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Section I: biological sciences science building, room 103 Shane Webb, presiding.

* Denotes student presenter

** Denotes student "in progress" research

8:00 AMPHIBIAN POPULATIONS AND THE INCREASE OF IMPERVIOUS SURFACE IN THE CHICOPEE WOODS AREA OF THE ELACHEE NATURE CENTER IN HALL COUNTY. GEORGIA **, Michelle Cash * and J.B. Sharma, Institute of Environmental Spatial Analysis, Gainesville State College, Gainesville, GA 30503. Human population increase has made protecting amphibians and their habitats a critical priority. This study was performed to promote recognition and protection of wetland habitats (and the amphibians they contain) in the Elachee Nature Center of Hall County, Georgia. Approximately 33 species of amphibians are thought to occur in the Hall County area, although no collection records for the actual species present exists. Here we present a spatial model of where particular amphibian species are expected to occur based on habitat and environmental factors, including water chemistry (pH, dissolved oxygen, and phosphate and nitrate levels), expected to impact amphibians. To build the spatial model, four images were classified for land cover using eCognition software. A Quickbird satellite image, and 1999, 2005 and 2007 National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) images were used to establish a geo-spatial database of factors that can effect amphibian populations. Our model was enhanced by sampling and identifying amphibian species at known locations within the Chicopee Woods area. These data were plotted on the Quickbird derived map, and used to produce an expected distribution map for amphibians within the reserve. This study establishes a spatial database for the Elachee Nature Center to conduct continued counts of amphibians, and will hopefully allow analysis of the effects that impervious surfaces are having on amphibian populations.

8:15 STREAM FISH COMMUNITIES IN IMPACTED HEADWATERS OF THE CHESTATEE RIVER **, Michael Damron *, Melissa Daigle *, Kaleigh Sims *, Chelsea Young * and Thomas A. Nelson, North Georgia College & State University, Dahlonega, GA 30597. Aquatic biodiversity is high in the streams of north Georgia, but this region is experiencing unprecedented exurban growth and urban development. To investigate the relationship between local land use and fish communities in headwater streams, we conducted a two-year study to assess species composition, community diversity, and biotic integrity in 12 headwater tributaries of the Chestatee River in Lumpkin County. Sites were classified as urban, agricultural, or forested based on the predominant land-use in each sub-watershed. We hypothesized that IBI (Index of Biological Integrity) and IWB (Index of Well Being) indices would decline from forested to urban sites. A total of 1,506 fishes of 25 species was processed during the study. Based on a composite of IBI and IWB indices, forested sites were usually scored as fair to good, agricultural sites were highly variable, and urban sites were poor to very poor. Although long-term environmental legacies impact stream communities, our data suggest that increased intensity of local land use alters the composition of stream fish communities, lowering biotic integrity.

8:30 WATER QUALITY IN THE LOWER OCONEE RIVER, GEORGIA **, Jeffrey T. Brittain *, K.M. Manoylov and S. Mutiti, Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville, GA 31061. The Oconee River plays a critical role in the water quality of the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Area. Historically a nutrient-poor river, patterns of nutrient input should be closely monitored as previous work has revealed elevated nutrient levels in the river near a wastewater treatment plant. Monitoring in this area is, therefore, of high priority in safeguarding the drinking water of the region. Twelve sites along the Oconee River and in Lake Sinclair were chemically and biologically surveyed to assess nutrient levels and gain an understanding of the ecological and biological dynamics of the study area. A water quality monitor was used in the field to record water quality parameters. Water samples were also collected for nutrient and chlorophyll testing in the laboratory. Preliminary research found elevated levels of nitrate and ammonia nitrogen being emitted from the wastewater treatment plant, which prompted further investigation into aquatic conditions further upstream and in the lake. Data revealed that there was little variation in nutrient levels among the lake and river sites above the wastewater facility up to the wastewater outfall. Research was carried out over a nine month period during 2010, and is still in progress. Funding for the project was provided by the Georgia College & State University Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

