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Biochemical And Biophysical Studies Of Novel Features Of Ras-Related Protein Interactions, Kyla Marie Morinini Morris Dec 2013

Biochemical And Biophysical Studies Of Novel Features Of Ras-Related Protein Interactions, Kyla Marie Morinini Morris

Theses and Dissertations

The Ras superfamily of G-proteins are of great research interest for structure-function relationships among proteins as they act as molecular switches in the regulation of various biochemical reactions in the cell. They are regulated by protein-protein interactions targeted to the highly flexible switch regions. Mutations in G-proteins or their effectors may cause alterations in structure and/or function that can lead to overactivity.

The Ras-related protein Cell division cycle 42 (Cdc42) is important in regulating cell-signaling processes. The T35A mutation in Cdc42 leads to a decrease in flexibility of the Switch I region responsible for effector binding. The kinetics of ...


Monodentate, Bidentate And Photocrosslinkable Thiol Ligands For Improving Aqueous Biocompatible Quantum Dots, Hiroko Takeuchi Dec 2013

Monodentate, Bidentate And Photocrosslinkable Thiol Ligands For Improving Aqueous Biocompatible Quantum Dots, Hiroko Takeuchi

Theses and Dissertations

Water-soluble Quantum Dots (QDs) are highly sensitive fluorescent probes that are often used to study biological species. One of the most common ways to render QDs water-soluble for such applications is to apply hydrophilic thiolated ligands to the QD surface. However, these ligands are labile and can be easily exchanged on the QD surface, which can severely limit their application. As one way to overcome this limitation while maintaining a small colloidal size of QDs, we developed a method to stabilize hydrophilic thiolated ligands on the surface of QDs through the formation of a crosslinked shell using a photocrosslinking approach ...


The Development Of An In Vivo Microdialysis Collection Method Of Cytokines From Brain Tissue, Anthony W. Herbaugh Dec 2013

The Development Of An In Vivo Microdialysis Collection Method Of Cytokines From Brain Tissue, Anthony W. Herbaugh

Theses and Dissertations

In this thesis, different methods to improve the microdialysis collection procedure for cytokines from brain tissue are presented. The first method was based on stopped flow and results indicating that no significant difference in relative recovery between stopped flow and continuous flow are shown. The second method is an antibody bead-based enhancement method. With the antibody bead-based method, a 3.5 fold increase in the collected concentrations of Chemokine (C-C motif) Ligand 2 (CCL2) were observed. However, there was no significant increase in the in vivo collection efficiency of Interleukin-6 (IL-6) using the antibody enhancement. Finally the development of an ...


Gas-Phase Covalent And Non-Covalent Ion/Ion Chemistry Of Biological Macromolecules, John Robert Stutzman Oct 2013

Gas-Phase Covalent And Non-Covalent Ion/Ion Chemistry Of Biological Macromolecules, John Robert Stutzman

Open Access Dissertations

Gas-phase ion/ion chemistry involves the interaction of oppositely charged ions inside of the mass spectrometer. During this gas-phase chemistry, particle transfer (i.e., proton and electron) or synthesis can occur at rapid reaction rates. Particle transfer represents a mature area of ion/ion chemistry, while selective covalent modification represents a fairly new area of gas-phase chemistry. Gas-phase covalent chemistry is based on traditional solution phase organic chemistry.

The work demonstrated in this dissertation greatly involves gas-phase covalent and non-covalent Schiff base chemistry on peptide and protein ions. The reagent dianion, 4-formyl 1,3-benzene disulfonic acid, has been used to ...


The Termite Digestome: Understanding The Digestive Physiology Involved In Lignocellulosic Biomass Degradation, Zachary John Karl Oct 2013

The Termite Digestome: Understanding The Digestive Physiology Involved In Lignocellulosic Biomass Degradation, Zachary John Karl

Open Access Dissertations

The purpose of this research was to advance the understanding of lower termite digestive physiology and discover potential biocatalysts that can aid in the degradation of lignocellulosic biomass. Various protein characterization and gene expression methods were used throughout this research in order to accomplish these objectives. The results of this dissertation indicate that: 1) termites and their symbionts act in a synergistic manner to degrade biomass in vitro, 2) the host fraction of the gut (i.e., foregut and midgut) is the likely site of glucose absorption, 3) the termite and its symbionts contribute specific enzymes to the digestive process ...


