• Volume 16, Issue 1-2

June 1991,   pages  1-95

• Reduction of ultraviolet-induced mitotic delay by caffeine in G2-phase irradiated plasmodia of Physarum polycephalum

Synchronously mitotic surface Plasmodia ofPhysarum polycephalum were ultra-violet-irradiated at different times during G2-phase (—4 h to —20 min with respect to metaphase), and treated immediately thereafter with varying concentrations of caffeine. It was observed that ultraviolet-induced mitotic delay is reduced significantly by this methylxanthine. In plasmodia irradiated between —4 and —1 h with respect to metaphase, the effect was concentration-dependent and the need for a certain threshold dose for obtaining the reduction in delay was apparent. However, higher doses than this were fairly toxic when applied at this part of the cycle and led to more mitotic delay than that obtained with UV alone. The most striking observation made during this study was the phase-specific precipitous effect seen in those plasmodia irradiated at about 20 min before mitosis which almost eliminated the long delay due to ultraviolet-irradiation. These results are discussed in the context of some of the known effects of ultraviolet and caffeine on a mitosis-promoting factor. It is proposed that the significant reduction of ultraviolet-induced mitotic delay reported here is due to the reactivation of the ultraviolet-inactivated mitosis-promoting factor by caffeine. Alternatively, it is possible that caffeine may prevent the inactivation of this factor by ultraviolet.

• Synthesis of actinomycin-insensitive RNA during the first post-irradiation mitotic cycle, in the synchronously mitotic plasmodia of Physarum polycephalum

A sucrose density gradient analysis of3H-uridine pulse-labelled RNA from the first postirradiation mitotic cycle ofPhysarum polycephalum shows that all the density classes of RNA synthesized during this period are resistant to the peptide-antibiotic, actinomycin D. In fact, the synthesis is found to be greater in the presence of the drug. The heterogenously sedimenting synthetic activity here may represent a single species of RNA and its precursors or more than one kind of RNA. Further characterization of this RNA is meaningful in view of the actinomycin insensitivity of the postirradiation mitotic cycle itself to this antibiotic.

• Histidine-15 and lytic activity of lysozyme

The literature data on the activity of histidine-15 modified hen egg white lysozyme are conflicting: the modified enzyme is reported to have more activity, similar activity or less activity by different authors. Amino acid analysis had shown modification of the single His-15. Detailed activity studies on His-15-modified (by iodoacetic acid or diethyl pyrocarbonate) lysozyme have shown that the contradicting reports are due to the specific choices of ionic strengths and cell wall substrate concentrations and can be attributed to the substrate being negatively charged. Our analysis suggests that even though histidine-15 is far removed from the active site of lysozyme, its chemical modification or binding of the negatively-charged substrate near it, changes the conformation around the active site. However, the change in the optimum activity on chemically modifying His-15 is small.

• Conformation of azidothymidine: an anti-AIDS drug

The nucleoside antibiotic, 3′-azido-3′-deoxythymidine, or simply, azidothymidine has shown great promise in inhibiting the human immuno deficiency virus and in reducing mortality among AIDS patients. Conformational properties of azidothymidine have been investigated by quantum-mechanical PCILO method and compared with those of the parent nucleoside, thymidine. The results indicate great similarity between them and this similarity is remarkably striking in the situations that prevail in aqueous solution. This result has important biological significance in explaining the drug action of azidothymidine.

• Haemoglobin: A scavenger of superoxide radical

Superoxide is continuously generated in the erythrocytes, and oxyhaemoglobin from different animals including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, flying mammals, mammals and human beings acts as a scavenger of superoxide. The approximate rate constants of the reaction between superoxide and oxyhaemoglobin of different animals are 0.32-1.6 × 107M-1 s-1. Results obtained with anion ligands like CN- and N3- indicate that superoxide preferentially reacts with anion ligand-bound deoxyhaemoglobin. Carbonmonoxyhaemoglobin and methaemoglobin are ineffective. Work with photochemically generated oxyradical indicate that oxyhaemoglobin may also act as a scavenger of singlet oxygen. The rate constant of the reaction between superoxide and human oxyhaemoglobin is Kapp= 6.5×106 M-1 s-1, which is about three orders less than Ksod(2× 109 M-1 s-1). Thus, in the erythrocytes, oxyhaemoglobin would appear to act as a second line of defence. Oxyhaemoglobin appears to be as effective as superoxide dismutase for scavenging superoxide in the erythrocytes.

