• Volume 30, Issue 2

      March 2005,   pages  143-287

    • Clipboard: Springing the trap

      M S Bobji

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    • Commentary: Ion channels and D-amino acids

      Amitabha Chattopadhyay Devaki A Kelkar

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    • Commentary: The economics of biotechnology

      Mathias Külpmann

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    • Perspectives: From mice to men: the evolution of the large, complex human brain

      Jon H Kaas

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    • Living in a physical world II. The bio-ballistics of small projectiles

      Steven Vogel

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    • Ultraviolet irradiation initiates ectopic foot formation in regenerating hydra and promotes budding

      Saroj S Ghaskadbi Leena Shetye Shashi Chiplonkar Surendra Ghaskadbi

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      We have studied the effects of ultraviolet-C (UVC) and Ultraviolet-B (UVB) on growth and pattern formation in Pelmatohydra oligactis. UVC brings about a significant increase in budding in intact hydra while UVB does not exhibit such an effect. Excessive budding could be a response for survival at wavelengths that damage biological tissues. If the head or base piece of a bisected hydra is irradiated and recombined with the unirradiated missing part, regeneration proceeds normally indicating that exposure of a body part with either an intact head or foot to UVC does not influence pattern formation. Most significantly, in the middle piece, but not in the head or the base piece of a trisected hydra, UVC leads to initiation of ectopic feet formation in almost one third of the cases. Thus, UV irradiation interferes with pattern formation in regenerating hydra, possibly by changing positional values, and promotes budding in intact hydra. This is the first report on induction of ectopic feet formation by UV in regenerating hydra and opens up the possibility of using UV irradiation as a tool to understand pattern formation in the enigmatic hydra.

    • In vitro translation of RNA to lactase during postnatal development of rat intestine

      Jaspreet Kaur Kamaljit Kaur Akhtar Mahmood Safrun Mahmood

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      mRNA levels encoding lactase were detected by Northern blot analysis using two different probes in developing rat intestine. Probe I and probe II corresponding to second half of prolactase gene showed a 6.8 kb mRNA transcript in 7, 14, 21 and 30 day old rat intestine. There was no change in quantity of lactase mRNA detected using probe II, but hybridization with probe I showed a progressive decrease in mRNA transcript encoding lactase with age. At day 7 and 14 of postnatal development, the lactase mRNA was quite high, but it reduced upon weaning. The in vitro translation products of RNA detected by Western blot analysis using brush border lactase antibodies showed several isoforms of lactase antigen with molecular weight ranging from 100–220 kDa. Analysed at days 7 and 30 of postnatal development, lactase isoforms of molecular weight 130 kDa and 220 kDa were similar to those found in purified brush border membranes. The translation of RNA to 220 kDa lactase protein was high in 7 and 14 day old pups, but it was markedly reduced in 30 day old animals. These findings support the contention that translation of mRNA to lactase is impaired in weaned animals, which may also be responsible for the maturational decline in lactase activity in adult rat intestine.

    • Tissue localization and partial characterization of pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide in Achaea janata

      V S Ajitha D Muraleedharan

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      Female sex pheromone production in certain moth species have been shown to be regulated by a cephalic endocrine peptidic factor: pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide (PBAN), having 33 amino acid residues. Antisera against synthetic Heliothis zea-PBAN were developed. Using these polyclonals, immunoreactivity was mapped in the nervous system of Achaea janata. Three distinct groups of immunopositive secretory neurons were identified in the suboesophageal ganglion; and immunoreactivity was observed in the corpora cardiaca, thoracic and in the abdominal ganglia. From about 6000 brain sub-oesophageal ganglion complexes, the neuropeptide was isolated; and purified sequentially by Sep-pak and reversed phase high performance liquid chromatographic methods. Identity of purified PBAN fraction was confirmed with polyclonal antibody by immunoblotting. Molecular mass of the isolated peptide was determined by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry, and was found to be 3900 Da, same as that of known H. zea-PBAN. Radiochemical bioassay confirmed the pheromonotropic effect of the isolated neuropeptide in this insect.

