Matching Items (28)

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Importance of cholesterol-rich membrane microdomains in measles virus

Description

Lipid microdomains play a vital role in a number of biological processes. They are often a target of diseases and viruses. Viruses in particular utilize lipid microdomains to gain entry

Lipid microdomains play a vital role in a number of biological processes. They are often a target of diseases and viruses. Viruses in particular utilize lipid microdomains to gain entry and fuse with the host-cell membrane. Measles virus (MV) a human pathogen, spread from cell to cell by inducing fusion of cellular membranes. This causes the formation of large multinucleated cells, syncytia. It has been previously reported that lipid microdomains are essential for measles virus infection/replication. In this study we used methyl beta cyclodextrin (MBCD), a cholesterol-sequestering agent to disrupt lipid microdomains. Through transfection of Vero h/SLAM cells, we found that Measles virus fusion was dependent on lipid microdomains integrity. Indeed, a dose dependent fusion inhibition was documented with increasing concentrations of MBCD resulting in reduced formation of syncytia.

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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Effects of Nitrogen Deficiency on 74 Breeding Lettuce Lines Derived from the Cross Parade vs. Pavane under Different Illumination Conditions

Description

The manner in which plants are able to acquire plant nitrate (NO3-) varies depending on a combination of distinct processes between "root high-and low-affinity NO-3 transporters and the proton gradient

The manner in which plants are able to acquire plant nitrate (NO3-) varies depending on a combination of distinct processes between "root high-and low-affinity NO-3 transporters and the proton gradient that is generated by the plasma membrane H+-ATPase" (Paez-Valencia et al, 2013). In this study we analyzed the response to limiting nitrate (0.5 mM) of seventy-four breeding lettuce (Lactuca sativa) lines derived from the cross Parade vs. Pavane. Parade had an enhanced root acidification capacity when grown under Nitrate limitation in comparison to Pavane, which had a poor root acidification capacity. Two successive experiments were conducted under distinct environmental conditions to evaluate the performance of the different breeding lines based on their ability to grow under nitrogen limitation as an indirect measurement of their ability to take up nitrate. Specific parameters were established in order to properly classify strong and weak breading lines based on the following characterizations: 1) Average fresh shoots and roots weights; 2) Color of leaves (green vs. yellow); and 3) Root acidification capacity. In essence, the measurement of these parameters is would allow for the identification of breeding lines that demonstrated enhanced performance under Nitrate limitation in order to observe if their performance correlated with root acidification capacity. The breeding line's biomass, indicated by the average fresh shoots and roots weights, determined the plant's ability to uptake Nitrogen; whereas, large biomass values indicated Nitrogen uptake, low values indicated a low Nitrogen uptake (Javadiyan, 2008). To determine Nitrogen nutrition, the colors of the plants' leaves were observed throughout the duration of the study; a green color demonstrated appropriate Nitrogen nutrition, whereas as a yellow color identified Nitrogen deficiency (Yang, 2003). In addition to the nutrients that composed the media in the agar plates, a pH indicator (Bromocresol Purple Dye) was utilized to monitor root acidification; the purple indicator transformed into a yellow color upon the occurrence of acidification. In both experiments, a direct correlation between the root acidification capacity and the biomass of each breeding line could not be determined. Strong breeding lines were identified when they demonstrated large biomass measurements, which were obtained from the average fresh shoots and roots, and also a proper nitrogen nutrition status, which was shown through their green leaf phenotypic characteristics. These two characterizations were significantly prevalent in four breeding lines (B9, B17, C1, and C21), which on average outperformed the parental lines (Controls: P12 and P13).

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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Refining the structure of hPIRT, a modulator of TRP channels, via measurement of residual dipolar couplings in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy

Description

Transient receptor potential channels (TRP channels) are a family of ion channels that mediate a wide variety of sensations, including pain, temperature, and mechanosensation. Human phosphoinositide-interacting regulator of TRP (hPIRT)

Transient receptor potential channels (TRP channels) are a family of ion channels that mediate a wide variety of sensations, including pain, temperature, and mechanosensation. Human phosphoinositide-interacting regulator of TRP (hPIRT) is a 15.5 kDa, relatively uncharacterized membrane protein that has been shown to modulate the activity of certain TRP channels and some other ion channels. hPIRT is also able to interact with phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P¬2), a phospholipid that modulates the activity of many important signaling proteins, including TRP channels. Some information is already known about the structure of hPIRT: it contains a relatively unstructured N-terminus, two transmembrane helices, and a juxtamembrane region at the C-terminus that plays a role in binding PI(4,5)P2 and TRPV1. However, more detailed structural data about this molecule would be very informative in understanding how these interactions occur. In order to accomplish this, this thesis investigates the measurement of residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) to refine the structure of hPIRT. RDCs are a measurable effect in NMR experiments caused by partial alignment of molecules solubilized in a weakly anisotropic medium. The resulting data set can be used to calculate bond angles within the protein relative to the axis of the external magnetic field, which will assist efforts to further constrain the structure of hPIRT.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Immune Activation by Plant-Produced HIV-1 Virus-like Particles

