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Masters Theses

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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

Patterns And Mechanisms Of Intraspecific Trait Variation Across Thermal Gradients In A Marine Gastropod, Andrew R. Villeneuve Apr 2021

Patterns And Mechanisms Of Intraspecific Trait Variation Across Thermal Gradients In A Marine Gastropod, Andrew R. Villeneuve

Masters Theses

As the earth’s climate changes due to anthropogenic emissions, it has increasingly become an imperative within the ecological community to understand existing species adaptations to climate change. Much focus has been paid to how a species might react to climate change, but the role of locally adapted traits and responsible environmental mechanisms have received less attention. Quantifying how sublethal (e.g. growth rates) and lethal (e.g. thermal tolerance) trait performance vary between populations can thus improve our understanding of how populations, and the entire species, will react to climate change. Here, I quantified the spatial patterns of performance ...


Investigating Structural Proteins By Light Scattering, Uma Nudurupati Apr 2021

Investigating Structural Proteins By Light Scattering, Uma Nudurupati

Masters Theses

This thesis evaluates the organization of the structural proteins, Human Gamma D crystallin and Collagen type II, into higher-order structures using light scattering. Specifically, it evaluates the natures of incipient aggregation in Human Gamma D crystallin and the nature of its interactions with CAPEGn, an electrostatic blocker. Additionally, this thesis evaluates whether Collagen type II growth kinetics follows Classical nucleation theory.


Applying Ecological Theory To Amphibian Populations To Determine If Wood Frogs (Lithobates Sylvaticus) Are Ideal And Free When Selecting Breeding Habitat, Taylor M. Braunagel Apr 2021

Applying Ecological Theory To Amphibian Populations To Determine If Wood Frogs (Lithobates Sylvaticus) Are Ideal And Free When Selecting Breeding Habitat, Taylor M. Braunagel

Masters Theses

Amphibian populations are declining globally due to a litany of factors including pollution, disease, climate change, and most importantly, habitat destruction. As most amphibian life histories involve their populations being recruitment limited, focusing on the mechanism behind breeding habitat selection will reveal useful cues that managers may use to increase abundance and breeding success. Though there are many theoretical models that describe the distribution of animals in response to a resource, the ideal free distribution (IFD) theory has not yet been applied to amphibian settling decisions. Through this application of the IFD, I have found that a population of wood ...


Evaluation Of Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser Fulvescens) Spawning Success On An Artificial Reef Constructed In The Kalamazoo River, Michigan, Jason P. Lorenz Apr 2021

Evaluation Of Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser Fulvescens) Spawning Success On An Artificial Reef Constructed In The Kalamazoo River, Michigan, Jason P. Lorenz

Masters Theses

Since lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens monitoring began on the Kalamazoo River in 2009, there has been no documentation of survival past the egg stage. Spawning has occurred directly below Calkins Dam and, in 2016, an artificial spawning reef was constructed 275-m downstream to improve habitat and increase survival to the larval stage. The site was monitored with egg mats and larval drift nets to document evidence of successful natural reproduction of lake sturgeon one year prior to construction (2016) and three years post-construction of the artificial reef (2017-2019). Fertilized lake sturgeon eggs were captured all four years of the study ...


Immediate Response Of Black Basses To Dam Removal Is Determined By Habitat Preference, Reuben Frey Jan 2021

Immediate Response Of Black Basses To Dam Removal Is Determined By Habitat Preference, Reuben Frey

Masters Theses

Dams affect the abundance of fish species in lotic systems by altering flow regime and available physical habitat. Removal of dams may mitigate these effects and generate a change in species abundance and fish community structure. Understanding the effects of dam removal on gamefish species is essential in making management decisions. I investigated how populations of Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu), Spotted Bass (M. punctulatus), and Largemouth Bass (M. salmoides) were affected by the presence and removal of two low-head dams in a Midwestern river system. I used data collected during fall and spring from 2012-2015 (pre-removal) and 2018-2019 (post-removal) using ...


