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Automated Low-cost Instrument for Measuring Total Column Ozone

Description: Networks of ground-based and satellite borne instruments to measure ultraviolet (UV) sunlight and total column ozone have greatly contributed to an understanding of increased amounts of UV reaching the surface of the Earth caused by stratospheric ozone depletion. Increased UV radiation has important potential effects on human health, and agricultural and ecological systems. Observations from these networks make it possible to monitor total ozone decreases and to predict ozone recovery trends due to global efforts to curb the use of products releasing chemicals harmful to the ozone layer. Thus, continued and expanded global monitoring of ozone and UV is needed. However, existing automatic stratospheric ozone monitors are complex and expensive instruments. The main objective of this research was the development of a low-cost fully automated total column ozone monitoring instrument which, because of its affordability, will increase the number of instruments available for ground-based observations. The new instrument is based on a high-resolution fiber optic spectrometer, coupled with fiber optics that are precisely aimed by a pan and tilt positioning mechanism and with controlling programs written in commonly available software platforms which run on a personal computer. This project makes use of novel low-cost fiber optic spectrometer technology. A cost advantage is gained over available units by placing one end of the fiber outdoors to collect sunlight and convey it indoors, thereby allowing the spectrometer and computer to be placed in a controlled environment. This reduces the cost of weatherproofing and thermal compensation. Cost savings also result from a simplified sun targeting system, because only a small pan and tilt device is required to aim the lightweight fiber optic ends. Precision sun-targeting algorithms, optical filter selection, and software to derive ozone from spectral measurements by the spectrometer are a major contribution of this project. This system is a flexible platform ...
Date: May 2006
Creator: Nebgen, Gilbert Bernard

Removal of selected water disinfection byproducts, and MTBE in batch and continuous flow systems using alternative sorbents.

Description: A study was conducted to evaluate the sorption characteristics of six disinfection byproducts (DBPs) on four sorbents. To investigate sorption of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), specially designed experimental batch and continuous flow modules were developed. The investigated compounds included: chloroform, 1,2-dichloroethane (DCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), bromodichloromethane (BDCM), methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), bromate and bromide ions. Sorbents used included light weight aggregate (LWA), an inorganic porous material with unique surface characteristics, Amberlite® XAD-16, a weakly basic anion exchange resin, Amberjet®, a strongly basic anion exchange resin, and granular activated carbon (GAC). Batch experiments were conducted on spiked Milli-Q® and lake water matrices. Results indicate considerable sorption of TCE (68.9%), slight sorption of bromate ions (19%) and no appreciable sorption for the other test compounds on LWA. The sorption of TCE increased to 75.3% in experiments utilizing smaller LWA particle size. LWA could be a viable medium for removal of TCE from contaminated surface or groundwater sites. Amberlite® was found unsuitable for use due to its physical characteristics, and its inability to efficiently remove any of the test compounds. Amberjet® showed an excellent ability to remove the inorganic anions (>99%), and BDCM (96.9%) from aqueous solutions but with considerable elevation of pH. Continuous flow experiments evaluated GAC and Amberjet® with spiked Milli-Q® and tap water matrices. The tested organic compounds were sorbed in the order of their hydrophobicity. Slight elevation of pH was observed during continuous flow experiments, making Amberjet® a viable option for removal of BDCM, bromate and bromide ions from water. The continuous flow experiments showed that GAC is an excellent medium for removal of the tested VOCs and bromate ion. Each of the test compounds showed different breakthrough and saturation points. The unique design of the continuous flow apparatus used in the study proved to be highly beneficial to ...
Date: December 2002
Creator: Kadry, Ahmed Y.

