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Hypoxic and hyperoxic incubation affects the ductus arteriosus in the developing chicken embryo (Gallus gallus).

Description: Developing chicken embryos have two ductus arteriosus (DA) that shunt blood away from the lungs and to the chorioallantoic membrane, the embryonic gas exchanger. In mammals, DA closure is stimulated by an increase in blood gas O2 that occurs as the animal begins to breathe with its lungs. The goal of this study was to determine the influence of O2 levels during incubation on the vascular reactivity and morphology of the O2-sensitive DA and to examine the effects of changing O2 levels during late incubation on the morphology of the DA from chicken embryos. In comparison to normoxia, hypoxia (15%) reduced venous O2 levels in day 16 and day 18 embryos and reduced aircell O2 values in day 16, day 18, and internally pipped (IP) embryos, whereas hyperoxia (30%) increased venous O2 levels and aircell O2 level in day 16, day 18, and IP embryos. In comparison to normoxia, hypoxia delayed closure of the DA, whereas hyperoxia accelerated DA closure. In comparison to the left DA from externally pipped (EP) normoxic embryos, the left DA from EP hypoxic embryos exhibited a significantly weaker contractile response to O2. The DA from day 18 hypoxic embryos exhibited a significantly weaker contractile response to norepinephrine and phenylephrine when compared with the DA from day 18 normoxic and hyperoxic embryos. The effect of incubation in hypoxia / hyperoxia during different developmental windows on the DA O2-induced contractile response was observed only in IP embryos that were incubated in normoxia for 16 days and were then moved to hyperoxia. Incubation in hypoxia / hyperoxia resulted in differences in embryo mass, yolk mass, and heart mass. There is an association between the decreased contractile response to O2 and delayed closure in the proximal portion of the DA from hypoxic embryos; as well as an increased contractile ...
Date: December 2009
Creator: Copeland, Jennifer

The impact of climate and flooding on tree ring growth of Fraxinus pennsylvanica in north-central Texas.

Description: Tree cores of Fraxinus pennsylvanica were used in a dendrochronological analysis investigating the species' responses to climate and flooding. The objective was to develop a model that incorporates the effects of precipitation, temperature, and flooding on radial growth in this species in north-central Texas. The trees exhibited strong climatic signals. The study clearly shows that all three factors have significant impacts on tree ring growth both prior to and during growth; however, the nature and extent of these impacts are highly dependent on what time of year they occur. The large temporal variations in growth responses emphasize the importance of considering the timing of environmental events when studying tree growth responses.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Komperod, Mari

In vitro Cultures of Morus alba for Enhancing Production of Phytoestrogens

Description: Plant estrogens have long been associated with health benefits. The potential of tissue culture techniques for the production of several secondary metabolites has been known for many years. Tissue cultures stimulate the production or induce the biosynthesis of novel compounds not found in the mature plant. Tissue culture of Morus alba, family Moraceae, is known to contain phytoestrogens, was established on plant-hormone supplemented Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium. Petiole and the stem tissue from mature trees were the best explants for initiation and proliferation of calli. The best callus proliferation was obtained on MS medium containing 1-napthalene acetic acid (1mg/ml) and benzylaminopurine (0.5mg/ml) for M. alba. Comparison of phytoestrogens of Moraceae species from in vivo and in vitro tissue isolation were carried out. The estrogenic activities of callus extracts were assayed in an estrogen-responsive yeast system expressing the human estrogen receptor alpha. Male callus extracts had higher estrogenic activity than male and female extracts from in vivo and in vitro tissues. Isolation and characterization of phytoestrogens from above tissues were carried out using solid phase extraction, high perfomance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry techniques. Biochanin A, an isoflavonoid, was isolated as one of the compounds in male callus extracts. Biochanin A has been known to have an antiestrogenic acitivity in mammals. Isoflavonoid compounds have been characterized as strong protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors in variety of animal cells. Isoflavones are structurally similar to estradiol, and display agonistic and antagonistic interactions with the estrogen receptor. Isoflavones possess therapeutic and preventive properties such as being used for postmenopausal osteoporosis, breast cancer, and inhibition of tumors.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Bakshi, Vibhu

Investigation of cryopreservation methods for adherent nerve cell networks in vitro.

