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      Volume 31, Issue 5

      December 2006,   pages  497-695

    • Clipboard: Putting T cells to sleep: a new paradigm for immune evasion by persistent viruses

      Shweta Dubey Shahid Jameel

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    • Clipboard: Pictures at an exhibition: Bees view Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

      Renee M Borges

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    • Clipboard: Leishmanial proteins can correct human mitochondrial mutations

      Anuradha Lohia

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    • Commentary: Ethics, animals and the nonhuman great apes

      Paola Cavalieri

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    • Adventures in physiology: The times and life of Autar S Paintal (1925–2004)

      Ashima Anand

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    • Living in a physical world IX. Making and maintaining liquid water

      Steven Vogel

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    • What history tells us VII. Twenty-five years ago: the production of mouse embryonic stem cells

      Michel Morange

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    • Cortical activation during finger tapping in thyroid dysfunction: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study

      S Khushu S Senthil Kumaran T Sekhri R P Tripathi P C Jain V Jain

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      Thyroid dysfunction is associated with attention deficit and impairment of the motor system (muscle weakness and fatigue). This paper investigates possible motor function deficit in thyroid patients, compared to the controls. Functional MRI studies (fMRI) were carried out in five hypo and five hyperthyroid patients and six healthy volunteers. Whole brain imaging was performed using echo planar imaging (EPI) technique, on a 1.5T whole body MR system (Siemens Magnetom Vision). The task paradigm consisted of 8 cycles of active and reference phases of 6 measurements each, with right index finger tapping at a rate of 120 taps/min. Post-processing was performed using statistical parametric mapping on a voxel-by-voxel basis using SPM99. Clusters of activation were found in the contralateral hemisphere in primary somatomotor area (M1), supplementary motor area (SMA), somatosensory, auditory receptive and integration areas, inferior temporal lobe, thalamus and cerebellum. Increased clusters of activation were observed in M1 in thyroid subjects as compared to controls and with bilateral activation of the primary motor cortex in two hyperthyroid patients. The results are explained in terms of increased functional demands in thyroid patients compared to volunteers for the execution of the same task.

    • Dynamic light scattering study of peanut agglutinin: Size, shape and urea denaturation

      Sagarika Dev Avadhesha Surolia

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      Peanut agglutinin (PNA) is a homotetrameric protein with a unique open quaternary structure. PNA shows non-two state profile in chaotrope induced denaturation. It passes through a monomeric molten globule like state before complete denaturation (Reddy et al 1999). This denaturation profile is associated with the change in hydrodynamic radius of the native protein. Though the molten globule-like state is monomeric in nature it expands in size due to partial denaturation. The size and shape of the native PNA as well as the change in hydrodynamic radius of the protein during denaturation has been studied by dynamic light scattering (DLS). The generation of two species is evident from the profile of hydrodynamic radii. This study also reveals the extent of compactness of the intermediate state.

    • Translesion DNA polymerases Pol 𝜁, Pol 𝜂, Pol 𝜄, Pol 𝜅 and Rev1 are not essential for repeat-induced point mutation in Neurospora crassa

      Ranjan Tamuli C Ravindran Durgadas P Kasbekar

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      Pol 𝜁, Pol 𝜂, Pol 𝜄, Pol 𝜅 and Rev1 are specialized DNA polymerases that are able to synthesize DNA across a damaged template. DNA synthesis by such translesion polymerases can be mutagenic due to the miscoding nature of most damaged nucleotides. In fact, many mutational and hypermutational processes in systems ranging from yeast to mammals have been traced to the activity of such polymerases. We show however, that the translesion polymerases are dispensable for repeat-induced point mutation (RIP) in Neurospora crassa. Additionally, we demonstrate that the upr-1 gene, which encodes the catalytic subunit of Pol 𝜁, is a highly polymorphic locus in Neurospora.

