We also found a significant increase in the percentage of medium-sized neurons with primary cilia. In other experiments we tested the idea that Shh plays a role in SGC proliferation. When Shh signaling was blocked following axotomy we found decreased proliferation of SGCs. This is the first report of a change in the percentage of cells with cilia following injury in ...
Somatostatin Receptors on Neuronal Cilia: Evidence for Neuroprotection
Primary cilia are essential in brain development, as mediators of sonic hedgehog signaling. However, their role in mature neurons remains elusive. One means to elucidate their function may be to investigate the function of the somatostatin type 3 receptor (SstR3), which is concentrated on the primary cilia of neurons. The inhibitory and anticonvulsant properties of somatostatin suggest that ciliary SstR3 might protect neurons against excitotoxicity, as seen in epileptic seizures. C57BL/6 wild type (wt) and SstR3 knockout mice were administered vehicle or epileptogenic agents kainic acid (KA) or pentylenetetrazole. Seizure behaviors were rated on seizure severity scales. KA-induced seizure behaviors were more severe in SstR3 mutants than in wt. Correspondingly, the mutants showed greater reactive gliosis, as indicated by increased numbers of GFAP immunoreactive (GFAP(+)) astrocyte processes. In addition, seizure severity was associated with a greater percentage of neural stem cells having an ACIII(+) cilium. Following injections of pentylenetetrazole, SstR3 mutants reached maximum seizure levels faster than wt. These results support the hypothesis that ciliary SstR3 are neuroprotective in mature neurons, and may provide a new avenue for the treatment of seizures.
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.
Head Trauma Release of Histamine from Dural Mast Cells Alters Blood-Brain Barrier: Attenuation with Zolantidine
This study employed a new model of mild-to-moderate head trauma to specifically identify the role of dural mast cell (MC) histamine in trauma-induced increased permeability in the blood-brain barrier (BBB). A single line was scored partially through the left dorsal parietal skull. Immediately following the trauma, degranulation was seen in 39% of the MCs on the left and in 2% on the right. After a 20 min survival period, left duras showed 55% with MC degranulation (fewer with complete degranulation) compared to 34% on the right. In the other experiments two parallel lines were scored following the injection of Evan's blue. Histamine assay showed histamine increased in the left cortex to 154% at 5 min, 174% at 10 min, and 151% at 20 min. Fluorescent quantitation of extravasated Evan's blue at 20 min following the trauma gave an increase of 1385% over the value measured for the right cortex. Zolantidine, a selective histamine H2 receptor antagonist, administered at 10- and 20- mg/kg 30 min before the trauma blocked 65% of the Evan's blue extravasation compared with the control and 2.5 mg group.
Syllabus Outline for Genetics Lecture and Laboratory
This work is intended to be used as a teaching tool in conjunction with the text cited. It is written in outline format, highlighting the major concepts of each pertinent chapter. In this format, the concepts can be expanded upon at the discretion of the instructor. This work is to be used as a guide for lecture. The basic concepts contained in the outline are in such a format as to be able to work in more information regarding the subject matter if needed. The instructor can work from this outline as a starting point. Major topics in the chapters are highlighted, making lecture notes for the instructor easier to do.
Classification of Toolmark Surfaces on Zipper Teeth
This study proposes the classification of the toolmark under the heads of zipper teeth as a subclass characteristic as outlined by the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE). Two separate cases in which zipper teeth were found at crime scenes prompted this study. Brass zipper teeth manufactured by YKK were taken from 20 pairs of jeans and studied using a Reichert comparison microscope at 4X power. Photographs were taken and over 750 comparisons made. It was found that the toolmarks on each side on the 20 zippers were unique and independent of all other sides. The observations made in this study indicate that classifying zipper teeth toolmarks as a subclass characteristic is valid.
