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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.


Subject
Date Range
2011 2020


Immunosignaturing is a new immunodiagnostic technology that uses random-sequence peptide microarrays to profile the humoral immune response. Though the peptides have little sequence homology to any known protein, binding of serum antibodies may be detected, and the pattern correlated to disease states. The aim of my dissertation is to analyze the factors affecting the binding patterns using monoclonal antibodies and determine how much information may be extracted from the sequences. Specifically, I examined the effects of antibody concentration, competition, peptide density, and antibody valence. Peptide binding could be detected at the low concentrations relevant to immunosignaturing, and a monoclonal's signature …

Contributors
Halperin, Rebecca Faith, Johnston, Stephen A, Bordner, Andrew, et al.
Created Date
2011

The concept of vaccination dates back further than Edward Jenner's first vaccine using cowpox pustules to confer immunity against smallpox in 1796. Nevertheless, it was Jenner's success that gave vaccines their name and made vaccinia virus (VACV) of particular interest. More than 200 years later there is still the need to understand vaccination from vaccine design to prediction of vaccine efficacy using mathematical models. Post-exposure vaccination with VACV has been suggested to be effective if administered within four days of smallpox exposure although this has not been definitively studied in humans. The first and second chapters analyze post-exposure prophylaxis of …

Contributors
Holechek, Susan Anthoanet, Jacobs, Bertram L, Castillo-Chavez, Carlos, et al.
Created Date
2011

Anti-retroviral drugs and AIDS prevention programs have helped to decrease the rate of new HIV-1 infections in some communities, however, a prophylactic vaccine is still needed to control the epidemic world-wide. Despite over two decades of research, a vaccine against HIV-1 remains elusive, although recent clinical trials have shown promising results. Recent successes have focused on highly conserved, mucosally-targeted antigens within HIV-1 such as the membrane proximal external region (MPER) of the envelope protein, gp41. MPER has been shown to play critical roles in the viral mucosal transmission, though this peptide is not immunogenic on its own. Gag is a …

Contributors
Kessans, Sarah Adeline, Mor, Tsafrir S, Matoba, Nobuyuki, et al.
Created Date
2011

The goal of this thesis is to test whether Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with distinctive humoral immune changes that can be detected in plasma and tracked across time. This is relevant because AD is the principal cause of dementia, and yet, no specific diagnostic tests are universally employed in clinical practice to predict, diagnose or monitor disease progression. In particular, I describe herein a proteomic platform developed at the Center for Innovations in Medicine (CIM) consisting of a slide with 10.000 random-sequence peptides printed on its surface, which is used as the solid phase of an immunoassay where antibodies …

Contributors
Restrepo Jimenez, Lucas, Johnston, Stephen A, Chang, Yung, et al.
Created Date
2011

Postnatal skeletal muscle repair is dependent on the tight regulation of an adult stem cell population known as satellite cells. In response to injury, these quiescent cells are activated, proliferate and express skeletal muscle-specific genes. The majority of satellite cells will fuse to damaged fibers or form new muscle fibers, while a subset will return to a quiescent state, where they are available for future rounds of repair. Robust muscle repair is dependent on the signals that regulate the mutually exclusive decisions of differentiation and self-renewal. A likely candidate for regulating this process is NUMB, an inhibitor of Notch signaling …

Contributors
George, Rajani M., Wilson-Rawls, Jeanne, Rawls, Alan, et al.
Created Date
2012

V(D)J recombination is responsible for generating an enormous repertoire of immunoglobulins and T cell receptors, therefore it is a centerpiece to the formation of the adaptive immune system. The V(D)J recombination process proceeds through two steps, site-specific cleavage at RSS (Recombination Signal Sequence) site mediated by the RAG recombinase (RAG1/2) and the subsequent imprecise resolution of the DNA ends, which is carried out by the ubiquitous non-homologous end joining pathway (NHEJ). The V(D)J recombination reaction is obliged to be tightly controlled under all circumstances, as it involves generations of DNA double strand breaks, which are considered the most dangerous lesion …

Contributors
Wang, Guannan, Chang, Yung, Levitus, Marcia, et al.
Created Date
2012

