Matching Items (351)

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Creating Paramagnetically-Labeled PF4 Mutants to Evaluate Interactions with Mac-1 in NMR

Description

PF4 (CXCL4) is a cationic platelet chemokine that has been identified as a ligand for the integrin Mac-1 (αMβ2). The interaction between PF4 and Mac-1 has been shown to cause

PF4 (CXCL4) is a cationic platelet chemokine that has been identified as a ligand for the integrin Mac-1 (αMβ2). The interaction between PF4 and Mac-1 has been shown to cause leukocyte migration, improve phagocytosis, and trigger the up-regulation of Mac-1 expression in leukocytes, thereby increasing leukocytic adhesion. Though Mac-1 is known to serve as the site of interaction between PF4 and the leukocyte, the PF4 binding site of Mac-1 remains unknown. 1H-15N HSQC NMR spectroscopy of the interaction between PF4 and Mac-1’s binding site, the αMI domain, can provide this data. This project seeks to create PF4 mutants with site-directed spin labels to enhance the sensitivity of NMR for future experiments that seek to locate the PF4-Mac-1 binding site. It was hypothesized that the mutants created would adopt the native conformation and accept an MTSL label. Two mutants were successfully created and harvested, PF4 S17C and PF4 S26C. Both were soluble and the Sanger sequencing results show that primary structure was conserved except for the substitutions of structurally similar residues indicating the protein folds and likely adopts native conformation. PF4 S26C was labeled with MTSL, and 1H-15N HSQC NMR spectroscopy was performed on unlabeled PF4 S26C (at pH 3.40), MTSL-labeled PF4 S26C (at pH 3.15), and MTSL-labeled PF4 S26C exposed to ascorbic acid (at pH 3.15) to evaluate if the mutant accepts the label and, resultantly, experiences reduced signal intensity. Significant change in signal intensity occurred without change in location of the peaks between the unlabeled and labeled spectra, showing that PF4 S26C accepts the spin label without changing the protein structure and that the label works as expected; however, no change occurred after reducing the spin label with ascorbic acid, preventing confirmation that signal changes were exclusively caused by the MTSL-label. Therefore, though these mutants show potential for future titration with the αMI domain and the hypothesis is supported, a future attempt to reduce MTSL-labeled PF4 S26C at a higher pH (approximately pH 5) is required. Additionally, PF4 S17C should also be evaluated with the methodology used to assess PF4 S26C before its employment in future projects.

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  • 2018-05

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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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Cancer Type Specific FrAmeShifT (FAST) Vaccine

Description

In this study, we demonstrate the effectiveness of a cancer type specific FrAmeShifT (FAST) vaccine. A murine breast cancer (mBC) FAST vaccine and a murine pancreatic cancer (mPC) FAST vaccine

In this study, we demonstrate the effectiveness of a cancer type specific FrAmeShifT (FAST) vaccine. A murine breast cancer (mBC) FAST vaccine and a murine pancreatic cancer (mPC) FAST vaccine were tested in the 4T1 breast cancer syngeneic mouse model. The mBC FAST vaccine, both with and without check point inhibitors (CPI), significantly slowed tumor growth, reduced pulmonary metastasis and increased the cell-mediated immune response. In terms of tumor volumes, the mPC FAST vaccine was comparable to the untreated controls. However, a significant difference in tumor volume did emerge when the mPC vaccine was used with CPI. The collective data indicated that the immune checkpoint blockade therapy was only beneficial with suboptimal neoantigens. More importantly, the FAST vaccine, though requiring notably less resources, performed similarly to the personalized version of the frameshift breast cancer vaccine in the same mouse model. Furthermore, because the frameshift peptide (FSP) array provided a strong rationale for a focused vaccine, the FAST vaccine can theoretically be expanded and translated to any human cancer type. Overall, the FAST vaccine is a promising treatment that would provide the most benefit to patients while eliminating most of the challenges associated with current personal cancer vaccines.

