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Detoxifying Lipid A in Agrobacterium tumefaciens

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Agrobacterium tumefaciens has the ability to transfer its tumor inducing (Ti) plasmid into plant cells. In the last decade, agroinfiltration of Nicotiana benthamiana plants has shown promising results for recombinant protein production. However, A. tumefaciens produce endotoxins in the form

Agrobacterium tumefaciens has the ability to transfer its tumor inducing (Ti) plasmid into plant cells. In the last decade, agroinfiltration of Nicotiana benthamiana plants has shown promising results for recombinant protein production. However, A. tumefaciens produce endotoxins in the form of lipopolysaccharides (LPS), a component of their outer membrane that can induce organ failure and septic shock. Therefore, we aimed to detoxify A. tumefaciens by modifying their Lipid A structure, the toxic region of LPS, via mutating the genes for lipid A biosynthesis. Two mutant strains of A. tumefaciens were infiltrated into N. benthamiana stems to test for tumor formation to ensure that the detoxifying process did not compromise the ability of gene transfer. Our results demonstrated that A. tumefaciens with both single and double mutations retained the ability to form tumors. Thus, these mutants can be utilized to generate engineered A. tumefaciens strains for the production of plant-based pharmaceuticals with low endotoxicity.

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2018-05

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Xerostomia and the Microbiome of the Mouth

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Is it possible to treat the mouth as a natural environment, and determine new methods to keep the microbiome in check? The need for biodiversity in health may suggest that every species carries out a specific function that is required

Is it possible to treat the mouth as a natural environment, and determine new methods to keep the microbiome in check? The need for biodiversity in health may suggest that every species carries out a specific function that is required to maintain equilibrium and homeostasis within the oral cavity. Furthermore, the relationship between the microbiome and its host is mutually beneficial because the host is providing microbes with an environment in which they can flourish and, in turn, keep their host healthy. Reviewing examples of larger scale environmental shifts could provide a window by which scientists can make hypotheses. Certain medications and healthcare treatments have been proven to cause xerostomia. This disorder is characterized by a dry mouth, and known to be associated with a change in the composition, and reduction, of saliva. Two case studies performed by Bardow et al, and Leal et al, tested and studied the relationships of certain medications and confirmed their side effects on the salivary glands [2,3]. Their results confirmed a relationship between specific medicines, and the correlating complaints of xerostomia. In addition, Vissink et al conducted case studies that helped to further identify how radiotherapy causes hyposalivation of the salivary glands [4]. Specifically patients that have been diagnosed with oral cancer, and are treated by radiotherapy, have been diagnosed with xerostomia. As stated prior, studies have shown that patients having an ecologically balanced and diverse microbiome tend to have healthier mouths. The oral cavity is like any biome, consisting of commensalism within itself and mutualism with its host. Due to the decreased salivary output, caused by xerostomia, increased parasitic bacteria build up within the oral cavity thus causing dental disease. Every human body contains a personalized microbiome that is essential to maintaining health but capable of eliciting disease. The Human Oral Microbiomics Database (HOMD) is a set of reference 16S rRNA gene sequences. These are then used to define individual human oral taxa. By conducting metagenomic experiments at the molecular and cellular level, scientists can identify and label micro species that inhabit the mouth during parasitic outbreaks or a shifting of the microbiome. Because the HOMD is incomplete, so is our ability to cure, or prevent, oral disease. The purpose of the thesis is to research what is known about xerostomia and its effects on the complex microbiome of the oral cavity. It is important that researchers determine whether this particular perspective is worth considering. In addition, the goal is to create novel experiments for treatment and prevention of dental diseases.

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2015-05

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West Nile Virus Vaccines and their Developmental Outlook: A Review Article

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The objectives of this review include a discussion of the West Nile Virus phylogeny, transmission history, how the virus functions in the body and how it is a threat to public health, and then discusses these items related to vaccine

The objectives of this review include a discussion of the West Nile Virus phylogeny, transmission history, how the virus functions in the body and how it is a threat to public health, and then discusses these items related to vaccine technology surrounding West Nile Virus. This will include past developments, current research in the field and what it may take to develop such a vaccine safe and economical for human usage.

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2013-05

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Evaluation of Plant-based Viral Vectors for West Nile Virus Antibody Expression Levels

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Plant viral vectors have previously been used to produce high expression levels of antibodies and other proteins of interest. By utilizing a transformed Agrobacterium with the vector containing the protein of interest for infiltration, viral vectors can easily reach the

Plant viral vectors have previously been used to produce high expression levels of antibodies and other proteins of interest. By utilizing a transformed Agrobacterium with the vector containing the protein of interest for infiltration, viral vectors can easily reach the plant cells making it an effective form of transient protein expression. For this project two different plant viral vectors were compared; the geminiviral vector derived from Bean yellow dwarf virus (BeYDV) and the MagnICON vector system derived from Tobacco Mosaic Virus(TMV) and Potato Virus X(PVX). E16, an antibody against West Nile virus, has previously been expressed using both systems but expression levels between the systems were not directly compared. Agrobacterium tumefaciens EHA105 cells were transformed with both systems and expression levels of E16 were quantified using ELISAs. Results showed very low expression levels of E16 using the geminiviral vector indicating a need for further investigation into the clone used as previous studies reported much higher expression levels with the system.

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2020-05