Recombinant protein expression is essential to biotechnology and molecular medicine, but facile methods for obtaining significant quantities of folded and functional protein in mammalian cell culture have been lacking. Here I describe a novel 37-nucleotide in vitro selected sequence that promotes unusually high transgene expression in a vaccinia driven cytoplasmic expression system. Vectors carrying this sequence in a monocistronic reporter plasmid produce >1,000-fold more protein than equivalent vectors with conventional vaccinia promoters. Initial mechanistic studies indicate that high protein expression results from dual activity that impacts both transcription and translation. I suggest that this motif represents a powerful new tool …

Contributors
Flores, Julia Anne, Chaput, John C, Jacobs, Bertram, et al.
Created Date
2012

Over the past decade, several high-value proteins have been produced using plant-based transient expression systems. However, these studies exposed some limitations that must be overcome to allow plant expression systems to reach their full potential. These limitations are the low level of recombinant protein accumulation achieved in some cases, and lack of efficient co-expression vectors for the production of multi-protein complexes. This study report that tobacco Extensin (Ext) gene 3' untranslated region (UTR) can be broadly used to enhance recombinant protein expression in plants. Extensin is the hydroxyproline-rich glycoprotein that constitutes the major protein component of cell walls. Using transient …

Contributors
Rosenthal, Sun Hee, Mason, Hugh, Mor, Tsafrir, et al.
Created Date
2012

Teleosts have the most primitive adaptive immune system. However, in terms of functionality the teleost immune system is similar to birds and mammals. On the other hand, enteric bacterial pathogens of mammals and birds present conserved regulatory mechanisms that control virulence factors. In this context, deletion of conserved genes that control virulence factors have been successfully used as measure to construct live attenuated bacterial vaccines for mammals and birds. Here, I hypothesize that evolutionary conserved genes, which control virulence factors or are essential for bacterial physiology in Enterobacteriaceae, could be used as universal tools to design live attenuated recombinant bacterial …

Contributors
Santander, Javier, Curtiss, Roy Iii, Chandler, Douglas, 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

Here I present a phylogeographic study of at least six reproductively isolated lineages of harvester ants within the Pogonomyrmex barbatus and P. rugosus species group. The genetic and geographic relationships within this clade are complex: four of the identified lineages are divided into two pairs, and each pair has evolved under a mutualistic system that necessitates sympatry. These paired lineages are dependent upon one another because interlineage matings within each pair are the sole source of hybrid F1 workers; these workers build and sustain the colonies, facilitating the production of the reproductive caste, which results solely from intralineage fertilizations. This …

Contributors
Mott, Brendon Michael, Gadau, Juergen, Fewell, Jennifer, et al.
Created Date
2012

Cancer is a disease that affects millions of people worldwide each year. The metastatic progression of cancer is the number one reason for cancer related deaths. Cancer preventions rely on the early identification of tumor cells as well as a detailed understanding of cancer as a whole. Identifying proteins specific to tumor cells provide an opportunity to develop noninvasive clinical tests and further our understanding of tumor biology. Using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) a short peptide was identified in pancreatic cancer patient plasma that was not found in normal samples, and mapped back to QSOX1 protein. Immunohistochemistry was performed probing …

Contributors
Katchman, Benjamin, Lake, Douglas F., Rawls, Jeffery A, et al.
Created Date
2012

Well-established model systems exist in four out of the seven major classes of vertebrates. These include the mouse, chicken, frog and zebrafish. Noticeably missing from this list is a reptilian model organism for comparative studies between the vertebrates and for studies of biological processes unique to reptiles. To help fill in this gap the green anole lizard, Anolis carolinensis, is being adapted as a model organism. Despite the recent release of the complete genomic sequence of the A. carolinensis, the lizard lacks some resources to aid researchers in their studies. Particularly, the lack of transcriptomic resources for lizard has made …

Contributors
Eckalbar, Walter, Kusumi, Kenro, Huentelman, Matthew, et al.
Created Date
2012

