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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


Satellite cells are adult muscle stem cells that activate, proliferate, and differentiate into myofibers upon muscle damage. Satellite cells can be cultured and manipulated in vitro, and thus represent an accessible model for studying skeletal muscle biology, and a potential source of autologous stem cells for regenerative medicine. This work summarizes efforts to further understanding of satellite cell biology, using novel model organisms, bioengineering, and molecular and cellular approaches. Lizards are evolutionarily the closest vertebrates to humans that regenerate entire appendages. An analysis of lizard myoprogenitor cell transcriptome determined they were most transcriptionally similar to mammalian satellite cells. Further examination …

Contributors
Palade, Joanna, Wilson-Rawls, Norma, Rawls, Jeffrey, et al.
Created Date
2020

The small mitogenic cytokine Pleiotrophin (PTN) is well-known for its roles in tissue growth, development, and repair. First isolated from neuronal tissues, much interest in this protein resides in development of the central nervous system and neuronal regeneration. Owning to its role in growth, development and its ability to promote angiogenesis and metastasis, PTN’s overexpression in cancers such as glioblastoma, has become the focal point of much research. Many of the receptors through which PTN acts contain glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), through which PTN binds. Thus, understanding the atomistic detail of PTN’s architecture and interaction with GAG chains is of significant importance …

Contributors
Ryan, Eathen, Wang, Xu, Yarger, Jeffery, et al.
Created Date
2020

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a lethal, X-linked disease characterized by progressive muscle degeneration. The condition is driven by out-of-frame mutations in the dystrophin gene, and the absence of a functional dystrophin protein ultimately leads to instability of the sarcolemma, skeletal muscle necrosis, and atrophy. While the structural changes that occur in dystrophic muscle are well characterized, resulting changes in muscle-specific gene expression that take place in dystrophin’s absence remain largely uncharacterized, as they are potentially obscured by the characteristic chronic inflammation in dystrophin deficient muscle. The conservation of the dystrophin gene across metazoans suggests that both vertebrate and invertebrate …

Contributors
HRACH, HEATHER, Mangone, Marco, LaBaer, Joshua, et al.
Created Date
2020

Traumatic injury to the central nervous or musculoskeletal system in traditional amniote models, such as mouse and chicken, is permanent with long-term physiological and functional effects. However, among amniotes, the ability to regrow complex, multi-tissue structures is unique to non-avian reptiles. Structural regeneration is extensively studied in lizards, with most species able to regrow a functional tail. The lizard regenerated tail includes the spinal cord, cartilage, de novo muscle, vasculature, and skin, and unlike mammals, these tissues can be replaced in lizards as adults. These studies focus on the events that occur before and after the tail regrowth phase, identifying …

Contributors
Xu, Cindy, Kusumi, Kenro, Newbern, Jason M, et al.
Created Date
2020

Flaviviruses (FVs) are among the most medically important arboviruses of the world with the Dengue virus (DENV) accounting for a large percentage of infections observed in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Globalization, travel, and the expanding range of mosquito vectors, such as Aedes aegypti, have increased the potential of infection rates and illnesses associated with FVs. The DENV and the Zika (ZIKV) FVs frequently co-circulate and generally cause mild self-liming febrile illnesses. However, a secondary infection with a heterologous DENV serotype may lead to life threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS). DHF/DSS have been …

Contributors
Esqueda, Adrian, Chen, Qiang, Arntzen, Charles, et al.
Created Date
2019

The highly specialized telomerase ribonucleoprotein enzyme is composed minimally of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and telomerase RNA (TR) for catalytic activity. Telomerase is an RNA-dependent DNA polymerase that syntheizes DNA repeats at chromosome ends to maintain genome stability. While TERT is highly conserved among various groups of species, the TR subunit exhibits remarkable divergence in primary sequence, length, secondary structure and biogenesis, making TR identification extremely challenging even among closely related groups of organisms. A unique computational approach combined with in vitro telomerase activity reconstitution studies was used to identify 83 novel TRs from 10 animal kingdom phyla spanning 18 …

Contributors
Logeswaran, Dhenugen, Chen, Julian J-L, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2019