Development of Cardiovascular Regulation in Embryos of the Domestic Fowl (Gallus Gallus), with a Partial Comparison to Embryos of the Desert Tortoise (Gopherus Agassizii)
In adult vertebrates, cardiovascular regulation is accomplished by numerous systems with neural, hormonal and local components responsible for the majority of regulation. These regulatory components work in concert to maintain the essential function of blood perfusion to adult tissues. Given the essential nature of this function it is therefore surprising that the development of cardiovascular regulation during gestation is poorly understood. The majority of what is known is based on a single vertebrate model, the fetal lamb. The fetal lamb has been used in multiple studies due to the clear clinical applications and has been pivotal in understanding the onset of regulation in developing vertebrates. However, study on the fetal lamb is limited to the latter 40% of gestation and has the added complication of an in-utero developmental strategy. Therefore the primary focus of this dissertation was to characterize basic cardiovascular regulation in the chicken embryo to provided the needed information for it's use an alternative to the fetal lamb. Developing chicken embryos rely on both alpha and beta adrenergic tones to maintain normal heart rate and arterial blood pressure during incubation. However, on day 21, just prior to hatch, these animals lose both tones on arterial pressure suggesting the onset of adult regulation. Cholinergic tone, however, was absent throughout chicken development indicating that it must mature during the neonatal life. Adult cardiovascular reflexes become apparent late in chicken development with a clear baroreflex specifically operating initially on day. However, an adult response to changes in ambient gas tension was absent during incubation suggesting embryos possess unique regulatory systems that are absent in adult chickens. This mechanism is comprised entirely of adrenergic systems with no cholinergic action during change in ambient gas tension. Similar developmental patterns were determined in embryos of the desert tortoise suggesting fundamental differences between in-utero and ...
A Multimedia Atlas of Dissection for Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates
Traditional methods of teaching the laboratory course for Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates could be improved by applying current computer technology to construct an interactive, multimedial atlas of dissection. Five specimens used in comparative anatomy courses at most institutions were chosen as representative members of the Phylum Chordata: amphioxus, lamprey, dogfish shark, mud puppy, and cat. Specimens were dissected according to the modified method of Wischnitzer, 1993, and each stage was photographed with a Kodak DC120 digital zoom camera. These images were processed on a Power Macintosh 7600 computer with Adobe Photoshop v. 5.0. The atlas was constructed from these images using Macromedia Authorware v. 4.0.3. Each image contains a series of interactive objects that display a highlight and descriptive text as the cursor passes over each object.
Effects of Daily Oral Injections of Quercetin on Implanted Colon-25 Tumor Growth in Balb-C Mice
The effects of three oral dosages (0.4 mg, 0.8 mg, and 1.6 mg) of quercetin on Colon-25 tumors implanted in Balb-c mice were studied. The data in this study show that: (1) certain dosages of quercetin in alcohol solutions, reduces the weight, and size of implanted Colon-25 tumors in Balb-c mice, (2) these same dosages of quercetin all produce a profound neutrophilia combined with a significant lymphopenia at day 20 post-implantation, and (3) there was relatively little evidence of histological changes in the quercetin-treated tumor section which would indicate that the action(s) of quercetin is primarily at the subcellular level probably within the nuclei of the tumor cells.
Spatial and Temporal Influences of Water Quality on Zooplankton in Lake Texoma
Seventy-one aquatic species including the copepodids and nauplii were identified from Lake Texoma from August 1996 to September 1997. Zooplankton community structure, abundance and spatial and temporal distributions were compared among five lake zones delineated a priori based on chloride concentration. The zones, in order of decreasing chloride concentration, are the Red River zone (RRZ), Red river Transition zone (RRTZ), Main Lake zone (MLZ), Washita River Transition zone (WRTZ) and Washita River zone (WRZ). Bray Curtis Similarity Index showed community structure was most similar in the two Red River arm zones, the two Washita River arm zones and the MLZ. Zooplankton abundance was greatest in the Red River arm (312 org/L), intermediate in the Washita River arm (217 org/L) and least in the Main Lake body (103 org/L). A significant increase in the abundance of a deformed rotifer, Keratella cochlearis, was observed mainly in the Red River arm during a second study from March 1999 to June 1999. Seasonal dynamics, rather than spatial dynamics, were more important in structuring the zooplankton community, especially in the two river arms. Spatial variance was solely attributed to station and zone effects independent of time for a few crustacean species and many of the water quality parameters supporting the presence of longitudinal gradients of differing water quality. Three independent models (Red River arm, Washita River arm, Main Lake body) rather than a single model for the entire reservoir, best describe patterns in the zooplankton community and its relationship to seasonal, physical and chemical factors. Statistical power, sample size and taxonomic resolution were examined. When monitoring seasonal and annuals trends in abundance, the greatest statistical power was achieved by analyzing count data at taxonomic levels above genus. Taxonomic sufficiency was assessed to determine if costs could be reduced for zooplankton identifications. For water quality monitoring ...