Cancer is one of the most serious global diseases. We have focused on cancer immunoprevention. My thesis projects include developing a prophylactic primary and metastatic cancer vaccines, early cancer detection and investigation of genes involved in tumor development. These studies were focused on frame-shift (FS) antigens. The FS antigens are generated by genomic mutations or abnormal RNA processing, which cause a portion of a normal protein to be translated out of frame. The concept of the prophylactic cancer vaccine is to develop a general cancer vaccine that could prevent healthy people from developing different types of cancer. We have discovered …

Contributors
Shen, Luhui, Johnston, Stephen Albert, Chang, Yung, et al.
Created Date
2012

The study of bacterial resistance to antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) is a significant area of interest as these peptides have the potential to be developed into alternative drug therapies to combat microbial pathogens. AMPs represent a class of host-mediated factors that function to prevent microbial infection of their host and serve as a first line of defense. To date, over 1,000 AMPs of various natures have been predicted or experimentally characterized. Their potent bactericidal activities and broad-based target repertoire make them a promising next-generation pharmaceutical therapy to combat bacterial pathogens. It is important to understand the molecular mechanisms, both genetic and …

Contributors
Griffin, Natasha Monette, Shi, Yixin, Clark-Curtiss, Josephine, et al.
Created Date
2013

Speciation is the fundamental process that has generated the vast diversity of life on earth. The hallmark of speciation is the evolution of barriers to gene flow. These barriers may reduce gene flow either by keeping incipient species from hybridizing at all (pre-zygotic), or by reducing the fitness of hybrids (post-zygotic). To understand the genetic architecture of these barriers and how they evolve, I studied a genus of wasps that exhibits barriers to gene flow that act both pre- and post-zygotically. Nasonia is a genus of four species of parasitoid wasps that can be hybridized in the laboratory. When two …

Contributors
Gibson, Joshua D, Gadau, Jürgen, Harrison, Jon, et al.
Created Date
2013

The entire history of HIV-1 is hidden in its ten thousand bases, where information regarding its evolutionary traversal through the human population can only be unlocked with fine-scale sequence analysis. Measurable footprints of mutation and recombination have imparted upon us a wealth of knowledge, from multiple chimpanzee-to-human transmissions to patterns of neutralizing antibody and drug resistance. Extracting maximum understanding from such diverse data can only be accomplished by analyzing the viral population from many angles. This body of work explores two primary aspects of HIV sequence evolution, point mutation and recombination, through cross-sectional (inter-individual) and longitudinal (intra-individual) investigations, respectively. Cross-sectional …

Contributors
Hepp, Crystal Marie, Rosenberg, Michael S, Hedrick, Philip, et al.
Created Date
2013

Intermittent social defeat stress induces cross-sensitization to psychostimulants and escalation of drug self-administration. These behaviors could result from the stress-induced neuroadaptation in the mesocorticolimbic dopamine circuit. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is persistently elevated after social defeat stress, and may contribute to the stress-induced neuroadaptation in the mesocorticolimbic dopamine circuit. BDNF modulates synaptic plasticity, and facilitates stress- and drug-induced neuroadaptations in the mesocorticolimbic system. The present research examined the role of mesolimbic BDNF signaling in social defeat stress-induced cross-sensitization to psychostimulants and the escalation of cocaine self-administration in rats. We measured drug taking behavior with …

Contributors
Wang, Junshi, Hammer, Ronald, Feuerstein, Burt, et al.
Created Date
2013

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are an intriguing approach for neurological disease modeling, because neural lineage-specific cell types that retain the donors' complex genetics can be established in vitro. The statistical power of these iPSC-based models, however, is dependent on accurate diagnoses of the somatic cell donors; unfortunately, many neurodegenerative diseases are commonly misdiagnosed in live human subjects. Postmortem histopathological examination of a donor's brain, combined with premortem clinical criteria, is often the most robust approach to correctly classify an individual as a disease-specific case or unaffected control. We describe the establishment of primary dermal fibroblasts cells lines from 28 …

Contributors
Hjelm, Brooke Erika, Craig, David W., Wilson-Rawls, Norma J., et al.
Created Date
2013

Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease accounting for 50-80% of dementia cases in the country. This disease is characterized by the deposition of extracellular plaques occurring in regions of the brain important for cognitive function. A primary component of these plaques is the amyloid-beta protein. While a natively unfolded protein, amyloid-beta can misfold and aggregate generating a variety of different species including numerous different soluble oligomeric species some of which are precursors to the neurofibrillary plaques. Various of the soluble amyloid-beta oligomeric species have been shown to be toxic to cells and their presence may correlate with progression …

Contributors
Venkataraman, Lalitha, Sierks, Michael, Rege, Kaushal, et al.
Created Date
2013

Stroke remains the leading cause of adult disability in developed countries. Most survivors live with residual motor impairments that severely diminish independence and quality of life. After stroke, the only accepted treatment for these patients is motor rehabilitation. However, the amount and kind of rehabilitation required to induce clinically significant improvements in motor function is rarely given due to the constraints of our current health care system. Research reported in this dissertation contributes towards developing adjuvant therapies that may augment the impact of motor rehabilitation and improve functional outcome. These studies have demonstrated reorganization of maps within motor cortex as …

Contributors
Warraich, Zuha, Kleim, Jeffrey A, Stabenfeldt, Sarah, et al.
Created Date
2013

Synechocystis sp PCC 6803 is a photosynthetic cyanobacterium that can be easily transformed to produce molecules of interest; this has increased Synechocystis’ popularity as a clean energy platform. Synechocystis has been shown to produce and excrete molecules such as fatty acids, isoprene, etc. after appropriate genetic modification. Challenges faced for large–scale growth of modified Synechocystis include abiotic stress, microbial contamination and high processing costs of product and cell material. Research reported in this dissertation contributes to solutions to these challenges. First, abiotic stress was addressed by overexpression of the heat shock protein ClpB1. In contrast to the wild type, the …

Contributors
Gonzalez Esquer, Cesar Raul, Vermaas, Willem, Chandler, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2013

This dissertation investigates the condition of skeletal muscle insulin resistance using bioinformatics and computational biology approaches. Drawing from several studies and numerous data sources, I have attempted to uncover molecular mechanisms at multiple levels. From the detailed atomistic simulations of a single protein, to datamining approaches applied at the systems biology level, I provide new targets to explore for the research community. Furthermore I present a new online web resource that unifies various bioinformatics databases to enable discovery of relevant features in 3D protein structures. Dissertation/Thesis

Contributors
Mielke, Clinton, Mandarino, Lawrence, Labaer, Joshua, et al.
Created Date
2013

Infertility has become an increasing problem in developed countries and in many cases can be attributed to compromised sperm quality. Assessment of male fertility typically utilizes semen analysis which mainly examines sperm morphology, however many males whose sperm appear normal are sub- or infertile, suggesting that sperm from these males may be deficient in a protein or suite of proteins. To date, very little is known about the composition of sperm or the complex maturation process that confers motility and fertilization competency to sperm. Chapter 1 discusses the use of whole cell mass spectrometry to identify 1247 proteins comprising the …

Contributors
Skerget, Sheri Jo, Karr, Timothy L, Lake, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2013

Pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria employ a variety of molecular mechanisms to combat host defenses. Two-component regulatory systems (TCR systems) are the most ubiquitous signal transduction systems which regulate many genes required for virulence and survival of bacteria. In this study, I analyzed different TCR systems in two clinically-relevant Gram-negative bacteria, i.e., oral pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis and enterobacterial Escherichia coli. P. gingivalis is a major causative agent of periodontal disease as well as systemic illnesses, like cardiovascular disease. A microarray study found that the putative PorY-PorX TCR system controls the secretion and maturation of virulence factors, as well as loci involved in …

Contributors
Leonetti, Cori, Shi, Yixin, Stout, Valerie, et al.
Created Date
2013

Some cyanobacteria can generate hydrogen (H2) under certain physiological conditions and are considered potential agents for biohydrogen production. However, they also present low amounts of H2 production, a reaction reversal towards H2 consumption, and O2 sensitivity. Most attempts to improve H2 production have involved genetic or metabolic engineering approaches. I used a bio-prospecting approach instead to find novel strains that are naturally more apt for biohydrogen production. A set of 36, phylogenetically diverse strains isolated from terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments were probed for their potential to produce H2 from excess reductant. Two distinct patterns in H2 production were detected. …

