• L-Glutamate uptake, decarboxylation to -aminobutyric acid and GABA efflux in isolated Asparagus sprengeri mesophyll cells

      Chung, Induk.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1989-07-09)
      Addition of L-glutamate caused alkalinization of the medium surrounding Asparagus spreng.ri mesophyll cells. This suggests a H+/L-glutmate symport uptake system for L-glutamate. However stoichiometries of H+/L-glutamate symport into Asparagus cells were much higher than those in other plant systems. Medium alkalinization may also result from a metabolic decarboxylation process. Since L-glutmate is decarboxylated to r-amino butyric acid (SABA) in this system, the origin of medium alkalinization was reconsidered. Suspensions of mechanically isolated and photosyntheically competent Asparagus sprengeri mesophyll cells were used to investigate the H+/L-glutamate symport system, SABA production, GABA transport, and the origin of L-glutamate dependent medium alkalinization. The major results obtained are summarized as follows: 1. L-Glutamate and GABA were the second or third most abundant amino acids in these cells. Cellular concentrations of L-glutamate were 1.09 mM and 1.31 mM in the light and dark, respectively. Those of SABA were 1.23 mM and 1.17 mM in the light and dark, respectively. 2. Asparagine was the most abundant amino acid in xylem sap and comprised 54 to 68 1. of the amino acid pool on a molar basis. GABA was the second most abundant amino acid and represented 10 to 11 1. of the amino acid pool. L-Slutamate was a minor component. 3. A 10 minute incubation with 1 mM L-glutamate increased the production of GABA in the medium by 2,743 7. and 2,241 7. in the light and dark, respectively. 4. L-Glutamate entered the cells prior to decarboxylation. 5. There was no evidence for a H+/GABA symport process • 6. GABA was produced by loss of carbon-1 of L-glutamate. 7. The specific activity of newly synthesized labeled GABA suggests that it is not equilibrated with a storage pool of GABA. 8. The mechanism of GABA efflux appears to be a passive process. 9. The evidence indicates that the origin of L-glutamate dependent medium alkalinization is a H+/L-glutamate symport not an extracellular decarboxylation. The possible role of GABA production in regulating cytoplasmic pH and L-glutamate levels during rapid electrogenic H+/L-glutamate symport is discussed.
    • Level and precision of behavioural thermoregulation in the bearded dragon, Pogona vitticeps : effects of hypoxia and environmental thermal quality /

      Cadena, Viviana.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2007-06-01)
      Most metabolic functions are optimized within a narrow range of body temperatures, which is why thermoregulation is of great importance for the survival and overall fitness of an animal. It has been proposed that lizards will thermoregulate less precisely in low thermal quality environments, where the costs associated with thermoregulation are high; in the case of lizards, whose thermoregulation is mainly behavioural, the primary costs ofthermoregulation are those derived from locomotion. Decreasing thermoregulatory precision in costly situations is a strategy that enhances fitness by allowing lizards to be more flexible to changing environmental conditions. It allows animals to maximize the benefits of maintaining a relatively high body temperature while minimizing energy expenditure. In situations where oxygen concentration is low, the costs of thermoregulation are relatively high (i.e. in relation to the amount of oxygen available for metabolic functions). As a result, it is likely that exposures to hypoxic conditions induce a decrease in the precision of thermoregulation. This study evaluated the effects of hypoxia and low environmental thermal quality, two energetically costly conditions, on the precision and level of thermoregulation in the bearded dragon, Pogona vitticeps, in an electronic temperature-choice shuttle box. Four levels of hypoxia (1O, 7, 5 and 4% 02) were tested. Environmental thermal quality was manipulated by varying the rate of temperature change (oTa) in an electronic temperature-choice shuttle box. Higher oT a's translate into more thermally challenging environments, since under these conditions the animals are forced to move a greater number of times (and hence invest more energy in locomotion) to maintain similar temperatures than at lower oTa's. In addition, lizards were tested in an "extreme temperatures" treatment during which air temperatures of the hot and cold compartments of the shuttle box were maintained at a constant 50 and 15°C respectively. This was considered the most thermally challenging environment. The selected ambient (T a) and internal body temperatures (Tb) of bearded dragons, as well as the thermoregulatory precision (measured by the central 68% ofthe Ta and T b distribution) were evaluated. The thermoregulatory response was similar to both conditions. A significant increase in the size of the Tb range, reflecting a decrease in thermoregulatory precision, and a drop in preferred body temperature of ~2 °C, were observed at both 4% oxygen and at the environment of lowest thermal quality. The present study suggests that in energetically costly situations, such as the ones tested in this study, the bearded dragon reduces energy expenditure by decreasing preferred body temperature and minimizing locomotion, at the expense of precise behavioural thermoregulation. The close similarity of the behavioural thermoregulatory response to two very different stimuli suggests a possible common mechanism and neuronal pathway to the thermoregulatory response.
    • Lifespan, body size and oxygen : aerobic metabolism and oxidative stress in cultured fibroblasts /

