Matching Items (42)

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Assessing Light Use Efficiencies (LUEs) Of Benthic Reef Communities For Spectral Modeling Applications

Description

Coral reefs are diverse marine ecosystems, where reef building corals provide both the structure of the habitat as well as the primary production through their symbiotic algae, and alongside algae

Coral reefs are diverse marine ecosystems, where reef building corals provide both the structure of the habitat as well as the primary production through their symbiotic algae, and alongside algae living on the reef itself, are the basis of the food web of the reef. In this way, coral reefs are the ocean's "forests" and are estimated to support 25% of all marine species. However, due to the large size of a coral reef, the relative inaccessibility and the reliance on in situ surveying methods, our current understanding of reefs is spatially limited. Understanding coral reefs from a more spatially complete perspective will offer insight into the ecological factors that contribute to coral reef vitality. This has become a priority in recent years due to the rapid decline of coral reefs caused by mass bleaching. Despite this urgency, being able to assess the entirety of a coral reef is physically difficult and this obstacle has not yet been overcome. However, similar difficulties have been addressed in terrestrial ecosystems by using remote sensing methods, which apply hyperspectral imaging to assess large areas of primary producers at high spatial resolutions. Adapting this method of remote spectral sensing to assess coral reefs has been suggested, but in order to quantify primary production via hyper spectral imaging, light-use efficiencies (LUEs) of coral reef communities need to be known. LUEs are estimations of the rate of carbon fixation compared to incident absorbed light. Here, I experimentally determine LUEs and report on several parameters related to LUE, namely net productivity, respiration, and light absorbance for the main primary producers in coral reefs surrounding Bermuda, which consist of algae and coral communities. The derived LUE values fall within typical ranges for LUEs of terrestrial ecosystems, with LUE values for coral averaging 0.022 ± 0.002 mol O2 mol photons-1 day-1 at a water flow rate of 17.5 ± 2 cm s^(-1) and 0.049 ± 0.011 mol O2 mol photons-1 day-1 at a flow rate of 32 ± 4 cm s^(-1) LUE values for algae averaged 0.0335 ± 0.0048 mol O2 mol photons-1 day-1 at a flow rate of 17.5 ± 2 cm s^(-1). These values allow insight into coral reef productivity and opens the door for future remote sensing applications.

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  • 2019-05

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TARGETING ADIPOSE TISSUE INFLAMMATION IN THE TREATMENT OF TYPE II DIABETES

Description

Diabesity is a global epidemic affecting millions worldwide. Diabesity is the term given to the link between obesity and Type II diabetes. It is estimated that ~90% of patients diagnosed

Diabesity is a global epidemic affecting millions worldwide. Diabesity is the term given to the link between obesity and Type II diabetes. It is estimated that ~90% of patients diagnosed with Type II diabetes are overweight or have struggled with excess body fat in the past. Type II diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance which is an impaired response of the body to insulin that leads to high blood glucose levels. Adipose tissue, previously thought of as an inert tissue, is now recognized as a major endocrine organ with an important role in the body's immune response and the development of chronic inflammation. It is speculated that adipose tissue inflammation is a major contributor to insulin resistance particular to Type II diabetes. This literature review explores the popular therapeutic targets and marketed drugs for the treatment of Type II diabetes and their role in decreasing adipose tissue inflammation. rAGE is currently in pre-clinical studies as a possible target to combat adipose tissue inflammation due to its relation to insulin resistance. Metformin and Pioglitazone are two drugs already being marketed that use unique chemical pathways to increase the production of insulin and/or decrease blood glucose levels. Sulfonylureas is one of the first FDA approved drugs used in the treatment of Type II diabetes, however, it has been discredited due to its life-threatening side effects. Bariatric surgery is a form of invasive surgery to rid the body of excess fat and has shown to normalize blood glucose levels. These treatments are all secondary to lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise which can help halt the progression of Type II diabetes patients.