Spatial resolved detection and quantification of ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules in single cell is crucial for the understanding of inherent biological issues, like mechanism of gene regulation or the development and maintenance of cell fate. Conventional methods for single cell RNA profiling, like single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) or single-molecule fluorescent in situ hybridization (smFISH), suffer either from the loss of spatial information or the low detection throughput. In order to advance single-cell analysis, new approaches need to be developed with the ability to perform high-throughput detection while preserving spatial information of the subcellular location of target RNA molecules. Novel approaches …

Contributors
Xiao, Lu, Guo, Jia, Wang, Xu, et al.
Created Date
2019

The WNT signaling pathway plays numerous roles in development and maintenance of adult homeostasis. In concordance with it’s numerous roles, dysfunction of WNT signaling leads to a variety of human diseases ranging from developmental disorders to cancer. WNT signaling is composed of a family of 19 WNT soluble secreted glycoproteins, which are evolutionarily conserved across all phyla of the animal kingdom. WNT ligands interact most commonly with a family of receptors known as frizzled (FZ) receptors, composed of 10 independent genes. Specific interactions between WNT proteins and FZ receptors are not well characterized and are known to be promiscuous, Traditionally …

Contributors
Cutts, Joshua Patrick, Brafman, David A, Stabenfeldt, Sarah, et al.
Created Date
2019

Recent studies have shown that human papillomavirus (HPV) plays a role in development of cancers, one of which is head and neck cancer. There is strong and consistent molecular evidence demonstrating that human papillomavirus (HPV) is an etiological cause of these oropharyngeal cancers. Despite the introduction of HPV vaccines, there is still an increase in human papillomavirus associated OPC (HPVOPC) and it is expected that the incidence of head and neck cancer, specifically oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) will increase. The aim of this study is to utilize human papillomavirus (HPV) seropositivity for rapid detection of HPV early specific antigen-antibodies using a …

Contributors
Ladipo, Evelyn, Anderson, Karen S, Hogue, Brenda G, et al.
Created Date
2019

Phenotypic and molecular profiling demonstrates a high degree of heterogeneity in the breast tumors. TP53 tumor suppressor is mutated in 30% of all breast tumors and the mutation frequency in basal-like subtype is as high as 80% and co-exists with several other somatic mutations in different genes. It was hypothesized that tumor heterogeneity is a result of a combination of neo-morphic functions of specific TP53 driver mutations and distinct co-mutations or the co-drivers for each type of TP53 mutation. The 10 most common p53 missense mutant proteins found in breast cancer patients were ectopically expressed in normal-like mammary epithelial cells …

Contributors
Pal, Anasuya, LaBaer, Joshua, Roberson, Robert, et al.
Created Date
2019

Arachnids belong to the phylum Arthropoda, the largest phylum in the animal kingdom. Ticks are blood-feeding arachnids that vector numerous pathogens of significant medical and veterinary importance, while scorpions have become a common concern in urban desert cities due to the high level of toxicity in their venom. To date, viruses associated with arachnids have been under sampled and understudied. Here viral metagenomics was used to explore the diversity of viruses present in ticks and scorpions. American dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) and blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) were collected in Pennsylvania while one hairy scorpion (Hadrurus arizonensis) and four bark scorpions …

Contributors
Schmidlin, Kara, Varsani, Arvind, Van Doorslaer, Koenraad, et al.
Created Date
2019

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, diagnosed late in the disease by a series of motor deficits that manifest over years or decades. It is characterized by degeneration of mid-brain dopaminergic neurons with a high prevalence of dementia associated with the spread of pathology to cortical regions. Patients exhibiting symptoms have already undergone significant neuronal loss without chance for recovery. Analysis of disease specific changes in gene expression directly from human patients can uncover invaluable clues about a still unknown etiology, the potential of which grows exponentially as additional gene regulatory measures are questioned. Epigenetic mechanisms are emerging …

Contributors
Henderson, Adrienne Rose, Huentelman, Matthew J, Newbern, Jason, et al.
Created Date
2019

Chromatin is the dynamic structure of proteins and nucleic acids into which eukaryotic genomes are organized. For those looking to engineer mammalian genomes, chromatin is both an opportunity and an obstacle. While chromatin provides another tool with which to control gene expression, regional density can lead to variability in genome editing efficiency by CRISPR/Cas9 systems. Many groups have attempted to de-silence chromatin to regulate genes and enhance DNA's accessibility to nucleases, but inconsistent results leave outstanding questions. Here, I test different types of activators, to analyze changes in chromatin features that result for chromatin opening, and to identify the critical …