Investigation Of Shot1-Binding Atpases In Arabidopsis Thaliana, Sam Zelman Dec 2020

Investigation Of Shot1-Binding Atpases In Arabidopsis Thaliana, Sam Zelman

Masters Theses

Mitochondria play critical roles not only in primary metabolism as a central organelle for ATP generation, but also in responding to abiotic stresses. We identified a mutation in the MTERF18 (Mitochondrial Transcription Termination factor)/SHOT1 (Suppressor of hot1-4 1) gene in Arabidopsis thaliana that enables plants to better tolerate heat and oxidative stresses, presumably due to reduced oxidative damage, but the exact molecular mechanism of the heat tolerance is unknown. In order to reveal the stress tolerance mechanisms of mterf18/shot1 mutations, it is critical to understand the molecular defects of the mutant and to identify the molecular targets of ...


In-Vitro Propagation And Fish Assessments To Inform Restoration Of Dwarf Wedgemussel (Alasmidonta Heterodon), Jennifer Ryan Dec 2020

In-Vitro Propagation And Fish Assessments To Inform Restoration Of Dwarf Wedgemussel (Alasmidonta Heterodon), Jennifer Ryan

Masters Theses

The dwarf wedgemussel (Alasmidonta heterodon) is a federally endangered freshwater mussel that once ranged from New Brunswick to North Carolina, but now only exists in isolated populations throughout its diminished range. Laboratory propagation in conjunction with augmentation or reintroduction is considered a critical component of dwarf wedgemussel restoration. My thesis aimed to I) develop in-vitro propagation techniques including methods to minimize microbial contamination for two Alasmidonta species and II) compile and assess critical fish assemblage information at existing dwarf wedgemussel presence and absence locations to inform future restoration activities. For the first objective (Chapter 2) I assessed three methods of ...


Effects Of Berberine On Development In Caenorhabditis Elegans, Zhuojia Qian Dec 2020

Effects Of Berberine On Development In Caenorhabditis Elegans, Zhuojia Qian

Masters Theses

Berberine is an isoquinoline alkaloid found in some plants and has many bioactivities including anti-microbial, lipid- and glucose-lowering, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, etc. However, there is limited knowledge about berberine’s effects on development and locomotive activity. Herein, in vivo studies were conducted to determine these effects of berberine using Caenorhabditis elegans as an in vivo model. Treatment of berberine at 50 μM starting at L1 stage significantly retarded the growth rate of nematodes, and reduced the length, width and moving speed of worms by 19%, 12% and 29%, respectively, compared to the control. In addition, triglycerides (TG) and protein content in ...


Assessing Stress Tolerance Of Organelle Small Heat Shock Protein Mutants In Arabidopsis Thaliana, Parth Patel Dec 2020

Assessing Stress Tolerance Of Organelle Small Heat Shock Protein Mutants In Arabidopsis Thaliana, Parth Patel

Masters Theses

Molecular chaperones are proteins found in virtually every organism and are essential to cell survival. When plants are heat stressed, they upregulate and downregulate multiple genes, many of which are associated with the heat shock response. Small heat shock proteins (sHSPs) are one class of molecular chaperones that are upregulated during heat shock. They are proposed to act as the first line of defense by binding to heat sensitive proteins and preventing their irreversible aggregation. However, many details of sHSP function remain to be discovered and exactly what proteins they protect is unresolved. In addition to cytosolic sHSPs found in ...


From Intentional Awareness To Environmental Action: The Relationship Between Mindfulness And Pro-Environmental Behaviors, Nischal Neupane Dec 2020

From Intentional Awareness To Environmental Action: The Relationship Between Mindfulness And Pro-Environmental Behaviors, Nischal Neupane

Masters Theses

Mindfulness is defined as the ‘awareness that arises through paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, non-judgmentally’. Despite ample empirical evidence of its efficacy in inducing positive behavior change, almost no work has investigated the viability of using mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) to promote pro-environmental behavior. Some recent studies have demonstrated consistent correlational relationships between mindfulness levels and pro-environmental attitudes (e.g., connectedness to nature), intentions, and some pro-environmental behaviors (e.g., recycling, “green” purchasing decisions), but no past work has explicitly examined mindfulness in the context of energy saving behaviors. Results from both quantitative and qualitative research conducted as ...