      Brown, Melanie Frances.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2008-06-15)
      The allometric scaling relationship observed between metabolic rate (MR) and species body mass can be partially explained by differences in cellular MR (Porter & Brand, 1995). Here, I studied cultured cell lines derived from ten mammalian species to determine whether cells propagated in an identical environment exhibited MR scaling. Oxidative and anaerobic metabolic parameters did not scale significantly with donor body mass in cultured cells, indicating the absence of an intrinsic MR setpoint. The rate of oxygen delivery has been proposed to limit cellular metabolic rates in larger organisms (West et al., 2002). As such cells were cultured under a variety of physiologically relevant oxygen tensions to investigate the effect of oxygen on cellular metabolic rates. Exposure to higher medium oxygen tensions resulted in increased metabolic rates in all cells. Higher MRs have the potential to produce more reactive oxygen species (ROS) which could cause genomic instability and thus reduced lifespan. Longer-lived species are more resistant to oxidative stress (Kapahi et al, 1999), which may be due to greater antioxidant and/or DNA repair capacities. This hypothesis was addressed by culturing primary dermal fibroblasts from eight mammalian species ranging in maximum lifespan from 5 to 120 years. Only the antioxidant manganese superoxide dismutases (MnSOD) positively scaled with species lifespan (p<0.01). Oxidative damage to DNA is primarily repaired by the base excision repair (BER) pathway. BER enzyme activities showed either no correlation or as in the case of polymerase p correlated, negatively with donor species (p<0.01 ). Typically, mammalian cells are cultured in a 20% O2 (atmospheric) environment, which is several-fold higher than cells experience in vivo. Therefore, the secondary aim of this study was to determine the effect of culturing mammalian cells at a more physiological oxygen tension (3%) on BER, and antioxidant, enzyme activities. Consistently, standard culture conditions induce higher antioxidant and DNA ba.se excision repair activities than are present under a more physiological oxygen concentration. Therefore, standard culture conditions are inappropriate for studies of oxidative stress-induced activities and species differences in fibroblast DNA BER repair capacities may represent differences in ability to respond to oxidative stress. An interesting outcome firom this study was that some inherent cellular properties are maintained in culture (i.e. stress responses) while others are not (i.e. MR).
    • Light and electron microscope studies of host-parasite relations in a mycoparasite

      Golesorkhi, Roya.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1981-07-09)
      Light microscope studies of the mycoparasite Piptocephalis virginiana revealed that the cylindrical spores of the parasite became spherical upon germination and produced 1-4 germ tubes. Generally t"l.vO germ tubes were produced by each spore. When this parasite was inoculated on its potential hosts, Choanephora cucurbitarum and Phascolomyces articulosus, the germ tube nearest to the host hypha continued to grow and made contact with the host hypha. The tip of the parasite's germ tube became swollen to form a distinct appressorium. Up to this stage the behavior of the parasite was similar regardless of the nature of the host. In the compatible host-parasite combination, the parasite penetrated the host, established a nutritional relationship and continued to grow to cover the host completely with its buff colored spores in 3-4 days. In the incompatible host-parasite combination, the parasite penetrated the host but its further advance was arrested. As a result of failure to establish a nutritional relationship with the resistant host, the parasite made further attempts to penetrate the host at different sites producing multiple infections. In the absence of nutrition the parasite weakened and the host outgrew the parasite completely. In the presence of a non-host species, Linderina pennispora the parasite continued to grow across the non-host 1).yp_hae vlithout establishing an initial contact. Germination studies showed that the parasite germinated equally well in the presence of host and non-host species. Further electron microscope studies revealed that the host-parasite interaction between P. virginiana and its host, C. cucurbi tarum, was compatible when the host hyphae were young slender, with a thin cell wall of one layer. The parasite appeared to penetrate mechanically by pushing the host-cell wall inward. The host plasma membrane invaginated along the involuted cell wall. The older hyphae of C. cucurbitarum possessed two distinct layers of cell wall and-showed an incompatible interaction when challenged vlith the parasite. At the point of contact, the outer layer of the host-cell wall dissolved, probably by enzymatic digestion, and the inner layer became thickened and developed a papilla as a result of its response to the parasite. The haustoria of the parasite in the old hyphae were always surrounded by a thick, well developed sheath, whereas the haustoria of the same age in the young host mycelium were devoid of a sheath during early stages of infection. Instead, they were in direct contact with the host protoplast. The incompatible interaction between a resistant host, P. articulosus and the parasite showed similar results as with the old hyphae of C. cucurbitarum. The cell wall of P. articulosus appeared thick-with two or more layers even in the 18-22 h-old hyphae. No contact or interaction was established between the parasite and the non-host L. pennispora. The role of cell wall in the resistance mechanism is discussed.
    • Localization and functional characterization of iridoid biosynthetic genes in Catharanthus roseus /

