UNT Libraries - 267 Matching Results

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Nucleotide Inhibition of Glyoxalase II

Description: The glyoxalase system mediates the conversion of methylglyoxal, a toxic ketoaldehyde, to D-lactic acid. The system is composed of two enzymes, glyoxalase I (Glo-I) and glyoxalase II (Glo-II), and exhibits an absolute requirement for a catalytic quantity of glutathione (GSH). Glo-I catalyzes the isomerization of a hemithioacetal, formed non-enzymatically from methylglyoxal and GSH, to the corresponding a -D-hydroxyacid thioester, s-D-lactoylglutathione (SLG). Glo-II catalyzes the irreversible breakdown of SLG to D-lactate and GSH. We have observed that ATP or GTP significantly inhibits the Glo-II activity of tissue homogenates from various sources. We have developed a rapid, one step chromatography procedure to purify Glo-II such that the purified enzyme remains "sensitive" to inhibition by ATP or GTP (Glo-II-s). Studies indicate that inhibition of Glo-II-s by nucleotides is restricted to ATP, GTP, ADP, and GDP, with ATP appearing most effective. Kinetics studies have shown that ATP acts as a partial non-competitive inhibitor of Glo-II-s activity, and further suggest that two kinetically distinguishable forms of the enzyme exist. The sensitivity of pure Glo-II-s to nucleotide inhibition is slowly lost on storage even at -80° C. This loss is accelerated at higher temperatures or in the presence of ATP. Kinetics studies on the resultant "insensitive" enzyme (Glo-II-i) show that a significant reduction of the affinity of the enzyme for the substrate, SLG, occurs and further suggest that only one form of the enzyme is kinetically distinguishable after "de-sensitization". Tryptophan fluorescence studies of the two enzyme preparations suggest that a subtle conformational change in the enzyme has occurred during de-sensitization. We have also observed that Glo-II-i is "resensitized" to nucleotide inhibition after incubation in the presence of a reagent that reduces disulfide bonds. The resensitized enzyme exhibits an increased KM value similar to that of the original Glo-II-s. Kinetics studies show that ATP or GTP again ...
Date: May 1999
Creator: Gillis, Glen S

An Assessment of the Use of Seeding, Mowing, and Burning in the Restoration of an Oldfield to Tallgrass Prairie in Lewisville, Texas

Description: An examination of the effectiveness of seeding, burning, and mowing in the reestablishment of tallgrass prairie species on overgrazed and abandoned pastureland. The study site is a 20 acre tract on U.S. Corps of Engineers land below Lake Lewisville in Denton County, Texas. The site was partitioned into thirty-nine 40 by 40 meter plots with seeding (carried out in 1996) and management treatment (burning, mowing, and no maintenance carried out in 1998) randomly applied following a two level design. For each plot, nine stratified-random 0.1 m2 subplots were examined and shoot counts for each species recorded. The effects of the treatments on individual species and species richness were analyzed with a two-way ANOVA followed by a SNK multiple range test, both on ranked data. Community level analysis was conducted with both a MANOVA on ranked data and a Canonical Correspondence Analysis on raw data. Results indicate that seeding positively affected species richness, particularly when combined with either burning or mowing in the early spring. Mowing also significantly increased species richness in areas that were not seeded, while burning negatively affected species richness on unseeded plots. Treatments significantly affected community composition with treatments having the most clear effect on spring and summer forbs.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Windhager, Steven

Development of Cardiovascular Regulation in Embryos of the Domestic Fowl (Gallus Gallus), with a Partial Comparison to Embryos of the Desert Tortoise (Gopherus Agassizii)

Description: 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 ...
Date: August 1999
Creator: Crossley, Dane Alan

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 ...
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Date: December 1999
Creator: Poulter, Melinda D.

Spatial and Temporal Influences of Water Quality on Zooplankton in Lake Texoma

Description: 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 ...
Date: May 2000
Creator: Franks, Jessica L.