Production and Characterization of a Novel Extracellular Polysaccharide Produced by Paenibacillus velaei, Sp. Nov
Paenibacillus velaei, sp. nov. is a soil bacterium capable of producing an unusually large amount of exopolysaccharide (EPS). The EPS contains glucose, mannose, galactose and fucose in a molar ratio of 4:2:1:1. The molecular weight of the EPS is higher than 2x106. The viscosity of 1% EPS is 1300 cP when measured at a shear rate of 1 sec-1. Physiological parameters for optimal production of the EPS were studied and it was found that 1.4 g dry weight per 1 l of medium was produced when the bacteria were grown at 30EC and the pH adjusted at 7± 0.2 in a medium containing glucose as the carbon source. Growing the bacteria on different carbon sources did not alter the quantity or the composition of the EPS produced. No toxicity effects were observed in mice or rats when EPS was administered in amounts ranging from 20 to 200 mg per kg body weight. The data obtained from physical, chemical and biological properties suggest that the EPS may be employed in several industrial and environmental applications. It is an excellent emulsifier, it holds 100 times its own weight in water, it is not toxic, and it can be used to remove mercury, cadmium and lead from aqueous solutions.
Improved Fabrication and Quality Control of Substrate Integrated Microelectrode Arrays
Spontaneously active monolayer neuronal networks cultured on photoetched multimicroelectrode plates (MMEPs) offer great potential for use in studying neuronal networks. However, there are many problems associated with frequent, long-term use of MMEPs. The major problems include (1) polysiloxane insulation deterioration and breakdown, (2) and loss of gold at the gold electroplated indium-tin oxide (ITO) electrodes. The objective of this investigation was to correct these major problems. Quality control measures were employed to monitor MMEP fabrication variables. The phenotypes of polysiloxane degradation were identified and classified. Factors that were found to contribute most to insulation deterioration were (1) moisture contamination during MMEP insulation, (2) loss of the quartz barrier layer from excessive exposure to basic solutions, and (3) repetitive use in culture. As a result, the insulation equipment and methods were modified to control moisture-dependent insulation deterioration, and the KOH reprocessing solution was replaced with tetramethylguanidine to prevent damage to the quartz. The problems associated with gold electroplating were solved via the addition of a pulsed-DC application of gold in a new citrate buffered electroplating solution.
Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Variation in Populations of the Nine-Banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)
Four populations of nine-banded armadillos, Dasypus novemcinctus, were investigated in the south-central United States in order to assess genetic variation in an isolated population (Electric Island, Lake Hamilton, Garland County, Arkansas); a semi-isolated population (Arkansas Post, Arkansas County, Arkansas), and two free ranging populations (southern Arkansas and central Texas). A 233 basepair sequence of the D-loop region of mitochondrial DNA was sequenced in individuals from each population. Individuals and populations were compared to assess relatedness among populations and individuals. Higher sequence diversity was detected in the semi-isolated population, while lower sequence diversity was observed in the isolated and free ranging populations. Overall, all populations exhibited low genetic variation when compared to genetic variation for other mammals. The results support the hypothesis that rapid range expansion combined with the organism's unique reproductive strategies have promulgated low genetic variation in the North American populations of nine-banded armadillos.
Inquiry-based science for high school students: a forensic unit
This project constitutes an instructional unit for honors biology that involves the use of science in the field of criminal investigation and forensics. Before beginning the unit, the learners should have mastered basic laboratory skills, including use of the microscope. They should also have an understanding of the basic structure and function of DNA and its role in heredity and protein synthesis. The standard time frame is 24 days with 70-minute periods, but can be easily adjusted to meet classroom needs. Several instructional strategies enhance student learning and make science fun. The unit is inquiry-driven and activity-based. Students are surprised by the crime, gather and analyze evidence, and work towards proposing an explanation. This real world problem involves the use of cooperative learning and a variety of assessment techniques.
