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      Volume 31, Issue 3

      September 2006,   pages  293-435

    • Clipboard: Microbiology of the insect gut: tales from mosquitoes and bees

      Mahesh Dharne Milind Patole Yogesh S Shouche

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    • Commentary: Membrane interfacial localization of aromatic amino acids and membrane protein function

      Devaki A Kelkar Amitabha Chattopadhyay

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    • The mobility principle: How I became a molecular biologist

      François Gros

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    • Living in a physical world VIII. Gravity and life in water

      Steven Vogel

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    • What history tells us VI. The transfer of behaviours by macromolecules

      Michel Morange

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    • Characterization of the Helicoverpa assulta nucleopolyhedrovirus genome and sequence analysis of the polyhedrin gene region

      Soo-Dong Woo Jae Young Choi Yeon Ho Je Byung Rae Jin

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      A local strain of Helicoverpa assulta nucleopolyhedrovirus (HasNPV) was isolated from infected H. assulta larvae in Korea. Restriction endonuclease fragment analysis, using 4 restriction enzymes, estimated that the total genome size of HasNPV is about 138 kb. A degenerate polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primer set for the polyhedrin gene successfully amplified the partial polyhedrin gene of HasNPV. The sequencing results showed that the about 430 bp PCR product was a fragment of the corresponding polyhedrin gene. Using HasNPV partial predicted polyhedrin to probe the Southern blots, we identified the location of the polyhedrin gene within the 6 kb EcoRI, 15 kb NcoI, 20 kb XhoI, 17 kb BglII and 3 kb ClaI fragments, respectively. The 3 kb ClaI fragment was cloned and the nucleotide sequences of the polyhedrin coding region and its flaking regions were determined. Nucleotide sequence analysis indicated the presence of an open reading frame of 735 nucleotides which could encode 245 amino acids with a predicted molecular mass of 29 kDa. The nucleotide sequences within the coding region of HasNPV polyhedrin shared 73.7% identity with the polyhedrin gene from Autographa californica NPV but were most closely related to Helicoverpa and Heliothis species NPVs with over 99% sequence identity.

    • Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of chickpea with 𝛼-amylase inhibitor gene for insect resistance

      S Ignacimuthu S Prakash

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      Chickpea is the world’s third most important pulse crop and India produces 75% of the world’s supply. Chickpea seeds are attacked by Callosobruchus maculatus and C. chinensis which cause extensive damage. The 𝛼-amylase inhibitor gene isolated from Phaseolus vulgaris seeds was introduced into chickpea cultivar K850 through Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. A total of 288 kanamycin resistant plants were regenerated. Only 0.3% of these were true transformants. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis and Southern hybridization confirmed the presence of 4.9 kb 𝛼-amylase inhibitor gene in the transformed plants. Western blot confirmed the presence of 𝛼-amylase inhibitor protein. The results of bioassay study revealed a significant reduction in the survival rate of bruchid weevil C. maculatus reared on transgenic chickpea seeds. All the transgenic plants exhibited a segregation ratio of 3:1.

    • Modulation of glucose uptake in adipose tissue by nitric oxide-generating compounds

      Donovan McGrowder Dalip Ragoobirsingh Paul Brown

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      There is increasing evidence that endogenous nitric oxide (NO) influences adipogenesis, lipolysis and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. We investigated the effect of NO released from S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) and S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine (SNAP) on basal and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in adipocytes of normoglycaemic and streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. GSNO and SNAP at 0.2, 0.5, and 1 mM brought about a concentration-dependent increase in basal and insulin-stimulated 2-deoxyglucose uptake in adipocytes of normoglycaemic and STZ-induced diabetic rats. SNAP at 1.0 mM significantly elevated basal 2-deoxyglucose uptake (115.8 ± 10.4%) compared with GSNO at the same concentration (116.1 ± 9.4%; 𝑃 < 0.05) in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Conversely, SNAP at concentrations of 10 mM and 20 mM significantly decreased basal 2-deoxyglucose uptake by 50.0 ± 4.5% and 61.5 ± 7.2% respectively in adipocytes of STZ-induced diabetic rats (𝑃 < 0.05). GSNO at concentrations of 10 mM and 20 mM also significantly decreased basal 2-deoxyglucose uptake by 50.8 ± 6.4% and 55.2 ± 7.8% respectively in adipocytes of STZ-induced diabetic rats (𝑃 < 0.05). These observations indicate that NO released from GSNO and SNAP at 1 mM or less stimulates basal and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, and at concentrations of 10 mM and 20 mM inhibits basal glucose uptake. The additive effect of GSNO or SNAP, and insulin observed in this study could be due to different mechanisms and warrants further investigation.

