• The Catharanthus roseus 16-hydroxytabersonine O-methyltransferase involved in vindoline biosynthesis /

      Levac, Dylan.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2008-06-29)
      Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) produces the well known and remarkably complex dimeric anticancer alkaloids vinblastine and vincristine that are derived by coupling vindoline and catharanthine monomers. This thesis describes the novel application of carborundum abrasion (CA) technique as a tool for large scale isolation of leaf epidermis enriched proteins. This technique was used to facilitate the purification to apparent homogeneity of 16-hydroxytabersonine-16-0-methyltransferse (l60MT) that catalyses the second step in the 6 step pathway that converts tabersonine into vindoline. This versatile tool was also used to harvest leaf epidermis enriched mRNAs that facilitated the molecular cloning of the 160MT. Functional expression and biochemical characterization of recombinant 160MT enzyme showed that it had a very narrow substrate specificity and high affinity for 16-hydroxytabersonine, since other closely related monoterpene indole alkaloids (MIAs) did not act as substrates. In addition to allowing the cloning of this gene, CA technique clearly showed that 160MT is predominantly expressed in Catharanthus leaf epidermis, in contrast to several other OMTs that appear to be expressed in other Catharanthus tissues. The results provide compelling evidence that most of the pathway for vindoline biosynthesis including the 0- methylation of 16-hydroxytabersonine occurs exclusively in leaf epidermis, with subsequent steps occurring in other leaf cell types. Small molecule O-methyltransferases (OMTs) (E.C. 2.1.1.6.x) catalyze the transfer of the reactive methyl group of S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) to free hydroxyl groups of acceptor molecules. Plant OMTs, unlike their monomeric mammalian homologues, exist as functional homodimers. While the biological advantages for dimer fonnation with plant OMTs remain to be established, studies with OMTs from the benzylisoquinoline producing plant, Thalictrum tuberosum, showed that co-expression of 2 recombinant OMTs produced novel substrate specificities not found when each rOMT was expressed individually (Frick, Kutchan, 1999) . These results suggest that OMTs can fonn heterodimers that confer novel substrate specificities not possible with the homodimer alone. The present study describes a 160MT model based strategy attempting to modify the substrate specificity by site-specific mutagenesis. Our failure to generate altered substrate acceptance profiles in our 160MT mutants has lead us to study the biochemical properties ofhomodimers and heterodimers. Experimental evidence is provided to show that active sites found on OMT dimers function independently and that bifunctional heterodimeric OMTs may be fonned in vivo to produce a broader and more diverse range of natural products in plants.
    • Cellular Mechanisms Underlying Retinoic Acid-Induced Growth Cone Guidance During Neuronal Regeneration

      Johnson, Alysha; Department of Biological Sciences
      During the period of neuronal development, neurons must make correct synaptic connections with their appropriate targets. The intricate connections of the nervous system are established in part by growth cones, located at the tips of extending neurites. These unique structures are essential for axon pathfinding and target cell selection by sensing and integrating numerous guidance cues from their environment. Retinoic acid, the active metabolite of vitamin A, is an important regulator of neurite outgrowth during vertebrate development, but there is substantial evidence that it also plays a role in axon guidance. Previous studies have provided preliminary evidence of a potential role of retinoid receptors in mediating the chemotropic effects of retinoic acid. In this study, I demonstrated that a synthetic retinoic acid receptor agonist was able to mimic the effects of retinoic acid in inducing growth cone turning. I also examined the intracellular pathways activated by retinoic acid that induce changes in growth cone behaviour. Previously it has been shown that retinoic acid-induced growth cone turning of invertebrate motorneurons requires local protein synthesis and calcium influx, similar to other known guidance cues in the central nervous system. However, the signalling pathways that link calcium influx to the regulation of cytoskeletal dynamics involved in growth cone turning are not currently known. Here, I examined potential effectors downstream of retinoic acid and have provided evidence that the intracellular pathways likely involve the Rho GTPases, Rac and Cdc42. I demonstrated that the inhibition of Rac or Cdc42 prevented growth cone turning towards retinoic acid. However, it was shown that the involvement of Rac differed depending on whether the growth cones maintained communication with the cell body or not. Moreover, the inhibition of Cdc42 not only blocked growth cone turning towards retinoic acid, but also induced a switch in growth cone responsiveness from attraction to repulsion. Overall, these studies provide new knowledge of the mechanisms underlying growth cone pathfinding by retinoids during nervous system development and regeneration.
    • Changes in the magnitude and pattern of translocation of photoassimilated ¹CO in soybean plants following an acute exposure to gamma radiation /