• Mechanism of autoxidation of oxyhaemoglobin

Oxyhaemoglobins from erythrocytes of different animals including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and human beings have been isolated by ion-exchange chromatography over phosphocellulose and the comparative rates of autoxidation of oxyhaemoglobin studied. The mechanism of autoxidationin vitro has been elucidated using toad as well as human oxyhaemoglobin. Autoxidation is markedly inhibited by carbon monoxide as well as by anion ligands, namely, potassium cyanide, sodium azide and potassium thiocyanate. The inhibition by anions is in the same order as their strength as nucleophiles, indicating that it is the oxyhaemoglobin and not the ligand-bound deoxy species which undergoes autoxidation. The structure of oxyhaemoglobin is considered to be mainly $$Hb^{3 + } O_2^{ - \cdot }$$ and determination of the rate of autoxidation with or without using superoxide dismutase and catalase indicates that the initial process of autoxidation takes place by dissociation of $$Hb^{3 + } O_2^{ - \cdot }$$ to methaemoglobin and superoxide to the extent of 24%. The superoxide thus produced reattacks oxyhaemoglobin to produce further methaemoglobin and hydrogen peroxide. H2O2 is a major oxidant of oxyhaemoglobin producing methaemoglobin to the extent of 53%. A tentative mechanism of autoxidation showing the sequence of reactions involving superoxide, H2O2 and OH has been presented.

• Altered kinetic properties of liver mitochondrial membrane-bound enzyme activities following paracetamol hepatotoxicity in the rat

The effects of treatment with subtoxic (375 mg/kg) and toxic (750 mg/kg) doses of paracetamol on NADH oxidase, succinoxidase and Mg2+-ATPase activities in rat liver submitochondrial particles were examined. In the NADH oxidase system, treatment with subtoxic doses of paracetamol resulted in a 37% increase in activation energy in the high temperature range (E1) while the phase transition temperature (Tt) for this system decreased by 9‡C. Subtoxic doses caused a 43% decrease in E1. For the succinoxidase system, Tt decreased by 2.4 to 3.4‡C after paracetamol administration. E2 increased by 42% only in the subtoxic-treatment group while E1 remained unaltered in both paracetamol-treated groups. For the Mg2+-ATPase system, subtoxic doses of paracetamol treatment did not change the values of E1 E2 and Tt whereas toxic dose treatment resulted in a 29% decrease in E2 with a concomitant increase in Tt by 2.4‡C without any change in the value of E1 The results thus suggest that treatment with toxic and subtoxic doses of paracetamol results in possible differential alterations in the membrane lipid milieu.

• Effect of thyroidectomy and subsequent treatment with triiodothyronine on kidney mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in the rat

The effect of thyroidectomy (Tx) and subsequent treatment with triiodothy-ronine (T3) on rat kidney mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation was examined. Thyroidectomy resulted in lowering of state 3 respiration rates and cytochrome contents. Thyroidectomized animals administered with T3 (20 Μg/100 g body wt) resulted in the nonsynchronous stimulation of state 3 respiration rates in kidney mitochondria with glutamate, Β-hydroxybutyrate, succinate and ascorbate+TMPD as substrates. Cytoch-rome contents were also elevated differentially. Increase in the state 4 respiration rates was transient and reversible. However, primary dehydrogenases were not generally altered in the Tx and T3-treated Tx animals. The results thus indicate that the T3treatment to-Tx animals brings about differential and nonsynchronous increase in the respiratory parameters and respiratory chain components of kidney mitochondria.

• Effect of naloxone on renal cortical microcirculation in haemorrhagic shock

In order to assess the effect of opioid receptor antagonists, naloxone and noradrenaline, on renal cortical microcirculation, India ink infusion was made through the renal artery, one hour after treatment with each drug, in dogs subjected to haemorrhagic shock. Naloxone (1 mg/kg) treatment showed a dual beneficial effect of significant improvement (P &lt; 0.001) in the mean arterial pressure without increasing the renal resistance as indicated by the presence of ink particles in about 75% of the cortical glomeruli. However, in the case of noradrenaline (2 Μ/kg/min)-treated animals, although mean arterial pressure increased significantly (P &lt; 0.001) only very few glomeruli (25%) in the cortical region showed ink particles, demonstrating severe vasoconstriction. In the control group infused only with saline, although most of the glomeruli (92%) were filled with ink particles, there was a significant decline in the mean arterial pressure (P &lt; 0.001).

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