Characterization Of The Specificity And Functions Of The Protein Phosphatase Cdc14, Christie Eissler Oct 2013

Characterization Of The Specificity And Functions Of The Protein Phosphatase Cdc14, Christie Eissler

Open Access Dissertations

Protein phosphorylation is perhaps the most ubiquitous posttranslational modification in eukaryotes and recent studies suggest that upwards of 75% of human proteins are phosphorylated. Many proteins are phosphorylated at multiple sites, often controlled by multiple kinases and phosphatases. Multisite phosphorylation can differentially affect the functional and regulatory cellular outcomes. For example, dephosphorylation of a protein at a particular site may inhibit nuclear localization of a protein while dephosphorylation of a different site may be necessary for enzymatic activation of a protein. Thus, multisite protein phosphorylation can complicate our understanding of the biological significance and the functional consequences of protein phosphorylation ...


Design, Synthesis, And Evaluation Of Molecular Inhibitors For Biologically Relevant Enzymes, Sarah Emma St. John Oct 2013

Design, Synthesis, And Evaluation Of Molecular Inhibitors For Biologically Relevant Enzymes, Sarah Emma St. John

Open Access Dissertations

The work in this thesis details the design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of molecular inhibitors for the inhibition of biologically relevant enzymes. The first three chapters of this thesis concern the polyphenol resveratrol and its inhibition of the quinone reductase 2 (QR2) enzyme. The work on this subject resulted in the complete design, synthesis, biological and structural evaluation of a second generation library of resveratrol analogues. From this work we identified a novel resveratrol analogue that inhibits QR2 in a previously unknown binding orientation. The fourth chapter of this thesis details the de novo design of molecules for the inhibition ...


Characterization Of Caxck31, A Bacterial Calcium/Proton Antiporter, Marc Robert Ridilla Oct 2013

Characterization Of Caxck31, A Bacterial Calcium/Proton Antiporter, Marc Robert Ridilla

Open Access Dissertations

To better understand a class of transporters known as Calcium/Cation Antiporters (CaCAs), the bacterial calcium/proton antiporter CAXCK31 was purified and characterized. New methods were developed for its heterologous overexpression and purification. These methods help to define stress responses to toxic membrane overproduction in E. coli and may be broadly applicable to studies of membrane proteins. The results from a variety of biochemical and biophysical experiments demonstrated that CAXCK31 exists as a dimer in the membrane and can be purified in the dimeric state. The methods used include chemical cross-linking, FRET, and SEC-MALS. In addition, various transport properties of ...


Structural And Functional Characterization Of The Endosome-Associated Deubiquitinating Enzyme Amsh, Christopher Williamson Davies Oct 2013

Structural And Functional Characterization Of The Endosome-Associated Deubiquitinating Enzyme Amsh, Christopher Williamson Davies

Open Access Dissertations

The endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT) machinery is a ubiquitin-dependent molecular mechanism made of up of four individual complexes: ESCRT-0, -I, -II, III, that is necessary for regulating the degradation of cell surface receptors directed towards the lysosome. Not only are the ESCRTs implicated in endosomal sorting and trafficking of proteins, its members also have roles in other important biological processes such as: cytokinesis, HIV budding, transcriptional regulation, and autophagy. As a function of its involvement in several processes throughout the cell, the ESCRT machinery is implicated in a wide variety of diseases including cancer, neurological disease, bacterial ...