Description: Cryopreservation in suspension is commonplace for a variety of cell types. However, cryopreservation of adherent cells has achieved limited success. This research aimed to cryopreserve adherent nerve cell networks in vitro in a manner that preserved network morphology and physiology. Successful implementation would enable long term storage of adherent neuronal networks on microelectrode arrays and on-demand access for use in pharmacological and toxicological testing. Based upon morphological assessments, excellent post-thaw preservation was obtained and post-thaw cultures survived in a transitional medium for up to 3.5 hours. However, transitions to native culture medium post-thaw presented difficulties, ultimately resulting in necrosis. A discussion of methods to supplement the current research and increase post-thaw viability is included in the thesis.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Webb, Veronica Fine

Metabolic, cardiac and ventilatory regulation in early larvae of the South African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis.

Description: Early development of O2 chemoreception and hypoxic responses under normoxic (150 mmHg) and chronically hypoxic (110 mmHg) conditions were investigated in Xenopus laevis from hatching to 3 weeks post fertilization. Development, growth, O2 consumption, ventilatory and cardiac performance, and branchial neuroepithelial cells (NEC) density and size were determined. At 3 days post fertilization (dpf), larvae started gill ventilation at a rate of 28 ± 4 beats/min and showed increased frequency to 60 ± 2 beats/min at a PO2 of 30 mmHg. Also at 3 dpf, NECs were identified in the gill filament buds using immunohistochemical methods. Lung ventilation began at 5 dpf and exhibited a 3-fold increase in frequency from normoxia to a PO2 of 30 mmHg. Hypoxic tachycardia developed at 5 dpf, causing an increase of 20 beats/min in heart rate, which led to a 2-fold increase in mass-specific cardiac output at a PO2 of 70 mmHg. At 10 dpf, gill ventilatory sensitivity to hypoxia increased, which was associated with the increase in NEC density, from 15 ± 1 to 29 ± 2 cells/mm of filament at 5 and 10 dpf, respectively. Unlike the elevated rate, cardiac and ventilatory volumes were independent of acute hypoxia. Despite increased cardioventilatory frequency, larvae experienced an average of 80% depression in during acute hypoxia. Chronic hypoxia (PO2 of 110 mmHg) decreased mass-specific cardiac performance before 10 dpf. In older larvae (10 to 21 dpf), chronic hypoxia decreased acute branchial and pulmonary hypoxic hyperventilation and increased NEC size. Collectively, these data suggest that larvae exhibit strong O2-driven acute hypoxic responses post-hatching, yet are still O2 conformers. All acute hypoxic responses developed before 5 dpf, and then the effects of chronic hypoxia started to show between 7 and 21 dpf. Thus, the early formation of acute hypoxic responses is susceptible to the environment and can ...
Date: December 2009
Creator: Pan, Tien-Chien

Cardio-Respiratory Ontogeny and the Transition to Bimodal Respiration in an Air Breathing Fish: Morphological and Physiological Development in Normoxia and Hypoxia.

Description: As selection pressures exist for not only adults, but for every life history stage, it is important to understand how environmental factors shape developing animals. Despite the significance placed on aquatic hypoxia as a driving force in the evolution of air breathing, this is the first known study to examine the effects of hypoxia on cardio-respiratory ontogeny of an air breathing fish. Blue gouramis are obligatory air breathing fish that possess a labyrinth-like structure that serves as the air breathing organ. Gouramis were reared for up to 90 d in normoxia or hypoxia, and morphological and physiological development was observed. Hypoxic larvae had increased lamellar and labyrinth organ surface areas. Bradycardia and increased gill ventilation rates were observed when larvae from either rearing group were briefly exposed to hypoxia. Hypoxic larvae also showed a reduced heart rate and gill ventilation rate in the absence of a hypoxic stimulus, possibly indicative of a more comprehensive, long-term respiratory plasticity. The similarity of routine oxygen consumption between rearing groups suggests that metabolic demand did not change for hypoxic larvae, but that they were more efficient at oxygen acquisition. This is further supported by increased resistance time of hypoxic gouramis to extreme hypoxia. The onset of air breathing was between 20 and 25 d post-fertilization, and was not affected by either rearing or exposure environment. It may be that this behavior is associated with the inability of smaller larvae to successfully overcome water surface tension, rather than with the necessity of aerial respiration at this stage. Hypoxia is commonly experienced by most air breathing fishes, and studies of hypoxia-induced developmental effects may provide critical insights into the evolution of air breathing. The studies presented here provide novel data on the plasticity of cardio-respiratory development of an air breathing fish reared in hypoxia, and can ...
Date: August 2009
Creator: Blank, Tara M.

