• Volume 18, Issue 2

      June 1993,   pages  161-301

    • Brown adipose tissue: from thermal physiology to bioenergetics

      Paul Trayhurn

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      Brown adipose tissue is an organ in mammals specialized for the generation of heat. The tissue plays an important role in thermoregulatory heat production (nonshivering thermogenesis), and in nutritional energetics (through the process of diet-induced thermogenesis). Much of the current interest in brown adipose tissue has been catalysed by the postulate (1970’s) that a reduced capacity for thermogenesis underlies the development of obesity. Heat is generated in brown fat by a controlled uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation, a process regulated by a tissue-specific mitochondrial uncoupling protein,Mr 32–33,000. The immunological identification of uncoupling protein is now used as a biochemical criterion for distinguishing brown fat from white adipose tissue. The gene coding for uncoupling protein has been cloned in several species, and a number of factors regulating the expression of the gene, as well as the amount and activity of the protein itself, have been documented. In addition to its direct role in heat production, brown adipose tissue has some notable general metabolic properties, such as in the conversion of thyroxine to triiodothyronine. An overview of the biology of brown adipose tissue is presented in this article, with an emphasis on some recent developments.

    • Changes in cytoplasmic pH upon heat shock in embryonic and adult rat liver ceils

      Usha K Srinivas C J Revathi

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      All living cells, when exposed to elevated temperatures, undergo physiological changes which result in the expression of a specific set of heat shock proteins. Study of the possible physiological changes in adult and embryonic rat liver cells indicated a change in intracellular pH upon heat shock. Using 2′, 7′-bis (2-carboxyethyl)-5 (and -6) carboxyfluorescein acetoxymethyl ester, we demonstrate here that the intracellular pH of adult and embryonic liver cells is different and that there is an increase in relative fluorescence intensity in both adult and embryonic cells upon heat shock, which corresponds to about 0.2 to 0.3 pH units. We also show that in addition to heat, some of the inducers of heat shock like response in many systems also induce a change in intracellular pH and induce heat shock proteins at 37°C in fetal liver cells. The possible mechanisms of induction of heat shock proteins during heat shock and in the presence of inducers at normal temperature are discussed.

    • Epitopes recognized by serum anti-α-galactoside antibody are present on brain glycoproteins in man

      Paliakkara L Jaison Vadakkedath M Kannan Mandagini Geetha Padinjaradath S Appukuttan

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      Naturally occurring serum IgG against terminal α-galactoside epitopes (anti-Gal), present exclusively in man, apes and old world monkeys, was used as probe for these epitopes in human brain. Human brain grey matter soluble glycoproteins enriched inα galactosyl groups by affinity chromatography on jacalin-sepharose, specifically binds to human anti-Gal in immuno dot blots. Anti-Gal recognized exclusively the terminal α galactoside epitope in human brain glycoproteins since binding was abolished by the presence of 1-0-methyl α-D-galactopyranoside as well as by pretreatment of glycoproteins with coffee bean α-galactosidase. Anti-Gal-peroxidase staining of jacalin-binding human brain glycoproteins in western immuno blots revealed mainly five anti-Gal-binding polypeptides withMr (in kDa) of 94, 108, 180, 210 and 230 respectively. Since the presence of anti-Gal in higher animals accompanies suppression of the corresponding epitope in most tissues, apparently to maintain immunological balance, possible implications of the above observation for autoimmunity, tumor metastasis and infection are discussed.

    • Structural organization of the transfer RNA gene clusters of cholera phage φ l49

      Nripendranath Manual Ranajit Kumar Ghosh

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      Vibrio cholerae phage φ l49 codes tRNAs specific for twelve different amino acids. These tRNA genes are contained in two different HindIII fragments 11 and 3.4 kb in size, of the phage genome. The 3.4 kb HindIII fragment was cloned inEscherichia coli using pBR328 as vector. The recombinant plasmid pNR347 produced nine of the twelve tRNA species (arginine, proline, serine, tyrosine, histidine, lysine, leucine, tryptophan and aspartic acid) encoded in the phage genome.

    • Regulation of phospholipid synthesis inMycobacterium smegmatis by cyclic adenosine monophosphate

      Monica Sareen Harpinder Kaur G K Khuller

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      Forskolin, an adenylate cyclase activator and a cyclic AMP analogue, dibutyryl cyclic AMP have been used to examine the relationship between intracellular levels of cyclic AMP and lipid synthesis inMycobacterium smegmatis. Total phospholipid content was found to be increased in forskolin grown cells as a result of increased cyclic AMP levels caused by activation of adenylate cyclase. Increased phospholipid content was supported by increased [14C] acetate incorporation as well as increased activity of glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase. Pretreatment of cells with dibutyryl cyclic AMP had similar effects on lipid synthesis. Taking all these observations together it is suggested that lipid synthesis is being controlled by cyclic AMP in mycobacteria.

