Matching Items (9)

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PDZ-binding kinase promotes adrenocortical carcinoma cell proliferation and tumorigenesis

Description

Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare and deadly disease that affects 0.5-2 people per million per year in the US. Currently, the first line clinical management includes surgical resection, followed

Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare and deadly disease that affects 0.5-2 people per million per year in the US. Currently, the first line clinical management includes surgical resection, followed by treatment with the chemotherapeutic agent mitotane. These interventions, however, have limited effectiveness, as the overall five-year survival rate of patients with ACC is less than 35%. Therefore, further scientific investigation underlying the molecular mechanisms and biomarkers of this disease is of high importance. The aim of this project was to identify potential biomarkers that may be used as prognosticators as well as candidate genes that might be targeted to develop new therapies for patients with ACC. An analysis of publicly-available datasets revealed PDZ-binding kinase (PBK) as being upregulated roughly 9-fold in ACC tissue compared to normal adrenal tissue. PBK has been implicated as an oncogene in several other systems, and its expression has been shown to negatively impact patient survival. Initial experiments have confirmed the upregulation of PBK in H295R cells, a human ACC cell line. We effectively silenced PBK (>95% reduction in protein content) in H295R cells using lentiviral shRNA constructs. Using high and low PBK expressing cells, we performed soft agar assays for colony formation, and found that the PBK-silenced cells produced two-fold fewer colonies than the vector control (p<0.05). This indicates that PBK likely plays a role in tumorigenicity. We further conducted functional studies for apoptosis and proliferation to elucidate the mechanism by which PBK increases tumorigenicity. Preliminary results from MTS assays showed that after 9 days, PBK-silenced cells proliferated significantly less than the vector control, so PBK likely increases proliferation. Together these data identify PBK as a kinase implicated in ACC tumorigenesis. Further in vitro and in vivo studies will be conducted to evaluate PBK as a potential therapeutic target in adrenocortical carcinoma.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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The Effects of a Pesticide and Maturation on the Honeybee (Apis mellifera) blood-brain barrier

Description

Honeybees (Apis mellifera) are pollinators that face multiple challenges during foraging such as fungicides applied to floral sources. Fungicides are chemicals used to inhibit key fungal mechanisms like metabolism, but

Honeybees (Apis mellifera) are pollinators that face multiple challenges during foraging such as fungicides applied to floral sources. Fungicides are chemicals used to inhibit key fungal mechanisms like metabolism, but their effects remain relatively unknown in bees. In addition, studying the maturing bee can help us identify demographics that are more vulnerable to toxic materials like fungicides. The purpose of this study is test whether maturation and the fungicide Pristine influence the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Specifically, we use a transportable dye to test how blood brain barrier transporter function responds to toxic insult and how it changes with age. Oral ingestion of Pristine by female workers did not have an effect on blood brain barrier permeability which suggests Pristine may have no or longer term consequences in the bee. However, blood brain barrier permeability changed with the bee's age which could be explained by the regulation of blood brain barrier transporters during natural transitions in hive task or the presence of hemolymph protein filtration

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

Functional Art as a Representative Medium

Description

Items that have once served as tools in the past become something of greater value in the future: art. Ceramics is a craft that has gone beyond its simple functions

Items that have once served as tools in the past become something of greater value in the future: art. Ceramics is a craft that has gone beyond its simple functions to become a representative medium. This ability makes ceramics an art. This will be demonstrated by representing enzyme-substrate binding and inhibition through the use of a dinner set.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

Elucidating the Role of PDK1 During Mitotic Cellular Division

Description

Phosphoinositol-Dependent Kinase 1 (PDK1) acts in conjunction with phosphorylated lipids such as Phosphoinositol-3,4,5-triphosphate (PIP3) to activate a variety of proteins that regulate mechanisms ranging from cell growth and survival to

