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Birmingham–Southern College is a private liberal arts college in Birmingham, Alabama, United States. Founded in 1856, the college is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools . More than 1300 students from 33 states and 16 foreign countries attend the college. Birmingham–Southern has a 13:1 student-faculty ratio, and 96% of full-time faculty hold a doctorate or the highest degree in their field. Birmingham–Southern has been consistently ranked among the best liberal arts colleges in the United States. The college is one of just forty institutions nationwide profiled in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives, which offers the following snapshot of the college: "What all of this says is that Birmingham-Southern is a high-quality, caring place where a person from any part of the country would not only be comfortable but would grow intellectually, morally, and personally." Wikipedia.

Townsend Jr. V.R.,Virginia Wesleyan College | Viquez C.,INBio | Vanzandt P.A.,Birmingham-Southern College | Proud D.N.,University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Zootaxa | Year: 2010

To facilitate identification of harvestmen of the family Cosmetidae in Central America, we developed dichotomous keys that distinguish the 33 known genera and the 133 described species for this region. Couplets are based upon characters found in the literature and examinations of museum specimens. Important characters include the number of tarsomeres on leg I, armature of the dorsal scutum, free tergites and legs, as well as the coloration and relative length of the body and legs. In addition, we provide a summary of sexually dimorphic features and comment on the potential usefulness of penis morphology and coloration as characters for distinguishing taxa. Copyright © 2010 Magnolia Press. Source

Pezzementi L.,Birmingham-Southern College | Nachon F.,Institute Of Recherche Biomedicale Des Armees | Chatonnet A.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Chatonnet A.,Montpellier University
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) are thought to be the result of a gene duplication event early in vertebrate evolution. To learn more about the evolution of these enzymes, we expressed in vitro, characterized, and modeled a recombinant cholinesterase (ChE) from a teleost, the medaka Oryzias latipes. In addition to AChE, O. latipes has a ChE that is different from either vertebrate AChE or BChE, which we are classifying as an atypical BChE, and which may resemble a transitional form between the two. Of the fourteen aromatic amino acids in the catalytic gorge of vertebrate AChE, ten are conserved in the atypical BChE of O. latipes; by contrast, only eight are conserved in vertebrate BChE. Notably, the atypical BChE has one phenylalanine in its acyl pocket, while AChE has two and BChE none. These substitutions could account for the intermediate nature of this atypical BChE. Molecular modeling supports this proposal. The atypical BChE hydrolyzes acetylthiocholine (ATCh) and propionylthiocholine (PTCh) preferentially but butyrylthiocholine (BTCh) to a considerable extent, which is different from the substrate specificity of AChE or BChE. The enzyme shows substrate inhibition with the two smaller substrates but not with the larger substrate BTCh. In comparison, AChE exhibits substrate inhibition, while BChE does not, but may instead show substrate activation. The atypical BChE from O. latipes also shows a mixed pattern of inhibition. It is effectively inhibited by physostigmine, typical of all ChEs. However, although the atypical BChE is efficiently inhibited by the BChE-specific inhibitor ethopropazine, it is not by another BChE inhibitor, iso-OMPA, nor by the AChE-specific inhibitor BW284c51. The atypical BChE is found as a glycophosphatidylinositol-anchored (GPI-anchored) amphiphilic dimer (G2 a), which is unusual for any BChE. We classify the enzyme as an atypical BChE and discuss its implications for the evolution of AChE and BChE and for ecotoxicology. © 2011 Pezzementi et al. Source

Beaton L.L.,Washington University in St. Louis | Beaton L.L.,York College - The City University of New York | van Zandt P.A.,Washington University in St. Louis | van Zandt P.A.,Birmingham-Southern College | And 2 more authors.
Oikos | Year: 2011

The evolution of increased competitive ability (EICA) hypothesis provides a compelling explanation for the success of invasive species. It contends that because alien plants have escaped their coevolved natural enemies, selection pressures favor a diversion of resources from herbivore defense to traits that confer increased competitive ability. Here, we provide evidence for EICA in the noxious grassland invader Lespedeza cuneata, by comparing the ancestral genotype introduced to North America in 1930 with modern-day invasive (North American) and native (Japanese) genotypes. We found that the invasive genotype was a better competitor than either the native or the ancestral genotype. Further, the invasive genotype exhibited greater induced resistance but lower constitutive resistance than the ancestral and native genotypes. Our results suggest that selection has played a pivotal role in shaping this invasive plant species into a more aggressive, but less constitutively defended competitor. © 2011 The Authors. Oikos © 2011 Nordic Society Oikos. Source

