Volume 27, Issue 5
September 2002, pages 437-551
pp 465-473 Perspectives
pp 475-478 Articles
Kleiber’s law in biology states that the specific metabolic rate (metabolic rate per unit mass) scales as 𝑀-1/4 in terms of the mass 𝑀 of the organism. A long-standing puzzle is the (- 1/4) power in place of the usual expectation of (- 1/3) based on the surface to volume ratio in three-dimensions. While recent papers by physicists have focused exclusively on geometry in attempting to explain the puzzle, we consider here a specific law of physics that governs fluid flow to show how the (- 1/4) power arises under certain conditions. More generally, such a line of approach that identifies a specific physical law as involved and then examines the implications of a power law may illuminate better the role of physics in biology.
pp 479-487 Articles
We have identified the Drosophila homologue of the non-motor accessory subunit of kinesin-II motor complex. It is homologous to the SpKAP115 of the sea urchin, KAP3A and KAP3B of the mouse, and SMAP protein in humans. In situ hybridization using a DmKAP specific cRNA probe has revealed a dynamic pattern of expression in the developing nervous system. The staining first appears in a subset of cells in the embryonic central nervous system at stage 13 and continues till the first instar larva stage. At the third instar larva stage the staining gets restricted to a few cells in the optic lobe and in the ventral ganglion region. It has also stained a subset of sensory neurons from late stage 13 and till the first instar larva stage. The DmKAP expression pattern in the nervous system corresponds well with that of Klp64D and Klp68D as reported earlier. In addition, we have found that the DmKAP gene is constitutively expressed in the germline cells and in follicle cells during oogenesis. These cells are also stained using an antibody to KLP68D protein, but mRNA in situ hybridization using KLP64D specific probe has not stained these cells. Together these results proved a basis for further analysis of tissue specific function of DmKAP in future.
pp 489-494 Articles
Enhancing factor (EF) protein, an isoform of secretory phospholipase A2 (PLA2), was purified as a modulator of epidermal growth factor from the small intestine of the Balb/c mouse. It was for the first time that a growth modulatory property of sPLA2 was demonstrated. Deletion mutation analysis of EF cDNA carried out in our laboratory showed that enhancing activity and phospholipase activity are two separate activities that reside in the same molecule. In order to study the specific amino acids involved in each of these activities, two site-directed mutants of EF were made and expressed in vitro. Comparison of enhancing activity as well as phospholipase A2 activity of these mutant proteins with that of wild type protein helped in identification of some of the residues important for both the activities.
pp 495-502 Articles
A number of factors that are known to influence genetic transformation were evaluated to optimize Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of hypocotyl explants of cauliflower variety Pusa Snowball K-1. The binary vector p35SGUSINT mobilized into Agrobacterium strain GV2260 was used for transformation and transient GUS expression was used as the basis for identifying the most appropriate conditions for transformation. Explant age, preculture period, bacterial strain and density were found to be critical determinants of transformation efficiency. Using the optimized protocol, the synthetic cryIA(b) gene was mobilized into cauliflower. Molecular analyses of transgenics established the integration and expression of the transgene. Insect bioassays indicated the effectiveness of the transgene against infestation by diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) larvae.
pp 503-508 Articles
Visceral leishmaniasis, also known as kala-azar (KA) is generally caused by Leishmania donovani. Organic pentavalent antimonials (SbV) is the first line of treatment for KA. However, the number of KA patients unresponsive to treatment with Sb(V) is steadily increasing in India and elsewhere. The primary objective of this work is to determine the factor(s) associated with the rise of unresponsiveness. Analysis of the clonal population of parasites clearly indicated that wild type parasites isolated from KA patients who were clinically cured after treatment with Sb(V), were a mixture of resistant and sensitive cells. The resistant promastigotes were also resistant as amastigotes in vivo. It was further observed that Stibanate sensitive parasites can be made resistant to the drug by repeated passages in experimental animals followed by incomplete treatment with suboptimal doses of the drug. These results suggest that the steady rise in Sb(V) unresponsiveness of KA patients in India is due to infection with resistant parasites, generated as a result of irregular and often incomplete treatment of the patients.