      Schefski, Hans Juergen.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1974-06-15)
      Young soybean plants (Glycine ~. L. cultivar Harosoy '63), grown under controlled conditions, were exposed to gamma radiation on a single occasion. One hour following exposure to 3,750 rads, the mature trifoliate leaf of the soybean plant was isolated in a closed system and permitted to photoassimilate approximately 1-5 pCi of 14C02 for 15 minutes. After an additional 45 minute-period, the plant was sacrificed and the magnitude of translocation and distribution pattern of 14C determined. In the non-irradiated plants 18~ of the total 14C recovered was outside the fed leaf blades and of this translocated 14c, 28~ was above the node of the fed leaf, 38~ in the stem below the node, 28~ in the roots and 7~ in the petiole. As well, in the irradiated plants, a smaller per cent (6~) of the total 14 C recovered was exported out of the source leaf blades. Of this translocated 14c , a smaller per cent (20~) was found in the apical region above the node of the source leaf and a higher per cent (45~) was recovered from the stem below the node and in the petiole (11~). The per cent of exported 14 C recovered from the root was unaffected by the radiation. Replacement of the shoot apex with 20 ppm IAA immediately following irradiation, only J partially increased the magnitude of translocation but did completely restore the pattern of distribution to that observed in the non-irradiated plants. From supplementary studies showing a radiationinduced reduction of photosynthetic rates in the source leaf and a reduction of the cumulative stem and leaf lengths in the apical sink region, the observed effects of radiation on the translocation process have been correlated to damage incurred by the source and sink regions. These data suggest that the reduction in the magnitude of translocation is the result of damage to both the source and sink regions rather than the phloem conducting tissue itself, whereas the change in the pattern of translocation is probably the result of a reduced rate of 14C-assimilate movement caused by a radiation-induced decrease of sink metabolism, especially the decrease in the metabolism of the apical sink.
    • Characterising Behavioural Thermoregulation in the Bearded Dragon: The Role of TRPM8

      Berman, Jacob; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2013-05-06)
      Temperature regulation is a necessary part of maintaining life, as most biological processes are influenced by temperature. ThermoTRP channels are considered the primary thermosensors in endotherms, but little is known regarding their function in ectotherms. The goal of this study is to establish TRPM8, a cold sensing channel, as a participant in normal thermoregulation of the bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps), an ectotherm. Animals were placed inside a ramping temperature shuttle box to assess the common behavioural thermoregulatory strategy of shuttling. Shuttling involves the periodic movement between cold and warm environments to maintain body temperature at moderate levels. The temperatures for cold and warm escapes represent sensory thresholds for inducing the shuttling thermoeffector. Animals were administered with: 1) an injection of the TRM8 antagonist capsazepine, 2) an injection of the TRPM8 agonist menthol, and 3) menthol applied topically. No effect was observed with injected drugs, but topical menthol resulted in a 2-3oC rise in the ambient temperature threshold and 1-2oC rise in skin temperature threshold for escape from the cold compartment. In an additional experiment, gaping behaviour, a warm temperature thermoregulatory strategy, was assessed. No effect was observed in this behaviour when the same dose of menthol was applied topically. These results point to a role for TRPM8 only in thermoregulation as it relates to cold temperature sensation in lizards, since it does not participate in regulating warm temperature behaviours such as gaping.
    • Characterization and protein fingerprinting of Botrytis cinerea isolates /

