• An investigation of sugar feeding by black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae)

      Burgin, Steve G.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1995-07-09)
      Although much research has been conducted on blood-meal acquisition in adult female black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae), the same cannot be said for sugarmeals. Both sexes feed on sugar which provides energy for flight and it has been commonly held that nectar is the major carbohydrate source. This thesis addresses the question of whether a non-floral carbohydrate source, specifically homopteran honeydew, is ingested by male and female black flies. Black flies reared in the laboratory have been observed to readily ingest freshly excreted and older (dry) honeydew when presented with honeydew coated tamarack branches. Field work was conducted in Algonquin Park, Ontario in the spring and summer of 1993. Three separate studies were designed to test whether homopteran honeydew is an important carbohydrate source for black flies and whether flies from different habitats utilize different sugar sources. The sugars melezitose and / or stachyose are known to occur in a variety of homopteran honeydews and therefore were used as indicators of honeydew feeding by black flies. In the first study, black flies were collected with insect nets from a stand of Larix larcina heavily infested with honeydew - producing homopterans (Adelges lariciatus). Six black fly species were captured: Simulium venustum, S. rostra tum, S. vittatum, Stegopterna mutata, S. aureum and S. quebecense. Samples of honeydew and individual black flies were tested using thin layer chromatography (T. L. C.) with fructose, glucose, sucrose, turanose, melezitose, raffinose and stachyose as standards. All sugars except turanose and melezitose were found in the adelgid honeydew samples. Since the sugar melezitose was absent from ~ honeydew samples, stachyose was used to indicate that black flies were feeding from this particular honeydew source. Of the 201 black flies tested, 194 contained sugars which occurred in 16 combinations. Stachyose combinations excluding melezitose, present in 45.9 % of flies, were used to indicate that black flies had been feeding on the adelgid honeydew. In the second study, black flies were collected in the morning and evening on 8 collection dates, using a vehicle mounted insect net. The crops and midguts of 10 male and 10 female Simulium venustum were dissected on each sample date. In total the gut contents of 320 individual flies were analysed by T. L. C. The sugars identified from these flies were present in the following proportions: fructose (100.0%), glucose (100.0%), sucrose/turanose (50.4%), melezitose (30.3%), raffinose (18.8%) and stachyose (8.7%). These sugars occurred in fourteen different combinations. It is argued that the presence of melezitose and / or stachyose indicates that black flies had fed on homopteran honeydew. Significantly more female flies (40.0%) than male flies (27.5%) had fed on honeydew. In the third study, adult black flies were sampled by sweep netting vegetation in four habitats in the morning and evening on 8 collection dates. The habitats are as follows: (1) Davies Bog, (2) Abandoned Air Field (dominated by blueberries, Vaccinium spp.), (3) Deciduous Habitat and (4) Coniferous Habitat. Sugars in the crops and midguts of female flies were tested by T. L. C. and, for S. venustum, it was found that significantly fewer flies (18.8%) from the Air Field contained honeydew than from the other three sites (Davies Bog, 34.4%; Deciduous Habitat, 36.2%; Coniferous Habitat, 25.0%). Of the 1287 black flies tested individually by T. L. C. 441 (34.3%) contained melezitose and / or stachyose sugars indicating that this proportion of the population were feeding from Homopteran honeydew. It is therefore clear that floral (nectar) sugars are not the only source of carbohydrates available to black flies.
    • Investigation of the mechanism of transfer of a-tocopherol by the human a-tocopherol transfer protein (H-a-TTP) /

      Frahm, Grant E.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2007-06-01)
      The human a-tocopherol transfer protein (h-a-TTP) is understood to be the entity responsible for the specific retention of a-tocopherol (a-toc) in human tissues over all other forms of vitamin E obtained from the diet. a-Tocopherol is the most biologically active form of vitamin E, and to date has been studied extensively with regard to its antioxidant properties and its role of terminating membrane lipid peroxidation chain reactions. However, information surrounding the distribution of a-tocopherol, specifically its delivery to intracellular membranes by a-TTP, is still unclear and the molecular factors influencing transfer remain elusive. To investigate the mechanism of ligand transfer by the h-a-TTP, a fluorescent analogue of a-toc has been used in the development of a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assay. (/?)-2,5,7,8-tetramethyl-2-[9-(7-nitro-benzo[l,2,5]oxdiazol-4-ylamino)-nonyl]- chroman-6-ol (NBD-toc) has allowed for the development of the FRET-based ligand transfer assay. This ligand has been utilized in a series of experiments where changes were made to acceptor lipid membrane concentration and composition, as well as to the ionic strength and viscosity of the buffer medium. Such changes have yielded evidence supporting a collisional mechanism of ligand transfer by a-TTP, and have brought to light a new line of inquiry pertaining to the nature of the forces governing the collisional transfer interaction. Through elucidation of the transfer mechanism type, a deeper understanding of the transfer event and the in vivo fate of a-tocopherol have been obtained. Furthermore, the results presented here allow for a deeper investigation of the forces controlling the collisional protein-membrane interaction and their effect on the transfer of a-toc to membranes. Future investigation in this direction will raise the possibility of a complete understanding of the molecular events surrounding the distribution of a-toc within the cell and to the body's tissues.
    • Investigations on the host-parasite interface of a mycoparasite system /

