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University of Louisiana at Lafayette Electron Microscopy Center

Dr. Thomas Pesacreta

Director, Microscopy Center
Associate Professor of BIOLOGY
PO Box 42451
Lafayette, LA 70504
Phone: (337) 482-5233
Fax: (337) 482-5834
Email: tcp9769@louisiana.edu

Dr. Thomas Pesacreta
Research Interests :
Atomic force microscopy of xylem pit membranes - Dicotyledons depend upon small, relatively porous structures in the vessel element wall to transfer water from vessel to vessel as it moves up the stem. These porous pit membranes are composed of carbohydrates. Until recently, it was believed that the pit membrane was a closely knit mass of fibers. Recently, I showed, using atomic force microscopy in water, that the fibers were arranged in a much more open pattern, one that would be consistent with the passage of water. The enigma that remains is that the surface of the pit membrane is apparently covered by some sort of non-fibrillar layer, and it is not yet clear how water could pass through it.
Location and physiological role of the plant cuticle and other possible hydrophobic wall layers within the leaf - Our recent work has shown the existence of a relatively thin plant cuticle on the inner tangential wall of epidermal cells where they are exposed to the substomatal cavity. Preliminary evidence suggests that this cuticle is a physiologically significant barrier to water, thus encapsulating the epidermis in a hydrophobic wall except where it is physically connected to the mesophyll. Current research involves fluorescence microscopy of microinjected or applied chemicals that bind to specific biochemical entities to confirm whether the epidermis, or any other cell types in the leaf are isolated from these dissolved chemicals.
Plant myosin isolation, characterization, and localization - We have sequenced several myosin clones from corn (Zea mays). Using antibodies generated against specific gene fragments, we have co-localized myosin to several organelles, and to a chaperonin protein. The interaction with the chaperonin is of interest, as well as the linkage between myosin and organelles. Frustrating these investigations is the high amount of protease activity that seems to co-purify with the myosin. It seems possible that the protease activity and the involvement with chaperonin are related so that myosin can be closely regulated.
Dr. Thomas Pesacreta Microscopy Center
Director, USL Microscopy Center University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Associate Professor P.O. Box 42451
Graduate Faculty Lafayette, LA 70504-2451
        Office (337) 482-5233    
        Laboratory (337) 482-5769    
        Fax (337) 482-5834    
        Home (337) 235-4019    
        B.S., Agronomy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, 1975

        Ph.D., Botany, Cornell University, Ithaca, 1982    
        Honors and Awards    
        Maria Moors Cabot Foundation Fellowship, Harvard University, 1985-1987    
        Graduate Advisor    
        Dr. M.V. Parthasarathy, Cornell University, Section of Plant Biology, Ithaca, New York, 1977-1982    
        Post-doctoral Experience    
        University of California, Davis, 1982-85, with Dr. W.J. Lucas, Dept. of Botany

        Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1985-88, with Drs. D. Branton and D. Kiehart, Dept. of Cellular and Developmental Biology    
        Graduate Students at ULL (for which I am, or have been the committee head)    
        Durand, John M. - M.S., Biology 1993. Thesis title - Analysis of structural and biochemical characteristics of stamens of Asteraceae.

        Guo, Jie - M.S. Biology 1996. Thesis title - Isolation of phosphatases from the inner epidermis of onion bulb scales

        Liyun, Liu - Ph.D. candidate, Biology. Research topic - Molecular biology of onion cytoskeletal proteins.

        Niandong, Liu - Ph.D program, Biology. Research topic - Analysis of acid phosphatases in onion.

        Zhou, Juhua - Ph.D. program, Biology. Research topic - Myosin in orchids.

        Zhengyang, Wan - M.S. program, Biology. Research topic - Myosin in corn.    
        Grants Awarded    
        Louisiana Educational Quality Support Fund, Characterization and imunolocalization of plant myosin, 1989-1992, $81,000.00, PD.

        National Science Foundation, Cuticle elasticity and viscoelastic properties of thistle staminal filaments, 1992-1993, $115,000.00, co-PI with 3 others.

        Louisiana Educational Quality Support Fund, Integrated Engineering of Injection Molding Processees, 1993-1995, $167,752.00, co-PI with 3 others.