      Roepke, Jonathon.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2008-06-29)
      Catharanthus roseus is the sole biological source of the medicinal compounds vinblastine and vincristine. These chemotherapeutic compounds are produced in the aerial organs of the plant, however they accumulate in small amounts constituting only about 0.0002% of the fresh weight of the leaf. Their limited biological supply and high economical value makes its biosynthesis important to study. Vinblastine and vincristine are dimeric monoterpene indole alkaloids, which consists of two monomers vindoline and catharanthine. The monoterpene indole alkaloids (MIA's) contain a monoterpene moiety which is derived from the iridoid secologanin and an indole moiety tryptamine derived from the amino acid tryptophan. The biosynthesis of the monoterpene indole alkaloids has been localized to at least three cell types namely, the epidermis, the laticifer and the internal phloem assisted parenchyma. Carborundum abrasion (CA) technique was developed to selectively harvest epidermis enriched plant material. This technique can be used to harvest metabolites, protein or RNA. Sequencing of an expressed sequence tagged (EST) library from epidermis enriched mRNA demonstrated that this cell type is active in synthesizing a variety of secondary metabolites namely, flavonoids, lipids, triterpenes and monoterpene indole alkaloids. Virtually all of the known genes involved in monterpene indole alkaloid biosynthesis were sequenced from this library.This EST library is a source for many candidate genes involved in MIA biosynthesis. A contig derived from 12 EST's had high similarity (E'^') to a salicylic acid methyltransferase. Cloning and functional characterization of this gene revealed that it was the carboxyl methyltransferase imethyltransferase (LAMT). In planta characterization of LAMT revealed that it has a 10- fold enrichment in the leaf epidermis as compared to the whole leaf specific activity. Characterization of the recombinant enzyme revealed that vLAMT has a narrow substate specificity as it only accepts loganic acid (100%) and secologanic acid (10%) as substrates. rLAMT has a high Km value for its substrate loganic acid (14.76 mM) and shows strong product inhibition for loganin (Kj 215 |iM). The strong product inhibition and low affinity for its substrate may suggest why the iridoid moiety is the limiting factor in monoterpene indole alkaloid biosynthesis. Metabolite profiling of C. roseus organs shows that secologanin accumulates within these organs and constitutues 0.07- 0.45% of the fresh weight; however loganin does not accumulate within these organs suggesting that the product inhibition of loganin with LAMT is not physiologically relevant. The limiting factor to iridoid and MIA biosynthesis seems to be related to the spatial separation of secologanin and the MIA pathway, although secologanin is synthesized in the epidermis, only 2-5% of the total secologanin is found in the epidermis while the remaining secologanin is found within the leaf body inaccessable to alkaloid biosynthesis. These studies emphasize the biochemical specialization of the epidermis for the production of secondary metabolites. The epidermal cells synthesize metabolites that are sequestered within the plant and metabolites that are secreted to the leaf surface. The secreted metabolites comprise the epidermome, a layer separating the plant from its environment.
    • Localization of the mechanism of pH-dependent non- photochemical fluorescence quenching in thylakoid membranes

      Wiebe, Scott Christopher.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1999-07-09)
      Higher plants have evolved a well-conserved set of photoprotective mechanisms, collectively designated Non-Photochemical Quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence (qN), to deal with the inhibitory absorption of excess light energy by the photosystems. Their main contribution originates from safe thermal deactivation of excited states promoted by a highly-energized thylakoid membrane, detected via lumen acidification. The precise origins of this energy- or LlpH-dependent quenching (qE), arising from either decreased energy transfer efficiency in PSII antennae (~ Young & Frank, 1996; Gilmore & Yamamoto, 1992; Ruban et aI., 1992), from alternative electron transfer pathways in PSII reaction centres (~ Schreiber & Neubauer, 1990; Thompson &Brudvig, 1988; Klimov et aI., 1977), or from both (Wagner et aI., 1996; Walters & Horton, 1993), are a source of considerable controversy. In this study, the origins of qE were investigated in spinach thylakoids using a combination of fluorescence spectroscopic techniques: Pulse Amplitude Modulated (PAM) fluorimetry, pump-probe fluorimetry for the measurement of PSII absorption crosssections, and picosecond fluorescence decay curves fit to a kinetic model for PSII. Quenching by qE (,..,600/0 of maximal fluorescence, Fm) was light-induced in circulating samples and the resulting pH gradient maintained during a dark delay by the lumenacidifying capabilities of thylakoid membrane H+ ATPases. Results for qE were compared to those for the addition of a known antenna quencher, 5-hydroxy-1,4naphthoquinone (5-0H-NQ), titrated to achieve the same degree of Fm quenching as for qE. Quenching of the minimal fluorescence yield, F0' was clear (8 to 130/0) during formation of qE, indicative of classical antenna quenching (Butler, 1984), although the degree was significantly less than that achieved by addition of 5-0H-NQ. Although qE induction resulted in an overall increase in absorption cross-section, unlike the decrease expected for antenna quenchers like the quinone, a larger increase in crosssection was observed when qE induction was attempted in thylakoids with collapsed pH gradients (uncoupled by nigericin), in the absence of xanthophyll cycle operation (inhibited by DTT), or in the absence of quenching (LlpH not maintained in the dark due to omission of ATP). Fluorescence decay curves exhibited a similar disparity between qE-quenched and 5-0H-NQ-quenched thylakoids, although both sets showed accelerated kinetics in the fastest decay components at both F0 and Fm. In addition, the kinetics of dark-adapted thylakoids were nearly identical to those in qEquenched samples at F0' both accelerated in comparison with thylakoids in which the redox poise of the Oxygen-Evolving Complex was randomized by exposure to low levels of background light (which allowed appropriate comparison with F0 yields from quenched samples). When modelled with the Reversible Radical Pair model for PSII (Schatz et aI., 1988), quinone quenching could be sufficiently described by increasing only the rate constant for decay in the antenna (as in Vasil'ev et aI., 1998), whereas modelling of data from qE-quenched thylakoids required changes in both the antenna rate constant and in rate constants for the reaction centre. The clear differences between qE and 5-0H-NQ quenching demonstrated that qE could not have its origins in the antenna alone, but is rather accompanied by reaction centre quenching. Defined mechanisms of reaction centre quenching are discussed, also in relation to the observed post-quenching depression in Fm associated with photoinhibition.
    • Locating and sequencing of the E3 and neighbouring regions in bovine advenovirus type 2