      Aljourmi, Ismail.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1999-05-21)
      Botrytis cinerea isolates collected from Niagara region were treated with different concentrations of the fiingicide, iprodione to test their sensitivity to this fungicide. These Botrytis cinerea isolates were divided into two groups according to their sensitivity to iprodione. Those isolates whose growth was inhibited by iprodione at concentrations < 2|i,g/nil were classified as sensitive isolates. Isolates that were able to show considerable growth at 2|j,g/ml iprodione were classified as resistant isolates. Resistant and sensitive isolates were compared for their morphological and growth characteristics, conidial germination, virulence on grape berries and protein banding profiles. The fungicide iprodione at a concentration of 2|xg/nil inhibited mycelial growth, sporulation and conidial germination of sensitive isolates but not those of resistant isolates. The inhibitory effect of the fungicide was greater on mycelial growth than on conidia germination of the sensitive isolates. Sensitive isolates produced no sclerotia whereas resistant isolates produced large number of sclerotia. The fungicide iprodione affected sclerotial production in the resistant isolates. The number of sclerotia was decreased by the increase of iprodione in the medium. Sporulation of resistant isolates was improved significantly in the presence of iprodione. The resistant isolates were as virulent as the sensitive isolates on grape berries. The sensitive and resistant isolates showed similar protein banding profiles in the absence of iprodione in polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis studies. Similar protein profiles were also observed when these isolates were grown in the presence of low iprodione concentration (0.5|ig/nil). However, in the presence of concentration (0.5|ig/nil). However, in the presence of iprodione at concentration of 5|Xg/nil, one protein band with approximate molecular weight of 83 KDa was present in the growing resistant isolates (and the controls) but was missing in the inhibited sensitive isolates.
    • Characterization of black fly (Diptera: Simuliidae) silk proteins

      Viel, Patrick; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2014-09-05)
      Black fly (Simuliidae) silk is produced by the larvae and pharate pupae and is used for anchorage and cocoon production. There exists limited information on simuliid silks, including protein composition and genetic sequences encoding such proteins. The present study aimed to expand what is known about simuliid silks by examining the silks of several simuliid species and by making comparisons to the silk of non-biting midges (Chironomidae). Silk glands were dissected out of larval and pupal simuliids, and protein contents were separated by sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and visualized with silver stain. Protein contents were compared by mass in kilodaltons (kDa) between life stages and among species. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to expand upon known gene sequence information, and to determine the presence of genes homologous to chironomid silk. SDS-PAGE of cocoons revealed the presence of a 56 kDa and a 67 kDa protein. Silk gland contained as many as 28 different proteins ranging from 319 kDa to 8 kDa. Protein profiles vary among species, and group into large (>200), intermediate(>100), and small (<100) protein classes as is found in chironomids. It is likely that silk evolved in a common ancestor of simuliids and chironomids
    • Characterization of plant, leafhopper, and spider communities in perimeter plantings and vineyards in the Niagara region

      Hughes, Margaret Moira; Department of Biological Sciences
      Vineyards are large agroecosystems associated with high external inputs and intervention leading to local decreases in biodiversity. With trends towards sustainable agriculture, there is a push to maximize natural ecosystem functions through methods of on-farm diversification, such as perimeter plantings. Increased plant diversity has been found to increase the ability to exploit natural ecosystem functions such as pest management, through the bottom-up control of species richness displayed by increased plant species richness. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the effect of perimeter plantings on vineyard plant and invertebrate communities. I hypothesized that perimeter plantings would have greater plant diversity and habitat complexity than vineyard interiors. Perimeter plantings would also support increased assemblages of natural enemies with decreased pest populations when compared to the vineyards. Plant communities in the perimeter plantings and the vineyards were first surveyed using transects within the perimeters and perpendicular transects from the perimeters towards the interior of the vineyards. Invertebrate communities were also surveyed within the perimeter plantings and adjacent vineyards, focusing on leafhoppers and spiders. Seven commercially operating vineyards throughout the Niagara region were surveyed both within the perimeter planting and adjacent vineyard during the 2018-growing season. It was found that perimeter plantings not only had increased plant species richness and functional diversity, but the species and functional composition within the perimeters differed from vineyard interiors. This indicated that perimeter plantings did not increase weed pressure but allowed for increased habitat complexity adjacent to the vineyards. Leafhoppers showed significantly higher abundance in vineyard interiors than perimeter plantings, and as distance from perimeter planting increased, leafhopper abundances also increased. Spiders were more abundant in perimeter plantings, decreasing in abundance with distance from perimeter. Overall, the results suggest that perimeter plantings have the ability to support biological pest control, while not increasing both weed or pest pressure observed within vineyards.
    • Characterization of the chitinolytic system during the mycoparasitic interaction between Trichoderma aggressivum f. aggressivum and different host strains of Agaricus bisporus /