Effects of Triclosan, Triclocarban, and Caffeine Exposure on the Development of Amphibian Larvae.

Description: Triclosan and triclocarban are antimicrobials found in numerous consumer products, while caffeine is the most commonly consumed stimulant by humans. This study was undertaken to determine the effects of triclosan, triclocarban, and caffeine on the development and physiology of amphibian larvae. LC50 values of triclosan and triclocarban were determined after 96 hours for three North American larval species: Acris crepitans blanchardii, Bufo woodhousii woodhousii, Rana sphenocephala, and for a common amphibian developmental model: Xenopus laevis. Amphibian larvae were most sensitive to triclosan and triclocarban exposure during early development based upon 96-hour LC50 values. Heart rates for X. laevis and North American larvae exposed to triclosan were variable throughout development. However, significantly lower heart rates were observed in all larvae exposed to triclocarban. Metabolic rates of X. laevis and R. sphenocephala larvae exposed to triclosan were significantly affected in larvae exposed to ½ LC50 and the LC50 concentration. Metabolic rates of X. laevis larvae exposed to triclocarban were significantly affected by exposure to ½ LC50 concentrations in three of four stages investigated. No significant differences were observed in North American larvae exposed to triclocarban. Tissue uptake, lipid uptake, tissue bioconcentration factor (BCF) and lipid BCF of triclosan and triclocarban were investigated in three developmental stages of X. laevis, and in one developmental stage of B. woodhousii woodhousii, and R. sphenocephala. For most tissue and lipid uptake values, a significant increase was observed as exposure concentration increased. Tissue and lipid BCF values were dependent upon both stage and species. Chronic and acute effects of caffeine were determined in X. laevis larvae. Acute 96-hour LC50 values in four developmental stages were > 75,000 ug L-1 caffeine and heart rates were significantly different at the two earliest developmental stages. Larvae chronically exposed to caffeine reached metamorphosis at the same time as controls. Changes in ...
Date: August 2009
Creator: Palenske, Nicole Marie

Incubation humidity as an environmental stressor on the osmoregulatory developmental program of the chicken, Gallus gallus domesticus.

Description: Fetal programming results from stressors during fetal development and may influence the occurrence of disease later in life. Maternal nutritional status and/or environment can affect renal development by inducing limited nephron endowment at birth, which results in diseases such as hypertension and coronary heart disease in mammals. Birds are likely to be effective models for this process because, like mammals, they have high pressure cardiovascular systems, mammalian-type nephrons and are homeothermic. This project uses the chicken embryo to explore physiological responses of disrupted hydration state thereby providing insights into renal fetal programming. Under normal conditions the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) and developing avian kidney work in unison to ensure a proper balance of ions and water within the egg. White leghorn chicken eggs were incubated at 37.5oC±0.5oC and either <35%, 55-60% (normal) or >85% relative humidity. Amniotic fluid serves as the drinking source for the embryo late in development; its composition is important to salt and water homeostasis. High amniotic fluid osmolality increased the blood osmolality for embryos exposed to low humidity incubation thereby indirectly influencing the renal developmental program of the embryos from this group. Indeed estimated filtering capacity was doubled in the low humidity group (6.77 ± 0.43 mm3) compared to normal (4.80 ± 0.33 mm3) and high (3.97 ± 0.30 mm3) humidity groups. The increased filtering capacity seen for those embryos from low humidity may indicate the ability for more efficient recovery of water if similarly stressed as an adult bird. All embryo populations maintained similar oxygen consumption (0.075 ml/min - 0.37 ml/min), hematocrit (15 % - 32 %) and hemoglobin values (4 g/dl - 9 g/dl), thus displaying control over these aspects of the internal environment despite the obvious environmental insult of extreme incubation humidity. These results signify the embryo's immature kidney, along with lower gastrointestinal tract, ...
Date: August 2009
Creator: Bolin, Greta M.

NSAID effect on prostanoids in fishes: Prostaglandin E2 levels in bluntnose minnows (Pimephales notatus) exposed to ibuprofen.