The Adolescent Stress Response to a Naturalistic Driving Stressor
The proposed study examined the role of anxiety and risk-taking in driving performance in adolescents. In addition to examining the sample as a whole, gender differences were assessed given earlier reports from our laboratory and others indicating that males and females differ with respect to risky behaviors to driving performance and anxiety. Adolescents' subjective and physiological responses to a driving simulator task were assessed. Anxiety was measured via self report and salivary cortisol. Participants provided a baseline saliva sample and 3 post-task samples for cortisol analysis. Subjective anxiety scores were obtained at both baseline and following the driving stressor. Information concerning impulsivity, as well as other psychological constructs was also collected at baseline. Unlike the pilot study, there were no relationships (with or without respect to gender) between salivary cortisol and both self-reported anxiety (state and trait) or impulsively measures for this sample. These results suggest that this group of adolescents may not have been anxious about the driving task. This discrepancy may stem from error introduced by the smaller sample size obtained from the initial findings or to other factors remaining outside the parameters of the current study. The task did, however, induce a slight hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis response indicating some physiological arousal. Males had significantly higher cortisol levels at baseline than females and at time point 3 while approaching significance at time points 2 and 4. Females possessed significantly higher trait anxiety than males and all post task cortisol levels were positively correlated to age while time points 2 and 4 (with time point 3 approaching significance, p=0.09) were inversely correlated with Self Depreciation scores. Additionally, females had Persecutory Ideas scores that were also negatively correlated with cortisol at time points 3 and 4. For both the entire sample and males only, the correlation between post-task ...
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.
Life History and Case Building Behaviors of Phylloicus ornatus (Banks) (Trichoptera: Calamoceratidae) In Two Spring Fed Tributaries in the Central Edwards Plateau Bioregion of Texas
The life history and case-making behaviors of Phylloicus ornatus from two springfed first order streams in the Edwards Plateau Bioregion of Texas were studied from January 1998 to November 1999. Field larval, pupal and adult samples and laboratory rearings indicated a multivoltine cycle. First instars differ from late instars in number of labral setae and in having a unique spur-like claw on each lateral hump. Larval development was asynchronous with second through fifth instars and pupae present most months. First instars were present April through July, October and November. Case making of first instar and case reconstruction of later instars extracted from their cases was documented by videophotography.
General Biology Lecture and Laboratory Curriculum Outline in a Two or Four-Year College
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.
Evidentiary Value of Condoms: Comparison of Durable Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Condoms
Condom trace evidence must not be overlooked in sexual assault cases; understanding the chemical and physical characteristics of condoms is imperative if condoms are to be useful evidence. Previous research shows that condom identification is possible, but it is equally important to evaluate durability of condom residues versus time. Using FT-IR, this study examined vaginal swabs from subjects who self-sampled at intervals for up to 72 hours after having intercourse with a condom. This study investigated whether age and the stage of the menstrual cycle affected the durability of residues in the vagina over time. This study revealed that condoms containing nonoxynol-9, silicone-based lubricants, and particulates provide valuable information for identification, and that nonoxynol-9 specifically withstands the vaginal environment for up to 72 hours. Additionally, age and menstrual cycle both appeared to have an effect on the durability of residues although larger sample size is desirable.
Syllabus for Advanced Placement Biology
The purpose of this syllabus is to provide a working copy to those teachers of the advanced placement biology course taught at the high school level. Reference materials used were the Texas Education Agency ( TEA ) approved Campbell text Biology and the College Board's, Advanced Placement Biology Laboratory Manual. The syllabus is divided into major topics with outlined notes and includes laboratory exercises as recommended by the College Board. The AP biology course is intended to be equivalent to college biology. College freshman biology courses can differ among colleges and among teachers within the same college. This syllabus is intended to serve as an aid to AP teachers, to cover the topics and experiments as set out by the College Board, and to the high school student, the necessary material to successfully complete the AP examination while providing freshman biology equivalence.
Macroinvertebrate Community Structure as an Indicator of Watershed Health in the Upper Trinity River Basin, North Central Texas
This study describes macroinvertebrate community structure and assesses its potential in detecting point and non-point sources of disturbance associated with rural and urban areas in the Upper Trinity River Basin. Geospatial techniques were used to quantify landuse within the watershed in a GIS. At rural sites near the headwaters of the Trinity River, collector-gathering burrowers that are adapted to minimal flow comprised the majority of taxa. Destinies of taxa compositions at downstream sites increased and shifted toward psammophilic and rheophilic invertebrates, including primarily collector-filtering clingers, that are characteristic of shifting sand habitats in large prairie rivers. Benthic community structure generally benefited from point source impacts including wastewater treatment plant effluents that maintained higher flow. Community indices were negatively associated with forest landuse and positively associated with urban landuse. Partial CCA determined that flow and landuse contributed equally to species dispersions. Comparisons with historical biomonitoring studies in upper Trinity River Basin indicate improved watershed health.