Comparative Bioavailability of Dietary and Dissolved Cadmium to Freshwater Aquatic Snails

Description: Heavy metal bioaccumulation in aquatic organisms may occur through direct or indirect uptake routes. Research indicates that the significance of uptake route varies with contaminant and organism exposed. The relative importance of different metal sources in aquatic systems was investigated by exposing freshwater snails to dietary or dissolved sources of cadmium. Snails were exposed to control, contaminated food only, contaminated water only, and contaminated food and water treatments. During the 15-day exposure, samples were taken to determine Cd concentration in snail soft tissue, snail shell, algal food, and overlying water. Analyses of snail soft tissue and shells indicate that exposure route significantly affects Cd concentrations in the tissues. In both cases, dissolved Cd is the primary contributor to metal body burden.
Date: December 2003
Creator: White, Jessica C.

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.

Integrating life cycle analysis and the ecological footprint calculator to foster sustainable behaviors

Description: Many tools have been developed to assess global, national or regional sustainable development policies. However, as governments develop sustainable policies, individuals must also feel empowered to affect their personal impact on the planet. This thesis integrates three sustainability concepts that lend themselves to individual sustainability: The natural step, life cycle assessment, and the ecological footprint. TNS serves to provide the meaning and substance toward sustainable development. LCA helps provide the framework for assessing sustainability. The EF calculator determines the driving components and measures the qualitative decisions made through TNS and LCA. From the analysis of the household footprint calculator a simplified footprint calculator was developed to assist individuals and communities in setting benchmarks and goals as they move away from over-consumption and towards a sustainable lifestyle.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Anderle, Kathryn

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

Solid phase microextraction of amino-dinitrotoluenes in tissue.

Description: TNT (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene) readily and predominantly transforms to 2ADNT (2-amino-4,6-dinitrotoluene) and 4ADNT (4-amino-2,6-dinitrotoluene) in environmental matrixes and tissues. Solid phase microextraction (SPME) was used to extract ADNTs (amino-dinitrotoluenes) from tissue as a potential method to investigate the recalcitrance of metabolically-generated ADNTs versus absorbed ADNTs. Tubifex tubifex was allowed to metabolize TNT into ADNTs in 24-hr static non-renewal exposure test followed by 24-hr depuration in clean reconstituted hard water. Polyacrylate-coated (PA) SPME fibers were then deployed and agitated in tissue homogenates containing metabolically-generated ADNTs for 48 hr to provide a measure of available ADNTs. Extractability of ADNTs from T. tubifex tissue containing metabolically-generated ADNTs was significantly less than extractability of ADNTs from T. tubifex tissue containing absorbed ADNTs: 50-60% and 81-90% of expected extractability based on fiber-water partition ratio. The lower SPME extractability of metabolically-generated ADNTs may stem from the unavailability of metabolically-generated ADNTs sequestered in tissue or bound to tissue macromolecules during metabolism of TNT to ADNT. Tissue extractions using SPMEs may be able to estimate such bound organic residues in tissue and serve as potential indicators of toxicological bioavailability and biomagnification potential of tissue-associated organic compounds.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Tsui-Bowen, Alethea

Inquiry-based science for high school students: a forensic unit

Description: 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.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Apple, Kendra Kea

Linkage of a nitrilase-containing Nit1C gene cluster to cyanide utilization in Pseudomonas fluorescens NCIMB 11764.