Description: Prostanoids are oxygenated derivatives of arachidonic acid with a wide range of physiological effects in vertebrates including modulation of inflammation and innate immune responses. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) act through inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX) conversion of arachidonic acid to prostanoids. In order to better understand the potential of environmental NSAIDS for interruption of normal levels COX products in fishes, we developed an LC/MS/MS-based approach for tissue analysis of 7 prostanoids. Initial studies examining muscle, gut and gill demonstrated that prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) was the most abundant of the measured prostanoids in all tissues and that gill tissue had the highest and most consistent concentrations of PGE2. After short-term 48-h laboratory exposures to concentrations of 5, 25, 50 and 100 ppb ibuprofen, 50.0ppb and 100.0 ppb exposure concentrations resulted in significant reduction of gill tissue PGE2 concentration by approximately 30% and 80% respectively. The lower exposures did not result in significant reductions when compared to unexposed controls. Measured tissue concentrations of ibuprofen indicated that this NSAID had little potential for bioaccumulation (BCF 1.3) and the IC50 of ibuprofen for inhibition of PGE2 production in gill tissue was calculated to be 0.4 µM. Short-term laboratory exposure to ibuprofen did not result in significant alteration of concentrations of PGE2 at environmentally relevant concentrations.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Bhandari, Khageshor

Development of a Real-time Pcr Assay for the Detection of Campylobacter Jejuni and Campylobacter Coli.

Description: Campylobacter organisms are the most commonly reported bacterial causes of foodborne infection in the world, with Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli responsible for over 99% of reported infections. Traditionally, Campylobacter species detection is an arduous process, requiring a special incubation environment as well as specific growth media for an extended growth period. The development of a rapid and reliable diagnostic tool for the detection of Campylobacter species would be a valuable aid to the medical diagnostic decision process, especially to rule out Campylobacter infection during the enteric pre-surgical time period. Improved patient outcomes would result if this rapid assay could reduce the number of enteric surgeries. Assays performed during this dissertation project have demonstrated that both SYBR® green and hydrolysis probe assays targeting an 84 nucleotide portion of cadF, a fibronectin-binding gene of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli, were able to detect from 101 to 108 copies of organism from stool specimens, did not detect nonspecific targets, and exhibited a coefficient of variation (CV) of 1.1% or less. Analytical validation of sensitivity, specificity and precision, successfully performed in these studies, warrants additional clinical validation of these assays.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Lewis, Sally

Identifying genetic interactions of the spindle checkpoint in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Description: Faithful segregation of chromosomes is ensured by the spindle checkpoint. If a kinetochore does not correctly attach to a microtubule the spindle checkpoint stops cell cycle progression until all chromosomes are attached to microtubules or tension is experienced while pulling the chromosomes. The C. elegans gene, san-1, is required for spindle checkpoint function and anoxia survival. To further understand the role of san-1 in the spindle checkpoint, an RNAi screen was conducted to identify genetic interactions with san-1. The kinetochore gene hcp-1 identified in this screen, was known to have a genetic interaction with hcp-2. Interestingly, san-1(ok1580);hcp-2(ok1757) had embryonic and larval lethal phenotypes, but the phenotypes observed are less severe compared to the phenotypes of san-1(ok1580);hcp-1(RNAi) animals. Both san-1(ok1580);hcp-1(RNAi) and san-1(ok1580);hcp-2(RNAi) produce eggs that may hatch; but san-1(ok1580):hcp-1(RNAi) larvae do not survive to adulthood due to defects caused by aberrant chromosome segregations during development. Y54G9A.6 encodes the C. elegans homolog of bub-3, and has spindle checkpoint function. In C.elegans, bub-3 has genetic interactions with san-1 and mdf-2. An RNAi screen for genetic interactions with bub-3 identified that F31F6.3 may potentially have a genetic interaction with bub-3. This work provided genetic evidence that hcp-1, hcp-2 and F31F6.2 interact with spindle checkpoint genes.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Stewart, Neil

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 ...
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Date: May 2009
Creator: Ghosh, Pallab

Luminescence Resonance Energy Transfer-Based Modeling of Troponin in the Presence of Myosin and Troponin/Tropomyosin Defining Myosin Binding Target Zones in the Reconstituted Thin Filament

