Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Dhundy (Kiran) Bastola

Second Advisor

Hesham Ali

Third Advisor

Lotfollah Najjar

Fourth Advisor

Steven From


After synthesis, a protein is still immature until it has been customized for a specific task. Post-translational modifications (PTMs) are steps in biosynthesis to perform this customization of protein for unique functionalities. PTMs are also important to protein survival because they rapidly enable protein adaptation to environmental stress factors by conformation change. The overarching contribution of this thesis is the construction of a computational profiling framework for the study of biological signals stemming from PTMs associated with stressed proteins. In particular, this work has been developed to predict and detect the biological mechanisms involved in types of stress response with PTMs in mitochondrial (Mt) and non-Mt protein.

Before any mechanism can be studied, there must first be some evidence of its existence. This evidence takes the form of signals such as biases of biological actors and types of protein interaction. Our framework has been developed to locate these signals, distilled from “Big Data” resources such as public databases and the the entire PubMed literature corpus. We apply this framework to study the signals to learn about protein stress responses involving PTMs, modification sites (MSs). We developed of this framework, and its approach to analysis, according to three main facets: (1) by statistical evaluation to determine patterns of signal dominance throughout large volumes of data, (2) by signal location to track down the regions where the mechanisms must be found according to the types and numbers of associated actors at relevant regions in protein, and (3) by text mining to determine how these signals have been previously investigated by researchers. The results gained from our framework enable us to uncover the PTM actors, MSs and protein domains which are the major components of particular stress response mechanisms and may play roles in protein malfunction and disease.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Copyright 2016 Oliver Bonham-Carter.

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