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Full-Text Articles in Molecular Biology

Modeling And Analyzing An Optogenetic System For Photoactivatable Protein Dissociation, Anvin Thomas, James Schaff May 2018

Modeling And Analyzing An Optogenetic System For Photoactivatable Protein Dissociation, Anvin Thomas, James Schaff

Honors Scholar Theses

Computational modeling of cell-cell interactions can grant clues and can answer questions about an experiment, especially for observations about binding interactions and kinetics. This approach was used to investigate an interaction between a light-oxygen-voltage (LOV) domain and an engineered protein called Zdark (Zdk). The LOV domain is membrane-bound while Zdk is cytosolic. The LOV domain and Zdk bind strongly in dark (Kd 26.2 nM), and weakly upon exposure to blue light (Kd > 4 μM). Total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) images are acquired of Zdk, the fluorescent species bound to a mCherry tag, and the loss of fluorescence ...


Reconstitution Of Gabaergic Postsynapses In Host Cells, Karthik Kanamalla Apr 2018

Reconstitution Of Gabaergic Postsynapses In Host Cells, Karthik Kanamalla

Honors Scholar Theses

Type A GABA receptors (GABAARs) can be found embedded in postsynaptic membranes or in a variety of extrasynaptic locations. Receptors with synaptic function are recruited to the postsynapse by submembranous scaffolds composed of gephyrin and collybistin (CB). This study was aimed at assessing whether the ability to interact with the scaffold differentiates synaptic from non-synaptic receptors. Using HEK293 cells as an expression system, and indirect immunofluorescence (IF), co-localization of extrasynaptic receptors α1β3δ and α4β3δ with the CB-gephyrin scaffold was assessed and compared with that of the synaptic receptor α1β3γ2. Results indicated that both extrasynaptic receptors were able to colocalize with ...


Engineering A Fluorescent Protease Sensor For In Vivo Protein Detection, Thomas C. Kinard Jan 2017

Engineering A Fluorescent Protease Sensor For In Vivo Protein Detection, Thomas C. Kinard

Honors Scholar Theses

This report details the results of an ongoing project to engineer a mutant form of Red Fluorescent Protein (RFP) variant mCherry that acts as a real-time in vivo protease sensor. The sought-after mutant only becomes fluorescent when exposed to Tobacco Etch Virus (TEV) Protease, this system’s model protease. This will be accomplished via the insertion of the TEV Protease Recognition Site (TEV-PRS) in such a position that, before cleavage, will prevent the protein from folding to fluorescent conformation, but upon cleavage, will allow for fluorescent conformation to occur. The cylindrical structure of the protein, composed of beta-pleated sheets, contains ...


The Emergence Of The Zika, Chikungunya, And Dengue Viruses In Brazil, The Dominican Republic, And Puerto Rico, Nelson Xavier Del Pilar Apr 2016

The Emergence Of The Zika, Chikungunya, And Dengue Viruses In Brazil, The Dominican Republic, And Puerto Rico, Nelson Xavier Del Pilar

Honors Scholar Theses

The Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue viruses are three emerging viral infections of the 21st century. Outbreaks have occurred in twenty countries, including areas of South America, and territories in the Caribbean. These viral diseases are mosquito-borne infections transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. The origins of the diseases, viral morphology, and vector transmission will be described in this review as well as symptoms that humans experience, medical testing procedures, and preventative measures. This study will focus on three locations: Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. There are many similarities between the three viruses to emphasize, but ...


An Exploration Of The Phylogenetic Placement Of Recently Discovered Ultrasmall Archaeal Lineages, Jeffrey M. O'Brien Aug 2015

An Exploration Of The Phylogenetic Placement Of Recently Discovered Ultrasmall Archaeal Lineages, Jeffrey M. O'Brien

Honors Scholar Theses

In recent years, several new clades within the domain Achaea have been discovered. This is due in part to microbiological sampling of novel environments, and the increasing ability to detect and sequence uncultivable organisms through metagenomic analysis. These organisms share certain features, such as small cell size and streamlined genomes. Reduction in genome size can present difficulties to phylogenetic reconstruction programs. Since there is less genetic data to work with, these organisms often have missing genes in concatenated multiple sequence alignments. Evolutionary Biologists have not reached a consensus on the placement of these lineages in the archaeal evolutionary tree. There ...


