Date of Award

Fall 12-17-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

John E. Houghton

Second Advisor

Julia Hilliard

Third Advisor

P. C. Tai

Abstract

Heavy metal contamination is of growing concern as industrialization causes increasing levels to be released into the environment affecting all organisms. Cellular damage and coping mechanisms due to heavy metal toxicity vary depending upon the species of metal and organisms exposed. It is assumed that cellular damage can be attributed to the destructive effects of metal-induced ROS production, which is ameliorated, by the non-protein tripeptide glutathione, cycling between reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG). We investigate the effects of acute cadmium and copper treatment on Saccharomyces cerevisiae and determine some of the immediate cellular responses to the exposure of these metals and demonstrated ameliorative effects of free form amino acid precursors (FAAPP). FFAAPs reduced cellular oxidative stress and served to offset the immediate oxidative stress that the presence of both metals caused within the cell within the first hour of exposure. FFAPs effected cellular responses differentially for each metal.

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