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Articles 1 - 30 of 33

Full-Text Articles in Molecular Biology

The Heli-Case Of The Missing Wrn Gene, Lisa Jeziorny, Lindsey Mccurdy, Katie Michael, Jennifer Riddle, Kim Silvers Jan 2016

The Heli-Case Of The Missing Wrn Gene, Lisa Jeziorny, Lindsey Mccurdy, Katie Michael, Jennifer Riddle, Kim Silvers

Eukaryon

Werner Syndrome is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by genomic instability, accelerated telomere shortening, and premature aging. Also, Werner Syndrome patients experience increased cancer rates, believed to be directly related to the lack of interaction between the WRN gene and tumor suppressor gene p53. The WRN gene consists of three identical molecules and has both exonuclease and helicase activity, which work together in opposite directions. WRN has been shown to stimulate polymerase â, needed in DNA repair. WRN helicase activity can also bind and degrade G-quadruplexes, which inhibit transcription. Studies show that the tumor suppressor gene p53 co-localizes with WRN ...


Evaluation Of Mitochondrial Dysfunction And Α-Synuclein Aggregation In Yeast Models Of Parkinson’S Disease, Michael Zorniak Apr 2008

Evaluation Of Mitochondrial Dysfunction And Α-Synuclein Aggregation In Yeast Models Of Parkinson’S Disease, Michael Zorniak

Eukaryon

Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by the progressive death of dopaminergic neurons in the human brain. The misfolding and aggregation of alpha-synuclein, as well as the presence of reactive oxygen species (ROS), are throught to contribute to the cytoxicity. The mechanism of interaction between these two pathways is unknown. Mitochondrial dysfunction, specifically, incomplete respiratory metabolism and loss of antioxidants, has long been implicated as the culprit of ROS accumulation. Our lab has previously developed budding and fission yeast models to study genetic regulation of alpha-synuclein misfolding and toxicity. My thesis is composed of two studies. For my first goal ...


Parkinson’S Disease Associated Protein Α-Synuclein-E46k Demonstrates Strain And Ploidy-Specific Toxicity In Budding Yeast, Michael White Apr 2008

Parkinson’S Disease Associated Protein Α-Synuclein-E46k Demonstrates Strain And Ploidy-Specific Toxicity In Budding Yeast, Michael White

Eukaryon

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder that affects 1 in 100 individuals over the age of 60. PD results from dopaminergic neuronal atrophy localized within the substantia nigra of the midbrain; the pathology consists of fibrillar inclusions, Lewy Bodies, within substantia nigral neurons. The principal component of Lewy Bodies is the protein alpha-synuclein. Though 90-95% of PD cases are sporadic, familial forms result from the missense mutations A30P, A53T, or E46K in the alpha-synuclein gene. Little is known about the properties of the recently discovered E46K mutation. We hypothesized that the E46K mutation alters the conformation of ...


Calcium And Cell Volume Regulation In Alligator Mississippiensis Erythrocytes, Alina Spivak Apr 2008

Calcium And Cell Volume Regulation In Alligator Mississippiensis Erythrocytes, Alina Spivak

Eukaryon

Maintenance of proper cell volume is critical for cell survival and proliferation; consequently, animal cells routinely control their volume to maintain homeostasis. For instance, biological processes such as the response to ischemia (insufficient blood flow), lymphocyte activation, and apoptosis (programmed cell death) are associated with changes in cell volume. It has been well established that osmotic swelling associated with a hypotonic medium is followed by a regulated volume decrease (RVD) resulting from the efflux of specific solutes. However, the signaling mechanisms of RVD are ill defined. The effect of calcium on RVD was studied because this ion is a common ...


Iodine Status In Individuals From A Rural And Urban Area In Bolivia, Lavinia R. Sinitean Mar 2008

Iodine Status In Individuals From A Rural And Urban Area In Bolivia, Lavinia R. Sinitean

Eukaryon

Iodine is an essential component of thyroid hormone, which is indispensable for normal development, growth and metabolism. Iodine Deficiency (ID) results in decreased thyroid hormone synthesis, which can lead to mental retardation. ID is actually the most prevalent preventable cause of mental impairment. Although recent attempts have been made to eradicate ID, the threat still persists, especially in developing countries. The urinary iodine concentration of a population in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was evaluated because certain parts of Bolivia are thought to be mildly iodine deficient, but current data are not available. It was hypothesized that an urban population would have ...