Investigating Propargyl-Linked Antifolates In Inhibiting Bacterial And Fungal Dihydrofolate Reductase, Joshua Andrade Aug 2014

Investigating Propargyl-Linked Antifolates In Inhibiting Bacterial And Fungal Dihydrofolate Reductase, Joshua Andrade

Honors Scholar Theses

Antimicrobial agents have been invaluable in reducing illness and death associated with bacterial infection. However, over time, bacteria have evolved resistance to all major drug classes as a result of selective pressure. The advancement of new drug compounds is therefore vital. The Anderson-Wright Lab has focused on developing potent and selective inhibitors of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), an enzyme key in cell proliferation and survival, in several pathogenic species. The lab has found that a set of compounds, known as propargyl-linked antifolates, are DHFR inhibitors that are both biologically effective and have strong pharmacokinetic properties.

The efficacy of novel propargyl-linked antifolates ...


Developing Crosslinking Constructs Of Protein Kinase R, Prisma E. Lopez Jun 2014

Developing Crosslinking Constructs Of Protein Kinase R, Prisma E. Lopez

Honors Scholar Theses

Protein Kinase R (PKR) is a key component of the innate immune antiviral response. PKR is activated upon binding to dsRNA. However, recent studies have shown that PKR can also bind to and become activated by duplex RNAs containing complex secondary structure. The mechanism of PKR binding and activation by these RNAs is currently not known. The approach taken here to determine the mechanism of PKR binding by these RNAs is through the development of PKR constructs that are capable of covalently binding to RNAs. Constructs were created by site-specific incorporation of an unnatural, photoactivatable amino acid within PKR. These ...


Mutagenesis Of 8-Oxoguanine Adjacent To An Abasic Site In Escherichia Coli Cells Proficient Or Deficient In Dna Polymerase Iv, Savas T. Tsikis May 2014

Mutagenesis Of 8-Oxoguanine Adjacent To An Abasic Site In Escherichia Coli Cells Proficient Or Deficient In Dna Polymerase Iv, Savas T. Tsikis

Honors Scholar Theses

It is well established that clustered DNA damages or multiply damaged sites (MDS) are the result of ionizing radiation and that they are characterized by an enhanced mutagenic potential. As a model MDS, we have evaluated the mutagenic and cytotoxic properties of the ubiquitous oxidative DNA damage 8-oxoguanine (G8-oxo) adjacent to the abasic site lesion (Z) using a single stranded M13mp7L2 vector. The recombinant DNA was used to transform wild type E. coli strains and strains deficient in the translesion DNA polymerase of the Y-family, DNA polymerase IV, in the presence or absence of SOS induction. The percent survival ...


Numerical Assessment Of Sequence Conservation In Flu-Virus Hemagglutinin, Scott S. Norton May 2014

Numerical Assessment Of Sequence Conservation In Flu-Virus Hemagglutinin, Scott S. Norton

Honors Scholar Theses

The flu virus was investigated to find a common recognition domain to which an antibody against human-infected viruses can bind. If such a target site is structurally and electrostaticly conserved or invariant, only a single antibody would be required to attack the virus in all cases. The sequence of one of the viral surface proteins contains 24 amino acids that do not vary through mutation. However, these amino acids are neither contiguous in sequence or in space, and the ones that are associated with each other are not readily accessible to an antibody. They do provide a first impression of ...


Characterization Of Udp-Arabinopyranose Mutase Genes In The Arabidopsis Cell Wall Mutant Mur5, Christopher A. Hart May 2014

Characterization Of Udp-Arabinopyranose Mutase Genes In The Arabidopsis Cell Wall Mutant Mur5, Christopher A. Hart

Honors Scholar Theses

The genome of Arabidopsis thaliana contains several coding regions for UDP-arabinopyranose mutases (UAMs) that are also known as reversibly glycosylated polypeptides (RGPs). The mur5 cell wall mutant of Arabidopsis shows a 30% decrease in cell wall arabinose content, and a missense mutation in the Reversibly Glycosylated Polypeptide 2 gene was recently proposed to cause this mutant phenotype. Through a traditional complementation analysis, mur5 and a T-DNA insertion mutant in the RGP2 gene were shown not to complement each other, indicating that the two genes are mutant alleles of the same locus. The mur5 SNP located in RGP2 caused a more ...


