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Developing new optical imaging techniques for single particle and molecule tracking in live cells

Description: Differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy is a far-field as well as wide-field optical imaging technique. Since it is non-invasive and requires no sample staining, DIC microscopy is suitable for tracking the motion of target molecules in live cells without interfering their functions. In addition, high numerical aperture objectives and condensers can be used in DIC microscopy. The depth of focus of DIC is shallow, which gives DIC much better optical sectioning ability than those of phase contrast and dark field microscopies. In this work, DIC was utilized to study dynamic biological processes including endocytosis and intracellular transport in live cells. The suitability of DIC microscopy for single particle tracking in live cells was first demonstrated by using DIC to monitor the entire endocytosis process of one mesoporous silica nanoparticle (MSN) into a live mammalian cell. By taking advantage of the optical sectioning ability of DIC, we recorded the depth profile of the MSN during the endocytosis process. The shape change around the nanoparticle due to the formation of a vesicle was also captured. DIC microscopy was further modified that the sample can be illuminated and imaged at two wavelengths simultaneously. By using the new technique, noble metal nanoparticles with different shapes and sizes were selectively imaged. Among all the examined metal nanoparticles, gold nanoparticles in rod shapes were found to be especially useful. Due to their anisotropic optical properties, gold nanorods showed as diffraction-limited spots with disproportionate bright and dark parts that are strongly dependent on their orientation in the 3D space. Gold nanorods were developed as orientation nanoprobes and were successfully used to report the self-rotation of gliding microtubules on kinesin coated substrates. Gold nanorods were further used to study the rotational motions of cargoes during the endocytosis and intracellular transport processes in live mammalian cells. New rotational information ...
Date: December 15, 2010
Creator: Sun, Wei
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Studies of the structure and function of Mms6, a bacterial protein that promotes the formation of magnetic nanoparticles

Description: Here we report structural and functional studies of Mms6, a biomineralization protein that can promote the formation in vitro of magnetic nanoparticles with sizes and morphologies similar to the magnetites synthesized by magnetotactic bacteria. We found the binding pattern of Mms6 to ferric ion to be two-phase and multivalent. We quantatively determined that Mms6 binds one Fe{sup 3+} with a very high affinity (K{sub d} = 10{sup -16} M). The second phase of iron binding is multivalent and cooperative with respect to iron with a K{sub d} in the {mu}M range and a stoichiometry of about 20 ferric ion per protein molecule. We found that Mms6 exists in large particles of two sizes, one consisting of 20-40 monomeric units and the other of 200 units. From proteolytic digestion, ultracentrifugation and liposome fusion studies, we found that Mms6 forms a large micellar quaternary structure with the N-terminal domain self-assembling into a uniformly sized micelle and the C-terminal domain on the surface. The two-phase iron-binding pattern may be relevant to iron crystal formation. We propose that the first high affinity phase may stabilize a new conformation of the C-terminal domain that allows interaction with other C-terminal domains leading to a structural change in the multimeric protein complex that enables the second low affinity iron binding phase to organize iron and initiate crystal formation. We also observed a dimeric apparent molecular mass of the Mms6 C-terminal peptide (C21Mms6). We speculate that the C-terminal domain may form higher order quaternary arrangements on the surface of the micelle or when anchored to a membrane by the N-terminal domain. The change in fluorescence quenching in the N-terminal domain with iron binding suggests a structural integrity between the C- and N-terminal domains. The slow change in trp fluorescence as a function of time after adding iron suggests ...
Date: May 15, 2011
Creator: Wang, Lijun
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Solid state NMR method development and studies of biological and biomimetic nanocomposites

