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Undergraduate Honors Theses

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Full-Text Articles in Molecular Biology

Design And Synthesis Of Toll-Like Receptor 8 Inhibitors: Optimizing The Potential Drugs For Autoimmune Diseases, Kyoin Koo Jan 2018

Design And Synthesis Of Toll-Like Receptor 8 Inhibitors: Optimizing The Potential Drugs For Autoimmune Diseases, Kyoin Koo

Undergraduate Honors Theses

The first line of defense during infection relies on detecting the presence of pathogens and triggering pro-inflammatory responses by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). Among PRRs, Toll-Like Receptors (TLRs) have been studied most extensively. TLRs are membrane receptors that recognize molecular patterns associated with pathogens and damaged cells to initiate immune responses. TLRs are good drug research targets because improper activation of TLRs has shown to be correlated with pathogenesis of various autoimmune diseases. TLR8 is an endogenous receptor that recognizes single-stranded RNA from viral infections. When TLR8 is improperly activated by self-RNAs, it can possibly lead to rheumatoid arthritis (RA ...


Facilitated Binding Of High Mobility Group Box 1 And P53 In Transcriptional Regulation, Emma Steffer Jan 2018

Facilitated Binding Of High Mobility Group Box 1 And P53 In Transcriptional Regulation, Emma Steffer

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Transcription of mRNA is a very important and highly regulated processes necessary for the growth and viability of cells. Human p53 is a transcriptional activator that can act as a tumor suppressor by inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. HMGB1 is an architectural protein that can bind and bend DNA to aid transcriptional regulation. This project investigated the potential for HMGB1 to facilitate DNA binding by p53. Various gel shift assays were performed to see if the addition of HMGB1 to reactions containing p53 and DNA would increase the amount of p53/DNA binding observed. On wild-type DNA containing two ...


Investigating The Molecular Mechanism Of Glut4 Trafficking, Jessica Miller Jan 2018

Investigating The Molecular Mechanism Of Glut4 Trafficking, Jessica Miller

Undergraduate Honors Theses

The insulin-stimulated glucose transporter GLUT4 is essential to maintaining metabolic homeostasis in mammalian cells. Regulated trafficking of GLUT4 to and from the plasma membrane relies on a complex molecular mechanism integrating insulin signaling and vesicle transport. Understanding this pathway becomes increasingly crucial as Type II Diabetes, a disease characterized by insulin resistance, becomes more prevalent in the population. Despite decades of research, the molecular mechanism of GLUT4 trafficking is not yet fully understood. CRISPR-Cas9 allows for the ablation of individual genes so their role in GLUT4 trafficking can be investigated. A flow cytometry-based assay is used in this study to ...


Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor Function In Muscle Stem Cells, Tashi Hackett Jan 2018

Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor Function In Muscle Stem Cells, Tashi Hackett

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Skeletal muscle has a remarkable ability to regenerate itself following injury and this is reliant upon a group of stem cells known as muscle stem cells Muscle stem cell dysfunction contributes to variety of muscle wasting diseases and insights into mechanisms that regulate MuSC function could lead to new therapies and further our understanding of stem cell biology in general. Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 (FGF2) is a protein that regulates muscle stem cell behavior through stimulation of cell surface tyrosine receptor kinases known as Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors (Jones, 2001). Activation of the receptors by FGF will induce intracellular signaling ...


Alk-Eml4-Positive Cancers And Combination Therapy: Probing The Apoptotic Threshold, Teagan Glass Jan 2018

Alk-Eml4-Positive Cancers And Combination Therapy: Probing The Apoptotic Threshold, Teagan Glass

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Of all diseases currently being researched, lung cancer is one of the most pressing due to its worldwide prevalence and high incidence of fatality. More specifically, non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) harboring ALK-EML4 gene fusion mutations are of particular interest to researchers due to their widely documented capability of becoming resistant to specialized treatment, such as kinase inhibition. This project was initiated with the aim of using in vitro combination drug treatment to more efficaciously inhibit the growth and survival of H3122 cells, an ALK-EML4-positive NSCLC cell line. In this study, H3122 cells were subjected to combined ALK and histone ...


