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ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Contributor
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Date Range
2010 2019


Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) is an intrinsically disordered protein that has no regular secondary structure, but plays an important role in vasodilation and pain transmission in migraine. Little is known about the structure and dynamics of the monomeric state of CGRP or how CGRP is able to function in the cell, despite the lack of regular secondary structure. This work focuses characterizing the non-local structural and dynamical properties of the CGRP monomer in solution, and understanding how these are affected by the sequence and the solution environment. The unbound, free state of CGRP is measured using a nanosecond laser-pump spectrophotometer, …

Contributors
Sizemore, Sara, Vaiana, Sara, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2015

In eukaryotes, DNA is packed in a highly condensed and hierarchically organized structure called chromatin, in which DNA tightly wraps around the histone octamer consisting of one histone 3-histone 4 (H3-H4) tetramer and two histone 2A- histone 2B (H2A-H2B) dimers with 147 base pairs in an almost two left handed turns. Almost all DNA dependent cellular processes, such as DNA duplication, transcription, DNA repair and recombination, take place in the chromatin form. Based on the critical importance of appropriate chromatin condensation, this thesis focused on the folding behavior of the nucleosome array reconstituted using different templates with various controllable factors …

Contributors
Fu, Qiang, Lindsay, Stuart M, Yan, Hao, et al.
Created Date
2010

A novel small metal-binding protein (SmbP), with only 93 residues and no similarity to other known proteins, has been isolated from the periplasm of Nitrosomonas europaea. It is characterized by its high percentage (17%) of histidines, a motif of ten repeats of seven residues, a four α-helix bundle structure, and a high binding affinity to about six equivalents of Cu2+. The goal of this study is to investigate the Cu2+ binding sites in SmbP and to understand how Cu2+ stabilizes the protein. Preliminary folding experiments indicated that Cu2+ greatly stabilizes SmbP. In this study, protein folding data from circular dichroism …

Contributors
Yan, Qin, Francisco, Wilson A, Allen, James, et al.
Created Date
2010

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neurodegenerative disease that results in the loss of lower body muscle function. SMA is the second leading genetic cause of death in infants and arises from the loss of the Survival of Motor Neuron (SMN) protein. SMN is produced by two genes, smn1 and smn2, that are identical with the exception of a C to T conversion in exon 7 of the smn2 gene. SMA patients lacking the smn1 gene, rely on smn2 for production of SMN. Due to an alternative splicing event, smn2 primarily encodes a non-functional SMN lacking exon 7 (SMN D7) …

Contributors
Niday, Tracy Christina, Allen, James P, Wachter, Rebekka, et al.
Created Date
2012

The utilization of solar energy requires an efficient means of its storage as fuel. In bio-inspired artificial photosynthesis, light energy can be used to drive water oxidation, but catalysts that produce molecular oxygen from water are required. This dissertation demonstrates a novel complex utilizing earth-abundant Ni in combination with glycine as an efficient catalyst with a modest overpotential of 0.475 ± 0.005 V for a current density of 1 mA/cm<super>2</super> at pH 11. The production of molecular oxygen at a high potential was verified by measurement of the change in oxygen concentration, yielding a Faradaic efficiency of 60 ± 5%. …

Contributors
Wang, Dong, Allen, James P, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2014

One of the greatest problems facing society today is the development of a sustainable, carbon neutral energy source to curb the reliance on fossil fuel combustion as the primary source of energy. To overcome this challenge, research efforts have turned to biology for inspiration, as nature is adept at inter-converting low molecular weight precursors into complex molecules. A number of inorganic catalysts have been reported that mimic the active sites of energy-relevant enzymes such as hydrogenases and carbon monoxide dehydrogenase. However, these inorganic models fail to achieve the high activity of the enzymes, which function in aqueous systems, as they …

Contributors
Sommer, Dayn Joseph, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, Redding, Kevin, et al.
Created Date
2016

A major goal of synthetic biology is to recapitulate emergent properties of life. Despite a significant body of work, a longstanding question that remains to be answered is how such a complex system arose? In this dissertation, synthetic nucleic acid molecules with alternative sugar-phosphate backbones were investigated as potential ancestors of DNA and RNA. Threose nucleic acid (TNA) is capable of forming stable helical structures with complementary strands of itself and RNA. This provides a plausible mechanism for genetic information transfer between TNA and RNA. Therefore TNA has been proposed as a potential RNA progenitor. Using molecular evolution, functional sequences …