Description: This thesis describes application and development of advanced solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance techniques for complex materials, in particular organic-inorganic nanocomposites and thermoelectric tellurides. The apatite-collagen interface, essential for understanding the biomineralization process in bone and engineering the interface for controlled bio-mimetic synthesis and optimized mechanical properties, is buried within the nanocomposite of bone. We used multinuclear solid-state NMR to study the composition and structure of the interface. Citrate has been identified as the main organic molecule strongly bound to the apatite surface with a density of 1/(2 nm){sup 2}, covering 1/6 of the total surface area in bovine bone. Citrate provides more carboxylate groups, one of the key functional groups found to affect apatite nucleation and growth, than all the non-collagenous proteins all together in bone; thus we propose that citrate stabilizes apatite crystals at a very small thickness of {approx}3 nm (4 unit cells) to increase bone fracture tolerance. The hypothesis has been confirmed in vitro by adding citrate in the bio-mimetic synthesis of polymerhydroxyapatite nanocomposites. The results have shown that the size of hydroxyapatite nanocrystals decreases as increasing citrate concentration. With citrate concentrations comparable to that in body fluids, similar-sized nanocrystals as in bone have been produced. Besides the dimensions of the apatite crystals, the composition of bone also affects its biofunctional and macroscopic mechanical properties; therefore, our team also extended its effort to enhance the inorganic portion in our bio-mimetic synthesis from originally 15 wt% to current 50 wt% compared to 65 wt% in bovine bone, by using Lysine-Leucine hydroxyapatite nucleating diblock co-polypeptide, which forms a gel at very low concentration. In this thesis, various advanced solid state NMR techniques have been employed to characterize nanocomposites. Meanwhile, we have developed new methods to achieve broadband high resolution NMR and improve the accuracy of inter-nuclear distance measurements involving ...
Date: February 7, 2011
Creator: Hu, Yanyan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Role of GPR17 in Thrombocyte Aggregation in Adult Zebrafish

Description: GPR17, a uracil nucleotide cysteinyl leukotriene receptor, belongs to the GPCR (G protein coupled receptor) family. It has been shown recently that inhibiting this protein in the nervous system in mice can lead to blockage of oligodendrocyte maturation, which supports myelin repair. Interestingly, our laboratory found GPR17 in thrombocytes. However, we do not know whether it has any function in thrombocyte aggregation or the nature of the ligand. In this paper, we studied the role of GPR17 in hemostasis, which is a fundamental defense mechanism in the event of injury. Using zebrafish as a model system, our laboratory has studied specifically thrombocytes, which play a significant role in hemostasis. The major reasons to use zebrafish as a model system are that their thrombocytes are functionally equivalent to human platelets, the adult fish are amenable to knockdown experiments, and they are readily available in the market. This study was performed by using a piggy back knockdown method where we used a chemical hybrid of control morpholino and an antisense oligonucleotide sequence leads to the degradation the mRNA for GPR17. After knockdown GPR17 in thrombocytes, the percent difference of the thrombocytes aggregation between the control and knockdown blood samples was measured by flow cytometry. We used various thrombocyte agonists to study differences in aggregation between the control and knockdown blood samples. The study showed that knockdown of GPR17 resulted in no significant differences in percent thrombocyte aggregation between control and agonist treated samples except for a slight increase in collagen-treated samples. Thus, it appears that GPR17 has no significant role in hemostasis.
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Date: December 2015
Creator: Bohassan, Maruah Hejey
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Role of Cysteinyl Leukotriene Receptor 2 in Thrombocyte Aggregation

Description: Cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 2, a G-protein coupled receptor known to be expressed and functional on human platelets. However, it seems that upon ligand activation the cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 2 activates a variety of signaling pathways in multiple cell types among different species. Previously, a former laboratory member Vrinda Kulkarni found cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 2 to be expressed on the surface of adult zebrafish thrombocytes. In this work I studied the characteristics of aggregation in adult zebrafish thrombocytes with the knockdown of cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 2. I used a newly developed knockdown method to study the function of cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 2. Knockdown of the cysteinyl leukotriene was confirmed using RT-PCR results showed p=.001, reduced sell surface level of expression of the cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 2 results showed that p=.002. I found that the knockdown of cysteinyl leukotriene receptor 2 results in prothrombotic thrombocytes by using flow cytometry p=.0001.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Reyna, Julianna
Partner: UNT Libraries

Local chromatin structure of heterochromatin regulates repeatedDNA stability, nucleolus structure, and genome integrity