Emergence Of New Metabolic Pathways In Escherichia Coli, Michael Kristofich Jan 2018

Emergence Of New Metabolic Pathways In Escherichia Coli, Michael Kristofich

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Catalytic promiscuity provides a starting point for the evolution of new enzymes. Taking this concept further, a series of promiscuous enzymes may assemble to form the basis of a new metabolic pathway (termed “serendipitous pathway”) that may emerge and become more efficient in adapting bacterial cells that require it to grow. The Copley lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder has been observing genetic changes that improve growth of Escherichia coli cells that lack the essential gene pdxB. These genetic changes are believed to improve the flux of metabolites through one or more serendipitous pathways that make up for ...


Investigations Of Interactions Between The Microtubule Binding Domain Of Centrosomal P4.1 Associated Protein And Polyglutamylated Microtubules, Caroline Rhoads Jan 2018

Investigations Of Interactions Between The Microtubule Binding Domain Of Centrosomal P4.1 Associated Protein And Polyglutamylated Microtubules, Caroline Rhoads

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Microtubules maintain particularly diverse and important functions within the cell despite being polymers made up of two highly conserved proteins: a- and b-tubulin. Some of these diverse roles are explained by the presence of post-translational modifications occurring on the C-terminal tail of tubulin proteins, primarily detyrosination, polyglutamylation and polyglycylation. Misregulation of C-terminal tail post-translational modifications are observed in disease phenotypes and may increase the risk of some forms of cancers; however, the role of these post-translational modifications is not well understood. Working towards a goal of designing in vivo methods to study specific post-translational modifications, this paper examines the specificity ...


Determination Of The Substrate Specificity Of Citrus Paradisi Flavonol Specific 3-O-Glucosyltransferase Mutant D344p, Nathan R. Spaulding May 2017

Determination Of The Substrate Specificity Of Citrus Paradisi Flavonol Specific 3-O-Glucosyltransferase Mutant D344p, Nathan R. Spaulding

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Plants produce a vast array of secondary metabolites. A group of phenolic compounds, the flavonoids, are metabolites ubiquitous among plants and are known to aid in processes such as plant reproduction, UV defense, pigmentation and development. In relation to human health, flavonoids have been found to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant properties. Flavonoid’s ability to participate in so many interactions is due in part to their subclass variation and further chemical modification. One such modification is glucosylation, where a glucose molecule is added to the flavonoid substrate. The enzymes that catalyze these reactions are known as glucosyltransferases (GT). Citrus ...


Uncoupling The Dynamics Of Inner And Outer Mitochondrial Membrane Fission, Samantha Gumbin Jan 2017

Uncoupling The Dynamics Of Inner And Outer Mitochondrial Membrane Fission, Samantha Gumbin

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Mitochondria are dynamic organelles undergoing constant changes in their morphology through two opposing processes; mitochondrial fission and fusion. The current model of mitochondria fission begins with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) localizing to the mitochondrial outer membrane and initiating membrane constriction. Additional key molecular players, specifically a mitochondrial transmembrane protein, MFF and a cytosolic GTPase, Drp1, localize to the outer mitochondrial membrane to drive constriction and subsequent fission of the mitochondria. While several proteins have been identified to be involved in mitochondrial fission, almost all of them function at the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM). We therefore have very little knowledge about ...


The Association Of Dcc Mrna Alternative Splicing With Colorectal Cancer, Natalie Graham Jan 2017

The Association Of Dcc Mrna Alternative Splicing With Colorectal Cancer, Natalie Graham

Undergraduate Honors Theses

In as many as 70% of colorectal cancer cell (CRC) lines, there is a deletion of a chromosomal region, 18q21, which contains the Deleted in Colorectal Carcinoma (DCC) gene (Mehlen & Fearon, 2004). In adult cells, this single transmembrane receptor plays a role in both cell proliferation and cell death, thereby making it a promising candidate gene for the pathogenesis of colorectal cancer. It has been observed that alternative splicing of the DCC can affect its activity and that alternative splicing of DCC can be disrupted in cancer (Leggere et al., 2016; Reale et al., 1994). In this experiment, we sought to determine the association of alternative splicing of the DCC with colorectal cancer in cells without the deletion of the 18q21 region. By extracting RNA from 35 CRC cell lines and performing RT-PCR, we observed levels of the two DCC isoforms compared to normal adult colon cells. In this way, we determined that 29 of 35 CRC cell lines had altered ...