Mutation Rate Analysis of the Human Mitochondrial D-loop and its Implications for Forensic Identity Testing

Description: To further facilitate mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence analysis for human identity testing, a better understanding of its mutation rate is needed. Prior to the middle 1990's the mutation rate applied to a forensic or evolutionary analysis was determined by phylogenetic means, This method involved calculating genetic distances as determined by amino acid or DNA sequence variability within or between species. The mutation rate as determined by this method ranged from 0.025-0.26 nucleotide substitutions/ site/ myr (million years). With the recent advent of mtDNA analysis as a tool in human identity testing an increased number of observations have recently come to light calling into question the mutation rate derived from the phylogenetic method. The mutation rate as observed from forensic analysis appears to be much higher than that calculated phylogenetically. This is an area that needs to be resolved in human identity testing. Mutations that occur within a maternal lineage can lead to a possible false exclusion of an individual as belonging to that lineage. A greater understanding of the actual rate of mutation within a given maternal lineage can assist in determining criteria for including or excluding individuals as belonging to that lineage. The method used to assess the mutation rate in this study was to compare mtDNA sequences derived from the HVI and HVII regions of the D-loop from several different maternal lineages. The sequence information was derived from five unrelated families consisting of thirty-five individuals. One intergenerational mutational event was found. This derives to approximately 1.9 nucleotide substitutions/ site/ myr. This mutation rate was very consistent with several other similar studies. This increased mutation rate needs to be considered by forensic testing laboratories performing mtDNA sequence analysis prior to formulating any conclusive results.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Warren, Joseph E.

Conformational Studies of Myosin and Actin with Calibrated Resonance Energy Transfer

Description: Resonance energy transfer was employed to study the conformational changes of actomyosin during ATP hydrolysis. To calibrate the technique, the parameters for resonance energy transfer were defined. With conformational searching algorithms to predict probe orientation, the distances measured by resonance energy transfer are highly consistent with the atomic models, which verified the accuracy and feasibility of resonance energy transfer for structural studies of proteins and oligonucleotides. To study intramyosin distances, resonance energy transfer probes were attached to skeletal myosin's nucleotide site, subfragment-2, and regulatory light chain to examine nucleotide analog-induced structural transitions. The distances between the three positions were measured in the presence of different nucleotide analogs. No distance change was considered to be statistically significant. The measured distance between the regulatory light chain and nucleotide site was consistent with either the atomic model of skeletal myosin subfragment-1 or an average of the three models claimed for different ATP hydrolysis states, which suggested that the neck region was flexible in solution. To examine the participation of actin in the powerstroke process, resonance energy transfer between different sites on actin and myosin was measured in the presence of nucleotide analogs. The efficiencies of energy transfer between myosin catalytic domain and actin were consistent with the actoS1 docking model. However, the neck region was much closer to the actin filament than predicted by static atomic models. The efficiency of energy transfer between Cys 374 and the regulatory light chain was much greater in the presence of ADP-AlF4, ADP-BeFx, and ADP-vanadate than in the presence of ADP or no nucleotide. These data detect profound differences in the conformations of the weakly and strongly attached crossbridges which appear to result from a conformational selection that occurs during the weak binding of the myosin head to actin. The resonance energy transfer data exclude a number ...
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Date: May 2000
Creator: Xu, Jin

Carbachol- and ACPD-Induced Phosphoinositide Responses in the Developing Rat Neocortex

Description: Signal transduction via the phosphoinositide (PI) second messenger system has key roles in the development and plasticity of the neocortex. The present study localized PI responses to individual cortical layers in slices of developing rat somatosensory cortex. The acetylcholine agonist carbachol and the glutamate agonist trans-1-amino-1,3-cyclopentanedicarboxylic acid (ACPD) were used to stimulate PI turnover. The PI responses were compared to the distribution of the corresponding PI-linked receptors in order to investigate the regional ontogeny of PI coupling to receptors in relation to neural development. The method for assessing PI turnover was modified from Hwang et al. (1990). This method images the PI response autoradiographically through the localizaton of [3H]cytidine that has been incorporated into the membrane-bound intermediate, cytidine diphosphate diacylglycerol. In each age group (postnatal days 4-30), carbachol resulted in more overall labeling than ACPD. For both agonists, the response peaked on postnatal day 10 (P10) and was lowest in the oldest age group. The laminar distribution of the carbachol PI response from P4-P16 corresponded fairly well with the laminar distribution of [3H]quinuclidinyl benzilate binding (Fuchs, 1995). However, in the subplate layer the carbachol response was strong while receptor binding was minimal. The carbachol response decreased after postnatal day 10, while the overall levels of receptor binding continued to increase. From P5 - P14, PI-linked metabotropic glutamate receptors are most concentrated in layer IV (Blue et al., 1997), whereas only on P6 was there a correspondingly high ACPD-initiated PI response in this layer. Unlike receptors, the PI response was strong in upper V (P4 - P12) and within layers II/III (P8 - P16). From P4 - P21, the subplate showed relatively high PI labeling compared to receptor binding. The several differences between the distribution of PI response and receptors suggest spatiotemporal heterogeneity of receptor coupling to second messenger systems.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Hartgraves, Morri D.