Does Invasion Science Encompass The Invaded Range? A Comparison Of The Geographies Of Invasion Science Versus Management In The U.S., Lara Munro Dec 2020

Does Invasion Science Encompass The Invaded Range? A Comparison Of The Geographies Of Invasion Science Versus Management In The U.S., Lara Munro

Masters Theses

Biases in invasion science lead to a taxonomic focus on plants, particularly a subset of well-studied plants, and a geographic focus on invasions in Europe and North America. Geographic biases could also cause some branches of invasion science to focus on a subset of environmental conditions in the invaded range, potentially leading to an incomplete understanding of the ecology and management of plant invasions. While broader, country-level geographic biases are well known, it is unclear whether these biases extend to a finer scale and thus affect research within the invaded range. This study assessed whether research sites for ten well-studied ...


The Shape Of U: Mapping Out Protective Elements In Mrna Escapees, Jacob Miles Dec 2020

The Shape Of U: Mapping Out Protective Elements In Mrna Escapees, Jacob Miles

Masters Theses

A crucial step of the viral life cycle of Kaposi’s Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV) lytic infection is the triggering of a massive RNA decay event termed “Host Shutoff”. Host Shutoff is driven by the viral endonuclease SOX which leads to the destruction of over 70% of the total transcriptome. This process cripples cellular gene expression and allows for viral reprograming of the cell for the purpose of viral replication. Co-evolution has led to the host developing a multitude of antiviral defenses aimed at preserving certain cellular RNAs linked to antiviral responses. One such defense are RNA secondary structures located within ...


Effect Of Jackfruit-Derived Extract Consumption On Colitis-Associated Colon Tumorigenesis In Mice, Jingwen Lin Dec 2020

Effect Of Jackfruit-Derived Extract Consumption On Colitis-Associated Colon Tumorigenesis In Mice, Jingwen Lin

Masters Theses

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the fourth most common cause of cancer-related death in the world. The global burden of colorectal cancer is also expected to increase by 60%, to over 2.2 million new cases and 1.1 million annual deaths, by the year 2030. Jackfruit is known for its packed nutrition including many antioxidants: vitamin C, carotenoids and flavanones. It has also been used in traditional medicine due to its potential protection against many chronic diseases. However, there is limited research studying the potential effect of jackfruit on colorectal cancer. Here, we used a ...


New England’S Underutilized Seafood Species: Defining And Exploring Marketplace Potential In A Changing Climate, Amanda Davis Dec 2020

New England’S Underutilized Seafood Species: Defining And Exploring Marketplace Potential In A Changing Climate, Amanda Davis

Masters Theses

New England’s seafood industry has been searching for opportunities to diversify their landings and build resilience as it faces socio-economic challenges from a changing climate. Developing markets for underutilized species is one way the New England community could help their seafood industry build resilience. This thesis identified New England’s underutilized fish species and explored their marketplace potential by examining their availability in a changing climate, current availability to consumers, and consumers’ responses. In Chapter I, I account how New England’s seafood preferences have changed over time. In Chapter II, I identify New England’s seven underutilized seafood ...


Impact Of Predators On Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Hemiptera: Adelgidae) In The Eastern And Western United States, Ryan Crandall Dec 2020

Impact Of Predators On Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Hemiptera: Adelgidae) In The Eastern And Western United States, Ryan Crandall

Masters Theses

Hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae, native to Asia and the Pacific Northwest of North America (Pacific Northwest), has devastated eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) in a major portion of its range in the eastern U.S. After many years and much effort directed towards rearing and releasing biological control agents to manage HWA, one of these agents, Laricobius nigrinus, native to the Pacific Northwest, is now well-established in sites from the southern to the mid-Atlantic states of the eastern U.S. However, there have yet to be studies of its efficacy in lowering A. tsugae densities, and there has been no ...