    • Microarray analysis of adipose tissue gene expression profiles between two chicken breeds

      Hongbao Wang Hui Li Qigui Wang Yuxiang Wang Huabin Han Hui Shi

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      The chicken is an important model organism that bridges the evolutionary gap between mammals and other vertebrates and provides a major protein source from meat and eggs throughout the world. Excessive accumulation of lipids in the adipose tissue is one of the main problems faced by the broiler industry nowadays. In order to visualize the mechanisms involved in the gene expression and regulation of lipid metabolism in adipose tissue, cDNA microarray containing 9 024 cDNA was used to construct gene expression profile and screen differentially expressed genes in adipose tissue between broilers and layers of 10 wk of age. Sixty-seven differentially expressed sequences were screened out, and 42 genes were found when blasted with the GenBank database. These genes are mainly related to lipid metabolism, energy metabolism, transcription and splicing factor, protein synthesis and degradation. The remained 25 sequences had no annotation available in the GenBank database. Furthermore, Northern blot and semi-quantitative RT-PCR were developed to confirm 4 differentially expressed genes screened by cDNA microarray, and it showed great consistency between the microarray data and Northern blot results or semi-quantitative RT-PCR results. The present study will be helpful for clarifying the molecular mechanism of obesity in chickens.

    • Vitamin C improves basal metabolic rate and lipid profile in alloxan-induced diabetes mellitus in rats

      D U Owu A B Antai K H Udofia A O Obembe K O Obasi M U Eteng

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      Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a multi-factorial disease which is characterized by hyperglycaemia, lipoprotein abnormalities and oxidative stress. This study evaluated effect of oral vitamin C administration on basal metabolic rate and lipid profile of alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Vitamin C was administered at 200 mg/kg body wt. by gavage for four weeks to diabetic rats after which the resting metabolic rate and plasma lipid profile was determined. The results showed that vitamin C administration significantly (𝑃 < 0.01) reduced the resting metabolic rate in diabetic rats; and also lowered plasma triglyceride, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. These results suggest that the administration of vitamin C in this model of established diabetes mellitus might be beneficial for the restoration of basal metabolic rate and improvement of lipid profile. This may at least in part reduce the risk of cardiovascular events seen in diabetes mellitus.

    • Effect of a novel insulinotropic agent, succinic acid monoethyl ester, on lipids and lipoproteins levels in rats with streptozotocin-nicotinamideinduced type 2 diabetes

      Ramalingam Saravanan Leelavinothan Pari

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      In the present study, the effect of succinic acid monoethyl ester (EMS) on the pattern of lipids and lipoproteins in streptozotocin-nicotinamide induced type 2 diabetes was investigated. Type 2 diabetes was induced in male Wistar rats by single intraperitoneal injection (i.p.) of 45 mg/kg streptozotocin, 15 min after the i.p administration of 110 mg/kg body weight of nicotinamide. The carboxylic nutrient EMS was administered intraperitonially at a dose of 8 𝜇mol/g body weight for 30 days. At the end of experimental period, the effect of EMS on plasma glucose, insulin, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and hydroperoxide (HP) and serum triglycerides (TG), phospholipids (PL), free fatty acids (FFA), total cholesterol (TC), very low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (VLDL-C) and low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) and the percentage of antiatherogenic index (AAI) (ratio of HDL-C to total cholesterol) were studied. Administration of EMS to diabetic rats resulted in a significant reduction in the elevated levels of plasma glucose, TBARS and hydroperoxides as well as TG, PL, FFA, TC, VLDL-C and LDC-C levels. The decreased plasma insulin and serum HDL-C and percentage of AAI in diabetic rats were also reversed towards near normal. The effect produced by EMS was compared with metformin, a reference drug. The results indicates that the administration of EMS and metformin to nicotinamide-streptozotocin diabetic rats normalized plasma glucose, insulin concentrations and caused marked improvement in altered lipids, lipoprotein and lipid peroxidation markers during diabetes. Our results show the antihyperlipidemic properties of EMS and metformin in addition to its antidiabetic action. Moreover, the antihyperlipidemic effect could represent a protective mechanism against the development of atherosclerosis.

    • Cell volume regulation in the perfused liver of a freshwater air-breathing catfish Clarias batrachus under aniso-osmotic conditions: Roles of inorganic ions and taurine