The Adolescent Stress Response to a Naturalistic Driving Stressor

Description: 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 ...
Date: August 2000
Creator: Wingo, Mary

Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Variation in Populations of the Nine-Banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)

Description: 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.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Elrod, Diana Adams

BioInformatics, Phylogenetics, and Aspartate Transcarbamoylase

Description: In this research, the necessity of understanding and using bioinformatics is demonstrated using the enzyme aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) as the model enzyme. The first portion of this research focuses on the use of bioinformatics. A partial sequence of the pyrB gene found in Enterococcus faecalis was submitted to GenBank and was analyzed against the contiguous sequence from its own genome project. A BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool; Atschul, et al., 1990) was performed in order to hypothesize the remaining portion of the gene from the contiguous sequence. This allowed a global comparison to other known aspartate transcarbamoylases (ATCases) and once deduced, a translation of the sequence gave the stop codon and thus the complete sequence of the open reading frame. When this was complete, upstream and downstream primers were designed in order to amplify the gene from genomic DNA. The amplified product was then sequenced and used later in phylogenetic analyses concerning the evolution of ATCase. The second portion of this research involves taking multiple ATCase nucleotide sequences and performing phenetic and phylogenetic analyses of the archaea and eubacter families. From these analyses, ancestral relationships which dictate both structure and function were extrapolated from the data and discussed.
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Date: August 2000
Creator: Cooke, Patrick Alan

A Data Fusion Framework for Floodplain Analysis using GIS and Remotely Sensed Data

Description: Throughout history floods have been part of the human experience. They are recurring phenomena that form a necessary and enduring feature of all river basin and lowland coastal systems. In an average year, they benefit millions of people who depend on them. In the more developed countries, major floods can be the largest cause of economic losses from natural disasters, and are also a major cause of disaster-related deaths in the less developed countries. Flood disaster mitigation research was conducted to determine how remotely sensed data can effectively be used to produce accurate flood plain maps (FPMs), and to identify/quantify the sources of error associated with such data. Differences were analyzed between flood maps produced by an automated remote sensing analysis tailored to the available satellite remote sensing datasets (rFPM), the 100-year flooded areas "predicted" by the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, and FPMs based on DEM and hydrological data (aFPM). Landuse/landcover was also examined to determine its influence on rFPM errors. These errors were identified and the results were integrated in a GIS to minimize landuse / landcover effects. Two substantial flood events were analyzed. These events were selected because of their similar characteristics (i.e., the existence of FIRM or Q3 data; flood data which included flood peaks, rating curves, and flood profiles; and DEM and remote sensing imagery.) Automatic feature extraction was determined to be an important component for successful flood analysis. A process network, in conjunction with domain specific information, was used to map raw remotely sensed data onto a representation that is more compatible with a GIS data model. From a practical point of view, rFPM provides a way to automatically match existing data models to the type of remote sensing data available for each event under investigation. Overall, results showed how remote sensing could contribute to ...
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Date: August 2000
Creator: Necsoiu, Dorel Marius

Production and Characterization of a Novel Extracellular Polysaccharide Produced by Paenibacillus velaei, Sp. Nov

Description: 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.
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Date: August 2000
Creator: Sukplang, Patamaporn

Head Trauma Release of Histamine from Dural Mast Cells Alters Blood-Brain Barrier: Attenuation with Zolantidine

Description: 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.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Laufer, Susan R.