Anatomy and Physiology Syllabus for Community Colleges
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.
Investigating Human Gut Microbiome in Obesity with Machine Learning Methods
Obesity is a common disease among all ages that has threatened human health and has become a global concern. Gut microbiota can affect human metabolism and thus may modulate obesity. Certain mixes of gut microbiota can protect the host to be healthy or predispose the host to obesity. Modern next-generation sequencing technique allows accessing huge amount of genetic information underlying microbiota and thus provides new insights into the functionality of these micro-organisms and their interactions with the host. Multiple previous studies have demonstrated that the microbiome might contribute to obesity by increasing dietary energy harvest, promoting fat deposition and triggering systemic inflammation. However, these researches are either based on lab cultivation studies or basic statistical analysis. In order to further explore how gut microbiota affect obesity, this thesis utilize a series of machine learning methods to analyze large amount of metagenomics data from human gut microbiome. The publicly available HMP (Human Microbiome Project) metagenomic sequencing data, contain microbiome data for healthy adults, including overweight and obese individuals, were used for this study. HMP gut data were organized based on two different feature definitions: taxonomic information and metabolic reconstruction information. Several widely used classification algorithms: namely Naive Bayes, Random Forest, SVM and elastic net logistic regression were applied to predict healthy or obese status of the subjects based on the cross-validation accuracy. Furthermore, the corresponding feature selection algorithms were used to identify signature features in each dataset that lead to the differences between healthy and obese samples. The results showed that these algorithms perform poorly on taxonomic data than metabolic pathway data though lots of selected taxa are still supported by literature. Among all the combinations between different algorithms and data, elastic net logistic regression has the best cross-validation performance and thus becomes the best model. In this model, several important ...
Reproduction and Metabolic Responses to Acute and Chronic Hypoxia in Ovoviviparous Blaberid Cockroaches, with a Focus on Blaptica dubia
The major components of the tracheal system of insects are an extension of the exoskeleton, and the size of the exoskeleton is fixed in the adult stage, so any increase in metabolic demand that may accompany reproduction must be met by a relatively unaltered tracheal system that the female set in place at ecdysis, when entering adulthood. Acute hypoxia tends to elicit an increase in ventilation in insects, and here, I observe increased interburst VCO2 release, and a tendency towards a more continuous gas exchange pattern being preferred over discontinuous gas exchange when Blaptica dubia and Eublaberus posticus are exposed to a descending regime of hypoxia. Additionally, higher temperatures appear to increase sensitivity to hypoxia in these species, an expected result because both species, like most ectothermic animals, display a Q10 effect, increasing metabolic rates as temperature increases. The reproductive mode of B. dubia is considered to be lecithotrophic pseudoviviparity (or type A ovoviviparity), and by the time the embryos are born, they have more than doubles in volume from the time of oviposition. This gain is apparent in the wet mass of the embryo, with no change occurring in dry mass. The egg mass that can be attributed to water begins at 39% at oviposition and increased to nearly 82% at hatching. The metabolic rates of females and embryos increase as embryonic development progresses, but bomb calorimetry reveals that energy content of the embryos does not change. It is possible that these embryos gain some nutrition from the mother during embryonic development, but direct evidence remains to be demonstrated. Blaptica dubia and Eublaberus posticusare both blaberid species that display the same reproductive mode, pseudoviviparity, with incubation occurring in a brood sac. Comparisons between the reproductive traits of B. dubia and E. posticus reveal that the two species have similar ...
Neurological Responses to a Glucose Diet in Caenorhabditis elegans
TRPV channels play a role in both mammalian insulin signaling, with TRPV1 expression in pancreatic beta-cells, and in C. elegans insulin-like signaling through expression of OSM-9, OCR-1, and OCR-2 in stress response pathways. In response to a glucose-supplemented diet, C. elegans are know to have sensitivity to anoxic stress, exhibit chemotaxis attraction, and display reduced egg-laying rate. Transcriptome analysis reveals that glucose stimulates nervous system activity with increased transcript levels of genes regulating neurotransmitters. Ciliated sensory neurons are needed for a reduced egg-laying phenotype on a glucose-supplemented diet. Egg-laying rate is not affected when worms graze on glucose-supplemented Delta-PTS OP50 E. coli, which is defective in glucose uptake. This suggests a possible sensory neuron obstruction by exopolysaccharides produced by standard OP50 E. coli on glucose, eliciting a starvation response from the worm and causing reduced egg-laying rate. Glucose chemotaxis is affected in specific TRPV subunit allele mutants: ocr-2(vs29) and osm-9(yz6), serotonin receptor mutants: ser-1(ok345) and mod-1(ok103), and G-alpha protein mutant: gpa-10(pk362). TRPV deletion mutants had no effect on glucose chemotaxis, alluding to the modality role pf TRPV alleles in specific sensory neurons. The role of serotonin in a reduced egg-laying rate with glucose remains unclear.
