• Volume 26, Issue 3

      September 2001,   pages  285-390

    • Clipboard: Tuberous sclerosis complex: A Drosophila connection

      Arun Kumar S C Girimaji

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    • Clipboard: Why are chillies pungent?

      Renee M Borges

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    • Commentary: New vistas for developmental biology

      Scott F Gilbert Rocky S Tuan

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    • Controversy in science

      M G Narasimhan

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    • Is DNA a nonlinear dynamical system where solitary conformational waves are possible?

      Ludmila V Yakushevich

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      DNA is considered as a nonlinear dynamical system in which solitary conformational waves can be excited. The history of the approach, the main results, and arguments in favour and against are presented. Perspectives are discussed pertaining to studies of DNA’s nonlinear properties.

    • Cloning, sequencing and expression of cDNA encoding growth hormone from Indian catfish (Heteropneustes fossilis)

      Vikas Anathy Thayanithy Venugopal Ramanathan Koteeswaran Thavamani J Pandian Sinnakaruppan Mathavan

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      A tissue-specific cDNA library was constructed using polyA+ RNA from pituitary glands of the Indian catfish Heteropneustes fossilis (Bloch) and a cDNA clone encoding growth hormone (GH) was isolated. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers representing the conserved regions of fish GH sequences the 3′ region of catfish GH cDNA (540 bp) was cloned by random amplification of cDNA ends and the clone was used as a probe to isolate recombinant phages carrying the full-length cDNA sequence. The full-length cDNA clone is 1132 bp in length, coding for an open reading frame (ORF) of 603 bp; the reading frame encodes a putative polypeptide of 200 amino acids including the signal sequence of 22 amino acids. The 5′ and 3′ untranslated regions of the cDNA are 58 bp and 456 bp long, respectively. The predicted amino acid sequence of H. fossils GH shared 98% homology with other catfishes. Mature GH protein was efficiently expressed in bacterial and zebrafish systems using appropriate expression vectors. The successful expression of the cloned GH cDNA of catfish confirms the functional viability of the clone.

    • Evidence for clustered mannose as a new ligand for hyaluronan-binding protein (HABP1) from human fibroblasts

      Rajeev Kumar Nirupam Roy Choudhury Dinakar M Salunke K Datta

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      We have earlier reported that overexpression of the gene encoding human hyaluronan-binding protein (HABP1) is functionally active, as it binds specifically with hyaluronan (HA). In this communication, we confirm the collapse of the filamentous and branched structure of HA by interaction with increasing concentrations of recombinant-HABP1 (rHABP1). HA is the reported ligand of rHABP1. Here, we show the affinity of rHABP1 towards D-mannosylated albumin (DMA) by overlay assay and purification using a DMA affinity column. Our data suggests that DMA is another ligand for HABP1. Furthermore, we have observed that DMA inhibits the binding of HA in a concentration-dependent manner, suggesting its multiligand affinity amongst carbohydrates. rHABP1 shows differential affinity towards HA and DMA which depends on pH and ionic strength. These data suggest that affinity of rHABP1 towards different ligands is regulated by the microenvironment.

    • Specificity of drug transport mediated by CaMDR1: a major facilitator of Candida albicans

      Avmeet Kohli Vinita Gupta Shankarling Krishnamurthy Seyed E Hasnain Rajendra Prasad

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      CaMDR1 encodes a major facilitator superfamily (MFS) protein in Candida albicans whose expression has been linked to azole resistance and which is frequently encountered in this human pathogenic yeast. In this report we have overexpressed CaMdr1p in Sf9 insect cells and demonstrated for the first time that it can mediate methotrexate (MTX) and fluconazole (FLC) transport. MTX appeared to be a better substrate for CaMdr1p among these two tested drugs. Due to severe toxicity of these drugs to insect cells, further characterization of CaMdr1p as a drug transporter could not be done with this system. Therefore, as an alternative, CaMdr1p and Cdr1p, which is an ABC protein (ATP binding cassette) also involved in azole resistance in C. albicans, were independently expressed in a common hypersensitive host JG436 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This allowed a better comparison between the functionality of the two export pumps. We observed that while both FLC and MTX are effluxed by CaMdr1p, MTX appeared to be a poor substrate for Cdr1p. JG436 cells expressing Cdr1p thus conferred resistance to other antifungal drugs but remained hypersensitive to MTX. Since MTX is preferentially transported by CaMdr1p, it can be used for studying the function of this MFS protein.

    • Insulin alone can lead to a withdrawal of meiotic arrest in the carp oocyte

      S Dasgupta D Basu L Ravi Kumar S Bhattacharya

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      Meiotic arrest of oocyte in an Indian carp, Labeo rohita Ham. has been found for the first time to be withdrawn by insulin only. Addition of insulin to oocytes in vitro caused germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD), one of the first visual markers to determine initiation of the final maturational process. Under the influence of insulin the germinal vesicle (GV) of the oocyte migrated towards the animal pole, reached the micropyle and then dissolved (GVBD). By using different concentrations of insulin i.e., 0.063, 0.63, 6.3 and 12.6 𝜇M, optimum amount required was found to be 6.3 𝜇M. Induction of GVBD by insulin could be blocked by cycloheximide (Chx), a translation inhibitor, while actinomycin D (AcD) had no effect suggesting non-involvement of transcriptional activity in this process. Addition of the maturation-inducing steroid 17𝛼,20𝛽-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one (DHP) stimulated (𝑃 < 0.01) GVBD of carp oocytes and its combination with insulin showed an additive effect. Gonadotropin (GtH) caused GVBD but its effect was greatly augmented by insulin. Our results demonstrate that not only can insulin alone induce GVBD in carp oocytes, but it also augments the stimulatory effect of DHP or IGF-I or GtH on GVBD. This information will be important in hormonal manipulation during induced breeding of carp.