Description: Mechanistic details on the regulation of striated muscle contraction still need to be determined, particularly the specific structural locations of the elements comprising the thick and thin filaments. Of special interest is the location of the regulatory component, troponin, on the actin filament and how its presence influences the behavior of myosin binding to the thin filament. In the present study: (1) Luminescence resonance energy transfer was used to monitor potential conformational changes in the reconstituted thin filament between the C-terminal region of troponin T and myosin subfragment 1; (2) Location of troponin in previously derived atomic models of the acto-myosin complex was mapped to visualize specific contacts; and (3) Shortened tropomyosin was engineered and protein binding and ATPase assays were performed to study the effect of myosin binding close to the troponin complex. Analysis of the results suggest the following: (1) Irrespective of calcium levels, the C-terminal region of troponin T is located close to myosin loop 3 and a few actin helices that may perturb strong acto-myosin interactions responsible for force production. (2) Atomic models indicate myosin subfragment 1 cannot attain the post- powerstroke state due to the full motion of the lever arm being sterically hindered by troponin. (3) A shortened tropomyosin with five actin binding modules (instead of the native seven in muscle cells) binds actin contiguously in a head-to-tail manner and serves to increase the periodicity of troponin complexes on the actin filament. Such behavior eliminates the structure of the actin filament being responsible for the binding location of tropomyosin. (4) Differential behavior of myosin subfragment 1 i.e. (a) binding adjacent to troponin and (b) binding further away from troponin, is apparent as tropomyosin and troponin appear to govern the regions or "target zones" where myosin can bind productively along the actin filament. Physiologically, myosins ...
Date: May 2009
Creator: Patel, Dipesh A.

A regulatory role for N-acylethanolamine metabolism in Arabidopsis thaliana seeds and seedlings.

Description: N-Acylethanolamines (NAEs) are bioactive acylamides that are present in a wide range of organisms. Because NAE levels in seeds decline during imbibition similar to ABA, a physiological role was predicted for these metabolites in Arabidopsis thaliana seed germination and seedling development. There is also a corresponding increase of AtFAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase), transcript levels and activity, which metabolizes NAE to ethanolamine and free fatty acids. Based on whole genome microarray studies it was determined that a number of up-regulated genes that were responsive to NAE were also ABA responsive. NAE induced gene expression in these ABA responsive genes without elevating endogenous levels of ABA. It was also determined that many of these NAE/ABA responsive genes were associated with an ABA induced secondary growth arrest, including ABI3. ABI3 is a transcription factor that regulates the transition from embryo to seedling growth, the analysis of transcript levels in NAE treated seedlings revealed a dose dependent, inverse relationship between ABI3 transcript levels and growth, high ABI3 transcript levels were associated with growth inhibition. Similar to ABA, NAE negatively regulated seedling growth within a narrow window of early seedling establishment. When seedlings are exposed to NAE or ABA within the window of sensitivity, the induction of genes normally associated with the ungerminated desiccation tolerant state resumed. The NAE tolerant FAAH overexpressor and the NAE sensitive FAAH knockout both had a NAE/ABA sensitive window similar to the wild type A. thaliana. The abi3-1 ABA insensitive mutant does not undergo growth arrest upon exposure to ABA, but NAE did induce growth arrest when treated within the sensitivity window. This evidence showed that although NAE functions within an ABA dependent pathway, it also functions in an ABA independent signaling pathway. The FAAH overexpressor is tolerant to NAE through its ability to quickly metabolize NAE from the ...
Date: May 2009
Creator: Teaster, Neal D.

Applications of Molecular Genetics to Human Identity.

Description: The primary objectives of this project were: 1. to develop improved methods for extraction of DNA from human skeletal remains, 2. to improve STR profiling success of low-copy DNA samples by employing whole genome amplification to amplify the total pool of DNA prior to STR analysis, and 3. to improve STR profiling success of damaged DNA templates by using DNA repair enzymes to reduce the number/severity of lesions that interfere with STR profiling. The data from this study support the following conclusions. Inhibitory compounds must be removed prior to enzymatic amplification; either during bone section pretreatment or by the DNA extraction method. Overall, bleach outperformed UV as a pretreatment and DNA extraction using silica outperformed microconcentration and organic extraction. DNA repair with PreCR™ A outperformed both whole genome amplification and repair with PreCR™ T6. Superior DNA extraction results were achieved using the A6 PMB columns (20 ml capacity column with 6 layers of type A glass fiber filter), and DNA repair with PreCR™ A led to an overall improvement in profile quality in most cases, although whole genome amplification was unsuccessful. Rapid, robust DNA isolation, successful amplification of loci from the sample-derived DNA pool, and an elimination of DNA damage and inhibitors may assist in providing sufficient genetic information from cases that might otherwise lie on the fringe of what is possible to obtain today.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Turnbough, Meredith A.