      Esford, Lesley E.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1993-07-09)
      Adenoviruses are nonenveloped icosahedral shaped particles. The double stranded DNA viral genome is divided into 5 major early transcription units, designated E1 A, E1 B, and E2 to E4, which are expressed in a regulated manner soon after infection. The gene products of the early region 3 (E3), shown to be nonessential for viral replication in vitro, are believed to be involved in counteracting host immunosurveillance. In order to sequence the E3 region of Bovine adenovirus type 2 (BAV2) it was necessary to determine the restriction map for the plasmid pEA48. A physical restriction endonuclease map for BamHl, Clal, Eco RI, Hindlll, Kpnl, Pstt, Sail, and Xbal was constructed. The DNA insert in pEA48 was determined to be viral in origin using Southern hybridization. A human adenovirus type 5 recombinant plasmid, containing partial DNA fragments of the two transcription units L4 and L5 that lie just outside the E3, was used to localize this region. The recombinant plasmid pEA was subcloned to facilitate sequencing. The DNA sequences between 74.8 and 90.5 map units containing the E3, the hexon associated protein (pVIII), and the fibre gene were determined. Homology comparison revealed that the genes for the hexon associated pV11I and the fibre protein are conserved. The last 70 amino acids of the BAV2 pV11I were the most conserved, showing a similarity of 87 percent with Ad2 pV1I1. A comparison between the predicted amino acid sequences of BAV2 and Ad40, Ad41 , Ad2 and AdS, revealed that they have an identical secondary structure consisting of a tail, a shaft and a knob. The shaft is composed of 22, 15 amino acid motifs, with periodic glycines and hydrophobic residues. The E3 region was found to consist of about 2.3 Kbp and to encode four proteins that were greater than 60 amino acids. However, these four open reading frames did not show significant homology to any other known adenovirus DNA or protein sequence.
    • Male reproductive competition in the field crickets : gryllus veletis and G. pennsylvanicus

      French, Bryan Wade.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1986-07-09)
      Sexual behavior in the field crickets, Gryllus veletis and G. pennsylvanicus , was studied in outdoor arenas (12 m2) at high and low levels of population density in 1983 and 1984. Crickets were weighed, individually marked, and observed from 2200 until 0800 hrs for at least 9 continuous nights. Calling was measured at 5 min intervals, and movement and matings were recorded hourly. Continuous 24 hr observations were also conducted,·and occurrences of aggressive and courtship songs were noted. The timing of males searching, calling, courting, and fighting for females should coincide with female movement and mating patterns. For most samples female movement and matings occurred at night in the 24 hr observations and were randomly distributed with time for both species in the 10 hr observations. Male movement for G. veletis high density only was enhanced at night in the 24 hr observations, however, males called more at night in both species at high and low densities. Male movement was randomly distributed with time in the 10 hr observations, and calling increased at dawn for the G. pennsylvanicus 1984 high density sample, but was randomly distributed in other samples. Most courtship and aggression songs in the 24 hr observations were too infrequent for statistical testing and generally did not coincide with matings. Assuming residual reproductive value, and costs attached to a male trait in terms of future reproductive success decline with age, males should behave in more costly ways with age; by calling and moving more with age. Consequently, mating rates should increase with age. Female behavior may not change with age. G. veletis , females moved more with age at both low density samples, however, crickets moved less with age at high density. G. pennsylvanicus females moved more with age in the 1984 low density sample, whereas crickets moved less with age in the 1983 high density sample. For both species males in the 1984 high density samples called less with age. For G. pennsylvanicus in 1983 calling and mating rates increased with age. Mating rates decreased with age for G. veletis males in the high density sample. Aging may not affect cricket behavior. As population density increases fewer calling sites become available, costs of territoriality increase, and matings resulting from non-calling behavior should increase. For both species the amount of calling and in G. veletis the distance travelled per night was not different between densities. G. pennsylvanicus males and females moved more at low density. At the same deneity levels there were no differences in calling, mating, and, movement rates in G. veletis , however, G. pennsylvanicus males moved more at high density in 1983 than 1984. There was a positive relationship between calling and mating for the G. pennsylvanicus low density sample only, and selection was acting directly to increase calling. For both species no relationships between movement and mating success was found, however, the selection gradient on movement in the G. veletis high density population was significant. The intensity of selection was not significant and was probably due to the inverse relationship between displacement and weight. Larger males should call more, mate more, and move less than smaller males. There were no correlations between calling and individual weight, and an inverse correlation between movement and size in the G. veletis high density population only. In G. pennsylvanicus , there was a positive correlation between individual weight and mating, but, some correlate of weight was under counter selection pressure and-prevented significance of the intensity of selection. In contrast, there was an inverse correlation in the G.·veletis low density B sample. Both measures of selection intensities were significant and showed that weight only was under selection pressures. An inverse correlation between calling and movement was found for G. veletis at low density only. Because males are territorial, females are predicted to move more than males, however, if movement is a mode of male-male reproductive competition then males may move more than females. G. pennsylvanicus males moved more than females in all samples, however, G. veletis males and females moved similar distances at all densities. The variation in relative mating success explained by calling scores, movement, and weight for both species and all samples were not significant In addition, for both species and all samples the intensity of selection never equalled the opportunity for selection.
    • Manipulation of adenovirus early region 1 rescue plasmids by homologous recombination in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