Isolation and analysis of cotton genomic clones encompassing a fatty acid desaturase (FAD2) gene

Description: Polyunsaturated fatty acids are major structural components of plant chloroplast and endoplasmic reticulum membranes. Two fatty acid desaturases (designated FAD2 and FAD3) desaturate 75% of the fatty acids in the endoplasmic reticulum. The w -6 fatty acid desaturase (FAD2) may be responsible for cold acclimation response, since polyunsaturated phospholipids are important in helping maintain plant viability at lowered temperatures. To study regulation of FAD2 gene expression in cotton, a FAD2 gene was isolated from two genomic libraries using an Arabidopsis FAD2 hybridization probe and a cotton FAD2 5¢ -flanking region gene-specific probe, respectively. A cotton FAD2 gene was found to be in two overlapping genomic clones by physical mapping and DNA sequencing. The cloned DNA fragments are identical in size to cotton FAD2 genomic DNA fragments shown by genomic blot hybridization. The cotton FAD2 coding region has 1,155 bp with no introns and would encode a putative polypeptide of 384 amino acids. The cotton FAD2 enzyme has a high identity of 75% with other plant FAD2 enzymes. The enzyme has three histidine-rich motifs that are conserved in all plant membrane desaturases. These histidine boxes may be the iron-binding domains for reduction of oxygen during desaturation. To confirm that this FAD2 enzyme is functional, a plasmid construct containing the cotton FAD2 coding region was transformed into Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The transformed yeast cells were able to catalyze the conversion of oleic acid (C18:1) into linoleic acid (C18:2). The FAD2 gene contains an intron of 2,967 bp in its 5¢ -flanking region, 11 bp upstream from the initiation codon. The intron could be essential for transcriptional regulation of FAD2 gene expression. Several putative promoter elements occur in the 5¢ -flanking region of this gene. A potential TATA basal promoter element occurs at 41 bp upstream from the cap site. Two presumptive helix-loop-helix (bHLH) ...
Date: May 2001
Creator: Kongcharoensuntorn, Wisatre

Unique applications of cultured neuronal networks in pharmacology, toxicology, and basic neuroscience

Description: This dissertation research explored the capabilities of neuronal networks grown on substrate integrated microelectrode arrays in vitro with emphasis on utilizing such preparations in three specific application domains: pharmacology and drug development, biosensors and neurotoxicology, and the study of burst and synaptic mechanisms. Chapter 1 details the testing of seven novel AChE inhibitors, demonstrating that neuronal networks rapidly detect small molecular differences in closely related compounds, and reveal information about their probable physiological effects that are not attainable through biochemical characterization alone. Chapter 2 shows how neuronal networks may be used to classify and characterize an unknown compound. The compound, trimethylol propane phosphate (TMPP) elicited changes in network activity that resembled those induced by bicuculline, a known epileptogenic. Further work determined that TMPP produces its effects on network activity through a competitive inhibition of the GABAA receptor. This demonstrates that neuronal networks can provide rapid, reliable warning of the presence of toxic substances, and from the manner in which the spontaneous activity changes provide information on the class of compound present and its potential physiological effects. Additional simple pharmacological tests can provide valuable information on primary mechanisms involved in the altered neuronal network responses. Chapter 3 explores the effects produced by a radical simplification of synaptic driving forces. With all synaptic interactions pharmacologically limited to those mediated through the NMDA synapse, spinal cord networks exhibited an extremely regular burst oscillation characterized by a period of 2.9 ± 0.3 s, with mean coefficients of variation of 3.7, 4.7, and 4.9 % for burst rate, burst duration, and inter-burst interval, respectively (16 separate cultures). The reliability of expression of this oscillation suggests that it may represent a fundamental mechanism of importance during periods of NMDA receptor dominated activity, such as embryonic and early postnatal development. NMDA synapse mediated activity produces a precise ...
Date: May 2001
Creator: Keefer, Edward W.

