• Volume 27, Issue 2

      March 2002,   pages  71-186

    • Clipboard: The link between bacterial radiation resistance and cold adaptation

      M K Chattopadhyay

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    • Commentary: Warring ants: Lessons from Lanchester’s laws of combat?

      Renee M Borges

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    • Commentary: Vernalization: the flower school

      Peter V Minorsky

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    • Commentary: The ascent of nucleotide cyclases: conservation and evolution of a theme

      Avinash R Shenoy N Srinivasan Sandhya S Visweswariah

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    • Commentary: Stem cell identity: life is plastic, it’s fantastic!

      Maneesha S Inamdar

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    • Developmental mechanisms: putting genes in their place

      Stuart A Newman

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    • Genes encoding chimeras of Neurospora crassa erg-3 and human TM7SF2 proteins fail to complement Neurospora and yeast sterol C-14 reductase mutants

      A Prakash Durgadas P Kasbekar

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      The human gene TM7SF2 encodes a polypeptide (SR-1) with high sequence similarity to sterol C-14 reductase, a key sterol biosynthetic enzyme in fungi, plants and mammals. In Neurospora and yeast this enzyme is encoded by the erg-3 and erg24 genes respectively. In an effort to demonstrate sterol C-14 reductase activity for SR-1 we constructed six recombinant genes coding for chimeras of the Neurospora erg-3 and SR-1 protein sequences and tested them for complementation of the Neurospora erg-3 mutant. To our surprise, all the chimeras failed to complement erg-3. A few of the chimeric proteins were also tested against the yeast erg24 mutant, but again there was no complementation. We discuss some reasons that might account for these unexpected findings.

    • DNA synthesis in the imaginal wing discs of the American bollworm Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner)

      A Josephrajkumar B Subrahmanyam

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      The effect of two insect growth regulators of plant origin viz. plumbagin and azadirachtin and the ecdysteroids 20-hydroxyecdysone, makisterone A and a phytoecdysteroid on DNA synthesis in imaginal wing discs of day 4 final instar Helicoverpa armigera larvae was studied. DNA synthesis increased with increase in time of incubation up to 8 h and decreased later without the addition of moulting hormone. Addition of 20-hydroxyecdysone supported long term acquisition of competence for DNA synthesis in the wing discs. Both DNA synthesis and protein content were drastically reduced in plumbagin and azadirachtin-treated insects. Under in vitro conditions, plumbagin had a more pronounced inhibitory effect than azadirachtin. All the ecdysteroids tested, viz. makisterone A, 20-hydroxyecdysone and the ecdysteroidal fraction from the silver fern Cheilanthes farinosa enhanced DNA synthesis.

    • Enthalpy–entropy compensation: a phantom phenomenon

      Athel Cornish-Bowden

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      Enthalpy–entropy compensation is the name given to the correlation sometimes observed between the estimates of the enthalpy and entropy of a reaction obtained from temperature-dependence data. Although the mainly artefactual nature of this correlation has been known for many years, the subject enjoys periodical revivals, in part because of the frequent excellence of the correlation. As with other cases of impossibly good correlation between two biological variables, the explanation is that what purports to be two variables are very largely the same variable looked at in two different ways.

    • Epigenetics of dominance for enzyme activity

      Kuldip S Trehan Kulbir S Gill

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      We have isolated and purified two parental homodimers and a unique heterodimer of acid phosphatase [coded by Acph-11.05(𝐹) and Acph-10.95(𝑆)] from isogenic homozygotes and heterozygotes of Drosophila malerkotliana. 𝐹 and 𝑆 produce qualitatively different allozymes and the two alleles are expressed equally within and across all three genotypes and 𝐹 and 𝑆 play an equal role in the epigenetics of dominance. Subunit interaction in the heterodimer over a wide range of H+ concentrations accounts for the epigenetics of dominance for enzyme activity.

    • Role of HLA antigens in Rh (D) alloimmunized pregnant women from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

      U Shankar Kumar K Ghosh S S Gupte S C Gupte D Mohanty

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      Immunogenetic studies in various diseases provide potential genetic markers. We have studied the incidence of HLA A, B, C, DR and DQ loci antigen in Rh (D) antigen isoimmunized mothers compared to those nonimmunized isoimmunized Rh negative mothers. Seventy six mothers who were immunized to Rh (D) antigen due to pregnancy (responders) and fifty four mothers who did not develop Rh (D) isoimmunization despite positive pregnancies (nonresponders) were selected for the study. Standard methods of serological HLA typing, ABO and Rh (D) groups, and screening for Rh D antibodies were used. 392 unrelated individuals from the population were compared as controls. In addition 45 unrelated individuals from the same population were typed for HLA DRB and DQB gene using PCR-SSP kits. The genotype frequencies of HLA A2, A3, A28, B13, B17, B35, B52, B60, Cw2, Cw6, DR4, and DQ3 were significantly increased, while the frequencies of the HLA A11, A29, A31, B7, B37, B51, Cw1 and DR9 were decreased in the responder women when compared to the non-responder women. HLA A30 (19) split antigen was not identified in immunized women while HLA A23 (9) split antigen was not identified in non immunized women. HLA A3, B17, Cw2 and DR4 showed a significant relative risk among the immunized responder women. When compared with Rh immunized women (responders) reported from USA, England and Hungary the phenotype frequencies of HLA A11, A24, A28, B5, B17, B40, DR2 and DR5 were increased while HLA A23, B8, B18, and DR6 were decreased in the Indian Rh immunized women. Two locus haplotype frequency analysis observed among the responders women revealed that among the significant haplotypes expressed A2–B5, B7–Cw1, DR2–DQ1 were highly significant haplotypes in positive linkage, while A1–B5, and A1–B7 were in significant negative linkage disequilibrium. The haplotype frequencies were ≤ one when these common hapoltypes were compared with control population. Thus in the present study it is evident that the inheritance of HLA A3, B17, Cw2 and DR4 increases the relative risk factor by 2.6 times among Indian Rh isoimmunized women. Further, it is evident that there are significant differences in the observed HLA antigen frequencies and two locus haplotypes in Rh isoimmunized women when compared to women from USA, UK and Hungary due to extreme HLA polymorphism in different populations of the world.

