• GABA accumulation and the hypersensitive response in isolated mesophyll cells treated with the G protein activator mastoparan

      Allen, Lisa J.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1997-07-09)
      GABA (y-amino butyric acid) is a non-protein amino acid synthesized through the a-decarboxylation of L-glutamate. This reaction is catalyzed by L-glutamate decarboxylase (EC, a cytosolic Ca2+/calmodulin-stimulated enzyme. The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not GABA accumulation is associated with the hypersensitive response of isolated Asparagus sprengeri mesophyll cells. The addition of 25 J.lM mastoparan, a G protein activator, to suspensions of isolated asparagus mesophyll cells significantly increased GABA synthesis and cell death. Cell death was assessed using Evan's blue dye and fluorescein diacetate tests for cell viability. In addition, mastoparan stimulated pH-dependent alkalinization of the external medium, and a rapid and large 02 consumption followed by a loss of photosynthetic activity. The rate of 02 consumption and the net decrease in 02 in the dark was enhanced by light. The inactive mastoparan analogue Mas17 was ineffective in stimulating GABA accumulation, medium alkalinization, 02 uptake and cell death. Accumulation of H202 in response tomastoparan was not detected, however, mastoparan caused the cell-dependent degradation of added H202. The pH dependence of mastoparan-stimulated alkalinization suggests cellular electrolyte leakage, while the consumption of 02 corresponds to the oxidative burst in which 02 at the cell surface is reduced to form various active oxygen species. The results are indicative of the "hypersensitive response" of plants to pathogen attack, namely, the death of cells in the locality of pathogen invasion. The data are compatible with a model in which mastoparan triggers G protein activity, subsequent intracellular signal transduction pathway/s, and the hypersensitive response. It is postulated that the physiological elicitation of the hypersensitive response involves G protein signal transduction. The synthesis of GABA during the hypersensitive response has not been documented previously; however the role/s of GABA synthesis in the hypersensitive response, if any, remain unclear.
    • Genetic Analysis of Taste in Homo Sapiens

      Bering, Amanda; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2013-03-06)
      There are many known taste receptors specific to each taste attribute. This thesis examines the relationship between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and copy number variations (CNVs) in known taste and taste pathway receptors TAS2R38, Gustin, and TRPM5 and for PROP (6-n-propylthiouracil) taster status (PTS), thermal taster status (TTS), and orosensory sensation intensity ratings. PTS is a proxy for general taste responsiveness, and the ability to taste PROP classifies individuals into three phenotypes: super (PST), medium (PMT), and non-tasters (PNT). Another taste phenotype, also serving as a proxy for general taste responsiveness, is TTS, classifying individuals as thermal tasters (TTs) or thermal non-tasters (TnTs). DNA extractions from buccal cells obtained from 60 individuals were performed and analysis of TAS2R38, Gustin, and TRPM5 variations were conducted through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), sequencing for SNPs, and upQMPSF for CNV analysis of TRPM5. Among the SNPs and CNVs studied, only TAS2R38 was found to be significantly associated with PTS and intensity ratings for sweet, bitter, and sour taste as well as astringency. However, not all PROP phenotypic differences can be explained by the variations at these three SNP sites in TAS2R38, suggesting the involvement of additional genes. No association was found between TTS and TAS2R38 or Gustin, confirming that PTS and TTS are not genetically associated. The examined TRPM5 SNPs and CNVs did not correlate with TTS. Therefore, further research is necessary into other factors contributing to PTS and TTS.
    • Genetic variability in Larus argentatus and Sterna hirundo

      Melvin, George Ian.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1979-07-09)
      Blood serum and egg-white protein samples from individuals representing seven colonies of Larusargentatus, and four colonies of Sterna hirundo were electrophoretically analysed to determine levels of genetic variability and to assess the utility of polymorphic loci as genetic markers. Variability occurred at five co-dominant autosomal loci. S. hirundo protein polymorphism occurred at the Est-5 and the Oest-l loci, while nineteen loci were monomorphic. L. argentatus samples were monomorphic at seventeen loci and polymorphic at the Ldh-A and the Alb loci. Intergeneric differences existed at the Oalb and the Ldh-A loci. Although LDH-A100 from both species possessed identical electrophoretLc mobilities, the intergeneric differences were expressed as a difference in enzyme the'ITIlostabilities. Geographical distribution of alleles and genetic divergence estimates suggest ~ hirundo population panmixis,at least at the sampled locations. The h argentatus gene pool appears relatively heterogeneous with a discreet Atlantic Coast population and a Great Lakes demic population. These observed population structures may be maintained by the relative amount of gene flow occurring within and among populations. Mass ringing data coupled to reproductive success information and analysis of dispersal trends appear to validate this assumption. Similar results may be generated by either selection or both small organism and low locus sample sizes. To clarify these results and to detect the major factor(s) affecting the surveyed portions of the genome, larger sample sizes in conjunction with precise eco-demographic data are required.
    • Genetic variation and evolutionary divergence within and among populations, species, and genera of the Cambarinae