Insight Into Parkinson’S Disease And Α-Synuclein Degradation Via The Lysosome: Α-Synuclein Localization Changes In Vps28Δ, Alexandra Ayala Mar 2008

Insight Into Parkinson’S Disease And Α-Synuclein Degradation Via The Lysosome: Α-Synuclein Localization Changes In Vps28Δ, Alexandra Ayala

Eukaryon

The neurodegeneration pathology in Parkinson’s disease patients predominantly targets dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain. These neurons accumulate aggregated alpha-synuclein, which may be linked to cell death. The misfolding and buildup of α-synuclein is thought to trigger its accumulation and aggregation. An attractive hypothesis states that excess amounts of α-synuclein are due to dysfunctional degradation of the protein. Until recently, the proteasome was considered the major site for degrading alpha-synuclein, but recent studies suggest that the lysosome may also be involved. To test this latter hypothesis, we employed a budding yeast model for α-synuclein aggregation and toxicity to genetically evaluate ...


Satisfying The Immense Energy Demands Of The Body, And The Effects Of Mutation Within The Mitochondrial Atp6 Gene, Michael White Mar 2008

Satisfying The Immense Energy Demands Of The Body, And The Effects Of Mutation Within The Mitochondrial Atp6 Gene, Michael White

Eukaryon

The cells constituting the human body require immense amounts of energy to power them. Occasionally, defects occur within the powerhouse of the cell, the mitochondria, that lead to severe and often fatal untreatable diseases such as Leigh Syndrome (LS) and Neuropathy, Ataxia, and Retinitis Pigmentosa (NARP). Both LS and NARP result from the T8993G or T8993C mutations within the ATP6 gene in the mitochondrial genome. Because mitochondrial genes are maternally inherited and the cellular effects of mutation are dosage dependent, LS and NARP syndromes have mutant thresholds of 90% to 95% and 70% to 90% respectively. Research within the last ...


Williams Syndrome: The Costs And Benefits Of Chromosomal Deletion, Stephanie Valtierra Mar 2008

Williams Syndrome: The Costs And Benefits Of Chromosomal Deletion, Stephanie Valtierra

Eukaryon

Williams Syndome (WS) is as complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by vascular and heart disease, mental retardation, characteristic facial features, and chararteristic personality. WS, which is usually sporadic, affects approximately 1 in 20,000 live births and is caused by a particular deletion of about 1.5 Mb of chromosome 7q11.23. My lab has shed light on the anatomical and cognitive basis for WS. While WS patients have cognitive gifts, such as notable linguistic abilities, they also have deficits, such as visuospatial deficits. WS patients also show significant anatomical differences, with a reduces perimeter of the corpus collosum and amygdalar ...


Α-Synuclein Phosphorylation And Nitration In Parkinson's Disease, Stephanie Valtierra Mar 2008

Α-Synuclein Phosphorylation And Nitration In Parkinson's Disease, Stephanie Valtierra

Eukaryon

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, affecting six million people worldwide. PD results from the specific loss of substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons. Aggregation of one protein, α-synuclein, is characteristic of PD. This aggregation is thought to be a critical step in the etiology of the disease. While the molecular mechanism of α-synuclein aggregation remains unknown, nitrative stress and phosphorylation have been implicated in α-synuclein modification and aggregation. In fact, nitration of α-synuclein tyrosine residues 39, 125, 133 or 136, may be an early event in aggregates, Lewy bodies, seen in PD. Furthermore, nitrative stress leads ...


Progressive, Irreversible Loss Of Vision: Gyrate Atrophy Of The Choroid And Retina, Sina Vahedi Mar 2008

Progressive, Irreversible Loss Of Vision: Gyrate Atrophy Of The Choroid And Retina, Sina Vahedi

Eukaryon

In our highly visual society, a genetic disease that gradually dims one’s vision must be seen as a cruel and debilitating disease. One such disease is the gyrate atrophy of the choroid and retina (GA), an autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in the gene encoding the mitochondrial enzyme ornithine aminotransferase (OAT). GA is characterized by early onset myopia and night-blindness followed by cataracts and progressive loss of peripheral vision culminating in complete blindness. More than 60 mutations in the gene coding for OAT cause the 150 known cases of GA by an unknown mechanism. Clinical genetic tests are ...


