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Sleep Spindles and Fragmented Sleep as Prodromal Markers in a Preclinical Model of LRRK2-G2019S Parkinson's DiseaseSleep disturbances co-occur with and precede the onset of motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD). We evaluated sleep fragmentation and thalamocortical sleep spindles in mice expressing the p.G2019S mutation of the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene, one of the most common genetic forms of PD. Thalamocortical sleep spindles are oscillatory events that occur during slow-wave sleep that are involved in memory consolidation. We acquired data from electrocorticography, sleep behavioral measures, and a rotarod-based motor enrichment task in 28 LRRK2-G2019S knock-in mice and 27 wild-type controls (8-10 month-old males). Sleep was more fragmented in LRRK2-G2019S mice; sleep bouts were shorter and more numerous, even though total sleep time was similar to controls. LRRK2-G2019S animals expressed more sleep spindles, and individual spindles were longer in duration than in controls. We then chronically administered the LRRK2-inhibitor MLi-2 in-diet to n = 12 LRRK2-G2019S and n = 15 wild-type mice for a within-subject analysis of the effects of kinase inhibition on sleep behavior and physiology. Treatment with MLi-2 did not impact these measures. The data indicate that the LRRK2-G2019S mutation could lead to reduced sleep quality and altered sleep spindle physiology. This suggests that sleep spindles in LRRK2-G2019S animals could serve as biomarkers for underlying alterations in sleep networks resulting from the LRRK2-G2019S mutation, and further evaluation in human LRRK2-G2019S carriers is therefore warranted.
Differential Target Antenna Coupling (DTAC) EM Surveying with Stationary Transmitter Loop and Moving In-Loop ReceiversFollowing our previous studies of the Differential Target Antenna Coupling (DTAC) method with horizontal and vertical arrays for EM surveys, in this paper we study the application of the DTAC method to a different configuration, where a large, stationary transmitter loop is on the ground surface. We then run profile lines inside this loop. The DTAC method is effective in eliminating errors due to the large variations in the primary field along profile lines within the transmitting loop. Operational tests show that we obtain more diagnostic DTAC anomalies over buried targets than using just the B-x and B-y data. The DTAC method also produces smaller false-alarm targets due to background geology variations, compared with B-z measurements. The DTAC method can be used with either time- or frequency-domain data and the receiver can be moved on the ground or deployed from an airborne vehicle, such as a drone.
Gapless assembly of maize chromosomes using long-read technologiesCreating gapless telomere-to-telomere assemblies of complex genomes is one of the ultimate challenges in genomics. We use two independent assemblies and an optical map-based merging pipeline to produce a maize genome (B73-Ab10) composed of 63 contigs and a contig N50 of 162 Mb. This genome includes gapless assemblies of chromosome 3 (236 Mb) and chromosome 9 (162 Mb), and 53 Mb of the Ab10 meiotic drive haplotype. The data also reveal the internal structure of seven centromeres and five heterochromatic knobs, showing that the major tandem repeat arrays (CentC, knob180, and TR-1) are discontinuous and frequently interspersed with retroelements.
A symbiotic bacterium of shipworms produces a compound with broad spectrum anti-apicomplexan activityApicomplexan parasites cause severe disease in both humans and their domesticated animals. Since these parasites readily develop drug resistance, development of new, effective drugs to treat infection caused by these parasites is an ongoing challenge for the medical and veterinary communities. We hypothesized that invertebrate-bacterial symbioses might be a rich source of anti-apicomplexan compounds because invertebrates are susceptible to infections with gregarines, parasites that are ancestral to all apicomplexans. We chose to explore the therapeutic potential of shipworm symbiotic bacteria as they are bona fide symbionts, are easily grown in axenic culture and have genomes rich in secondary metabolite loci [1,2]. Two strains of the shipworm symbiotic bacterium, Teredinibacter turnerae, were screened for activity against Toxoplasma gondii and one strain, T7901, exhibited activity against intracellular stages of the parasite. Bioassay-guided fractionation identified tartrolon E (trtE) as the source of the activity. TrtE has an EC50 of 3 nM against T. gondii, acts directly on the parasite itself and kills the parasites after two hours of treatment. TrtE exhibits nanomolar to picomolar level activity against Cryptosporidium, Plasmodium, Babesia, Theileria, and Sarcocystis; parasites representing all branches of the apicomplexan phylogenetic tree. The compound also proved effective against Cryptosporidium parvum infection in neonatal mice, indicating that trtE may be a potential lead compound for preclinical development. Identification of a promising new compound after such limited screening strongly encourages further mining of invertebrate symbionts for new anti-parasitic therapeutics. Author summary Apicomplexans are intracellular protozoan parasites that cause significant disease in humans and the livestock we rely on for food. Because these parasites easily develop drug resistance, new drugs are always needed. To identify new anti-apicomplexan drugs, we investigated the compounds produced by symbiotic bacteria of shipworms, marine mollusks that burrow into and eat wood. We screened shipworm symbiotic bacteria for anti-parasitic activity and identified a compound, tartrolon E, with potent, rapid, highly selective and irreversible activity against parasites representing all branches of the apicomplexan tree. This compound was also highly effective in neonatal mice against infection with the intestinal apicomplexan parasite, Cryptosporidium. This study describes the first pan-anti-apicomplexan compound and unveils an unexplored source of anti-parasitic compounds.
Exposure to mold proteases stimulates mucin production in airway epithelial cells through Ras/Raf1/ERK signal pathwayEnvironmental mold (fungus) exposure poses a significant threat to public health by causing illnesses ranging from invasive fungal diseases in immune compromised individuals to allergic hypertensive diseases such as asthma and asthma exacerbation in otherwise healthy people. However, the molecular pathogenesis has not been completely understood, and treatment options are limited. Due to its thermo-tolerance to the normal human body temperature, Aspergillus. fumigatus (A.fumigatus) is one of the most important human pathogens to cause different lung fungal diseases including fungal asthma. Airway obstruction and hyperresponsiveness caused by mucus overproduction are the hallmarks of many A.fumigatus induced lung diseases. To understand the underlying molecular mechanism, we have utilized a well-established A.fumigatus extracts (AFE) model to elucidate downstream signal pathways that mediate A.fumigatus induced mucin production in airway epithelial cells. AFE was found to stimulate time- and dose-dependent increase of major airway mucin gene expression (MUC5AC and MUC5B) partly via the elevation of their promoter activities. We also demonstrated that EGFR was required but not sufficient for AFE-induced mucin expression, filling the paradoxical gap from a previous study using the same model. Furthermore, we showed that fungal proteases in AFE were responsible for mucin induction by activating a Ras/Raf1/ERK signaling pathway. Ca2+ signaling, but ROS, both of which were stimulated by fungal proteases, was an indispensable determinant for ERK activation and mucin induction. The discovery of this novel pathway likely contributes to our understanding of the pathogenesis of fungal sensitization in allergic diseases such as fungal asthma.