      Nemeth, Steven Thomas.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1977-07-09)
      Seven crayfish species from three genera of the subfamily Cambarinae were electrophoretically examined for genetic variation at a total of twenty-six loci. Polymorphism was detected primarily at three loci: Ao-2, Lap, and Pgi. The average heterozygosities over-all loci for each species were found to be very low when compared to most other invertebrate species that have been examined electrophoretically. With the exception of Cambarus bartoni, the interpopulation genetic identities are high within any given species. The average interspecific identities are somewhat lower and the average intergeneric identities are lower still. Populations, species and genera conform to the expected taxonomic progression. The two samples of ~ bartoni show high genetic similarity at only 50 percent of the loci compared. Locus by locus identity comparisons among species yield U-shaped distributions of genetic identities. Construction of a phylogenetic dendrogram using species mean genetic distances values shows that species grouping is in agreement with morphological taxonomy with the exception of the high similarity between Orconectespropinquus and Procambarus pictus. This high similarity suggests the possibility of a regulatory change between the two species. It appears that the low heterozygosities, high interpopulation genetic identities, and taxonomic mispositioning can all be explained on the basis of low mutation rates.
    • The genetics of glucosamine in yeast : cytoplasmic determinants conferring resistance

      Kunz, Bernard A.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1977-07-09)
      Two cytoplasmic, glucosamine resistant mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, GR6 and GR10, were examined to determine whether or not the lesions involved were located on mitochondrial DNA. Detailed investigation of crosses of GR6 and GR10 or their derivatives to strains bearing known mitochondrial markers demonstrated that: 1. the frequency of glucos~~ine resistance in diploids was independent of factors influencing mitochondrial marker output. 2. upon tetrad analysis a variety of tetrad ratios was observed for glucosamine resistance whereas mitochondrial markers segregated 4:0 or 0:4 (resistant:sensitive). 3. glucosamine resistance and mitochondrial markers segregated differentially with time. 4. glucosamine resistance persisted following treatment of a GRIO derivative with ethidium bromide at concentrations high enough to eliminate all mitochondrial DNA. 5. haploid spore clones displayed two degrees of glucosamine resistance, weak and strong, while growth due to mitochondrial mutations was generally thick and confluent. 6. a number of glucosamine resistant diploids and haploids, which also possessed a mithchondrial resistance mutation, were unable to grow on medium containing both glucosamine and the particular drug involved. 3 These observations 1~ 6 provided strong evidence that the cytoplasmic glucosamine resistant mutations present in GR6 and GRiO were not situated on mitochondrial DNA. Comparison of the glucosamine resistance mutations to some other known cytoplasmic determinants revealed that: 7. glucosamine resistance and the expression of the killer phenotype were separate phenomena. 8. unlike yeast carrying resistance conferring episomes GR6 and GR10 were not resistant to venturicidin or oligomycin and the GR factor exhibited genetic behaviour different from that of the episomal determinants. These results 7--+8 suggested that glucosamine resistance was not associated with the killer determinant nor with alleged yeast episomes. It is therefore proposed that a yeast plasmid(s), previously undescribed, is responsible for glucosamine resistance. The evidence to date is compatible with the hypothesis that GR6 and GR10 carry allelic mutations of the same plasmid which is tentatively designated (GGM).
    • The genetics of glucosamine resistance in yeast /

      Elliot, Joseph J. (St. Catharines [Ont.] : Dept. of Biological Sciences, Brock University,, 2009-06-04)
    • Glucosamine resistance in the yeast, Saccharomyces cerivisae [sic]