Description: Pseudomonas fluorescens NCIMB 11764 (Pf11764) is uniquely able to grow on the poison cyanide as its sole nitrogen source. It does so by converting cyanide oxidatively to carbon dioxide and ammonia, the latter being assimilated into cellular molecules. This requires a complex enzymatic machinery that includes nitrilase and oxygenase enzymes the nature of which are not well understood. In the course of a proteomics analysis aimed at achieving a better understanding of the proteins that may be required for cyanide degradation by Pf11764, an unknown protein of 17.8 kDa was detected in cells exposed to cyanide. Analysis of this protein by ESI-coupled mass spectrometry and bioinformatics searches gave evidence of strong homology with a protein (Hyp1) of unknown function (hypothetical) present in the bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens subsp. laumondii TTO1 (locus plu_1232). A search of available microbial genomes revealed a number of Hyp1 orthologs the genes of which are found in a conserved gene cluster known as Nit1C. Independent studies revealed that in addition to Hyp1, Pf11764 possesses a gene (nit) specifying a nitrilase enzyme whose closest homologue is a nitrilase found in Nit1C gene clusters (77% amino acid identity). DNA sequence analysis has further revealed that indeed, hyp1Pf11764 and nitPf11764 are contained in a cluster that includes also a gene specifying an oxygenase. Given the possible connection of Nit1C-endoded nitrilase and oxygenase enzymes to enzymatic cyanide degradation, there is strong reason for thinking that the genes specifying these enzymes contribute to bacterial growth on cyanide in those bacteria containing the Nit1C cluster. Because the biological function of the Hyp1 protein is currently unknown, it was cloned and the protein expressed in E. coli so that its properties could further be explored. Unfortunately, the expression of the protein in an insoluble form complicated these analyses. However, at least two lines of ...
Date: May 2009
Creator: Ghosh, Pallab

Measuring Atmospheric Ozone and Nitrogen Dioxide Concentration by Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy

Description: The main objective was to develop a procedure based on differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) to measure atmospheric total column of ozone, using the automated instrument developed at the University of North Texas (UNT) by Nebgen in 2006. This project also explored the ability of this instrument to provide measurements of atmospheric total column nitrogen dioxide. The instrument is located on top of UNT’s Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building. It employs a low cost spectrometer coupled with fiber optics, which are aimed at the sun to collect solar radiation. Measurements taken throughout the day with this instrument exhibited a large variability. The DOAS procedure derives total column ozone from the analysis of daily DOAS Langley plots. This plot relates the measured differential column to the airmass factor. The use of such plots is conditioned by the time the concentration of ozone remains constant. Observations of ozone are typically conducted throughout the day. Observations of total column ozone were conducted for 5 months. Values were derived from both DOAS and Nebgen’s procedure and compared to satellite data. Although differences observed from both procedures to satellite data were similar, the variability found in measurements was reduced from 70 Dobson units, with Nebgen’s procedure, to 4 Dobson units, with the DOAS procedure.A methodology to measure atmospheric nitrogen dioxide using DOAS was also investigated. Although a similar approach to ozone measurements could be applied, it was found that such measurements were limited by the amount of solar radiation collected by the instrument. Observations of nitrogen dioxide are typically conducted near sunrise or sunset, when solar radiation experiences most of the atmospheric absorption.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Jerez, Carlos J.

Influence of Sediment Exposure and Water Depth on Torpedograss Invasion of Lake Okeechobee, Florida

Description: Torpedograss (Panicum repens) was first observed in Lake Okeechobee in the 1970s and appears to have displaced an estimated 6,400 ha of native plants, such as spikerush (Eleocharis cellulosa), where inundation depths are often less than 50 cm. Two series of studies evaluated substrate exposure and water depth influences on torpedograss establishment and competitiveness. Results revealed that fragments remain buoyant for extended periods and so facilitate dispersal. Once anchored to exposed substrate fragments can readily root and establish. Subsequently, torpedograss thrives when subjected to inundations to 75 cm and survives prolonged exposure to depths greater than 1 m. These findings suggest that fluctuating water levels contribute to torpedograss dispersal and colonization patterns and that low water levels increase marsh area susceptible to invasion. The competition study found that spikerush grown in monoculture produces significantly more biomass when continually inundated to shallow depths (10 to 20 cm) than when subjected to drier conditions (-25 cm) or greater inundations (80 cm). In contrast, torpedograss establishes more readily on exposed substrate (-25 to 0 cm) compared to inundate substrates. During the first growing season biomass production increases as substrate exposure interval increases. However, during the second year, established torpedograss produces more biomass when grown on intermittently wet (0 cm) compared to permanently dry (-25 cm) or intermittently inundated (10 cm) substrates. No difference in production was observed between substrates permanently inundated (10 cm) and any other regime tested. During the first two years of torpedograss invasion, regardless of treatment, spikerush suppresses invasion and torpedograss had little effect on established spikerush, indicating that spikerush-dominated areas are capable of resisting torpedograss invasion. Even so, disturbances that might cause mortality of long hydroperiod species, such as spikerush, may create open gaps in the native vegetation and thus facilitate torpedograss establishment and expansion.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Smith, Dian H.