Description: Heterochromatin constitutes a significant portion of the genome in higher eukaryotes; approximately 30% in Drosophila and human. Heterochromatin contains a high repeat DNA content and a low density of protein-encoding genes. In contrast, euchromatin is composed mostly of unique sequences and contains the majority of single-copy genes. Genetic and cytological studies demonstrated that heterochromatin exhibits regulatory roles in chromosome organization, centromere function and telomere protection. As an epigenetically regulated structure, heterochromatin formation is not defined by any DNA sequence consensus. Heterochromatin is characterized by its association with nucleosomes containing methylated-lysine 9 of histone H3 (H3K9me), heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) that binds H3K9me, and Su(var)3-9, which methylates H3K9 and binds HP1. Heterochromatin formation and functions are influenced by HP1, Su(var)3-9, and the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway. My thesis project investigates how heterochromatin formation and function impact nuclear architecture, repeated DNA organization, and genome stability in Drosophila melanogaster. H3K9me-based chromatin reduces extrachromosomal DNA formation; most likely by restricting the access of repair machineries to repeated DNAs. Reducing extrachromosomal ribosomal DNA stabilizes rDNA repeats and the nucleolus structure. H3K9me-based chromatin also inhibits DNA damage in heterochromatin. Cells with compromised heterochromatin structure, due to Su(var)3-9 or dcr-2 (a component of the RNAi pathway) mutations, display severe DNA damage in heterochromatin compared to wild type. In these mutant cells, accumulated DNA damage leads to chromosomal defects such as translocations, defective DNA repair response, and activation of the G2-M DNA repair and mitotic checkpoints that ensure cellular and animal viability. My thesis research suggests that DNA replication, repair, and recombination mechanisms in heterochromatin differ from those in euchromatin. Remarkably, human euchromatin and fly heterochromatin share similar features; such as repeated DNA content, intron lengths and open reading frame sizes. Human cells likely stabilize their DNA content via mechanisms and factors similar to those in Drosophila heterochromatin. ...
Date: May 5, 2007
Creator: Peng, Jamy C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Analysis of Protein-RNA and Protein-Peptide Interactions in Equine Infectious Anemia

Description: Macromolecular interactions are essential for virtually all cellular functions including signal transduction processes, metabolic processes, regulation of gene expression and immune responses. This dissertation focuses on the characterization of two important macromolecular interactions involved in the relationship between Equine Infectious Anemia Virus (EIAV) and its host cell in horse: (1) the interaction between the EIAV Rev protein and its binding site, the Rev-responsive element (RRE) and (2) interactions between equine MHC class I molecules and epitope peptides derived from EIAV proteins. EIAV, one of the most divergent members of the lentivirus family, has a single-stranded RNA genome and carries several regulatory and structural proteins within its viral particle. Rev is an essential EIAV regulatory encoded protein that interacts with the viral RRE, a specific binding site in the viral mRNA. Using a combination of experimental and computational methods, the interactions between EIAV Rev and RRE were characterized in detail. EIAV Rev was shown to have a bipartite RNA binding domain contain two arginine rich motifs (ARMs). The RRE secondary structure was determined and specific structural motifs that act as cis-regulatory elements for EIAV Rev-RRE interaction were identified. Interestingly, a structural motif located in the high affinity Rev binding site is well conserved in several diverse lentiviral genoes, including HIV-1. Macromolecular interactions involved in the immune response of the horse to EIAV infection were investigated by analyzing complexes between MHC class I proteins and epitope peptides derived from EIAV Rev, Env and Gag proteins. Computational modeling results provided a mechanistic explanation for the experimental finding that a single amino acid change in the peptide binding domain of the quine MHC class I molecule differentially affectes the recognitino of specific epitopes by EIAV-specific CTL. Together, the findings in this dissertation provide novel insights into the strategy used by EIAV to replicate itself, ...
Date: December 1, 2007
Creator: Lee, Jae-Hyung
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Synthesis and Characterization of Smart Block Copolymers for Biomineralization and Biomedical Applications

Description: Self-assembly is a powerful tool in forming structures with nanoscale dimensions. Self-assembly of macromolecules provides an efficient and rapid pathway for the formation of structures from the nanometer to micrometer range that are difficult, if not impossible to obtain by conventional lithographic techniques [1]. Depending on the morphologies obtained (size, shape, periodicity, etc.) these self-assembled systems have already been applied or shown to be useful for a number of applications in nanotechnology [2], biomineralization [3, 4], drug delivery [5, 6] and gene therapy [7]. In this respect, amphiphilic block copolymers that self-organize in solution have been found to be very versatile [1]. In recent years, polymer-micellar systems have been designed that are adaptable to their environment and able to respond in a controlled manner to external stimuli. In short, synthesis of 'nanoscale objects' that exhibit 'stimulus-responsive' properties is a topic gathering momentum, because their behavior is reminiscent of that exhibited by proteins [8]. By integrating environmentally sensitive homopolymers into amphiphilic block copolymers, smart block copolymers with self assembled supramolecular structures that exhibit stimuli or environmentally responsive properties can be obtained [1]. Several synthetic polymers are known to have environmentally responsive properties. Changes in the physical, chemical or biochemical environment of these polymers results in modulation of the solubility or chain conformation of the polymer [9]. There are many common schemes of engineering stimuli responsive properties into materials [8, 9]. Polymers exhibiting lower critical solution temperature (LCST) are soluble in solvent below a specific temperature and phase separate from solvent above that temperature while polymers exhibiting upper critical solution temperatures (UCST) phase separate below a certain temperature. The solubility of polymers with ionizable moieties depends on the pH of the solution. Polymers with polyzwitterions, anions and cations have been shown to exhibit pH responsive self assembly. Other stimuli responsive polymers include ...
Date: August 18, 2008
Creator: Kanapathipillai, Mathumai
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Effects of Substrate and Co-Culture on Neural Progenitor Cell Differentiation