Genetic and Cellular Analysis of Anoxia-Induced Cell Cycle Arrest in Caenorhabditis elegans

Description: The soil-nematode Caenorhabditis elegans survives oxygen deprivation (anoxia < 0.001 kPa of O2, 0% O2) by entering into a state of suspended animation during which cell cycle progression at interphase, prophase and metaphase stage of mitosis is arrested. I conducted cell biological characterization of embryos exposed to various anoxia exposure times, to demonstrate the requirement and functional role of spindle checkpoint gene san-1 during brief anoxia exposure. I conducted a synthetic lethal screen, which has identified genetic interactions between san-1, other spindle checkpoint genes, and the kinetochore gene hcp-1. Furthermore, I investigated the genetic and cellular mechanisms involved in anoxia-induced prophase arrest, a hallmark of which includes chromosomes docked at the nuclear membrane. First, I conducted in vivo analysis of embryos carried inside the uterus of an adult and exposed to anoxic conditions. These studies demonstrated that anoxia exposure prevents nuclear envelope breakdown (NEBD) in prophase blastomeres. Second, I exposed C. elegans embryos to other conditions of mitotic stress such as microtubule depolymerizing agent nocodazole and mitochondrial inhibitor sodium azide. Results demonstrate that NEBD and chromosome docking are independent of microtubule function. Additionally, unlike anoxia, exposure to sodium azide causes chromosome docking in prophase blastomeres but severely affects embryonic viability. Finally, to identify the genetic mechanism(s) of anoxia-induced prophase arrest, I conducted extensive RNA interference (RNAi) screen of a subset of kinetochore and inner nuclear membrane genes. RNAi analysis has identified the novel role of 2 nucleoporins in anoxia-induced prophase arrest.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Hajeri, Vinita A.

Influence of stormwater drainage facilities on mosquito communities within the city of Denton, Texas.

Description: Weekly collections were conducted from May to December, 2007 (153 trap nights, total) in Denton, Texas, in and around large storm drains and overpass drainage facilities in residential and non-residential areas, using Centers for Disease Control (CDC) light traps and gravid traps. A total of 1964 mosquitoes were collected, representing 24 species within 6 genera: Aedes, Anopheles, Culiseta, Culex, Psorophora, and Uranotaenia. Culex was the most abundant genus, representing 75% of all mosquitoes collected; Aedes was the second most abundant, representing 12 % of all mosquitoes collected. Cx. quinquefasciatus was the dominant species collected via gravid traps; Cx. (Melanoconion) species were the dominant species collected via CDC light traps. Data of gravid traps and light traps were analyzed separately using nonparametric correlation analysis, comparing environmental data and physical characteristics to total abundance of mosquitoes. There was no significant correlation found when comparing the three dominant species collected in light traps (unidentified Cx. (Melanoconion) sp, Cx. quinquefasciatus, and Ae. vexans) to environmental characteristics and physical characteristics. Analysis of Cx. quinquefasciatus collected in gravid traps indicated no significant correlation between abundance, environmental data, and physical characteristics. Linear regression models were analyzed to determine if either environmental variables or physical characteristics of the drainage system explained the species abundance collected; no individual variable showed an association of significance. Analysis of Cx. quinquefasciatus collected in storm drains via gravid traps determined temperature to be the most important variable in determining population abundance and explained 99% of the population variability.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Kavanaugh, Michael David

Expression analysis of the fatty acid desaturase 2-4 and 2-3 genes from Gossypium hirsutum in transformed yeast cells and transgenic Arabidopsis plants.

Description: Fatty acid desaturase 2 (FAD2) enzymes are phosphatidylcholine desaturases occurring as integral membrane proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum membrane and convert monounsaturated oleic acid into polyunsaturated linoleic acid. The major objective of this research was to study the expression and function of two cotton FAD2 genes (the FAD2-3 and FAD2-4 genes) and their possible role in plant sensitivity to environmental stress, since plants may increase the polyunsaturated phospholipids in membranes under environmental stress events, such as low temperature and osmotic stress. Two FAD2 cDNA clones corresponding to the two FAD2 genes have been isolated from a cotton cDNA library, indicating both genes are truly expressed in cotton. Model yeast cells transformed with two cotton FAD2 genes were used to study the chilling sensitivity, ethanol tolerance, and growth rate of yeast cells. The expression patterns of the two FAD2 genes were analyzed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reactions (RT-PCR) and Western blot analyses in cotton plants under different treatment conditions. The coding regions of both FAD2 genes were inserted downstream from the CaMV 35S promoter in the pMDC gateway binary vector system. Five different FAD2/pMDC constructs were transformed into the Arabidopsis fad2 knockout mutant background, and multiple potential transgenic Arabidopsis plant lines harboring the cotton FAD2 genes were generated. The cotton FAD2 genes were amplified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from the genomic DNAs isolated from the transgenic Arabidopsis T1 plant lines. Complementation of the putative transgenic Arabidopsis plants with the two cotton FAD2 genes was demonstrated by gas chromatography analyses of the fatty acid profiles of leaf tissues. The cellular localization of cotton FAD2-4 polypeptides with N-terminal green fluorescence protein (GFP) was visualized by confocal fluorescence microscopy. The phenotype of transgenic Arabidopsis plants transformed with the cotton FAD2-4 gene was compared to Arabidopsis knockout fad2 mutant plants and wild ...
Date: August 2008
Creator: Zhang, Daiyuan