Description

Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) causes millions of deaths every year, but a protective vaccine remains elusive. A promising vaccine strategy is to use virus-like particles (VLPs) for HIV-1.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) causes millions of deaths every year, but a protective vaccine remains elusive. A promising vaccine strategy is to use virus-like particles (VLPs) for HIV-1. To this end, HIV-1 VLPs were produced in Nicotiana benthamiana plants that were stably expressing the HIV-1 Gag protein and transiently expressing a truncated form of gp41. These VLPs were tested to determine their inherent adjuvant effects due to their production in plants in order to dissect the previously observed stimulating activity of these VLPs in a prime-boost vaccine approach. THP1 human monocytes were differentiated using PMA or IL-4 and GM-CSF to form macrophages and dendritic cells, respectively. These cells were treated with purified VLPs or control samples to determine the individual adjuvant effects of the plant, bacterial, and VLP components in the purified VLP samples. It was postulated that the PMA-differentiated THP1 cells were not induced to become macrophages due to the lack of CD11b+ cells in the sample and the lack of increased TNFα expression in response to LPS treatment. It was also determined that the VLPs have inherent adjuvant properties to dendritic cells due to bacterial and VLP components, but not due to plant components.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Importance of Cholesterol Depletion in Measles Virus Infection and Replication

Description

Lipid membranes are a key structure for many classes of viruses. Lipid membranes can be analyzed using the fluid mosaic model, which states that the phospholipid membrane has variable amounts

Lipid membranes are a key structure for many classes of viruses. Lipid membranes can be analyzed using the fluid mosaic model, which states that the phospholipid membrane has variable amounts of fluidity and key membrane proteins are presented in areas stabilized by cholesterol-enriched platforms called lipid rafts. This project aims to further the understanding of the importance of lipid rafts in measles virus (MV) infection and replication, which has not been extensively studied. In order to do this, an MV-susceptible cell line was treated with an anti-cholesterol compound before and after measles virus infection. I found that pre-infection treatments had a marginal effect upon measles cytopathic effect (syncytia formation) or replication. Twenty-four hours post-infection treatment had a deleterious effect on cell viability, but the replication/assembly of infectious units per cell decreased importantly and in dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, by measuring the susceptibility to neutralization of infectious particles obtained from MBCD treated cells, I determined the importance of lipid microdomain environment on the stability of infectious particles. Increased anti-cholesterol treatment enhanced the susceptibility of MV to neutralization. Future studies are proposed to assess the properties of cholesterol depleted viral infectious units.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Is a putative plant-derived analog of the mammalian proline-rich attachment domain causing a human enzyme expressed in plants to undergo tetramerization?

Description

Variants of human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) have been designed to have high cocaine hydrolytic activity. These variants have potential pharmacological applications toward treating cocaine overdose and addiction. These enzymes must be

Variants of human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) have been designed to have high cocaine hydrolytic activity. These variants have potential pharmacological applications toward treating cocaine overdose and addiction. These enzymes must be stable in the human body over fairly long periods of time in order to be effective at treating cocaine addiction. Recombinantly expressed BChE, however, tends to be in monomer or dimer oligomeric forms, which are far less stable than the tetramer form of the enzyme. When BChE is transiently expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana, it is produced mainly as monomers and dimers. However, when the protein is expressed through stable transformation, it produces much greater proportions of tetramers. Tetramerization of WT human plasma derived BChE is facilitated by the binding of a proline rich peptide. In this thesis, I investigated if a putative plant-derived analog of the mammalian proline-rich attachment domain caused stably expressed cocaine hydrolase variants of human BChE to undergo tetramerization. I also examined if co-expression of peptides with known proline-rich attachment domains further shifted the monomer-tetramer ratio toward the tetramer.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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CHALLENGES IN THE EXPRESSION AND PURIFICATION OF INTERCELLULAR ADHESION MOLECULE- 1

Description

The Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 (ICAM-1, known as CD54) is a cell surface type I transmembrane glycoprotein with a molecular weight of 85 to 110 kDa. The primary function of ICAM-1

The Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 (ICAM-1, known as CD54) is a cell surface type I transmembrane glycoprotein with a molecular weight of 85 to 110 kDa. The primary function of ICAM-1 is to provide adhesion between endothelial cells and leukocytes after injury or stress. ICAM-1 is used as a receptor for various pathogens such as rhinoviruses, coxsackievirus A21 and the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. ICAM-1 contains five immunoglobulin (Ig) domains in its long N-terminal extracellular region, a hydrophobic transmembrane domain, and a small C-terminal cytoplasmic domain. The Ig domains 1-2 and Ig domains 3-4-5 have been crystallized separately and their structure solved, however the full ICAM-1 structure has not been solved. Because ICAM-1 appears to be important for the mediation of cell-to-cell communication in physiological and pathological conditions, gaining a structural understanding of the full-length membrane anchored ICAM-1 is desirable. In this context, we have transiently expressed a plant-optimized gene encoding human ICAM-1 in Nicotiana benthamiana plants using the MagnICON expression system. The plant produced ICAM-1 is forming aggregates according to previous data. Thus, the current extraction and purification protocols have been altered to include TCEP, a reducing agent. The protein was purified using TALON metal affinity resin and partially characterized using various biochemical techniques. Our results show that there is a reduction in aggregation formation with the use of TCEP.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Teaching Biology in a Maximum-Security Prison Unit: Feedback, Notes and Recommendations from a Pilot Class