8:45 THE EFFECTS OF TIRE CRUMB LEACHATE ON PHAGOCYTOSIS IN TETRAHYMENA **, Jesina Elliston *, Caitin Cole *, Rachael Fairhurst * and Nancy Eufemia Dalman, North Georgia College & State University, Dahlonega, GA 30597. Recycled tire crumbs are used for playground covering and landscaping mulch. Toxic chemicals used during tire manufacturing may leach from the crumbs and enter aquatic ecosystems through rain-water runoff. Tetrahymena pyriformis is a ciliated protozoan found in freshwater environments. The species is a model organism for in vitro toxicology studies because of its short life span, ease of cultivation, sensitivity to xenobiotics, and visible phagocytosis, which can be used to quantify general health. Tetrahymena were exposed for 65 min to leachate made either from new tire crumbs or crumbs weathered outdoors in sunlight for 6 months, or to a saline control (120 Tetrahymena per treatment). The rate of phagocytosis was observed during the 65 min period by quantifying the number of fluorescent latex beads (which do not affect health) consumed by each organism at 15 min intervals. ANCOVA analysis showed that the rate of phagocytosis differed significantly among the three treatments (P<0.001). Saline treated protozoans phagocytized a greater number of beads than Tetrahymena exposed to either weathered or new tire crumb leachate. Feeding rates of Tetrahymena exposed to both leachates were comparable. Our results suggest that leached materials from tire crumbs decrease the rate of phagocytosis in exposed Tetrahymena and warrant additional studies of tire crumb leachate effects on other aquatic organisms. Funding was provided by the NGCSU Center for Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities.

9:00 A COMPARISON OF ESCHERICHIA COLI LEVELS IN THE CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER BETWEEN DROUGHT AND NON-DROUGHT YEARS, Tommy Jackson * (1), Amanda Smith * (1), George McMullan * (1), Ryan Orear * (1), Robert Fuller (2) and Nancy Eufemia Dalman (1), [.sup.1]Biology Department and [.sup.2]Physics Department, North Georgia College & State University, Dahlonega, GA 30597. Recreational river use may increase water-borne bacteria levels by dispersion of sediment-associated bacteria. Studies have been conducted in drought and non-drought years on Escherichia coli levels in the Chattahoochee River before and after peak recreational use. Water samples were taken from five recreational sites in the city of Helen, GA and five non-recreational sites in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Samples were collected on days known to have the highest volume of recreational users. Sites were sampled in the morning and evening, before and after peak recreational use, respectively. E. coli levels were quantified using the Colilert[R] Quanti-tray[R] 2000 system (IDEXX), and the results from 2009 (a non-drought year) were compared with 2007 (a drought year). E. coli levels were significantly higher at recreational sites than non-recreational sites for both years. Though samples collected in 2009 exhibited higher E. coli levels overall, E. coli counts were not significant different between morning and evening collection periods. In 2007. E. coli levels were significantly higher in the evening, after peak recreational use, as compared to morning E. coli levels (prior to recreational river use). Evening sampling at recreational sites revealed a correlation between suspended sediments and water-borne E. coli levels in 2007, but not in 2009. This dissimilarity between drought and non-drought years suggests that sediment bacteria are more dispersed in the water due to the lower water volume and increased disruption of the sediment in drought years.

9:15 EVALUATING RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MERCURY CONCENTRATIONS IN AIR AND SPANISH MOSS (TILLANDSIA USNEOIDES L.) **, Kathryn T. Sutton * and R.A. Cohen, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA 30460. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that is transported globally in vapor form. A major source of mercury contamination to soil, water, and biota is atmospheric deposition. Therefore, comprehensive monitoring of atmospheric concentrations is important. Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides L.) is a potential bioindicator of atmospheric mercury concentration in the southeastern U.S. because it is an abundant epiphyte that accumulates atmospheric pollutants. In southeastern Georgia we tested the hypotheses that 1) mercury concentration in Spanish moss tissue is affected by atmospheric mercury concentration; and 2) Spanish moss retains mercury over a long period of time. To determine whether Spanish moss tissue mercury concentration differs with proximity to an emission source, we collected Spanish moss from existing populations in locations both near and far from mercury emission sources. In addition, to determine if Spanish moss is temporally integrative, we transplanted Spanish moss saturated with mercury vapor to a field site not impacted by mercury emissions and measured tissue concentration over time. All tissue samples were analyzed for mercury concentration using inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Preliminary data suggest Spanish moss absorbs mercury rapidly in proportion to external concentration. Thus, if Spanish moss integrates atmospheric mercury it could be a useful addition to existing mercury monitoring protocols. Funding for this project was provided by Georgia Power, Georgia Southern University, and the Irene Burt Boole Botany Scholarship.