Contributors
Barrett, Cassandra, Haynes, Karmella A, Rege, Kaushal, et al.
Created Date
2019

Quiescin sulfhydryl oxidase 1 (QSOX1) is an enzyme that catalyzes disulfide bond formation by oxidizing two free sulfhydryl groups. QSOX1 consists of a thioredoxin (Trx) and an ERV (essential for respiration and viability)/ALR (augmenter of liver regeneration) domain which each contain CxxC motifs that work to bind to substrates and shuttle electrons to a flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) cofactor that accepts the electrons and reduces molecular oxygen to hydrogen peroxide. Investigation of the role of QSOX1 in cancer progression started when it was found at higher abundance in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) patient plasma compared to healthy normal donor plasma. …

Contributors
Koelbel, Calvin, Lake, Douglas, Chen, Qiang "Shawn", et al.
Created Date
2019

Multicellular organisms use precise gene regulation, executed throughout development, to build and sustain various cell and tissue types. Post-transcriptional gene regulation is essential for metazoan development and acts on mRNA to determine its localization, stability, and translation. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) and RNA binding proteins (RBPs) are the principal effectors of post-transcriptional gene regulation and act by targeting the 3'untranslated regions (3'UTRs) of mRNA. MiRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that have the potential to regulate hundreds to thousands of genes and are dysregulated in many prevalent human diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and cancer. However, the precise contribution …

Contributors
Kotagama, Kasuen Indrajith Bandara, Mangone, Marco, LaBaer, Joshua, et al.
Created Date
2019

The RASopathies are a collection of developmental diseases caused by germline mutations in components of the RAS/MAPK signaling pathway and is one of the world’s most common set of genetic diseases. A majority of these mutations result in an upregulation of RAS/MAPK signaling and cause a variety of both physical and neurological symptoms. Neurodevelopmental symptoms of the RASopathies include cognitive and motor delays, learning and intellectual disabilities, and various behavioral problems. Recent noninvasive imaging studies have detected widespread abnormalities within white matter tracts in the brains of RASopathy patients. These abnormalities are believed to be indicative of underlying connectivity deficits …

Contributors
Bjorklund, George Reed, Newbern, Jason M, Neisewander, Janet, et al.
Created Date
2018

Necrotic enteritis (NE) is caused by type A strains of the bacterium Clostridium perfringens, leading to an estimated 2 billion dollar global economic loss in the poultry industry annually. Traditionally, NE has been effectively controlled by antibiotics added to the diet of poultry. Concerns about increasing antibiotic resistance of poultry and human based pathogens have led to the consideration of alternative approaches for controlling disease, such as vaccination. NE causing strains of C. perfringens produce two major toxins, α-toxin and NetB. Immune responses against either toxin can provide partial protection against NE. We have developed a fusion protein combining a …

Contributors
Hunter, Joseph G, Mason, Hugh, Mor, Tsafrir, et al.
Created Date
2018

Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreaks have been linked to several neurological pathologies in the developing fetus, which can progress to spontaneous abortion and microcephaly in newborns whose mothers were infected with the virus during pregnancy. ZIKV has also been correlated with neurological complications in adults such as Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). ZIKV outbreaks often occur in low income areas with limited access to healthcare. Therefore, there is a need to create a low-cost preventative vaccine against the virus. Mature ZIKV particles contain a lipid bilayer, a positive sense single stranded RNA genome and three structural proteins: the envelope (E), membrane (M) and …

Contributors
Di Palma, Michelle Pina, Mor, Tsafrir S, Mason, Hugh S, et al.
Created Date
2018

Malignant brain tumors are devastating despite aggressive treatments such as surgical resection, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The average life expectancy of patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma is approximately 15 months. One novel therapeutic strategy involves using a ketogenic diet (KD) which increases circulating ketones and reduces circulating glucose. While the preclinical work has shown that the KD increases survival, enhances radiation and alters several pathways in malignant gliomas, its impact on the anti-tumor immune response has yet to be examined. This dissertation demonstrates that mice fed the KD had increased tumor-reactive innate and adaptive immune responses, including increased cytokine production …

Contributors
Woolf, Eric Christopher, Compton, Carolyn C, Scheck, Adrienne C, et al.
Created Date
2018