The Role of Thyroid Hormone across Avian Development Spectrum: Investigations on Systemic Development, Metabolism and Ontogeny of Endothermy
Achievement of endothernic capacity is vital for independence from ambient temperature changes, sustained activity, optimal biochemical reactions and optimization of parental care. During early avian development, the core tenets of transition from ectothermy to endothermy are development of metabolic capacity (oxygen consumption, mitochondrial bioenergetics), enhanced cardiovascular function (heart rate and cardiac output), pulmonary ventilation and thermogenic capacity. Thyroid hormones, particularly T3, are key metabolic regulators of basal metabolism, thermogenesis, pulmonary ventilation and mitochondrial respiration. Thyroid hormone fluctuation patterns during both precocial and altricial avian endothermic transition suggest a prominent role in maturation of endothermy, cardiovascular, respiratory and skeletal muscle physiology. This body of work explores effects of T3 manipulations in two avian species: the precocial Pekin duck and the altricial Red-winged Blackbird. Increased plasma T3 during late incubation resulted in increased cardiac mass, elevated resting and intrinsic heart rate, intrinsic mean arterial pressure, increased cholinergic tone and blunted alpha-adrenergic tone in the precocial Pekin duck. In both Pekin duck and Red-winged blackbird, plasma T3 levels correlated with changes in the trajectory of endothermic ontogeny, systemic oxygen consumption, thermogenesis, maturation of pulmonary ventilatory function, altered growth and effects on skeletal and cardiac mitochondrial bioenergetics. These observations support the role of thyroid hormones as metabolic and developmental regulators at the time of attainment of endothermy during the perinatal period in precocial and altricial avian species. Insights into the role of thyroid hormone as a metabolic and development regulator at the time of avian endothermic attainment provide a more thorough understanding of metabolic and physical transitions a hatchling bird must undergo to reach the adult endothermic phenotype. Such insights also deepen understanding of the complex role thyroid hormones play in homeostasis and offer implications about the evolutionary history of endothermic capacity.
Developing a Phylogeny Based Machine Learning Algorithm for Metagenomics
Metagenomics is the study of the totality of the complete genetic elements discovered from a defined environment. Different from traditional microbiology study, which only analyzes a small percent of microbes that could survive in laboratory, metagenomics allows researchers to get entire genetic information from all the samples in the communities. So metagenomics enables understanding of the target environments and the hidden relationships between bacteria and diseases. In order to efficiently analyze the metagenomics data, cutting-edge technologies for analyzing the relationships among microbes and communities are required. To overcome the challenges brought by rapid growth in metagenomics datasets, advances in novel methodologies for interpreting metagenomics data are clearly needed. The first two chapters of this dissertation summarize and compare the widely-used methods in metagenomics and integrate these methods into pipelines. Properly analyzing metagenomics data requires a variety of bioinformatcis and statistical approaches to deal with different situations. The raw reads from sequencing centers need to be processed and denoised by several steps and then be further interpreted by ecological and statistical analysis. So understanding these algorithms and combining different approaches could potentially reduce the influence of noises and biases at different steps. And an efficient and accurate pipeline is important to robustly decipher the differences and functionality of bacteria in communities. Traditional statistical analysis and machine learning algorithms have their limitations on analyzing metagenomics data. Thus, rest three chapters describe a new phylogeny based machine learning and feature selection algorithm to overcome these problems. The new method outperforms traditional algorithms and can provide more robust candidate microbes for further analysis. With the frowing sample size, deep neural network could potentially describe more complicated characteristic of data and thus improve model accuracy. So a deep learning framework is designed on top of the shallow learning algorithm stated above in order to further ...
