• 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.
    • 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.