Signal transduction networks comprising protein-protein interactions (PPIs) mediate homeostatic, diseased, and therapeutic cellular responses. Mapping these networks has primarily focused on identifying interactors, but less is known about the interaction affinity, rates of interaction or their regulation. To better understand the extent of the annotated human interactome, I first examined > 2500 protein interactions within the B cell receptor (BCR) signaling pathway using a current, cutting-edge bioluminescence-based platform called “NanoBRET” that is capable of analyzing transient and stable interactions in high throughput. Eighty-three percent (83%) of the detected interactions have not been previously reported, indicating that much of the BCR …

Contributors
Petritis, Brianne Ogata, LaBaer, Joshua, Lake, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2018

Recombinases are powerful tools for genome engineering and synthetic biology, however recombinases are limited by a lack of user-programmability and often require complex directed-evolution experiments to retarget specificity. Conversely, CRISPR systems have extreme versatility yet can induce off-target mutations and karyotypic destabilization. To address these constraints we developed an RNA-guided recombinase protein by fusing a hyperactive mutant resolvase from transposon TN3 to catalytically inactive Cas9. We validated recombinase-Cas9 (rCas9) function in model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae using a chromosomally integrated fluorescent reporter. Moreover, we demonstrated cooperative targeting by CRISPR RNAs at spacings of 22 or 40bps is necessary for directing recombination. …

Contributors
Standage-Beier, Kylie S, Wang, Xiao, Brafman, David A, et al.
Created Date
2018

The Multiple Antibiotic Resistance Regulator Family (MarR) are transcriptional regulators, many of which forms a dimer. Transcriptional regulation provides bacteria a stabilized responding system to ensure the bacteria is able to efficiently adapt to different environmental conditions. The main function of the MarR family is to create multiple antibiotic resistance from a mutated protein; this process occurs when the MarR regulates an operon. We hypothesized that different transcriptional regulator genes have interactions with each other. It is known that Salmonella pagC transcription is activated by three regulators, i.e., SlyA, MprA, and PhoP. Bacterial Adenylate Cyclase-based Two-Hybrid (BACTH) system was used …

Contributors
Tao, Zenan, Shi, Yixin, Wang, Xuan, et al.
Created Date
2018

A novel clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated (CRISPR/Cas) tool for simultaneous gene editing and regulation was designed and tested. This study used the CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) endonuclease in complex with a 14-nucleotide (nt) guide RNA (gRNA) to repress a gene of interest using the Krüppel associated box (KRAB) domain, while also performing a separate gene modification using a 20-nt gRNA targeted to a reporter vector. DNA Ligase IV (LIGIV) was chosen as the target for gene repression, given its role in nonhomologous end joining, a common DNA repair process that competes with the more precise homology-directed repair (HDR). …

Contributors
Chapman, Jennifer, Kiani, Samira, Ugarova, Tatiana, et al.
Created Date
2018

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) represent a heterogeneous population of small vesicles, consisting of a phospholipidic bilayer surrounding a soluble interior cargo. These vesicles play an important role in cellular communication by virtue of their protein, RNA, and lipid content, which can be transferred among cells. Peripheral blood is a rich source of circulating EVs. An analysis of EVs in peripheral blood could provide access to unparalleled amounts of biomarkers of great diagnostic, prognostic as well as therapeutic value. In the current study, a plasma EV enrichment method based on pluronic co-polymer was first established and characterized. Plasma EVs from breast cancer …

Contributors
Zhong, Zhenyu, Spetzler, David, Yan, Hao, et al.
Created Date
2018

Obesity impairs skeletal muscle maintenance and regeneration, a condition that can progressively lead to muscle loss, but the mechanisms behind it are unknown. Muscle is primarily composed of multinucleated cells called myotubes which are derived by the fusion of mononucleated myocytes. A key mediator in this process is the cellular fusion protein syncytin-1. This led to the hypothesis that syncytin-1 could be decreased in the muscle of obese/insulin resistant individuals. In contrast, it was found that obese/insulin resistant subjects had higher syncytin-1 expression in the muscle compared to that of the lean subjects. Across the subjects, syncytin-1 correlated significantly with …

Contributors
Ravichandran, Jayachandran, Katsanos, Christos, Coletta, Dawn, et al.
Created Date
2017