Development Of Tyrosine Kinase Peptide Biosensors And Methods For Detection, Andrew Michael Lipchik Oct 2013

Development Of Tyrosine Kinase Peptide Biosensors And Methods For Detection, Andrew Michael Lipchik

Open Access Dissertations

New methods to monitor tyrosine kinase activity are critical for studying kinases in cell biology, drug discovery and the clinic. Peptide-based biosensors for detection of kinase activity utilitize a kinase specific artificial peptide substrate, which can report intercellular kinase activity through the incorporation of phosphate.

An artificial Syk substrate peptide was developed and incorporated with other functional modules to produce a Syk biosensor. These modules included a biotin-tag for affinity capture, a photo-cleavable amino acid to allow release of the substrate from the delivery module and the cell penetrating peptides TAT. A live cell kinase assay utilizing this biosensor was ...


Estimation Of Variation For High-Throughput Molecular Biological Experiments With Small Sample Size, Danni Yu Oct 2013

Estimation Of Variation For High-Throughput Molecular Biological Experiments With Small Sample Size, Danni Yu

Open Access Dissertations

Motivation: In the quantification of molecular components, a large variation can affect and even potentially mislead the biological conclusions. Meanwhile, the high-throughput experiments often involve a small number of samples due to the limitation of cost and time. In such cases, the stochastic information may dominate the outcome of an experiment because there may not be enough samples to present the true biological information. It is challenging to distinguish the changes in phenotype from the stochastic variation.

Methods: Since the biological molecules have been quantified with different technologies, different statistical methods are required. Focusing on three types of important high-throughput ...


Excretion Of Phenolic Compounds After Consumption Of Fresh Versus Aged Chokeberry Juice In Rats, Sarah Elizabeth Graves Aug 2013

Excretion Of Phenolic Compounds After Consumption Of Fresh Versus Aged Chokeberry Juice In Rats, Sarah Elizabeth Graves

Theses and Dissertations

Flavonoids, such as anthocyanins, may be responsible for the health benefits of chokeberries, as they are present in large quantities in chokeberries and are potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. Despite these health properties, previous investigations on the bioavailability of flavonoids illustrate that little of the ingested amount reaches the bloodstream. This study investigated two factors that may help to explain these inconsistencies. First, storage of berry fruits and berry fruit products leads to extensive polymerization of their anthocyanins with procyanidins. Additionally, after consumption flavonoids may undergo metabolism into phenolic acids and subsequent conjugation to an extent that may explain their ...


Design, Development, And Characterization Of Novel Antimicrobial Peptides For Pharmaceutical Applications, Yazan H. Akkam Aug 2013

Design, Development, And Characterization Of Novel Antimicrobial Peptides For Pharmaceutical Applications, Yazan H. Akkam

Theses and Dissertations

Candida species are the fourth leading cause of nosocomial infection. The increased incidence of drug-resistant Candida species has emphasized the need for new antifungal drugs. Histatin 5 is a naturally occurring human salivary antifungal peptide and the first line of defense against infections of the oral cavity. This research has focused on understanding the activity of histatin 5, and subsequently designing novel peptides that may serve as models for the further development of therapeutics to treat fungal infection.

This objective has been achieved in three steps: studying the structural requirement of histatin 5 involved in antifungal activity, the identification of ...


Structure-Function Relationship Of The Ligand-Binding Domain Of The Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor, Ryan Thurman Aug 2013

Structure-Function Relationship Of The Ligand-Binding Domain Of The Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor, Ryan Thurman

Theses and Dissertations

The interactions between FGF and fibroblast growth factor receptors are responsible for the regulation of key cellular processes. FGF is important in both germ cell and embryonic developments. FGF continues to play important roles during adulthood by regulating embryogenesis, cell differentiation, and wound healing (1-7). The regulations of these cellular events are initiated through FGF binding to the fibroblast growth factor receptors. The complex formed by FGF and the receptor involves a key interaction with heparin. Through interactions with heparin, the FGF, FGFR and Heparin form a 2:2:2 complex (8). This complex formation results in autophosphorylation in the ...