Culturing Vallisneria americana for Restoration Efforts

Description: Robust Vallisneria americana was cultured for restoration purposes. Preliminary studies, with various iron treatments, were conducted to ascertain the amount of phosphorous release into the water column from sediments. There was a significant difference in the amount of phosphorous released if commercial sediment was used with a low iron amendment or without an iron amendment. The second study consisted of planting V. americana on two different sediment types while supplying half of the plants with additional CO2. Plants grown on pond sediment with additional CO2 had significantly more biomass. In the third study all plants were grown on pond sediment, and half were treated with CO2. All plants that were treated with additional CO2 had significantly more biomass than those that were aerated.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Tanski, Erin M.

Biogeography of Montane Mammals on the Colorado Plateau and Adjacent Regions

Description: This study identifies the biogeographic factors that structure small mammal communities on mountains of the Colorado Plateau and adjacent regions. Forty six isolated ranges were characterized across a 5-state study area encompassing the Colorado Plateau, including the central high plateaus of Utah and the Basin and Range Province (i.e. the Great Basin and mountains of Arizona and New Mexico). Presence/absence data of 25 montane mammal species were used to explore the interactions between historical and ecological processes affecting local and regional diversity patterns. Multivariate analyses, such as non-metric dimensional scaling, were used to explore factors which influence community composition. Results of these analyses revealed the Colorado River as a significant biogeographic barrier that affects montane mammal community structure. MtDNA cytochrome b sequence variation was analyzed among populations of the long-tailed vole, Microtus longicaudus, sampled from five interior ranges of the Colorado Plateau- Abajo, LaSal, Henry, and Chuska Mts., and Boulder Mountain of the Aquarius Plateau-and analyzed using traditional phylogenetic approaches (parsimony and likelihood) as well as nested clade analysis. Results support previous documentation of a major east-west phylogeographic break occurring between populations southeast of the Colorado River (eastern Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico) and all other western populations, which include a central clade, a northwest clade, and an Alaskan island clade. Evidence also supports differentiation of a 'southern Rockies' clade and a distinct 'southwest island' clade. Populations of M. longicaudus north and west of the Colorado River (Boulder and Henry Mts.) share two haplotypes, form a well-supported subclade with populations from the Kaibab plateau, and are closely related to the Northwest clade. Past approaches to studying montane mammal communities utilizing theory based on island biogeography have overemphasized area and isolation as the only forces structuring insular communities. As a result, there has been a lack of recognition of the ...
Date: May 2004
Creator: Carr, Carla B.

Evaluation of City of Denton Sub-Watershed by Benthic Macroinvertebrate Field Experimental Approach