      Carina Goswami Nirmalendu Saha

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      The roles of various inorganic ions and taurine, an organic osmolyte, in cell volume regulation were investigated in the perfused liver of a freshwater air-breathing catfish Clarias batrachus under aniso-osmotic conditions. There was a transient increase and decrease of liver cell volume following hypotonic (–80 mOsmol/l) and hypertonic (+80 mOsmol/l) exposures, respectively, which gradually decreased/increased near to the control level due to release/uptake of water within a period of 25–30 min. Liver volume decrease was accompanied by enhanced efflux of K+ (9.45 ± 0.54 𝜇mol/g liver) due to activation of Ba2+- and quinidine-sensitive K+ channel, and to a lesser extent due to enhanced efflux of Cl¯ (4.35 ± 0.25 𝜇mol/g liver) and Na+ (3.68 ± 0.37 𝜇mol/g liver). Conversely, upon hypertonic exposure, there was amiloride- and ouabain-sensitive uptake of K+ (9.78 ± 0.65 𝜇mol/g liver), and also Cl¯ (3.72 ± 0.25 𝜇mol/g liver). The alkalization/acidification of the liver effluents under hypo-/hypertonicity was mainly due to movement of various ions during volume regulatory processes. Taurine, an important organic osmolyte, appears also to play a very important role in hepatocyte cell volume regulation in the walking catfish as evidenced by the fact that hypo- and hyper-osmolarity caused transient efflux (5.68 ± 0.38 𝜇mol/g liver) and uptake (6.38 ± 0.45 𝜇mol/g liver) of taurine, respectively. The taurine efflux was sensitive to 4,4′-di-isothiocyanatostilbene-2,2′-disulphonic acid (DIDS, an anion channel blocker), but the uptake was insensitive to DIDS, thus indicating that the release and uptake of taurine during volume regulatory processes are unidirectional. Although the liver of walking catfish possesses the RVD and RVI mechanisms, it is to be noted that liver cells remain partly swollen and shrunken during anisotonic exposures, thereby possibly causing various volume-sensitive metabolic changes in the liver as reported earlier.

    • Potential application of urea-derived herbicides as cytokinins in plant tissue culture

      Malathi Srinivasan Vasanthi Nachiappan Ram Rajasekharan

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      Various urea-derived herbicides and different cytokinin analogues were used to determine their effects on callusing response and shoot regenerating capacity of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) and Coleus (Coleus forskohlii Briq.). The herbicides monuron and diuron evoked profuse callusing response from Coleus leaf segments and alfalfa petiole explants on Murashige and Skoog medium. Shoot regeneration by monuron (2.0 mg/l) showed a maximum of 3 multiple shoots both in alfalfa and Coleus with a frequency of 92% and 75%, respectively. Whereas diuron (0.5 mg/l) showed a high frequency of shoot regeneration (89%) with a mean number of 5 shoots in alfalfa, in C. forskohlii, the frequency of regeneration was 90% with a mean number of 6 shoots. Diuron with two chloride groups in the phenyl ring showed significantly higher cytokinin-like activity than single chloride substitution monuron. This study demonstrates the potential use of monuron and diuron as cytokinins in plant tissue culture.

    • Influence of jasmonic acid as potential activator of induced resistance against Karnal bunt in developing spikes of wheat

      Mihir K Mandal Dinesh Pandey Shalini Purwar U S Singh Anil Kumar

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      Induction of defense response against Karnal bunt (KB) by suppressing the pathogenesis was observed upon exogenous application of jasmonic acid (JA) as evident from decrease in the coefficient of infection and overall response value in both susceptible and resistant varieties of wheat. The ultra-structural changes during disease progression showed the signs of programmed cell death (PCD). However, JA strengthened the defense barrier by enhancing the lignifications of cell walls as observed in spikes of both varieties by histochemical analysis. Compared to the plants inoculated with pathogen alone, plants of resistant line (RJP) first treated with JA followed by inoculation with pathogen showed more lignifications and extracellular deposition of other metabolites on cells, which is supposed to prevent mycelial invasions. Contrary to this, susceptible (SJP) lines also showed lignifications but the invasion was more compared to resistant line. Induction of protease activity was higher in resistant variety than its corresponding susceptible variety. The protease activity induced during the colonization of the pathogen and its proliferation inside the host system gets inhibited by JA treatment as demonstrated by the quantitative and in-gel protease assay. The results indicate the role of JA signalling in inhibiting the proteases due to expression of certain protease inhibitor genes. SDS-PAGE analysis shows differential gene expression through induction and/or suppression of different proteins in wheat spikes of resistant and susceptible varieties under the influence of JA. Thus, exogenously applied JA provides the conditioning effect prior to the challenge of infection and induces defense against KB probably by maintaining a critical balance between proteases and protease inhibitors and/or coordinating induction of different families of new proteins.