      Maheshwari, Prem Lata.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1977-07-09)
      By using glucosamine resistant mutants of Saccharomyces ceriv~sa~ an attempt was made to discover the mechanisms which cause glucose repression and/or the Crabtree effect. The strains used are 4B2, GR6, lOP3r, GR8l and GRI08. 4B2 is a wild type yeast while the others are its mutants. To characterize the biochemical reactions which made these mutants resistant to glucosamine poisoning the following experiments were done~ 1. growth and respiration; 2. transport of sugars; 3. effect of inorganic phosphate (Pi): 4. Hexokinase; 5. In yivo phosphorylation. From the above experiments the following conclusions may be drawn: (i) GR6 and lOP3r have normal respiratory and fermentative pathways. These mutants are resistant to glucosamine poisoning due to a slow rate of sugar transport which is due to change in the cell membrane. (ii) GR8l has a normal respiratory pathway. The slow growth on fermentable carbon sourCEE indicates that in GR8l the lesion is in or associated with the glycolytic pathway. The lower rate of sugar transport may be due to a change in energy metabolism. The invivo phosphorylation rate indicates that in GR81 facilitated diffusion is the dominant transport mechanism. (iii) GR108 msa normal glycolytic pathway but the respiratory pathway is abnormal. The slow rate of sugar transport is due to a change in energy metabolism. The lower percentage of in vivo phosphorylation is probably due to a lowered availability of ATP because of the mitochondrial lesion. In all mutants resistance to glucosamine poisoning is due to a lower rate of utilization of ATP. which is caused by various mechanisms (see above), making less ADP available for phosphorylation via ATP synthase which utilizes inorganic phosphate. Because of the lower utilization of Pi, the concentration of intra-mitochondrial Pi does not go down thus protecting mutants from glucosamine poisoning.
    • Gypsy moths (Lymantria dispar) in the Niagara Region : population density variation, introduction of an entomopathogenic fungus (Entomophaga maimaiga) and occurrence of nuclear polyhedrosis virus

      Belme, Dayle M.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1995-07-09)
      The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, a major defoliator of broad leaf trees, was accidentally introduced into North America in 1869. Much interest has been generated regarding the potential of using natural pathogens for biological control of this insect. One of these pathogens, a highly specific fungus, Entomophaga maimaiga, was accredited with causing major epizootics in populations of gypsy moth across the north-eastern United States in 1989 and 1990 and is thought to be spreading northwards into Canada. This study examined gypsy moth population densities in the Niagara Region. The fungus, .E.. maimaiga, was artificially introduced into one site and the resulting mortality in host populations was noted over two years. The relationship between fungal mortality, host population density and occurrence of another pathogen, the nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV), was assessed. Gypsy moth population density was assessed by counting egg masses in 0.01 hectare (ha) study plots in six areas, namely Louth, Queenston, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Shorthills Provincial Park, Chippawa Creek and Willoughby Marsh. High variability in density was seen among sites. Willoughby Marsh and Chippawa Creek, the sites with the greatest variability, were selected for more intensive study. The pathogenicity of E. maimaiga was established in laboratory trials. Fungal-infected gypsy moth larvae were then released into experimental plots of varying host density in Willoughby Marsh in 1992. These larvae served as the inoculum to infect field larvae. Other larvae were injected with culture medium only and released into control plots also of varying host density. Later, field larvae were collected and assessed for the presence of .E.. maimaiga and NPV. A greater proportion of larvae were infected from experimental plots than from control plots indicating that the experimental augmentation had been successful. There was no relationship between host density and the proportion of infected larvae in either experimental or control plots. In 1992, 86% of larvae were positive for NPV. Presence and intensity of NPV infection was independent of fungal presence, plot type or interaction of these two factors. Sampling was carried out in the summer of 1993, the year after the introduction, to evaluate the persistence of the pathogen in the environment. Almost 50% of all larvae were infected with the fungus. There was no difference between control and experimental plots. Data collected from Willoughby Marsh indicated that there was no correlation between the proportion of larvae infected with the fungus and host population density in either experimental or control plots. About 10% of larvae collected from a nearby site, Chippawa Creek, were also positive for .E.. maimaiga suggesting that low levels of .E.. maimaiga probably occurred naturally in the area. In 1993, 9.6% of larvae were positive for NPV. Again, presence or absence of NPV infection was independent of fungal presence plot type or interaction of these two factors. In conclusion, gypsy moth population densities were highly variable between and within sites in the Niagara Region. The introduction of the pathogenic fungus, .E.. maimaiga, into Willoughby Marsh in 1992 was successful and the fungus was again evident in 1993. There was no evidence for existence of a relationship between fungal mortality and gypsy moth density or occurrence of NPV. The results from this study are discussed with respect to the use of .E.. maimaiga in gypsy moth management programs.
    • Habitat selection of three rodents in a frequently burned boreal environment : productivity and habitat diversity