Plants are a promising upcoming platform for production of vaccine components and other desirable pharmaceutical proteins that can only, at present, be made in living systems. The unique soil microbe Agrobacterium tumefaciens can transfer DNA to plants very efficiently, essentially turning plants into factories capable of producing virtually any gene. While genetically modified bacteria have historically been used for producing useful biopharmaceuticals like human insulin, plants can assemble much more complicated proteins, like human antibodies, that bacterial systems cannot. As plants do not harbor human pathogens, they are also safer alternatives than animal cell cultures. Additionally, plants can be grown …

Contributors
Diamos, Andy G, Mason, Hugh S, Mor, Tsafrir, et al.
Created Date
2017

Skeletal muscle (SM) mitochondria generate the majority of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in SM, and help regulate whole-body energy expenditure. Obesity is associated with alterations in SM mitochondria, which are unique with respect to their arrangement within cells; some mitochondria are located directly beneath the sarcolemma (i.e., subsarcolemmal (SS) mitochondria), while other are nested between the myofibrils (i.e., intermyofibrillar (IMF) mitochondria). Functional and proteome differences specific to SS versus IMF mitochondria in obese individuals may contribute to reduced capacity for muscle ATP production seen in obesity. The overall goals of this work were to (1) isolate functional muscle SS and IMF …

Contributors
Kras, Katon, Katsanos, Christos, Chandler, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2017

Many Fic domain proteins, through catalyzing post translational modifications (PTM) of protein substrates, functionally contribute to bacterial pathogenesis and the regulation of bacterial growth. Furthermore, one form of Fic-mediated regulation is the Fic toxin-antitoxin system, whereby an antitoxin interacts with and inhibits the Fic toxin. This study sought to determine the functional importance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Fic and its putative antitoxin protein, Rv3642c. Using M. tuberculosis H37Rv genetic deletion mutants, fic and Rv3642c were demonstrated to promote intracellular survival in human THP-1 macrophage-like cells. Unlike other Fic toxins, of Fic toxin-antitoxin systems, Fic did not inhibit bacterial growth in vitro …

Contributors
LaMarca, Ryan, Haydel, Shelley, Lake, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2017

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is a disease that occurs when genomic changes alter expression of key genes in myeloid blood cells. These changes cause them to resume an undifferentiated state, proliferate, and maintain growth throughout the body. AML is commonly treated with chemotherapy, but recent efforts to reduce therapy toxicity have focused on drugs that specifically target and inhibit protein products of the cancer’s aberrantly expressed genes. This method has proved difficult for some proteins because of structural challenges or mutations that confer resistance to therapy. One potential method of targeted therapy that circumvents these issues is the use of …

Contributors
Turnidge, Megan, Lake, Douglas, Kim, Suwon, et al.
Created Date
2017

The basic scheme for photosynthesis suggests the two photosystems existing in parity with one another. However, cyanobacteria typically maintain significantly more photosystem I (PSI) than photosystem II (PSII) complexes. I set out to evaluate this disparity through development and analysis of multiple mutants of the genetically tractable cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 that exhibit a range of expression levels of the main proteins present in PSI (Chapter 2). One hypothesis was that the higher abundance of PSI in this organism is used to enable more cyclic electron flow (CEF) around PSI to contribute to greater ATP synthesis. Results of this …

Contributors
Moore, Vicki, Vermaas, Willem, Wang, Xuan, et al.
Created Date
2017

Identifying chemical compounds that inhibit bacterial infection has recently gained a considerable amount of attention given the increased number of highly resistant bacteria and the serious health threat it poses around the world. With the development of automated microscopy and image analysis systems, the process of identifying novel therapeutic drugs can generate an immense amount of data - easily reaching terabytes worth of information. Despite increasing the vast amount of data that is currently generated, traditional analytical methods have not increased the overall success rate of identifying active chemical compounds that eventually become novel therapeutic drugs. Moreover, multispectral imaging has …

Contributors
Trevino, Robert, Liu, Huan, Lamkin, Thomas J, et al.
Created Date
2016

ABSTRACT Sustainable global energy production is one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. Next-generation renewable energy sources include using photosynthetic microbes such as cyanobacteria for efficient production of sustainable fuels from sunlight. The cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC 6803 (Synechocystis) is a genetically tractable model organism for plant-like photosynthesis that is used to develop microbial biofuel technologies. However, outside of photosynthetic processes, relatively little is known about the biology of microbial phototrophs such as Synechocystis, which impairs their development into market-ready technologies. My research objective was to characterize strategic aspects of Synechocystis biology related to its use in biofuel production; …

Contributors
Allen, Rebecca Custer, Curtiss III, Roy, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2016