Post-Injury Calcium Chelation Rescues Skeletal Muscle Regeneration In Mice, Matthew D. Magda Aug 2013

Post-Injury Calcium Chelation Rescues Skeletal Muscle Regeneration In Mice, Matthew D. Magda

Honors Scholar Theses

During aging the ability of skeletal muscle to regenerate after injury wanes until muscle integrity cannot be maintained. In this study it is shown that calcium chelation can restore young-like regenerative ability in an aged mouse model of skeletal muscle regeneration.


Dikar-Induced Synthetic Lethality In A Drosophila Model Of Cag Repeat Diseases Does Not Result From An Expression Feedback Loop, Daniel Camacho May 2013

Dikar-Induced Synthetic Lethality In A Drosophila Model Of Cag Repeat Diseases Does Not Result From An Expression Feedback Loop, Daniel Camacho

Honors Scholar Theses

Human CAG repeat diseases manifest themselves through the common pathology of neurodeneration. This pathological link is attributed to the property shared by all nine of these diseases: an expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) tract. The most evident result of polyQ expansion is protein aggregation, and it is believed that this phenomenon is partly responsible for conferring cytotoxic properties on the mutated protein. Apart from sequestering the mutated protein, cellular aggregates are able to incorporate native proteins via polyQ-mediated aggregation, thus disrupting important cellular pathways. Using Drosophila melanogaster as a disease model, researchers have been able to compile collections of these so-called disease ...


Investigations In Enhancing The Reproducibility Of Implantable Amperometric Glucose Biosensors For Mass Production, Dipesh Manharbhai Patel May 2013

Investigations In Enhancing The Reproducibility Of Implantable Amperometric Glucose Biosensors For Mass Production, Dipesh Manharbhai Patel

Honors Scholar Theses

Implantable glucose sensors for Diabetes management should possess several attributes such as linearity, sensitivity, selectivity, long life time and should elicit no negative tissue response. Based on this, the UConn implantable glucose sensor team has developed a 5-layer sensor architecture that simultaneously affords the aforementioned requirements. However, the large scale production of these 5-layer sensors is inhibited by the lack of high sensor-to-sensor reproducibility. Herein, we investigate the origin of sensor-to-sensor irreproducibility and develop methodologies for large-scale fabrication of these devices.


Characterizing The Role Of Cortactin In Actin Pedestal Assembly By Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia Coli (Ehec), Sarah E. Grout May 2013

Characterizing The Role Of Cortactin In Actin Pedestal Assembly By Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia Coli (Ehec), Sarah E. Grout

Honors Scholar Theses

Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) is a major foodborne cause of bloody diarrhea and renal failure. During colonization of the intestine, EHEC injects the transmembrane receptor protein Tir and the cytoplasmic effector protein EspFU into host cells to reorganize the actin cytoskeleton into adhesion “pedestals.” EspFU has been shown to bind and activate the actin nucleation factor N-WASP to drive actin polymerization into pedestals. However, EspFU can still assemble pedestals in cells lacking N-WASP, suggesting that this effector protein is able to also trigger N-WASP-independent pathways of actin polymerization during infection. Cortactin is an atypical nucleation factor that localizes to pedestals ...


Identifying Progenitor Cells Of Heterotopic Ossification, Eileen E. Semancik May 2012

Identifying Progenitor Cells Of Heterotopic Ossification, Eileen E. Semancik

Honors Scholar Theses

Heterotopic Ossification (HO) is the abnormal formation of bone within extraskeletal soft tissues. The condition can occur through both genetic and acquired means. Acquired cases of HO result from invasive surgery or traumatic injuries, with increasing prevalence of ectopic skeletogenesis as a result of combat-related blast injuries. HO has been characterized to some extent, including the histological features and the mutation underlying the genetic form, but the cells resident in skeletal muscle that represent the progenitors of heterotopic bone have yet to be determined. Only a few publications have attempted to definitively determine the progenitor cells in this disorder. Findings ...


