Matching Items (18)

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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  • 2014-05

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The Importance of Art and the Creative Process

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Art is an inherent concept instilled in human nature, which utilizes the abilities of the creative mind to invent. Art has served many purposes in the history of mankind, including,

Art is an inherent concept instilled in human nature, which utilizes the abilities of the creative mind to invent. Art has served many purposes in the history of mankind, including, but not limited to story telling, entertainment, decoration, exploration, propaganda, education, and therapy. The primary aim of this creative project was to explore the importance of the art, as a creative process, as a way to supplement academic endeavors. The idea derived from an observation made by myself that contemporary regard for art has been on a decline, which made me question if I also value art as much as I think I do, having done art in the past and recently added a studio art minor. I thought of ways to again incorporate art and the creative process into my life. I asked myself the question: can the creative process be used as a supplement to schoolwork in order to relieve stress? To explore this, an experiment was designed, which entailed my creation of drawings twice a week, accompanied by journal documentation for a full semester of college. Afterwards, analyses were done between the documented journal entries and the artworks to see if any relationships were apparent between various aspects of my life at the times of the drawings and the drawings themselves. Further research was also conducted in related areas of study and documented in written format, which cited and analyzed numerous journal articles, artworks, artists, and research papers. This included art therapy, art education, and the relationships between art and science. Results from the experiment indicated that art as a creative process allowed for the relief of stress by cleansing my mind from any concern or interferences, therefore offering myself a complete break and relaxation, effectively refreshing my mind and allowing me to resume schoolwork or other tasks more mentally taxing. In addition, the research also showed that art therapy could effectively utilize this palliative effect of art making to ease the problems of people in distress. The findings also concluded that art and science go hand in hand, which explains a lot of the similarities in methodologies utilized by scientists and artists. In conclusion, art is a paramount part of mankind in exercising the creative mind and is ubiquitous; we should learn to actively embrace it to enrich our lives.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05

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7-deaza-dG Promotes the Faithful Transcription of 4 Nucleotide TNA Polymers

Description

DNA is a natural genetic polymer capable of storing and preserving genetic information in biological systems. Due to its natural information storage capacity, recent scientific progress demonstrates that DNA has

DNA is a natural genetic polymer capable of storing and preserving genetic information in biological systems. Due to its natural information storage capacity, recent scientific progress demonstrates that DNA has the potential to exceed standard information storage technologies. However, DNA is limited in its information storage capacities due to its susceptibility to degradation in the presence of naturally occurring nucleases. Threose nucleic acid (TNA), an unnatural genetic polymer with a 3'->2'phosphodiester-linked threose sugar backbone, has promising potential to overcome this limitation. TNA is not a substrate for natural nucleases and thus shows a dramatic increase in stability compared to DNA. However, TNA transcription has a tendency to generate G:G mispairs and lead to a gradual loss of information within the template. It was hypothesized that the mutation occurs through a G:G Hoogsteen base pair that forms preferentially over the canonical G:C Watson-Crick base pair. Incorporation of 7-deaza-dG into a four letter template effectively eliminated G:G mispairings and improved the replication fidelity from 60% to 99.6% with only four errors in a thousand. These results have laid the groundwork for further research to increase the length of the TNA product synthesized and to test TNA's ability to store genetic information.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Differential Activation of Unfolded Protein Response in Two Osteosarcoma Cell Lines Following Hypoxic and Chemotherapeutic Stress

Description

Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most prevalent primary tumor of bone in the pediatric age group [1]. The long-term cancer free survival has improved in patients with localized cancer; however, less

Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most prevalent primary tumor of bone in the pediatric age group [1]. The long-term cancer free survival has improved in patients with localized cancer; however, less than 20% of patients diagnosed with metastatic disease survive without relapse [2]. While these findings emphasize the urgent need for new therapeutic agents, the lack of understanding of the factors and the tumor microenvironment that lead to therapy resistance in OS has significantly hampered progress towards improved prognosis. Recent clinical reports have shown a negative correlation between tumor hypoxia and overall survival in OS patients [4]. In addition to the up-regulation of hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs), it has been shown that hypoxia can trigger an adaptive response such as the unfolded protein response (UPR) that allows tumor cells to avoid therapy-induced death [3,4,7,10].
Using in vitro experimental models of both SAOS-2 (non-metastatic) and 143-b (metastatic) osteosarcoma cell lines and Western blot analysis, we have demonstrated that basal levels of molecular chaperone BiP (Binding immunoglobulin protein, or GRP-78) and peIF2α (phospho-eukaryotic initiation factor 2 alpha), both markers of the UPR, were higher in SAOS-2 than 143-b cells. We also show that both these markers were further up-regulated upon exposure to hypoxia, as evidenced by the increase in banding intensity in both SAOS-2 and 143-b cells. Furthermore, analysis of another UPR marker, ATF6 (activating transcription factor 6) showed that basal levels of active nuclear ATF6 were slightly higher in SAOS-2 cells than in 143-b cells. However, unlike the other UPR markers these levels were significantly reduced upon exposure to hypoxia (0.1% O2). In addition to hypoxia, treatment with Cisplatin also had similar effects on the expression of aforementioned UPR markers: BiP and peIF2α. We found that the 143-b OS cells were more sensitive to the Cisplatin treatment than the SAOS-2 OS cells, and thus more prone to cell-mediated death.
Our findings shed light on the unknown mechanisms underlying chemotherapeutic drug resistance in osteosarcoma patients. Our research may lead to novel therapies that seek out and destroy the chemoresistant OS cells within the hypoxia core of tumors, thereby preventing survival and metastasis, and ultimately improving the chances of survival amongst OS patients.

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  • 2014-05

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The Role of Lipolysis in Regulating Plasma Glucose Concentrations in Mourning Doves

Description

Birds have unusually high plasma glucose concentrations compared to mammals of similar size despite their high metabolic rate. While birds use lipids as their main source of energy, it is

Birds have unusually high plasma glucose concentrations compared to mammals of similar size despite their high metabolic rate. While birds use lipids as their main source of energy, it is still unclear how and why they maintain high plasma glucose concentrations. To investigate a potential underlying mechanism, this study looks at the role of lipolysis in glucose homeostasis. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of decreased glycerol availability (through inhibition of lipolysis) on plasma glucose concentrations in mourning doves. The hypothesis is that decreased availability of glycerol will result in decreased production of glucose through gluconeogenesis leading to reduced plasma glucose concentrations. In the morning of each experiment, mourning doves were collected at the Arizona State University Tempe campus, and randomized into either a control group (0.9% saline) or experimental group (acipimox, 50mg/kg BM). Blood samples were collected prior to treatment, and at 1, 2, and 3 hours post-treatment. At 3 hours, doves were euthanized, and tissue samples were collected for analysis. Acipimox treatment resulted in significant increases in blood glucose concentrations at 1 and 2 hours post- treatment as well as renal triglyceride concentrations at 3 hours post-treatment. Change in plasma free glycerol between 0h and 3h followed an increasing trend for the acipimox treated animals, and a decreasing trend in the saline treated animals. These results do not support the hypothesis that inhibition of lipolysis should decrease blood glycerol and blood glucose levels. Rather, the effects of acipimox in glucose homeostasis appear to differ significantly between birds and mammals suggesting differing mechanisms for glucose homeostasis.

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  • 2015-05

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Comparative Analysis of Eukaryotic Cell-Free Translation Systems

Description

Cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) is becoming an increasingly popular method of in vitro protein expression for biotechnology applications. However, there is still no comprehensive resource that outlines the most effective

Cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) is becoming an increasingly popular method of in vitro protein expression for biotechnology applications. However, there is still no comprehensive resource that outlines the most effective lysate and template combinations for efficient eukaryotic CFPS. To address this issue, expression vectors were constructed and assayed in order to determine their activity within three commercial eukaryotic CFPS systems: Wheat Germ Extract (WGE), Rabbit Reticulocyte Lysate (RRL), and HeLa Cell Lysate (HCL). Previously in the Chaput lab, a luciferase reporter vector was expressed in each lysate system, testing different template variables impacting protein expression, including the 5' UTR sequence, presence of poly(A) tail, and DNA type. It was found that plasmid DNA templates generally yielded ~500-fold greater amount of protein than linear DNA templates and the inclusion of a poly(A) tail did not significantly increase protein expression in the plasmid systems. Additionally, the incorporation of a viral translation enhancing sequence into the 5' UTR increased translation in a lysate-specific manner. The HCL system had a strong preference for the EMCV sequence, WGE had a preference for the sequences from AMV and TMV, and RRL showed no specific preference. Overall, the HCL-EMCV system generated the greatest amount of protein per volume, producing 10-fold more protein than the second best template-lysate combination tested. Here, four human genes fused with a c-Myc tag were expressed in each lysate using the EMCV 5' UTR sequence in order to test the generality of the previous results. Protein synthesis was assayed using a luciferase construct with a c-Myc tag to recapitulate the previous luminometer data and western blotting of the human proteins. These analyses showed the same EMCV expression trends across all systems, with the HCL system synthesizing the greatest amount of each protein. In the future, when choosing commercial eukaryotic CFPS systems for gene expression, these template variables should be considered when performing cost analysis for cell-free protein production.