9:30 FACTORS RELATING TO GERMINATION AND SEEDLING SUCCESS IN BAPTISIA ARACHNIFERA **, Timothy J. Estep *, Lissa M. Leege and John Pascarella, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA 30460. Baptisia arachnifera is a federally-endangered plant endemic to a 16 [km.sup.2] range of Wayne and Brantley counties, Georgia USA. Populations of this species have declined by up to 89% in the past 20 years due to land development and forestry practices. Managed pine stands achieve canopy closure quickly, with significant litter build up, and these conditions may limit survival of B. arachnifera. Therefore the objectives of this study were to: 1) Determine germination rates of B. arachnifera under greenhouse and field conditions; 2) Determine seedling transplant survival under four conditions: a) Open; b) Litter; c) Litter and 70% Shade; d) 70% Shade. Seeds collected from six different locations within the native range were grown in a greenhouse at Georgia Southern University. Seedlings and additional seeds were transplanted into the native range according to the four treatments. Seed germination was recorded weekly in the greenhouse and monthly elsewhere (along with plant growth). Greenhouse germination in 2010 ranged from 43-64% depending on seed source. In field plots, 8% of seeds germinated and 33% of seedlings remained green from June to October 2010. Early analysis indicates equal success under all conditions. No effects of light or litter on germination and survival were detected, therefore B. arachnifera has a good restoration and augmentation potential. Continued monitoring may provide more insight into the effects of shade and litter on long-term survival of reintroduced seedlings. Funding was provided by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Rayonier, the Nature Conservancy, and the Georgia Native Plant Society.

9:45 DETECTION AND ENUMERATION OF CHLAMYDIA MURIDARUM IN TISSUE CULTURE **, A. Stevens * (1), G. Ananaba (1) and F. Eko (1), (2), [.sup.1]Department of Biological Sciences, Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta. GA 30310 and [.sup.2]Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Immunology, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30310. Chlamydia trachomatis is an obligate intracellular pathogen that causes preventable blindness and genital infection. Chlamydia muridarum (mouse pneumonitis biovar [MoPn]) is an intracellular bacterial species that at one time belonged to Chlamydia trachomatis. However, C. muridarum naturally infects only members of the family Muridae, which includes both mice and hamsters. The two strains have the same developmental cycle when they infect their host cell. Chlamydia elementary bodies (EBs) attach to the surface of the host cell, enter via endocytosis and become enclosed in a vacuole. The aim of this study is to detect and enumerate Chlamydia EBs in tissue culture using immunofluorescence. HeLa cells were grown to 80-90% confluence and infected with MoPn. After 72 hours, cells were fixed with methanol, and stained with fluorescein-conjugated murine monoclonal antibody to identify Chlamydia in the tissue culture. To detect and enumerate chlamydial inclusions, the cells were visualized using fluorescence microscopy. The cells containing Chlamydia stained and appeared round. The EBs were enumerated and the inclusion forming units were determined. These results indicate that chlamydial inclusions can be detected and enumerated by immunofluorescence. Supported by NIH grants GM08247 and A141231 and MBRS RISE Program-NIH-NIGMS Grant 5R25GM060414.

10:00 Section Business Meeting and Election of Officers

10:30 ASSESSMENT OF THE ECOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF A MALE-INDUCING PHEROMONE IN THE FERN CERATOPTERIS RICHARDII, Brian W. Schwartz, R. Chris Moore * and Jodi L. Bosanko *, Columbus State University, Columbus, GA 31907. The fern life cycle includes a diploid (sporophyte) phase and a haploid (gametophyte) phase. In Ceratopteris richardii, gametophytes emerge from haploid spores and develop as either hermaphrodites or males. Within a population, the first gametophyte to germinate will develop as a hermaphrodite in the absence of sex pheromone. The developing hermaphrodite influences neighbors to develop as males by secreting the pheromone antheridiogen. The ecological significance of antheridiogen production by hermaphrodites is not known. Hermaphrodites probably benefit by increasing the likelihood of being fertilized by a male gametophyte, thus increasing the frequency of outcrossing in the population. Alternatively, the sporophyte offspring of hermaphrodites might benefit from reduced competition in the presence of fewer neighbors because adjacent male gametophyes would produce only sperm. Here we report the results of experiments that examine the ability of gametophytes and sporophytes to produce antheridiogen. Our results indicate that young sporophytes produce antheridiogen at levels comparable to hermaphroditic gametophytes. This result suggests that antheridiogen is used at least in part to reduce competition by reducing sporophyte numbers. On the other hand, the distance limitation of a hermaphrodite's ability to induce male development in neighbors does not exceed the distance limitations of males to fertilize hermaphrodites, suggesting that antheridiogen is also important for increasing fertilization and outcrossing.


