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Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology Commons

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Full-Text Articles in Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology

Evolution Of Molecular Function In Mammalian Neurons, Chantal Francis Dec 2011

Evolution Of Molecular Function In Mammalian Neurons, Chantal Francis

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

A common question in neuroscience is what forms the neurological basis of the variety of behaviors in mammals. While many studies have compared mammalian anatomy and evolution, few have investigated the physiologic functions of individual neurons in a comparative manner. Neurons’ ability to modify their features in response to stimuli, known as synaptic plasticity, is fundamental for learning and memory. A key feature of synaptic plasticity involves delivering mRNA to distinct domains where they are locally translated. Regulatory coordination of these events is critical for synaptogenesis and synaptic plasticity as defects in these processes can lead to neurological diseases. In ...


Electrosensory Ampullary Organs Are Derived From Lateral Line Placodes In Bony Fishes, Melissa S. Modrell, William E. Benis, R. Glenn Northcutt, Marcus C. Davis, Clare V.H. Baker Oct 2011

Electrosensory Ampullary Organs Are Derived From Lateral Line Placodes In Bony Fishes, Melissa S. Modrell, William E. Benis, R. Glenn Northcutt, Marcus C. Davis, Clare V.H. Baker

Faculty Publications

Electroreception is an ancient subdivision of the lateral line sensory system, found in all major vertebrate groups (though lost in frogs, amniotes and most ray-finned fishes). Electroreception is mediated by 'hair cells' in ampullary organs, distributed in fields flanking lines of mechanosensory hair cell-containing neuromasts that detect local water movement. Neuromasts, and afferent neurons for both neuromasts and ampullary organs, develop from lateral line placodes. Although ampullary organs in the axolotl (a representative of the lobe-finned clade of bony fishes) are lateral line placode-derived, non-placodal origins have been proposed for electroreceptors in other taxa. Here we show morphological and molecular ...


A Messenger Molecule Governs Interdependency In An Evolved Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Biofilm Community, Thomas Macelliott Johnson Jan 2011

A Messenger Molecule Governs Interdependency In An Evolved Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Biofilm Community, Thomas Macelliott Johnson

Honors Theses and Capstones

Biofilm populations are known to harbor great diversity, but the importance of this diversity is not fully understood. A likely contributor to this variation is the second messenger molecule cyclic-di-GMP: low levels associate with a planktonic lifestyle while high levels favor biofilm formation. In ongoing studies of an evolving biofilm population of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA), we observed extensive ecological diversification that may relate to this lifestyle switch. In PA, the gene bifA encodes a phosphodiesterase that is known to degrade cyclic-di-GMP and reduce biofilm. This gene was cloned onto a plasmid under control of an inducible promoter and the plasmid ...