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Callus Development and Organogenesis in Cultured Explants of Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp

Description: Cowpea, Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals and a major food crop many parts of Africa. Optimal production levels are hampered by insect pests and diseases. Biotechnological techniques such as tissue culture and genetic engineering can aid in the development of varieties with resistance to insect pests and diseases. The objective of this study was to investigate conditions necessary for the development of a reproducible tissue culture system that can be applied to regenerate transformed cells from culture. The in vitro manipulation of cowpea using Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium, auxins and cytokinins resulted in the formation of callus and rhizogenesis. Calli that were formed were separated into six classes based on color and texture. Yellowish friable callus, yellowish compact, soft yellowish callus and green and white were composed of largely vacuolated cells and were non-regenerative. Friable green callus was the most prevalent callus type and could form of roots in some hormone combinations. Green spots were formed on hard compact green callus. The green spots became nodular, forming root primordia and ultimately giving rise to roots. None of the six calli types gave rise to the formation of shoots. Embryogenic callus was induced from cowpea explants cultured on MS medium supplemented with dicamba and picloram. Embryogenic suspension cultures were initiated from callus induced on MS supplemented with 3.0 mg/L dicamba or picloram and conditions for maintenance of embryogenic suspension cultures were evaluated. Somatic embryos were formed in suspension cultures. Attempts to convert and germinate the somatic embryos resulted in the formation of callus or formation of appendages on the somatic embryos or in the death of the embryos. The appendages formed roots on prolonged culture. Further research is needed to determine appropriate optimal conditions for embryo conversion and germination and ultimately plant ...
Date: December 2004
Creator: Omwenga, George Isanda

Characterization of cDNA and Genomic Clones for a Palmitoyl-acyl Carrier Protein Thioesterase and an Osmotin-Like PR5 Protein in Gossypium Hirsutum.

Description: Putative cotton cDNA clones and cognate genomic clones for a palmitoyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) thioesterase (PATE) and an osmotin-like pathogenesis-related 5 (PR5) protein have been isolated and characterized. PATE is a class B fatty acid thioesterase with specificity for saturated long-chain fatty acids such as palmitate, and is implicated as a key enzyme to be targeted for regulation of fatty acid synthesis in order to alter cotton seed oil profiles. A nearly full-length 1.7-kb cDNA clone was isolated using a hybridization probe derived from an Arabidopsis PATE cDNA clone designated TE 3-2. A 17-kb genomic segment encompassing the PATE gene was also isolated, which has six exons and five introns with high sequence identity with other FatB cDNA/gene sequences. The deduced PATE preprotein amino acid sequence of 413 residues has putative signal sequences for targeting to the chloroplast stroma. PR5 proteins called osmotins are made in response to fungal pathogen stress or osmotic stress (water deprivation or salt exposure). Osmotins may actually form pores in fungal membranes, leading to osmotic rupture and destruction of the fungal cells. A cotton osmotin-like PR5 cDNA insert of 1,052 base-pairs was isolated and shown to encode a preprotein of 242 amino acids and is predicted to be secreted to the extracellular matrix as a neutral isoform. The deduced amino acid sequence has 16 cysteine residues that are highly conserved in osmotin-like proteins and are important in stabilizing the three-dimensional structure seen in thaumatin, zeamatin, and PR5-d. The intronless cognate cotton genomic clone has two putative ethylene response elements (GCC boxes) found in other PR5 gene promoter regions, as well as several tentative promoter/enhancer elements possibly involved in spatial/temporal gene expression.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Yoder, David W.

Characterization of Infection Arrest Mutants of Medicago Truncatula and Genetic Mapping of Their Respective Genes.