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  • 2015-05

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Improvement strategies for the production of renewable chemicals by Synechocystis sp PCC 6803

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Synechocystis sp PCC 6803 is a photosynthetic cyanobacterium that can be easily transformed to produce molecules of interest; this has increased Synechocystis’ popularity as a clean energy platform. Synechocystis has

Synechocystis sp PCC 6803 is a photosynthetic cyanobacterium that can be easily transformed to produce molecules of interest; this has increased Synechocystis’ popularity as a clean energy platform. Synechocystis has been shown to produce and excrete molecules such as fatty acids, isoprene, etc. after appropriate genetic modification. Challenges faced for large–scale growth of modified Synechocystis include abiotic stress, microbial contamination and high processing costs of product and cell material. Research reported in this dissertation contributes to solutions to these challenges. First, abiotic stress was addressed by overexpression of the heat shock protein ClpB1. In contrast to the wild type, the ClpB1 overexpression mutant (Slr1641+) tolerated rapid temperature changes, but no difference was found between the strains when temperature shifts were slower. Combination of ClpB1 overexpression with DnaK2 overexpression (Slr1641+/Sll0170+) further increased thermotolerance. Next, we used a Synechocystis strain that carries an introduced isoprene synthase gene (IspS+) and that therefore produces isoprene. We attempted to increase isoprene yields by overexpression of key enzymes in the methyl erythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway that leads to synthesis of the isoprene precursor. Isoprene production was not increased greatly by MEP pathway induction, likely because of limitations in the affinity of the isoprene synthase for the substrate. Finally, two extraction principles, two–phase liquid extraction (e.g., with an organic and aqueous phase) and solid–liquid extraction (e.g., with a resin) were tested. Two–phase liquid extraction is suitable for separating isoprene but not fatty acids from the culture medium. Fatty acid removal required acidification or surfactant addition, which affected biocompatibility. Therefore, improvements of both the organism and product–harvesting methods can contribute to enhancing the potential of cyanobacteria as solar–powered biocatalysts for the production of petroleum substitutes.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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Mechanism of the F₁ ATPase molecular motor as revealed by single molecule studies

Description

The F1Fo ATP synthase is required for energy conversion in almost all living organisms. The F1 complex is a molecular motor that uses ATP hydrolysis to drive rotation of the

The F1Fo ATP synthase is required for energy conversion in almost all living organisms. The F1 complex is a molecular motor that uses ATP hydrolysis to drive rotation of the γ–subunit. It has not been previously possible to resolve the speed and position of the γ–subunit of the F1–ATPase as it rotates during a power stroke. The single molecule experiments presented here measured light scattered from 45X91 nm gold nanorods attached to the γ–subunit that provide an unprecedented 5 μs resolution of rotational position as a function of time. The product of velocity and drag, which were both measured directly, resulted in an average torque of 63±8 pN nm for the Escherichia coli F1-ATPase that was determined to be independent of the load. The rotational velocity had an initial (I) acceleration phase 15° from the end of the catalytic dwell, a slow (S) acceleration phase during ATP binding/ADP release (15°–60°), and a fast (F) acceleration phase (60°–90°) containing an interim deceleration (ID) phase (75°–82°). High ADP concentrations decreased the velocity of the S phase proportional to 'ADP-release' dwells, and the F phase proportional to the free energy derived from the [ADP][Pi]/[ATP] chemical equilibrium. The decreased affinity for ITP increased ITP-binding dwells by 10%, but decreased velocity by 40% during the S phase. This is the first direct evidence that nucleotide binding contributes to F1–ATPase torque. Mutations that affect specific phases of rotation were identified, some in regions of F1 previously considered not to contribute to rotation. Mutations βD372V and γK9I increased the F phase velocity, and γK9I increased the depth of the ID phase. The conversion between S and F phases was specifically affected by γQ269L. While βT273D, βD305E, and αR283Q decreased the velocity of all phases, decreases in velocity due to βD302T, γR268L and γT82A were confined to the I and S phases. The correlations between the structural locations of these mutations and the phases of rotation they affect provide new insight into the molecular basis for F1–ATPase γ-subunit rotation.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Unique cellular, physiological, and metabolic adaptations to the euendolithic lifestyle in a boring cyanobacterium

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Euendolithic cyanobacteria have the remarkable ability to actively excavate and grow within certain minerals. Their activity leads to increased erosion of marine and terrestrial carbonates, negatively affecting coral reef and