      Letourneau, Denis Raymond.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1977-09-23)
      The cell wall composition of Choanephora cucur - bitarum and the host-parasite interface, after infection with Piptocephalis virginiana , were examined in detail. The cell walls of C_. cucurbitarum were determined to be composed of chitin (17%), chitosan (28.4%), neutral sugars (7.2%),uronic acid (2.4%), proteins (8.2%) and lipids (13.8%). The structure of hyphal walls investigated by electron microscopy of shadowed replicas before and after alkali-acid hydrolysis, showed two distinct regions: microfibrillar and amorphous. The microfibrils which were composed of mainly chitin, were organized into two distinct layers: an outer, thicker layer of randomly orientated microfibrils and an inner, thin layer of parallel microfibrils.Electronmicrographs of the host-parasite interface of C_. cucurbitarum and the mycoparasite , P_. virginiana , 30 h following inoculation, showed that the sheath zone has a similar electron density to that of the host cell wall. The sheath was not present around the young (18 h old) haustorium. High-resolution autoradiographs of infected host hyphae showed that radioactive N-acetyl-D-glucosamine , a precursor of chitin, was incorporated preferentially in the host cell wall and sheath zone. Cell fractionation of label fed hyphae showed that 84% of the label was present in the cell wall and specifically in the chitin portion of the wall. The antifungal antibiotic, Polyoxin D, a specific inhibitor of the enzyme, chitin synthetase, suppressed the incorporation of the label in the cell wall and sheath zone and resulted in a decrease in electron density of the developing sheath. The significance of these results is discussed in the light of host resistance.
    • Investigations on the production of long chain fatty acids in Choanephora cucurbitarum (Berk.

      Parmar, Yashpal Inder.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1979-11-04)
      The fatty acid composition of the total cellular lipids of Choanephora cucurbitarum incubated for 96 hrs on either glucose-ammonium sulfate or malt-weast extract media was determined. The major fatty acids were palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic and linoleic acids. The saturated fatty acid possessing the longest acyl chain was stearate (C 18:0). The presence of glutamic acid (2.0 x 10-1% or 1.36 x la-2M) in either of the above growth media resulted in increase in percent of 1f-linolenic acid, decrease in percent of linoleic ~iCid and appearance of a new series of fatty acid> C ~8 e.g. C ",,,,'V' C2k:O, C26,O. The addition of glutamic acid had no effect on the lipid yield but slightly decreased the degree of unsaturation. Compounds which duplicated the effect of glutamic acid were acetate, malate, citrate, succinate, 0( -ketoglutarate, prOline, -y -aminobutyric acid and glucose (3%) but not aspartic acid or alanine. ~o correlation was found between glutamic acid pool concentration and the presence in the growth medium of those compounds which stimulate long chain fatty acid production. Four hours of incubation with 27 JJ 1-1 glutamate supported the production of long chain fatty acids. This stimulation is inhibited if 272 .u M isophthalic acid is added with 27 AJ M glutamate. But, long chain fatty acids were detected when 27 JJ M eX -ketoglutarate is also present in the incubation mixture. Five hours of incubation with 100 ,Mg/ml of cycloheximide resulted in over 9CY/o inhibition of cytoplasmic :protein synthesise Glutamate (27 .uM) enhanced the synthesis of long chain fatty acids under these conditions. These findings are discussed in an attempt to provide a plausible explanation COmmon to compounds that support the production of long chain fatty acids.
    • An investigative study on the effects of black fly (diptera: simuliidae) sugar meals on reproductive success and parasite transmission /

      Hazzard, Christie-Lee.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2003-05-21)
      Black flies are opportunistic sugar-feeders. They take sugar meals from Homopteran honeydew secretions or plant nectars, depending on availability. Homopteran honeydew secretions contain both simple and complex carbohydrates while plant nectars contain primarily simple carbohydrates. In order to determine whether honeydew secretions offer more energy than plant nectars to their insect visitors a study of wild-caught black flies was undertaken in Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada during the spring of 1 998 and 1 999. It was hypothesized that female black flies maintained on honeydew sugars will survive longer, produce more eggs and have a greater parasite vectoring potential than those maintained on artificial nectar or distilled water. Results demonstrated that: (1) host-seeking female Prosimulimfuscum/mixtum and Simulium venustum maintained on artificial honeydew did not survive longer than those maintained on artificial nectar when fed ad libitum; (2) fiiUy engorged S. venustum and Simulium rugglesi maintained on artificial honeydew did not produce more eggs than those maintained on artificial nectar when fed ad libitum; and (3) S. rugglesi did not have a greater vectoring potential of Leucocytozoon simondi when maintained on artificial honeydew as opposed to artificial nectar when fed ad libitum. However, all flies maintained on the two sugars (artificial honeydew and artificial nectar) survived longer, produce more eggs and had greater vectoring potential than those maintained on distilled water alone.
    • Involvement of fimbriae in host-mycoparasite recognition