Epithelial-Mesenchymal Crosstalk Influences Cancer-Related Cell Behavior: A 3d Lung Alveolus-Fibroblast Co-Culture System, Jessica Kole Hall Jan 2017

Epithelial-Mesenchymal Crosstalk Influences Cancer-Related Cell Behavior: A 3d Lung Alveolus-Fibroblast Co-Culture System, Jessica Kole Hall

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Lung cancer is a devastating disease that kills more individuals in the United States than any other cancer. The tumor microenvironment is increasingly recognized as playing a major role in the progression of cancer. Thus, studying the interactions among lung cancer cells, non-malignant cells and the surrounding matrix is critical for understanding and treating lung cancer. Three-dimensional in vitro co-culture systems allow for tissue-relevant platforms that better recapitulate the native cell environment. In this work, we employed a cyst templating technique to culture alveolar epithelial cells on photodegradable microspheres and subsequently encapsulated the cell-covered spheres within poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG ...


Tracing Endotoxin Levels Throughout Hpv16 L1 Vaccine Purification And Particle Production, Mary Ryan Jan 2017

Tracing Endotoxin Levels Throughout Hpv16 L1 Vaccine Purification And Particle Production, Mary Ryan

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide, and the most common cancer among women in developing countries1. The causal role of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections in invasive cervical cancers is acknowledged beyond reasonable doubt, and the ability to vaccinate against HPV can drastically reduce the incidence of cervical cancer worldwide. There are currently marketed HPV vaccines that make use of HPV L1 virus-like particles (VLPs), and while these VLP vaccines confer immunogenicity, they are expensive, thermosensitive, and require multiple doses2. Expression of the HPV L1 protein in Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria has the ...


Kinase Gene Fusions In Melanoma, Jacqueline Turner Jan 2017

Kinase Gene Fusions In Melanoma, Jacqueline Turner

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Kinase gene fusions are a mechanism of alternative pathway activation and have been increasingly described in cancer, including malignant melanoma. The prevalence of kinase gene fusions across different subtypes in melanoma has not yet been reported. Additionally, few studies in melanoma have examined the responses of these kinase gene fusions to small molecule inhibitors. We used break-apart fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to identify genomic rearrangements in tissues from 59 patients with various types of malignant melanoma including acral lentiginous, mucosal, superficial spreading, and nodular. We identified four genomic rearrangements involving the genes BRAF, RET, and ROS1. Of these, three ...


Elucidating Nucleic Acid Binding Properties Of Polycomb Repressive Complex 2, Richard D. Paucek Jan 2017

Elucidating Nucleic Acid Binding Properties Of Polycomb Repressive Complex 2, Richard D. Paucek

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) is a histone methyltransferase that specifically deposits mono-, di-, and tri-methylation marks onto chromatin. This activity triggers epigenetic silencing, a process critical for cell differentiation and maintenance of cellular identity. In mammalian cells, how PRC2 is recruited to target sites is unknown, but it is speculated that RNA, histone modifications, nucleosome architecture, and DNA elements all possess direct or indirect recruitment and regulatory roles. However, the relative binding affinity of PRC2 for these diverse biological substrates remains poorly understood. In the present study, the binding affinity of PRC2 for various RNAs and nucleosomes were tested ...


Investigation Of Media Effects On Sinorhizobium Meliloti Glucose Minus, Roxana Apostol Jan 2017

Investigation Of Media Effects On Sinorhizobium Meliloti Glucose Minus, Roxana Apostol

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Although nitrogen fertilizers have certain benefits, the over application of such compounds often results in damages to the ecosystem. In this project, we focus our study on Sinorhizobiom meliloti, a species that lives in symbiosis with alfalfa plants, and through its nitrogen fixation capabilities, restores nitrogen levels in the soil. In our study we aim to gain a better understanding of the carbon metabolism in S. meliloti, mainly by looking at growth patterns in the presence of different carbon sources. Our research picked up on Erik Arvey’s discoveries which pointed out that sucrose inhibits growth of certain glucose minus ...