Development of a Procedure to Evaluate Groundwater Quality and Potential Sources of Contamination in the East Texas Basin

Description: This study contributes a procedure, based on data analysis and geostatistical methods, to evaluate the distribution of chemical ratios and differentiate natural and anthropogenic contaminant sources of groundwater quality in the East Texas Basin. Four aquifers were studied, Sparta, Queen City, Carrizo and Wilcox. In this study, Carrizo- Wilcox is considered as one aquifer, and Sparta-Queen City as another. These aquifers were divided into depth categories, 0-150 feet for Sparta-Queen City and 300-600 feet and 600-900 feet for Carrizo-Wilcox in order to identify individual sources of contamination. Natural sources include aquifer mineral make up, salt domes and lignite beds. Major anthropogenic sources include lignite and salt dome mining and oil-gas production. Chemical ratios selected were Na/Cl, Ca/Cl, Mg/Cl, SO4/Cl, (Na+Cl)/TDS, SO4/Ca and (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K). Ratio distributions and their relationships were examined to evaluate physical-chemical processes occurring in the study area. Potential contaminant sources were used to divide the Basin into three areas: Area 1 to the east, Area 2 in the west and Area 3 in the center. Bivariate analysis was used to uncover differences between the areas. The waters in Area 1 are potentially impacted primarily from oil field waters. Sources present in Area 2 include lignite beds and oil field operations. Area 3 is the cap rock of salt domes that can contain gypsum and anhydrite. Based on the exploratory data analysis (Na+Cl)/TDS, (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K), and SO4/Ca ratios were chosen for geostatistical analysis. Chemical ratios that provided indications of cation exchange, salt domes and oil fields were (Na+Cl)/TDS, (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K) and SO4/Ca. In the Sparta-Queen City 150 zone the procedure did not provide a good method for differentiating between contaminant sources. However, the procedure was effective to indicate impacted ground water in the Carrizo-Wilcox 600 and 900 foot zones.
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Date: May 2001
Creator: Alderman, John H.

Age-Dependent Effects Of Chronic GABAA Receptor Blockade In Barrel Cortex

Description: GABAA receptor binding is transiently increased in rat whisker barrels during the second postnatal week, at a time when neurons in the developing rat cortex are vulnerable to excitotoxic effects. To test whether these GABAA receptors might serve to protect neurons from excessive excitatory input, polymer implants containing the GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline were placed over barrel cortex for a 4-day period in young (postnatal days 8 - 12) and adult rats. In the cortex of young, but not adult rats, the chronic blockade of GABAA receptors resulted in substantial tissue loss and neuron loss. The greater loss of neurons in young rats supports the hypothesis that a high density of GABAA receptors protects neurons from excessive excitatory input during a sensitive period in development.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Gargan, Lynn

Riparian Forest Width and the Avian Community in a Greenbelt Corridor Setting

Description: The forest avian community of the Ray Roberts Greenbelt (Denton Co., Texas) was characterized for two years using point count station sampling, from fall 1998 to summer 2000. Richness data for both breeding seasons were correlated with two-spatial metrics: width of the riparian forest and distance to the nearest edge. There were significant correlations between forest interior species richness and both spatial metrics, for both breeding seasons. Based on these data, a minimum riparian forest width threshold of 400-meters is suggested to provide habitat for forest interior species, which have lost considerable habitat through forest fragmentation. Partners in Flight breeding bird priority concern scores were used to create a habitat priority index for the Trinity River bottomland hardwood forest system
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Date: May 2001
Creator: Hoffman, Karl W.

The Developmental Physiology of the Zebrafish: Influence of Environment and Cardiovascular Attributes

Description: Temperature effects on the development of the zebrafish embryos and larvae and adults were examined. It was found that the earlier in development a temperature change was performed on an embryo, the more significant the change in survival and/or subsequent development. Thus, viable temperature ranges for zebrafish widened significantly as development proceeded. Adults reared and bred at 25oC produced embryos that were significantly more successful at the lower range of rearing temperatures compared to embryos produced from adults reared at 28oC. The majority of this study focused on the physiological effects of swim training during development in the zebrafish. The earlier in development the zebrafish larvae were trained, the greater the mortality. Trained free swimming larvae had a significantly higher routine oxygen consumption after 11 days of training, and a higher mass specific routine metabolic rate after 8 and 11 days of training. Trained free swimming larvae consumed significantly less oxygen during swimming and were more efficient at locomotion, compared to control larvae. Training enhanced survival during exposure to extreme hypoxia in all age groups. Performance aspects of training were investigated in attempt to quantify training effects and in most cases, trained fish performed significantly better than controls. As blood vessels formed during development, they decreased in cross sectional area from days two to six. It was also shown that the variability in visual stroke volume measurements could be reduced significantly by using a third dimension in the analysis with a more accurate volume equation. Finally, the ontogeny of cardiac control was evaluated. The adrenergic receptors were the first to respond to pharmacological stimulation but were closely followed by cholinergic pharmacological stimulation a few days later. There was a significant cholinergic tone present in day 15 zebrafish larvae which persisted. Although an adrenergic tone was not documented in this study, ...
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Date: August 2001
Creator: Bagatto, Brian