      Rghei, Nezar A.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1991-07-09)
      Extracellular, non-flagellar appendages, termed fimbriae are widespread among fungi. Fungal fimbriae range in diameter from 6-10 nm and exhibit lengths of up to 30 ~m. Fungal fimbriae have been implicated in several functions: adhesion, conjugation and flocculation. A possible role of fimbriae in host-mycoparasite interactions was the focus of this study . Using electron microscopy, fimbriae were observed on the surfaces of Mortiere lla cande labrum, Mortie re lla pusi lla and Phascolomyces articulosus with diameter means of 9.1±0.4 nm, 9.4±0.5 nm and 8.6±0.6 nm, respectively, and lengths of up to 25 ~m. Fimbriae were not observed on the surface of the mycoparasite, Piptocephalis virginiana. Polyclonal antiserum (AU) prepared against the fimbrial protein of Ustilago violacea cross-reacted with 60 and 57 kDa M. candelabrum proteins. In addition, AU cross-reacted with 64 kDa proteins from both M. pusilla and P. articulosus. The proteins that cross-reacted with AU were electroeluted from polyacrylamide gels and were shown to subsequently form fibrils. The diameter means for the electroeluted fibrils were: for M. candelabrum 9.7±0.3 nm, M. pusilla 8.4±0.6 nm and P articulosus 9.2±0.5 nm. Finally, to ascertain the role of fimbriae in host-mycoparasite interactions, AU was incubated with P. virginiana and M. pusilla (mycoparasite/susceptible host) and with P. virginiana and P . articulosus (mycoparasite/ resistant host). It was observed that AU decreased significantly the level of contact between P. virginiana and M. pusilla and between P. virginiana and P. articulosus in comparison to prelmmune serum treatments. Thus, it was proposed that fimbriae might play recognition and attachment roles in early events of mycoparasitism.

      Tolentino, Michael; Department of Biological Sciences
      Research into the molecular mechanisms of the psychoactive effects of cannabis has led to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a neuromodulatory system conserved throughout the animal kingdom. Little is known about its function in mammals, but there is evidence suggesting its contributions in the cellular processes that are important in CNS development and are conserved during CNS regeneration. However, these studies focussed primarily on mammals, which display limited abilities to regenerate after traumatic CNS injury. Furthermore, nothing is known regarding the role of endocannabinoids in CNS regeneration-competent species like the Mexican axolotl, one of the few vertebrates that can regenerate their spinal cord. The current study investigates the potential role of the ECS in influencing the pro-regenerative response observed in the axolotl spinal cord. I provide evidence that the main ECS receptor in the CNS (CB1) is upregulated in the regenerating caudal spinal cord and tail tissues of larval axolotls at 4 hours post amputation, lasting until 14 days post amputation. By performing immunofluorescence studies on these tissues, I demonstrate the expression of this receptor mainly in the ependymal region. In addition, bath application of the CB1 inverse agonist, AM251, significantly inhibited caudal growth of the spinal cord and tail by 7 days post amputation. The current study also identified an upregulation in a second ECS receptor, CB2, at 7- and 14-days post amputation. Immunofluorescence analysis revealed the localization of this receptor to the subependymal regions within the spinal cord. Furthermore, inhibition with the CB2 inverse agonist, AM630, similarly demonstrated an inhibition in spinal cord and tail regeneration by 7 days post amputation. An assessment of CB1 and CB2 expression was performed by identifying their localization in bromodeoxyuridine-positive (proliferating) and doublecortin-positive (differentiating neuronal) cells in 7-day regenerate tissue. These studies are the first to examine the role of the ECS during spinal cord regeneration in a regeneration-competent vertebrate and may aid in developing novel therapies for human nervous system injuries or pathologies.
    • Ionic regulation in goldfish, Carassius auratus, acclimated to constant and diurnally-cycling temperature conditions

      Koss, Teddy Frank.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1980-07-09)
      The effects of a diurnal sine-wave temperature cycle (250 +- 5° C) on the wa terI-e etc r o1 yt est a t us 0 f gol df1' Sh , Carassius auratus, was assessed through determination of Na+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2+, Cl- and water content in plasma, Red blood cells and muscle tissue. Animals were also acclimated to o 0 0 static temperatures (20 C, 25 c, 30 C) corresponding to the high, low and mid-ooint temperatures of the cycle. All groups were sampled at 03:00, 09:00, 15:00 and 21:00 hr. Hemoglobin content and packed cell volume, as well as electrolyte and 'water levels were determined for each animal and red cell ion concentrations and ion : hemoglobin ratios estimated. Cycled animals were distinct from those at constant temperatures in several respects. Hematological parameters were elevated above those of animals at constant temperature and were, on a diurnal basis, more stable. Red blood cell electrolyte levels varied in an adaptively appropriate fashion to cycle temperatures. This was not the case in the constant temperature groups_ Under the cycling regime, plasma ion levels were more diurnally stable than those of constant temperature fish. Although muscle parameters in cycled fish exhibited more fluctuation than was observed in plasma, these also tended to be relatively more stable than was the caseErythrocytic data are discussed in terms of their effects on hemoglobin-oxygen affinity while plasma and muscle observations were considered from the standpoint of overall water-electrolyte balance. In general, cycled fish appeared to be capable of stabilizing overall body fluid composition, while simultaneously effecting adaptively-appropriate modifications in the erythrocytic ionic microenvironment of hemoglobin. The sometimes marked diurnal variability of water-electrolyte status in animals held at constant temperature as opposed to the conservation of cycled fish suggests that this species is, in some fashion, programmed for regulation in a thermally-fluctuating environment. If this interpretation is valid and a phenomenon of general occurrence, some earlier studies involving constant acclimation of eurythermal species normally occupying habitats which vary in temperature on a daily basis may require reconsideration. at constant temperature.
    • Irrigation scheduling for Sovereign Coronation grapevine based upon evapotranspiration calculations and crop coefficients /