In Vitro Investigation Of The Effect Of Exogenous Ubiquitin On Processes Associated With Atherosclerosis, Chase W. Mussard May 2016

In Vitro Investigation Of The Effect Of Exogenous Ubiquitin On Processes Associated With Atherosclerosis, Chase W. Mussard

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Atherosclerosis, characterized by the build-up of cholesterol, immune cells and cellular debris within arterial walls, is accelerated following myocardial infarction by poorly understood mechanisms. Ubiquitin, a small, well-studied intracellular protein involved in protein turnover via the proteasome pathway, has recently been shown to exert extracellular effects on cardiac myocytes, in vitro, and in mice undergoing myocardial remodeling. This study investigates the potential role of extracellular ubiquitin in atherosclerosis by determining its effects on two critical atherosclerotic processes: the migration of vascular smooth muscles cells and the uptake of modified LDL by monocyte/macrophages in foam cell formation. In the presence ...


Creating A Computational Model Of Prion Disease In The Human Neocortex, Christina Alexandra Stephens Apr 2016

Creating A Computational Model Of Prion Disease In The Human Neocortex, Christina Alexandra Stephens

Undergraduate Honors Theses

One way to study disease is to model specific biological reactions or processes involved in the generation of the disease in terms of a system of differential equations. The equations, called kinetic rate laws, are often non-linear and high order, making them difficult to solve. By approximating equations in complex biological networks as linear first order reactions, we can solve large sets of equations using computational software, such as MATLAB, to determine general trends in the change of molecular concentrations over time. These trends can tell us details about the disease and direct us toward areas worthy of further investigation ...


Characterizing Importin Binding To Thyroid Hormone Receptor Α1, Emma Lynn Mcgregor Apr 2016

Characterizing Importin Binding To Thyroid Hormone Receptor Α1, Emma Lynn Mcgregor

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thyroid hormone, or T3, is essential in many bodily functions, from early development to the maintenance of health in adults. It is crucial for growth and skeletal development, development of the nervous system, cell differentiation, and maintenance of metabolic balance. The thyroid hormone receptor, TR, is a major mediator of thyroid hormone action. TR is a transcription factor and able to activate or repress transcription depending on the binding of its ligand, T3. There are two isoforms of TR, encoded by different genes: TRα and TRβ. Each of these isoforms have multiple alternative splicing products.

While TR’s ...


Understanding The Mechanisms By Which E. Coli Can Adapt To Disruption Of The Pathway For The Synthesis Of Pyridoxal-5’-Phosphate, Matthew Egleston Jan 2016

Understanding The Mechanisms By Which E. Coli Can Adapt To Disruption Of The Pathway For The Synthesis Of Pyridoxal-5’-Phosphate, Matthew Egleston

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Escherichia coli possesses a remarkable ability to adapt to new environments and overcome disruption of synthetic pathways. In this thesis, I show that E. coli with a deleted pdxB gene is able to bypass a disruption in the pyridoxal-5’-phosphate (PLP) synthesis pathway. The ΔpdxB strain cannot synthesize its own PLP via the traditional pathway, so it must create a new pathway to synthesize this essential vitamin. One way the ΔpdxB strain adapts is via serendipitous pathways that emerge as a direct result of mutations in PLP-depleted environments. These pathways appear when the strain is grown on both solid and ...


Endoplasmic Reticulum Area Expands Upon Onset Of The Unfolded Protein Response, Katelyn Camille Cook Jan 2016

Endoplasmic Reticulum Area Expands Upon Onset Of The Unfolded Protein Response, Katelyn Camille Cook

Undergraduate Honors Theses

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a dynamic organelle responsible for essential cell functions such as protein folding, calcium storage, and lipid synthesis. It also directly interacts with and regulates other organelles in the cell, such as endosomes or mitochondria, and is the site of bulk protein synthesis for both secretion and the cellular endomembrane system. However, cellular stressors such as heat shock, chemical imbalance, or calcium depletion can disrupt the protein-folding capacity of the ER, causing activation of the ER-mediated unfolded protein response (UPR) in order to either restore homeostasis or initiate apoptosis. Chronic ER stress is a hallmark of ...