A Novel Mechanism for Site-Directed Mutagenesis of Large Catabolic Plasmids Using Natural Transformation

Description: Natural transformation is the process by which cells take up DNA from the surrounding medium under physiological conditions, altering the genotype in a heritable fashion. This occurs without chemical or physical treatment of the cells. Certain Acinetobacter strains exhibit a strong tendency to incorporate homologous DNA into their chromosomes by natural transformation. Transformation in Acinetobacter exhibits several unique properties that indicate this system's superiority as a model for transformation studies or studies which benefit from the use of transformation as an experimental method of gene manipulation. Pseudomonas putida is the natural host of TOL plasmids, ranging between 50 kbp and 300 kbp in size and encoding genes for the catabolism of toluene, meta-toluate, and xylene. These very large, single-copy plasmids are difficult to isolate, manipulate, or modify in vitro. In this study, the TOL plasmid pDKR1 was introduced into Acinetobacter calcoaceticus strains and genetically engineered utilizing natural transformation as part of the process. Following engineering by transformation, the recombinant DNA molecule was returned to the native genetic background of the original host P. putida strain. Specific parameters for the successful manipulation of large plasmids by natural transformation in Acinetobacter were identified and are outlined. The effects of growth phase, total transforming DNA concentration, transforming DNA conformation, and gene dosage on transformation efficiency are presented. Addition of Acinetobacter plasmid DNA sequences to the manipulated constructs did not have an effect on transformation rates. Results suggest that a broadly applicable and efficient method to carry out site-directed genetic manipulations of large plasmids has been identified. The ability to easily reintroduce the recombinant DNA molecules back into the original host organism was maintained.
Date: August 2001
Creator: Williamson, Phillip C.

Plastidial carbonic anhydrase in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.): characterization, expression, and role in lipid biosynthesis

Description: Recently, plastidial carbonic anhydrase (CA, EC cDNA clones encoding functional CA enzymes were isolated from a nonphotosynthetic cotton tissue. The role of CA in photosynthetic tissues have been well characterized, however there is almost no information for the role of CA in nonphotosynthetic tissues. A survey of relative CA transcript abundance and enzyme activity in different cotton organs revealed that there was substantial CA expression in cotyledons of seedlings and embryos, both nonphotosynthetic tissues. To gain insight into the role(s) of CA, I examined CA expression in cotyledons of seedlings during post-germinative growth at different environmental conditions. CA expression in cotyledons of seedlings increased from 18 h to 72 h after germination in the dark. Seedlings exposed to light had about a 2-fold increase in CA activities when compared with seedlings kept in the dark, whereas relative CA transcript levels were essentially the same. Manipulation of external CO2 environments [zero, ambient (350 ppm), or high (1000 ppm)] modulated coordinately the relative transcript abundance of CA (and rbcS) in cotyledons, but did not affect enzyme activities. On the other hand, regardless of the external CO2 conditions seedlings exposed to light exhibited increase CA activity, concomitant with Rubisco activity and increased chlorophyll content. Our data revealed that steady-state levels of CA and rbcS transcripts are regulated at the transcriptional level in response to external CO2 conditions, while CA and Rubisco activities are modulated at the post-transcriptional level by light. Thus CA expression in cotyledons during post-germinative growth may be to “prime” cotyledons for the transition at the subcellular level for the transition from plastids to chloroplasts, where it provides CO2 for Rubisco during photosynthesis. Furthermore, CA expression increased during embryo maturation similar to oil accumulation. Specific sulfonamide inhibitors of CA activity significantly reduced the rate of [14C]-acetate incorporation into total lipids ...
Date: August 2001
Creator: Hoang, Chau V.