Elucidating The Mechanism Of Antimigratory Activity Of Cardiac Glycosides, Joshua H. Johnson May 2012

Elucidating The Mechanism Of Antimigratory Activity Of Cardiac Glycosides, Joshua H. Johnson

Honors Scholar Theses

The focus of this research is on cell migration and how it can be better understood through the use of small molecules that modulate cell migratory activity. The results have particular relevance in the realm of cancer pharmacology. Cardiac glycosides, which are known inhibitors of the eukaryotic Na+/K+-ATPase, have been determined to have antimigratory activities through the screening of several small molecule libraries. Here we investigate the antimigratory activities of the cardiac glycoside digitoxin as well as its analogs that we synthesized. Antimigratory activity was determined by conducting a wound closure assay with MDA-MB-231 human breast carcinoma cells ...


Metallothionein Gene Dose And The Immune Response, Meaghan Roy-O-Reilly May 2012

Metallothionein Gene Dose And The Immune Response, Meaghan Roy-O-Reilly

Honors Scholar Theses

Metallothionein (MT) is a small, cysteine-rich protein with significant immunomodulatory activity. It has been shown to play a critical role in important cellular mechanisms including heavy metal detoxification, essential metal management and the inflammatory response. MT production can be induced by a number of cellular stressors and acts to lessen the harmful effects of oxidizing agents and heavy metal exposure. Previous studies have shown that the dose of the metallothionein gene present in an individual may have significant effects on the adaptive immune response, yet the mechanism behind this phenomenon remains unknown. We hypothesize that the gene dose of metallothionein ...


Improvements To The Forensic Analysis Of Mitochondrial Dna Typing, Elizabeth Montano May 2012

Improvements To The Forensic Analysis Of Mitochondrial Dna Typing, Elizabeth Montano

Honors Scholar Theses

Sequence analysis of human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is an effective and reliable tool for the genetic characterization of forensic samples. The nature of the mitochondrial genome (mtgenome), its high copy number and small size (~17kb) makes it more resistant to degradation and more stable than nuclear DNA. For this reason mitochondrial DNA is often the only feasible option for the forensic analysis of environmentally compromised samples. Currently the forensic analysis of the mtgenome is restricted to the hypervariable regions, also known as the Displacement loop (d-loop). Previous studies, confirmed in the Strausbaugh lab, have demonstrated an increased variability in the ...


Characterization Of Arginine-82 Mutants With Non-Native Chromophores, Vivek Alaigh May 2011

Characterization Of Arginine-82 Mutants With Non-Native Chromophores, Vivek Alaigh

Honors Scholar Theses

Bacteriorhodopsin, found in most halobacteria, is an integral protein that contains seven transmembrane alpha helices and an organic chromophore, all-trans retinal. Light energy is captured by the protein and results in a series of spectrally discrete intermediates that conclude with a proton being pumped across the membrane from the cytoplasmic side to the extracellular milieu. The most blue-shifted photo-intermediate, the M state, has been of interest for protein-based holographic memory storage devices. Bacteriorhodopsin mutants were prepared with either a 4-hydroxy retinal or 3,4-dihydro retinal analog: R82A, R82C, R82H, R82K, R82N and R82Q. The objective of this research was to ...


Design And Bio-Production Of A Nanoparticle Avian Influenza Vaccine, Kashif N. Ather May 2011

Design And Bio-Production Of A Nanoparticle Avian Influenza Vaccine, Kashif N. Ather

Honors Scholar Theses

Influenza is one of the most common diseases in the world and the cause for numerous deaths every year. The primary method of combating the disease is the influenza vaccine, which is produced by inoculating chicken eggs with inactivated virus. An emerging solution is to use Self-Assembling Polypeptide Nanoparticles (SAPN) to elicit an immune response in the body, rather than using inactivated viruses. This project focuses on the synthesis, purification, and refolding of two peptide constructs, BN5C and S43, which are specific protein sequences that under the right conditions will refold into the 3-dimensional structures necessary for producing an immune ...