      Anderson, Peter.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2003-07-09)
      The manipulation of large (>10 kb) plasmid systems amplifies problems common to traditional cloning strategies. Unique or rare restriction enzyme recognition sequences are uncommon and very rarely located in opportunistic locations. Making site-specific deletions and insertions in larger plasmids consequently leads to multiple step cloning strategies that are often limited by time-consuming, low efficiency linker insertions or blunt-end cloning strategies. Manipulation ofthe adenovirus genome and the genomes ofother viruses as bacterial plasmids are systems that typify such situations. Recombinational cloning techniques based on homologous recombination in Saccharomyces cerevisiae that circumvent many ofthese common problems have been developed. However, these techniques are rarely realistic options for such large plasmid systems due to the above mentioned difficulties associated with the addition ofrequired yeast DNA replication, partitioning and selectable marker sequences. To determine ifrecombinational cloning techniques could be modified to simplify the manipulation of such a large plasmid system, a recombinational cloning system for the creation of human adenovirus EI-deletion rescue plasmids was developed. Here we report for the first time that the 1,456 bp TRP1/ARS fragment ofYRp7 is alone sufficient to foster successful recombinational cloning without additional partitioning sequences, using only slight modifications of existing protocols. In addition, we describe conditions for efficient recombinational cloning involving simultaneous deletion of large segments ofDNA (>4.2 kb) and insertion of donor fragment DNA using only a single non-unique restriction site. The discovery that recombinational cloning can foster large deletions has been used to develop a novel recombiliational cloillng technique, selectable inarker 'kilockouf" recombinational cloning, that uses deletion of a yeast selectable marker coupled with simultaneous negative and positive selection to reduce background transformants to undetectable levels. The modification of existing protocols as described in this report facilitates the use of recombinational cloning strategies that are otherwise difficult or impractical for use with large plasmid systems. Improvement of general recombinational cloning strategies and strategies specific to the manipulation ofthe adenovirus genome are considered in light of data presented herein.
    • Mating behaviours of the field cricket (Gryllus integer) at different levels of male density

      Graham, Katherine Diane.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1982-07-09)
      The reproductive behaviour of the field cricket, Gryllus integer, was systematically observed in indoor arenas to determine the extent of female Choice and male-male competition at different sex ratios representing two male densities (12:6 and 6:6). The costs and benefits to males and females in those two densities were analyzed according to the theory of the evolution o£ leks. Observations were conducted during the dark hours when most calling occurred since hourly rates of courtship song and mating did not fluctuate significantly over a 24 h period. Female mating rates were not significantly different between densities, therefore males at high densities were not advantaged because of increased female tendencies to mate when social stimulation was increased. Mean rates of acoustical signalling (calling and courtin"g) did not differ significantly between densities. Mean rates of fighting by males at the high density were significantly greater than those of males at the low density. Mating benefits associated with callin~courting and fighting were measured. Mating rates did not vary with rates of calling at either density. Calling was not a prerequisite to mating. Courtship song preceded all matings. There was a significant power fit between male mating and courting rates, and male mating and fighting rates at the low, but not at the high, density. Density differences in the benefits associated with increased courting and fighting may relate, in part, to greater economic defensibility and monopoly of females due to reduced male competition at the low density. Dominant males may be preferentially chosen by females or better able to monopolize mating opportunities than subordinate males. Three criteria were used to determine whether dominant males were preferentially chosen by females. The number of matings by males who won fights (within 30 min of mating) was significantly greater than the number of matings by males who were defeated in such fights. Mating rates did not vary significantly with rates of winning at either density. There was a significant power fit between male mating rates and the percentage of fights a male won (irrespective of his fighting-frequency) at the low density. The mean duration a male guarded the female after mating did not vary significantly between densities. There was a significant linear relationship between the duration a spermatophore was retained and the duration a male guarded the female after mating. Courtship song apparently stimulated spermatophore removal. Male guarding involved inter-male aggression and reduced courtship attempts by other males. Males at the high density received no apparent reproductive benefits associated with increased social stimulation. Conclusive evidence for preferential choice of males by females, using the criteria examined here, is lacking. Males at the lower density had fewer competitors and could monopolize females more effectively.
    • Measurement of forces between and within bilayers of neutral phospholipids