Knowing Your Nose: Discovering How We Smell, Krista Kusinski Mar 2008

Knowing Your Nose: Discovering How We Smell, Krista Kusinski

Eukaryon

Mammals can discern thousands of molecularly different odorants as well as changes in their concentrations. How the olfactory recognizes such a large number of smells was not very well understood. The initial perception of smell occurs in the olfactory epithelium, which transmits information to the major olfactory bulb, and ultimately to the olfactory cortex via olfactory sensory neurons. This is the basic structure of the olfactory system. We sought to find the underlying mechanisms and tools that allow for the translation of these chemical odorants into the perception of smell. Our studies focused on finding the separate families of olfactory ...


Apoptosis In Neurodegeneration: Programmed Cell Death And Its Role In Alzheimer’S And Huntington’S Diseases, Elizabeth Dean Mar 2008

Apoptosis In Neurodegeneration: Programmed Cell Death And Its Role In Alzheimer’S And Huntington’S Diseases, Elizabeth Dean

Eukaryon

Chronic neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by progressive, irreversible neuronal cell loss. Since neurons have minimal regenerative potential, preventing their degeneration is vital to preventing disease progression; however, few effective therapies currently exist. Research in the last two decades has focused on uncovering neuronal cell loss mechanisms in hopes of devising new treatment strategies. These studies have evaluated the potential role of apoptosis within neurodegenerative diseases. Investigations of programmed cell death and its role in neurodegenerative disease has shed light on the possible apoptotic mechanisms employed by these disorders. This article will review general mechanisms of apoptosis and their implications within ...


Gene Mutations: One Of The Many Roads To Deafness, Shaun Davis, Laura Hoholik, Kushal Modi, Lindsey Rockwell Mar 2008

Gene Mutations: One Of The Many Roads To Deafness, Shaun Davis, Laura Hoholik, Kushal Modi, Lindsey Rockwell

Eukaryon

Deafness, a pathological condition causing partial or complete loss of hearing, affects nearly 70 million people worldwide. Research has linked nonsyndromic deafness to over 30 genes. In this review, implications of mutations on four of these genes will be discussed to understand how normal function is altered. While various mutations are linked to deafness, little is known about the mechanisms that lead to deafness. MyosinVI mutations hinder the motor protein’s progressive movement, rendering the protein unable to stabilize stereocilia. Point mutations in PMCA2 gene in outer hair cells (OHCs) cause a defect in the calcium pump, leading to a ...


A Wrinkle In Time: Premature Aging In Hgps And Rd, Danielle Clark, Nicole Fields, Spenser Hicks, Stephanne Levin, Emily Pospiech Mar 2008

A Wrinkle In Time: Premature Aging In Hgps And Rd, Danielle Clark, Nicole Fields, Spenser Hicks, Stephanne Levin, Emily Pospiech

Eukaryon

The aging process can be accelerated by numerous cellular and molecular variables. Progeroid syndromes are one such example. The phenotypes of Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) and Restrictive Dermopathy (RD) are both caused by an irregular pathway of the processing of prelamin A to mature lamin A, an integral component of the nuclear lamina. In wild-type cells, prelamin A undergoes farnesylation followed by cleavage that is carried out by the enzyme Zmpste24. A 50 amino acid deletion in the LMNA gene found in HGPS patients eliminates the cleavage site in prelamin A, causing an accumulation of farnesylated prelamin A. The buildup ...