Description: In response to compatible rhizobia, leguminous plants develop unique plant organs, root nodules, in which rhizobia fix nitrogen into ammonia. During nodule invasion, the rhizobia gain access to newly divided cells, the nodule primordia, in the root inner cortex through plant-derived cellulose tubes called infection threads. Infection threads begin in curled root hairs and bring rhizobia into the root crossing several cell layers in the process. Ultimately the rhizobia are deposited within nodule primordium cells through a process resembling endocytosis. Plant host mechanisms underlying the formation and regulation of the invasion process are not understood. To identify and clone plant genes required for nodule invasion, recent efforts have focused on Medicago truncatula. In a collaborative effort the nodulation defect in the lin (lumpy infections) mutant was characterized. From an EMS-mutagenized population of M. truncatula, two non-allelic mutants nip (numerous infections with polyphenolics) and sli (sluggish infections) were identified with defects in nodule invasion. Infection threads were found to proliferate abnormally in the nip mutant nodules with only very rare deposition of rhizobia within plant host cells. nip nodules were found to accumulate polyphenolic compounds, indicative of a host defense response. Interestingly, nip was also found to have defective lateral root elongation suggesting that NIP has a role in both nodule and lateral root development. NIP was found to map at the upper arm of chromosome 1. In sli, infection threads were observed to bring rhizobia from infection threads to newly divided nodule primordium cells in the roots inner cortex. Polyphenolic accumulation in sli nodule/bumps was found. Lateral roots in sli were found to be clustered at the top of the root, indicating that sli like nip may be defective in lateral root development.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Veereshlingam, Harita

Characterization of Moraxella bovis Aspartate Transcarbamoylase

Description: Aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) catalyzes the first committed step in the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway. Bacterial ATCases have been divided into three classes, class A, B, and C, based on their molecular weight, holoenzyme architecture, and enzyme kinetics. Moraxella bovis is a fastidious organism, the etiologic agent of infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis (IBK). The M. bovis ATCase was purified and characterized for the first time. It is a class A enzyme with a molecular mass of 480 to 520 kDa. It has a pH optimum of 9.5 and is stable at high temperatures. The ATCase holoenzyme is inhibited by CTP > ATP > UTP. The Km for aspartate is 1.8 mM and the Vmax 1.04 µmol per min, where the Km for carbamoylphosphate is 1.05 mM and the Vmax 1.74 µmol per min.
Date: December 2001
Creator: Hooshdaran, Sahar

Comparative Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Diversity in Isolated and Open Populations of Southern Flying Squirrels

Description: Three populations of Southern flying squirrels were studied in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas to assess the impact of population subdivision-due to island formation--on the population genetics of Glaucomys volans. One island, one mainland, and one open population were investigated. A 367 nucleotide hypervariable region of mitochondrial DNA was sequenced in individuals from each population. Individuals and populations were compared to assess relatedness. Higher sequence diversity was detected in the open and island populations. One island individual shared characters with both the island and mainland populations. Results support the hypothesis that the mainland population may have reduced gene flow. Also, the island population may have been originally founded by at least two maternal lineages.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Cook, Melaney Birdsong

Cyanide Assimilation in Pseudomonas Fluorescens: Characterization of Cyanide Oxygenase as a Pterin-Dependent Multicomponent Enzyme Complex

Description: Cyanide utilization in Pseudomonas fluorescens NCIMB 11764 occurs via oxidative conversion to carbon dioxide and ammonia, the latter satisfying the nitrogen requirement. Substrate attack is initiated by an enzyme referred to as cyanide oxygenase (CNO), previously shown to require components in both high (H) (>30 kDa) and low (L) (<10 kDa) molecular weight cell fractions. In this study, tetrahydrobiopterin (H4biopterin) was identified as a cofactor in fraction L, thus making CNO appear as a pterin- dependent hydroxylase. CNO was purified 150-fold (specific activity 0.9 U/mg) and quantitatively converted cyanide to formate and ammonia as reaction products. When coupled with formate dehydrogenase, the complete enzymatic system for cyanide oxidation to carbon dioxide and ammonia was reconstituted. CNO was found to be an aggregate of known enzymes that included NADH oxidase (Nox), NADH peroxidase (Npx), cyanide dihydratase (CynD) and carbonic anhydrase (CA). A complex multi-step reaction mechanism is proposed in which Nox generates hydrogen peroxide which in turn is utilized by Npx to catalyze the oxygenation of cyanide to formamide accompanied by the consumption of one and two molar equivalents of oxygen and NADH, respectively. The further hydrolysis of formamide to ammonia and formate is thought to be mediated by CynD. The role of H4biopterin and of the enzyme CA in the proposed process remains unclear, but the involvement of each in reactive oxygen and radical chemistry is consistent with the proposed formation of such species in the catalytic process. H4biopterin may additionally serve as a protein stabilizing agent along with a protein co-purifying with CynD identified as elongation factor Tu, a known chaperone. At least two of the CNO components (Nox and CynD) are complex oligomeric proteins whose apparent association with Npx and CA appears to be favored in bacterial cells induced with cyanide allowing their purification in toto as a ...
Date: May 2004
Creator: Fernandez, Ruby