Contributors
Zhang, Su, Chaut, John C, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2011

Cyanovirin-N (CV-N) is a naturally occurring lectin originally isolated from the cyanobacteria Nostoc ellipsosporum. This 11 kDa lectin is 101 amino acids long with two binding sites, one at each end of the protein. CV-N specifically binds to terminal Man&alpha;1-2Man&alpha; motifs on the branched, high mannose Man9 and Man8 glycosylations found on enveloped viruses including Ebola, Influenza, and HIV. wt-CVN has micromolar binding to soluble Man&alpha;1-2Man&alpha; and also inhibits HIV entry at low nanomolar concentrations. CV-N's high affinity and specificity for Man&alpha;1-2Man&alpha; makes it an excellent lectin to study for its glycan-specific properties. The long-term aim of this project is …

Contributors
Ruben, Melissa, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, Allen, James, et al.
Created Date
2013

Palladium metal in its various forms has been heavily studied for many catalytic, hydrogen storage and sensing applications and as an electrocatalyst in fuel cells. A short review on various applications of palladium and the mechanism of Pd nanoparticles synthesis will be discussed in chapter 1. Size dependent properties of various metal nanoparticles and a thermodynamic theory proposed by Plieth to predict size dependent redox properties of metal nanoparticles will also be discussed in chapter 1. To evaluate size dependent stability of metal nanoparticles using electrochemical techniques in aqueous media, a synthetic route was designed to produce water soluble Pd …

Contributors
Kumar, Ashok, Buttry, Daniel A., Gould, Ian R., et al.
Created Date
2016

Natural hydrogenases catalyze the reduction of protons to molecular hydrogen reversibly under mild conditions; these enzymes have an unusual active site architecture, in which a diiron site is connected to a cubane type [4Fe-4S] cluster. Due to the relevance of this reaction to energy production, and in particular to sustainable fuel production, there have been substantial amount of research focused on developing biomimetic organometallic models. However, most of these organometallic complexes cannot revisit the structural and functional fine-tuning provided by the protein matrix as seen in the natural enzyme. The goal of this thesis is to build a protein based …

Contributors
Roy, Anindya, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, Yan, Hao, et al.
Created Date
2014

Enzymes which regulate the metabolic reactions for sustaining all living things, are the engines of life. The discovery of molecules that are able to control enzyme activity is of great interest for therapeutics and the biocatalysis industry. Peptides are promising enzyme modulators due to their large chemical diversity and the existence of well-established methods for library synthesis. Microarrays represent a powerful tool for screening thousands of molecules, on a small chip, for candidates that interact with enzymes and modulate their functions. In this work, a method is presented for screening high-density arrays to discover peptides that bind and modulate enzyme …

Contributors
Fu, Jinglin, Woodbury, Neal W, Johnston, Stephen A, et al.
Created Date
2010

Telomerase is a unique reverse transcriptase that has evolved specifically to extend the single stranded DNA at the 3' ends of chromosomes. To achieve this, telomerase uses a small section of its integral RNA subunit (TR) to reiteratively copy a short, canonically 6-nt, sequence repeatedly in a processive manner using a complex and currently poorly understood mechanism of template translocation to stop nucleotide addition, regenerate its template, and then synthesize a new repeat. In this study, several novel interactions between the telomerase protein and RNA components along with the DNA substrate are identified and characterized which come together to allow …

Contributors
Brown, Andrew, Chen, Julian J. L., Jones, Anne, et al.
Created Date
2014

All organisms need to be able to sense and respond to their environment. Much of this process takes place via proteins embedded in the cell membrane, the border between a living thing and the external world. Transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels are a superfamily of membrane proteins that play diverse roles in physiology. Among the 27 TRP channels found in humans and other animals, TRP melastatin 8 (TRPM8) and TRP vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) are the primary sensors of cold and hot temperatures, respectively. They underlie the molecular basis of somatic temperature sensation, but beyond this are also known to …

Contributors
Hilton, Jacob, Van Horn, Wade D, Levitus, Marcia, et al.
Created Date
2019