ESTABLISHMENT. BREEDING, AND MAINTAINANCE OF A ZEBRAFISH (DANIO RERIO) COLONY **, Victor Adegbesan * and Alvin C. Harmon, Atlanta Metropolitan College, Atlanta, GA 30310. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) are being used in an increasing variety of research. This species provides easy access to all developmental stages, the embryos are transparent, and the larvae are useful for examining developing pathologies. Additionally, zebrafish are an economically cheaper model organism than their rodent counterparts. In the current study, we will develop, breed, maintain and examine zebrafish embryos and adults. The purpose of this study is to establish a colony for use as a research model to examine the impact of personal care products, endocrine disrupting compounds and illicit drugs on an aquatic vertebrate. This project is supported by the National Science Foundation-Georgia Louis Stokes Association for Minority Participation.

EFFICACY OF INDICATOR ORGANISMS IN PREDICTING HUMAN POLYOMAVIRUS REMOVAL IN A WASTEWATER RECLAMATION FACILITY **, AJ. Beatles *, B.O. Mitchell, A.C. Harmon, M.L. Lowder and V.L. Chivukula, Atlanta Metropolitan College, Atlanta, GA 30310. Human population increases necessitate the augmentation of natural water resources with reclaimed wastewater. Used typically for non-potable purposes, reclaimed water has a potential to cause diseases if not effectively treated. Thus, wastewater reclamation facilities should have adequate controls in place to protect the public from exposure to pathogens. Compliance of the treatment efficacy is based on determining the presence of indicator organisms (IO) as pathogen enumeration is not only laborious and time consuming but also practically impossible. Previous studies have shown poor correlation between IO and pathogenic viruses in the environment. This study will determine the correlation between IO, specifically fecal coliform and enterococci, and human polyomaviruses, pathogens that can cause diseases of the respiratory and urinary tracts, especially in immunocompromised patients. Water samples will be collected from the influent and effluent sites of an urban wastewater treatment facility. The facility used for this study includes primary treatment, secondary treatment including aeration basins and clarifiers, sand filters and UV disinfection. The samples will be filtered through a 0.45 [micro]m membrane filter and placed on mFC and mEI media to enumerate the fecal coliform and enterococci respectively. Water samples will be adjusted to pH 3.5, filtered through the membrane filter, processed for extraction of DNA, amplified by PCR, and the presence of human polyomaviruses will be determined using electrophoresis. The efficiency of IO to predict the presence of human polyomaviruses will be determined by statistical analysis. This study is funded by the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and NASA.

THE VALUE OF SMALL FOREST OPENINGS TO FORAGING BATS **, Lindsay Brotherton * and Thomas A. Nelson, North Georgia College & State University, Dahlonega, GA 30597. Understanding species-habitat relationships is critical for maintaining biodiversity and conserving threatened species. Until recently, little was known about the use of foraging habitats by insectivorous bats. However, new techniques of acoustic monitoring suggest that bat communities may include closed canopy specialists, gap specialists, and gap incorporators. We analyzed the patterns of habitat use by foraging bats at Hurricane Creek Biological Research Station (Lumpkin County, GA) using ultrasound recorders and acoustical software. We tested two hypotheses: (1) That richer patches of prey, expected in riparian areas and forest openings, have higher overall abundance of bat foraging, and (2) That the species composition of foraging bats would differ between small forest openings and linear stream zones. We will compare the overall abundance of foraging bats, relative occurrence of each bat species, and relative abundance of insects in three habitats (stream zones, closed canopy pine plantations, and forest openings) weekly from June through September, 2010, using ANOVA and chi-square tests. Species commonly recorded during the study included red bats (Lasiurus borealis), eastern pipistrelles (Perimyotis subflavis), and several Myotis species.