    • A non-polyene antifungal antibiotic from Streptomyces albidoflavus PU 23

      S K Augustine S P Bhavsar B P Kapadnis

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      In all 312 actinomycete strains were isolated from water and soil samples from different regions. All these isolates were purified and screened for their antifungal activity against pathogenic fungi. Out of these, 22% of the isolates exhibited activity against fungi. One promising strain, Streptomyces albidoflavus PU 23 with strong antifungal activity against pathogenic fungi was selected for further studies. Antibiotic was extracted and purified from the isolate. Aspergillus spp. was most sensitive to the antibiotic followed by other molds and yeasts. The antibiotic was stable at different temperatures and pH tested and there was no significant loss of the antifungal activity after treatment with various detergents and enzymes. Synergistic effect was observed when the antibiotic was used in combination with hamycin. The antibiotic was fairly stable for a period of 12 months at 4°C. The mode of action of the antibiotic seems to be by binding to the ergosterol present in the fungal cell membrane resulting in the leakage of intracellular material and eventually death of the cell. The structure of the antibiotic was determined by elemental analysis and by ultraviolet (UV), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and liquid chromatography mass spectra (LCMS). The antibiotic was found to be a straight chain polyhydroxy, polyether, non-proteinic compound with a single double bond, indicating a nonpolyene antifungal antibiotic.

    • cDNA cloning and characterization of a mannose-binding lectin from Zingiber officinale Roscoe (ginger) rhizomes

      Zhonghai Chen Guoyin Kai Xiaojun Liu Juan Lin Xiaofen Sun Kexuan Tang

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      Using RNA extracted from Zingiber officinale rhizomes and primers designed according to the conservative regions of monocot mannose-binding lectins, the full-length cDNA of Z. officinale agglutinin (ZOA) was cloned by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE). The full-length cDNA of zoa was 746 bp and contained a 510 bp open reading frame (ORF) encoding a lectin precursor of 169 amino acids with a signal peptide. ZOA was a mannose-binding lectin with three typical mannose-binding sites (QDNY). Semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed that zoa expressed in all the tested tissues of Z. officinale including leaf, root and rhizome, suggesting it to be a constitutively expressing form. ZOA protein was successfully expressed in Escherichia coli with the molecular weight expected. To our knowledge, this is the first mannose-binding lectin cDNA cloned from the family Zingiberaceae. Our results demonstrate that monocot mannose-binding lectins also occur within the family Zingiberaceae.

    • Efficacy of lower doses of vanadium in restoring altered glucose metabolism and antioxidant status in diabetic rat lenses

      Anju Preet Bihari L Gupta Gupta Pramod K Yadava Najma Z Baquer

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      Vanadium compounds are potent in controlling elevated blood glucose levels in experimentally induced diabetes. However the toxicity associated with vanadium limits its role as therapeutic agent for diabetic treatment. A vanadium compound sodium orthovanadate (SOV) was given to alloxan-induced diabetic Wistar rats in lower doses in combination with Trigonella foenum graecum, a well-known hypoglycemic agent used in traditional Indian medicines. The effect of this combination was studied on lens morphology and glucose metabolism in diabetic rats. Lens, an insulin-independent tissue, was found severely affected in diabetes showing visual signs of cataract. Alterations in the activities of glucose metabolizing enzymes (hexokinase, aldose reductase, sorbitol dehydrogenase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) and antioxidant enzymes (glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase) besides the levels of related metabolites, [sorbitol, fructose, glucose, thiobarbituric acid reactive species (TBARS) and reduced glutathione (GSH)] were observed in the lenses from diabetic rats and diabetic rats treated with insulin (2 IU/day), SOV (0.6 mg/ml), T. f. graecum seed powder (TSP, 5%) and TSP (5%) in combination with lowered dose of vanadium SOV (0.2 mg/ml), for a period of 3 weeks. The activity of the enzymes, hexokinase, aldose reductase and sorbitol dehydrogenase was significantly increased whereas the activity of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase decreased significantly in lenses from 3 week diabetic rats. Significant increase in accumulation of metabolites, sorbitol, fructose, glucose was found in diabetic lenses. TBARS measure of peroxidation increased whereas the levels of antioxidant GSH decreased significantly in diabetic condition. Insulin restored the levels of altered enzyme activities and metabolites almost to control levels. Sodium orthovanadate (0.6 mg/ml) and Trigonella administered separately to diabetic animals could partially reverse the diabetic changes, metabolic and morphological, while vanadate in lowered dose in combination with Trigonella was found to be the most effective in restoring the altered lens metabolism and morphological appearance in diabetes. It may be concluded that vanadate at lowered doses administered in combination with Trigonella was the most effective in controlling the altered glucose metabolism and antioxidant status in diabetic lenses, these being significant factors involved in the development of diabetic complications, that reflects in the reduced lens opacity.