Combining Ros Reduction And Allotopic Atp6 Expression In Ls And Narp Patient Neurons To Increase Atp Synthesis, Michael White Mar 2008

Combining Ros Reduction And Allotopic Atp6 Expression In Ls And Narp Patient Neurons To Increase Atp Synthesis, Michael White

Eukaryon

Because allotopic expression of WT-ATP6 and treatment of T8993G homoplasmic cells with antioxidants both increase ATP synthesis, I propose combining these two approaches into one that employs the AAV vector developed by Manfredi et al. (2002), modified to contain the nuclear encoded mitochondrial manganese superoxide dismutase gene (MnSOD) and WT-ATP6 (Geromel et al., 2001). MnSOD is a free-radical scavenging enzyme that has increased expression in T8993G cells (Mattiazzi et al., 2004; Geromel et al., 2001). I believe overexpression of MnSOD in combination with allotopically expressed WT-ATP6 will increase ATP synthesis compared to primary T8993G neurons that allotopically express WT-ATP6 only ...


Low Intracellular Proline: A Cause Of Toxicity In Human Rpe Cells?, Sina Vahedi Mar 2008

Low Intracellular Proline: A Cause Of Toxicity In Human Rpe Cells?, Sina Vahedi

Eukaryon

metabolic disease include night blindness, myopia, cataracts, and progressive reduction in peripheral vision culminating in blindness by the age of forty. The loss of OAT leads to high plasma levels of the amino acid ornithine and low levels of proline and creatine (Valle & Simell, 2001). Our knowledge about the pathophysiology of GA is very limited: we do not know the mechanism for toxicity or the primary toxic species. However, we do know the following: first, the initial cells affected are the retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) cells (Wang et al., 1996); second, ornithine enters the cells primarily through the cationic amino acid transporter (CAT)-1 (Kaneko et al., 2007); third, lowering plasma levels of ornithine prevents the progression of the disease (Wang et al., 2000). . . . Based on the research by Ueda and colleagues (1998), I will investigate the toxic effect of low proline levels in human RPE cells ...


Does The N-Terminus Of Brca1 Ubiquitinate Topoisomerase Iiα?, Mithaq Vahedi Mar 2008

Does The N-Terminus Of Brca1 Ubiquitinate Topoisomerase Iiα?, Mithaq Vahedi

Eukaryon

A recent study by Lou et al. showed that knocking down either BRCA1 or topoisomerase IIα in HCC1937 cells (breast cancer cell line) and HeLa cells resulted in defective chromosome condensation and lagging chromosomes during mitosis. Thus, BRCA1 plays a role in DNA decatenation. Previously, Baer and Ludwig showed that the N-terminus of BRCA1 forms a heterodimer with BARD1, and together this complex acts as an active ubiquitin polymerase. Lou et al. found that topoisomerase IIα immunoprecipitated from cells that produced endogenous BRCA1 was ubiquitinated, while topoisomerase IIα from cells lacking BRCA1 was not ubiquitinated. Furthermore, ubiquitination of topoisomerase IIα ...


Distinguishing Snrnps ("Snurps") From Smurfs, Thomas Johns Mar 2008

Distinguishing Snrnps ("Snurps") From Smurfs, Thomas Johns

Eukaryon

Our snRNPs go a long way in explaining why a mere 25,000 genes can, after translation, express the multitude of proteins that make life possible, enabling human beings to dominate the top of the food chain.


Year Four, Shruti Pore Mar 2008

Year Four, Shruti Pore

Eukaryon

Eukaryon has grown since its very first issue four years ago and continues to grow without losing pace. From being a faculty-student joint endeavor at the start up, to becoming a student run journal in the true sense, from having a singular student member four years ago, to twenty staff members this year, we have come a long way.


Tangled Up In Science: Bringing A Fresh Perspective To Lfc Department Of Biology, Emily Pospiech Mar 2008

Tangled Up In Science: Bringing A Fresh Perspective To Lfc Department Of Biology, Emily Pospiech

Eukaryon

Having Dr. Lagalwar join the Biology Department for the 2007-2008 school year, provides students with a fresh perspective on a range of biological topics helping students to grow intellectually, while allowing Dr. Lagalwar to further her experiences as a professor.


