Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Biology

Reader 1

Edwalds-Gilbert

Reader 2

Patrick Ferree

Rights Information

© 2013 Camilla Pecora

Abstract

Phenolic compounds exist in abundance in the world around us due to natural and synthetic biological processes. Phenols produced from chemical, petrol, and pharmaceutical processes can be harmful, stress-inducing exotoxins. Bisphenol-A (BPA) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) are phenol-based compounds found in polycarbonate plastics and food preservatives, therefore presenting a particularly high degree of human exposure. Exposure to these compounds has been associated with numerous diseases, yet their mechanisms of action are not well understood. A quantitative evaluation of growth of yeast deletion strains was used to identify the genes that modulate response to phenol stress induced by BPA and BHA in the model organism, yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Twelve genes were identified as essential for growth in the presence of both BPA and BHA. pep5 and vph2 are integral to vacuolar ATPase function, erg2 and erg24 are involved in the erg pathway, and ref2, rsc1, bdf1, tps2, hpr1, and snf12 are important in chromatin remodeling and transcription processes. Additional genes required for growth and growth-inhibiting genes were identified that were specific to BPA or BHA. Many of the genes identified in S. cerevisiae have orthologs in humans that may modulate exposure to toxic phenols in a similar manner and could provide insight into the pathways involved in phenol exposure related disease.

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