LEAF CARBON:NITROGEN RATIOS AND CHEMICAL DEFENSE IN PLANTS, Sarah Cranston * and Mark S. Davis, North Georgia College & State University, Dahlonega, GA 30533. We investigated the relationship between nutrient level and chemical defense in plants. Forage plants might be desirable to herbivores because of higher nitrogen content, and therefore a lower carbon: nitrogen (C:N) ratio. Leaves of ten plants from each of three toxic species (butterfly weed, spotted water hemlock, dog hobble) and three nontoxic species (goldenrod, joepye weed, muscadine) were collected, washed, blotted, and then dried for 36 h at 50o C. Dried samples were bagged, assigned a numerical code for identification, and sent to the Stable Isotope/Soil Biology Laboratory at the University of Georgia for C:N ratio determination. Leaves from each plant were homogenized to talcum powder consistency (< 250 [micro]m), and percent carbon and percent nitrogen levels (per mg of dried homogenized leaf tissue) were determined by blind observers using the Micro-Dumas Combustion method. C:N ratio data were analyzed using a nested (hierarchical) ANOVA with species nested within toxic and nontoxic groups. We found no significant difference in C:N ratio between toxic and nontoxic plants (P = 0.81) and conclude that chemical defense in these plants is not associated with higher leaf nitrogen content.

ASSESSING TERATOGENIC EFFECTS OF TIRE CRUMB LEACHATES ON FROG EMBRYO DEVELOPMENT **, Rachael Fairhurst *, Jesina Elliston *, Caitlin Cole *, George Dennison * and Nancy Eufemia Dalman, North Georgia College & State University, Dahlonega, GA 30597. There is growing concern over the environmental safety of recycled tire crumb usage in playgrounds and landscapes. Rain water runoff from tire crumbs may increase the amounts of toxicants in aquatic habitats. A FETAX (Frog Embryo Tetratogenesis Assay) test with Xenopus laevis embryos was conducted using tire crumb leachates made from black playground-grade tire mulch (non-weathered) and also in leachate made from mulch exposed to environmental conditions for 6 months (weathered). The leachates were prepared at 24[degrees]C in order to simulate typical Georgia springtime weather. Embryos exposed to the non-weathered crumb leachate had a 47.5% survival rate and a 7.5% malformation rate while embyros exposed to the weathered crumb leachate had a 37.5% survival rate and a 32.5% rate of malformations. By contrast, the control saline solution produced a 65% survival rate and a 7.5% malformation rate. In addition to a higher overall malformation frequency, embryos incubated in weathered leachate showed more serious malformations, such as eye abnormalities, blisters and stunted body structure, than embryos incubated in the non-weathered leachates or saline solution. Taken together, these results suggest that tire crumb leachates possess compounds that are teratogenic to X. laevis embryos.

ARGENTINE ANT (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE) MORTALITY FOLLOWING EXPOSURE TO BORIC ACID, SODIUM BICARBONATE AND SALICYLIC ACID", Stuart Kelly *, Nathan Baker *, Megan Babb *, Cathy Lee and Mark Brinkman, Gordon College, Barnesville, GA 30204. The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), is an exotic species that has become an important pest in the United States. Safe methods of Argentine ant control are needed for household use. The mortality response of worker ants to an untreated control, boric acid, sodium bicarbonate, and salicylic acid (crushed aspirin), was evaluated by laboratory bioassay. Ants were housed in 708 ml plastic containers during the experiments. All three chemicals were tested as solids at 3.53 g/ [cm.sup.2]. Salicylic acid was also tested in 10% sucrose bait solution at 0.675, 1.25, 2.5, and 5% (pH adjusted to 4.6-4.9). Three replicates of 20 ants were used in each treatment. Mortality was measured as the percentage of worker ants that had died within 72 h postexposure. Mortality of workers exposed to the control, boric acid, sodium bicarbonate, and salicylic acid crystals, was 14%, 33%, 0%, and 82%, respectively. Mortality of workers exposed to salicylic acid dissolved in 10% sucrose bait solution was 15, 47, 37, 22, and 87%, respectively, ranked from lowest (control) to highest exposure concentration. In future tests, internal ant pH will be measured to determine potential physiological shifts in hydrogen ion concentration as a result of exposure to salicylic acid. If salicylic acid can be developed as an effective method for controlling Argentine ants in households, it may be a safe alternative to nerve poison insecticides.