        Louisiana Educational Quality Support Fund (equipment enhancement), An atomic force microscope for materials science, 1994, $58,048.00, PD

        United States Dept. of Agriculture, Modeling of wood fiber based composites using individual fiber properties, 1096-98, $86,000, co-PI with one other.

        United States Forestry Service, Atomic force microscopy of wood fibers. 1996-97, $5000.00. PI.

        United States Dept. of Agriculture, Analysis of cotton fiber surface structure by atomic force microscopy. 1997-98, $19,950.00. PI.    
        Refereed Publications (in chronological order)    
        Byrne, J.M., T.C. Pesacreta and J.A. Fox. 1977. Development and structure of the vascular connection between the primary and secondary root of Glycine max (L.) Merr. Amer. J. of Botany 64:946-959.

        Byrne, J.M., T.C. Pesacreta and J.A. Fox. 1977 Vascular pattern change caused by a nematode, Meloidogyne incognita in the lateral roots of Glycine max (L.) Merr. Amer J. of Botany, 64:960-965.

        Parthasarathy, M.V. and T.C. Pesacreta. 1980. Microfilaments in plant vascular cells. Canadian J. of Botany 58(7):807

        Pesacreta, T.C., W.W. Carley, W.W. Webb, and M.V. Parthasarathy. 1982. F-actin in conifer roots. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 79:2898-2901.

        Pesacreta, T.C. and M.V. Parthasarathy. 1984. Microfilament bundles in the roots of a conifer, Chamaecyparis obtusa Protoplasma 125: 173-184.

        Pesacreta, T.C. and M.V. Parthasarathy. 1984. Improved staining of microfilament bundles in plant cells for high-voltage microscopy. J. Microsc. 133(1): 73-77.

        Pesacreta, T.C. and W.J. Lucas. 1985. Presence of a partially coated reticulum in angiosperms. Protoplasma 125: 173-184.

        Pesacreta, T.C. and W.J. Lucas. 1986. Presence of a membrane coat and a coated vesicle-associated reticulum of membranes: their structure and possible interrelationships in Chara corallina. J. Cell Biol. 98: 1537-1545.

        Pesacreta, T.C., A.B. Bennett and W.J. Lucas. 1986. Spectrophotometric and cytochemical analyses of phosphatase activity in Beta vulgaris L.J. Histochem. Cytochem. 34: 327-338.

        Lucas, W.J., D.W. Kiefer, and T.C. Pesacreta. 1986. Influence of culture medium pH on charasome development and chloride transport in Chara corallina. Protoplasma 130: 5-11.

        Thomas C. Pesacreta, Timothy J. Byers, Ronald Dubreuil, Daniel P. Kiehart, and Daniel Branton. 1989. Drosophila spectrin: The membrane skeleton during embryogenesis. J. Cell Biol. 108:1697-1709.

        Kiehart, D.P., A. Ketchum, P. Young, D. Lutz, T.C. Pesacreta, S. Inoue, and T.-L. Chen. 1990. Contractile proteins in Drosophila development. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 582:233- 251.

        P. Young, T.C.Pesacreta, and D.P. Kiehart. 1991. Cytoplasmic myosin in Drosophila. Development 111:1-10.

        Marquez-Sterling, N., I.M. Herman, T. Pesacreta, H. Arai, G. Terres, M. Forgac. 1991. Immunolocalization of the vacuolar type H-APTase from clathrin coated vesicles. Eur. J. of Cell Biol. 56:19-33.

        Pesacreta, T.C., V.I. Sullivan, K.H. Hasenstein, and J.M. Durand. 1991. Thigmonasticity of thistle staminal filaments. I. Involvement of a contractile cuticle. Protoplasma 121: 54-64.

        Pesacreta, T.C., V.I. Sullivan, and K.H. Hasenstein. 1993. The connective base of Cirsium horridulum (Asteraceae): Description and comparison with the viscoelastic filament. Amer. J. Bot. 80:411-418.

        Hasenstein, K.H., T.C. Pesacreta, V.I. Sullivan. 1993. Thigmonasticity of thistle staminal filaments II. Mechano-elastic properties. Planta 190:58-68.

        Barnett, J.P. and T. C. Pesacreta. 1993. Handling longleaf pine seeds for optimal nursery performance. Southern Jour. of Applied Forestry 17:180-187.