Genetic Mechanisms for Anoxia Survival in C. Elegans

Description: Oxygen deprivation can be pathological for many organisms, including humans. Consequently, there are several biologically and economically relevant negative impacts associated with oxygen deprivation. Developing an understanding of which genes can influence survival of oxygen deprivation will enable the formulation of more effective policies and practices. In this dissertation, genes that influence adult anoxia survival in the model metazoan system, C. elegans, are identified and characterized. Insulin-like signaling, gonad function and gender have been shown to influence longevity and stress resistance in the soil nematode, C. elegans. Thus, either of these two processes or gender may influence anoxia survival. The hypothesis that insulin-like signaling alters anoxia survival in C. elegans is tested in Aim I. The hypotheses that gonad function or gender modulates anoxia survival are tested in Aim II. Insulin-like signaling affects anoxia survival in C. elegans. Reduction of insulin-like signaling through mutation of the insulin-like receptor, DAF-2, increases anoxia survival rates in a gpd-2/3 dependent manner. The glycolytic genes gpd-2/3 are necessary for wild-type response to anoxia, and sufficient for increasing anoxia survival through overexpression. Gonad function and gender both affect anoxia survival in C. elegans. A reduction of ovulation and oocyte maturation, as measured by oocyte flux, is associated with enhanced anoxia survival in all cases examined to date. Reduction of function of several genes involved in germline development and RTK/Ras/MAPK signaling reduce ovulation and oocyte maturation while concurrently increasing anoxia survival. The act of mating does not influence anoxia survival, but altering ovulation through breeding or chemical treatment does. The male phenotype also increases anoxia survival rates independent of genotype. These studies have identified and characterized over ten different genotypes that affect adult survival of anoxia in C. elegans. Before these studies were conducted, there were no genes known to influence adult anoxia survival in C. ...
Date: August 2008
Creator: Mendenhall, Alexander R.

The impact of invertebrates to four aquatic macrophytes: Potamogeton nodosus, P. illinoensis, Vallisneria americana and Nymphaea mexicana.

Description: This research investigated the impact of invertebrates to four species of native aquatic macrophytes: V. americana, P. nodosus, P. illinoensis, and N. mexicana. Two treatments were utilized on each plant species, an insecticide treatment to remove most invertebrates and a non-treated control. Ten herbivore taxa were collected during the duration of the study including; Synclita, Paraponyx, Donacia, Rhopalosiphum, and Hydrellia. Macrophyte biomass differences between treatments were not measured for V. americana or N. mexicana. The biomasses of P. nodosus and P. illinoensis in non-treated areas were reduced by 40% and 63% respectively. This indicated that herbivory, once thought to be insignificant to aquatic macrophytes, can cause substantial reductions in biomass.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Nachtrieb, Julie Graham

Morphological and physiological developmental consequences of parental effects in the chicken embryo (Gallus gallus domesticus) and the zebrafish larva (Danio rerio).