    • The effect of some osmolytes on the activity and stability of mushroom tyrosinase

      N Gheibi A A Saboury K Haghbeen A A Moosavi-Movahedi

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      The thermodynamical stability and remained activity of mushroom tyrosinase (MT) from Agaricus bisporus in 10 mM phosphate buffer, pH 6.8, stored at two temperatures of 4 and 40°C were investigated in the presence of three different amino acids (His, Phe and Asp) and also trehalose as osmolytes, for comparing with the results obtained in the absence of any additive. Kinetics of inactivation obeye the first order law. Inactivation rate constant (kinact) value is the best parameter describing effect of osmolytes on kinetic stability of the enzyme. Trehalose and His have the smallest value of kinact (0.7×10–4 s–1) in comparison with their absence (2.5×10–4 s–1). Moreover, to obtain effect of these four osmolytes on thermodynamical stability of the enzyme, protein denaturation by dodecyl trimethylammonium bromide (DTAB) and thermal scanning was investigated. Sigmoidal denaturation curves were analysed according to the two states model of Pace theory to find the Gibbs free energy change of denaturation process in aqueous solution at room temperature, as a very good thermodynamic criterion indicating stability of the protein. Although His, Phe and Asp induced constriction of MT tertiary structure, its secondary structure had not any change and the result was a chemical and thermal stabilization of MT. The enzyme shows a proper coincidence of thermodyanamic and structural changes with the presence of trehalose. Thus, among the four osmolytes, trehalose is an exceptional protein stabilizer.

    • Aujeszky's disease virus production in disposable bioreactor

      I Slivac V Gaurina Srček K Radošević I Kmetič Z Kniewald

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      A novel, disposable-bag bioreactor system that uses wave action for mixing and transferring oxygen was evaluated for BHK 21 C13 cell line growth and Aujeszky’s disease virus (ADV) production. Growth kinetics of BHK 21 C13 cells in the wave bioreactor during 3-day period were determined. At the end of the 3-day culture period and cell density of 1.82 × 106 cells ml–1, the reactor was inoculated with 9 ml of gE- Bartha K-61 strain ADV suspension (105.9 TCID50) with multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 0.01. After a 144 h incubation period, 400 ml of ADV harvest was obtained with titre of 107.0 TCID50 ml–1, which corresponds to 40,000 doses of vaccine against AD. In conclusion, the results obtained with the wave bioreactor using BHK 21 C13 cells showed that this system can be considered as suitable for ADV or BHK 21 C13 cell biomass production.

    • Dominance hierarchy and social grooming in female lion-tailed macaques (Macaca silenus) in the Western Ghats, India

      Mridula Singh B A Krishna Mewa Singh

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      This article reports the structure of dominance and its relationship with social grooming in wild lion-tailed macaque females. The strength of dominance hierarchy was 0.79 on a scale of 0 to 1 indicating a moderate linearity in the ranking system. Dominance scores were converted into an ordinal as well as an interval scale. Grooming scores were also converted into interval scales using standard scores. Grooming received and grooming given correlated positively and negatively respectively with dominance ranks indicating that high ranking females received more and gave less grooming. Grooming was also positively related to encounter rates for dyads of females. More grooming among adjacent ranks, and grooming being more reciprocal, occurred only in the case of dominant females. The grooming patterns, therefore, appeared to be more of despotic than egalitarian nature. While ranking macaques into different Grades of social systems ranging from despotic to egalitarian, Thierry (2004) has placed lion-tailed macaques in Grade 3 corresponding to the ‘relaxed’ social system. Our results indicate that the grooming and dominance relationships in this species are more despotic, and hence, the Grade for this species requires to be shifted toward 2 or 1.

    • The sperm of Hylodinae species (Anura, Leptodactylidae): Ultrastructural characteristics and their relevance to interspecific taxonomic relationships

      O Aguiar-Jr A A Giaretta S M Recco-Pimentel

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      Hylodinae leptodactylids (sensu Lynch 1971) form a group of diurnal frogs, which is hypothesized on the basis of morphological traits to be the closest relatives of the dendrobatid frogs. Our study describes ultrastructural characteristics of sperm from three hylodine species (Hylodes phyllodes, Crossodactylus sp. n. and Megaelosia massarti) to reassess the intergeneric relationships within the Hylodinae, as well as the supposed relationship between the Hylodinae and Dendrobatidae. The ultrastructure of the sperm is very similar among the three species and is indicative of its conserved nature within the Hylodinae. The structure of the acrosomal complex was very similar to that of other leptodactylid species, to most of the remaining species included in the Bufonoidea lineage, and also to that observed in the dendrobatid species examined so far. Since such a structure has been considered a plesiomorphic trait, it contributes little to our understanding of the relationships between the Hylodinae and Dendrobatidae. The flagellar apparatus of Crossodactylus sp. n. is very similar to that of most leptodactylids. The sperm of Megaelosia massarti and Hylodes phyllodes display a distinctive condition in their axial and juxtaxonemal fibers. This distinctive flagellar condition expands the already known variability in sperm structure within the Leptodactylidae.