Description

We, a team of students and faculty in the life sciences at Arizona State University (ASU), currently teach an Introduction to Biology course in a Level 5, or maximum-security unit

We, a team of students and faculty in the life sciences at Arizona State University (ASU), currently teach an Introduction to Biology course in a Level 5, or maximum-security unit with the support of the Arizona Department of Corrections and the Prison Education Program at ASU. This course aims to enhance current programs at the unit by offering inmates an opportunity to practice literacy and math skills, while also providing exposure to a new academic field (science, and specifically biology). Numerous studies, including a 2005 study from the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC), have found that vocational programs, including prison education programs, reduce recidivism rates (ADC 2005, Esperian 2010, Jancic 1988, Steurer et al. 2001, Ubic 2002) and may provide additional benefits such as engagement with a world outside the justice system (Duguid 1992), the opportunity for inmates to revise personal patterns of rejecting education that they may regret, and the ability of inmate parents to deliberately set a good example for their children (Hall and Killacky 2008). Teaching in a maximum security prison unit poses special challenges, which include a prohibition on most outside materials (except paper), severe restrictions on student-teacher and student-student interactions, and the inability to perform any lab exercises except limited computer simulations. Lack of literature discussing theoretical and practical aspects of teaching science in such environment has prompted us to conduct an ongoing study to generate notes and recommendations from this class through the use of surveys, academic evaluation of students' work and ongoing feedback from both teachers and students to inform teaching practices in future science classes in high-security prison units.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Plant-expressed cocaine hydrolase variants of butyrylcholinesterase exhibit altered allosteric effects of cholinesterase activity and increased inhibitor sensitivity

Description

Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) is an enzyme with broad substrate and ligand specificities and may function as a generalized bioscavenger by binding and/or hydrolyzing various xenobiotic agents and toxicants, many of which

Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) is an enzyme with broad substrate and ligand specificities and may function as a generalized bioscavenger by binding and/or hydrolyzing various xenobiotic agents and toxicants, many of which target the central and peripheral nervous systems. Variants of BChE were rationally designed to increase the enzyme’s ability to hydrolyze the psychoactive enantiomer of cocaine. These variants were cloned, and then expressed using the magnICON transient expression system in plants and their enzymatic properties were investigated. In particular, we explored the effects that these site-directed mutations have over the enzyme kinetics with various substrates of BChE. We further compared the affinity of various anticholinesterases including organophosphorous nerve agents and pesticides toward these BChE variants relative to the wild type enzyme. In addition to serving as a therapy for cocaine addiction-related diseases, enhanced bioscavenging against other harmful agents could add to the practicality and versatility of the plant-derived recombinant enzyme as a multivalent therapeutic.

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Date Created
  • 2017-09-05

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Production and functional testing of a recombinant fusion protein immunotherapy for glioblastoma

Description

Fusion protein immunotherapies such as the bispecific T cell engager (BiTE) have displayed promising potential as cancer treatments capable of engaging the immune system against tumor cells. It has been

Fusion protein immunotherapies such as the bispecific T cell engager (BiTE) have displayed promising potential as cancer treatments capable of engaging the immune system against tumor cells. It has been shown that chlorotoxin, a 36-amino peptide found in the venom of the deathstalker scorpion (Leiurus quinquestriatus), binds specifically to glioblastoma (GBM) cells without binding healthy tissue, making it an ideal GBM cell binding moiety for a BiTE-like molecule. However, chlorotoxin’s four disulfide bonds pose a folding challenge outside of its natural context and impede production of the recombinant protein in various expression systems, including those relying on bacteria and plants. To overcome this difficulty, we have engineered a truncated chlorotoxin variant (Cltx∆15) that contains just two of the original eight cystine residues, thereby capable of forming only a single disulfide bond while maintaining its ability to bind GBM cells. We further created a BiTE (ACDClx∆15) which tethers Cltx∆15 to a single chain ⍺-CD3 antibody in order to bring T cells into contact with GBM cells. The gene for ACDClx∆15 was cloned into a pET-11a vector for expression in Escherichia coli and isolated from inclusion bodies before purification via affinity chromatography. Immunoblot analyses confirmed that ACDClx∆15 can be expressed in E. coli and purified with high yield and purity; moreover, flow cytometry indicated that ACDClx∆15 is capable of binding GBM cells. These data warrant further investigation into the ability of ACDClx∆15 to activate T cells against GBM cells.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05