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Chemotactic Response of Lumbricus terrestris Coelomocytes to Larval and Adult Stages of Rhabditis pellio

Description: Experiments were performed to assess the suitability of Rhabditis pellio, a nematode found in earthworms, as a challenge organism for use in development of a biomarker assay to determine the potential of chemicals to suppress the immunocompetence of the non-specific immune system. To accomplish this goal, information on the life cycle of R. pellio was determined; including effects of incubation time and temperature on growth rates; along with information on the immune response elicited in the earthworm, Lumbricus terrestris. Immune parameters measured were coelomocyte migration toward and attachment to R. pellio larvae and adults. Preliminary background information showed that R. pellio has potential as a challenge organism for development of a biomarker assay.
Date: December 1999
Creator: Medrano, Jennifer Centurion

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

A Multimedia Atlas of Dissection for Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates

Description: 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.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Curran, Anthony A.

The Potential of Coelomocyte Chemotaxis as an Immune Biomarker in the Earthworm, Lumbricus terrestris

Description: Coelomocyte migration responses, both random and chemotatic, were examined in the earthworm Lumbricus terrestris. Coelomocyte random migration patterns towards non-stimulatory, non-chemotatic solutions were described. Migration responses to immunostimulatory agents lipopolysaccharides (LPS), N-formly-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (FMLP), sheep erythrocytes, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Aeromonas hydrophila, Eisenia fetida and Rhabditis pellio were characterized. Chemotaxis was reported to LPS, FMLP, sheep erythrocytes, S. cerivesae and E. fetida. Bio-indicator potential of chemotaxis is discussed relative to variability in migration responses.
Date: December 1999
Creator: Mota, Jennifer A.

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.