Description: In this study, two different field experiments were designed to assess the relative influence of urbanization on benthic communities. During spring and summer, four urban and one reference sites from Denton County, Texas were selected for benthic macroinvertebrate evaluation. Statistically significant differences in colonized benthic macroinvertebrate taxa on artificial substrates were observed among the four urban sites and the reference site. Oligochaetes and chironomids were the dominant taxa at all sites. Identification of chironomid larvae at the subfamily and genus level to detect differences between sites had higher statistical power than the evaluation based on total chironomids. At the reference site, Caenis, Cladotanytarsus, Orthocladius, and Ceratopogonidae were the dominant taxa, while the urban sites were dominated by Dero, Physella, Ancylidae, Chironomus, Dicrotendipes, Glyptotendipes, Polypedilum, Pseudochironomus, Stenochironomus, and Tanytarsus. These differences may have been dependent upon differences in hydrologic regime and water quality between sites. Significant differences (ANOVA, p < 0.01) in water quality parameters (alkalinity, hardness, nitrates, phosphates, chlorides, sulfates, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and triazine) were found among water samples collected from the reference and urban sites. During the transfer period, most of the Ephemeroptera and Trichoptera taxa and a few other taxa disappeared from artificial substrates that were colonized at the reference site and then moved to the urban sites. Also, local abundant taxa from the urban site significantly (t test, p < 0.05) increased in number on the transferred artificial substrates. Seasonal differences in colonization patterns were also observed between the spring and summer experimental periods, which indicate that temporal variation is equally important, as is the anthropogenic effect in benthic community evaluation. Field survival and growth experiments using Erpetogomphus designatus larvae were designed to detect differences between evaluated sites. Larvae were collected from the reference site, measured in the laboratory, and exposed at the urban sites for ...
Date: August 2006
Creator: Mahato, Mahendra

Tests of a New Model of Paclitaxel-Induced Neuropathy and the Effects of Paclitaxel on the Dorsal Root Ganglia

Description: This study examined a new model of paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain and the effects of systemic paclitaxel on the gap junction protein subunit Cx43 and potassium inwardly-rectifying channel Kir4.1 within the dorsal root ganglia. In the new neuropathic pain model, subplantar injections of paclitaxel resulted in decreased conduction velocities of A-beta fiber compound action potentials in the sciatic (5.9%) and tibial nerves (6.8%) as well as in M (10.6%) and H (10.2%) waves. By using repeated recordings it was found that following paclitaxel injection, conduction velocities in the contralateral plantar nerve increased (9.2%). Systemic injections of paclitaxel resulted in reduced Kir4.1 immunolabeling in the dorsal root ganglia compared to vehicle injections. This reduction was observed in total labeling (32.4%) as well as in areas of intense labeling (28.7%). Reductions in overall Cx43 immunolabeling (25%) and area (25%) following systemic paclitaxel injections were not statistically significant. The results of these studies suggest that subplantar injections of paclitaxel can result in reduced peripheral nerve conduction velocities. The results also show that a unilateral neuropathy can result in contralateral changes in conduction velocities. The effects of paclitaxel on reducing Kir4.1 levels suggest that neuropathic pain caused by paclitaxel may share mechanisms in common with other types of neuropathies which show similar changes in Kir4.1 levels.
Date: August 2011
Creator: McWilliams, Steven P.

Utilization of Corridor Habitat by White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Denton County, Texas

Description: White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) (N=15) movements were determined with use of radio telemetry techniques to determine the utilization of corridor habitat on the Lake Ray Roberts Greenbelt Corridor (RRGC) in north central Texas. Home ranges were calculated using three estimation types. Male white-tailed deer tend to have home ranges twice that of female home ranges. Seasonal home ranges were largest during spring (Feb. - April) and fall (Aug. - Oct.) seasons. Males had greater seasonal variation in utilization than females. No statistically significant difference (p=0.24) between white-tailed deer locations when the RRGC experiences heavy human traffic compared to days when there is light human traffic. Linearity indices indicated home ranges less linear than expected (LI = 3.02). The RRGC should be maintained at its current status to provide a variety of vegetational types and protective cover for white-tailed deer and other wildlife of Denton County.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Bruce, Troy Kenneth

Molecular and biochemical characterization of phospholipase D in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L) seedlings.