History Tends To Repeat: Fmr-1 Silencing In Fragile X Syndrome, Joshua G. Haas Feb 2007

History Tends To Repeat: Fmr-1 Silencing In Fragile X Syndrome, Joshua G. Haas

Eukaryon

Fragile X syndrome is the most common form of inherited mental retardation, and afflicts 1 in 1250 males and 1 in 2500 females. The symptoms include connective tissue displasia, mental retardation, and macroorchidism (enlarged testis). My lab discovered that the most common forms of this disorder are caused by the expansion of CGG tri-nucleotide repeats on the X chromosome at the FMR-1 gene locus; an excess of 200 repeats in diseased individuals suppresses the translation of FMR-1. The CGG repeat expansion leads to hyper-methylation of a CpG island distal to the repeat, leading to transcriptional repression of FMR-1. This gene ...


Series Of Formal Talks Launched, Mithaq Vahedi Feb 2007

Series Of Formal Talks Launched, Mithaq Vahedi

Eukaryon

A series of exciting formal talks were held in the fall of 2006 on topics ranging from neurodegeneration to intelligent design. These presentations, held for the first time on such a regular basis throughout the semester, were launched by Eukaryon, Tri-beta, the Biology Department, and the Center for Chicago Programs. Students were exposed to the latest research of distinguished scientists in fields such as neurodegeneration and psychology. Many students majoring in biology, psychology and chemistry attended these talks. The presentations also attracted students from the social sciences and humanities

The interactive nature of the presentations added to the rich liberal ...


A-Synuclein Causes Non-Specific Toxicity In Vps34 Yeast, Mithaq Vahedi Feb 2007

A-Synuclein Causes Non-Specific Toxicity In Vps34 Yeast, Mithaq Vahedi

Eukaryon

α-Synuclein is implicated in Parkinson’s Disease, a neurodegenerative disease that destroys midbrain neurons. The misfolding and subsequent aggregation of this protein is the likely cause of cell death. A major hypothesis in the field is that increasing α-synuclein’s rate of degradation may prevent its aggregation and toxicity. The prevalent model for α-synuclein degradation is via the proteasome, and malfunctions in this pathway have been shown to increase α-synuclein accumulation and toxicity. However, increasing evidence suggests that the Multivesicular Body (MVB) sorting pathway is involved in protein degradation via the lysosome. To test the role of the MVB sorting ...


Alpha-Synuclein Misfolding And Aggregation In Parkinson's Disease, Michael White Feb 2007

Alpha-Synuclein Misfolding And Aggregation In Parkinson's Disease, Michael White

Eukaryon

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder that affects 1.5 millions Americans and 1 in 100 individuals over the age of 60. It results from neuronal atrophy localized within the substantia nigra pars compacta. Upon autopsy, PD patients have large intraneuronal fibrils, Lewy Bodies, composed of a-synuclein. Familial forms of PD result from the A30P and A53T mutations within a-synuclein. Wild-type (WT), A30P, and A53T-a-synuclein aggregate from monomers into protofibrils before forming fibrils. Previously, fibrils were thought to be the PD causative agent however, recent evidence suggests that the protofibril may be the true toxic conformation of ...


Alpha-Synuclein Aggregation And Membrane Association In A Fission Yeast Model: Implications For Pd Pathogenesis, Lokesh Kukreja Feb 2007

Alpha-Synuclein Aggregation And Membrane Association In A Fission Yeast Model: Implications For Pd Pathogenesis, Lokesh Kukreja

Eukaryon

Lewy bodies of a-synuclein protein are prominent characteristics in the Parkinson's disease (PD) pathology. The mechanism of Lewy body formation and consequent cytotoxicity was studied by Brandis et al. (2006) in a newly developed model organism of fission yeast. Though, the level of a-synuclein expression studied was either high or low, the wild-type and A53T familial mutant of a-synuclein followed the nucleation polymerization theory in the process of misfolding and aggregating. At high concentration, a-synuclein formed cytoplasmic aggregates in a concentration and time-dependent manner. However, these aggregates appeared to be independent of cytotoxicity. In this current study, the fission ...