Description: In recent years the study of stem and progenitor cells has moved to the forefront of research. Since the isolation of human hematopoietic stem cells in 1988 and the subsequent discovery of a self renewing population of multipotent cells in many tissues, many researchers have envisioned a better understanding of development and potential clinical usage in intractable diseases. Both these goals, however, depend on a solid understanding of the intracellular and extracellular forces that cause stem cells to differentiate to a specific cell fate. Many diseases of large scale cell loss have been suggested as candidates for stem cell based treatments. It is proposed that replacing the function of the damaged or defective cells by specific differentiation of stem or progenitor cells could treat the disease. Before cells can be directed to specific lineages, the mechanisms of differentiation must be better understood. Differentiation in vivo is an intensively complex system that is difficult to study. The goal of this research is to develop further understanding of the effects of soluble and extracellular matrix (ECM) cues on the differentiation of neural progenitor cells with the use of a simplified in vitro culture system. Specific research objectives are to study the differentiation of neural progenitor cells in response to astrocyte conditioned medium and protein substrate composition and concentration. In an effort to reveal the mechanism of the conditioned medium interaction, a test for the presence of a feedback loop between progenitor cells and astrocytes is presented along with an examination of conditioned medium storage temperature, which can reveal enzymatic dependencies. An examination of protein substrate composition and concentration will help to reveal the role of any ECM interactions on differentiation. This thesis is organized into a literature review covering recent advances in use of external modulators of differentiation such as surface coatings, ...
Date: August 18, 2008
Creator: Jones, Erin Boote
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry: From Cluster Ions to Toxic metal Ions in Biology

Description: This dissertation focused on using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry to study cluster ions and toxic metal ions in biology. In Chapter 2, it was shown that primary, secondary and quarternary amines exhibit different clustering characteristics under identical instrument conditions. Carbon chain length also played a role in cluster ion formation. In Chapters 3 and 4, the effects of solvent types/ratios and various instrumental parameters on cluster ion formation were examined. It was found that instrument interface design also plays a critical role in the cluster ion distribution seen in the mass spectrum. In Chapter 5, ESI-MS was used to investigate toxic metal binding to the [Gln{sup 11}]-amyloid {beta}-protein fragment (1-16). Pb and Cd bound stronger than Zn, even in the presence of excess Zn. Hg bound weaker than Zn. There are endless options for future work on cluster ions. Any molecule that is poorly ionized in positive ion mode can potentially show an increase in ionization efficiency if an appropriate anion is used to produce a net negative charge. It is possible that drug protein or drug/DNA complexes can also be stabilized by adding counter-ions. This would preserve the solution characteristics of the complex in the gas phase. Once in the gas phase, CID could determine the drug binding location on the biomolecule. There are many research projects regarding toxic metals in biology that have yet to be investigated or even discovered. This is an area of research with an almost endless future because of the changing dynamics of biological systems. What is deemed safe today may show toxic effects in the future. Evolutionary changes in protein structures may render them more susceptible to toxic metal binding. As the understanding of toxicity evolves, so does the demand for new toxic metal research. New instrumentation designs and software make it possible ...
Date: December 1, 2007
Creator: Lentz, Nicholas B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