Modeling Human Immune Response To The Lyme Disease-Causing Bacteria, Yevhen Rutovytskyy May 2011

Modeling Human Immune Response To The Lyme Disease-Causing Bacteria, Yevhen Rutovytskyy

Honors Scholar Theses

The purpose of this project is to develop and analyze a mathematical model for the pathogen-host interaction that occurs during early Lyme disease.

Based on the known biophysics of motility of Borrelia burgdorferi and a simple model for the immune response, a PDE model was created which tracks the time evolution of the concentrations of bacteria and activated immune cells in the dermis. We assume that a tick bite inoculates a highly localized population of bacteria into the dermis. These bacteria can multiply and migrate. The diffusive nature of the migration is assumed and modeled using the heat equation. Bacteria ...


Quorum Sensing In Archaea, Charles Mackin May 2011

Quorum Sensing In Archaea, Charles Mackin

Honors Scholar Theses

Bacteria coordinate cell density dependent behaviors by communicating through chemical intermediaries in a process called quorum sensing. In a bacterial culture, individual cells will constitutively produce signal molecules, termed autoinducers, and export them into the environment. When the concentration of autoinducers reaches a threshold, the cells sense that they are in a specific situation, which requires the upregulation of certain genes. This upregulation causes the bacteria to produce proteins that allow them to take part in a coordinated population-wide behavior.

In bacteria that are naturally competent, or capable of importing DNA from the environment, the expression of competence genes is ...


Characterizing The Role Of The Bacterial Metallothionein, Smta, In Mammalian Infection, Stephanie R. Davis May 2011

Characterizing The Role Of The Bacterial Metallothionein, Smta, In Mammalian Infection, Stephanie R. Davis

Honors Scholar Theses

Mammalian metallothioneins (MT) are induced by various immunomodulatory molecules and are involved in a spectrum of immune processes such as essential metal homeostasis, detoxification of certain heavy metals, inflammation, and immune cell trafficking [1-3]. A bacterial metallothionein, SmtA, shares some sequence homology with mammalian MT as well as its metal-binding capabilities [4]. In addition to its ability to sequester heavy metals, eukaryotic MT has also been shown to scavenge free radicals such as reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS, RNS), interfering with their toxic effects on cells and potentially influencing their regulatory roles in cell proliferation and differentiation [5, 6 ...


Biomarker Signature Classification Of Various Stress Forms, Chana L. Rich May 2011

Biomarker Signature Classification Of Various Stress Forms, Chana L. Rich

Honors Scholar Theses

Various types of stressful conditions can have unique and important effects on immunity and can lead to dramatic consequences to health. For my University Scholar project, the characteristic biomarker signatures produced from a set of diverse stressors (e.g. psychological, biological and chemical) are being investigated. A biomarker signature is a distinctive biological indicator of a specific condition. High-throughput tools for the measurement of different cellular products have the potential to further our understanding of human disease and facilitated the identification of new biomarkers in all areas of medicine. The hypothesis that each form of stress, psychological, chemical and physical ...


Expression Of The Porcine Reproductive And Respiratory Syndrome Virus Non-Structural Protein 3 (Nsp 3) In Escherichia Coli, Lidia Beka May 2011

Expression Of The Porcine Reproductive And Respiratory Syndrome Virus Non-Structural Protein 3 (Nsp 3) In Escherichia Coli, Lidia Beka

Honors Scholar Theses

Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV) is single-stranded, positive-sense RNA virus in the family Arteriviridae, order Nidovirales. PRRSV is the most economically significant viral infection of swine herds in the United States. The single-stranded RNA genome is 15 kb in length and encodes 9 open reading frames (ORF1a, ORF1b, ORF2a, ORF2b and ORFs 3 through 7). ORFs 1a and 1b encode for 13 non-structural proteins (nsp) that are suggested to be involved in transcription and viral genome replication. The exact role of non-structural proteins in PRRSV cycle is still unknown. Moreover, there is a limited availability of reagents such ...