Phosphoinositol-Dependent Kinase 1 (PDK1) acts in conjunction with phosphorylated lipids such as Phosphoinositol-3,4,5-triphosphate (PIP3) to activate a variety of proteins that regulate mechanisms ranging from cell growth and survival to cytoskeletal rearrangement. In this investigation PDK1 was examined in the context of cellular division. The techniques of immunocytochemistry and live cell imaging were used to visualize the effects of the inhibition of PDK1 on division in HeLa cells. Division was impaired at metaphase of mitosis. The inhibited cells were unable to initiate anaphase cell-elongation ultimately leading to the flattening of spherical, metaphase cells. Preliminary studies with imunocytochemistry and live cell imaging suggested that insulin treatment reversed PDK1 inhibition, but the results were not statistically significant. Therefore, the recovery of PDK1 inhibition by insulin treatment could not be confirmed. Based on these observations a possible reason for the inability of the treated cells to complete cytokinesis could be the role of PDK1 in the Rho-kinase pathway that is required for the processes cell-elongation necessary for anaphase of mitosis.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Quantifying the Evolution of Fluconazole Resistance in S. Cerevisiae Using Molecular Barcodes

Description

One of the largest problems facing modern medicine is drug resistance. Many classes of drugs can be rendered ineffective if their target is able to acquire beneficial mutations. While this

One of the largest problems facing modern medicine is drug resistance. Many classes of drugs can be rendered ineffective if their target is able to acquire beneficial mutations. While this is an excellent showcase of the power of evolution, it necessitates the development of increasingly stronger drugs to combat resistant pathogens. Not only is this strategy costly and time consuming, it is also unsustainable. To contend with this problem, many multi-drug treatment strategies are being explored. Previous studies have shown that resistance to some drug combinations is not possible, for example, resistance to a common antifungal drug, fluconazole, seems impossible in the presence of radicicol. We believe that in order to understand the viability of multi-drug strategies in combating drug resistance, we must understand the full spectrum of resistance mutations that an organism can develop, not just the most common ones. It is possible that rare mutations exist that are resistant to both drugs. Knowing the frequency of such mutations is important for making predictions about how problematic they will be when multi-drug strategies are used to treat human disease. This experiment aims to expand on previous research on the evolution of drug resistance in S. cerevisiae by using molecular barcodes to track ~100,000 evolving lineages simultaneously. The barcoded cells were evolved with serial transfers for seven weeks (200 generations) in three concentrations of the antifungal Fluconazole, three concentrations of the Hsp90 inhibitor Radicicol, and in four combinations of Fluconazole and Radicicol. Sequencing data was used to track barcode frequencies over the course of the evolution, allowing us to observe resistant lineages as they rise and quantify differences in resistance evolution across the different conditions. We were able to successfully observe over 100,000 replicates simultaneously, revealing many adaptive lineages in all conditions. Our results also show clear differences across drug concentrations and combinations, with the highest drug concentrations exhibiting distinct behaviors.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Investigating the Role of Vaccinia virus Immune Suppressing Protein B19 in Aiding Function of E3 in Pathogenesis

Description

Vaccinia virus (VV) is a prototype virus of the Orthopox viruses. The large dsDNA virus composed of 200kbp genome contains approximately 200 genes and replicates entirely in the cytosol. Since

Vaccinia virus (VV) is a prototype virus of the Orthopox viruses. The large dsDNA virus composed of 200kbp genome contains approximately 200 genes and replicates entirely in the cytosol. Since its use as a live vaccine against smallpox that leads to the successful eradication of smallpox, Vaccinia has been intensely studied as a vaccine vector since the large genome allows for the insertion of multiple genes. It is also studied as a molecular tool for gene therapy and gene functional study. Despite its success as a live vaccine, the vaccination causes some mild to serious bur rare adverse events in vaccinees such as generalized Vaccinia and encepharitis. Therefore, identification of virulence genes and removal of these genes to create a safer vaccine remain an important tasks. In this study, the author seeks to elucidate the possible relationship between immune evading proteins E3 and B19. VV did not allow double deletions of E3 and B19, indicating the existence of a relationship between the two genes.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05

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Comparison of SPR and Edge Tracking as a Measure of Binding Kinetics in Whole Cells

Description

Most drugs work by binding to receptors on the cell surface. These receptors can then carry the message into the cell and have a wide array of results. However, studying