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  • 2019-05

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ELECTRON TRANSFER PROCESS BETWEEN COFACTORS OF HELIOBACTERIA'S REACTION CENTER

Description

ABSTRACT:
The experiment was conducted to analyze the role of menaquinone (MQ) in heliobacteria’s reaction center (HbRC). Their photosynthetic apparatus is a homodimeric of type I reaction center (1). HbRC

ABSTRACT:
The experiment was conducted to analyze the role of menaquinone (MQ) in heliobacteria’s reaction center (HbRC). Their photosynthetic apparatus is a homodimeric of type I reaction center (1). HbRC contains these cofactors: P800 (special pair cholorphyll), A0 (8-hydroxy-chlorophyll [Chl] a), and FX (iron-sulfur cluster). The MQ factor is bypassed during the electron transfer process in HbRC. Electrons from the excited state of P800 (P800*) are transported to A0 and then directly to Fx. The hypothesis is that when electrons are photoaccumulated at Fx, and without the presence of any electron acceptors to the cluster, they would be transferred to MQ, and reduce it to MQH2 (quinol). Experiments conducted in the past with HbRC within the cell membranes yielded data that supported this hypothesis (Figures 4 and 5). We conducted a new experiment based on that foundation with HbRC, isolated from cell membrane. Two protein assays were prepared with cyt c553 and ascorbate in order to observe this phenomenon. The two samples were left in the glove box for several days for equilibration and then exposed to light in different intensity and periods. Their absorption was monitored at 800 nm for P800 or 554 nm for cyt c553 to observe their oxidation and reduction processes. The measurements were performed with the JTS-10 spectrophotometer. The data obtained from these experiments support the theory that P800+ reduced by the charge recombination of P800+Fx-. However, it did not confirm the reduction of P800+ done by cyt c553¬ which eventually lead to a net accumulation of oxidized cyt c553; instead it revealed another factor that could reduce P800+ faster and more efficient than cyt c553 (0.5 seconds vs several seconds), which could be MQ. More experiments need to be done in order to confirm this result. Hence, the data collected from this experiment have yet to support the theory of MQ being reduced to MQH2 outside the bacterial membranes.

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  • 2015-05

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Correlational Analysis of Intelligence Mindset, Motivation Backgrounds, and Significance of Gender Identity

Description

The goal of this investigation was to perform a correlational analysis of the intelligence mindsets, motivational background, and significance of gender identity as factors driving student success. 42 students enrolled

The goal of this investigation was to perform a correlational analysis of the intelligence mindsets, motivational background, and significance of gender identity as factors driving student success. 42 students enrolled in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) 110: Principles of Programming with Java completed a modified Scientific Measurement Questionnaire (SMQ), a survey instrument designed to study the previously mentioned factors. This survey was modeled on a similar survey administered by Dr. Ian Gould to students enrolled in his Organic Chemistry course at Arizona State University. Following the development of a scoring system to generate quantifiable data, it was determined that students in this course displayed a greater inclination towards beliefs in malleable intelligence and in an intrinsic locus of control as opposed to a belief in static intelligence and an external locus of control. Students exhibited a multi-faceted approach in responding to the questions in the motivational background section, indicating that there were no distinctively dominating factors driving student motivation. Instead, it was observed that students generally derived motivation from these factors in a synergistic fashion. Responses to questions regarding gender indicated that while students believed that the way they were perceived by others was significantly influenced by their gender, the notion of gender identity played little to no role in their overall personal identity and self-schema. As the study was designed to offer insight into the role of gender identity and the population discrepancies within the course, it is important to note that the findings suggest gender identity is not a primary factor of concern with regard to student performance. While the data acquired suggested potential trends in student mindsets, a notable limitation of the scope of the project was the undersized sample population.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05

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Creating and Characterizing a PsaC-HydA1 Fusion in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Description

There is an ever-increasing need in the world to develop a source of fuel that is clean, renewable and feasible in terms of production and implementation. Hydrogen gas presents a

There is an ever-increasing need in the world to develop a source of fuel that is clean, renewable and feasible in terms of production and implementation. Hydrogen gas presents a possible solution to these energy needs, particularly if given a way to produce hydrogen gas efficiently. Biological hydrogen (biohydrogen) production presents a potential way to do just this. It is known that hydrogenases are active in wild-type algal photosynthesis pathways but are only active in anoxic environments, where they serve as electron sinks and compete poorly for electrons from photosystem I. To circumvent these issues, a psaC-hydA1 fusion gene was designed and incorporated into a plasmid that was then used to transform hydrogenase-free Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutants. Results obtained suggest that the psaC-hydA1 gene completely replaced the wild-type psaC gene in the chloroplast genome and the fusion was expressed in the algal cells. Western blotting verified the presence of the HydA1-PsaC fusion proteins in the transformed cells, P700 photobleaching suggested the normal assembly of FA/FB clusters in PsaC-HydA1, and PSII fluorescence data suggested that HydA1 protein limited photosynthetic electron transport flow in the fusion. Hydrogen production was measured in dark, high light, and under maximal reducing conditions. In all conditions, the wild-type algal strain (with a normal PsaC protein) exhibited higher rates of hydrogen production in the light over 2 hours than the WT strain, though both strains produced similar rates in the dark.