      Guthrie, Jennifer L.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2003-05-19)
      Green mould is a serious disease of commercially grown mushrooms, the causal agent being attributed to the filamentous soil fungus Triclzodenna aggressivum f. aggressivu11l and T. aggressivum f. ellropaellm. Found worldwide, and capable of devastating crops, this disease has caused millions of dollars in lost revenue within the mushroom industry. One mechanism used by TricllOdenlla spp. in the antagonism of other fungi, is the secretion of lytic enzymes such as chitinases, which actively degrade a host's cell wall. Therefore, the intent of this study was to examine the production of chitinase enzymes during the host-parasite interaction of Agaricus bisporus (commercial mushroom) and Triclzodemza aggressivum, focusing specifically on chitinase involvement in the differential resistance of white, off-white, and brown commercial mushroom strains. Chitinases isolated from cultures of A. bisporus and T. aggressivu11l grown together and separately, were identified following native PAGE, and analysis of fluorescence based on specific enzymatic cleavage of 4-methylumbelliferyl glucoside substrates. Results indicate that the interaction between T. aggressivulll and A. bisporus involves a complex enzyme battle. It was determined that T. aggressivum produces a number of chitinases that appear to correlate to those isolated in previous studies using biocontrol strains of T. Izarziallilm. A 122 kDa N-acetylglucosaminidase of T. aggressivu11l revealed the highest and most variable activity, and is therefore believed to be an important predictor of antifungal activity. Furthermore, results indicate that brown strain resistance of mushrooms may be related to high levels of a 96 kDa N-acetylglucosaminidase, which showed elevated activity in both solitary and dual cultures with T. aggressivum. Overall, each host-parasite combination produced unique enzyme profiles, with the majority of the differences seen between day 0 and day 6 for the extracellular chitinases. Therefore, it was concluded that the antagonistic behaviour of T. aggressivli1ll does not involve a typical response, always producing the same types and levels of enzymes, but that mycoparasitism, specifically in the form of chitinase production, may be induced and regulated based on the host presented.
    • Characterization of the phosphorylation of thylakoid membrane proteins from cyanobacterium synechococcus sp. PCC 6301 in light state 1 and light state 2

      Li, Sida.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1992-07-09)
      The distribution of excitation energy between the two photosystems (PSII and PSI) of photosynthesis is regulated by the light state transition. Three models have been proposed for the mechanism of the state transition in phycobilisome (PBS) containing organisms, two involving protein phosphorylation. A procedure for the rapid isolation of thylakoid membranes and PBS fractions from the cyanobacterium Synechococcus m. PCC 6301 in light state 1 and light state 2 was developed. The phosphorylation of thylakoid and soluble proteins rapidly isolated from intact cells in state 1 and state 2 was investigated. 77 K fluorescence emission spectra revealed that rapidly isolated thylakoid membranes retained the excitation energy distribution characteristic of intact cells in state 1 and state 2. Phosphoproteins were identified by gel electrophoresis of both thylakoid membrane and phycobilisome fractions isolated from cells labelled with 32p orthophosphate. The results showed very close phosphoprotein patterns for either thylakoid membrane or PBS fractions in state 1 and state 2. These results do not support proposed models for the state transition which required phosphorylation of PBS or thylakoid membrane proteins.
    • Characterization of the state transition in the cyanobacterium synechococcus sp. 7002 and a phycobilisome-less Mutant

      Brimble, K. Scott.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1989-10-02)
      ABSTRACT Photosynthetic state transitions were investigated in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 in both wild-type cells and mutant cells lacking phycobilisomes. Preillumination in the presence of DCMU (3(3,4 dichlorophenyl) 1,1 dimethyl urea) induced state 1 and dark adaptation induced state 2 in both wild-type and mutant cells as determined by 77K fluorescence emission spectroscopy. Light-induced transitions were observed in the wildtype after preferential excitation of phycocyanin (state 2) or preferential excitation of chlorophyll .a. (state 1). The state 1 and 2 transitions in the wild-type had half-times of approximately 10 seconds. Cytochrome f and P-700 oxidation kinetics could not be correlated with any current state transition model as cells in state 1 showed faster oxidation kinetics regardless of excitation wavelength. Light-induced transitions were also observed in the phycobilisomeless mutant after preferential excitation of short wavelength chlorophyll !l. (state 2) or carotenoids and long wavelength chlorophyll it (state 1). One-dimensional electrophoresis revealed no significant differences in phosphorylation patterns of resolved proteins between wild-type cells in state 1 and state 2. It is concluded that the mechanism of the light state transition in cyanobacteria does not require the presence of the phycobilisome. The results contradict proposed models for the state transition which require an active role for the phycobilisome.
    • Characterizing the impact of multiple potential enemies (predators and parasites) on the behaviour of ranid tadpoles