High-Throughput Analysis of Enzyme Activities

Description: High-throughput screening (HTS) techniques have been applied to many research fields nowadays. Robot microarray printing technique and automation microtiter handling technique allows HTS performing in both heterogeneous and homogeneous formats, with minimal sample required for each assay element. In this dissertation, new HTS techniques for enzyme activity analysis were developed. First, patterns of immobilized enzyme on nylon screen were detected by multiplexed capillary system. The imaging resolution is limited by the outer diameter of the capillaries. In order to get finer images, capillaries with smaller outer diameters can be used to form the imaging probe. Application of capillary electrophoresis allows separation of the product from the substrate in the reaction mixture, so that the product doesn't have to have different optical properties with the substrate. UV absorption detection allows almost universal detection for organic molecules. Thus, no modifications of either the substrate or the product molecules are necessary. This technique has the potential to be used in screening of local distribution variations of specific bio-molecules in a tissue or in screening of multiple immobilized catalysts. Another high-throughput screening technique is developed by directly monitoring the light intensity of the immobilized-catalyst surface using a scientific charge-coupled device (CCD). Briefly, the surface of enzyme microarray is focused onto a scientific CCD using an objective lens. By carefully choosing the detection wavelength, generation of product on an enzyme spot can be seen by the CCD. Analyzing the light intensity change over time on an enzyme spot can give information of reaction rate. The same microarray can be used for many times. Thus, high-throughput kinetic studies of hundreds of catalytic reactions are made possible. At last, we studied the fluorescence emission spectra of ADP and obtained the detection limits for ADP under three different detection modes. The detection limits are 22, 15, and 3.6 ...
Date: December 1, 2007
Creator: Lu, Guoxin
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

In Situ Adsorption Studies at the Solid/Liquid Interface:Characterization of Biological Surfaces and Interfaces Using SumFrequency Generation Vibrational Spectroscopy, Atomic Force Microscopy,and Quartz Crystal Microbalance

Description: Sum frequency generation (SFG) vibrational spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) have been used to study the molecular surface structure, surface topography and mechanical properties, and quantitative adsorbed amount of biological molecules at the solid-liquid interface. The molecular-level behavior of designed peptides adsorbed on hydrophobic polystyrene and hydrophilic silica substrates has been examined as a model of protein adsorption on polymeric biomaterial surfaces. Proteins are such large and complex molecules that it is difficult to identify the features in their structure that lead to adsorption and interaction with solid surfaces. Designed peptides which possess secondary structure provide simple model systems for understanding protein adsorption. Depending on the amino acid sequence of a peptide, different secondary structures ({alpha}-helix and {beta}-sheet) can be induced at apolar (air/liquid or air/solid) interfaces. Having a well-defined secondary structure allows experiments to be carried out under controlled conditions, where it is possible to investigate the affects of peptide amino acid sequence and chain length, concentration, buffering effects, etc. on adsorbed peptide structure. The experiments presented in this dissertation demonstrate that SFG vibrational spectroscopy can be used to directly probe the interaction of adsorbing biomolecules with a surface or interface. The use of well designed model systems aided in isolation of the SFG signal of the adsorbing species, and showed that surface functional groups of the substrate are sensitive to surface adsorbates. The complementary techniques of AFM and QCM allowed for deconvolution of the effects of surface topography and coverage from the observed SFG spectra. Initial studies of biologically relevant surfaces are also presented: SFG spectroscopy was used to study the surface composition of common soil bacteria for use in bioremediation of nuclear waste.
Date: May 16, 2006
Creator: Phillips, D.C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Sum Frequency Generation Vibrational Spectroscopy of Adsorbed Amino Acids, Peptides and Proteins of Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic Solid-Water Interfaces

Description: Sum frequency generation (SFG) vibrational spectroscopy was used to investigate the interfacial properties of several amino acids, peptides, and proteins adsorbed at the hydrophilic polystyrene solid-liquid and the hydrophobic silica solid-liquid interfaces. The influence of experimental geometry on the sensitivity and resolution of the SFG vibrational spectroscopy technique was investigated both theoretically and experimentally. SFG was implemented to investigate the adsorption and organization of eight individual amino acids at model hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfaces under physiological conditions. Biointerface studies were conducted using a combination of SFG and quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) comparing the interfacial structure and concentration of two amino acids and their corresponding homopeptides at two model liquid-solid interfaces as a function of their concentration in aqueous solutions. The influence of temperature, concentration, equilibration time, and electrical bias on the extent of adsorption and interfacial structure of biomolecules were explored at the liquid-solid interface via QCM and SFG. QCM was utilized to quantify the biological activity of heparin functionalized surfaces. A novel optical parametric amplifier was developed and utilized in SFG experiments to investigate the secondary structure of an adsorbed model peptide at the solid-liquid interface.
Date: August 1, 2010
Creator: Holinga IV, G.H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bioinspired synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles

Description: The synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles has long been an area of active research. Magnetic nanoparticles can be used in a wide variety of applications such as magnetic inks, magnetic memory devices, drug delivery, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents, and pathogen detection in foods. In applications such as MRI, particle uniformity is particularly crucial, as is the magnetic response of the particles. Uniform magnetic particles with good magnetic properties are therefore required. One particularly effective technique for synthesizing nanoparticles involves biomineralization, which is a naturally occurring process that can produce highly complex nanostructures. Also, the technique involves mild conditions (ambient temperature and close to neutral pH) that make this approach suitable for a wide variety of materials. The term 'bioinspired' is important because biomineralization research is inspired by the naturally occurring process, which occurs in certain microorganisms called 'magnetotactic bacteria'. Magnetotactic bacteria use biomineralization proteins to produce magnetite crystals having very good uniformity in size and morphology. The bacteria use these magnetic particles to navigate according to external magnetic fields. Because these bacteria synthesize high quality crystals, research has focused on imitating aspects of this biomineralization in vitro. In particular, a biomineralization iron-binding protein found in a certain species of magnetotactic bacteria, magnetospirillum magneticum, AMB-1, has been extracted and used for in vitro magnetite synthesis; Pluronic F127 gel was used to increase the viscosity of the reaction medium to better mimic the conditions in the bacteria. It was shown that the biomineralization protein mms6 was able to facilitate uniform magnetite synthesis. In addition, a similar biomineralization process using mms6 and a shorter version of this protein, C25, has been used to synthesize cobalt ferrite particles. The overall goal of this project is to understand the mechanism of magnetite particle synthesis in the presence of the biomineralization proteins, mms6 and C25. ...
Date: May 26, 2009
Creator: David, Anand
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Function and dynamics of aptamers: A case study on the malachite green aptamer

Description: Aptamers are short single-stranded nucleic acids that can bind to their targets with high specificity and high affinity. To study aptamer function and dynamics, the malachite green aptamer was chosen as a model. Malachite green (MG) bleaching, in which an OH- attacks the central carbon (C1) of MG, was inhibited in the presence of the malachite green aptamer (MGA). The inhibition of MG bleaching by MGA could be reversed by an antisense oligonucleotide (AS) complementary to the MGA binding pocket. Computational cavity analysis of the NMR structure of the MGA-MG complex predicted that the OH{sup -} is sterically excluded from the C1 of MG. The prediction was confirmed experimentally using variants of the MGA with changes in the MG binding pocket. This work shows that molecular reactivity can be reversibly regulated by an aptamer-AS pair based on steric hindrance. In addition to demonstrate that aptamers could control molecular reactivity, aptamer dynamics was studied with a strategy combining molecular dynamics (MD) simulation and experimental verification. MD simulation predicted that the MG binding pocket of the MGA is largely pre-organized and that binding of MG involves reorganization of the pocket and a simultaneous twisting of the MGA terminal stems around the pocket. MD simulation also provided a 3D-structure model of unoccupied MGA that has not yet been obtained by biophysical measurements. These predictions were consistent with biochemical and biophysical measurements of the MGA-MG interaction including RNase I footprinting, melting curves, thermodynamic and kinetic constants measurement. This work shows that MD simulation can be used to extend our understanding of the dynamics of aptamer-target interaction which is not evident from static 3D-structures. To conclude, I have developed a novel concept to control molecular reactivity by an aptamer based on steric protection and a strategy to study the dynamics of aptamer-target interaction by combining ...
Date: December 1, 2008
Creator: Wang, Tianjiao
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry for direct profiling and imaging of small molecules from raw biological materials

Description: Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization(MALDI) mass spectrometry(MS) has been widely used for analysis of biological molecules, especially macromolecules such as proteins. However, MALDI MS has a problem in small molecule (less than 1 kDa) analysis because of the signal saturation by organic matrixes in the low mass region. In imaging MS (IMS), inhomogeneous surface formation due to the co-crystallization process by organic MALDI matrixes limits the spatial resolution of the mass spectral image. Therefore, to make laser desorption/ionization (LDI) MS more suitable for mass spectral profiling and imaging of small molecules directly from raw biological tissues, LDI MS protocols with various alternative assisting materials were developed and applied to many biological systems of interest. Colloidal graphite was used as a matrix for IMS of small molecules for the first time and methodologies for analyses of small metabolites in rat brain tissues, fruits, and plant tissues were developed. With rat brain tissues, the signal enhancement for cerebroside species by colloidal graphite was observed and images of cerebrosides were successfully generated by IMS. In addition, separation of isobaric lipid ions was performed by imaging tandem MS. Directly from Arabidopsis flowers, flavonoids were successfully profiled and heterogeneous distribution of flavonoids in petals was observed for the first time by graphite-assisted LDI(GALDI) IMS.
Date: May 15, 2008
Creator: Cha, Sangwon
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Real time imaging of live cell ATP leaking or release events by chemiluminescence microscopy