Description: Cardiac, metabolic and growth response of early-stage chicken embryos to perturbations in yolk environment was investigated. Also, effects of parental hypoxia exposure on hypoxia resistance, thermal tolerance and body length of zebrafish larvae were investigated. In the first study, thyroxine, triiodothyronine and testosterone produced differential effects on heart rate and development rate of chicken embryos during the first 4 days of development. Triiodothyronine caused a dose-dependent increase in heart rate when applied at 40 or 70 hours of age, while thyroxine caused a dose-dependent increase in heart rate when applied at 40 hours only. Testosterone and propyl-thiouracil (deiodinase antagonist) did not have an effect on heart rate. Development rate was not changed by thyroxine, triiodothyronine, testosterone or propyl-thiouracil, which suggested that heart rate changes did not result from changes in embryo maturity. In the second study, chicken embryos exposed to yolks of different bird species during early-stage embryonic development showed changes in heart rate, mass-specific oxygen consumption and body mass that scaled with the egg mass, incubation period length, and yolk triiodothyronine and testosterone levels of the species from which yolk was derived. In the third study, this phenomenon was investigated between layer and broiler chickens. Heart rate, oxygen consumption and body mass of broiler and layer embryos were significantly changed by a breed-specific change in yolk environment. Yolk triiodothyronine and testosterone concentrations of broiler and layer eggs did not suggest that these hormones were responsible for physiological and morphological changes observed. The final study demonstrated that hypoxia resistance and body lengths, but not thermal tolerance of zebrafish larvae was increased by parental hypoxia exposure.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Ho, Dao H.

Evaluation of a Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) Exclusion and Trapping Device for Use in Aquatic Plant Founder Colony Establishment

Description: The focus of this study was to design and evaluate a trapping system that would reduce populations of common carp within water bodies in conjunction with establishment of native aquatic macrophytes founder colonies. A pond study and field study were conducted. A pond study was performed at the Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility, located in Lewisville, Texas, followed by a field study within a constructed wetland located in southern Dallas, Texas. For the pond study, twelve funnel traps were constructed (four reps of each type: control, dual-walled and ring cage). Two anti-escape devices were tested with funnels including steel fingers and hinged flaps. Ring cage and dual-walled treatments were planted using native pondweeds, while controls were left unplanted (additional bait and a drift fence scenarios were also tested). Common carp were introduced into the study pond. Chi-square statistical analyses were utilized and showed ring cage treatments using fingers as well as the use of a drift fence to be most effective. Following completion of the pond study, the two most effective treatments (controls and ring cages) were tested within the Dallas, Texas wetland; no carp were caught during the field test.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Williams, Paul Edwin

Use of In-Stream Water Quality Measurements and Geospatial Parameters to Predict Consumer Surfactant Toxic Units in the Upper Trinity River Watershed, Texas

Description: Surfactants are used in a wide assortment of "down-the-drain" consumer products, yet they are often discharged in wastewater treatment plant effluent into receiving water, potentially causing environmental harm. The objective of this project was to predict surfactant toxic units and in-stream nutrients in the upper Trinity River watershed. Surface and pore water samples were collected in late summer 2005. General chemistries and surfactant toxic units were calculated. GIS models of anthropogenic and natural factors were collected and analyzed according to subwatersheds. Multiple regression analyses using the Maximum R2 improvement method were performed to predict surfactant toxic units and in-stream nutrients using GIS and in-stream values. Both geospatial and in-stream parameters generated multiple regression models for surfactant surface and pore water toxic units, as well as in-stream nutrients, with high R2 values. Thus, GIS and in-stream parameter modeling have the potential to be reliable and inexpensive method of predicting surfactant toxic units and nutrient loading in the upper Trinity River watershed.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Johnson, David Richard

FLP-mediated conditional loss of an essential gene to facilitate complementation assays

Description: Commonly, when it is desirable to replace an essential gene with an allelic series of mutated genes, or genes with altered expression patterns, the complementing constructs are introduced into heterozygous plants, followed by the selection of homozygous null segregants. To overcome this laborious and time-consuming step, the newly developed two-component system utilizes a site-specific recombinase to excise a wild-type copy of the gene of interest from transformed tissues. In the first component (the first vector), a wild-type version of the gene is placed between target sequences recognized by FLP recombinase from the yeast 2 μm plasmid. This construct is transformed into a plant heterozygous for a null mutation at the endogenous locus, and progeny plants carrying the excisable complementing gene and segregating homozygous knockout at the endogenous locus are selected. The second component (the second vector) carries the experimental gene along with the FLP gene. When this construct is introduced, FLP recombinase excises the complementing gene, leaving the experimental gene as the only functional copy. The FLP gene is driven by an egg apparatus specific enhancer (EASE) to ensure excision of the complementing cDNA in the egg cell and zygote following floral-dip transformation. The utility of this system is being tested using various experimental derivatives of the essential sucrose-proton symporter, AtSUC2, which is required for photoassimilate transport.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Ganesan, Savita