      Szuroczki, Dorina; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2010-10-26)
      In order to fully understand an organism's behaviours the interactions between multiple enemies or selective pressures need to be considered, as these interactions are usually far more complex than the simple addition of their effects in isolation. In this thesis, I consider the impact of multiple enemies (fish predators and parasites) on the behaviour of three larval anurans (Lithobates sylvaticus, L. clamitans and L. catesbeianus). I also determine whether species that differ in life-histories and habitat preferences possess different antipredator mechanisms and how this affects species responses to multiple enemies. I show that the three Ranid larvae respond differently to the trade-off imposed by the presence of both fish predators and trematode parasites within the environment. The two more permanent pond breeders (L. clamitans and L. catesbeianus) increased activity when in the combined presence of predators and parasites. In contrast, the temporary pond breeder (L. sylvaticus) decreased activity in the combined presence of predator and parasites, in the same manner as they responded to fish alone. Further, the presence of fish along with parasites increased the susceptibility of both L. sylvaticus and L. clamitans to trematode infection, whereas parasite infection in L. catesbeianus was unaffected by the presence of fish. A second experiment to assess palatability of the three anuran species to fish, revealed a range of palatabilities, with L. catesbeianus being least palatable, L. clamitans being somewhat unpalatable, and L. sylvaticus being highly palatable. This result helps to explain the species differences in tthe observed behaviour to the combined presence of fish and parasites. In conclusion, the results from this study highlight the importance of considering multiple selective pressures faced by organisms and how this shapes their behaviour.
    • Chronic mild social stress increases neurogenesis in adolescent male rats

      Thomas, Catherine; Department of Biological Sciences (2012-03-30)
      Once thought to occur only during specific periods of development, it is now clear that neurogenesis occurs in the rat hippocampus into adulthood. It is wellestablished that stress during adulthood decreases the rate of neurogenesis, but during adolescence, the effects of stress are much less understood. I investigated the effect of short-term or chronic stress during adolescence (daily lhr isolation and change of cage partner from postnatal day (PND) 30-32 or 30-45) on hippocampal neurogenesis. In experiment 1, rats were administered Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) daily on PND 30-32, or 46-48, to mark neurogenesis at the beginning of the stressor or after the stressor had ceased, respectively. Neither short-term nor chronic stress had an effect on proliferation or survival (evidenced by BrdU and Doublecortin (Dcx) immunohistochemistry respectively) of cells born at the beginning of the stress procedure. Compared to controls, BrdU-labeling showed chronic stress significantly increased proliferation of cells generated after the stressor had ceased, but survival of new neurons was not supported (Dcx-Iabeling). However, it may be that BrdU injections are inherently stressful. In experiment 2, the stressor (described above) was applied in the absence of BrdU injections. Ki67 (a marker of proliferation) showed that stress transiently increased cell proliferation. Dcx-Iabeling showed that stress also increased neuron survival into adulthood. Labeling with OX.,.42 (a marker of macro phages) suggested that the immune system plays a role in neurogenesis, as stress transiently decreased the number of activated microglia in the hippocampus. It can be concluded that in the adolescent male rat, chronic mild stress increases neurogenesis.
    • The cloning and reconstitution of a bovine adenovirus type 2 E3 deletion mutant and the sequencing and analysis of the early 4 region

      FitzGerald, Linda K.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1995-07-09)
      Recombinant Adenoviruses (Ads) have been shown to have potential applications in three areas: gene therapy, high level protein expression and recombinant vaccines.' At least three different locations within the Ad genome can be deleted and subsequently used for the insertion of foreign sequences. These include the Early 3 (E3), Early 1 (E1) and Early 4 (E4) regions. Viral vectors of this type have been well studied in Human Ads 2 and 5, however one has not yet been constructed for Bovine Adenovirus Type 2 (BAV2). The E3 region is located between 76.6 and 86 m.u. on the r-strand and is transcribed in a rightward direction. The gene products of the Early 3 region (E3) have been shown to be non-essential for viral replication, in vitro, but are required for host immunosurveillance. This study represents the cloning and reconstitution of a BAV2 E3 deletion mutant. A deletion of 1800bp was made within the E3 region of BAV2 and the thymidine kinase gene was subsequently inserted in the deleted area . . The plasmid pdlE3-4tk1 (23.4Kbp) was constructed and used to to facilitate homologous recombination with the wild type BAV2 to produce a mutant. Southern Blotting and Hybridization results suggest the presence of a BAV2 E3 deletion mutant with thymidine kinase sequences present. The E4 region of Human Adenovirus types 2 and 5 is located at the extreme right end of the genome (91.3 map units - 99.1 map units) and is transcribed in a leftward direction giving rise to a complicated set of differentially spliced mRNAs. Essentially there are 7 open reading frames (ORFs) encoding for at least 7 polypeptides. The gene products encoded by the E4 region have been shown to be essential for the expression of late viral genes, host cell shutoff and normal viral growth. We have cloned and sequenced the right end segment between 90.5 map units and 100 map units of the BAV2 genome. The results show several open reading frames which encode polypeptides exhibiting homology to three polypeptides encoded by the E4 region of human adenovirus type 2. These include the 14kDa protein encoded by ORF1, the 34kDa protein encoded by ORF6 and the 13kDa protein encoded by ORF3. The nucleotide sequence, restriction enzyme map, and ORF map of the E4 region could be very useful in future molecular manipulation of this region and could possibly explain the slow growth rate of BAV2 in MDBK cells.
    • Cloning of actin genes from a genomic library of the newt, Notophthalmus viridescens