Delivery of CRISPR/Cas9 into Blood Cells of Zebrafish: Potential for Genome Editing in Somatic Cells
Factor VIII is a clotting factor found on the intrinsic side of the coagulation cascade. A mutation in the factor VIII gene causes the disease Hemophilia A, for which there is no cure. The most common treatment is administration of recombinant factor VIII. However, this can cause an immune response that renders the treatment ineffective in certain hemophilia patients. For this reason a new treatment, or cure, needs to be developed. Gene editing is one solution to correcting the factor VIII mutation. CRISPR/Cas9 mediated gene editing introduces a double stranded break in the genomic DNA. Where this break occurs repair mechanisms cause insertions and deletions, or if a template oligonucleotide can be provided point mutations could be introduced or corrected. However, to accomplish this goal for editing factor VIII mutations, a way to deliver the components of CRISPR/Cas9 into somatic cells is needed. In this study, I confirmed that the CRISPR/Cas9 system was able to create a mutation in the factor VIII gene in zebrafish. I also showed that the components of CRISPR/Cas9 could be piggybacked by vivo morpholino into a variety of blood cells. This study also confirmed that the vivo morpholino did not interfere with the gRNA binding to the DNA, or Cas9 protein inducing the double stranded break.
Markov Model of Segmentation and Clustering: Applications in Deciphering Genomes and Metagenomes
Rapidly accumulating genomic data as a result of high-throughput sequencing has necessitated development of efficient computational methods to decode the biological information underlying these data. DNA composition varies across structurally or functionally different regions of a genome as well as those of distinct evolutionary origins. We adapted an integrative framework that combines a top-down, recursive segmentation algorithm with a bottom-up, agglomerative clustering algorithm to decipher compositionally distinct regions in genomes. The recursive segmentation procedure entails fragmenting a genome into compositionally distinct segments within a statistical hypothesis testing framework. This is followed by an agglomerative clustering procedure to group compositionally similar segments within the same framework. One of our main objectives was to decipher distinctive evolutionary patterns in sex chromosomes via unraveling the underlying compositional heterogeneity. Application of this approach to the human X-chromosome provided novel insights into the stratification of the X chromosome as a consequence of punctuated recombination suppressions between the X and Y from the distal long arm to the distal short arm. Novel "evolutionary strata" were identified particularly in the X conserved region (XCR) that is not amenable to the X-Y comparative analysis due to massive loss of the Y gametologs following recombination cessation. Our compositional based approach could circumvent the limitations of the current methods that depend on X-Y (or Z-W for ZW sex determination system) comparisons by deciphering the stratification even if only the sequence of sex chromosome in the homogametic sex (i.e. X or Z chromosome) is available. These studies were extended to the plant sex chromosomes which are known to have a number of evolutionary strata that formed at the initial stage of their evolution, presenting an opportunity to examine the onset of stratum formation on the sex chromosomes. Further applications included detection of horizontally acquired DNAs in extremophilic eukaryote, Galdieria sulphuraria, which ...
Generating Molecular Biology Tools to Investigate the Ca2+ Binding Ability of Arabidopsis TON2
The position of the cell division plane in plants is determined by the position of the preprophase band. The pre prophase band (PPB) is a ring of microtubules centered around the nucleus on the inner side of plasma membrane that establishes the cortical division site. The PPB forms at the end of G2 and breaks down at the end of prophase leaving behind protein markers of its position that are collectively called the cortical division site. During cytokinesis the phragmoplast expands towards the cortical division site and mediates the fusion of the new cell plate with the mother cell at that position. Several proteins necessary for PPB formation in plants have been identified, including maize DCD1 and ADD1 and Arabidopsis TON2, which are all type 2A protein phosphatase (PP2A)B" regulatory subunits. DCD1, ADD1, and TON2 localize to the PPB and the cortical division site through metaphase. The PP2A subunits each have two EF-hand domains, which are predicted to bind calcium ions. Since calcium ions are important for some aspects of cell division, we designed a series of constructs to test if TON2 binds calcium. TON2 protein was cloned into expression vectors, pET42a, and expression of TON2 protein was confirmed via Western blotting and immunodetection using a GST antibody. Site directed mutagenesis was used to mutate the TON2 EF-hand domains and mutated cDNAs were also cloned into expression vectors. These were then expressed in bacterial systems. Finally, the GST tagged proteins were purified. In the future, wild-type and mutated proteins TON2 proteins will used in calcium binding assays to determine if TON2 binds calcium.