Cyanovirin-N (CVN) is a cyanobacterial lectin with potent anti-HIV activity, mediated by binding to the N-linked oligosaccharide moiety of the envelope protein gp120. CVN offers a scaffold to develop multivalent carbohydrate-binding proteins with tunable specificities and affinities. I present here biophysical calculations completed on a monomeric-stabilized mutant of cyanovirin-N, P51G-m4-CVN, in which domain A binding activity is abolished by four mutations; with comparisons made to CVN<super>mutDB</super>, in which domain B binding activity is abolished. Using Monte Carlo calculations and docking simulations, mutations in CVN<super>mutDB</super> were considered singularly, and the mutations E41A/G and T57A were found to impact the affinity towards …

Contributors
Woodrum, Brian William, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, Redding, Kevin, et al.
Created Date
2014

Telomerase is a specialized enzyme that adds telomeric DNA repeats to the chromosome ends to counterbalance the progressive telomere shortening over cell divisions. It has two essential core components, a catalytic telomerase reverse transcriptase protein (TERT), and a telomerase RNA (TR). TERT synthesizes telomeric DNA by reverse transcribing a short template sequence in TR. Unlike TERT, TR is extremely divergent in size, sequence and structure and has only been identified in three evolutionarily distant groups. The lack of knowledge on TR from important model organisms has been a roadblock for vigorous studies on telomerase regulation. To address this issue, a …

Contributors
Li, Yang, Chen, Julian Jl, Yan, Hao, et al.
Created Date
2011

Human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), also known as amylin, is a 37-residue intrinsically disordered hormone involved in glucose regulation and gastric emptying. The aggregation of hIAPP into amyloid fibrils is believed to play a causal role in type 2 diabetes. To date, not much is known about the monomeric state of hIAPP or how it undergoes an irreversible transformation from disordered peptide to insoluble aggregate. IAPP contains a highly conserved disulfide bond that restricts hIAPP(1-8) into a short ring-like structure: N_loop. Removal or chemical reduction of N_loop not only prevents cell response upon binding to the CGRP receptor, but also …

Contributors
Cope, Stephanie M., Vaiana, Sara M, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2013

In the 1970s James Watson recognized the inability of conventional DNA replication machinery to replicate the extreme termini of chromosomes known as telomeres. This inability is due to the requirement of a building block primer and was termed the end replication problem. Telomerase is nature's answer to the end replication problem. Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein which extends telomeres through reverse transcriptase activity by reiteratively copying a short intrinsic RNA sequence to generate 3' telomeric extensions. Telomeres protect chromosomes from erosion of coding genes during replication, as well as differentiate native chromosome ends from double stranded breaks. However, controlled erosion of …

Contributors
Bley, Christopher James, Chen, Julian, Allen, James, et al.
Created Date
2011

This thesis discusses the use of mass spectrometry and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), among other methods, to detect biomarkers of microorganisms in the environment. These methods can be used to detect bacteria involved in the degradation of environmental pollutants (bioremediation) or various single-celled pathogens, including those posing potential threats as bioterrorism agents. The first chapter introduces the hurdles in detecting in diverse environmental compartments in which they could be found, a select list of single-celled pathogens representing known or potential bioterrorism agents. These hurdles take the form of substances that interfere either directly or indirectly with the detection method. In …

Contributors
Hartmann, Erica Marie, Halden, Rolf U, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2012

Molecular docking serves as an important tool in modeling protein-ligand interactions. Most of the docking approaches treat the protein receptor as rigid and move the ligand in the binding pocket through an energy minimization, which is an incorrect approach as proteins are flexible and undergo conformational changes upon ligand binding. However, modeling receptor backbone flexibility in docking is challenging and computationally expensive due to the large conformational space that needs to be sampled. A novel flexible docking approach called BP-Dock (Backbone Perturbation docking) was developed to overcome this challenge. BP-Dock integrates both backbone and side chain conformational changes of a …

Contributors
Bolia, Ashini, Ozkan, Sefika Banu, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2015

The properties of materials depend heavily on the spatial distribution and connectivity of their constituent parts. This applies equally to materials such as diamond and glasses as it does to biomolecules that are the product of billions of years of evolution. In science, insight is often gained through simple models with characteristics that are the result of the few features that have purposely been retained. Common to all research within in this thesis is the use of network-based models to describe the properties of materials. This work begins with the description of a technique for decoupling boundary effects from intrinsic …

Contributors
De Graff, Adam M R, Thorpe, Michael F., Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2011