Johnson S.S.,University of Iowa | Hanson P.K.,University of Iowa | Hanson P.K.,Birmingham-Southern College | Manoharlal R.,University of Iowa | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Biological Chemistry | Year: 2010

Ceramide is produced by the condensation of a long chain base with a very long chain fatty acid. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, one of the two major long chain bases is called phytosphingosine (PHS). PHS has been shown to cause toxicity in tryptophan auxotrophic strains of yeast because this bioactive ceramide precursor causes diversion of the high affinity tryptophan permease Tat2 to the vacuole rather than the plasma membrane. Loss of the integral membrane protein Rsb1 increased PHS sensitivity, which was suggested to be due to this protein acting as an ATP-dependent long chain base efflux protein. More recent experiments demonstrated that loss of the genes encoding the ATP-binding cassette transporter proteins Pdr5 and Yor1 elevated PHS tolerance. This increased resistance was suggested to be due to increased expression of RSB1. Here, we provide an alternative view of PHS resistance influenced by Rsb1 and Pdr5/Yor1. Rsb1 has a seven-transmembrane domain topology more consistent with that of a regulatory protein like a G-protein-coupled receptor rather than a transporter. Importantly, an rsb1Δ cell does not exhibit higher internal levels of PHS compared with isogenic wild-type cells. However, tryptophan transport is increased in pdr5Δ yor1 strains and reduced in rsb1Δ cells. Localization and vacuolar degradation of Tat2 are affected in these genetic backgrounds. Finally, internalization of FM4-64 dye suggests that loss of Pdr5 and Yor1 slows normal endocytic rates. Together, these data argue that Rsb1, Pdr5, and Yor1 regulate the endocytosis of Tat2 and likely other membrane transporter proteins. © 2010 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc. Source

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 86.55K | Year: 2012

Flow cytometry has become an integral tool in biological and biochemical research because it combines the versatility of fluorescence microscopy with the strength of quantitative population-based methods. This NSF MRI award provides funds for the purchase of a BD Accuri C6 Flow Cytometer to introduce and expand the use of flow cytometry at Birmingham-Southern College (BSC). Important for use in an undergraduate research program, the Accuri C6 flow cytometer is compact, cost-effective, and capable of complex cellular fluorescence and counting analyses, supplying the functionality of a full-scale cytometer in a table-top apparatus. The versatility of this instrument will facilitate its use by undergraduate researchers in the Chemistry and Biology Departments in a variety of broad applications. The instrument will be used to quantitatively assess cellular fluorescence of bacteria, yeast, and mammalian cells. In particular, flow cytometry will be used to address important questions in biology and chemistry, such as understanding the mechanisms that regulate membrane trafficking and control cell cycle progression in Schizosaccharomyces pombe, characterization of iron uptake pathways in Staphylococcus aureus, and investigation of the interactions between complex sphingolipid homeostasis and cell physiology in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The CSampler® accessory will further allow BSC researchers to perform high-throughput fluorescence-based assays for large-scale screening and identification of new avenues for research. Importantly, the ease of setup and use of this instrument makes flow cytometry accessible for researchers at the undergraduate level.

Flow cytometry allows researchers to rapidly quantify fluorescence levels in thousands of individual cells within minutes, providing quantitative information about cell populations that can be used to address many important biological and biochemical research questions. Introduction of flow cytometry will impact undergraduate education at Birmingham-Southern College, a primarily undergraduate liberal arts college of approximately 1300 students with well-regarded programs in biology and chemistry. Typically, one-third of each incoming class expresses an interest in the sciences. Though primarily for undergraduate research, this instrument will have a significant impact on teaching, training, and learning due to (1) the research requirement for all natural science majors at BSC and (2) integration of research into the curriculum of BSC?s teaching laboratories. Our intensive senior research programs are among the greatest strengths of the natural sciences at BSC. Every graduate of these majors must engage in a minimum of two terms of research. This instrument will provide senior research students with the opportunity to utilize an important technology not currently available at the College. Acquisition of this flow cytometer will also significantly impact students enrolled in biology and chemistry courses. Flow cytometry will be incorporated into research-based laboratories in Honors Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry, exposing students in these courses to flow cytometry data collection and analysis. Students will gain hands-on experience with flow cytometry, impacting the vast majority of science majors at BSC.

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