      Shannon, William R.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1988-07-09)
      The regenerating urodele limb is a useful model system in which to study, in vivo, the controls of cell proliferation and differentiation. Techniques are available which enable one to experimentally manipulate mitogenic influences upon the blastema, as well the morphogenesis of the regenerating 11mb. Although classical regeneration studies have generated a wealth of knowledge concerning tissue interactions, little 1s known about the process at the level of gene expression. The aim of this project was to clone potentially developmentally regulated genes from a newt genomic library for use in future studies of gene expression during limb regeneration. We decided to clone the cytoskeletal actin gene for the following reasons: 1. its expression reflects the proliferative and differentiatlve states of cells in other systems 2. the high copy number of cytoplasmic actin pseudogenes in other vertebrates and the high degree of evolutionary sequence conservation among actin genes increased the chance of cloning one of the newt cytoplasmic actin genes. 3. Preliminary experiments indicated that a newt actin could probably be identified using an available chick ~-actln gene for a molecular probe. Two independent recombinant phage clones, containing actin homologous inserts, were isolated from a newt genomic library by hybridization with the chick actin probe. Restriction mapping identified actin homologous sequences within the newt DNA inserts which were subcloned into the plasmid pTZ19R. The recombinant plasmids were transformed into the Escherichia coli strain, DHsa. Detailed restriction maps were produced of the 5.7Kb and 3.1Kb newt DNA inserts in the plasmids, designated pTNAl and pTNA2. The short «1.3 Kb) length of the actin homologous sequence in pTNA2 indicated that it was possibly a reverse transcript pseudogene. Problems associated with molecular cloning of DNA sequences from N. viridescens are discussed with respect to the large genome size and abundant highly repetitive DNA sequences.
    • Cloning, sequencing and characterization of a chitin synthase gene fragment from the fungus Phascolomyces articulosus /

      Zouganelis, George D.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1997-05-21)
      Phascolomyces articulosus genomic DNA was isolated from 48 h old hyphae and was used for amplification of a chitin synthase fragment by the polymerase chain reaction method. The primers used in the amplification corresponded to two widely conserved amino acid regions found in chitin synthases of many fimgi. Amphfication resulted in four bands (820, 900, 1000 and 1500 bp, approximately) as visualized in a 1.2% agarose gel. The lowest band (820 bp) was selected as a candidate for chitin synthase because most amplified regions from other fimgi so far exhibited similar sizes (600-750 bp). The selected fragment was extracted from the gel and cloned in the Hinc n site of pUC19. The derived plasmid and insert were designated ^\5C\9'PaCHS and PaCHS respectively. The plasmid pUC19-PaC/fS was digested by several restriction enzymes and was found to contain BamHl and HincU sites. Sequencing of PaCHS revealed two intron sequences and a total open reading frame of 200 amino acids. The derived polypeptide was compared with other related sequences from the EMBL database (Heidelberg, Germany) and was matched to 36 other fiilly or partially sequenced fimgal chitin synthase genes. The closest resemblance was with two genes (74.5% and 73.1% identity) from Rhizopus oligosporus. Southern hybridization with the cloned fragment as a probe to the PCR reaction showed a strong signal at the fragment selected for cloning and weaker signals at the other two fragments. Southern hybridization with partially digested Phascolomyces articulosus genomic DNA showed a single band. The amino acid sequence was compared with sequences from other chitin synthase gene classes using the CLUSTALW program. The chitin synthase fragment from Phascolomyces articulosus was initially grouped in class n along with chitin synthase fragments from Rhizopus oligosporus and Phycomyces blakesleeanus which also belong to the same class, Zygomycetes. Bootstrap analysis using the neighbor-joining method available by CLUSTALW verified such classification. Comparison of PaCHS revealed conservation of intron positions that are characteristic of chitin synthase gene fragments of zygomycetous fungi.
    • Coevolution of Heliconius spp. and Passiflora spp. : a phylogenetic comparison