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that play key roles during metazoan development, and are frequently misregulated in human disease. MiRNAs regulate gene output by targeting degenerate elements primarily in the 3´ untranslated regions of mRNAs. MiRNAs are often deeply conserved, but have undergone drastic expansions in higher metazoans, leading to families of miRNAs with highly similar sequences. The evolutionary advantage of maintaining multiple copies of duplicated miRNAs is not well understood, nor has the distinct functions of miRNA family members been systematically studied. Furthermore, the unbiased and high-throughput discovery of targets remains a major challenge, yet is required to …

Contributors
Wolter, Justin M., Mangone, Marco, LaBaer, Joshua, et al.
Created Date
2016

Despite the approval of a Dengue virus (DV) vaccine in five endemic countries, dengue prevention would benefit from an immunization strategy highly immunogenic in young infants and not curtailed by viral interference. Problematically, infants younger than 9 year of age, whom are particularly prone to Dengue severe infection and death, cannot be immunized using current approved DV vaccine. The most important issues documented so far are the lack of efficiency and enhancement of the disease in young seronegative recipients, as well as uneven protection against the four DV serotypes. Based on data from clinical trials that showed enhanced performance of …

Contributors
Abdelgalel, Rowida Abdelgalel, Reyes del Valle, Jorge, Mason, Hugh, et al.
Created Date
2016

A central task for historians and philosophers of science is to characterize and analyze the epistemic practices in a given science. The epistemic practice of a science includes its explanatory goals as well as the methods used to achieve these goals. This dissertation addresses the epistemic practices in gene expression research spanning the mid-twentieth century to the twenty-first century. The critical evaluation of the standard historical narratives of the molecular life sciences clarifies certain philosophical problems with respect to reduction, emergence, and representation, and offers new ways with which to think about the development of scientific research and the nature …

Contributors
Racine, Valerie, Maienschein, Jane, Laubichler, Manfred D, et al.
Created Date
2016

Viral protein U (Vpu) is a type-III integral membrane protein encoded by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV- 1). It is expressed in infected host cells and plays vital roles in down-regulation of CD4 receptors in T cells and also in the budding of virions. But, there remain key structure/function questions regarding the mechanisms by which the Vpu protein contributes to HIV-1 pathogenesis and thus, it makes for an attractive target to study the structural attributes of this protein by elucidating a structural model with X-ray crystallography. This study describes a multi-pronged approach of heterologous over-expression of Vpu. The strategies of …

Contributors
Deb, Arpan, Leket-Mor, Tsafrir S, Fromme, Petra, et al.
Created Date
2016

The HIV-1 pandemic continues to cause millions of new infections and AIDS-related deaths each year, and a majority of these occur in regions of the world with limited access to antiretroviral therapy. Therefore, an HIV-1 vaccine is still desperately needed. The most successful HIV-1 clinical trial to date used a non-replicating canarypox viral vector and protein boosting, yet its modest efficacy left room for improvement. Efforts to derive novel vectors which can be both safe and immunogenic, have spawned a new era of live, viral vectors. One such vaccinia virus vector, NYVAC-KC, was specifically designed to replicate in humans and …

Contributors
Meador, Lydia Rebecca, Mor, Tsafrir S, Jacobs, Bertram L, et al.
Created Date
2016

Thrombus (blood clot) formation is at the roots of hemostasis and pathological thrombosis. Although many studies have successfully elucidated the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying thrombus formation, there is still a void in understanding the processes limiting thrombus growth beyond that needed for stabilization. As a hemostatic thrombus grows, its surface consisting primarily of platelets changes to that composed of fibrin, which mechanically stabilizes the thrombus. Formation of fibrin ceases after some time; however, it is unclear why this fibrin is non-thrombogenic. This is puzzling since fibrin is known to support strong integrin-mediated adhesion of both platelets and leukocytes in …

Contributors
Owaynat, Hadil, Chandler, Douglas E, Wilson-Rawls, Norma J, et al.
Created Date
2016

Despite the safe and effective use of attenuated vaccines for over fifty years, measles virus (MV) remains an insidious threat to global health. Problematically, infants less than one year of age, who are the most prone to severe infection and death by measles, cannot be immunized using current MV vaccines. For this dissertation, I generated and performed preclinical evaluation of two novel MV vaccine candidates. Based on data from clinical trials that showed increasing the dosage of current MV vaccines improved antibody responses in six-month-old recipients, I hypothesized that increasing the relevant antigenic stimulus of a standard titer dose would …