      McAlister, Michael James.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1978-07-09)
      Phospholipids in water form lamellar phases made up of alternating layers of water and bimolecular lipid leaflets. Three complementary methods, osmotic, mechanical, and vapour pressures, were used to measure the work of removing water from lamellar phases composed of frozen dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine ( DPPC ), melted DPPC, egg phosphatidylethanolamine or equimolar mixtures of DPPC and cholesterol ( DPPC/CHOL ), Concurrently the structural changes that resulted from this water removal were measured using X-ray diffraction. The work was divided into that which forces the bilayers together ( F ) and that which compresses the molecules together within the bilayers ( F )# A large repulsive force exists between bilayers composed of each of the lipids studied and this force increases exponentially as bilayer separation is decreased. F is affected by the nature of the head groups, conformation of the acyl chains and heterogeneity of these chains. In general all of the melted phosphatidylcholines ( melted DPPC, egg lecithin and DPPC/CHOL ) have large equilibrium separations in excess water resulting from large repulsive hydration forces between these bilayers. By comparison, egg PE has an increased attractive force, and frozen DPPC has a decreased hydration force; each results in smaller separations in water for these two lipids. The chemical potentials of the water between the bilayers for all these lipids lie on a continuum, indicating that interbilayer water cannot be characterized by two discrete states, usually referred to as "bound" or "non**bound". For all lipids studied a maximum of 25 % of the total work done on the system goes into deforming the bilayers. The method used here viii to separate repulsion from deformation, developed for us by v. A. Parsegian, provides a unique method for the measurement of lateral pressure of a bilayer and its modulus of deformability ( Y ). Lateral pressure is affected by the nature of the head group, conformation and heterogeneity of the acyl chains. For small changes in molecular surface area ( A ) near equilibrium, both melted and frozen DPPC have similar values for the deformability modulus. Thus in this regime it requires about the same force to change the angle of tilt of frozen chains as it does to compress the fluid bilayer. The introduction of cholesterol into bilayers of DPPC reduces dramatically the lateral pressure of the bilayers over a large range of molecular surface areas ( A ). The variation in the magnitude of bilayer repulsion with different phospholipids provides a basis for the mechanism of lipid segregation in mixed lipid systems and suggests that interacting heterogeneous membranes may influence or modulate the composition of the opposing membrane. The measurements of deformabilities of bilayers provides a direct comparison of them with the properties of monolayers.
    • Measurement of growth in the lichen Rhizocarpon geographicum using a new photographic technique

      Henry, Nicole M.; Department of Biological Sciences (2012-03-30)
      Lichenologists and users of lichenometry have long used calipers or photogrammetry to measure the growth of crustose lichens. Now, digital photography and popular computer software provide methodological alternatives. This thesis developed and tested a new methodology for tracking change and growth of the lichen, Rhizocarpon geographicum. Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended software and a photographic time series (1996,2003,2006 and 2007) were used to measure thallus diameter, area, prothallus width and areolae area in 115 small R. geographicum thalli (0.53-1049.88 mm2 ). Measures of 8 diameters per thallus showed that change in diameter was highly variable and is a weak index of growth. Thallus area was a reliable measure of growth (power correlation, R2 = 0.89). Rapid, highly irregular growth occurred in small thalli «30 mm2 ), and steady, uniform growth occurred in larger thalli (>30 mm2 ). This new methodology is tedious but can potentially generate accurate and precise measures for even the tiniest of lichens.
    • Measurement of repulsive forces between charged phospholipid bilayers

      Cowley, Alexandra Christina.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1979-07-09)
      Electrostatic forces between membranes containing charged lipids were assumed to play an important role in influencing interactions between membranes long before quantitative measurements of such forces were available. ~ur measurements were designed to measure electrostatic forces between layers of lecithin charged with lipi~s carrying ionizable head groups. These experiments have shown that the interactions between charged lipid bila.yere are dominated by electrostatic forces only at separations greater than 30 A. At smaller separations the repulsion between charged bilayers is dominated by strong hydration forces. The net repulsive force between egg lecithin bilayers containing various amounts of cherged lipids (phosphatidylglycerol (PG) 5,10 ano 50 mole%, phosphatidyli. nosi tol (PI) 10 mole% and sodium oleate (Na-Ol) 3,5 and 10 mole%, where mole% gives the ratio of the number of moles' of .charged lipid to the total number of moles of all lipids present in the sample) was stuoied with the help ('If the osmotic streas technique described by LeNeveu et aI, (1977). Also, the forces between pure PG were j_nvestigated in the same manner. The results have been plotted showing variation of force as a function of bilay- _ er separation dw• All curVes 90 obtained called force curves, were found to be similar in sha.pe, showing two distinct regions, one when dw<.30 A is a region cf very rapid iiivariation of force with separation ( it is the region dominated by hydre,tion force) and second when dw> 40 A is a region of very slow variation of force with separB.tion ( it is the region dominated by the electrostatic force). Between these two regions there exists a transition area in which, in most systems studied, a phase separation of lipids into fractions containing different amounts of charged groups, was observed. A qualitative analysis showed that our results were v/ell described by the simple electrostatic double -le.yer theory. For quantitative agreement between measured and calculated force curves however, the charge density for the calculations had to be taken as half of that given by the number density of charged lipids present in the lecithin bilayers. It is not clear at the moment what causes such low apparent degree of ionization among the charged head groups, and further study is needed in this area.
    • The measurement of the optical absorption cross section of photosystem 1 and photosystem 2 from whole live cells of porphyridium cruentum, in light state 1 and light state 2