Habitat Associations Of Priority Bird Species And Conservation Value On Small, Diversified Farms In New England, Isabel Brofsky Dec 2020

Habitat Associations Of Priority Bird Species And Conservation Value On Small, Diversified Farms In New England, Isabel Brofsky

Masters Theses

In recent decades, New England agriculture has become increasingly characterized by small, diversified farming operations with values deeply rooted in community and conservation. In sharp contrast to large-scale, high-intensity agriculture currently typified by the majority of North American farms, New England farmers commonly prioritize ecologically beneficial production practices such as reduced chemical inputs, integrated pest management (IPM), low tillage, cover cropping and crop rotation, and retention of natural habitats like woody hedgerows and herbaceous strips. Public support and demand for local, sustainable food, evidenced by the success of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in the region, has helped to bolster this ...


Analysis Of Seasonal Changes In Thermal Stress Resilience And Innate Immunity In The Temperate Coral, Astrangia Poculata, From Future Climate Impacts, Tyler Eugene Harman Dec 2020

Analysis Of Seasonal Changes In Thermal Stress Resilience And Innate Immunity In The Temperate Coral, Astrangia Poculata, From Future Climate Impacts, Tyler Eugene Harman

Masters Theses

Over the years, global warming has had a devastating effect on coral reef ecosystems. Anthropogenic influences have caused significant increases in greenhouse gases, with a subsequent increase in solar radiation held within Earth’s atmosphere leading to increasing global temperatures. The increasing temperatures from concurrent increases in greenhouse gases impact fragile marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, which require particular environmental parameters such as temperature in order to survive and maintain a diverse ecosystem in which many marine species rely on. These increases in temperature exacerbate phenomena such as bleaching events and coral disease, drastically impacting coral on a global ...


Hormonal Responses To Seasonal Thermal And Ecological Stressors In Japanese Macaques (Macaca Fuscata), Lilianne Nelson Dec 2020

Hormonal Responses To Seasonal Thermal And Ecological Stressors In Japanese Macaques (Macaca Fuscata), Lilianne Nelson

Masters Theses

Relative to most primate species, Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) experience extreme seasonal variation in thermal and ecological stressors that can impact energetic demands. To cope with these environmental changes, levels of metabolic hormones, such as cortisol and triiodothyronine, fluctuate to facilitate energetic adjustments. While previous research in primates has investigated thermal and ecological stressors individually, a combined assessment of these stressors alongside hormone levels can provide a more holistic understanding of the relationship between a primate’s thermoregulation, energetic balance, and stress. The goals of this study were to determine the effects of season, temperature and ecological stress on cortisol ...


Drivers Of Decadal Vegetation Change In Northern Alaska, Jacob Allen Harris Dec 2020

Drivers Of Decadal Vegetation Change In Northern Alaska, Jacob Allen Harris

Masters Theses

The Arctic is experiencing rapid climate change. This research documents vegetation change near Atqasuk and Utqiaġvik, Alaska. At each location, 30 plots distributed in a matrix across the landscape, were sampled annually from 2010 to 2019 using a point frame. For every encounter we recorded the height and classified it into eight broad functional groups (deciduous shrubs, evergreen shrubs, forbs, graminoids, bryophytes, lichens, litter and standing dead vegetation); for vascular plants we also identified the species. We found a consistent increase in plant stature and cover over time which was dramatic at Atqasuk. Graminoid cover and height increased at both ...


Great Lakes Snake: Estimating The Occupancy And Detection Probabilities Of The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus Catenatus), Arin June Thacker Sep 2020

Great Lakes Snake: Estimating The Occupancy And Detection Probabilities Of The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus Catenatus), Arin June Thacker

Masters Theses

Detailed knowledge of a species’ range and distribution is important for understanding species persistence and developing species management plans. This issue is particularly pronounced in threatened species with wide-spread range and a low detectability in their natural environment, as surveying and successfully encountering this type of species is oftentimes difficult. One such species is the eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus), a smallbodied pit viper with a distribution centered around the Great Lakes region. We used singleseason occupancy modeling in order to reassess the status of historic massasauga occurrences. We evaluated factors affecting eastern massasauga detection probability from a long-term dataset ...