        Pesacreta, T.C., V.I. Sullivan and M. DeVore. 1994. The connective base and filament of Acicarpha tribuloides (Calyceraceae). Amer. J. Bot. 81:753-759.

        Sullivan, V.I., T.C. Pesacreta, J.Durand, and K.H. Hasenstein. 1994. A survey of autofluorescent patterns observed in the connective base epidermis in species of Asteraceae. Amer. J. Bot. 81:1119-1127.

        Pesacreta, T.C. and T. Stuessy. 1996. Taxon 45:473-485. Autofluorescent walls of connective bases in anthers of Barnadesioideae (Asteraceae) and systematic implications.

        Pesacreta, T.C., Carlson, L.C., and Triplett, B.A. 1997. Atomic force microscopy of cotton fiber cell wall surfaces in air and water:quantitative and qualitative aspects. Planta 202:435-442.

        Guo, J. and Pesacreta, T.C. 1997. Purification and characterization of an acid phosphatase from the bulb of Allium cepa L. var. Sweet Spanish. J. of Plant Physiology (in press).

        Pesacreta, T.C. and K. H. Hasenstein 1999. The internal cuticle of Cirsium horridulum (Asteraceae) leaves. American Journal of Botany 86:923-928.

        Zhou, J., T. C. Pesacreta and R.C. Brown 1999 RNA isolation from oligosaccharide-rich tissues. Plant Molecular Biology Reporter 17:4.

        Liu, L., Zhou J. and Pesacreta, T.C. 2001 Maize myosins: Diversity, localization and function. Cell Motility and the Cytoskelton 48:130-148.

        Marga, F., Pesacreta, T.C. and Hasenstein, K.H. 2001 Biochemical analysis of elastic and rigid cuticles of Cirsium horridulum Planta 213:841-848.

        Farshad, F., Pesacreta T.C., Garber, J.D. and Bikki, S.R. 2001 A comparison of surface roughness of pipes as measured by two profilometers and atomic force microscopy. Scanning 23:241-248.

        Farshad, Fred F. and Thomas C. Pesacreta 2003 Coated pipe interior surface roughness as measured by three scanning probe instruments. Anti-Corrosion Methods and Materials 50:6-16.

        Wang, Z., and TC Pesacreta 2004 A subclass of myosin XI is associated with mitochondria, plastids, and the molecular chaperone subunit in maize. Cell Motility and the cytoskeleton 57:218-232.

        H. J. Kim, T. C. Pesacreta, and B. A. Triplett 2004 Cotton-fiber germin-like protein. II: Immunolocalization, purification, and functional analysis. Planta 218: 525–535.

        Pesacreta, T.C., LH Groom and TG Rials. 2005. Atomic force microscopy of the intervessel pit membrane in the stem of Sapium sebiferum (Euphorbiaceae). IAWA Journal 26:397-426.    
        Book Chapters    
        Pesacreta, T.C. and W.J. Lucas. 1986. Phosphatase activities in Beta vulgaris leaves. In Phloem transport. Eds Cronshaw, Lucas and Giaquinta. pp 135-144. A.Liss, N.Y.

        2. Pesacreta, T.C. and M.V. Parthasarathy. 1987. Developmental ultrastructure in gymnosperms. In Cell and tissue culture in forestry. Eds Bonga, J.M and D.J. Durzan. pp. 353-351. M. Nijhoff Dordrecht.    
        Technical Expertise    
        Most microscopy and associated preparative techniques, image analysis, immunocytochemistry, autoradiography, phosphatase and zinc-iodide histochemistry, SDS-PAGE electrophoresis, isoelectric focusing, gel filtration, ion exchange chromatography, western blotting, northern blotting, screening cDNA libraries, PCR, DNA sequencing, electroelution of proteins from gels, ultracentrifugation, immunization and bleeding of rabbits and mice, monoclonal antibody production, spectrophotometric assay of proteins, spectrophotometric assay of phosphatase and ATPase reaction products, protein isolation from brain, liver, corn, and onions, protein concentration, immunoprecipitations, solid-phase immunobinding assays, affinity purification of antibodies, thin-layer chromatography of oligosaccharides    

Document last revised Thursday, November 10, 2005 3:31 PM

Copyright 2003 by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Electron Microscopy Center, P.O. Box 42451, Lafayette LA 70504
Billeaud Hall, Room 137 · 337/482-5769 · thomas@louisiana.edu