      Rand, Cynthia Gladys.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1993-07-09)
      The optical cross section of PS I in whole cells of Porphyridium cruentum (UTEX 161), held in either state 1 or state 2, was determined by measuring the change in absorbance at 820nm, an indication of P700+; the X-section of PS2 was determined by measuring the variable fluorescence, (Fv-Fo)/Fo, from PS2. Both cross-sections were 7 determined by fitting Poisson distribution equations to the light saturation curves obtained with single turnover laser flashes which varied in intensity from zero to a level where maximum yield occurred. Flash wavelengths of 574nm, 626nm, and 668nm were used, energy absorbed by PBS, by PBS and chla, and by chla respectively. There were two populations of both PSi and PS2. A fraction of PSi is associated with PBS, and a fraction of PS2 is free from PBS. On the transition S1->S2, only with PBS-absorbed energy (574nm) did the average X-section of PSi increase (27%), and that of PS2 decrease (40%). The fraction of PSi associated with PBS decreased, from 0.65 to 0.35, and the Xsection of this associated PS 1 increased, from 135±65 A2 to 400±300A2. The cross section of PS2 associated with PBS decreased from 150±50 A2 to 85±45 A2, but the fraction of PS2 associated with PBS, approximately 0.75, did not change significantly. The increase in PSi cross section could not be completely accounted for by postulating that several PSi are associated with a single PBS and that in the transition to state2, fewer PSi share the same number of PBS, resulting in a larger X-section. It is postulated that small changes occur in the attachment of PS2 to PBS causing energy to be diverted to the attached PSi. These experiments support neither the mobile-PBS model of state transitions nor that of spillover. From cross section changes there was no evidence of energy transfer from PS2 to PSi with 668nm light. The decrease in PS2 fluorescence which occurred at this wavelength cannot be explained by energy transfer; another explanation must be sought. No explanation was found for an observed decrease in PSi yield at high flash intensities.
    • The mechanism of the regulation of energy distribution between photosystems 1 and 2 in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002 /

      Koop, Randy.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1997-05-21)
      Cyanobacteria are able to regulate the distribution of absorbed light energy between photo systems 1 and 2 in response to light conditions. The mechanism of this regulation (the state transition) was investigated in the marine cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002. Three cell types were used: the wild type, psaL mutant (deletion of a photo system 1 subunit thought to be involved in photo system 1 trimerization) and the apcD mutant (a deletion of a phycobilisome subunit thought to be responsible for energy transfer to photo system 1). Evidence from 77K fluorescence emission spectroscopy, room temperature fluorescence and absorption cross-section measurements were used to determine a model of energy distribution from the phycobilisome and chlorophyll antennas in state 1 and state 2. The data confirm that in state 1 the phycobilisome is primarily attached to PS2. In state 2, a portion of the phycobilisome absorbed light energy is redistributed to photo system 1. This energy is directly transferred to photo system 1 by one of the phycobilisome terminal emitters, the product of the apcD gene, rather than via the photo system 2 chlorophyll antenna by spillover (energy transfer between the photo system 2 and photo system 1 chlorophyll antenna). The data also show that energy absorbed by the photo system 2 chlorophyll antenna is redistributed to photo system 1 in state 2. This could occur in one of two ways; by spillover or in a way analogous to higher plants where a segment of the chlorophyll antenna is dissociated from photo system 2 and becomes part of the photo system 1 antenna. The presence of energy transfer between neighbouring photo system 2 antennae was determined at both the phycobilisome and chlorophyll level, in states 1 and 2. Increases in antenna absorption cross-section with increasing reaction center closure showed that there is energy transfer (connectivity) between photosystem 2 antennas. No significant difference was shown in the amount of connectivity under these four conditions.
    • Mechanisms of long-term modulation of synaptic transmission in crayfish

      Mottershead, Megan; Department of Biological Sciences (2013-01-02)
      Synapses undergo remodeling in response to changes in electrical activity, sensory input and environmental conditions. This thesis focuses on two forms of synaptic plasticity, heat adaptation and long-term adaptation (LTA). Heat adaptation occurs in response to a brief exposure to sub-lethal heat which increases the temperature at which synaptic transmission fails during subsequent heat stress. Long-term adaptation occurs in response to chronic electrical stimulation, which increases the activity of less active (phasic) motoneurons and reduces neurotransmitter output so that the synaptic terminals resemble those of more active (tonic) motoneurons. Previous research has shown longterm adaptation and the synaptic effects of heat adaptation to be calcium dependent. The initial part of this thesis tests the hypothesis that heat adaptation and long-term adaptation share a common mechanism. The present study demonstrated that the induction of LTA through electrical stimulation (conditioning paradigm) does not, by itself, confer heat tolerance. This suggests that the mechanisms underlying these two forms of plasticity are not identical. The present study also examined the calcium channel subtypes which mediate the decreased transmitter output during L T A. Selective calcium channel blockers were used to determine the relative contributions of calcium Ghannel subtypes to recorded postsynaptic potentials. The second part of this thesis tested the hypothesis that a change in the distribution of calcium channel types mediated the synaptic effects seen in longterm adaptation. The induction of LT A did not alter the responsiveness to inhibitors of Ptype and L-type calcium channels (which are sub-types of high voltage activated calcium channels located in synaptic terminals). Thus, LT A does not involve a re-distribution of these two calcium channel sub-types.
    • Mechanisms of synaptic modulation by neuropeptides in crayfish and drosophila

