Date of Award

6-2016

Culminating Project Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Biological Sciences - Cell and Molecular: M.S.

Department

Biology

College

College of Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Christopher Kvaal

Second Advisor

Timothy Schuh

Third Advisor

Nathan Winter

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Toxoplasma, Apicomplexa, Cell Cycle, Regulation, Proteins

Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii is an Apicomplexan obligate intracellular protozoan parasite, which is able to infect virtually all warm-blooded animals. According to the Centers for Disease Control approximately 60 million people in the U.S. are currently infected with T. gondii. Treatments for toxoplasmosis are limited and generally consist of a combination of pharmaceuticals. Based on the prevalence and limited options for treatment new drug targets should be explored. Cell cycle proteins often present themselves as good drug targets. TgCDK1 and TgCYC2 are cell cycle proteins. TgCDK1 is a cyclin dependent kinase and TgCYC2 is thought to be a cyclin protein. TgCDK1 and TgCYC2 are associated with the G2 to M phase regulation of the cell cycle. Inhibition of the cell cycle would prevent the cell from proliferating ultimately eliminating T. gondii from the host. TgCDK1 and TgCYC2 proteins must first be purified and a kinase assay has to be run in order to determine the function of these two proteins. Experimental approaches to the purification and characterization of these proteins refines the search for drug targets.

Comments/Acknowledgements

I would first like to thank both of my parents and fiancée for their continuous support throughout all of my academic pursuits. With out their support I would not be where I am today. I would also like to thank my advisor Dr. Christopher Kvaal for his patience and guidance as well as all of the knowledge he has imparted to me through out this research project and my stay at St. Cloud State University.

Dr. Timothy Schuh and Dr. Nathan Winter for their advice and support with my research project as well as to writing my thesis document. Dr. Michelle Wagner who made being a TA enjoyable, and dare I say easy, as well as a valuable learning experience. The undergraduate as well as graduate students who have helped me with my research: Arthur Isaacson, Brock Cash, Cody Aston, Sam Ellis and Stuart Fogarty. I am grateful for their continuous support and help in completing my research project. Lastly I would like to thank the St. Cloud State Department of Biological Sciences faculty and staff.

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