Algae To Propellants: Biosynthesis Of 1,2-Propanediol From Algal Derived Sugars, Lauren Rachelle Merriman Aug 2013

Algae To Propellants: Biosynthesis Of 1,2-Propanediol From Algal Derived Sugars, Lauren Rachelle Merriman

Theses and Dissertations

Propylene glycol dinitrate (PGDN) is an important component used in the formulation of energetic materials. A renewable, environmentally-friendly and effective production technique for the production of 1,2-propanediol, an important precursor to PGDN, is desired. While fermentation of 1,2-propanediol has been achieved, it suffers from major limitations such as expensive feed sugars and relatively low yields. It is hypothesized that algae sugars could serve as a feedstock for the microbial synthesis of 1,2-propanediol, thereby reducing production costs and enhancing sustainability.

Algal biomass produced from an Algal Turf Scrubber® has proven to have significant potential as a source of ...


A Mathematical Model And Numerical Method For Thermoelectric Dna Sequencing, Liwei Shi Jul 2013

A Mathematical Model And Numerical Method For Thermoelectric Dna Sequencing, Liwei Shi

Doctoral Dissertations

DNA sequencing is the process of determining the precise order of nucleotide bases, adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine within a DNA molecule. It includes any method or technology that is used to determine the order of the four bases in a strand of DNA. The advent of rapid DNA sequencing methods has greatly accelerated biological and medical research and discovery. Thermoelectric DNA sequencing is a novel method to sequence DNA by measuring the heat that is released when DNA polymerase inserts a deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate into a growing DNA strand. The thermoelectric device for this project is composed of four parts ...


The Geometry And Sensitivity Of Ion-Beam Sculpted Nanopores For Single Molecule Dna Analysis, Ryan Connor Rollings May 2013

The Geometry And Sensitivity Of Ion-Beam Sculpted Nanopores For Single Molecule Dna Analysis, Ryan Connor Rollings

Theses and Dissertations

In this dissertation, the relationship between the geometry of ion-beam sculpted solid-state nanopores and their ability to analyze single DNA molecules using resistive pulse sensing is investigated. To accomplish this, the three dimensional shape of the nanopore is determined using energy filtered and tomographic transmission electron microscopy. It is shown that this information enables the prediction of the ionic current passing through a voltage biased nanopore and improves the prediction of the magnitude of current drop signals when the nanopore interacts with single DNA molecules. The dimensional stability of nanopores in solution is monitored using this information and is improved ...


Oxidation Of Thrombomodulin Methionine 388 In Cigarette Smokers, Samrat B. Thapa May 2013

Oxidation Of Thrombomodulin Methionine 388 In Cigarette Smokers, Samrat B. Thapa

Theses and Dissertations

This work tested the hypothesis that oxidation of methionine 388 in thrombomodulin is higher in cigarette smokers, and thus a likely contributor towards the hypercoagulable state in smokers. Thrombomodulin, a protein cofactor found on endothelial cell surfaces, regulates the activity of thrombin. Thrombin bound to thrombomodulin no longer converts fibrinogen to fibrin, but instead activates Protein C which, in turn, stops the coagulation cascade by inactivation of clotting factors. The oxidation of methionine 388 of thrombomodulin has been shown in vitro to dramatically decrease the anticoagulant cofactor activity of thrombomodulin. The blood of cigarette smokers is more prone to clot ...


Effects Of Ergot Alkaloids And Bovine Bodily Fluids On Cytochrome P450 Activity, Nicholas Scott Ezell May 2013

Effects Of Ergot Alkaloids And Bovine Bodily Fluids On Cytochrome P450 Activity, Nicholas Scott Ezell

Theses and Dissertations

This thesis evaluates the PromegaTM P450-Glo assay (PromegaTM V9800) as a tool for quantifying ergot alkaloid concentration. Current techniques used for detection of ergot alkaloids are slow and expensive, do not detect all ergot alkaloids, or are not effective on bovine bodily fluids. The first study was conducted to determine effects of commercial ergot alkaloids (n = 6; 0 - 400 μM) on the PromegaTM P450-Glo assay. Cytochrome P450 (CYP450) activity in assay had a differential response to each ergot alkaloid and concentration. As concentrations of ergotamine, dihydroergotamine, ergocornine, and ergocryptine increased CYP450 activity was inhibited (P < 0.05). Increases in ergonovine and pergolide concentration did not affect (P > 0.1 ...