Description: The purpose of this research was to expand the chemiluminescence microscopy applications in live bacterial/mammalian cell imaging and to improve the detection sensitivity for ATP leaking or release events. We first demonstrated that chemiluminescence (CL) imaging can be used to interrogate single bacterial cells. While using a luminometer allows detecting ATP from cell lysate extracted from at least 10 bacterial cells, all previous cell CL detection never reached this sensitivity of single bacteria level. We approached this goal with a different strategy from before: instead of breaking bacterial cell membrane and trying to capture the transiently diluted ATP with the firefly luciferase CL assay, we introduced the firefly luciferase enzyme into bacteria using the modern genetic techniques and placed the CL reaction substrate D-luciferin outside the cells. By damaging the cell membrane with various antibacterial drugs including antibiotics such as Penicillins and bacteriophages, the D-luciferin molecules diffused inside the cell and initiated the reaction that produces CL light. As firefly luciferases are large protein molecules which are retained within the cells before the total rupture and intracellular ATP concentration is high at the millmolar level, the CL reaction of firefly luciferase, ATP and D-luciferin can be kept for a relatively long time within the cells acting as a reaction container to generate enough photons for detection by the extremely sensitive intensified charge coupled device (ICCD) camera. The result was inspiring as various single bacterium lysis and leakage events were monitored with 10-s temporal resolution movies. We also found a new way of enhancing diffusion D-luciferin into cells by dehydrating the bacteria. Then we started with this novel single bacterial CL imaging technique, and applied it for quantifying gene expression levels from individual bacterial cells. Previous published result in single cell gene expression quantification mainly used a fluorescence method; CL detection ...
Date: December 18, 2008
Creator: Zhang, Yun
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Automated High Throughput Protein Crystallization Screening at Nanoliter Scale and Protein Structural Study on Lactate Dehydrogenase

Description: The purposes of our research were: (1) To develop an economical, easy to use, automated, high throughput system for large scale protein crystallization screening. (2) To develop a new protein crystallization method with high screening efficiency, low protein consumption and complete compatibility with high throughput screening system. (3) To determine the structure of lactate dehydrogenase complexed with NADH by x-ray protein crystallography to study its inherent structural properties. Firstly, we demonstrated large scale protein crystallization screening can be performed in a high throughput manner with low cost, easy operation. The overall system integrates liquid dispensing, crystallization and detection and serves as a whole solution to protein crystallization screening. The system can dispense protein and multiple different precipitants in nanoliter scale and in parallel. A new detection scheme, native fluorescence, has been developed in this system to form a two-detector system with a visible light detector for detecting protein crystallization screening results. This detection scheme has capability of eliminating common false positives by distinguishing protein crystals from inorganic crystals in a high throughput and non-destructive manner. The entire system from liquid dispensing, crystallization to crystal detection is essentially parallel, high throughput and compatible with automation. The system was successfully demonstrated by lysozyme crystallization screening. Secondly, we developed a new crystallization method with high screening efficiency, low protein consumption and compatibility with automation and high throughput. In this crystallization method, a gas permeable membrane is employed to achieve the gentle evaporation required by protein crystallization. Protein consumption is significantly reduced to nanoliter scale for each condition and thus permits exploring more conditions in a phase diagram for given amount of protein. In addition, evaporation rate can be controlled or adjusted in this method during the crystallization process to favor either nucleation or growing processes for optimizing crystallization process. The protein crystals gotten ...
Date: August 9, 2006
Creator: Li, Fenglei
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Development of techniques in magnetic resonance and structural studies of the prion protein

