Campus Access Only

All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of University of the Pacific. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Lisa A. Wrischnik

First Committee Member

Gregg D. Jongeward

Second Committee Member

Uta Hellmann-Blumberg


The experiments presented were designed to test the hypothesis that the well-known carcinogen, benzo[a]pyrene has epigenetic effects, specifically the ability to alter cytosine methylation patterns. MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells were treated for a period of sixty days with 100 nM benzo[a]pyrene. The methylation status of two genes, Ecadherin and GSTP 1 were examined using methyl-specific PCR and Southern blot analysis. After sixty days, no detectable change in methylation was observed. Evidence exists that de novo methylation is a consequence of transcriptional inactivity. Benzo[a]pyrene can contribute to transcriptional repression by sequestering the transcription factor, Spl. To test this hypothesis in our system, MCF-7 cells were transiently transfected with a reporter construct containing Sp 1 sites. These experiments demonstrated an 8.4 fold increase in reporter gene activity over a promoterless control plasmid; however, a difference could not be established between benzo[a]pyrene-treated and untreated cells.



To access this thesis/dissertation you must have a valid email address and log-in to Scholarly Commons.

Find in PacificSearch



If you are the author and would like to grant permission to make your work openly accessible, please email


Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).