March 2012


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"Diane St. Germain" <[log in to unmask]>
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Fri, 23 Mar 2012 10:37:43 -0400
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Thesis Defense Announcement
To:  The George Mason University Community

*Candidate: William T. Boswell
Program: Master of Science in Biology
*Date:   Friday April 6, 2012
Time:   10:00 a.m.
Place:  George Mason University, Prince William campus <>
	     Bull Run Hall, Room 249
*Thesis Chair:  Dr. Monique van Hoek

Title: "Investigating the Molecular Determinants of PHB Biosynthesis in /Vibrio Campbellii"/

A copy of the thesis is on reserve in the Johnson Center Library, 
Fairfax campus.  The thesis will not be read at the meeting, but should 
be read in advance. All members of the George Mason University community 
are invited to attend.


Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) or bioplastics are small carbon and energy 
storage polymers commonly found in the bacterial cytosol. The 
most-characterized PHAs are the poly-hydroxy-butyrates (PHBs), and the 
biodegradable properties of PHBs make them attractive alternatives to 
conventional petroleum based plastics. Bacteria produce PHBs in carbon- 
rich environments when other nutrients such as nitrogen are limited. PHB 
biosynthesis in the model organism /Escherichia coli/ is controlled by 
the AtoS-AtoC two-component system (TCS). The AtoS-AtoC TCS directly 
regulates expression of the atoDAEB operon that encodes proteins 
responsible for PHB biosynthesis. Similar to /E. coli/, studies have 
demonstrated that certain Vibrio species, specifically /Vibrio harveyi,/ 
can also produce PHBs. Analysis of the /V. campbellii/ BAA-1116 genome 
suggests that it too possesses homologs of /E. coli/ atoS, atoC, and 
Therefore, it was the aim of this project to characterize the putative 
ato system in /V. campbellii/ BAA-1116. To elucidate the role of the 
putative ato genes in the biosynthesis of PHB in /V. campbellii/ 
BAA-1116, in-frame deletion mutants were constructed. Using the in-frame 
deletion mutants, RT-PCR, global phenotypic microarray analysis, and 
immunohistochemistry demonstrated the putative ato genes are not 
involved with PHB biosynthesis in /V. campbellii/ BAA-1116.