Identification and characterization of an incomplete root hair elongation (IRE)-like gene in Medicago truncatula (L.) root nodules.

Description: Cloning and molecular characterization of new genes constitutes a useful approach in studying the symbiotic interactions between the model plant Medicago truncatula and Synorhizobium meliloti. Large numbers of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) available for Medicago truncatula, along with numerous cDNA, oligonucleotides, and Affimetrix DNA microarray chips, represent useful tools for gene discovery. In an attempt to identify a new gene that might be involved in the process of nodulation in Medicago truncatula, preliminary data reported by Fedorova et al. (2002), who identified 340 putative gene products or tentative consensus sequences (TCs) expressed only in nodules, was used. This research was focused on TC33166 (TC103185), which has 3 ESTs in the TC, and whose strongest BLASTX hit of TC103185 is the incomplete root hair elongation (IRE) protein kinase-like protein (NP_192429) from Arabidopsis thaliana. The Arabidopsis IRE gene is required for normal root hair growth, and a role in apical growth was suggested (Oyama et al., 2002). Infection thread growth can be looked at as an inward growth of the root hair. Thus, TC103185 was a good candidate for identifying a gene that may be involved in early events of nodulation. MtIRE (GenBank accession AC122727) is organized in 17 exons and 16 introns, similarly to the Arabidopsis IRE gene. MtIRE is a new member of the IRE family and it is a putative Ser/Thr protein kinase. MtIRE is a nodule- and flower-specific gene, suggesting that nodulation may have recruited it from other developmental processes. MtIRE is likely to be involved in the invasion process, or in the maturation of the symbiosome, or of the cells that contain rhizobia, rather than infection thread initiation and elongation or in nitrogen fixation. Nodule invasion precedes the onset of MtIRE expression and the expression pattern changes in time within the nodule. RNA interference results support MtIRE ...
Date: May 2006
Creator: Pislariu, Catalina Iulia

Influence of Cholesterol Import on Aspergillus fumigatus Growth and Antifungal Suscepibility

Description: Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis is a life-threatening fungal infection commonly observed in immunocompromised patients and has a mortality rate approaching 100% once the disease is disseminated. Aspergillus fumigatus is the most common pathogen. Early diagnosis improves the prognosis but is very difficult since most signs and symptoms are nonspecific. Antifungal therapy, usually based on sterol biosynthesis inhibitors, is also of limited efficacy. In my attempts to discover a diagnostic sterol marker for aspergillosis, I observed that A. fumigatus incorporates large amounts of cholesterol from serum-containing medium. This observation suggested the hypothesis that exogenous cholesterol from the host can be imported by A. fumigatus and used as a substitute for ergosterol in the cell membrane. This proposed mechanism would reduce the efficacy of antifungal drugs that act as sterol biosynthesis inhibitors. Experiments to test this hypothesis were designed to determine the effects of serum-free and serum-containing medium on growth of A. fumigatus in the presence and absence of azole antifungal agents. The results showed a marked increase in growth in the presence of human serum. Cultures in media containing cholesterol but no serum also showed enhanced growth, a result indicating that a non-cholesterol component of serum is not primarily responsible for the increased growth. However, sterol analysis of A. fumigatus cultured in the absence of inhibitors showed little or no change in ergosterol levels. This result suggested that the imported cholesterol was not being used as membrane sterol. However, in parallel experiments using Itraconazole™, an antifungal agent that attenuates sterol biosynthesis by inhibiting the sterol 14a-demethylase (ERG11), ergosterol levels decreased with increasing doses of inhibitor. Moreover, serum-containing medium partially rescued A. fumigatus from the effects of Itraconazole™, and a similar rescue effect was observed with serum-free media containing cholesterol. From the preceding results, it can be concluded that human serum enhances A. ...
Date: December 2003
Creator: Hassan, Saad A.