    • The reactive oxygen species network pathways: an essential prerequisite for perception of pathogen attack and the acquired disease resistance in plants

      Simeon O Kotchoni Emma W Gachomo

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      Availability of complete Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and rice (Oryza sativa) genome sequences, together with molecular recourses of functional genomics and proteomics have revolutionized our understanding of reactive oxygen species (ROS) signalling network mediating disease resistance in plants. So far, ROS have been associated with aging, cellular and molecular alteration in animal and plant cells. Recently, concluding evidences suggest that ROS network is essential to induce disease resistance and even to mediate resistance to multiple stresses in plants. ROS are obligatory by-products emerging as a result of normal metabolic reactions. They have the potential to be both beneficial and harmful to cellular metabolism. Their dual effects on metabolic reactions are dosage specific. In this review we focus our attention on cellular ROS level to trigger beneficial effects on plant cells responding to pathogen attack. By exploring the research related contributions coupled with data of targeted gene disruption, and RNA interference approaches, we show here that ROS are ubiquitous molecules of redox-pathways that play a crucial role in plant defence mechanism. The molecular prerequisites of ROS network to activate plant defence system in response to pathogen infections are here underlined. Bioinformatic tools are now available to scientists for high throughput analysis of cellular metabolisms. These tools are used to illustrate crucial ROS-related genes that are involved in the defence mechanism of plants. The review describes also the emerging findings of ROS network pathways to modulate multiple stress resistance in plants.

    • Laminopathies: Multiple disorders arising from defects in nuclear architecture

      Veena K Parnaik Kaliyaperumal Manju

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      Lamins are the major structural proteins of the nucleus in an animal cell. In addition to being essential for nuclear integrity and assembly, lamins are involved in the organization of nuclear processes such as DNA replication, transcription and repair. Mutations in the human lamin A gene lead to highly debilitating genetic disorders that primarily affect muscle, adipose, bone or neuronal tissues and also cause premature ageing syndromes. Mutant lamins alter nuclear integrity and hinder signalling pathways involved in muscle differentiation and adipocyte differentiation, suggesting tissue-specific roles for lamins. Furthermore, cells expressing mutant lamins are impaired in their response to DNA damaging agents. Recent reports indicate that certain lamin mutations act in a dominant negative manner to cause nuclear defects and cellular toxicity, and suggest a possible role for aberrant lamins in normal ageing processes.

    • Cyclic AMP response element binding protein and brain-derived neurotrophic factor: Molecules that modulate our mood?

      A Nair V A Vaidya

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      Depression is the major psychiatric ailment of our times, afflicting ∼20% of the population. Despite its prevalence, the pathophysiology of this complex disorder is not well understood. In addition, although antidepressants have been in existence for the past several decades, the mechanisms that underlie their therapeutic effects remain elusive. Building evidence implicates a role for the plasticity of specific neuro-circuitry in both the pathophysiology and treatment of depression. Damage to limbic regions is thought to contribute to the etiology of depression and antidepressants have been reported to reverse such damage and promote adaptive plasticity. The molecular pathways that contribute to the damage associated with depression and antidepressant-mediated plasticity are a major focus of scientific enquiry. The transcription factor cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB) and the neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are targets of diverse classes of antidepressants and are known to be regulated in animal models and in patients suffering from depression. Given their role in neuronal plasticity, CREB and BDNF have emerged as molecules that may play an important role in modulating mood. The purpose of this review is to discuss the role of CREB and BDNF in depression and as targets/mediators of antidepressant action.

    • Pleurotus sajor-caju HSP100 complements a thermotolerance defect in hsp104 mutant Saccharomyces cerevisiae

      Jin-Ohk Lee Mi-Jeong Jeong Tack-Ryun Kwon Seung-Kon Lee Myung-Ok Byun Ill-Min Chung Soo-Chul Park

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      A putative Hsp100 gene was cloned from the fungus Pleurotus sajor-caju. mRNA expression studies demonstrated that this gene (designated PsHsp100) is highly induced by high temperature, induced less strongly by exposure to ethanol, and not induced by drought or salinity. Heat shock induction is detectable at 37°C and reaches a maximum level at 42°C. PsHsp100 mRNAlevels sharply increased within 15 min of exposure to high temperature, and reached a maximum expression level at 2 h that was maintained for several hours. These results indicate that PsHsp100 could work at an early step in thermotolerance. To examine its function, PsHsp100 was transformed into a temperature-sensitive hsp104 deletion mutant Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain to test the hypothesis that PsHSP100 is an protein that functions in thermotolerance. Overexpression of PsHSP100 complemented the thermotolerance defect of the hsp104 mutant yeast, allowing them survive even at 50°C for 4 h. These results indicate that PsHSP100 protein is functional as an HSP100 in yeast and could play an important role in thermotolerance in P. sajor-caju.

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