Description: N-Acylethanolamines (NAEs) are enriched in seed-derived tissues and are believed to be formed from the membrane phospholipid, N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine (NAPE) via the action of phospholipase D (PLD). In an effort to identify a functional NAPE-PLD in cotton seeds and seedlings, we have screened a cotton seedling cDNA (cotyledon mRNA from 48 h dark grown seedlings) library with a 1.2 kb tobacco partial cDNA fragment encoding the middle third of a putative PLDβ/γ (genbank accession, AF195614) isoform. Six plaques were isolated from the Uni-ZAP lambda library, excised as pBluescript SK(-) phagemids and subjected to nucleotide sequence analysis. Alignment of derived sequences with Arabidopsis PLD family members indicated that the cDNAs represent six different PLD gene products -three putative PLD β isoforms and three putative PLD δ isoforms. The PLD β isoforms, designated Ghpldβ1a, GHpldβ1b and a truncated Ghpldβ1b isoform. Both the full-length PLD β proteins contained characteristic HKxxxxD catalytic domains, a PC-binding domain, a PIP2-binding domain and a C2 domain. In addition both cotton PLD β isoforms had a N-terminal "SPQY" rich domain which appeared to be unique to these PLDs. The three PLD δ isoforms, designated Ghpldδ1a, Ghpldδ1b and Ghpldδ1b-2 encode full-length PLDδ proteins, and like the above PLDs, contained the characteristic catalytic and regulatory domains. The expression of Ghpldδ1b showed hydrolytic and transphosphatidylation activity toward radiolabelled phosphatidylcholine (PC) but it appears Ghpldδ1b does not utilize NAPE as a substrate to produce NAEs nor does it seem to be suppressed by NAEs.
Date: May 2005
Creator: McHugh, John

Comparison of GPS Point Selection Methods for GIS Area Measurement of Small Jurisdictional Wetlands

Description: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) regulates fill of jurisdictional waters of the United States including wetlands. Recent USACE regulations set a threshold of impacts to wetlands at one-half acre. Impact area can be determined by Global Positioning System (GPS) measurement of wetland boundary and Geographic Information System (GIS) calculation of impact area. GPS point selection methods include (1) equal time interval, (2) transect and (3) intuition. Four two-acre shapes were measured with each GPS method and brought into GIS for area calculation. Analysis of variance and Root Mean Square Error analyses determine that the transect method is an inferior point selection method in terms of accuracy and efficiency.
Date: August 2001
Creator: Shelton, Michael

An examination of the riparian bottomland forest in north central Texas through ecology, history, field study, and computer simulation

Description: This paper explores the characterization of a riparian bottomland forest in north central Texas in two ways: field study, and computer simulation with the model ZELIG. First, context is provided in Chapter One with a brief description of a southern bottomland forest, the ecological services it provides, and a history of bottomland forests in Texas from the nineteenth century to the present. A report on a characterization study of the Lake Ray Roberts Greenbelt forest comprises Chapter Two. The final chapter reviews a phytosocial study of a remnant bottomland forest within the Greenbelt. Details of the ZELIG calibration process follow, with a discussion of ways to improve ZELIG's simulation of bottomland forests.
Date: August 2001
Creator: Holcomb, Sheralyn S.

Genetic Modification of Fatty Acid Profiles in Cotton

Description: The industrial uses of cottonseed oil are limited by its fatty acid composition. Genetic modification of cotton lipid profiles using seed-specific promoters could allow cotton growers to produce valuable new oils in the seed without adverse effects on fiber quality and yield, therefore making this crop more commercially profitable. Transgenic cotton callus harboring a diverged fatty acid desaturase gene (FADX) from Momordica charantia was characterized for production of alpha-eleostearic acid (conjugated double bonds: 18:3 D9 cis, 11 trans, 13 trans), not normally found in cotton. Gas chromatography (GC) in conjunction with mass spectrometry (MS) confirmed production of alpha-eleostearic acid in the transgenic cotton tissues. A second series of transformation experiments introduced the cotton fatty acid thioesterase B (FATB) cDNA, fused to the seed-specific oleosin promoter into cotton to promote the over-expression of FATB, to generate cotton with increased palmitate in the cottonseed. PCR amplification, as well as fatty acid analysis by gas chromatography, confirmed introduction of the FATB cDNA in transgenic tissues. Collectively, these results demonstrate the feasibility of manipulating the fatty acid composition in cotton via transgenic approaches and form the basis for continued efforts to create novel oils in cottonseed.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Rommel, Amy A.