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  • 2019-05

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Characterization of Lipid Transport Mutants that Overcome the Iron-Transport Defect in Escherichia coli

Description

When limited for iron, Escherichia coli secretes a siderophore, enterobactin, to solubilize and intake extracellular Fe3+ by a TonB-dependent high-affinity pathway. Consequently, E. coli tonB mutants grow poorly on a

When limited for iron, Escherichia coli secretes a siderophore, enterobactin, to solubilize and intake extracellular Fe3+ by a TonB-dependent high-affinity pathway. Consequently, E. coli tonB mutants grow poorly on a medium limited for iron. Upon longer incubation, however, faster growing colonies emerge and overcome this growth defect. The work presented in this paper reports and characterizes these faster growing colonies (revertants) in an attempt to dissect the mechanism by which they overcome the TonB deficiency. Genomic analysis revealed mutations in yejM, a putative inner-to-outer membrane cardiolipin transporter, which are responsible for the faster growth phenotype in a tonB mutant background. Further characterization of the revertants revealed that they display hypersensitivity to vancomycin, a large antibiotic that is normally precluded from entering E. coli cells, and leaked periplasmic proteins into the culture supernatant, indicating a compromised outer membrane permeability barrier. All phenotypes were reversed by supplying the wild type copy of yejM on a plasmid, suggesting that yejM mutations are solely responsible for the observed phenotypes. In the absence of wild type tonB, however, the deletion of all known of cardiolipin synthase genes (clsABC) did not produce the phenotype similar to mutations in the yejM gene, suggesting the absence of cardiolipin from the outer membrane per se is not responsible for the increased outer membrane permeability. These data show that a defect in lipid biogenesis and transport can compromise outer membrane permeability barrier to allow siderophore intake and that YejM may have additional roles other than transporting cardiolipin.

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  • 2019-05

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Optimization of a Human Gastrin Receptor for LCP Crystallization

Description

The human gastrin receptor (CCKBR or CCK2R) is a class A G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) found throughout the central nervous system, stomach, and a variety of cancer cells. CCK2R is

The human gastrin receptor (CCKBR or CCK2R) is a class A G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) found throughout the central nervous system, stomach, and a variety of cancer cells. CCK2R is implicated in the regulation of biological processes, including anxiety, satiety, arousal, analgesia, psychosis, and cancer cell growth and proliferation. While CCK2R is an attractive drug target, few drugs have managed to effectively target the receptor, and none have been brought to market. Contributory to this is the lack of high-resolution crystal structure capable of elucidating the binding regions of CCK2R to streamlining drug screening. While GPCRs are not amenable to traditional structural analysis methodologies, the advent of lipidic cubic phase (LCP) crystallography and serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) at X-ray free electron lasers (XFELs), has extended the applicability of X-ray crystallography to these integral membrane proteins. LCP-SFX depends on optimizing the protein of interest for extraction, purification, and crystallization. Here we report our findings regarding the optimization of CCK2R suggesting the synergistic relationship between N-terminal truncations and the insertion of a fusion protein along ICL3, in addition to a 30-residue truncation of the C-terminus. Samples were expressed in Sf9 insect cells using a Bac-to-Bac baculovirus expression system, extracted using n-Dodecyl-β-D-Maltoside detergent, and purified via TALON immobilized metal-ion affinity chromatography. The constructs were characterized via SDS-PAGE, Western blot, and size exclusion chromatography. These findings demonstrate the improvements to CCK2R’s crystallographic amenability upon these modifications, however significant improvements must be made prior to crystallization trials. Future work will involve screening C-terminal truncations, thermostabilizing point mutations, and co-crystallizing ligands. Ideally this investigation will serve as a model for future CCK2R structural analysis and contribute to a heightened interest in CCK2R as a therapeutic target.

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  • 2019-05

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It’s More Than Music To Us: An Enhanced Approach to Music Festivals

Description

In this world of fading trends, a fear of missing out, and the next best thing, people crave lasting connection and authenticity. Music festivals are multi day musical and social

In this world of fading trends, a fear of missing out, and the next best thing, people crave lasting connection and authenticity. Music festivals are multi day musical and social events that have to power to bring people together for a ritualistic experience providing a meaningful awakening for each individual attendee. Peoples identity can be validated in the affirmative social negotiation and a safe environment - just so at a music festival. The ritual that exists at festivals through the actions attendees make all combine into an incomparable experience aiding them in their own personal growth and their connection to others and their surroundings. With the support of survey data on music festivals, the best changes to festival production would be the implementation of more purposeful activities to contribute to the ritual and meaning for attendees, as well as marketing content which showcases the elements of community, art and music, rather than the regular sales pitch. This shift of marketing content would set a positive tone for the given music festival, which is crucial in ensuring attendees arrive with good intentions and have that transformative experience to expand themselves and feel connected.