Most drugs work by binding to receptors on the cell surface. These receptors can then carry the message into the cell and have a wide array of results. However, studying how fast the binding is can be difficult. Current methods involve extracting the receptor and labeling them, but both these steps have issues. Previous works found that binding on the cell surface is accompanied with a small change in cell size, generally an increase. They have also developed an algorithm that can track these small changes without a label using a simple bright field microscope. Here, this relationship is further explored by comparing edge tracking results to a more widely used method, surface plasmon resonance. The kinetic constants found from the two methods are in agreement. No corrections or manipulations were needed to create agreement. The Bland-Altman plots shows that the error between the two methods is about 0.009 s-1. This is about the same error between cells, making it a non-dominant source of error.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Reverse Fountain Cytoplasmic Streaming in Rhizopus Oryzae

Description

The intracellular motility seen in the cytoplasm of angiosperm plant pollen tubes is known as reverse fountain cytoplasmic streaming (i.e., cyclosis). This effect occurs when organelles move anterograde along the

The intracellular motility seen in the cytoplasm of angiosperm plant pollen tubes is known as reverse fountain cytoplasmic streaming (i.e., cyclosis). This effect occurs when organelles move anterograde along the cortex of the cell and retrograde down the center of the cell. The result is a displacement of cytoplasmic volume causing a cyclic motion of organelles and bulk liquid. Visually, the organelles appear to be traveling in a backwards fountain hence the name. The use of light microscopy bioimaging in this study has documented reverse fountain cytoplasmic streaming for the first time in fungal hyphae of Rhizopus oryzae and other members in the order Mucorales (Mucoromycota). This is a unique characteristic of the mucoralean fungi, with other fungal phyla (e.g., Ascomycota, Basidiomycota) exhibiting unidirectional cytoplasmic behavior that lacks rhythmic streaming (i.e., sleeve-like streaming). The mechanism of reverse fountain cytoplasmic streaming in filamentous fungi is currently unknown. However, in angiosperm plant pollen tubes it’s correlated with the arrangement and activity of the actin cytoskeleton. Thus, the current work assumes that filamentous actin and associated proteins are directly involved with the cytoplasmic behavior in Mucorales hyphae. From an evolutionary perspective, fungi in the Mucorales may have developed reverse fountain cytoplasmic streaming as a method to transport various organelles over long and short distances. In addition, the mechanism is likely to facilitate driving of polarized hyphal growth.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Ion flux regulates inflammasome signaling

Description

The NLR family, pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome is essential for the innate immune response to danger signals. Importantly, the NLRP3 inflammasome responds to structurally and functionally dissimilar stimuli. It

The NLR family, pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome is essential for the innate immune response to danger signals. Importantly, the NLRP3 inflammasome responds to structurally and functionally dissimilar stimuli. It is currently unknown how the NLRP3 inflammasome responds to such diverse triggers. This dissertation investigates the role of ion flux in regulating the NLRP3 inflammasome. Project 1 explores the relationship between potassium efflux and Syk tyrosine kinase. The results reveal that Syk activity is upstream of mitochondrial oxidative signaling and is crucial for inflammasome assembly, pro-inflammatory cytokine processing, and caspase-1-dependent pyroptotic cell death. Dynamic potassium imaging and molecular analysis revealed that Syk is downstream of, and regulated by, potassium efflux. Project 1 reveals the first identified intermediate regulator of inflammasome activity regulated by potassium efflux. Project 2 focuses on P2X7 purinergic receptor-dependent ion flux in regulating the inflammasome. Dynamic potassium imaging revealed an ATP dose-dependent efflux of potassium driven by P2X7. Surprisingly, ATP induced mitochondrial potassium mobilization, suggesting a mitochondrial detection of purinergic ion flux. ATP-induced potassium and calcium flux was found to regulate mitochondrial oxidative signaling upstream of inflammasome assembly. First-ever multiplexed imaging of potassium and calcium dynamics revealed that potassium efflux is necessary for calcium influx. These results suggest that ATP-induced potassium efflux regulates the inflammasome by calcium influx-dependent mitochondrial oxidative signaling. Project 2 defines a coordinated cation flux dependent on the efflux of potassium and upstream of mitochondrial oxidative signaling in inflammasome regulation. Lastly, this dissertation contributes two methods that will be useful for investigating inflammasome biology: an optimized pipeline for single cell transcriptional analysis, and a mouse macrophage cell line expressing a genetically encoded intracellular ATP sensor. This dissertation contributes to understanding the fundamental role of ion flux in regulation of the NLRP3 inflammasome and identifies potassium flux and Syk as potential targets to modulate inflammation.

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Date Created
  • 2015