    • Pancreatic islet-cell viability, functionality and oxidative status remain unaffected at pharmacological concentrations of commonly used antibiotics in vitro

      Yogita Shewade Suraj Tirth R R Bhonde

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      Environmental factors such as diet, physical activity, drugs, pollution and life style play an important role in the progression and/or precipitation of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and cardiovascular disorders. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics to combat infectious diseases is one of the commonest forms of misuse of drugs. Antibiotics seem to have a correlation with diabetes and pancreatic function. There are controversial reports about the effect of antibiotics on the pancreatic islets; some suggesting their harmless action, some depicting a beneficial role and others indicating deleterious effect. Moreover, use of antibiotics is mandatory during islet isolation and cultivation to reduce incidences of microbial contamination. It is likely that antibiotic treatment may adversely affect islet viability and its functioning leading to failure of islet transplantation. The present in vitro study was undertaken to examine the effect of commonly used antibiotics such as gentamycin, penicillin, streptomycin, tetracycline, neomycin, erythromycin and chloramphenicol on islet viability, its functioning and induction of oxidative stress if any. The viability and insulin production data showed that none of the antibiotics used in the present study affect the viability and the functioning of the islets at their pharmacological concentrations. Free radical levels measured in terms of melonyldialdehyde (MDA), nitric oxide (NO) and reduced glutathione (GSH) reveal that except for a marginal increase in lipid peroxidation with tetracycline and slight increase in NO levels with streptomycin, none of these antibiotics affect the oxidative status of the cells. Antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase and catalase remain unaffected after this treatment. Our results reveal the innocuous nature of the antibiotics used at pharmacological concentrations, suggesting their safety whenever prescribed to combat infections and also during islet isolation procedures.

    • Calcium – how and why?

      J K Jaiswal

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      Calcium is among the most commonly used ions, in a multitude of biological functions, so much so that it is impossible to imagine life without calcium. In this article I have attempted to address the question as to how calcium has achieved this status with a brief mention of the history of calcium research in biology. It appears that during the origin and early evolution of life the Ca2+ ion was given a unique opportunity to be used in several biological processes because of its unusual physical and chemical properties.

    • Incipient sexual isolation in the nasuta-albomicans complex of Drosophila: mating preference in male-, female– and multiple-choice mating experiments

      M T Tanuja N B Ramachandra H A Ranganath

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      Interracial divergence is an important facet of speciation. The nasuta-albomicans complex of Drosophila with sixteen morphologically identical, karyotypically different but cross-fertile races is an excellent system to study a few dimensions of raciation. Drosophila nasuta nasuta, Drosophila nasuta albomicans, Cytorace 1, Cytorace 2, Cytorace 3 and Cytorace 4 of this subgroup have been subjected to male-, female- and multiple-choice mating experiments. Out of 8456 crosses conducted, 7185 had successful matings. The overall impression is that mating is far from random amongst these six closely related races of the nasuta-albomicans complex. The males of D. n. albomicans, Cytorace 1 and Cytorace 4 in male-choice, the females of Cytorace 1 and Cytorace 2 in female-choice, and the males and females of D. n. nasuta, D. n. albomicans, Cytorace 1 and Cytorace 4 against the males and females of Cytorace 2 in multiple-choice experiments, had significantly more homogamic matings than expected. Thus in this study of evolutionary experimentation on raciation under laboratory conditions, we have documented the initiation of preference for con-specific matings among closely related and independently evolving members of the nasuta-albomicans complex of Drosophila.

    • Effects of water level changes and wading bird abundance on the foraging behaviour of blacknecked storks Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus in Dudwa National Park, India

      Gopinathan Maheswaran Asad R Rahmani

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      The effect of water level changes and wading birds’ abundance on the foraging behaviour of the blacknecked stork (BNS) Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus was studied from January 1995 to June 1997 in Dudwa National Park, Uttar Pradesh. Our observations indicate that BNS territoriality increased as food levels became depleted, resulting in increased rates of aggression towards intruders. Chasing or aggression was more intense during the early period (February and March) than the late period (April, May and June). Most of (> 50%) the aggressive encounters were observed between 0600 and 1000 h of the day. Seventeen species (including BNS) were observed interacting with BNS, throughout the study period. Most interactions were with the spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia (67.4%), followed by the whitenecked stork, Ciconia episcopus (16.6%). The distance (while foraging) between BNS and other wading birds varied significantly (𝑃 < 0.001) between years indicating that BNS and other water birds foraged at different water depths and thereby explored the wetlands fully. Spoonbills were chased often; the number varied from 1 to 43 birds. BNS occasionally accepted the presence of other wading birds, including spoonbills and started foraging amidst them. This led to successful foraging of BNS (solitary feeder). Other fish-eating bird species and their numbers also limited the food consumption of foraging BNS as they had to spend time chasing away the intruders. Availability of the preferred prey fish species, Heteropnestus fossilis, forced BNS to stay throughout the year in their respective territories. High (> 60 cm) water levels were not suitable for BNS even though the patch had high prey abundance.

    • Orally active insulin mimics: where do we stand now?

      M Balasubramanyam V Mohan

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      The war against diabetes through the development of new drugs is an ongoing continuous process to counter the alarming global increase in the prevalence of diabetes and its complications, particularly in developing countries like India. Unfortunately, the speed with which our knowledge of diabetes and its effects is expanding is not matched by the availability of new drugs. Following the identification of the insulin receptor (IR), its intrinsic kinase activity and molecular cloning, many studies have looked at IR as an ideal drug target. This review summarizes in brief the latest advancements in this field with particular reference to the current situation in respect of the development of orally active insulin mimetics in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

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