Contributors
Julik, Emily, Reyes del Valle, Jorge, Chang, Yung, et al.
Created Date
2016

Euendolithic cyanobacteria have the remarkable ability to actively excavate and grow within certain minerals. Their activity leads to increased erosion of marine and terrestrial carbonates, negatively affecting coral reef and bivalve ecology. Despite their environmental relevance, the boring mechanism has remained elusive and paradoxical, in that cyanobacteria alkalinize their surroundings, typically leading to carbonate precipitation, not dissolution. Thus, euendoliths must rely on unique adaptations to bore. Recent work using the filamentous model euendolith Mastigocoleus testarum strain BC008 indicated that excavation relied on transcellular calcium transport mediated by P-type ATPases, but the phenomenon remained unclear. Here I present evidence that excavation …

Contributors
Guida, Brandon Scott, Garcia-Pichel, Ferran, Chandler, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2016

The pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), remain difficult to ascertain in part because animal models fail to fully recapitulate the complex pathophysiology of these diseases. In vitro models of neurodegenerative diseases generated with patient derived human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) could provide new insight into disease mechanisms. Although protocols to differentiate hiPSCs and hESCs to neurons have been established, standard practice relies on two dimensional (2D) cell culture systems, which do not accurately mimic the complexity and architecture of the in vivo brain microenvironment. I have developed protocols to …

Contributors
Petty, Francis John, Brafman, David, Stabenfeldt, Sarah, et al.
Created Date
2016

This dissertation focuses on the biosynthetic production of aromatic fine chemicals in engineered Escherichia coli from renewable resources. The discussed metabolic pathways take advantage of key metabolites in the shikimic acid pathway, which is responsible for the production of the aromatic amino acids phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan. For the first time, the renewable production of benzaldehyde and benzyl alcohol has been achieved in recombinant E. coli with a maximum titer of 114 mg/L of benzyl alcohol. Further strain development to knockout endogenous alcohol dehydrogenase has reduced the in vivo degradation of benzaldehyde by 9-fold, representing an improved host for the …

Contributors
Pugh, Shawn, Nielsen, David, Dai, Lenore, et al.
Created Date
2016

One of the fundamental questions in molecular biology is how genes and the control of their expression give rise to so many diverse phenotypes in nature. The mRNA molecule plays a key role in this process as it directs the spatial and temporal expression of genetic information contained in the DNA molecule to precisely instruct biological processes in living organisms. The region located between the STOP codon and the poly(A)-tail of the mature mRNA, known as the 3′Untranslated Region (3′UTR), is a key modulator of these activities. It contains numerous sequence elements that are targeted by trans-acting factors that dose …

Contributors
Blazie, Stephen, Mangone, Marco, LaBaer, Josh, et al.
Created Date
2016

Quiescin sulfhydryl oxidase 1 (QSOX1) is a highly conserved disulfide bond-generating enzyme that represents the ancient fusion of two major thiol-disulfide oxidoreductase gene families: thioredoxin and ERV. QSOX1 was first linked with cancer after being identified as overexpressed in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (but not in adjacent normal ductal epithelia, infiltrating lymphocytes, or chronic pancreatitis). QSOX1 overexpression has been confirmed in a number of other histological tumor types, such as breast, lung, kidney, prostate, and others. Expression of QSOX1 supports a proliferative and invasive phenotype in tumor cells, and its enzymatic activity is critical for promoting an invasive phenotype. An in …

Contributors
Hanavan, Paul Daniel, Lake, Douglas, LaBaer, Joshua, et al.
Created Date
2015

Microbial Electrochemical Cell (MXC) technology harnesses the power stored in wastewater by using anode respiring bacteria (ARB) as a biofilm catalyst to convert the energy stored in waste into hydrogen or electricity. ARB, or exoelectrogens, are able to convert the chemical energy stored in wastes into electrical energy by transporting electrons extracellularly and then transferring them to an electrode. If MXC technology is to be feasible for ‘real world’ applications, it is essential that diverse ARB are discovered and their unique physiologies elucidated- ones which are capable of consuming a broad spectrum of wastes from different contaminated water sources. This …

Contributors
Lusk, Bradley Gary, Torres, César I, Rittmann, Bruce E, 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

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

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

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

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