      McDonald, Donald John.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1978-07-09)
      How does fire affect the plant and animal community of the boreal forest? This study attempted to examine the changes in plant composition and productivity, and small mammal demography brought about by fire in the northern boreal environment at Chick Lake, N.W.T. (65053fN, 128°14,W). Two 5*6 ha plots measuring 375m x 150m were selected for study during the summers of 1973 and 197^. One had been unburned for 120 years, the other was part of a fire which burned in the spring of 1969. Grids of 15m x 15m were established in each plot and meter square quadrats taken at each of the 250 grid intersections in order to determine plant composition and density. Aerial primary production was assessed by clipping and drying 80 samples of terminal new production for each species under investigation. Small mammal populations were sampled by placing a Sherman live trap at each grid intersection for ten days in every month. The two plots were similar in plant species composition which suggested that most regrowth in the burned area was from rootstocks which survived the fire. The plant data were submitted to a cluster analysis that revealed nine separate species associations, six of which occured in the burned area and eight of which occured in the control. These were subsequently treated as habitats for purposes of comparison with small mammal distributions. The burned area showed a greater productivity in flowers and fruits although total productivity in the control area was higher due to a large contribution from the non-vascular component. Maximum aerial productivity as dry wieght was measured at 157.1 g/m and 207.8 g/m for the burn and control respectively. Microtus pennsylvanicus and Clethrionomys rutilus were the two most common small mammals encountered; Microtus xanthognathus, Synaptomys borealis, and Phenacomys intermedius also occured in the area. Populations of M. pennsylvanicus and C. rutilus were high during the summer of 1973; however, M. pennsylvanicus was rare on the control but abundant on the burn, while C. rutilus was rare on the burn but abundant in the control. During the summer of 197^ populations declined, with the result that few voles of any species were caught in the burn while equal numbers of the two species were caught in the control. During the summer of 1973 M. pennsylvanicus showed a positive association to the most productive habitat type in the burn which was avoided by C. rutilus. In the control £• rutilus showed a similar positive association to the most productive habitat type which was avoided by M. pennsylvanicus. In all cases for the high population year of 1973# the two species never overlapped in habitat preference. When populations declined in 197^f "both species showed a strong association for the most productive habitat in the control. This would suggest that during a high population year, an abundant species can exclude competitors from a chosen habitat, but that this dominance decreases as population levels decrease. It is possible that M. pennsylvanicus is a more efficient competitor in a recently burned environment, while C. rutilus assumes this role once non-vascular regrowth becomes extensive.
    • Heritability of multiple mating by female field crickets, Gryllus integer (Orthoptera: Gryllidae)

      Solymar, Brent D.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1988-07-09)
      The heritability of multiple mating in female Gryllus integer crickets was studied. Two preliminary experiments were conducted to determine when females first mate following the post-imaginal moult and to ascertain whether constant exposure to males affects female mating rate. Female Q. integer first mated at an average age of 3.6 days (S.D. = 2.3, Range = 0-8 days) . Exposing female crickets to courting males 24 hr daily did not significantly alter mating rates from those females in contact with males for only 5 hr per day. A heritability value of 0.690 ± 0.283 was calculated for multiple mating behavior in female Q. integer using a parent-offspring regression approach. Parental females mated between land 30 times (x 9.8, S . D. = 6. 6 ) and offspring matings ranged from 0 to 26 times (x 7 .3, S.D. = 3.4). Multiple mating is probably a sexually selected trait which functions as a mechanism of female choice and increases reproductive success through increased offspring production. Classical theory suggests that traits intimately related with fitness should exhibit negligible heritable variation. However, this study has shown that multiple mating, a trait closely linked with reproductive fitness, exhibits substantial heritability. These results are in concordance with a growing body of empirical evidence suggesting many fitness traits in natural populations demonstrate heritabilities far removed from zero. Various mechanisms which may maintain heritable variation for female multiple mating in wild, outbred Q. integer populations are discussed.
    • Heterogeneity of photosystem II as it occurs in domain specific regions of the thylakoid membrane of spinach (spinacia oleracia L.)