Euendolithic cyanobacteria have the remarkable ability to actively excavate and grow within certain minerals. Their activity leads to increased erosion of marine and terrestrial carbonates, negatively affecting coral reef and bivalve ecology. Despite their environmental relevance, the boring mechanism has remained elusive and paradoxical, in that cyanobacteria alkalinize their surroundings, typically leading to carbonate precipitation, not dissolution. Thus, euendoliths must rely on unique adaptations to bore. Recent work using the filamentous model euendolith Mastigocoleus testarum strain BC008 indicated that excavation relied on transcellular calcium transport mediated by P-type ATPases, but the phenomenon remained unclear. Here I present evidence that excavation in M. testarum involves an unprecedented set of adaptations. Long-range calcium transport is achieved through the coordinated pumping of multiple cells, orchestrated by the localization of calcium ATPases in a repeating annular pattern, positioned at a single cell pole, adjacent to each cell septum along the filament. Additionally, specialized chlorotic cells that I named calcicytes, differentiate and accumulate calcium at concentrations more than 500 fold those of canonical cells, likely allowing for fast calcium flow at non-toxic concentrations through undifferentiated cells. I also show, using 13C stable isotope tracers and NanoSIMS imaging, that endolithic M. testarum derives most of its carbon from the mineral carbonates it dissolves, the first autotroph ever shown to fix mineral carbon, confirming the existence of a direct link between oxidized solid carbon pools and reduced organic pools in the biosphere. Finally, using genomic and transcriptomic approaches, I analyze gene expression searching for additional adaptations related to the endolithic lifestyle. A large and diverse set of genes (24% of 6917 genes) were significantly differentially regulated while boring, including several master regulators and genes expectedly needed under this condition (such as transport, nutrient scavenging, oxidative stress, and calcium-binding protein genes). However, I also discovered the up-regulation of several puzzling gene sets involved in alternative carbon fixation pathways, anaerobic metabolism, and some related to photosynthesis and respiration. This transcriptomic data provides us with several new, readily testable hypotheses regarding adaptations to the endolithic lifestyle. In all, my data clearly show that boring organisms show extraordinarily interesting adaptations.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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In vitro and in vivo proteome analysis of Coccidioides posadasii

Description

Coccidioidomycosis (valley fever) is caused by inhalation of arthrospores from soil-dwelling fungi, Coccidioides immitis and C. posadasii. This dimorphic fungus and disease are endemic to the southwestern United States, central

Coccidioidomycosis (valley fever) is caused by inhalation of arthrospores from soil-dwelling fungi, Coccidioides immitis and C. posadasii. This dimorphic fungus and disease are endemic to the southwestern United States, central valley in California and Mexico. The Genome of Coccidioidies has been sequenced but proteomic studies are absent. To address this gap in knowledge, we generated proteome of Spherulin (lysate of Spherule phase) using LC-MS/MS and identified over 1300 proteins. We also investigated lectin reactivity to spherules in human lung tissue based on the hypothesis that coccidioidal glycosylation is different from mammalian glycosylation, and therefore certain lectins would have differential binding properties to fungal glycoproteins. Lectin-based immunohistochemistry using formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded human lung tissue from human coccidioidomycosis patients demonstrated that Griffonia simplificonia lectin II (GSL II) and succinylated wheat germ agglutinin (sWGA) bound specifically to endospores and spherules in infected lungs, but not to adjacent human tissue. GSL II and sWGA-lectin affinity chromatography using Spherulin, followed by LC-MS/MS was used to isolate and identify 195 proteins that bind to GSL-II lectin and 224 proteins that bind to sWGA lectin. This is the first report that GSL II and sWGA lectins bind specifically to Coccidioides endospores and spherules in infected human tissues. Our list of proteins from spherulin (whole and GSL-II and sWGA binding fraction) may also serve as a Coccidioidal Rosetta-Stone generated from mass spectra to identify proteins from 3 different databases: The Broad Institutes Coccidioides Genomes project, RefSeq and SwissProt. This also serves as a viable avenue for proteomics based diagnostic test development for valley fever. Using lectin chromatography and LC MS/MS, we identified over 100 proteins in plasma of two patients and six proteins in urine of one patient. We also identified over eighty fungal proteins isolated from spherules from biopsied infected lung tissue. This, to the best of our knowledge, is the first such example of detecting coccidioidal proteins in patient blood and urine and provides a foundation for development of a proteomics based diagnostic test as opposed to presently available but unreliable serologic diagnostic tests reliant on an antibody response in the host.

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Date Created
  • 2015