Description: Magnetic resonance is the most powerful analytical tool used by chemists today. Its applications range from determining structures of large biomolecules to imaging of human brains. Nevertheless, magnetic resonance remains a relatively young field, in which many techniques are currently being developed that have broad applications. In this dissertation, two new techniques are presented, one that enables the determination of torsion angles in solid-state peptides and proteins, and another that involves imaging of heterogenous materials at ultra-low magnetic fields. In addition, structural studies of the prion protein via solid-state NMR are described. More specifically, work is presented in which the dependence of chemical shifts on local molecular structure is used to predict chemical shift tensors in solid-state peptides with theoretical ab initio surfaces. These predictions are then used to determine the backbone dihedral angles in peptides. This method utilizes the theoretical chemicalshift tensors and experimentally determined chemical-shift anisotropies (CSAs) to predict the backbone and side chain torsion angles in alanine, leucine, and valine residues. Additionally, structural studies of prion protein fragments are described in which conformationally-dependent chemical-shift measurements were made to gain insight into the structural differences between the various conformational states of the prion protein. These studies are of biological and pathological interest since conformational changes in the prion protein are believed to cause prion diseases. Finally, an ultra-low field magnetic resonance imaging technique is described that enables imaging and characterization of heterogeneous and porous media. The notion of imaging gases at ultra-low fields would appear to be very difficult due to the prohibitively low polarization and spin densities as well as the low sensitivities of conventional Faraday coil detectors. However, Chapter 5 describes how gas imaging at ultra-low fields is realized by incorporating the high sensitivities of a dc superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) with the high polarizations ...
Date: July 1, 2000
Creator: Bitter, Hans-Marcus L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Novel nuclear magnetic resonance techniques for studying biological molecules

Description: Over the fifty-five year history of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), considerable progress has been made in the development of techniques for studying the structure, function, and dynamics of biological molecules. The majority of this research has involved the development of multi-dimensional NMR experiments for studying molecules in solution, although in recent years a number of groups have begun to explore NMR methods for studying biological systems in the solid-state. Despite this new effort, a need still exists for the development of techniques that improve sensitivity, maximize information, and take advantage of all the NMR interactions available in biological molecules. In this dissertation, a variety of novel NMR techniques for studying biomolecules are discussed. A method for determining backbone ({phi}/{psi}) dihedral angles by comparing experimentally determined {sup 13}C{sub a}, chemical-shift anisotropies with theoretical calculations is presented, along with a brief description of the theory behind chemical-shift computation in proteins and peptides. The utility of the Spin-Polarization Induced Nuclear Overhauser Effect (SPINOE) to selectively enhance NMR signals in solution is examined in a variety of systems, as are methods for extracting structural information from cross-relaxation rates that can be measured in SPINOE experiments. Techniques for the production of supercritical and liquid laser-polarized xenon are discussed, as well as the prospects for using optically pumped xenon as a polarizing solvent. In addition, a detailed study of the structure of PrP 89-143 is presented. PrP 89-143 is a 54 residue fragment of the prion proteins which, upon mutation and aggregation, can induce prion diseases in transgenic mice. Whereas the structure of the wild-type PrP 89-143 is a generally unstructured mixture of {alpha}-helical and {beta}-sheet conformers in the solid state, the aggregates formed from the PrP 89-143 mutants appear to be mostly {beta}-sheet.
Date: June 1, 2000
Creator: Laws, David D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Effects of High Altitude Exposure on Capillary Permeability

Description: Observations of decreases in plasma volume, shifts in plasma and lymph protein concentrations, and increases in capillary permeability at high altitude have been reported in the literature by several investigators. This investigation was begun in an attempt to elucidate the possible significance of these phenomena in future space exploration, and because of the lack of knowledge concerning the underlying mechanisms. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of exposure to hypobaric pressures on the capillary permeability to the normal plasma and lymph proteins.
Date: December 1971
Creator: Reaves, Troy Albert
Partner: UNT Libraries

Evidence for the Interaction of GTP with Rat Liver Glyoxalase II

Description: Glyoxalase 11, the second enzyme of the glyoxalase system, hydrolyzes S-D-lactoylglutathione (SLG) to regenerate glutathione (GSH) and liberate free D-lactate. It was found that GTP binds with Gil from rat liver and inhibits Gil activity. Preincubation experiments showed that the binding is relatively tight, since more than 15 minutes are required to release GTP from the complex following dilution. Inhibition kinetics studies indicate that GTP is a "partially competitive inhibitor"; Thus, it would appear that the binding sites for substrate (SLG) and inhibitor (GTP) are different, but spatially close. Glyoxalase 11 binds to a GTP affinity medium, and with polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, Gil has a higher relative mobility when GTP is present (ATP has no effect). The functional consequences of GTP binding with a specific site on Gil are still unclear. It is speculated that Gil may interact with tubulin by serving as a dissociable GTP carrier, delivering GTP to the tubulinGTP binding site, and thus facilitating tubulin polymerization.
Date: December 1991
Creator: Yuan, Win-Jae
Partner: UNT Libraries