      McConnell, Michael D.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2002-07-09)
      Thylakoid membrane fractions were prepared from specific regions of thylakoid membranes of spinach (Spinacia oleracea). These fractions, which include grana (83), stroma (T3), grana core (8S), margins (Ma) and purified stroma (Y100) were prepared using a non-detergent method including a mild sonication and aqueous two-phase partitioning. The significance of PSlla and PSII~ centres have been described extensively in the literature. Previous work has characterized two types of PSII centres which are proposed to exist in different regions of the thylakoid membrane. a-centres are suggested to aggregate in stacked regions of grana whereas ~-centres are located in unstacked regions of stroma lamellae. The goal of this study is to characterize photosystem II from the isolated membrane vesicles representing different regions of the higher plant thylakoid membrane. The low temperature absorption spectra have been deconvoluted via Gaussian decomposition to estimate the relative sub-components that contribute to each fractions signature absorption spectrum. The relative sizes of the functional PSII antenna and the fluorescence induction kinetics were measured and used to determine the relative contributions of PSlla and PSII~ to each fraction. Picosecond chlorophyll fluorescence decay kinetics were collected for each fraction to characterize and gain insight into excitation energy transfer and primary electron transport in PSlla and PSII~ centres. The results presented here clearly illustrate the widely held notions of PSII/PS·I and PSlIa/PSII~ spatial separation. This study suggests that chlorophyll fluorescence decay lifetimes of PSII~ centres are shorter than those of PSlIa centres and, at FM, the longer lived of the two PSII components renders a larger yield in PSlIa-rich fractions, but smaller in PSIlr3-rich fractions.
    • Host-parasite relations in a mycoparasitic system : alterations in membrane permeability and lipid composition in Choanephora cucurbitarum infected by Piptocephalis virginiana /

      Maharaj, Rajendranath P.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1980-06-15)
      examined in Choanephora cucurbita rum during the early stages of infection by Piptocephalis virginiana » There was a small but consistent increase in the leakage of electrolytes, amino acids and sugars as a result of infection. These low levels of differential leakage in infected tissues are explained on the basis of the nature of this obligate, biotrophic, mycoparasitic system. Quantitative analysis of the twenty six amino acids and amino compounds detected in the leacheates — showed similar profiles in infected and control host and no new species of amino acids or amino compounds were detected in either infected or control host leacheates. Comparatively high amounts of aspartic acid, glutamic acid and alanine were found in the leacheates of host and infected host . Analyses of the sugars comprising the leacheates of infected and control host showed the presence of eight sugars, among which glucose was found in significant amounts (50-53%) ' The nutritional implication of this preferential leakage is discussed. No significant difference was observed in the leacheates of infected host sugar profiles compared with that of the control host. Profiles of the internal pool sugars of infected and control host did not reflect that obtained from the leacheate data, perhaps owing to leakage of sugars in a selective manner . Membrane lipid analyses yielded higher levels of lipid in infected host compared with the control, both at the 24 h and 36 h analyses. In addition, preliminary investigations of phosphorous-32 incorporation and turnover in phospholipids showed higher levels of 32p incorporation and turnover in infected host compared with the control. No apparent difference was noted in the profiles of the neutral lipid classes and the polar lipid classes of the membrane lipids as determined by one and two dimensional thin-layer chromatography respectively. However, a small but consistently higher degree of unsaturation was detected in the fatty acids of infected tissue compared with the control. Also, '^''-^^''^^'-'-^'^^c acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid previously reported to show a direct correlation during the early stages of infection and the degree of parasitism of P. virginiana on C. cucurbitarum , was found in higher amounts in infected host membrane lipids compared with that of the control host. The implications of these membrane lipid alterations are discussed with particular reference to the small but consistently higher leakage of electrolytes, amino acids and sugars observed during infection in this study.
    • Hydration, conformational states and kinetics of yeast hexokinase PII /

      Bradford, Amanda.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2002-05-21)
      The kinetic study of the coupled enzymatic reaction involving monomeric yeast hexokinase PII (HK) and yeast glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PDH) yields a Michaelis constant of 0.15 ± 0.01 mM for D-glucose. At pH 8.7 HK is present in monomeric form. The addition of polyethylene glycol (PEG), to the reaction mixture increased the affinity of HK for glucose, independent ofMW of the PEG from 2000 to 10000. The osmotic stress exerted by PEG can be used to measure the change in number of water molecules that accompany enzyme conformational changes (Rand, et al., 1993). Results indicate that the G-6-PDH is not osmotically sensitive and thus, the change in the number of PEG-inaccessible water molecules (ANw) measured in the coupled reaction is only the difference between the glucose-bound and glucosefree conformations of HK. ANw ~ 450 with PEGs of MW > 2000 under conditions for both binding (Reid and Rand, 1997) and kinetic assays. The contribution water may play in the binding of ATP (Km = 0.24 + 0.02 mM) has also been examined. It was found that in this case ANw = (for osmotic pressures < 2.8x10* dynes/cm^), suggesting no additional numbers of waters are displaced when ATP binds to HK. Osmotic pressure experiments were also performed with dimeric HK. It was determined that both the monomeric and dimeric forms of HK give the same ANw under low pressures. If this large ANw is due to conformational flexibility, it would appear that the flexibility is not reduced upon dimerization ofthe enzyme.
    • Hydrogen sulphide as inhibitor and substrates for the cytochrome c-cytochrome c oxidase system /

