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

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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

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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2018-05

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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 with Type II diabetes are overweight or have struggled with

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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Investigating Type II Inhibitor Effects in the Heliobacterial Reaction Center

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The Heliobacterial Reaction Center (HbRC) is the simplest Type I Reaction Center (RC) known today. However, upon illumination it has been found to produce menaquinol, and this has led to experiments investigating the function of this reduction scheme. The goal

The Heliobacterial Reaction Center (HbRC) is the simplest Type I Reaction Center (RC) known today. However, upon illumination it has been found to produce menaquinol, and this has led to experiments investigating the function of this reduction scheme. The goal of the experiment was to investigate the mechanisms of menaquinol production through the use of Photosystem II (PSII) herbicides that are known to inhibit the QB quinone site in Type II RCs. Seven herbicides were chosen, and out of all of them terbuthylazine showed the greatest effect on the RC in isolated membranes when Transient Absorption Spectroscopy was used. In addition, terbuthylazine decreased menaquinone reduction to menaquinol by ~72%, slightly more than the reported effect of teburtryn (68%)1. In addition, terbuthylazine significantly impacted growth of whole cells under high light more than terbutryn.

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2019-05

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Structural Analysis of the Spinach Rubisco Activase AAA+ Domain by Negative Stain Electron Microscopy

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Higher plant Rubisco activase (Rca) is a stromal ATPase responsible for reactivating Rubisco. It is a member of the AAA+ protein superfamily and is thought to assemble into closed-ring hexamers like other AAA+ proteins belonging to the classic clade. Progress

Higher plant Rubisco activase (Rca) is a stromal ATPase responsible for reactivating Rubisco. It is a member of the AAA+ protein superfamily and is thought to assemble into closed-ring hexamers like other AAA+ proteins belonging to the classic clade. Progress towards modeling the interaction between Rca and Rubisco has been slow due to limited structural information on Rca. Previous efforts in the lab were directed towards solving the structure of spinach short-form Rca using X-ray crystallography, given that it had notably high thermostability in the presence of ATP-γS, an ATP analog. However, due to disorder within the crystal lattice, an atomic resolution structure could not be obtained, prompting us to move to negative stain electron microscopy (EM), with our long-term goal being the use of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) for atomic resolution structure determination. Thus far, we have screened different Rca constructs in the presence of ATP-γS, both the full-length β-isoform and truncations containing only the AAA+ domain. Images collected on preparations of the full-length protein were amorphous, whereas images of the AAA+ domain showed well-defined ring-like assemblies under some conditions. Procedural adjustments, such as the use of previously frozen protein samples, rapid dilution, and minimizing thawing time were shown to improve complex assembly. The presence of Mn2+ was also found to improve hexamer formation over Mg2+. Calculated class averages of the AAA+ Rca construct in the presence of ATP-γS indicated a lack of homogeneity in the assemblies, showing both symmetric and asymmetric hexameric rings. To improve structural homogeneity, we tested buffer conditions containing either ADP alone or different ratios of ATP-γS to ADP, though results did not show a significant improvement in homogeneity. Multiple AAA+ domain preparations were evaluated. Because uniform protein assembly is a major requirement for structure solution by cryo-EM, more work needs to be done on screening biochemical conditions to optimize homogeneity.

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2018-05

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Characterization of a multi-heme cytochrome c from Heliobacterium modesticaldum genome

Description

Heliobacterium modesticaldum (H. modesticaldum) is an anaerobic photoheterotroph that can produce molecular hydrogen (H2) when it is fixing dinitrogen (N2). In addition, electrons can be injected into this organism via an electrode and redox mediator in a light-dependent fashion, as

Heliobacterium modesticaldum (H. modesticaldum) is an anaerobic photoheterotroph that can produce molecular hydrogen (H2) when it is fixing dinitrogen (N2). In addition, electrons can be injected into this organism via an electrode and redox mediator in a light-dependent fashion, as shown recently by the Redding and Jones research groups. These factors make H. modesticaldum an ideal organism for use in a microbial photoelectrosynthesis cell, in which electricity can be used to power specific metabolic processes that produce a desired compound (e.g. H2). However, the injection of electrons into this organism is not optimal, which may limit the H2 production rate. There is a gene (HM1_0653) in the genome encoding a multi-heme cytochrome c that is similar to the proteins known to be used for exit of electrons in the well- known electrode-respiring bacteria (e.g. Geobacteria). RNA-sequencing in the Redding lab has shown that the HM1_0653 gene is very poorly expressed in H. modesticaldum. Boosting expression of this cytochrome could lead to faster electron transfer into the cells and thereby more H2 production via photoelectrosynthesis. In order to gain a deeper understanding of this protein, it was expressed in E.coli by two different versions: (1) the entire gene and (2) a truncated gene with an additional hexahistidine tag (truncHM1_0653). Both cultures had a pink color, indicating the biosynthesis of cytochrome. It was discovered that the HM1_0653 protein was likely released into the medium and shows the most promise for ease of purification of HM1_0653. Furthermore, we explored protein expression in H. modesticaldum using the current transformation system in the Redding Lab, but the combination of gene toxicity and copy number of the vector resulted in cloning difficulties in E.coli. An alternative vector may prove more successful.