Improving The Efficiency Of Crispr-Cas9: The Expression & Purification Of Cas9, Elaine Shults Jan 2016

Improving The Efficiency Of Crispr-Cas9: The Expression & Purification Of Cas9, Elaine Shults

Undergraduate Honors Theses

p53 is a transcription factor that plays a significant role in cell cycle regulation, senescence, and apoptosis. The p53 protein has been widely studied for its link to human cancer, and is estimated to be mutated in ~50% of all human cancers. This project focused on generating a p53-null A549 cell line using the genome editing technique CRISPR (Clustered Regularly-Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats)-Cas9. CRISPR-Cas9 was employed to generate a simultaneous knock-in/knockout of mCherry and WTp53, respectively. The mCherry gene was inserted at the WTp53 endogenous translational start site (TSS), thereby rendering WTp53 inactive and mCherry “active” whenever WTp53 ...


With Or Without You: Studying The Requirement Of P53 For Anti-Cancer Responses To Nuclear Export Inhibitors, Andrea E. Doak Jan 2016

With Or Without You: Studying The Requirement Of P53 For Anti-Cancer Responses To Nuclear Export Inhibitors, Andrea E. Doak

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Exportin-1 (XPO-1) is responsible for the movement of cargo proteins out of the nucleus and into the cytoplasm. Selective inhibitors of nuclear export (SINE) bind XPO-1 at cysteine-528, which results in the sequestration of cargo proteins in the nucleus. SINE drugs are currently being developed and tested in the treatment of many types of cancers. One of the cargos, p53 may play an important role in the efficacy of SINE. To test the necessity of p53 in the action of SINE drugs, matched pairs of cell lines with wildtype or functionally disrupted p53 were analyzed for differences in their cell ...


Application Of The Split Gfp System To Listeria Monocytogenes To Visualize The Virulence Factor Inlc, Dilara Batan Jan 2016

Application Of The Split Gfp System To Listeria Monocytogenes To Visualize The Virulence Factor Inlc, Dilara Batan

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) is an opportunistic pathogen that is able to survive in a range of environments and cell types, and therefore serves as an important model system for host-pathogen studies. Lm can enter mammalian cells and survive within these host cells by secreting a number of virulence proteins during these steps. In the literature, there are inconsistencies in the localizations of one of these effector proteins, InlC. In order to better understand the localizations of the Lm effector protein InlC in the live cell during infections, a split GFP approach is taken to fluorescently label the protein. This system ...


A Computationally Designed Protein-Ligand Interaction Is Mechanically Robust, William John Van Patten Jan 2016

A Computationally Designed Protein-Ligand Interaction Is Mechanically Robust, William John Van Patten

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Protein-ligand interactions govern essential and ubiquitous biological processes such as immune response and gene regulation. Recently, the first computationally designed ligand-binding protein named DIG10.3 was developed by the Baker lab at the University of Washington. This artificially designed (rather than naturally evolved) ligand binding protein exhibited high affinity and selectivity to its target ligand, Digoxigenin (Dig). Such computationally designed ligand-binders offer promising capabilities in diagnostics and therapeutics for a wide range of diseases. By applying a mechanical force to a single DIG10.3::Digoxigenin interaction through atomic force microscope (AFM)-based single-molecule force spectroscopy (SMFS) we can extract unique ...


The Biochemistry Of Cellobiose Metabolism In Sinorhizobium Meliloti, Myhanh T. Chu Jan 2016

The Biochemistry Of Cellobiose Metabolism In Sinorhizobium Meliloti, Myhanh T. Chu

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Sinorhizobium meliloti is a root-nodulating soil bacterium that is agriculturally important due to its ability to synthesize NH3 from N2 through the process of nitrogen fixation.1 To effectively harness S. meliloti's nitrogen-fixing ability, rhizobial metabolism of carbon sources found in the soil must be understood. Understanding how S. meliloti metabolizes cellobiose is important because cellobiose is a degradation product of the cellulose found in plant walls and cellulose is found in high concentrations in the soil.2,3 Growth on cellobiose was completely eliminated in constructed double mutant strains lacking a β-glucosidase and another unidentified gene ...