      Dunn, Tyler W.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2003-07-09)
    • Mechanisms underlying Retinoic acid-induced chemoattraction in molluscan neurons

      Farrar, Nathan R.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2010-10-25)
      Retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A, is known to play diverse roles in development and regeneration. Previous research in the mollusc Lymnaea stagnalis has shown that a gradient of all-trans retinoic acid attracts the growth cones of cultured neurons. The present study investigates the sub-cellular mechanisms within the growth cones of Lymnaea pedal A neurons which mediate the attractive response to a gradient of alltrans retinoic acid. In this study, the mechanism of growth cone turning is shown to be local, as neurites mechanically isolated from their cell body retain the capacity to turn towards an exogenous gradient of all-trans retinoic acid. The turning response is dependent on the initiation of protein synthesis and calcium influx, but does not appear to involve signaling through protein kinase C (PKC). The retinoid X receptor (RXR), which classically functions as a transcription factor, was also shown to be involved in the turning response, functioning locally through a non-genomic pathway. These data show, for the first time in any species, that all-trans retinoic acid's chemotropic action involves a local mechanism involving non-genomic signaling through the RXR. As retinoic acid is known to playa role in regeneration, understanding the mechanisms underlying retinoic acid signaling may lead to further advances in regenerative neuroscience.
    • Meloidogne incognita (nematode) parasitism of Lycopersicon esculentum (tomato) plants : Ethylene action in susceptible and resistant host responses

      Akitt, David Baxter.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1978-07-09)
      Involvement of ethylene in the etiology of tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum) infected with the root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) was investigated. Endogenous root concentrations of ethylene were not significantly different in uninfected resistant var. Anahu and susceptible var. Vendor plants. Exposure of resistant plants to high doses of infectious nematode larvae did not affect root ethylene concentrations during the subsequent 30 day period. The possibility that ethylene may be involved in the mechanism of resistance is therefore not supported by these experiments. In no experiments did ethylene concentrations in roots of susceptible plants increase significantly subsequent to ~ incognita infestation. This result is not consistent with the hypothesis in the literature which suggests that increased ethylene production accompanies gall formation. Growth of susceptible tomato plants was affected by ~ incognita infestation such that root weights increased (due to galling), stem heights decreased and top weights increased. The possibility that alterations in stem growth resulted from increased production of 'stress' ethylene is discussed. Growth of resistant plants was unaffected by exposure to high doses of ~ incognita and galls were never detected on the roots of these plants. Root ethane concentrations generally varied in parallel with root ethylene concentrations although ethane concentrations were without exception greater. In 4 of 6 experiments conducted ethane/ethylene ratios increased significantly with time. These results are discussed in the light of published data on the relationship between ethane and ethylene synthesis. The term infested is used throughout this thesis in reference to plants whose root systems had been exposed to nematodes and does not distinguish between the susceptible and resistant response.
    • Mermithid (nematoa: mermithidae) infections of black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae) : seasonal variation and developmental characteristics /

      Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2007-06-29)
      Mermithid nematodes (Nematoda: Mermithidae) parasitize larval, pupal and adult black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae), oftentimes resulting in partial or complete host feminization. This study was designed to characterize parasite-host seasonal variation and to estabUsh the developmental life stage at which feminization is initiated. Data indicate that the total adult population of black flies collected from Algonquin Provincial Park throughout the spring of 2004 was comprised of 31.8% female, 67.8% male and 0.4% intersex individuals. Of the total population, 0.6% was infected by mermithid nematodes (69.0% female, 3.5% male and 27.6% intersex). Seasonal infection trends established over a 12-month period revealed that black flies with different life histories host the same mermithid subfamilies, while black flies with similar life histories host mermithids from different subfamilies. If a simuliid species simultaneously hosts two mermithid species, these parasites are from different subfamilies. Molecular mermithid identification revealed two mermithid subfamilies, Me.somermithinae and Gastromermithinae, present in the simuliid hosts. Mermithid colour variation was not found to be a reliable species indicator. The developmental stage at which feminization is initiated was determined by examining gonad morphology and meiotic chromosomal condition. Results indicate that mermithid-infected black flies exhibit feminization prior to larval histoblast formation. Larvae can be morphologically male (testes present) or female (ovaries present), with morphological males exhibiting either male (achiasmate) or female (chiasmate) meiotic chromosomes; morphological females were only genetically female. Additionally, mermithid infection inhibits simuliid gonad development.