Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Teryl Frey - Chair

Second Advisor

Zhi-Ren Liu

Third Advisor

Richard Dix


As a model for studying apoptosis associated with pathogenesis of congenital rubella syndrome, bicistronic rubella virus (RUBV) replicons expressing an antibiotic resistance gene in the presence (925-IN) or absence (IN-IN) of RUBV capsid protein (C) were constructed. Apoptosis was assessed by detection of caspase activation, chromatin fragmentation, and flow cytometry. 925-IN cells grew similarly to Vero, but IN-IN cells demonstrated caspase activation, chromatin fragmentation and cell cycle arrest. Whereas Vero cells transfected with P150 exhibited rapid apoptosis not detected in transfected Vero cells stably expressing C, neither exhibited cell cycle alterations, indicating a cell cycle stall not associated with apoptosis. Finally, two human epithelial cells, HEK293 and A549, transfected with P150 failed to exhibit apoptosis, indicating that while replicon-transfected Vero cells are useful for studying apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, the results are not applicable to other cell types.