Contributors
Kothari, Ankita, Garcia-Pichel, Ferran, Vermaas, Willem F J, et al.
Created Date
2013

ABSTRACT In terms of prevalence, human suffering and costs dengue infections are the most important arthropod-borne viral disease worldwide. Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus and the etiological agent of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever. Thus, development of a safe and efficient vaccine constitutes an urgent necessity. Besides the traditional strategies aim at generating immunization options, the usage of viral vectors to deliver antigenic stimulus in order to elicit protection are particularly attractive for the endeavor of a dengue vaccine. The viral vector (MVvac2) is genetically equivalent to the currently used measles vaccine strain Moraten, which adds practicality …

Contributors
Abdelgalel, Rowida, Reyes Del Valle, Jorge, Hogue, Brenda, et al.
Created Date
2013

Water contamination with nitrate (NO3−) (from fertilizers) and perchlorate (ClO4−) (from rocket fuel and explosives) is a widespread environmental problem. I employed the Membrane Biofilm Reactor (MBfR), a novel bioremediation technology, to treat NO3− and ClO4− in the presence of naturally occurring sulfate (SO42−). In the MBfR, bacteria reduce oxidized pollutants that act as electron acceptors, and they grow as a biofilm on the outer surface of gas-transfer membranes that deliver the electron donor (hydrogen gas, (H2). The overarching objective of my research was to achieve a comprehensive understanding of ecological interactions among key microbial members in the MBfR when …

Contributors
Ontiveros, Aura, Rittmann, Bruce E., Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2014

Photosynthesis is the primary source of energy for most living organisms. Light harvesting complexes (LHC) play a vital role in harvesting sunlight and passing it on to the protein complexes of the electron transfer chain which create the electrochemical potential across the membrane which drives ATP synthesis. phycobilisomes (PBS) are the most important LHCs in cyanobacteria. PBS is a complex of three light harvesting proteins: phycoerythrin (PE), phycocyanin (PC) and allophycocyanin (APC). This work has been done on a newly discovered cyanobacterium called Leptolyngbya Heron Island (L.HI). This study has three important goals: 1) Sequencing, assembly and annotation of the …

Contributors
Paul, Robin, Fromme, Petra, Ros, Alexandra, et al.
Created Date
2014

Cells live in complex environments and must be able to adapt to environmental changes in order to survive. The ability of a cell to survive and thrive in a changing environment depends largely on its ability to receive and respond to extracellular signals. Initiating with receptors, signal transduction cascades begin translating extracellular signals into intracellular messages. Such signaling cascades are responsible for the regulation of cellular metabolism, cell growth, cell movement, transcription, translation, proliferation and differentiation. This dissertation seeks to dissect and examine critical signaling pathways involved in the regulation of proliferation in neural stem cells (Chapter 2) and the …

Contributors
Kusne, Yael N., Sanai, Nader, Neisewander, Janet, et al.
Created Date
2014

The production of monomer compounds for synthesizing plastics has to date been largely restricted to the petroleum-based chemical industry and sugar-based microbial fermentation, limiting its sustainability and economic feasibility. Cyanobacteria have, however, become attractive microbial factories to produce renewable fuels and chemicals directly from sunlight and CO2. To explore the feasibility of photosynthetic production of (S)- and (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate (3HB), building-block monomers for synthesizing the biodegradable plastics polyhydroxyalkanoates and precursors to fine chemicals, synthetic metabolic pathways have been constructed, characterized and optimized in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 (hereafter Synechocystis 6803). Both types of 3HB molecules were produced and readily …

Contributors
Wang, Bo, Meldrum, Deirdre R, Zhang, Weiwen, 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