Palmitoyl-acyl Carrier Protein Thioesterase in Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.): Biochemical and Molecular Characterization of a Major Mechanism for the Regulation of Palmitic Acid Content

Description: The relatively high level of palmitic acid (22 mol%) in cottonseeds may be due in part to the activity of a palmitoyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) thioesterase (PATE). In embryo extracts, PATE activity was highest at the maximum rate of reserve accumulation (oil and protein). The cotton FatB mRNA transcript abundance also peaked during this developmental stage, paralleling the profiles of PATE enzyme activity and seed oil accumulation. A cotton FatB cDNA clone was isolated by screening a cDNA library with a heterologous Arabidopsis FatB probe (Pirtle et al., 1999, Plant and Cell Physiology 40: 155-163). The predicted amino acid sequence of the cotton PATE preprotein had 63% identity to the Arabidopsis FatB thioesterase sequence, suggesting that the cotton cDNA clone probably encoded a FatB-type thioesterase. When acyl-CoA synthetase-minus E. coli mutants expressed the cotton cDNA, an increase in 16:0 free fatty acid content was measured in the culture medium. In addition, acyl-ACP thioesterase activity assays in E. coli lysates revealed that there was a preference for palmitoyl-ACP over oleoyl-ACP in vitro, indicating that the cotton putative FatB cDNA encoded a functional thioesterase with a preference for saturated acyl-ACPs over unsaturated acyl-ACPs (FatA). Overexpression of the FatB cDNA in transgenic cotton resulted in elevated levels of palmitic acid in transgenic somatic embryos compared to control embryos. Expression of the anti-sense FatB cDNA in transgenic cotton plants produced some plants with a dwarf phenotype. These plants had significantly smaller mature leaves, all with smaller cells, suggesting that these plants may have less palmitic acid available for incorporation into extraplastidial membrane lipids during cell expansion. Thus manipulation of FatB expression in cotton directly influenced palmitic acid levels. Collectively, data presented in this dissertation support the hypothesis that there indeed is a palmitoyl-ACP thioesterase in cotton, encoded by the isolated FatB cDNA, which plays ...
Date: August 2001
Creator: Huynh, Tu T

The regulatory roles of PyrR and Crc in pyrimidine metabolism in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Description: The regulatory gene for pyrimidine biosynthesis has been identified and designated pyrR. The pyrR gene product was purified to homogeneity and found to have a monomeric molecular mass of 19 kDa. The pyrR gene is located directly upstream of the pyrBC' genes in the pyrRBC' operon. Insertional mutagenesis of pyrR led to a 50- 70% decrease in the expression of pyrBC', pyrD, pyrE and pyrF while pyrC was unchanged. This suggests that PyrR is a positive activator. The upstream regions of the pyrD, pyrE and pyrF genes contain a common conserved 9 bp sequence to which the purified PyrR protein is proposed to bind. This consensus sequence is absent in pyrC but is present, as an imperfect inverted repeat separated by 11 bp, within the promoter region of pyrR. Gel retardation assays using upstream DNA fragments proved PyrR binds to the DNA of pyrD, pyrE, pyrF as well as pyrR. This suggests that expression of pyrR is autoregulated; moreover, a stable stem-loop structure was determined in the pyrR promoter region such that the SD sequence and the translation start codon for pyrR is sequestered. β-galactosidase activity from transcriptional pyrR::lacZ fusion assays, showed a two-fold in increase when expressed in a pyrR- strain compared to the isogenic pyrR+ strain. Thus, pyrR is negatively regulated while the other pyr genes (except pyrC) are positively activated by PyrR. That no regulation was seen for pyrC is in keeping with the recent discovery of a second functional pyrC that is not regulated in P. aeruginosa. Gel filtration chromatography shows the PyrR protein exists in a dynamic equilibrium, and it is proposed that PyrR functions as a monomer in activating pyrD, pyrE and pyrF and as a dimeric repressor for pyrR by binding to the inverted repeat. A related study discovered that the catabolite repression ...
Date: August 2001
Creator: Patel, Monal V.