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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
Date Range
2010 2019


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

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

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

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

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

Telomerase ribonucleoprotein is a unique reverse transcriptase that adds telomeric DNA repeats to chromosome ends. Telomerase RNA (TER) is extremely divergent in size, sequence and has to date only been identified in vertebrate, yeast, ciliate and plant species. Herein, the identification and characterization of TERs from an evolutionarily distinct group, filamentous fungi, is presented. Based on phylogenetic analysis of 69 TER sequences and mutagenesis analysis of in vitro reconstituted Neurospora telomerase, we discovered a conserved functional core in filamentous fungal TERs sharing homologous structural features with vertebrate TERs. This core contains the template-pseudoknot and P6/P6.1 domains, essential for enzymatic activity, …

Contributors
Qi, Xiaodong, Chen, Julian, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2011

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

Natural products that target the DNA of cancer cells have been an important source of knowledge and understanding in the development of anticancer chemotherapeutic agents. Bleomycin (BLM) exemplifies this class of DNA damaging agent. The ability of BLM to chelate metal ions and effect oxidative damage of the deoxyribose sugar moiety of DNA has been studied extensively for four decades. Here, the study of BLM A5 was conducted using a previously isolated library of hairpin DNAs found to bind strongly to metal free BLM. The ability of BLM to effect single-stranded was then extensively characterized on both the 3′ and …

Contributors
Segerman, Zachary Jay, Hecht, Sidney M, Levitus, Marcia, et al.
Created Date
2011

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

Acquisition of fluorescence via autocatalytic processes is unique to few proteins in the natural world. Fluorescent proteins (FPs) have been integral to live-cell imaging techniques for decades; however, mechanistic information is still emerging fifty years after the discovery of the original green fluorescent protein (GFP). Modification of the fluorescence properties of the proteins derived from GFP allows increased complexity of experiments and consequently, information content of the data acquired. The importance of arginine-96 in GFP has been widely discussed. It has been established as vital to the kinetics of chromophore maturation and to the overall fold of GFP before post-translational …

Contributors
Watkins, Jennifer L., Wachter, Rebekka M, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2012

Hydrogenases, the enzymes that reversibly convert protons and electrons to hydrogen, are used in all three domains of life. [NiFe]-hydrogenases are considered best suited for biotechnological applications because of their reversible inactivation with oxygen. Phylogenetically, there are four groups of [NiFe]-hydrogenases. The best characterized group, "uptake" hydrogenases, are membrane-bound and catalyze hydrogen oxidation in vivo. In contrast, the group 3 [NiFe]-hydrogenases are heteromultimeric, bifunctional enzymes that fulfill various cellular roles. In this dissertation, protein film electrochemistry (PFE) is used to characterize the catalytic properties of two group 3 [NiFe]-hydrogenases: HoxEFUYH from Synechocystsis sp. PCC 6803 and SHI from Pyrococcus furiosus. …

Contributors
Mcintosh, Chelsea Lee, Jones, Anne K, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2012

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

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

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 Manα1-2Manα 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 Manα1-2Manα and also inhibits HIV entry at low nanomolar concentrations. CV-N's high affinity and specificity for Manα1-2Manα 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

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

Proteins and peptides fold into dynamic structures that access a broad functional landscape, however, designing artificial polypeptide systems continues to be a great chal-lenge. Conversely, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) engineering is now routinely used to build a wide variety of two dimensional and three dimensional (3D) nanostructures from simple hybridization based rules, and their functional diversity can be significantly ex-panded through site specific incorporation of the appropriate guest molecules. This dis-sertation describes a gentle methodology for using short (8 nucleotide) peptide nucleic acid (PNA) linkers to assemble polypeptides within a 3D DNA nanocage, as a proof of concept for constructing artificial …

Contributors
Flory, Justin, Fromme, Petra, Yan, Hao, et al.
Created Date
2014

This thesis explores a wide array of topics related to the protein folding problem, ranging from the folding mechanism, ab initio structure prediction and protein design, to the mechanism of protein functional evolution, using multi-scale approaches. To investigate the role of native topology on folding mechanism, the native topology is dissected into non-local and local contacts. The number of non-local contacts and non-local contact orders are both negatively correlated with folding rates, suggesting that the non-local contacts dominate the barrier-crossing process. However, local contact orders show positive correlation with folding rates, indicating the role of a diffusive search in the …

Contributors
Zou, Taisong, Ozkan, Sefika B, Thorpe, Michael F, et al.
Created Date
2014

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

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

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