Venom Peptide Induced Inhibition Of Escherichia Coli Atp Synthase, Sofiya Azim May 2015

Venom Peptide Induced Inhibition Of Escherichia Coli Atp Synthase, Sofiya Azim

Undergraduate Honors Theses

ATP is the main cellular energy generated by the enzyme ATP synthase in almost all organisms from bacteria to vertebrates. While malfunction of the ATP synthase complex is responsible for several disease conditions, the enzyme itself can be used as a potent molecular drug target to combat many diseases including microbial infections, cancer, tuberculosis, and obesity. Recent widespread escalation of antibiotic resistant microbes in general and E. coli in particular demands novel alternative approaches to combat microbial infections. Inhibition of ATP synthase by inhibitors such as peptides is known to deprive microbes of required energy, resulting in microbial cell death ...


Unnatural Amino Acids In Proteins For Development Of Novel Biochemical Tools, Jordan Villa May 2015

Unnatural Amino Acids In Proteins For Development Of Novel Biochemical Tools, Jordan Villa

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Unnatural amino acids (UAAs) permit the incorporation of novel biochemical functionalities into proteins. This expansion of the genetic code has enabled enhanced spatial and temporal control of protein activity and conferred novel protein reactivity. This study examines the incorporation of three UAAs: fluoro-tyrosine, ortho-nitrobenzyl-tyrosine, and propargyloxy-phenylalanine towards various applications. Each UAA was successfully incorporated into a protein of interest (GFP or PRMT1) to facilitate the desired manipulation of protein function. The resulting alterations to GFP fluorescence, PRMT1 activity, or immobilization using Glaser-Hay bioconjugation demonstrate the success and practicality of the utilization of UAAs in the development of novel biochemical tools.


Characterization Of Pseudophosphatase Mk-Styx-Induced Neuronal Differentiation In Pc12 Cells, Dallas A. Banks Apr 2015

Characterization Of Pseudophosphatase Mk-Styx-Induced Neuronal Differentiation In Pc12 Cells, Dallas A. Banks

Undergraduate Honors Theses

MK-STYX [MAPK (mitogen activated protein kinase) phosphoserine/threonine/tyrosine binding protein] is a pseudophosphatase member of the MAPK phosphatase family. Though structurally related to the MAPK phosphatases, MK-STYX lacks the nucleophilic cysteine and histidine residues essential for catalysis. Despite its lack of catalytic activity, MK-STYX maintains its ability to bind to phosphorylated proteins, but not dephosphorylating them. This thesis focuses on further characterizing the role of MK-STYX in PC12 neuronal differentiation. The PC12 cell line is widely used as a model to study neuronal differentiation. Our previous data demonstrated that MK-STYX induces neuronal differentiation in PC12 cells. The results presented ...


A Distinct Subunit Composition Of Chromatin-Bound Mediator, Eliza Foster Jan 2015

A Distinct Subunit Composition Of Chromatin-Bound Mediator, Eliza Foster

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Mediator is a multi-subunit protein complex that plays an essential role in transcription by integrating DNA-binding transcription factors (TFs) bound to the enhancer and general transcription factors (GTFs) bound to the promoter of a gene. Mediator is similar to other general transcription factors in that it associates with the promoter region of DNA and interacts with RNA polymerase II (RNAPII), but its large size and many subunits allows it to interact with both GTFs at the promoter and other TFs bound to enhancer DNA. Mediator may regulate transcription by interacting with chromatin. Mediator can exist in different structural states and ...


Effect Of Mirna-138 Injected Into The Medial Habenula On Nicotine Intake And Preference, Kelsey Fitzgerald Jan 2015

Effect Of Mirna-138 Injected Into The Medial Habenula On Nicotine Intake And Preference, Kelsey Fitzgerald

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Nicotine is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the world today and is associated with many adverse health outcomes, including death. Nicotine binds to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the brain reward pathway, triggering the release of a number of neurotransmitters, including dopamine. The goal of the current study was to determine whether miR-138, a miRNA that targets and reduces β4 subunit gene expression, injected into the medial habenula would lead to changes in nicotine intake/preference. We hypothesized that miR-138 would down regulate β4 expression, leading to decreased aversion to nicotine and increased nicotine intake/preference. Male ...