From The Dinner Pot To Smoking Pot; How A Better Understanding Of Cannabidiol In Crayfish Could Alleviate Anxiety And Modulate Hunger, Christopher Michael Timmer Aug 2020

From The Dinner Pot To Smoking Pot; How A Better Understanding Of Cannabidiol In Crayfish Could Alleviate Anxiety And Modulate Hunger, Christopher Michael Timmer

Masters Theses

Anxiety affects approximately 1/3 of the US population and presents in many different forms, ranging from social to panic disorders. It also presents with high comorbidity for other mental disorders. One treatment is Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) which allow for increased activation of serotonin (5-HT) receptors. SSRIs come with an extensive list of side effects, which can fail to maintain quality of life. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabis derived compound which has been shown to decrease anxiety by activation of multiple subtype 5-HT amine receptors. CBD has few side effects, is not psychoactive, and exhibits anti-psychotic properties. The ...


The Investigation Of Group 1 Late Embryogenesis Abundant Protein 6 And Its Role In Arabidopsis Thaliana Desiccation Tolerance, Joann Eise Thomson Aug 2020

The Investigation Of Group 1 Late Embryogenesis Abundant Protein 6 And Its Role In Arabidopsis Thaliana Desiccation Tolerance, Joann Eise Thomson

Masters Theses

Like most seeds, Arabidopsis thaliana seed development is divided into three major phases: morphogenesis, storage deposition, and maturation drying. During maturation drying the seed becomes desiccation tolerant (DT) at some point and the seed rapidly loses water until its moisture level is approximately 10% on a fresh weight basis. The ability of the seeds to withstand this extreme water loss is hypothesized to be due, in part, to the accumulation of late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins. In A. thaliana, there are 51 LEA proteins which are divided into seven groups based on amino acid sequence similarities. Group 1 LEA proteins ...


Carbon Sequestration In A Restored West Michigan Oak Savanna: Implications For Management Practices, Jeffrey A. Heise Aug 2020

Carbon Sequestration In A Restored West Michigan Oak Savanna: Implications For Management Practices, Jeffrey A. Heise

Masters Theses

The savanna system is an ecosystem (i.e. a transitional ecosystem) that lies between forest and grassland ecosystems. They occur across the world in various forms, but in the North American Midwest they are specifically oak savannas: systems where the open overstory is dominated by various species of oak (Quercus spp.) and the understory consists of carbon-rich prairie grasses and forbs. This ecosystem is a highly degraded ecosystem and has lost almost 99% of its former range due to agriculture and fire suppression. Since savannas are fire-evolved systems, they are maintained by and require fire as a regular disturbance to ...


Lmea, A Conserved Cell-Envelope Protein In Mycobacteria, Is Important For Antibiotic Resistance And Cell Envelope Permeability, Sarah Hassan Osman Jul 2020

Lmea, A Conserved Cell-Envelope Protein In Mycobacteria, Is Important For Antibiotic Resistance And Cell Envelope Permeability, Sarah Hassan Osman

Masters Theses

The cell envelope of mycobacteria is critical for the survival and virulence of pathogenic species during infection, and its biosynthesis has been a proven drug target. Therefore, finding new targets in the biosynthetic pathway of cell envelope components is of great interest. Mycobacterium smegmatis is a model organism for the study of the devastating pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Previously, lipomannan elongation factor A (LmeA) has been identified as a cell envelope protein that is critical for the control of mannan chain length of lipomannan (LM) and lipoarabinomannan (LAM), lipoglycan components of the cell envelope. The deletion mutant, ∆lmeA, accumulates abnormal LM ...


Development Of Headspace Analysis Of Living And Postharvest Fresh Produce Using Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (Sers), Xinyi Du Jul 2020

Development Of Headspace Analysis Of Living And Postharvest Fresh Produce Using Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (Sers), Xinyi Du

Masters Theses

The increasing market demand for fresh produce promotes a keen interest in developing a rapid, sensitive and reliable method for monitoring plant health and determining the shelf-life of postharvest produce. The objective of this study is to explore the capability of Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) in these applications. SERS integrates Raman spectroscopy which measures molecular vibrations and nanotechnology which enhances the weak Raman signals. Herein, we developed two SERS methods based on a surface detection approach using nanoparticles solution and a headspace detection approach using gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) fibers, to detect biochemical changes during postharvest storage of arugula leaves. Compared ...