      Eaiwesh, Amal; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2007-06-01)
      Several irrigation treatments were evaluated on Sovereign Coronation table grapes at two sites over a 3-year period in the cool humid Niagara Peninsula of Ontario. Trials were conducted in the Hippie (Beamsville, ON) and the Lambert Vineyards (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON) in 2003 to 2005 with the objective of assessing the usefulness of the modified Penman-Monteith equation to accurately schedule vine irrigation needs. Data (relative humidity, windspeed, solar radiation, and temperature) required to precisely calculate evapotranspiration (ETq) were downloaded from the Ontario Weather Network. One of two ETq values (either 100 or 150%) were used in combination with one of two crop coefficients (Kc; either fixed at 0.75 or 0.2 to 0.8 based upon increasing canopy volume) to calculate the amount of irrigation water required. Five irrigation treatments were: un irrigated control; (lOOET) X Kc =0.75; 150ET X Kc =0.75; lOOET X Kc =0.2-0.8; 150ET X Kc =0.2-0.8. Transpiration, water potential (v|/), and soil moisture data were collected each growing seasons. Yield component data was collected and berries from each treatment were analyzed for soluble solids (Brix), pH, titratable acidity (TA), anthocyanins, methyl anthranilate (MA), and total volatile esters (TVE). Irrigation showed a substantial positive effect on transpiration rate and soil moisture; the control treatment showed consistently lower transpiration and soil moisture over the 3 seasons. Transpiration appeared accurately reflect Sovereign Coronation grapevines water status. Soil moisture also accurately reflected level of irrigation. Moreover, irrigation showed impact of leaf \|/, which was more negative throughout the 3 seasons for vines that were not irrigated. Irrigation had a substantial positive effect on yield (kg/vine) and its various components (clusters/vine, cluster weight, and berries/cluster) in 2003 and 2005. Berry weights were higher under the irrigated treatments at both sites. Berry weight consistently appeared to be the main factor leading to these increased yields, as inconsistent responses were noted for some yield variables. Soluble solids was highest under the ET150 and ET100 treatments both with Kc at 0.75. Both pH and TA were highest under control treatments in 2003 and 2004, but highest under irrigated treatments in 2005. Anthocyanins and phenols were highest under the control treatments in 2003 and 2004, but highest under irrigated treatments in 2005. MA and TVE were highest under the ET150 treatments. Vine and soil water status measurements (soil moisture, leaf \|/, and transpiration) confirmed that irrigation was required for the summers of 2003 and 2005 due to dry weather in those years. They also partially supported the hypothesis that the Penman-Monteith equation is useful for calculating vineyard water needs. Both ET treatments gave clear evidence that irrigation could be effective in reducing water stress and for improving vine performance, yield and fruit composition. Use of properly scheduled irrigation was beneficial for Sovereign Coronation table grapes in the Niagara region. Findings herein should give growers some strong guidehnes on when, how and how much to irrigate their vineyards.
    • Is GABA involved in regulating plant growth and development? /

      Zhang, Guijin.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1997-05-21)
      Rapid and large accumulation of GABA (y-aminobutyric acid) in response to a number of plant stresses has been well documented. But the role(s) of GABA in plants is not well defined. In recent years, the possibility of GABA involvement in regulating plant growth and development has been raised. In the present study, this possibility was examined. First, to rapidly and accurately determine GABA levels in plant tissues, a spectrometric method for GABA determination was developed based on a commercially available enzyme Gabase. Seventy mM LaCb almost completely removed water-soluble pigments from plant tissues which greatly interfere with the absorbance reading at 340nm. Inactivation of GAD (glutamate decarboxylase) by immediately adding methanol to a frozen plant tissue powder was suggested to prevent GABA production during extraction. The recovery of GABA with this method was approximately 100%. Second, the relationship between GABA levels and hypocotyl elongation in soybean seedlings was analyzed using different approaches to regulate in vivo GABA levels and the elongation of hypocotyls. The following major observations were made. (1) Mechanical stimulation by stroking elevated GABA levels and concurrently induced a rapid and significant reduction in hypocotyl elongation. (2) External GABA was demonstrated to penetrate into the hypocotyls using '*C-GABA. Application of external GABA elevated in vivo GABA levels, but failed to inhibit hypocotyl elongation. (3) LaCla and blue light irradiation caused an inhibition in the elongation of dark-grown hypocotyls, whereas GABA levels were not significantly affected. (4) Ca^was suggested to be involved in the signal transduction pathway leading from mechanical stimulation to GABA production, as indicated by the ability of La'* to inhibit GABA production in stimulated hypocotyls. (5) Bicuculline, saclofen and baclofen (agonists and antagonists of GABA receptors in animals) had no effect on hypocotyl elongation. It might indicate that GABA-binding components which are structurally similar to animal GABA receptors and functionally capable of regulating plant growth may not exist in plants. Therefore, the conclusion was drawn that GABA alone is not sufficient to inhibit hypocotyl elongation. Third, chloride influx in isolated Asparagus cells was enhanced by lOmM GABA during a 3 hour incubation, but the effect was not specific for GABA. Chloride efflux was not influenced by GABA. Both influx and efflux of chloride were significantly inhibited by NPPB, a chloride channel blocker. These results suggest that GABA does not influence the activity of plant chloride channels.
    • Isolation and analysis of a corprinus cinereus DNA fragment showing homology to a fimbrial cDNA from ustilago violacea