Interactions Between Ions And Lysenin Nanochannels And Their Potential Applications As Biosensors, Radwan Awwad Al Faouri May 2013

Interactions Between Ions And Lysenin Nanochannels And Their Potential Applications As Biosensors, Radwan Awwad Al Faouri

Theses and Dissertations

Lysenin is classified as a pore-forming toxin protein that is isolated from the earthworm Eisenia fetida and consists of 297 amino acids [1]. Lysenin inserts large conducting pores (3.0-4.7 nm in diameter) into artificial membranes (BLM) which include sphingomyelin. These pores (channels) are open and oriented upon insertion into the bilayer lipid membrane. Lysenin channels gate at positive voltages (voltage-induced gating), but not at negative voltages. Lysenin pores also exhibit activity modulation in response to changes in ionic strength and pH, indicating that electrostatic interaction is responsible for Lysenin conductance activities. In this line of inquiries, and by ...


Investigations Toward Tunability Of Mechanical, Thermal, And Impact Properties Of Thiol-Ene Networks For Novel High Energy Absorbing Materials, Olivia Devon Mcnair May 2013

Investigations Toward Tunability Of Mechanical, Thermal, And Impact Properties Of Thiol-Ene Networks For Novel High Energy Absorbing Materials, Olivia Devon Mcnair

Dissertations

The UV polymerization of thiols with electron rich alkenes is a highly resourceful reaction that has been utilized by scientists within various disciplines to produce an even more versatile display of applications. This dissertation focuses on a newer application, thiol-ene network (TEN) materials for energy absorption devices. TEN networks display a host of positive polymer properties such as low stress, high optical clarity and uniformity, but they also suffer from unfavorable mechanical properties such as low toughness and elongation at break. The poor mechanical properties demonstrated by TENs prohibit them as choice materials for applications requiring thicker material forms, including ...


Biodiesel Transesterification Byproducts As Soil Amendments, Solomon Parker May 2013

Biodiesel Transesterification Byproducts As Soil Amendments, Solomon Parker

Theses and Dissertations

For every ten kilograms of biodiesel that is produced from the transesterification of vegetable oil, approximately 1 kg of glycerol is produced as a byproduct. Also known as glycerin, it is a chemical used in many products including cosmetics, foods, and desiccants. However, the crude glycerol created during biodiesel production is tainted with potassium hydroxide and methanol making it unsuitable for commercial use without costly refinement. With increase in production of biodiesel driven by rising fuel prices, the market has become glutted with glycerol and it is on the threshold of becoming a waste product. Common methods for disposing glycerol ...


Fate Of 17Α-Estradiol, 17Β-Estradiol, And Estrone In Agricultural Soils And Sediments, Michael L. Mashtare Jr Jan 2013

Fate Of 17Α-Estradiol, 17Β-Estradiol, And Estrone In Agricultural Soils And Sediments, Michael L. Mashtare Jr

Open Access Dissertations

The shift to concentrated animal production facilities and increasing rural-urban migration has increased the localized land application of nearly 1 billion tons of manure and biosolids annually. Although these applications provide nutrients and contribute to soil tilth, they also serve as a source for an estimated 49 tons of the natural manure-borne estrogens, 17α-estradiol (17α-E2), 17β-estradiol (17β-E2), and estrone (E1). While these estrogens are critical to endocrine systems, the low concentrations observed in the environment can disrupt endocrine function in non-target organisms, e.g., altering secondary sex characteristics which can lead to changes in wildlife communities.

Research presented here focuses ...