Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Please see currently inactive department below.


Medical Laboratory Science

First Advisor's Name

Sylvia Smith

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Charles Bigger

Third Advisor's Name

Patrick Shen

Fourth Advisor's Name

Steven Obenauf


Ginglymostoma, Complement activation

Date of Defense



Complement is activated via two pathways: classical (CCP) and alternative (ACP). The CCP has been demonstrated in the nurse shark. The ACP has not been demonstrated in any cartilagenous fish. Nurse shark serum was evaluated for complement activity by its ability to lyse heterologous erythrocytes. As CCP activity requires calcium and magnesium, activity of shark serum chelated with EGTA (a selective calcium chelator) or EDTA (a chelator of calcium and magnesium) was assessed. Activity remained in serum chelated with EGTA but not EDTA. Furthermore, activity of chelated serum was enhanced by added magnesium. Activation of shark complement by activators of mammalian ACP (zymosan, LPS, inulin, CVF) was assessed. Complement was activated by zymosan and LPS. Immunoblots were employed, with limited success, to demonstrate complement proteins in nurse shark serum. This study unequivocally demonstrates that the ACP is present in the primitive nurse shark.




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