      McKay, Bruce C.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1993-10-02)
      Surface proteinaceous fibrils, termed fimbriae, were first identified on gram negative bacteria in the 1940s. Fungal fimbriae, discovered some 25 years later, are found on members of all fungal classes. In the present study, polyclonal antiserum raised against the fimbrial proteins of U. vio/acea were used in order to identify antigenically related proteins from Coprinus cinereus and Schizophy//um commune. Two polypeptides with molecular masses of 37 and 39 kDa from C. cinereus were observed and confirm earlier results. A single previously unidentified 50 kDa polypeptide in S. commune crossreacted with the antiserum. The 50 kDa protein was found to consist of 3 isoforms with isoelectric points ranging from 5.6 to 5.8. A fimbrial cDNA derived from U. vio/acea was used to identify DNA restriction fragments from C. cinereus and S. commune showing homology to the fimbrial transcript of U. vio/acea. Heterologous hybridization with this cDNA was used in order to screen a C. cinereus genomic DNA library. A single clone, A2-3A, with a 14 kbp insert showed strong homology to the pfim3-1 cDNA. The region of homology, a 700 bp Xba I fragment, was subcloned into pUG19. This plasmid was refered to as pXX8. DNA sequence determinations of pXX8 and adjacent fragments from A2-3A suggested that the cloned DNA was a portion of the rONA repeat encoding the small subunit rRNA. DNA sequence analysis of pfim3-1 yielded an incomplete open reading frame. The predicted amino acid sequence codes for a 206 amino acid, 22 kDa polypeptide which contains a domain similar to a transmembrane domain from rat leukocyte antigen, GDS3. As well, an untranslated 576 nucleotide domain showed 81 % homology to pXX8 and 830/0 homology to the 188 rRNA sequence of Ustilago maydis. This sequence was found adjacent to a region of adenine-thymine base pairs presumed to represent the polyadenylation sequence of the fimbrial transcript. The size and extent of homology is sufficient to account for the hybridization of pfim3-1 to rDNA. It is suggested that this domain represents a completely novel regulatory domain within eukaryotes that may enable the observed rapid regeneration of fimbriae in U. violacea.
    • Isolation and characterization of a chitinase-secreting mutant of mortierella pusilla with altered interaction with the mycoparasite piptocephalis virginiana

      Chen, Hanje.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1993-07-09)
      Mortierella pusilla is a susceptible host and supports good growth of the mycoparasite, Piptocephalis virginiana. Uninucleate spores of M. pusilla were sUbjected to N-methyl-N'-nitro-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG). To attain a high mutation frequency , a 1o-minute exposure to 10 mg/ml MNNG was used and lead to the survival of about 10 % of the spores. The exposed spores then were plated on chitin or milk plates. Approximately 30,000 colonies were examined after mutagenesis on the screening media. A strain, MUT23 , with abnormal slow growth morphology was found to delay parasitism by £. virginiana. The particular morphology was not due to auxotrophy, because this strain displayed normal hyphae when glucose was used as the sole carbon source. One interesting phenomenon was that MUT23 showed an extensive clearing zone around the colony on colloidal chitin agar after 20-25 d. On the same conditions, wild type strain did not show this phenotype. In addition, the MUT23 strain produced the same normal hypha as the wild type strain when it was grown on colloidal chitin agar. The MUT23 was also able to produce more spores on colloidal chitin agar than on malt-yeast extract and minimal media. The parasite germ tubes formed appressoria at the point of contact on the cell surface of wild type and MUT23 grown for 6 days cell surface but not on the cel surface of MUT23 grown for 2 days. Thus, interaction between MUT23 strain and the mycoparasite was dependent on MUT23 age. The effect of MUT23 filtrate on germination of the parasite was tested. Lysis of germinated spores of the parasite were observed in concentrated MUT23 filtered solution. MUT23 was compared to the wild type strain for their chitinase production in sUbmerged culture. The chitinase isozymes of both wild type and MUT23 were shown by immunoblotting. Eight distinct chitinase molecules were detected. MUT23 showed markedly higher chitinase activity than the wild type cultured in chitin-containing medium. Maximum chitinase activities of MUT23 were 13.5 fold higher at 20 day of the culture then that of wild type.
    • Isolation and characterization of genomic DNA sequences that enhance the stability of plasmid DNA in mammalian cells /