Isolation and Characterization of Polymorphic Loci from the Caribbean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber): New Tools for Wildlife Management

Description: Methods to determine genetic diversity and relatedness within populations are essential tools for proper wildlife management. Today the approach of choice is polymerase chain reaction-based microsatellite analysis. Seven new polymorphic loci were isolated from a microsatellite-enriched Caribbean flamingo genomic library and used to characterize survey populations of Caribbean and African greater flamingos. In addition, four of these loci were used to verify parentage relationships within a captive-breeding population of African greater flamingos. Parentage predictions based upon gamekeeper observations of breeding and nesting did not always agree with genetic-based parentage analyses of the nine suggested family groups. Four family groups were supported (groups I, II, III and VI) by there results. However, an analysis of the remaining five suggested groups, with a total of eight offspring/dam and eight offspring/sire suggested relationships, yielded seven exclusions of the suggested dam and six exclusions of the suggested sire. This put the overall suggested dam exclusion rate at 35% and exclusion rate for suggested sires at 29%. Although the keeper observation data for our family groups must be considered a variable of concern at this time, these findings are certainly suggestive that more carefully controlled studies may reveal that flamingos are not monogamous as long accepted, but rather socially monogamous or even promiscuous. Thus we have now been able to both characterize and demonstrate the utility of our polymorphic microsatellite loci. We hope these results will interest additional wildlife facilities in further parentage and behavioral studies that will collectively aid to improve monitoring and maintenance of genetic diversity, and as provide better insight into breeding habits of both wild and captive populations.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Preston, E. Lynn

Novel Role of Trypsin in Zebrafish

Description: It has been shown previously in our laboratory that zebrafish produce trypsin from their gills when they are under stress, and this trypsin is involved in thrombocyte activation via PAR2 during gill bleeding. In this study, I investigated another role of the trypsin that is secreted from zebrafish. This investigation has demonstrated a novel role of trypsin in zebrafish. Not only did this investigation demonstrate the role of trypsin in zebrafish behavior, but also it showed that PAR2 might be the receptor that is involved in trypsin-mediated behavioral response. In addition, we have shown that Gq and ERK inhibitors are able to block the trypsin pathway and prevent the escaping behavior. Finally, the results of this investigation suggest that the cells that respond to trypsin are surface cells, which have an appearance similar to that of neuromast cells.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Alsrhani, Abdullah Falleh

Origin and Role of Factor Viia

Description: Factor VII, the initiator of the extrinsic coagulation cascade, circulates in human plasma mainly in its zymogen form, Factor VII and in small amounts in its activated form, Factor VIIa. However, the mechanism of initial generation of Factor VIIa is not known despite intensive research using currently available model systems. Earlier findings suggested serine proteases Factor VII activating protease, and hepsin play a role in activating Factor VII, however, it has remained controversial. In this work I estimated the levels of Factor VIIa and Factor VII for the first time in adult zebrafish plasma and also reevaluated the role of the above two serine proteases in activating Factor VII in vivo using zebrafish as a model system. Knockdown of factor VII activating protease did not reduce Factor VIIa levels while hepsin knockdown reduced Factor VIIa levels. After identifying role of hepsin in Factor VII activation in zebrafish, I wanted to identify novel serine proteases playing a role in Factor VII activation. However, a large scale knockdown of all serine proteases in zebrafish genome using available knockdown techniques is prohibitively expensive. Hence, I developed an inexpensive gene knockdown method which was validated with IIb gene knockdown, and knockdown all serine proteases in zebrafish genome. On performing the genetic screen I identified 2 novel genes, hepatocytes growth factor like and prostasin involved in Factor VII activation.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Khandekar, Gauri

Structural Analysis of the TOL pDK1 xylGFJQK Region and Partial Characterization of the xylF and xylG Gene Products

