Defense Date

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Bioinformatics

First Advisor

Gregory Buck

Abstract

The apicomplexan Cryptosporidium is a protozoan parasite of humans and other mammals. Cryptosporidium species cause acute gastro-enteritis and diarrheal disease in healthy humans and animals, and cause life-threatening infection in immuno-compromised individuals such as people with AIDS. It has a one-host life cycle and invades intestinal epithelial cells causing diarrhea, or more rarely the pulmonary epithelium. Cryptosporidium carries out all the asexual reproductive stages like several other apicomplexans. Current annotation of this organism predicts it to contain 3884 genes of which only 1581 genes have predicted functions. By using a combination of bioinformatics analysis, biochemical evidence, and high-throughput data, a genome-scale metabolic model of Cryptosporidium hominis is being constructed. The current model is comprised of approximately 213 gene-associated enzymes involved in major metabolic pathways including carbohydrate, nucleotide, amino acid, and energy metabolism. The approach of constructing a genome-scale model provides a link between the genotype and the phenotypic behavior of the organism, making it possible to study and predict behavior based upon genome content. This modeling approach provides an overview for evaluating missing components in a metabolic network and provides an analytical framework for interpreting data as more research becomes available. The goal of constructing this model is to systematically study and analyze various functional behaviors of C. hominis with respect to its stages in life cycle and pathogenicity.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2009

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