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2017-05

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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 possible solution to these energy needs, particularly if given 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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Modulating Cyanovirin-N Lectins to Improve Glycoprotein Recognition

Description

Antiviral lectins are potential candidates for future therapies against enveloped viruses like HIV due to their ability to recognize and bind glycans displayed on their surface. Cyanovirin-N (CVN), a lectin that specifically recognizes mannose-rich moieties, serves as a useful model

Antiviral lectins are potential candidates for future therapies against enveloped viruses like HIV due to their ability to recognize and bind glycans displayed on their surface. Cyanovirin-N (CVN), a lectin that specifically recognizes mannose-rich moieties, serves as a useful model for studying these glycan-recognition mechanisms. This study seeks to improve CVN's glycan-binding affinity by conjugating a boronic acid functional group to the N-terminus via N-terminal specific reductive alkylation by way of a benzaldehyde handle. However, large discrepancies were observed when attempting to confirm a successful conjugation, and further work is necessary to identify the causes and solutions for these issues.

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2018-12

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F2-isoprostanes and F2-isoprostane Metabolites: Biomarkers for Oxidative Stress and Therapeutic Efficacy

Description

F2-isoprostanes are a series of prostaglandin-like compounds derived from the free radical-mediated lipid peroxidation of arachidonic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid that is ubiquitously expressed in cell membranes. F2-isoprostanes are biomarkers of oxidative stress, an imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants

F2-isoprostanes are a series of prostaglandin-like compounds derived from the free radical-mediated lipid peroxidation of arachidonic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid that is ubiquitously expressed in cell membranes. F2-isoprostanes are biomarkers of oxidative stress, an imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants that can cause damage to DNA, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. Increased production of lipid peroxidation products have been implicated in the pathology of a number of conditions and diseases in humans. The objective of this thesis was to (1) optimize the LC/MS/MS F2-isoprostane method currently used in human samples for use in research animals and veterinary medicine, including the use of solid phase extraction, and (2) validate the optimized method in rodent and canine experimental studies. Our optimized method showed that Lyprinol treatment in dogs with osteoarthritis decreases F2-isoprostane levels nearly 2-fold. In addition, adjuvant alpha-tocopherol prevented tumor-induced increased F2-isoprostane levels. Finally, contrary to earlier studies using less specific ELISA F2-isoprostane methods, we demonstrate that unconditioned dogs benefit from low intensity exercise. Our data demonstrate successful optimization of the human LC/MS/MS F2-isoprostane method in rats and canines. Importantly, our results emphasize the need to use the more sensitive and specific LC/MS/MS method as compared to ELISA-based assays in order to distinguish the 15- and 5-series F2-isoprostanes, evidenced in particular by the two canine studies.

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2015-05

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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 contains these cofactors: P800 (special pair cholorphyll), A0 (8-hydroxy-chlorophyll [Chl]

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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Examining the Effect of Vinegar on Glucose Response

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The objective of this randomized, single-blind crossover study was to examine the effect of vinegar on the blood glucose response to meal ingestion. This study was associated with a companion study Is Apple Cider Vinegar Effective for Reducing Heartburn

The objective of this randomized, single-blind crossover study was to examine the effect of vinegar on the blood glucose response to meal ingestion. This study was associated with a companion study Is Apple Cider Vinegar Effective for Reducing Heartburn Symptoms Related to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Glucose meters were utilized to measure blood glucose levels immediately prior to, and at four ½ hour intervals following meal ingestion. Previous studies have demonstrated that vinegar modulates the meal-time glucose response. Hence an alternative hypothesis was used: that a significant difference will be observed between the control and the vinegar groups. The results from the study were not significant likely due to a small sample size. The test meal eaten with a drink composed of vinegar diluted in water appeared to be most effective at decreasing the overall change in postprandial blood glucose. The vinegar drink also played a role in decreasing the peak glucose level at 30 minutes post-meal.

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2015-05