Flavivirus infections are emerging as significant threats to human health around the globe. Among them West Nile(WNV) and Dengue Virus (DV) are the most prevalent in causing human disease with WNV outbreaks occurring in all areas around the world and DV epidemics in more than 100 countries. WNV is a neurotropic virus capable of causing meningitis and encephalitis in humans. Currently, there are no therapeutic treatments or vaccines available. The expanding epidemic of WNV demands studies that develop efficacious therapeutics and vaccines and produce them rapidly and inexpensively. In response, our lab developed a plant-derived monoclonal antibody (mAb) (pHu-E16) against …

Contributors
Hurtado, Jonathan, Chen, Qiang, Huffman, Holly A, et al.
Created Date
2014

Cell-cell interactions in a microenvironment under stress conditions play a critical role in pathogenesis and pre-malignant progression. Hypoxia is a central factor in carcinogenesis, which induces selective pressure in this process. Understanding the role of intercellular communications and cellular adaptation to hypoxia can help discover new cancer biosignatures and more effective diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. This dissertation presents a study on transcriptomic and metabolic profiling of pre-malignant progression of Barrett's esophagus. It encompasses two methodology developments and experimental findings of two related studies. To integrate phenotype and genotype measurements, a minimally invasive method was developed for selectively retrieving single adherent …

Contributors
Zeng, Jia, Meldrum, Deirdre R, Kelbauskas, Laimonas, et al.
Created Date
2014

ABSTRACT Post Translational Modifications (PTMs) are a series of chemical modifications with the capacity to expand the structural and functional repertoire of proteins. PTMs can regulate protein-protein interaction, localization, protein turn-over, the active state of the protein, and much more. This can dramatically affect cell processes as relevant as gene expression, cell-cell recognition, and cell signaling. Along these lines, this Ph.D. thesis examines the role of two of the most important PTMs: glycosylation and phosphorylation. In chapters 2, 3 and 4, a 10,000 peptide microarray is used to analyze the glycan variations in a series lipopolysaccharides (LPS) from Gram negative …

Contributors
Morales Betanzos, Carlos Alberto, LaBaer, Joshua, Allen, James, et al.
Created Date
2014

Small Cell Carcinoma of the Ovary Hypercalcemic Type (SCCOHT) is a rare and highly aggressive ovarian cancer that affects children and young women at a mean age of 24 years. Most SCCOHT patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage and do not respond to chemotherapy. As a result, more than 75% of patients succumb to their disease within 1-2 years. To provide insights into the biological, diagnostic, and therapeutic vulnerabilities of this deadly cancer, a comprehensive characterization of 22 SCCOHT cases and 2 SCCOHT cell lines using microarray and next-generation sequencing technologies was performed. Following histological examination, tumor DNA and …

Contributors
Ramos, Pilar, Anderson, Karen, Trent, Jeffrey, et al.
Created Date
2014

An animal's ability to produce protein-based silk materials has evolved independently in many different arthropod lineages, satisfying various ecological necessities. However, regardless of their wide range of uses and their potential industrial and biomedical applications, advanced knowledge on the molecular structure of silk biopolymers is largely limited to those produced by spiders (order Araneae) and silkworms (order Lepidoptera). This thesis provides an in-depth molecular-level characterization of silk fibers produced by two vastly different insects: the caddisfly larvae (order Trichoptera) and the webspinner (order Embioptera). The molecular structure of caddisfly larval silk from the species <italic>Hesperophylax consimilis</italic> was characterized using solid-state …

Contributors
Addison, John Bennett, Yarger, Jeffery L, Holland, Gregory P, et al.
Created Date
2014

The communication of genetic material with biomolecules has been a major interest in cancer biology research for decades. Among its different levels of involvement, DNA is known to be a target of several antitumor agents. Additionally, tissue specific interaction between macromolecules such as proteins and structurally important regions of DNA has been reported to define the onset of certain types of cancers. Illustrated in Chapter 1 is the general history of research on the interaction of DNA and anticancer drugs, most importantly different congener of bleomycin (BLM). Additionally, several synthetic analogues of bleomycin, including the structural components and functionalities, are …