      Ossowski, Anne.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2002-07-09)
      Although a substantial amount of research has been done on all aspects ofHeliconius biology and their ecological interactions with Passiflora, there has not hitherto been a phylogenetic examination of this association for coevolution. To test the HeliconiuslPassilfora association for coevolutionary congruence, phylogenies for each group were established and compared. The phylogeny for 14 species ofHeliconiinae from Costa Rica was based on combined sequence data from rRNA ITS 2 and partial EF-1a gene regions. For the Passifloraceae, 17 host plant species were utilized to establish a phylogeny based on tRNALeucine and ITS 1/5.8S1 ITS 2 sequence data. The phylogenies for both groups were largely in agreement with current classification (for Passifloraceae) and previously established phylogenies. Associations with the large subgenera Passiflora and Decaloba correspond with the two major Advanced Radiation groups in Heliconius. Although strict congruence above subgenus level was not observed, broad scale congruence was evident. One main host shift as well as other possible explanations for lack of strict congruence are suggested.
    • Comparative study of bovine heart and bacillus subtilis cytochrome c oxidase vesicles and the influence of bulk pH on cytochrome c oxidase components

      Perin, Ivano.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1996-07-09)
      Studies on the steady state behavior of soluble cytochrome c oxidase are extensive. These studies have examined the influence of ionic strength and pH and may provide answers to questions such as the link between proton translocation and charge separation. The present study examined the influence of external bulk pH on ApH formation, biphasic kinetics, and steady state reduction of cytochromes c and a of cytochrome c oxidase in proteoliposomes. Bulk pH has an appreciable effect on ApH formation and steady state reduction levels of cytochromes c and 8. Bulk pH affected total Vmax and Km at the low affinity binding site of cytochrome c. This study also examined the influence of bovine serum albumin and free fatty acids on proton pumping activity in bovine heart proteoliposomes. Proton pumping activity decreased after treatment with BSA, and was subsequently reinstated after further treatment with FFA. Much study in the superfamily of haem/copper oxidases has recently been devoted to the bacterial oxidases. The present study has examined some protein composition characteristics and bioenergetic features of Bacillus subtilis cytochrome caa3 oxidase. Results provide evidence for the structural composition of the enzyme in relation to the covalently bound cytochrome c to the oxidas~. Bioenergetically, caa3 COV showed appreciable proton pumping activity. Steady state analysis of the caa3 COV showed significantly different cytochrome c and a reduction characteristics compared to the bovine enzyme.
    • A comparative study of chitin synthase activity in two Mortierella species

      Adjimani, Jonanthan P.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1983-07-09)
      An in vitro investigation of some important factors controlling the activity of chitin synthase in cell-free extracts of two Mortierella species has been carried out. Mixed membrane fractions from mycelial homogenates of Mortierella candelabrum and Mortierella pusilla were found to catalyse the transfer of N-acetylglucosamine from UDP-N-acetylglucosamine into an insoluble product characterized as chitin by its insolubility in weak acid and alkali, and the release of glucosamine and diacetylchitobiose on hydrolysis with a strong acid and chitinase, respectively. Apparent Km values for UDP-GlcNAc were 1.8 mM and 2.0 mM for M. pusilla and ~ candelabrum, respectively. Polyoxin D was found to be a very potent competitive inhibitor with values of the constant of inhibition, Ki' for both species about three orders of magnitude lower than theKm for UDP-GlcNAc. A divalent cation, Mg+2 , Mn+2 or Co+2 , was required for activity. N-acetylglucosamine, the monomer of chitin, stimulated the activity of the enzyme. The crude enzyme preparation of ~ candelabrum, unlike that of ~ pusilla, showed an absolute requirement for both Mg+2 and N-acetylglucosamine. Large differences in response to exogenous proteases were noted in the ratio of active to inactive chitin synthase of the two species. A fifteen fold or greater increase was obtained after treatment with acid protease (from Aspergillussaitoi) as compared to a two- to four-fold activation of the M. pusilla membrane preparation treated similarly. During storage at 4°C over 48 hours, an endogenous activation of chitin synthase of ~ pus ilIa was achieved, comparable to that obtained by exogenous protease treatment. The high speed supernatant of both species inhibited the chitin synthase activity of the mixed membrane fractions. The inhibitor of ~ pus ilIa was effective against the pre-activated enzyme whereas that of M. candelabrum inhibited the activated enzyme. Several possibilities are discussed as to the role of the different factors regulating the enzyme activity. The suggestion is made from the properties of chitin synthase in the two species that in vivo a delicate balance exists between the activation and inactivation of the enzyme which is responsible for the pattern of wall growth of each fungus.
    • A comparative study of in vitro chitin synthase activity in mucoraceous hosts of a mycoparasite