    • Combinative effects of a bacterial type-III effector and a biocontrol bacterium on rice growth and disease resistance

      Haiying Ren Ganyu Gu Juying Long Qian Yin Tingquan Wu Tao Song Shujian Zhang Zhiyi Chen Hansong Dong

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      Expression of HpaGXoo, a bacterial type-III effector, in transgenic plants induces disease resistance. Resistance also can be elicited by biocontrol bacteria. In both cases, plant growth is often promoted. Here we address whether biocontrol bacteria and HpaGXoo can act together to provide better results in crop improvement. We studied effects of Pseudomonas cepacia on the rice variety R109 and the hpaGXoo-expressing rice line HER1. Compared to R109, HER1 showed increased growth, grain yield, and defense responses toward diseases and salinity stress. Colonization of roots by P. cepacia caused 20% and 13% increase, in contrast to controls, in root growth of R109 and HER1. Growth of leaves and stems also increased in R109 but that of HER1 was inhibited. When P. cepacia colonization was subsequent to plant inoculation with Rhizoctonia solani, a pathogen that causes sheath blight, the disease was less severe than controls in both R109 and HER1; HER1, nevertheless, was more resistant, suggesting that P. cepacia and HpaGXoo cooperate in inducing disease resistance. Several genes that critically regulate growth and defense behaved differentially in HER1 and R109 while responding to P. cepacia. In R109 leaves, the OsARF1 gene, which regulates plant growth, was expressed in consistence with growth promotion by P. cepacia. Inversely, OsARF1 expression was coincident with inhibition in growth of HER1 leaves. In both plants, the expression of OsEXP1, which encodes an expansin protein involved in plant growth, was concomitant with growth promotion in leaves instead of roots, in response to P. cepacia. We also studied OsMAPK, a gene that encodes a mitogen-activated protein kinase and controls defense responses toward salinity and infection by pathogens in rice. In response to P. cepacia, an early expression of OsMAPK was coincident with R109 resistance to the disease, while HER1 expressed the gene similarly whether P. cepacia was present or not. Evidently, P. cepacia and GXoo-gene mediated resistance may act differently in rice growth and resistance. Whereas combinative effects of P. cepacia and HpaGXoo in disease resistance have a great potential in agricultural use, it is interesting to study mechanisms that underlie interactions involving biocontrol bacteria, type-III effectors and pathogens.

    • Cytomixis impairs meiosis and influences reproductive success in Chlorophytum comosum (Thunb) Jacq. – an additional strategy and possible implications

      S K Lattoo S Khan S Bamotra A K Dhar

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      Spontaneous intercellular chromatin migration/cytomixis was observed to occur in the pollen mother cells (PMCs) of the Chlorophytum comosum for the first time. The migration through cytomictic channels was more pronounced in meiosis-I and very rare in meiosis-II. The process was associated with erratic meiosis, which was characterized by defects in chromosome organization and segregation. Cytomixis was more intense in the month of April than in July and consequently the frequency of meiotic irregularities was much more pronounced during the month of April. As a consequence of abnormal meiosis, fertility was drastically reduced resulting in meager seed efficiency of 17% only. Recombination system also does not guarantee the release of sufficient variability. We view the phenomenon of cytomixis as genetically controlled mechanism involving meiotic genes and operating through signal transduction pathway triggered by the environmental stimuli. The evolutionary significance and tenable hypothesis in the backdrop of existing literature is also proposed.

    • Nitrogen fixation in lichens is important for improved rock weathering

      Gamini Seneviratne I K Indrasena

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      It is known that cyanobacteria in cyanolichens fix nitrogen for their nutrition. However, specific uses of the fixed nitrogen have not been examined. The present study shows experimentally that a mutualistic interaction between a heterotrophic N2 fixer and lichen fungi in the presence of a carbon source can contribute to enhanced release of organic acids, leading to improved solubilization of the mineral substrate. Three lichen fungi were isolated from Xanthoparmelia mexicana, a foliose lichen, and they were cultured separately or with a heterotrophic N2 fixer in nutrient broth media in the presence of a mineral substrate. Cells of the N2-fixing bacteria attached to the mycelial mats of all fungi, forming biofilms. All biofilms showed higher solubilizations of the substrate than cultures of their fungi alone. This finding has bearing on the significance of the origin and existence of N2-fixing activity in the evolution of lichen symbiosis. Further, our results may explain why there are N2-fixing photobionts even in the presence of non-fixing photobionts (green algae) in some remarkable lichens such as Placopsis gelida. Our study sheds doubt on the idea that the establishment of terrestrial eukaryotes was possible only through the association between a fungus and a phototroph.