      Manocha, Marcus M. S.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2006-07-14)
      The ease of production and manipulation has made plasmid DNA a prime target for its use in gene transfer technologies such as gene therapy and DNA vaccines. The major drawback of plasmid however is its stability within mammalian cells. Plasmid DNA is usually lost by cellular mechanisms or as a result of mitosis by simple dilution. This study set out to search for mammalian genomic DNA sequences that would enhance the stability of plasmid DNA in mammalian cells.Creating a plasmid based genomic DNA library, we were able to screen the human genome by transfecting the library into Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK 293) Cells. Cells that contained plasmid DNA were selected, using G418 for 14 days. The resulting population was then screened for the presence of biologically active plasmid DNA using the process of transformation as a detector.A commercially available plasmid DNA isolation kit was modified to extract plasmid DNA from mammalian cells. The standardized protocol had a detection limit of -0.6 plasmids per cell in one million cells. This allowed for the detection of 45 plasmids that were maintained for 32 days in the HEK 293 cells. Sequencing of selected inserts revealed a significantly higher thymine content in comparison to the human genome. Sequences with high A/T content have been associated with Scaffold/Matrix Attachment Region (S/MAR) sequences in mammalian cells. Therefore, association with the nuclear matrix might be required for the stability of plasmids in mammalian cells.
    • Isolation and characterization of the female sex pheromone of the sugar beet cyst nematode, heterodera schachtii, and an analysis of male precopulatory behaviour /

      Jonz, Michael G.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2000-05-21)
      The sugar beet cyst nematode, Heterodera schachtii, is a major agricultural pest. The disruption of the mating behaviour of this plant parasite in the field may provide a means of biological control, and a subsequent increase in crop yield. The H. schachtii female sex pheromone, which attracts homospecific males, was collected in an aqueous medium and isolated using high performance liquid chromatography. Characterization of the male-attractive material revealed that it was heat stable and water soluble. The aqueous medium conditioned by female H. schachtii was found to be biologically active and stimulated male behaviour in a concentration dependent manner. The activity of the crude pheromone was specific to males of H. schachtii and did not attract second stage juveniles. Results indicated that vanillic acid, a putative nematode pheromone, is not an active component of the H. schachtii sex pheromone. Male H. schachtii exhibited stylet thrusting, a poorly understood behaviour of the male, upon exposure to the female sex pheromone. This behaviour appeared to be associated with mate-finding and was used as a novel indicator of biological activity in bioassays. Serotonin, thought to be involved in the neural control of copulatory behaviour in nematodes, stimulated stylet thrusting. However, the relationship between stylet thrusting induced by the sex pheromone and stylet thrusting induced by serotonin is not clear. Extracellular electrical activity was recorded fi-om the anterior region of H. schachtii males during stylet thrusting, and appeared to be associated with this behaviour. The isolation of the female sex pheromone of H. schachtii may, ultimately, lead to the structural identification and synthesis of the active substance for use in a novel biological control strategy.
    • The Isolation and Differentiation of Adipose Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells

      Merilovich, Max; Department of Biological Sciences
      Pathologies concomitant with old age such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and obesity diminish the quality of life for society’s elderly. Recent advances in regenerative medicine have revealed that an abundant and readily available source of adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), resides within adipose tissue. Previous research has demonstrated that MSCs can differentiate into multiple specialized cell types and may thus be capable of ameliorating symptoms of many age-associated diseases. However, several unique challenges currently limit the usefulness of adipose-derived MSCs in regenerative therapies. In this thesis I assessed novel ways of isolating and differentiating adipose-derived MSCs into desired cell types. Specifically, I assessed the capacity of a non-enzymatic sonication based method to the collagenase digestion based method of isolating MSCs from human adipose. Sonication yielded fewer total cells than collagenase. However, alizarin red staining revealed that cells obtained using sonication possessed a stronger osteogenic capacity than those obtained using collagenase. Additionally, oil red o staining showed that both methods produced cells capable of adipogenesis. Yet, alcian blue staining demonstrated that sonication was unable to yield cells capable of chondrogenisis. Lastly, rat adipose-derived stromal cells were cultured in medium containing stimulators of UCP1 expression in order to induce a brite cell phenotype. Following a 9 day treatment period, cultures displayed characteristic traits of brite cells such as increased intra-cellular lipid accumulation and increased mitochondrial content. However, when exposed to acute norepinephrine treatment, stromal cells did not display an increased rate of respiration. Furthermore, western blot analysis revealed that these cells did not express UCP1, suggesting that the differentiation treatment likely only induced a partial differentiation response. Overall, the above work provides valuable insight into addressing challenges currently limiting the usefulness of adipose-derived MSCs in regenerative therapies. Future works should assess the differentiation capacity of stromal cultures depleted of non-MSC cells and stromal cells obtained using sonication in medium containing additional inducers of differentiation. Moreover, future efforts based on the brite cell differentiation method used here should assess whether extending treatment induction/differentiation periods is capable of producing brite cell phenotype.
    • Isolation and partial characterization of a complementary protein from the mycoparasite, Piptocephalis virginiana, which specifically binds to two glycoproteins b and c of the host cell surface