HABITAT SELECTION AND MOVEMENTS BY RACCOONS AND OPOSSUMS IN NORTH GEORGIA **, Greg Loebick * and Thomas A. Nelson, North Georgia College & State University, Dahlonega, GA 30597. Raccoons (Procyon lotor varius) and opossums (Didelphis virginiana) are sympatric and apparent competitors throughout most of the eastern U.S. Both species are nocturnal and use similar habitats, dens, and foods. During the past 20 years, raccoon populations have increased dramatically throughout their range. The competitive exclusion principle predicts this increase in raccoons should cause a displacement of opossums, and yet surveys suggest that opossum populations have changed little during this period. We are radio-tracking individuals of both species on the Hurricane Creek Biological Research Station in Lumpkin County, GA, to investigate whether habitat partitioning allows these species to coexist in a non-competitive manner. To date, six individuals of each species have been tracked and located repeatedly to quantify niche breadth and overlap in winter foraging habitat, nest site use, and movement pathways.

INITIAL ANALYSIS OF THE HUNTINGTON ASSOCIATED PROTEIN 1 PROMOTER", Addias Mervin * (1), Natasha Dixon * (1), Claire-Anne Gutekunst (2) and Fran Norflus (1), [.sup.1]Clayton State University, Morrow, GA 30260 and [.sup.2]Emory University, Atlanta GA 30322 (* contributed equally). Huntington disease (HD) is a polyglutamine repeat expansion disease that tends to develop in mid-life. The Huntington associated protein 1 (HAP1) gene, one of the first genes to be directly associated with HD, plays an important role in the development of the disease. The coding sequence (i.e. reading frame) of the HAP1 gene is accessible through the National Center for Biotechnology Information website. The focus of this work is to experimentally locate the HAP1 promoter. By inserting segments of DNA upstream to the HAP1 start codon into a vector (pEGFP-C1) that contains the green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene, the location of the HAP1 promoter will be determined. Toward this end PCR primers will be designed to amplify potential promoter regions of various sizes. The plasmid and amplified DNA will be digested with compatible restriction enzymes, ligated, and transformed into competent E. coli. GFP expression levels will be quantified following transformation. Fluorescent colonies will contain a plasmid with a promoter able to drive the expression of GFP, while non-flourescent cells must lack a functional promoter. Comparisons of these two classes of outcomes will provide evidence as to the location of the HAP1 core promoter. This work was funded by a linkage fellowship from the Minorities Affairs Committee of the American Society of Cell Biology.

SERUM ACTIVATION OF MICROGLIA: EFFECTS OF METHAMPHETAMINE **, Stephen D. Milhollin *, Ryan A. Shanks and Steven A. Lloyd, North Georgia College & State University, Dahlonega, GA 30597. Methamphetamine (METH) abuse is a rapidly growing problem in today's society and is linked with a multitude of damaging effects, both physiological and behavioral. METH abuse is damaging to the central nervous system (CNS), and distinct changes are observed in localized regions of the brain. The CNS is considered an "immune privileged" structure, and is partitioned from leukocytes and inflammatory cytokines by the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Although the BBB naturally protects the CNS from infectious agents in the blood, METH is shown to increase the permeability of the BBB. The potential arises for a diverse array of molecules to infiltrate the CNS due to inflammatory responses elicited by METH both systemically and in the brain. Microglia are the CNS equivalent of systemic macrophages; however, when activated, microglia may initiate, exacerbate, and perpetuate METH neurotoxicity. Our study utilizes an in vitro model to assess the effects of METH on intrinsic serum factors and subsequent microglial activation from these factors. A ten-day dosing paradigm modeling chronic METH exposure was implemented using C57/B16/J mice. BV-2 cell cultures, immortalized microglia cell lines which maintain and model microglial function, were treated with sera from METH and saline treated animals. Subsequent microglial activation was evaluated by measuring phagocytic activity. We hypothesize that intrinsic serum factors in METH treated animals will directly and differentially influence the phagocytic activity of BV-2 microglia cells. These data will help further elucidate the mechanisms by which METH-induced neurotoxicity arises by considering upstream BBB breakdown and the direct serum activation of microglia.