    • Murine model of BCG lung infection: Dynamics of lymphocyte subpopulations in lung interstitium and tracheal lymph nodes

      Rajiv K Saxena David Weissman Janet Simpson Daniel M Lewis

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      C57Bl/6 female mice were infected with an intrapulmonary dose of 2.5 × 104 BCG (Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette-Guerin). Lymphocyte populations in lung interstitium and lung-associated tracheal lymph nodes (LN) were examined at 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 12 weeks after infection. BCG load in lungs peaked between 4–6 weeks post-infection and declined to very low levels by the 12th week of infection. Lung leukocytes were obtained over the course of infection by enzyme digestion of lung tissue followed by centrifugation over Percoll discontinuous density gradients. By 4 to 6 weeks after infection, numbers of lung leukocytes had more than doubled but the proportions of lymphocytes (about 70%), macrophages (about 18%) and granulocytes (about 12%) remained essentially unaltered. Flow cytometric studies indicated:

      1. the total number of CD3+ T cells in lungs increased by 3-fold relative to uninfected controls at 5 to 6 weeks post-infection, but the relative proportions of CD4 and CD8 cells within the T cell compartment remained unaltered;
      2. relative proportion of NK cells in lungs declined by 30% but the total number of NK cells (NK1.1+) per lung increased by about 50%, 5–6 weeks post infection;
      3. tracheal LN underwent marked increase in size and cell recoveries (6–10-fold increase) beginning 4 weeks after infection.

      While both T and B cells contributed to the increase in cell recoveries from infected tracheal LNs, the T/B ratio declined significantly but CD4/CD8 ratio remained unaltered. In control mice, IFN𝛾 producing non-T cells outnumbered T cells producing IFN𝛾. However, as the adaptive response to infection evolves, marked increase occur in the number of IFN𝛾 producing T cells, but not NK cells in the lungs. Thus, T cells are the primary cell type responsible for the adaptive IFN𝛾 response to pulmonary BCG infection. Few T cells in tracheal LN of BCG infected mice produce IFN𝛾, suggesting that maturational changes associated with migration to the lungs or residence in the lungs enhance the capability of some T cells to produce this cytokine.

    • Prenatal detection of aneuploidies using fluorescence in situ hybridization: A preliminary experience in an Indian set up

      Vaidehi Jobanputra Kalol Kumar Roy Kiran Kucheria

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      Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is a powerful molecular cytogenetic technique which allows rapid detection of aneuploidies on interphase cells and metaphase spreads. The aim of the present study was to evaluate FISH as a tool in prenatal diagnosis of aneuploidies in high risk pregnancies in an Indian set up. Prenatal diagnosis was carried out in 88 high-risk pregnancies using FISH and cytogenetic analysis. Multicolour commercially available FISH probes specific for chromosomes 13, 18, 21, X and Y were used. Interphase FISH was done on uncultured cells from chorionic villus and amniotic fluid samples. FISH on metaphase spreads was done from cord blood samples. The results of FISH were in conformity with the results of cytogenetic analysis in all the normal and aneuploid cases except in one case of structural chromosomal abnormality. The hybridization efficiency of the 5 probes used for the detection of aneuploidies was 100%. Using these probes FISH assay yielded discrete differences in the signal profiles between cytogenetically normal and abnormal samples. The overall mean interphase disomic signal patterns of chromosomes 13, 18, 21, X and Y were 94.45%; for interphase trisomic signal pattern of chromosome 21 was 97.3%. Interphase FISH is very useful in urgent high risk cases. The use of FISH overcomes the difficulties of conventional banding on metaphase spreads and reduces the time of reporting. However, with the limited number of probes used, the conventional cytogenetic analysis serves as a gold standard at present. It should be employed as an adjunctive tool to conventional cytogenetics.

    • Origins of gene, genetic code, protein and life: comprehensive view of life systems from a GNC-SNS primitive genetic code hypothesis

      K Ikehara

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      We have investigated the origin of genes, the genetic code, proteins and life using six indices (hydropathy, 𝛼-helix, 𝛽-sheet and 𝛽-turn formabilities, acidic amino acid content and basic amino acid content) necessary for appropriate three-dimensional structure formation of globular proteins. From the analysis of microbial genes, we have concluded that newly-born genes are products of nonstop frames (NSF) on antisense strands of microbial GC-rich genes [GC-NSF(a)] and from SNS repeating sequences [(SNS)n] similar to the GC-NSF(a) (S and N mean G or C and either of four bases, respectively). We have also proposed that the universal genetic code used by most organisms on the earth presently could be derived from a GNC-SNS primitive genetic code. We have further presented the [GADV]-protein world hypothesis of the origin of life as well as a hypothesis of protein production, suggesting that proteins were originally produced by random peptide formation of amino acids restricted in specific amino acid compositions termed as GNC-, SNS- and GC-NSF(a)-0th order structures of proteins. The [GADV]-protein world hypothesis is primarily derived from the GNC-primitive genetic code hypothesis. It is also expected that basic properties of extant genes and proteins could be revealed by considerations based on the scenario with four stages.

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