      Xiong, Dong.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1996-07-09)
      Presence of surface glycoprotein in Piptocephalis virginiana that recognizes the host glycoproteins band c, reported earlier from our laboratory, was detected by immunofluorescence microscopy. Germinated spores of P. virginiana treated with Mortierella pusilla cell wall protein extract, primary antibodies prepared against glycoproteins band c and FITC-goat anti-rabbit IgG conjugate showed fluorescence. This indicated that on the surfaces of the biotrophic mycoparasite P. virginiana , there might be a complementary molecule which recognizes the glycoproteins band c from M. pusilla. Immunobinding analysis identified a glycoprotein of Mr 100 kDa from the mycoparasite which binds with the host glycoproteins band c, separately as well as collectively. Purification of this glycoprotein was achieved by (i) 60% ammonium sulfate precipitation, (ii) followed by heat treatment, and (iii) Sephadex G-IOO gel filtration. The glycoprotein was isolated by preparative polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis by cutting and elution. The purity of the protein ·was ascertained by SDS-PAGE and Western blot analysis. Positive reaction to periodic acid-Schiff reagent revealed the glycoprotein nature of this 100 kDa protein. Mannose was identified as a major sugar component of this glycoprotein by using a BoehringerMannheim Glycan Differentiation Kit. Electrophoretically purified glycoprotein was used to raIse polyclonal antibody in rabbit. The specificity of the antibody was determined by dot-immunobinding test and western-blot analysis. Immunofluorescence mIcroscopy revealed surface localization of the protein on the germ tube of Piptocephalis virginiana. Fluorescence was also observed at the surfaceJ of the germinated spores and hyphae of the host, M. pusilla after treatment with complementary protein from P. virginiana, primary antibody prepared against the complementary protein and FITC-goat anti-rabbit IgG conjugate.
    • Isolation and partial characterization of host cell wall surface glycoproteins: their involvement in agglutination, attachment and appressorium formation by piptocephalis virginiana

      Chʻen, Yung-chung.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1989-07-09)
      Cell surface proteins obtained by alkaline extraction from isolated cell walls of Mortierella pusilla and M. candelabrum, host and nonhost, respectively, to the mycoparasite, Piptocephalis virginiana, were tested for their ability to agglutinate mycoparasite spores. The host cell wall protein extract had a high agglutinating activity (788 a.u. mg- t ) as compared with the nonhost extract (21 a.li. mg- t ). SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of the cell wall proteins revealed four protein bands, a, b, c, and d (Mr 117, 100, 85 and 64 kd, respectively) at the host surface, but not at the nonhost surface, except for the faint band c. Deletion of proteins b or c from the host cell wall protein extract significantly reduced its agglutinating activity. Proteins band c, obtained as purified preparations by a series of procedures, were shown to be two glycoproteins. Carbohydrate analysis by gas chromatography demonstrated that glucose and Nacetylglucosamine were the major carbohydrate components of the glycoproteins. It was further shown that the agglutinating activity of the pure preparation containing both band c was 500-850 times that of the single glycoproteins, suggesting the involvement of both glycoproteins in agglutination. The results suggest that the glycoproteins band c are the two subunits of agglutinin present at the host cell surface. The two glycoproteins band c purified from the host cell wall protein extract were further examined after various treatments for their possible role in agglutination, attachment and appressorium formation by the mycoparasite. Results obtained by agglutination and attachment tests showed: (1) the two glycoprotein-s are not only an agglutinin responsible for the mycoparasite spore agglutination, but may also serve as a receptor for the specific recognition, attachment and appressorium formation by the mycoparasite; (2) treatment of the rnycoparasite spores with various sugars revealed that arabinose, glucose and N-acetylglucosamine inhibited the agglutination and attachment activity of the glycoproteins, however, the relative percentage of appressorium formation was not affected by the above sugars; (3) the two glycoproteins are relatively stable with respect to their agglutinin and receptor functions. The present results suggest that the agglutination and attachment may be mediated directly by certain sugars present at the host and mycoparasite cell surfaces while the appressorlum formation may be the response of complementary combinations of both sugar and protein, the two parts of the glycoproteins at the interacting surfaces of two fungi.
    • Isolation of DNA sequences with homology to a degenerate FaRP oligonucleotide from the crayfish Procambarus clarkii