Contributors
Roy, Basab, Hecht, Sidney M, Jones, Anne, et al.
Created Date
2014

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer in children and adolescents. Patients with metastatic osteosarcoma are typically refractory to treatment. Numerous lines of evidence suggest that cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) limit the development of metastatic osteosarcoma. I have investigated the role of Programmed Death Receptor-1 (PD-1) in limiting the efficacy of immune mediated control of metastatic osteosarcoma. I show that human metastatic, but not primary, osteosarcoma tumors express the ligand for PD-1 (PD-L1) and that tumor infiltrating CTL express PD-1, suggesting this pathway may limit CTL control of metastatic osteosarcoma in patients. PD-L1 is also expressed on the K7M2 osteosarcoma tumor …

Contributors
Lussier, Danielle Marie, Blattman, Joseph N., Anderson, Karen, et al.
Created Date
2015

Telomerase enzyme is a truly remarkable enzyme specialized for the addition of short, highly repetitive DNA sequences onto linear eukaryotic chromosome ends. The telomerase enzyme functions as a ribonucleoprotein, minimally composed of the highly conserved catalytic telomerase reverse transcriptase and essential telomerase RNA component containing an internalized short template region within the vastly larger non-coding RNA. Even among closely related groups of species, telomerase RNA is astonishingly divergent in sequence, length, and secondary structure. This massive disparity is highly prohibitive for telomerase RNA identification from previously unexplored groups of species, which is fundamental for secondary structure determination. Combined biochemical enrichment …

Contributors
Podlevsky, Joshua David, Chen, Julian, Mangone, Marco, et al.
Created Date
2015

Intermittent social defeat stress produces vulnerability to drugs of abuse, a phenomena known as cross-sensitization, which is proceeded by a corresponding upregulation of ventral tegmental area (VTA) mu-opioid receptors (MORs). Since VTA MORs are implicated in the expression of psychostimulant sensitization, they may also mediate social stress-induced vulnerability to drugs of abuse. Social stress and drugs of abuse increase mesolimbic brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling with its receptor, tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB). These studies examined whether VTA MOR signaling is important for the behavioral and cellular consequences of social stress. First, the function of VTA MORs in the behavioral consequences …

Contributors
Johnston, Caitlin Elizabeth, Hammer, Ronald P., Nikulina, Ella M., et al.
Created Date
2015

In vitro selection technologies allow for the identification of novel biomolecules endowed with desired functions. Successful selection methodologies share the same fundamental requirements. First, they must establish a strong link between the enzymatic function being selected (phenotype) and the genetic information responsible for the function (genotype). Second, they must enable partitioning of active from inactive variants, often capturing only a small number of positive hits from a large population of variants. These principles have been applied to the selection of natural, modified, and even unnatural nucleic acids, peptides, and proteins. The ability to select for and characterize new functional molecules …

Contributors
Larsen, Andrew, Chaput, John C, Jacobs, Bertram L, et al.
Created Date
2015

Creating sustainable alternatives to fossil fuel resources is one of the greatest challenges facing mankind. Solar energy provides an excellent option to alleviate modern dependence on fossil fuels. However, efficient methods to harness solar energy are still largely lacking. Biomass from photosynthetic organisms can be used as feedstock to produce traditional fuels, but must be produced in great quantities in order to meet the demands of growing populations. Cyanobacteria are prokaryotic photosynthetic microorganisms that can produce biomass on large scales using only sunlight, carbon dioxide, water, and small amounts of nutrients. Thus, Cyanobacteria are a viable option for sustainable production …

Contributors
Zevin, Alexander Simon, Rittmann, Bruce E, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2015

Invasive salmonellosis caused by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium ST313 is a major health crisis in sub-Saharan Africa, with multidrug resistance and atypical clinical presentation challenging current treatment regimens and resulting in high mortality. Moreover, the increased risk of spreading ST313 pathovars worldwide is of major concern, given global public transportation networks and increased populations of immunocompromised individuals (as a result of HIV infection, drug use, cancer therapy, aging, etc). While it is unclear as to how Salmonella ST313 strains cause invasive disease in humans, it is intriguing that the genomic profile of some of these pathovars indicates key differences between …

Contributors
Yang, Jiseon, Nickerson, Cheryl A., Chang, Yung, et al.
Created Date
2015