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF SINGLE TRANSMEMBRANE CLUSTER OF DIFFERENTIATION PROTEINS, Ashlie K Patterson * and Jonghoon Kang, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA 31698. Cluster of Differentiation (CD) molecules are leukocyte cell-surface proteins that each have a specific role in the functioning immune system. There are approximately 370 CD molecules listed within the UniProt protein knowledge database. Of the proteins listed, 281 span the cell plasma membrane one time, and are termed single transmembrane proteins. Because the amino acid sequence of a protein determines its function, statistical analysis of amino acid sequences can provide insight into functional relationships among proteins. We examined the correlation between domain lengths (extracellular/transmembrane/cytoplasmic) and total length of Type I (N-terminus extracellular) and Type II (C-terminus extracellular) single transmembrane proteins in order to determine the contribution of each domain to total length. Type I and Type II proteins were found significantly different in their structural organization. Extracellular, transmembrane and cytoplasmic regions contribute differently to overall length between the two protein types as determined by Pearson correlation. In the case of Type II proteins the extracellular region was found to be the only contributor to size variation while total variation for Type I proteins is attributed to extracellular and cytoplasmic regions respectively. We expect this study to promote further quantitative research on CD proteins to identify unique amino acid sequence characteristics and relate them to the functional characteristics of the protein. This work was supported by a Valdosta State University Reassigned Time Fund grant to J. Kang.

ILLICIT DRUGS IN WASTEWATER AT AN URBAN WASTEWATER TREATMENT FACILITY AS AN INDICATOR OF DRUG USE **, Denzel Pressey * and Alvin C. Harmon, Atlanta Metropolitan College, Atlanta GA 30310. Illicit drug use is not uncommon in urban settings. One way in which illicit drug use has been indicated is by the examination of water samples from municipal water treatment facilities. A variety of illicit drugs such as cocaine, opioid metabolites, cannabis, and ecstasy have been detected in water from treatment facilities. The purpose of this study is to identify and determine the relative amount of illicit drugs in samples from a wastewater treatment facility. In the current study, samples of influent (untreated) and the effluent (treated) water from an urban waste water treatment facility will be analyzed for the detection of opioids, cannabinoids, and cocaine. Samples will be collected and sent to the Mass Spectrometry Resource facility at Georgia State University for analysis. This study will identify whether these compounds are present in wastewater at this urban treatment facility, and whether these compounds are being removed by the treatment process. The results from this study will be used to help determine the usefulness of wastewater sampling as an indicator of drug use in an additional urban community. This project is supported by the National Science Foundation-Georgia Louis Stokes Association for Minority Participation.

UNDERSTANDING ALDO-KETO REDUCTASE STEREOSELECTIVITY **, Timothy Simpson *, Brent Feske, Cliff Padgett and Scott C. Mateer, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, GA 31419. Reductases are a popular biocatalytic tool for organic chemists due to their ability to reduce ketones into stereospecific alcohols. While there have been intensive efforts to identify combinations of reductases and ketones that afford the desired stereospecific alcohol, how these enzymes regulate their stereoselectivity is not clearly understood. In order to investigate how reductases regulate stereoselectivity, we have obtained the genes of three reductases with known 3D structures. 2,5-diketo-D-gluconate reductase from Corynebacterium, aldose reductase from Hordeum vulgare, and UDP-galactose-4'-epimerase from Trypanosoma brucei were cloned via PCR into a sequencing vector, and subsequently sub-cloned into a glutathione S-transferase expression vector. Successful cloning was verified by restriction digest, and positive clones where selected and used for protein expression. As a first step towards understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate enzyme stereoselectivity we are currently analyzing (by gas chromatography mass spectrometry) the ability of these enzymes to reduce various constituents of our ketone substrate library. In addition we plan to determine the ratio of enantiomeric and diastereomeric alcohols produced by these reductions. This information will be used to help us understand the molecular rational behind enzyme stereoselectivity. Funding for this research comes from the NSF-RUI, NSF-STEP, and AASU's Research and Scholarship Grants.
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Publication:Georgia Journal of Science
Date:Mar 22, 2011
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