    • Interactions among endophytic bacteria and fungi: effects and potentials

      W M M S Bandara Gamini Seneviratne S A Kulasooriya

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      Plants benefit extensively by harbouring endophytic microbes. They promote plant growth and confer enhanced resistance to various pathogens. However, the way the interactions among endophytes influence the plant productivity has not been explained. Present study experimentally showed that endophytes isolated from rice (Oryza sativa) used as the test plant produced two types of interactions; biofilms (bacteria attached to mycelia) and mixed cultures with no such attachments. Acidity, as measured by pH in cultures with biofilms was higher than that of fungi alone, bacteria alone or the mixed cultures. Production of indoleacetic acid like substances (IAAS) of biofilms was higher than that of mixed cultures, fungi or bacteria. Bacteria and fungi produced higher quantities of IAAS than mixed cultures. In mixed cultures, the potential of IAAS production of resident microbes was reduced considerably. There was a negative relationship between IAAS and pH of the biofilms, indicating that IAAS was the main contributor to the acidity. However, such a relationship was not observed in mixed cultures. Microbial acid production is important for suppressing plant pathogens. Thus the biofilm formation in endophytic environment seems to be very important for healthy and improved plant growth. However, it is unlikely that an interaction among endophytes takes place naturally in the endophytic environment, due to physical barriers of plant tissues. Further, critical cell density dependant quorum sensing that leads to biofilm formation may not occur in the endophytic environment as there is a limited space. As such in vitro production and application of beneficial biofilmed inocula of endophytes are important for improved plant production in any agro-ecosystem. The conventional practice of plant inoculation with monocultures or mixed cultures of effective microbes may not give the highest microbial effect, which may only be achieved by biofilm formation.

    • Patterns of tree growth in relation to environmental variability in the tropical dry deciduous forest at Mudumalai, southern India

      Cheryl D Nath H S Dattaraja H S Suresh N V Joshi R Sukumar

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      Tree diameter growth is sensitive to environmental fluctuations and tropical dry forests experience high seasonal and inter-annual environmental variation. Tree growth rates in a large permanent plot at Mudumalai, southern India, were examined for the influences of rainfall and three intrinsic factors (size, species and growth form) during three 4-year intervals over the period 1988–2000.

      Most trees had lowest growth during the second interval when rainfall was lowest, and skewness and kurtosis of growth distributions were reduced during this interval. Tree diameter generally explained < 10% of growth variation and had less influence on growth than species identity or time interval. Intraspecific variation was high, yet species identity accounted for up to 16% of growth variation in the community. There were no consistent differences between canopy and understory tree growth rates; however, a few subgroups of species may potentially represent canopy and understory growth guilds. Environmentally-induced temporal variations in growth generally did not reduce the odds of subsequent survival.

      Growth rates appear to be strongly influenced by species identity and environmental variability in the Mudumalai dry forest. Understanding and predicting vegetation dynamics in the dry tropics thus also requires information on temporal variability in local climate.

    • On the conspecificity of Anopheles fluviatilis species S with Anopheles minimus species C

      O P Singh D Chandra N Nanda S K Sharma Pe Than Htun T Adak S K Subbarao A P Dash

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      Anopheles fluviatilis and An. minimus complexes, each comprising of at least three sibling species, are closely related and important malaria vectors in Oriental Region. Recently An. fluviatilis species S, which is a highly efficient malaria vector in India, has been made conspecific with An. minimus species C (senior synonym) on the basis of homology in 335 base pair nucleotide sequence of D3 domain of 28S ribosomal DNA (rDNA). We examined the conspecificity of these two nominal species by obtaining and analysing the DNA sequences of nuclear ribosomal loci internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) and D2-D3 domain of 28S rDNA (28S-D2/D3) from those of An. fluviatilis S and An. minimus C. We found that the sequences of An. fluviatilis S are appreciably different from those of An. minimus C with pair-wise distance (Kimura-2-parametre model) of 3.6 and 0.7% for loci ITS2 and 28S-D2/D3, respectively. Pair-wise distance and phylogenetic analyses using ITS2 sequences of members of Minimus and Fluviatilis Complexes revealed that An. fluviatilis S is distantly related to An. minimus C as compared to any other members of the Fluviatilis Complex. These findings suggest that the two nominal species, An. fluviatilis S and An. minimus C, do not merit synonymy. The study also confirms that the reported species An. fluviatilis X is synonym with species S.

    • Subject Index

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    • Acknowledgements

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