Temperature tolerances and predation susceptibilities of transgenic and wildtype zebra danios, Danio rerio.

Description: Both the upper and lower temperature tolerances of red fluorescent protein transgenic zebra danios and wildtype zebra danios, Danio rerio, were significantly different via two different methods; however, all differences are small (< 1°C) and probably not ecologically important. The U.S. geographic distributions of both transgenic and wildtype zebra danios will not be restricted by their upper thermal tolerances, but will be limited to the southern and western portions of the U.S. by their lower thermal tolerances. Largemouth bass did not preferentially prey upon transgenic zebra danios compared to wildtype danios or wildtypes relative to a native fish. If transgenic or wildtype zebra danios are released into southern or western U.S. waters, it is possible they could be eliminated by predation.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Cortemeglia, Cheryl

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.

The structure and function of troponin T upon metal ion binding and the detection of nucleic acid sequence variations.

Description: Numerous troponin T (TnT) isoforms are generated by alternative RNA splicing primarily in its NH2-terminal hypervariable region, but the functions of these isoforms are not completely understood. In this dissertation work, calcium and terbium binding behavior of several forms of TnT were investigated by spectroscopic and radioactive techniques. Chicken breast muscle TnT binds calcium and terbium through its NH2-terminal Tx motif (HEEAH)n with high affinity (10-6 mM) and fast on-rate (106 - 107 M-1 s-1). Chicken leg muscle TnT and a human cardiac TnT NH2-terminal fragment, which both lack the Tx motif on their NH2-terminal regions, do not have affinities for calcium in the physiological range. Computational predictions on TnT N47 suggest that the TnT NH2-terminal region might fold into an elongated structure with at least one high affinity metal ion binding pocket comprised primarily of the Tx motif sequence and several lower affinity binding sites. In addition, calcium binding to TnT N47 might alter its conformation and flexibility. Luminescence resonance energy transfer measurements and other experimental observations are consistent with the computational predictions suggesting the computational simulated atomic model is reasonable. TnT mutations are responsible for 15% of familiar hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHC) cases with a phenotype of relatively mild hypertrophy, but a high incidence of sudden death. Detection of those genetic mutations would facilitate the clinical diagnosis and initiation of treatment at an early stage. This dissertation also investigated a novel hybridization proximity assay (HYPA) combining molecular beacon and luminescence resonance energy transfer (LRET) technologies. Experimental results suggest that a shared stem probe design produces a more consistent response upon hybridization, whereas the internally labeled probe was less consistent, but can yield the highest responses. Using the optimally designed molecular probes, the HYPA provides a detection of alterations in nucleic acid structure of as little as a single nucleotide. ...
Date: May 2005
Creator: Zhang, Zhiling

Evaluation of virulence in wild type and pyrimidine auxotrophs of Pseudomonas aeruginosa using the eukaryotic model system Caenorhabditis elegans.

Description: The human opportunistic pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1, has been shown to kill the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans has been a valuable model for the study of bacterial pathogenesis, and has reinforced the notion that common virulence and host defense mechanisms exist. Recently, the pyrimidine pathway was shown to regulate virulence levels. Therefore, mutations in the pyrimidine pathway of PAO1 showed decrease virulence in the nematode. When starving the nematode, bacterial resistance was also shown to increase. It was hypothesized that starvation induced the DAF pathway, which regulates the transcription of genes involved with the antibacterial defense mechanism. Further research will be conducted to test this theory by performing RNAi experiments for the genes functioning in the antibacterial defense mechanism.
Date: August 2004
Creator: Anvari, Sara