pp 509-513 Articles
The ultrastructure of the corpuscles of Stannius (CS) of Heteropneustes fossilis reveals a homogenous cellular composition characterized by only one cell type, with large secretory granules and abundant ribosomal endoplasmic reticulum. These cells are comparable to the type 1 cell described in the CS of other teleosts; type 2 cells, whose presence is ubiquitous in the CS of freshwater species are absent in H. fossilis. Our data on the CS of H. fossilis demonstrate that not all freshwater species possess type 2 cells in their CS and these are not essential for life in freshwater.
pp 515-520 Articles
Adaptation to high salinity and low or high temperature is essential for bacteria to survive. Accumulation of exogenous osmolytes is one of the ways that helps bacteria to survive under such extracellular stress. We have analysed the capability of various L-amino acids and their D-isomers to act as osmolytes and thus enable Escherichia coli cells to survive under various stress conditions. E. coli cells were grown in the presence or absence of L- and D-proline, alanine, serine and lysine under salt, heat and cold stresses. Of the various amino acids tested, L-proline, closely followed by L-serine turned out to be highly protective against environmental stresses. L-proline provided excellent protection (95%) against salt stress, followed by cold (60%) and heat (40%) stresses. D-amino acids on the other hand, proved to be highly inhibitory under stress conditions. Thus L-amino acids were found to be growth protectants under stress while their D-isomers were inhibitory during stress as well as normal conditions.
pp 521-528 Articles
Some ecological factors that might potentially influence intestinal parasite loads in the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus Linn.) were investigated in the Nilgiris, southern India. Fresh dung samples from identified animals were analysed, and the number of eggs/g of dung used as an index of parasite load. Comparisons across seasons and habitats revealed that parasite loads were significantly higher during the dry season than the wet season, but were not different between the dry-deciduous and dry-thorn forests in either season. After accounting for the effect of age on body condition, there was no correlation between body condition, assessed visually using morphological criteria, and parasite load in either season. Individuals of different elephant herds were not characterized by distinct parasite communities in either season. When intra-individual variation was examined, samples collected from the same individual within a day differed significantly in egg densities, while the temporal variation over several weeks or months (within a season) was much less. Egg densities within dung piles were uniform, enabling a simpler collection method henceforth.
pp 529-537 Articles
Adult males and females of the seasonally breeding lizard Calotes versicolor were subjected to various social situations under semi-natural conditions to explain the role of socio-sexual factors in gonadal recrudescence. They were grouped as:
Specimens collected from the wild during breeding season served as the control group. Plasma sex steroid levels (testosterone in male and 17𝛽-estradiol in female), spermatogenetic activity and vitellogenesis were the criteria to judge gonadal recrudescence. In intact males and females that were kept together, gonadal recrudescence and plasma sex steroids levels were comparable to those in wild-caught individuals. Gonadal recrudescence was at its least in all male and all female groups, and plasma sex steroids were at basal levels. Association with OvX females initiated testicular recrudescence but spermatogenetic activity progressed only up to the spermatid stage while males separated from females by wire mesh showed spermatogenetic activity for a shorter period. Females grouped with castrated males and those separated from males by wire mesh produced vitellogenic follicles. However, the total number and diameter of vitellogenic follicles, and plasma estradiol levels were lower than in the females grouped with intact males. The findings indicate that association with members of the opposite sex with progressively rising titers of sex steroids is crucial in both initiating and sustaining gonadal recrudescence in the lizard. Thus, members of the opposite sex mutually regulate gonadal recrudescence in the C. versicolor.
pp 539-551 Review
Sleep and wakefulness are instinctive behaviours that are present across the animal species. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is a unique biological phenomenon expressed during sleep. It evolved about 300 million years ago and is noticed in the more evolved animal species. Although it has been objectively identified in its present characteristic form about half a century ago, the mechanics of how REM is generated, and what happens upon its loss are not known. Nevertheless, extensive research has shown that norepinephrine plays a crucial role in its regulation. The present knowledge that has been reviewed in this manuscript suggests that neurons in the brain stem are responsible for controlling this state and presence of excess norepinephrine in the brain does not allow its generation. Furthermore, REM sleep loss increases levels of norepinephrine in the brain that affects several factors including an increase in Na-K ATPase activity. It has been argued that such increased norepinephrine is ultimately responsible for REM sleep deprivation, associated disturbances in at least some of the physiological conditions leading to alteration in behavioural expression and settling into pathological conditions.
Volume 42 | Issue 4