    • Differential display-mediated identification of three drought-responsive expressed sequence tags in tea [Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze]

      Priti Sharma Sanjay Kumar

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      There is no information on drought-modulated gene(s) in tea [Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze], a woody and perennial plant of commercial importance. Using differential display of mRNA, three drought-modulated expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were identified. Northern and BLAST analysis revealed that clone dr1 (droughtresponsive), induced only by drought but not by ABA, showed significant scores with PR-5 (pathogenesis related) family of PR-protein gene. Another clone dr2, repressed by drought but not by ABA, had nucleotide repeats for polyasparate that are also present in chicken calsequestrin-like mRNA. Clone dr3, responded similarly to clone dr2 but did not show significant homology with the reported genes, hence appears to be novel. Identification of these ESTs is an initial step to clone the full length genes and their promoters.

    • Differential cytotoxic effects of Annona squamosa seed extracts on human tumour cell lines: Role of reactive oxygen species and glutathione

      B V V Pardhasaradhi Madhurima Reddy A Mubarak Ali A Leela Kumari Ashok Khar

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      Annonaceous acetogenins are a new class of compounds that have been reported to have potent pesticidal, parasiticidal, anti-microbial, cell growth inhibitory activities. In this study, organic and aqueous extracts from the defatted seeds of Annona squamosa (custard apple) were tested on different human tumour cell lines for antitumoural activity. While organic and aqueous extracts induced apoptosis in MCF-7 and K-562 cells, they failed to do so in COLO-205 cells. Treatment of MCF-7 and K-562 cells with organic and aqueous extracts resulted in nuclear condensation, DNA fragmentation, induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and reduced intracellular glutathione levels. In addition downregulation of Bcl-2 and PS externalization by Annexin-V staining suggested induction of apoptosis in MCF-7 and K-562 cells by both the extracts through oxidative stress. On the contrary, COLO-205 cells showed only PS externalization but no change in ROS and glutathione levels. These observations suggest that the induction of apoptosis by A. squamosa extracts can be selective for certain types of cancerous cells.

    • Liver and kidney toxicity in chronic use of opioids: An experimental long term treatment model

      Sebnem Atici Ismail Cinel Leyla Cinel Nurcan Doruk Gulcin Eskandari Ugur Oral

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      In this study, histopathological and biochemical changes due to chronic usage of morphine or tramadol in liver and kidney were assessed in rats. Thirty male Wistar rats (180–220 g) were included and divided into three groups. Normal saline (1 ml) was given intraperitoneally as placebo in the control group (𝑛 = 10). Morphine group (𝑛 = 10) received morphine intraperitoneally at a dose of 4, 8, 10 mg/kg/day in the first, second and the third ten days of the study, respectively. Tramadol group (𝑛 = 10), received the drug intraperitoneally at doses of 20, 40 and 80 mg/kg/day in the first, second and the third ten days of the study, respectively. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), creatinin, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels were measured in the serum. Liver and kidney specimens were evaluated by light microscopy. Serum ALT, AST, LDH, BUN and creatinin levels were significantly higher in morphine group compared to the control group. Serum LDH, BUN and creatinin levels were significantly increased in the morphine group compared to the tramadol group. The mean MDA level was significantly higher in morphine group compared to the tramadol and control groups (𝑃 < 0.05). Light microscopy revealed severe centrolobular congestion and focal necrosis in the liver of morphine and tramadol groups, but perivenular necrosis was present only in the morphine group. The main histopathologic finding was vacuolization in tubular cells in morphine and tramadol groups. Our findings pointed out the risk of increased lipid peroxidation, hepatic and renal damage due to long term use of opioids, especially morphine. Although opioids are reported to be effective in pain management, their toxic effects should be kept in mind during chronic usage.