Mitochondrial Deficiencies And Oxidative Stress In Parkinson's Disease: A Slippery Slope To Cell Death, Michael Zorniak Feb 2007

Mitochondrial Deficiencies And Oxidative Stress In Parkinson's Disease: A Slippery Slope To Cell Death, Michael Zorniak

Eukaryon

Parkinson’s disease (PD) affects over 500,000 Americans. Most cases of PD are idiopathic, or occurring without a known cause. Two pathological features of PD, á-synuclein-rich Lewy bodies (LB) and oxidative damage, hint at the cause of the disease. Yet, disparities in recessive forms of PD increase the complexity of the disease mechanism. These recessive forms occur earlier in life and are devoid of LB. One common feature among these forms is the extensive presence of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Studies with the toxin MPTP produced similar pathologies to recessive PD but intriguingly showed inhibition of complex I in ...


A Ride With Listeria Monocytogenes: A Trojan Horse, Joshua Haas, Krista Kusinski, Shruti Pore, Solmaz Shadman, Mithaq Vahedi Feb 2007

A Ride With Listeria Monocytogenes: A Trojan Horse, Joshua Haas, Krista Kusinski, Shruti Pore, Solmaz Shadman, Mithaq Vahedi

Eukaryon

Listeriosis, a disease caused by Listeria monocytogenes- a facultative, intracellular bacterium, spreads through contaminated food. It affects epithelial cells and macrophages and has a mortality rate of about 30%. The bacterium can cross the blood brain barrier, causing meningitis, and the placental barrier, causing abortion. Some mechanisms for entry into cells include the InlA- E-cadherin adhesion and InlB-Met pathway. hly, one of the many genes activated during infection, leads to the production of Listeriolysin O (LLO). LLO and two distinct phospholipases are indispensable to the spread of Listeria. Phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC) activates a host protein kinase C (PKC), which ...


Calcium-Stimulated Regulatory Volume Decrease In Salmo Salar And Alligator Mississipiensis Erythrocytes, Chloe Wormser Feb 2007

Calcium-Stimulated Regulatory Volume Decrease In Salmo Salar And Alligator Mississipiensis Erythrocytes, Chloe Wormser

Eukaryon

The mechanisms by which cells compensate for volume fluctuations are not clearly understood and vary among species. Research efforts in our lab have focused on elucidating the pathways involved in regulatory volume decrease (RVD), the process activated in response to cell swelling that allows for volume recovery. Previously, fluorescence microscopy studies performed by Light et al. (2005) revealed that in salmon red blood cells, cell swelling elicits a rise in intracellular Ca2+ concentration (visualized using fluorescence microscopy and the Ca2+ indicator fluo-4-AM). This was most likely due Ca2+ influx from the extracellular environment, because it was not observed in cells ...


Eating Disorders: Could They Be Autoimmune Diseases?, Melissa Stevenson Jan 2006

Eating Disorders: Could They Be Autoimmune Diseases?, Melissa Stevenson

Eukaryon

Recent research on Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and Bulimia Nervosa (BN) has shown an increasing understanding of the biological and physiological abnormalities that underlie the development of an eating disorder. Cultural pressures, individual and family experiences, along with physiological and genetic systems all appear to contribute to the onset of these disorders. There is significant evidence for genetic factors in the susceptibility of AN/BN, however current research has focused on the possibly of characterizing eating disorders as being an autoimmune disease. Autoantibodies have recently been discovered in patients with eating disorders and could be affecting the biological pathway of many ...


Pathways Of Skeletal Muscle Atrophy: Hiv As A Model System?, Chelsea Bueter, Michelle Mckinzey, Chloe Salzmann, Michael Zorniak Jan 2006

Pathways Of Skeletal Muscle Atrophy: Hiv As A Model System?, Chelsea Bueter, Michelle Mckinzey, Chloe Salzmann, Michael Zorniak

Eukaryon

Skeletal Muscle Atrophy (SMA) is a phenomenon found in many diseases and disorders. SMA is characterized by protein degradation induced by various pathways. Ten years ago, little was known about the mechanisms that lead from these disorders to protein degradation. Current research focuses on the mechanisms thought to induce SMA. It is now known that many of these pathways involve ubiquitin conjugate accumulation and increased proteasome activity resulting in rapid protein degradation and decreased synthesis. HIV associated proteins, such as Vpr, cause overexpression of atrogin-1 which promotes atrophy. Cachexia operates mainly through the IKK/NF¨ºB pathway and MuRF-1 Ub-ligase ...