      Kim, Jae-Kyoung.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1981-09-23)
      It has previously been recognized that the major biochemical toxicity induced by sulphide is due to an inhibition of cytochrome ~ oxidase. Inhibition of this enzyme occurs at 30°C and pH 7.4 with a Ki of approximately 0.2 ~M, and a kon of 104 M-1 s-l, under catalytic conditions. However, the equimo1ar mixture of sulphide and the enzyme shows identical catalytic behaviour to that of the native enzyme. This cannot readily be attributed to rapid dissociation of sulphide, as both spectroscopic and plot analysis indicate the koff value is low. The addition of stoichiometric sulphide to the resting oxidized enzyme gives rise to the appearance of a low-spin ferric-type spectrum not identical with that seen on the addition of excess sulphide to the enzyme aerobically. Sulphide added to the enzyme anaerobically gives rise to another low-spin, probably largely ferric, form which upon admission of oxygen is then converted into a 607 nm species closely resembling Compound C. The 607 nm form is probably the precursor of oxyferricytochrome aa3. The addition of successive a1iquots of Na2S solution to the enzyme induces initial uptake of approximately 3 moles of oxygen per mole of the enzyme. Thus, it is concluded that: 1. the initial product of sulphide-cytochrome c oxidase interaction is not an inhibited form of the enzyme, but the low-spin (oxyferri) ~3+~+ species; 2. a subsequent step in which sulphide reduces cytochrome ~ occurs; 3. the final inhibitory step, in which a further molecule of sulphide binds to the cytochrome ~ iron centre in the cytochrome ~2+~+ species, gives the cytochrome a2+~+-H2S form which is a half-reduced fully inhibited species;4. a 607 run form of the enzyme is produced which may be converted into a catalytically active low-spin (oxyferri) state; and therefore 5. liganded sulphide may be able to reduce the cytochrome 33 -Cu centre without securing the prior reduction of the cytochrome a_ haem group or the Cud centre associated with it.
    • The identification and characterization of inter- and intra-species genetic diversity derived from retrotransposons in humans

      Tang, Wanxiangfu; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2013-01-14)
      Retrotransposons, which used to be considered as “junk DNA”, have begun to reveal their immense value to genome evolution and human biology due to recent studies. They consist of at least ~45% of the human genome and are more or less the same in other mammalian genomes. Retrotransposon elements (REs) are known to affect the human genome through many different mechanisms, such as generating insertion mutations, genomic instability, and alteration in gene expression. Previous studies have suggested several RE subfamilies, such as Alu, L1, SVA and LTR, are currently active in the human genome, and they are an important source of genetic diversity between human and other primates, as well as among humans. Although several groups had used Retrotransposon Insertion Polymorphisms (RIPs) as markers in studying primate evolutionary history, no study specifically focused on identifying Human-Specific Retrotransposon Element (HS-RE) and their roles in human genome evolution. In this study, by computationally comparing the human genome to 4 primate genomes, we identified a total of 18,860 HS-REs, among which are 11,664 Alus, 4,887 L1s, 1,526 SVAs and 783 LTRs (222 full length entries), representing the largest and most comprehensive list of HS-REs generated to date. Together, these HS-REs contributed a total of 14.2Mb sequence increase from the inserted REs and Target Site Duplications (TSDs), 71.6Kb increase from transductions, and 268.2 Kb sequence deletion of from insertion-mediated deletion, leading to a net increase of ~14 Mb sequences to the human genome. Furthermore, we observed for the first time that Y chromosome might be a hot target for new retrotransposon insertions in general and particularly for LTRs. The data also allowed for the first time the survey of frequency of TE insertions inside other TEs in comparison with TE insertion into none-TE regions. In summary, our data suggest that retrotransposon elements have played a significant role in the evolution of Homo sapiens.
    • Identification and characterization of polymorphic mobile elements (MEs) in humans