Cocaine abuse affects millions of people with disastrous medical and societal consequences. Despite this, there is still no FDA-approved treatment to decrease the likelihood of relapse in rehabilitated addicts, and acute cocaine toxicity (overdose) is only symptomatically treated. Studies have demonstrated a promising potential treatment option with the help of the human serum enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), an enzyme capable of breaking down cocaine into biologically inactive side products. This activity of wild-type BChE, however, is relatively low. This prompted the design of variants of BChE which exhibit significantly improved catalytic activity against cocaine. Plants were used as a sustainable, scalable, …

Contributors
Larrimore, Katherine E., Mor, Tsafrir S, Gaxiola, Roberto, et al.
Created Date
2015

Vaccines against the arthropod-borne dengue virus (DENV) are still commercially nonexistent. A subunit immunization strategy may be of value, especially if a safe viral vector acts as a biologically active adjuvant. The DENV envelope protein (E), the main target for neutralizing immune responses, has three conformational domains. The immunoglobulin-like and independently folding domain III (DIII) contains epitopes that elicit highly specific neutralizing antibodies. The hepatitis B small surface antigen (HBsAg, S) was used as a scaffold to display DENV 2 DIII on a virus-like particle (VLP). A measles virus (MV) was engineered to vector HBsAg and the hybrid glycoprotein DIII-HBsAg …

Contributors
Harahap, Indira Saridewi, Reyes del Valle, Jorge, Hogue, Brenda G, et al.
Created Date
2015

The unicellular cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 contains a NiFe-type bidirectional hydrogenase that is capable of using reducing equivalents to reduce protons and generate H¬2. In order to achieve sustained H2 production using this cyanobacterium many challenges need to be overcome. Reported H2 production from Synechocystis is of low rate and often transient. Results described in this dissertation show that the hydrogenase activity in Synechocystis is quite different during periods of darkness and light. In darkness, the hydrogenase enzyme acts in a truly bidirectional way and a particular H2 concentration is reached that depends upon the amount of biomass involved …

Contributors
Dutta, Ipsita, Vermaas, Willem FJ, Garcia-Pichel, Ferran, et al.
Created Date
2015

Rapid advancements in genomic technologies have increased our understanding of rare human disease. Generation of multiple types of biological data including genetic variation from genome or exome, expression from transcriptome, methylation patterns from epigenome, protein complexity from proteome and metabolite information from metabolome is feasible. "Omics" tools provide comprehensive view into biological mechanisms that impact disease trait and risk. In spite of available data types and ability to collect them simultaneously from patients, researchers still rely on their independent analysis. Combining information from multiple biological data can reduce missing information, increase confidence in single data findings, and provide a more …

Contributors
Szelinger, Szabolcs, Craig, David W, Kusumi, Kenro, et al.
Created Date
2015

Advances in chemical synthesis have enabled new lines of research with unnatural genetic polymers whose modified bases or sugar-phosphate backbones have potential therapeutic and biotechnological applications. Maximizing the potential of these synthetic genetic systems requires inventing new molecular biology tools that can both generate and faithfully replicate unnatural polymers of significant length. Threose nucleic acid (TNA) has received significant attention as a complete replication system has been developed by engineering natural polymerases to broaden their substrate specificity. The system, however, suffers from a high mutational load reducing its utility. This thesis will cover the development of two new polymerases capable …

Contributors
Dunn, Matthew Ryan, Chaput, John C, LaBaer, Joshua, et al.
Created Date
2015

In the U.S., breast cancer (BC) incidences among African American (AA) and CA (CA) women are similar, yet AA women have a significantly higher mortality rate. In addition, AA women often present with tumors at a younger age, with a higher tumor grade/stage and are more likely to be diagnosed with the highly aggressive triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) subtype. Even within the TNBC subtype, AA women have a worse clinical outcome compared to CA. Although multiple socio-economic and lifestyle factors may contribute to these observed health disparities, it is essential that the underlying biological differences between CA and AA TNBC …

Contributors
Getz, Julie Elizabeth, Baumbach-Reardon, Lisa L, Lake, Douglas F, et al.
Created Date
2015