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  • 2017-12

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Quinone Removal and Replacement within the Reaction Center Protein of Rhodobacter sphaeroides

Description

With a quantum efficiency of nearly 100%, the electron transfer process that occurs within the reaction center protein of the photosynthetic bacteria Rhodobacter (Rh.) sphaeroides is a paragon for understanding

With a quantum efficiency of nearly 100%, the electron transfer process that occurs within the reaction center protein of the photosynthetic bacteria Rhodobacter (Rh.) sphaeroides is a paragon for understanding the complexities, intricacies, and overall systemization of energy conversion and storage in natural systems. To better understand the way in which photons of light are captured, converted into chemically useful forms, and stored for biological use, an investigation into the reaction center protein, specifically into its cascade of cofactors, was undertaken. The purpose of this experimentation was to advance our knowledge and understanding of how differing protein environments and variant cofactors affect the spectroscopic aspects of and electron transfer kinetics within the reaction of Rh. sphaeroides. The native quinone, ubiquinone, was extracted from its pocket within the reaction center protein and replaced by non-native quinones having different reduction/oxidation potentials. It was determined that, of the two non-native quinones tested—1,2-naphthaquinone and 9,10- anthraquinone—the substitution of the anthraquinone (lower redox potential) resulted in an increased rate of recombination from the P+QA- charge-separated state, while the substitution of the napthaquinone (higher redox potential) resulted in a decreased rate of recombination.

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Date Created
  • 2015-12

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Knocking out the cytochrome bc complex in Heliobacterium modesticaldum

Description

The heliobacteria, a family of anoxygenic phototrophs, are significant to photosynthesis evolution research, as they possess the simplest known photosynthetic apparatus. Although they are photoheterotrophs in the light, the heliobacteria

The heliobacteria, a family of anoxygenic phototrophs, are significant to photosynthesis evolution research, as they possess the simplest known photosynthetic apparatus. Although they are photoheterotrophs in the light, the heliobacteria may also grow chemotrophically via pyruvate metabolism in the absence of light. In Heliobacterium modesticaldum, the cytochrome bc complex is responsible for oxidizing menaquinol and reducing cytochrome c553 in the electron flow cycle used for phototrophy. However, there is no known electron acceptor for cytochrome c553 other than the photosynthetic reaction center. Therefore, it was hypothesized that the cytochrome bc complex is necessary for phototrophy, but unnecessary for chemotrophic growth in the dark. Under this hypothesis, a mutant of H. modesticaldum lacking the cytochrome bc complex was predicted to be viable, but non-phototrophic. In this project, a two-step method for CRISPR-based genome editing was used in H. modesticaldum to delete the genes encoding the cytochrome bc complex. Genotypic analysis verified the deletion of the petC, B, D, and A genes encoding the catalytic components of complex. Spectroscopic studies revealed that re-reduction of cytochrome c553 after flash-induced photo-oxidation was ~130 to 190 times slower in the ∆petCBDA mutant compared to wildtype, phenotypically confirming the removal of the cytochrome bc complex. The resulting ∆petCBDA mutant was unable to grow phototrophically, instead relying on pyruvate metabolism to grow chemotrophically as does wildtype in the dark.

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  • 2020-05

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Analysis of Acyl Carrier Protein in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803

Description

Acyl Carrier Protein (ACP) is a small, acidic protein that plays an essential role in fatty acid synthesis by elongating fatty acid chains. ACP was isolated from an extract of

Acyl Carrier Protein (ACP) is a small, acidic protein that plays an essential role in fatty acid synthesis by elongating fatty acid chains. ACP was isolated from an extract of a modified strain of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 that contains a thioesterase and from which the acyl-ACP synthetase has been deleted. Using ammonium sulfate precipitation to isolate a crude protein fraction containing ACP, immunoblot analysis was performed to determine relative amounts of free and acylated-ACP in the cell. The nature of fatty acids attached to ACP was determined by creating butylamide derivatives that were analyzed using GC/MS. Immunoblot analysis showed a roughly 1:1 ratio of acylated ACP to free ACP in the cell depending on the nutritional state of the cell. From GC/MS data it was determined that palmitic acid was the predominate component of acyl groups attached to ACP. The results indicate that there is a significant amount of acyl-ACP, a feedback inhibitor of early steps in the fatty acid biosynthesis pathway, in the cell. Moreover, the availability of free ACP may also limit fatty acid biosynthesis. Most likely it is necessary for ACP to be overexpressed or to have the palmitic acid cleaved off in order to synthesize optimal amounts of lauric acid to be used for cyanobacterial biofuel production.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05