      Dahi, Zakia; Department of Biological Sciences
      Retrotransposons are mobile elements (MEs) that propagate in a “copy and paste” fashion in the genomes via RNA intermediates. In the human genome, retrotransposons consist of long terminal repeats (LTRs), long interspersed elements (LINEs), short interspersed elements (SINEs), SINE-VNTR- Alus (SVAs), and processed pseudogenes (PPSGs), and they collectively contribute close to 50% of the genome. Some members of these MEs continue to undergo retrotransposition, thereby generating a type of structural variations (SVs) within and between human populations by the presence and absence of ME insertions at specific genomic locations. A large number of such polymorphic MEs have been previously reported and documented, including cases associated with diseases, but with limited sequence characterization and genotype analysis. In this study, we performed extensive computational analysis and compilation of polymorphic MEs from multiple sources. We focused on characterization of complete sequences representing the insertion alleles and pre-integration alleles of ME polymorphic loci, using methods including local sequence assembly based on rich personal genome sequence data for many entries. Further, we performed in silico genotyping and population distribution for these polymorphic MEs for 2600 human subjects representing 28 well recognized populations around the world, as well as phylogenetic analysis of these human subjects using these polymorphic MEs as markers. We identified a total of 4400 polymorphic MEs with full sequence characterization for both the pre-integration and insertion alleles. Among these, 1267 entries represent new insertions not previously documented in the Database of Retrotransposon Insertion Polymorphisms in humans (dbRIP), and 1777 entries represent ME insertions outside the current human reference genome. By individual populations and all samples as whole, all 5 ME types displayed a similar allele distribution pattern with the majority having an allele frequency at 0.5, while differences across ME types are also seen at the very low frequency range. Nevertheless, polymorphic MEs do show substantial geographic differentiation, with numerous continent-specific loci identified. Polymorphic ME-based clustering of human subjects seems to correlate well with what we know about the history and relationship of human populations, indicating the usefulness of polymorphic MEs as markers for studying human evolution. Furthermore, polymorphic MEs were found to participate in both coding and regulatory sequences, signifying their potential contribution to the phenotypic diversity present among human populations and individuals. In conclusion, polymorphic MEs represent a significant source of human genetic diversity with potentials on impacting the structure, function, and evolution of the human genome.
    • Identification of transcripts associated with postharvest withering in Vitis vinifera L. ‘Cabernet Franc’ grape berry

      Cathline, Kimberley; Department of Biological Sciences
      The withering of grape berries following harvest is known in Italian as appassimento, and it used as a tool to alter the composition of the berries prior to winemaking. Specific gene expression patterns were determined by RNA Sequencing in the red-skinned berries of Vitis vinifera L. ‘Cabernet Franc’ for three time points during withering, at both slow and fast rates, up to 40.7 and 31.2 percent cluster weight loss respectively, with a target of 29 + 1 oBrix. Slow withering was associated with a higher number of differentially expressed genes, and those commonly up-regulated across all time points were associated with a higher number of gene ontology categories, including phenylpropanoid and cellular aromatic compound metabolism and biosynthesis. Commonly up-regulated genes across fast drying were only related to response to abiotic and biotic stimuli terms. Both slow and fast withering were associated with an up-regulation of numerous WRKY and MYB transcription factors, as well as stilbene synthase, phenylalanine ammonia lyase and trehalose-phosphate phosphatase. With respect to anthocyanin biosynthesis, there was no change in expression for MYBA genes, and UDP-glucose:flavonoid 3-O-glucosyltransferase was down-regulated transiently in fast withering and showed no change in expression in slow. Slow withering was also associated with an up-regulation of a dehydrin and the CBF3 gene. The results of the present study suggest that fast withering may be associated with primarily an intense stress response, while slow withering may be associated with a senescence or over-ripening, in combination with a gradual adaptation to a less intense dehydration stress. As such, the influence of rate during withering will likely have a strong impact on the final berry composition, and thus will influence the characteristics of the resulting wines.
    • Identifying the effect of clone and rootstock on viticultural performance, fruit composition and winemaking potential for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling, in Niagara, Ontario.