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  • 2019-05

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Project BandAid: An Analysis of Preventive Health Knowledge Retention Among Elementary Students in Phoenix

Description

Within our current educational infrastructure, there’s a lack of substantial preventive care knowledge present among elementary schoolchildren. With education cuts occurring statewide, many schools are left impoverished and schools are

Within our current educational infrastructure, there’s a lack of substantial preventive care knowledge present among elementary schoolchildren. With education cuts occurring statewide, many schools are left impoverished and schools are incapable of implementing various programs to benefit their local communities. This endeavor aims to visit public and charter elementary schools in the Phoenix Valley to educate youth regarding easily avoidable health risks by implementing healthy eating habits and exercise. Project BandAid will immerse students ages 7-9 in hands-on activities to enhance their knowledge on hygiene, healthy eating habits, and safety. This project incorporated funding from the Woodside Community Action Grant and Barrett, the Honors College as well as the help from Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) volunteers.

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  • 2019-05

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Developing a new model organism in cancer research: Trichoplax adhaerens (Placozoa)

Description

All multicellular organisms are susceptible to developing cancer, but some organisms have varying sensitivities to the disease. One such organism is the Trichoplax adhaerens which has no documented case of

All multicellular organisms are susceptible to developing cancer, but some organisms have varying sensitivities to the disease. One such organism is the Trichoplax adhaerens which has no documented case of cancer development. T. adhaerens cancer resistance was studied by observing physiological and morphological changes of the organism after radiation treatment. Preliminary experiments suggested that this organism is able to survive exposure to 160 gray radiation treatment almost as well as untreated organisms. The T. adhaerens have two genes, TriadG6402 and TriadG5479, similar to the human genes TP53 and MDM2 respectively. TP53 and MDM2 are the two main genes associated with apoptosis in humans: an important cell regulatory checkpoint involved in cancer prevention. PCR analysis, done after radiation treatment, showed an overexpression of the ortholog gene MDM2 in the T. adhaerens. This may suggest that T. adhaerens block apoptosis from occurring and that their ortholog gene is involved in DNA repair. It is significant to study the gene expression of TriadG6402 and TriadG54791 in T. adhaerens because these genes are well conserved in humans. Future studies of these genes in the T. adhaerens can be used to understand the evolution of the function of these genes in more complex organisms and be used for human cancer prevention.

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  • 2019-05

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Female Solicitation and Male Rejection During Mating Events in Wild Chimpanzees

Description

Humans are seemingly unique among the great apes with regard to their monogamous mating behavior. Since chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are humans closest living relative, understanding their actions may give insight

Humans are seemingly unique among the great apes with regard to their monogamous mating behavior. Since chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are humans closest living relative, understanding their actions may give insight into the evolutionary development of certain behaviors. In this paper, the mating behavior of chimpanzees will be evaluated in hopes of better understanding any similarities or differences compared to that of humans. Wild male chimpanzees have shown to reject solicitations from females at full swelling. The hypothesis being tested was that a male chimpanzee will reject a female who solicits a mating event due to age, rank, and parity. Long term data from Gombe National Park in Tanzania, Africa was used to test this. As expected, parous females were less likely to be rejected than nulliparous females, rejection was more likely if several other swollen females were present, and rejection was less likely if the female was higher-ranking/older. Surprisingly, it was found that younger males were more likely to reject females than prime males were. This was most likely due to the fact that almost always, higher-ranking males were also present, which may have deterred young males from mating. The results also showed that there was no effect of male rank and female reproductive state on the probability of rejection. The findings of this study may help to show a potential evolutionary step towards conscious mate selection as seen in humans.

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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