      Peaire, Amy E.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1995-07-09)
      The neuropeptide Th1RFamide with the sequence Phe-Met-Arg-Phe-amide was originally isolated in the clam Macrocallista nimbosa (price and Greenberg, 1977). Since its discovery, a large family ofFl\1RFamide-related peptides termed FaRPs have been found to be present in all major animal phyla with functions ranging from modulation of neuronal activity to alteration of muscular contractions. However, little is known about the genetics encoding these peptides, especially in invertebrates. As FaRP-encoding genes have yet to be investigated in the invertebrate Malacostracean subphylum, the isolation and characterization ofFaRP-encoding DNA and mRNA was pursued in this project. The immediate aims of this thesis were: (1) to amplify mRNA sequences of Procambarus clarkii using a degenerate oligonucleotide primer deduced from the common amino acid sequence ofisolated Procambarus FaRPS, (2) to determine if these amplification products encode FaRP gene sequences, and (3) to create a selective cDNA library of sequences recognized by the degenerate oligonucleotide primer. The polymerase chain reaction - rapid amplification of cDNA ends (PCR-RACE) is a procedure in which a single gene-specific primer is used in conjunction with a generalized 3' or 5' primer to amplify copies ofthe region between a single point in the transcript and the 3' or 5' end of cDNA of interest (Frohman et aI., 1988). PCRRACE reactions were optimized with respect to primers used, buffer composition, cycle number, nature ofgenetic substrate to be amplified, annealing, extension and denaturation temperatures and times, and use of reamplification procedures. Amplification products were cloned into plasmid vectors and recombinant products were isolated, as were the recombinant plaques formed in the selective cDNA library. Labeled amplification products were hybridized to recombinant bacteriophage to determine ligated amplification product presence. When sequenced, the five isolated PCR-RACE amplification products were determined not to possess FaRP-encoding sequences. The 200bp, 450bp, and 1500bp sequences showed homology to the Caenorhabditis elegans cosmid K09A11, which encodes for cytochrome P450; transfer-RNA; transposase; and tRNA-Tyr, while the 500bp and 750bp sequences showed homology with the complete genome of the Vaccinia virus. Under the employed amplification conditions the degenerate oligonucleotide primer was observed to bind to and to amplify sequences with either 9 or 10bp of 17bp identity. The selective cDNA library was obselVed to be of extremely low titre. When library titre was increased, white. plaques were isolated. Amplification analysis of eight isolated Agt11 sequences from these plaques indicated an absence of an insertion sequence. The degenerate 17 base oligonucleotide primer synthesized from the common amino acid sequence ofisolated Procambarus FaRPs was thus determined to be non-specific in its binding under the conditions required for its use, and to be insufficient for the isolation and identification ofFaRP-encoding sequences. A more specific primer oflonger sequence, lower degeneracy, and higher melting temperature (TJ is recommended for further investigation into the FaRP-encoding genes of Procambarlls clarkii.
    • The isolation, partial purification and preliminary characterization of a growth factor from chick embryo brains

      Seifried, Monica Krista.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1995-07-09)
      Chicl( brain growth factor (CBGF) is a mitogen isolated from embryonic chick brains thought to have a potential role as a trophic factor involved in nerve dependent amphibian limb regeneration. In addition, CBGF stimulates 3H-thymidine incorporation in chick embryo brain astrocytes in vitro. In this study, cultured chick embryo brain non-neuronal cells were employed in a bioassay to monitor CBGF activity throughout various stages of its pllrification. Cell culture and assay conditions were optimized. Nonneuronal cells grew best on collagen-coated culture dishes in complete medium, were most responsive to a growth stimulus [10% fetal bovine serum (FBS)] at the second and third subcultures, and were healthiest when rendered "quiescent" in medium supplemented with 1% FBS. The most effective bioassay conditions consisted of a minimum 14.5 hour "quiescence" time (24 hours was used), a 6 hour "prestimulation" time, and a 24 hour 3H-thymidine labeling time. Four-day subconfluent primary non-neuronal cells consisted of 6.63% GFAP positive cells; as a result cultures were thought to be mainly composed of astroblasts. CBGF was purified from 18-day chick embryo brains by ultrafiltration through Amicon PM-30 and YM-2 membranes, size exclusion chromatography through a Biogel P6 column, and analytical reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (rp-HPLC). The greatest activity resided in rp-HPLC fraction #7 (10 ng/ml) which was as effective as 10% FBS at stimulating 3H-thymidine incorporation in chick embryo brain nonneuronal cells. Although other researchers report the isolation of a mitogenic fraction consisting of 5'-GMP from the embryonic chick brain, UV absorbance spectra, rp-HPLC elution profiles, and fast atom bombardment (FAB) mass spectra indicated that CBGF is neither 5'-GMP nor 51-AMP. 2 Moreover, commercially available 5t-GMP was inhibitory to 3H-thymidine incorporation in the chick non-neuronal cells, while Sf-AMP had no effect. Upon treatment with pronase, the biological activity of fraction P6-3 increased; this increase was nearly 30% greater than what would be expected from a simple additive effect of any mitogenic activity of pronase alone together with P6-3 alone. This may suggest the presence of an inhibitor protein. The bioactive component may be a protein protected by a nucleoside/nucleotide or simply a nucleoside/nucleotide acting alone. While the FAB mass spectrum of rp-HPLC fraction #7 did not reveal molecular weight or sequence information, the ion of highest molecular weight was observed at m/z 1610; this is consistent with previous estimations of CBGF's size. 3
    • 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.