Description: TOL plasmids encode enzymes responsible for utilization of toluene and related aromatic compounds by Pseudomonas putida, ultimately converting them to central metabolic intermediates. The nucleotide sequence for the 5.6 kb xylGFJQK region of the pDK1 TOL meta operon was determined. DNA sequence analysis revealed the presence of five open reading frames corresponding to xylG (1458 bp), xylF (846 bp), xylJ (783 bp), xylQ (936 bp) and xylK (1047 bp), encoding predicted protein products of 51.6, 31.3, 27.8, 32.8, and 36.6 kDa in size, respectively. The average G+C content of the xylLTEGFJQK region was 65.7%, somewhat higher than the 58.9% seen in the immediately upstream xylXYZ region and substantially more than the 50% G+C content reported for the upper TOL operon of this plasmid. Homology comparisons were made with genes and proteins of related catabolic plasmids. The dmpCDEFG and pWWO xylGFJQK regions exhibit consistently high levels of nucleotide and amino acid homology to pDK1 xylGFJQK throughout the entire region. In contrast, although the nucleotide sequence homology of the Acinetobacter atdCDE region to xylGFJ is high, the homology of atdFG to xylQK is markedly less. Such radical changes in homology between corresponding regions of different operons, combined with variable base and codon usage patterns within and between operons, provides additional support for the idea that the upper and lower operons encoding enzymes of aromatic pathways have evolved independently of one another and that these operons have continued to exchange genetic material with homologous expression units through a series of recombination events. Recombinant plasmids were constructed for individual expression of each of the xylGFJQK genes. HMSD (XylG) and HMSH (XylF) were partially purified and characterized with respect to substrate specificity and kinetic mechanism. Evidence was obtained suggesting that the HMSD reaction occurs via a steady state ordered mechanism or a random mechanism where ...
Date: December 1999
Creator: Poulter, Melinda D.

Structure-Function Studies on Aspartate Transcarbamoylase and Regulation of Pyrimidine Biosynthesis by a Positive Activator Protein, PyrR in Pseudomonas putida

Description: The regulation of pyrimidine biosynthesis was studied in Pseudomonas putida. The biosynthetic and salvage pathways provide pyrimidine nucleotides for RNA, DNA, cell membrane and cell wall biosynthesis. Pyrimidine metabolism is intensely studied because many of its enzymes are targets for chemotheraphy. Four aspects of pyrimidine regulation are described in this dissertation. Chapter I compares the salvage pathways of Escherichia coli and P. putida. Surprisingly, P. putida lacks several salvage enzymes including nucleoside kinases, uridine phosphorylase and cytidine deaminase. Without a functional nucleoside kinase, it was impossible to feed exogenous uridine to P. putida. To obviate this problem, uridine kinase was transferred to P. putida from E. coli and shown to function in this heterologous host. Chapter II details the enzymology of Pseudomonas aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase), its allosteric regulation and how it is assembled. The E. coli ATCase is a dodecamer of two different polypeptides, encoded by pyrBI. Six regulatory (PyrI) and six catalytic (PyrB) polypeptides assemble from two preformed trimers (B3) and three preformed regulatory dimers (I2) in the conserved 2B3:3I2 molecular structure. The Pseudomonas ATCase also assembles from two different polypeptides encoded by pyrBC'. However, a PyrB polypeptide combines with a PyrC. polypeptide to form a PyrB:PyrC. protomer; six of these assemble into a dodecamer of structure 2B3:3C'2. pyrC' encodes an inactive dihydroorotase with pyrB and pyrC' overlapping by 4 bp. Chapter III explores how catabolite repression affects pyrimidine metabolism. The global catabolite repression control protein, Crc, has been shown to affect pyrimidine metabolism in a number of ways. This includes orotate transport for use as pyrimidine, carbon and nitrogen sources. Orotate is important because it interacts with PyrR in repressing the pyr genes. Chapter IV describes PyrR, the positive activator of the pyrimidine pathway. As with other positive activator proteins, when pyrimidine nucleotides are depleted, PyrR binds to ...
Date: December 2003
Creator: Kumar, Alan P.