      Barker, Andrea; Department of Biological Sciences
      Previous research globally has demonstrated that the performance of grapevine clone and rootstock combinations on vine performance and fruit quality are region-specific. Consequently, it is imperative for the Ontario wine industry to have locally-relevant information on the performance of vine combinations before these selections are purchased and established in vineyards. The objective of this research is to identify the influence of clone and rootstock combination on vine performance, fruit composition and oenological potential for core Ontario varieties: Pinot noir (clones: 113, 114, 115 and 777 on rootstock Riparia Gloire), Chardonnay (clones: 548, 96, 95 and 76 on rootstock Selektion Oppenheim 4), and Riesling (clones 9, 12 and 21 on rootstock SO4; clones 239, 49 and 21 on rootstock SO4; rootstocks 101-14, SO4 and 5C on clone 9; and rootstocks 3309C and SO4 on clone 21) over the course of multiple growing seasons and vintages, 2017 and 2018. Replicated blocks for each treatment were established in one of three commercial vineyards within the Niagara region. Vine performance was measured by timing of phenological stages, yield components, vine balance, disease and winter injury. Fruit composition was determined by measuring acid and soluble solid content of 100-berry samples taken from sentinel vines. Fruit was harvested from select research blocks and fermented into wine to evaluate oenological potential through must composition analysis, fermentation kinetics and finished wine composition analysis. Results indicate significant (p≤0.05) differences in all cultivars in both years, for the effects of clone and rootstock on vine performance, fruit composition and oenological potential in Niagara. However, trends were generally not consistent across years, indicating further vintages will be required to eliminate the weather-related differences between years. This project is limited by its duration of two years. Research from additional vintages is required in order to further understand the effects of clone and rootstock selection under Niagara vineyard conditions.
    • Immuno-cytochemical localization of glycoproteins involved in recognition and attachment in a mycoparatism

      Su, Longcheng.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1992-07-09)
      Polyclonal antibodies prepared against the two glycoproteins (Mr 100 and 85 kDa) involved in recognition and attachment of the mycoparasite, Piptocephalis virginiana, to its hosts, Mortierella pusilla and Phascolomyces articulosus, susceptible and resistant, respectively, were employed to localize the antigens at their cell surfaces. Indirect immunocytochemical technique using secondary antibodies labelled with either FITC or gold particles as probes, were used. FITC-Iabelled antibodies revealed a discontinous pattern of fluorescence on the hyphae of MortlerelLa pusilla and no fluorescence on the hyphae of Phascolomyces articulosus. Intensity of fluorescence was high in the germinating spores of both the fungi. Fluoresence could be observed on P. articulosus hyphae pretreated with a commercial proteinase. Fluorescence was not observed on either hyphae or germinating spores of the nonhost M0 r tie re11 a ca ndelabrum and the mycoparasite P. virginiana. Antibodies labelled with gold conjugate showed a different pattern of antigen localization on the hyphal walls of the susceptible and resistant hosts. Patches of gold particles were observed allover the whole cell wall of the susceptible host but only on the inner cell wall layer of the resistant host. Cell wall fragments of the susceptible host but not those of the resistant host, previously incubated with the antibodies inhibited attachment of the mycoparasite. Implications of preferential localization of the antigen in the resistant host and its absence in the nonhost are described.
    • Immuno-gluorescence study of five zygomycetous fungi with two chitin-binding probes

      Sahai, Amarpal S.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1993-07-09)
      A polyclonal antiserum was prepared against a purified microsomal chitinase isolated from the fungus Choanephora cucurbitarum. Indirect immunofluorescence was used to localize chitinase at various developmental stages of five zygomycetous fungi and during abiotrophic mycoparasite interaction with a susceptible and resistant host. This was compared to localization of oligomers of N-acetylglucosamine with the lectin wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). Dotimmunoblot and Western blot techniques revealed that the anti-serum reacted strongly with the antigen from which it was derived. Cross reactivity of the antiserum was found with WGA and another chitin binding lectin, Phyto/acca americana agglutinin (PAA). Immuno-fluorescence results showed the direct involvement of chitinase in spore swelling, germination, sporangium development and response during mechanical injury. There appeared to be no involvement of chitinase during apical hyphal growth or new branch initiation in any of the fungi tested despite mild proteolysis and permeabilization of the cell surface prior to labelling. Binding with WGA revealed similar patterns of fluorescence to that of chitinase localization but differed by showing fluorescence and therefore chitin localization at the apex and new branch initiation when tested at different developmental stages. There was no difference between chitinase localization and binding with WGA in a susceptible host and resistant host challenged with the mycoparasite, Piptocephalis virginiana. Differences in binding ability of antichitinase and lectin WGA suggests that the latter is not a suitable indicator for indirect localization of the lytic enzyme, chitinase.