Dopaminergic Innervation Of The Subventricular Zone In The Murine Brain, Linda Beth Drozdowicz May 2010

Dopaminergic Innervation Of The Subventricular Zone In The Murine Brain, Linda Beth Drozdowicz

Honors Scholar Theses

The subventricular zone (SVZ) is one of two areas in the brain that, in a healthy mouse, continually generate neurons throughout adulthood. While it was previously thought that only the A9 neurons of the substantia nigra sent dopaminergic afferents to the SVZ, recent studies suggest that the A10 neurons of the ventral tegmental area may innervate this area. This project has aimed to discover which, if either, model is correct.

Examination of the Aphakia (AK) mouse was used to determine the role of distinct midbrain regions in SVZ regulation. Additionally, intraperitoneal injections of the chemical MPTP were used to deduce ...


Characterization Of The Putative Xyloglucan Glycosyltransferase Gt14 In Arabidopsis Thaliana, Najam R. Syed May 2010

Characterization Of The Putative Xyloglucan Glycosyltransferase Gt14 In Arabidopsis Thaliana, Najam R. Syed

Honors Scholar Theses

Plant cell walls largely consist of matrix polysaccharides that are linked to cellulose microfibrils. Xyloglucan, the primary hemicellulose of the cell wall matrix, consists of a repeating glucose tetramer structure with xylose residues attached to the first three units ('XXXG'). In Arabidopsis thaliana, the core XXXG structure is further modified by enzymatic addition of galactose and fucose residues to the xylose side chains to produce XLXG, XXLG, XLLG and XLFG structures. GT14 is a putative glycosyltransferase in the GT47 gene family. Initial predictions of GT14's hydrophobic regions, based on its translated amino acid sequence, are almost identical to its ...


Determination Of The Myogenic Potential Of Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Rory Coleman May 2010

Determination Of The Myogenic Potential Of Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Rory Coleman

Honors Scholar Theses

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have the potential to

differentiate to all adult somatic cells. This property makes hESCs a very promising area of research for the treatment of disorders in which specific cell populations need to be restored. Despite this potential, research that focuses on producing mesodermally derived cell populations from hESCs is decidedly limited, notwithstanding the prevalence of disorders involving mesodermal tissues for which treatment options are limited. Skeletal muscle myoblasts are derivatives of mesodermal cells and are characterized by the expression of the MyoD gene. These cells are difficult to obtain from hESCs in a reproducible and ...


Alkylphenol Contamination In Homarus Americanus, Jennifer Renee Urban May 2010

Alkylphenol Contamination In Homarus Americanus, Jennifer Renee Urban

Honors Scholar Theses

Alkylphenols are pollutants that are present in marine sediments and fishes. In earlier work it has been discovered that alkylphenols are present in the Homarus americanus, or the American lobster. Research suggests that alkylphenols could behave as endocrine disruptors as they have been found to affect juvenile hormone activity. It has been hypothesized that lobsters may be able to rid themselves of alkylphenol contamination through secreting these compounds into the environment or sequestering them in their tissues. In this study, I address the question of how lobsters may rid themselves of alkylphenols by analyzing hemolymph, muscle, gill, and shell samples ...


Effects Of Estrogen On Muscle Damage In Response To An Acute Resistance Exercise Protocol, Megan R. Wolf May 2009

Effects Of Estrogen On Muscle Damage In Response To An Acute Resistance Exercise Protocol, Megan R. Wolf

Honors Scholar Theses

Creatine Kinase (CK) is used as a measure of exercise-induced muscle membrane damage. During acute eccentric (muscle lengthening) exercise, muscle sarcolemma, sarcoplasmic reticulum, and Z-lines are damaged, thus causing muscle proteins and enzymes to leak into the interstitial fluid.

Strenuous eccentric exercise produces an elevation of oxygen free radicals, which further increases muscle damage. Muscle soreness and fatigue can be attributed to this membrane damage. Estradiol, however, may preserve membrane stability post-exercise (Brancaccio, Maffulli, & Limongelli, 2007; Carter, Dobridge, & Hackney, 2001; Tiidus, 2001). Because estradiol has a similar structure to Vitamin E, which is known to have antioxidant properties, and both are known to affect ...