      Begum, Almas.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1983-07-09)
      A comparative study of in vitro chitin synthase activity in mucoraceous hosts of a mycoparasite: Chitin synthase, the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of chitin in fungal cell wall was extracted from young hyphae of Choanephora cucurbitarum and Phascolomyces articulosus, susceptible and resistant hosts, respectively, to the mycoparasite, Piptocephalis virginiana. Crude enzyme was identified and characterized by measuring the incorporation of the substrate [14C]-UDP-N-acetylglucosamine, into chitin. Most activity occurred in mixed membrane fraction. Inhibition of activity with Polyoxin D and activation with proteases, N-acetyl-glucosamine and magnesium and other ions was observed. Properties of the crude enzyme preparation such as cofactor requirement, Vmax , apparent Km value for UDP-GlcNAc, inhibition by Polyoxin D, response to pH and to temperature, and stability at 4°C were determined. Enzyme activity from both fungi displayed basically the same features as the corresponding enzymes reported from other mucoraceous fungi. However, the two preparations from P. articulosus and C. cucurbitarum differed from each other in their expressed activity (i.e., the preparations from ~ articulosus exhibited higher latency and higher specific chitin synthase activity than the corresponding preparations from ~ cucurbitarum). Trypsin was effective in activation only over a narrow concentration range. Acid protease was the most effec.tive activator. En.dogenous protease estimation indicated higher protease activity in C. cucurbitarum than in P. articulosus. The suggestion is made that regulation of chitin synthase activities may be related to host resistance in the mycoparasitic system.
    • A comparative study of protoheme and heme d catalases : role of the heme and the heme pocket in catalysis and ligand binding

      Maj, Mary C.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1996-07-09)
      Catalase dismutes H20 2 to O2 and H20. In successive twoelectron reactions H20 2 induces both oxidation and reduction at the heme group. In the first step the protoheme prosthetic group of beef liver catalase forms compound I, in which the heme has been oxidized from Fe3+ to Fe4+=0 and a porphyrin radical has been created. Compound II is formed by the oneelectron reduction of comp I. It retains Fe4+=0 but lacks the porphyrin radical and is catalytically inert. Molecular structures are available for Escherichia coli Hydroperoxidase II, Micrococcus Iysodeiktus, Penicillium vitale and beef liver enzymes, which contain different hemes and heme pockets. In the present work, the pockets and substrate access channels of protoheme (beef liver & Micrococcus) and heme d (HPII of E. coli and Penicillium) catalases have been analysed using Quanta™ and CharmMTM molecular modeling packages on the Silicon Graphics Iris Indigo 2 computer. Experimental studies have been carried out with two catalases, HPII (and its mutants) and beef liver. Fluoride and formate' are inhibitors of both enzymes, and their binding is modulated by the heme and by distal residues N201 & H128. Both HPII and beef liver enzymes form compound I with H202 or peracetate. The reduction of beef liver enzyme compound I to II and the decay of compound II are accelerated by fluoride. The decay of compound II is also accelerated by formate, and this reagent acts as a 2-electron donor towards compound I of both enzymes. It is concluded that heme d enzymes (Penicillium and HPII of E. coli) are formed by autocatalytic transformation of protoheme in a modified pocket which contains a characteristic serine residue as well as a partially occluded heme channel. They are less active than protoheme enzymes but also do not form the inactive compound II species. Binding of peroxide as well as fluoride and formate is prevented by mutation of H128 and modulated by mutation of N201.