Autonomous Recording Units As An Alternative Method For Monitoring Songbirds, Lindsay Clough Jul 2020

Autonomous Recording Units As An Alternative Method For Monitoring Songbirds, Lindsay Clough

Masters Theses

There is an increasing interest in the use of autonomous recording units as an alternative survey method to point count surveys conducted by human observers; however, questions remain about whether or not these recording units perform similarly to point count surveys and produce valid, comparable results. The use of individual listeners to transcribe the acoustic data collected by autonomous recording units is a common method for the analysis of recorded acoustic data, but potential variability among transcribers raises questions about the standardization of listening protocols to decrease inconsistencies in transcription results.

Autonomous recording units have been used to monitor birds ...


Processes, Patterns, And Predictions Of Soil Moisture Variation In Upland And Peatland Cranberry Farms In Massachusetts, Rebecca Brennan Jul 2020

Processes, Patterns, And Predictions Of Soil Moisture Variation In Upland And Peatland Cranberry Farms In Massachusetts, Rebecca Brennan

Masters Theses

The American Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) represents a vital sector of the economy of southeastern Massachusetts. Due to the hydrogeological and edaphic characteristics of peatlands, variations in soil drainage and soil moisture represent major management challenges for growers in Massachusetts. An emerging trend of upland (mineral soil) cranberry farms planted with new hybrid cultivars has the potential to enhance the profitability and long-term viability of cranberry production in Massachusetts. However, sparse data exist on soil moisture characteristics of peatland and upland cranberry farms. The purpose of this research was to elucidate the differences in soil moisture between upland and peatland ...


Green Coffee Bean Extract Reduces Fat Accumulation In Drosophila Melanogaster, Lynnea Young Jul 2020

Green Coffee Bean Extract Reduces Fat Accumulation In Drosophila Melanogaster, Lynnea Young

Masters Theses

With obesity on the rise, there has been great interest in identifying functional foods that can alter metabolism to mitigate obesity. One nutraceutical that has gained attention is green coffee bean extract (GCBE), sourced from raw coffee beans. Research has shown that it has a variety of biological effects including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and regulation of lipid and glucose metabolism. It has been reported that the main polyphenolic compound in GCBE, chlorogenic acid (CGA), is likely responsible for these effects. However, GCBE had not yet been studied in Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly. Drosophila are a noted model organism ...


The Ecological Value Of Spruce Plantations In Massachusetts, Calvin Ritter Jul 2020

The Ecological Value Of Spruce Plantations In Massachusetts, Calvin Ritter

Masters Theses

The establishment of monoculture plantations of exotic tree species is common practice for supplementing native timber stocks. Such plantations typically provide inferior habitat for wildlife compared to native forest, which may result in a net reduction in biodiversity. However, some studies report that plantations may increase net biodiversity at the landscape scale by introducing novel habitats or supplementing existing natural forests. Using point count surveys, I examined six mature Norway spruce (Picea abies) plantations in western Massachusetts in 2016 and 2017 to evaluate bird use of these habitats relative to native forest stands. Count data were analyzed using N-mixture models ...


Gene Expression Regulation In The Mouse Liver By Mechanistic Target Of Rapamycin Complexes I And Ii, Anthony Poluyanoff Jul 2020

Gene Expression Regulation In The Mouse Liver By Mechanistic Target Of Rapamycin Complexes I And Ii, Anthony Poluyanoff

Masters Theses

The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a key serine/threonine protein kinase that functions in complexes mTORC1 and mTORC2. mTORC1, originally discovered due to its sensitivity towards the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin, responds to extracellular growth factor signaling, WNT signaling, and nutrient abundance via glucose and amino acid-triggered signaling. Downstream effectors of mTORC1 include autophagy, mitochondrial metabolic function, protein synthesis, and ribosome biogenesis. mTORC2, initially discovered as a rapamycin-insensitive complex of mTOR, responds to insulin, growth factor signaling, and inflammatory signaling such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha, with its downstream effectors being Akt, a key serine/threonine kinase that functions in ...