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Elucidating Structural and Functional Information on the Human Cold-Sensing Protein TRPM8 via Isolating the Pore Domain and Cross-Chimeric Studies

Description

Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) ion channels are a diverse family of nonselective, polymodal sensors in uni- and multicellular eukaryotes that are implicated in an assortment of biological contexts and human

Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) ion channels are a diverse family of nonselective, polymodal sensors in uni- and multicellular eukaryotes that are implicated in an assortment of biological contexts and human disease. The cold-activated TRP Melastatin-8 (TRPM8) channel, also recognized as the human body's primary cold sensor, is among the few TRP channels responsible for thermosensing. Despite sustained interest in the channel, the mechanisms underlying TRPM8 activation, modulation, and gating have proved challenging to study and remain poorly understood. In this thesis, I offer data collected on various expression, extraction, and purification conditions tested in E. Coli expression systems with the aim to optimize the generation of a structurally stable and functional human TRPM8 pore domain (S5 and S6) construct for application in structural biology studies. These studies, including the biophysical technique nuclear magnetic spectroscopy (NMR), among others, will be essential for elucidating the role of the TRPM8 pore domain in in regulating ligand binding, channel gating, ion selectively, and thermal sensitivity. Moreover, in the second half of this thesis, I discuss the ligation-independent megaprimer PCR of whole-plasmids (MEGAWHOP PCR) cloning technique, and how it was used to generate chimeras between TRPM8 and its nearest analog TRPM2. I review steps taken to optimize the efficiency of MEGAWHOP PCR and the implications and unique applications of this novel methodology for advancing recombinant DNA technology. I lastly present preliminary electrophysiological data on the chimeras, employed to isolate and study the functional contributions of each individual transmembrane helix (S1-S6) to TRPM8 menthol activation. These studies show the utility of the TRPM8\u2014TRPM2 chimeras for dissecting function of TRP channels. The average current traces analyzed thus far indicate that the S2 and S3 helices appear to play an important role in TRPM8 menthol modulation because the TRPM8[M2S2] and TRPM8[M2S3] chimeras significantly reduce channel conductance in the presence of menthol. The TRPM8[M2S4] chimera, oppositely, increases channel conductance, implying that the S4 helix in native TRPM8 may suppress menthol modulation. Overall, these findings show that there is promise in the techniques chosen to identify specific regions of TRPM8 crucial to menthol activation, though the methods chosen to study the TRPM8 pore independent from the whole channel may need to be reevaluated. Further experiments will be necessary to refine TRPM8 pore solubilization and purification before structural studies can proceed, and the electrophysiology traces observed for the chimeras will need to be further verified and evaluated for consistency and physiological significance.

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  • 2016-05

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Over-expression of a putative multi-heme cytochrome c from Heliobacterium modesticaldum

Description

Heliobacterium modesticaldum (H. modesticaldum) is an anaerobic photoheterotroph that can fix nitrogen (N2) and produce molecular hydrogen (H2). Recently, the Redding and Jones labs created a microbial photoelectrosynthesis cell that

Heliobacterium modesticaldum (H. modesticaldum) is an anaerobic photoheterotroph that can fix nitrogen (N2) and produce molecular hydrogen (H2). Recently, the Redding and Jones labs created a microbial photoelectrosynthesis cell that utilized these properties to produce molecular hydrogen using electrons provided by a cathode via a chemical mediator. Although this light-driven creation of fuel within a microbial electrochemical cell was the first of its kind, its production rate of hydrogen was low. It was hypothesized that the injection of electrons into H. modesticaldum was a rate-limiting step in H2 production. Within the H. modesticaldum genome, there is a gene (HM1_0653) that encodes a multi-heme cytochrome c that may be directly involved in this step. From past transcriptomic experiments, this gene is known to be very poorly expressed in H. modesticaldum. Our hypothesis was that increasing its expression with a strong promoter could result in faster electron transfer, and thus, increased H2 production in the photoelectrosynthesis cell. In order to test this hypothesis, different promoters that could lead to high expression in H. modesticaldum were included with a copy of HM1_0653 in various plasmid constructs that were first cloned into E. coli before being conjugated with H. modesticaldum. Cloning in E. coli was possible with the newly derived transformation system and by reducing the copy-number of the vector system. When overexpressed in E. coli, the protein appeared to be expressed, but its purification proved to be difficult. Moreover, conjugation with H. modesticaldum was not achieved. Our results are consistent with the idea that high level overexpression in H. modesticaldum was toxic. An inducible promoter may circumvent these issues and prove more successful in future experiments.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05