    • Fingernails as biological indices of metal exposure

      Rita Mehra Meenu Juneja

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      Metal determination in human tissues is the most common application of biological monitoring for screening, diagnosis and assessment of metal exposures and their risks. Various biopsy-materials may be used. This paper deals with the quantitative determination of Cd, Pb, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, and Zn concentrations in nails of male subjects exposed to these metals alongwith their respective controls, while working in locomotive, carriage and roadways workshops, and lead battery factories. The levels of Cd, Pb, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu and Zn in fingernails, assayed by atomic absorption spectrophotometry, were compared with their respective controls by student ‘𝑡’ test. All the obtained values were correlated to the personal and medical history of the subjects under study. Significantly high levels of Cd, Pb, Cr, Fe, Ni, Cu and Zn were present in smokers, compared to nonsmokers. The concentrations of Cd, Pb, Cr, Mn and Fe were not significantly high in vegetarian subjects. It was also observed that there is no contribution of liquor towards nail-metal concentration. Significant correlations were observed between skin disease and Cr, Mn, Fe, Cu; hypertension and Cd, Mn, Cu; mental stress and Cd, Pb, Mn, Ni, Cu, Zn; diabetes and Cr, Mn, Ni; chest pain and Pb; respiratory trouble and Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Zn; tuberculosis and Zn; acidity and Cd; and ophthalmic problems and Mn, Fe, Ni, and Zn.

    • Crystal structure of raw pure Mysore silk fibre based on (Ala-Gly)2-Ser-Gly peptide sequence using Linked-Atom-Least-Squares method

      Sangappa S S Mahesh R Somashekar

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      We have carried out crystal structure analysis of raw pure Mysore silk fibers belonging to Bombyx mori on the basis of model parameters of Marsh et al using Linked-Atom-Least-Squares technique. The intensity of all the reflections were computed employing CCP13 software. We observe that the molecular modification is essentially same as 𝛽-pleated structure with antipolar-antiparallel arrangements formed by hydrogen bonds. The essential differences observed in the structure are highlighted and discussed.

    • Shock wave treatment in medicine

      S K Shrivastava Kailash

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      Extracorporeal shock wave therapy in orthopedics and traumatology is still a young therapy method. Since the last few years the development of shock wave therapy has progressed rapidly. Shock waves have changed the treatment of urolithiasis substantially. Today shock waves are the first choice to treat kidney and urethral stones. Urology has long been the only medical field for shock waves in medicine. Meanwhile shock waves have been used in orthopedics and traumatology to treat insertion tendinitis, avascular necrosis of the head of femur and other necrotic bone alterations. Another field of shock wave application is the treatment of tendons, ligaments and bones on horses in veterinary medicine. In the present paper we discuss the basic theory and application of shock waves and its history in medicine. The idea behind using shock wave therapy for orthopedic diseases is the stimulation of healing in tendons, surrounding tissue and bones. This is a completely different approach compared to urology where shock waves are used for disintegration.

    • Evolutionary ecology in silico: Does mathematical modelling help in understanding `generic' trends?

      Debashish Chowdhury Dietrich Stauffer

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      Motivated by the results of recent laboratory experiments, as well as many earlier field observations, that evolutionary changes can take place in ecosystems over relatively short ecological time scales, several ‘unified’ mathematical models of evolutionary ecology have been developed over the last few years with the aim of describing the statistical properties of data related to the evolution of ecosystems. Moreover, because of the availability of sufficiently fast computers, it has become possible to carry out detailed computer simulations of these models. For the sake of completeness and to put these recent developments in perspective, we begin with a brief summary of some older models of ecological phenomena and evolutionary processes. However, the main aim of this article is to review critically these ‘unified’ models, particularly those published in the physics literature, in simple language that makes the new theories accessible to a wider audience.

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