    • Protein sequences as random fractals

      Chanchal K Mitra Meeta Rani

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      The analysis of primary sequences from a protein sequence data base suggests that the sequences can be considered as examples of constrained random fractals. Fractal dimensions of the positional distributions of the 20 residues along the chain have been calculated. These fractal dimensions can be used as indices of intrinsic preferences of various residues.

    • Bacillus thuringiensis crystal protein (δ-endotoxin) gene expression is independent of early sporulation specific functions

      Pramatha R Bhattacharya

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      Bacillus thuringiensis produces a parasporal insecticidal crystal protein. The correlation between sporulation and crystal protein production inBacillus thuringiensis var.israelensis was studied. The strain was made resistant’against streptomycin (StR)-Acrystalliferous (Cry-) cured derivatives and asporogenous acrystalliferous (Spo Cry) mutants blocked at an early stage of sporulation were isolated. Plasmid transfer experiments were performed between StR Spo+ Cry+ (streptomycin sensitive sporogeneous crystalliferous) and StRR Spo+ Cry and also between Sts Spo+ Cry+ and StR Spo Cry strains. StR colonies were selected. Insect toxicity was exhibited by the StR isolates in both the cases. The process of crystal formation is, therefore, independent of early sporulative events.

    • Immunohistochemical analysis of glutamate, cholecystokinin and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide in the lateral geniculate complex of albino rat: A developmental study

      Shashi Wadhwa Geeta Jotwani

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      The lateral geniculate nuclear complex of albino rats was investigated with respect to the development of neurotransmitters/neuromodulators such as glutamate, cholecystokinin and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide at gestational day 18, various postnatal age periods and in the adult using immunohistochemical methods. The study shows the unequivocal presence of and the sequential changes in the profile of glutamate while cholecystokinin and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide are not demonstrable at any of the age periods. Glutamate is seen both in the cells and fibres from 40 postnatal day onwards and immunoreactivity is more intense in the adult. The findings are discussed with relevance to the role of neurotransmitters in development.

    • Vocalization of the tree frogPolypedates maculatus (Rhacophoridae)

      R D Kanamadi H Schneider C R Hiremath C S Jirankali

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      The period of calling activity ofPolypedates maculatus lies between April and October. Males possess an indistinct subgular vocal sac which turns yellow during the breeding season. Mating calls type I, type II and distress calls have been identified. Mating calls type I and type II consist of a single pulse group. Type I call comprises of 7–22 pulses, whereas type II call consists of 4–6 pulses. Pulses are short. The frequency spectrum is broad and continuous. Distress calls, with 6 hormonics, are given by the females with their mouth open.

    • Sensory projections of identified coxal hair sensilla of the scorpionHeterometrus fulvipes (Scorpionidae)

      K Sasira Babu K Sreenivasulu V Sekhar

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      The topography of long hair sensilla on the coxae of walking legs and pedipalps of the scorpionHeterometrus fulvipes is described. Identified long hair sensilla are cobalt filled, and central projections of sensory fibres are reported for the first time in the suboesophageal ganglion of this scorpion. The afferent fibres arising from each long hair sensilla segregate into ventral, dorsomedial and dorsal tracts upon their entry into the suboesophageal ganglion. These transverse tracts bifurcate towards the middle of the leg neuromere and form three ipsilateral, plurisegrnental, longitudinal sensory pathways. Filling a pair of bilaterally distributed long hair sensilla shows bilaterally arranged longitudinal afferent tracts interconnected by distinct transverse commissures. Similar patterns of sensory projections are observed when filling homologous hairs on other legs and pedipalps. Numerous fine collaterals arise from the longitudinal sensory trancts that subdivide and end in small blebs presumed to be presynaptic endings. The dorsal and dorsomedial longitudinal tracts and their respective commissures are in close association with the dendritic arborisations of pedipalpal and leg motor neurons, suggesting direct contact between them. The probable functions of these multisegmental hair afferent pathways are discussed.

    • Hormonal modulation of glycogen reserves In the fat body of castor semilooperAchaea janata Linn (Lepidoptera, Noctuidea)

      Annie John D Muraleedharan

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      Histochemical details of the fat body in the fifth instar larval stage, pupa and adult moth of the castor semilooperAchaea janata were elucidated in detail using light and electron microscopy in conjunction with glycogen storage patterns using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The periodic-acid Schiff staining for glycogen in fat body was maximum in the spinning stage of the larva, when compared to the feeding stage and prepupal stages, and higher in the pupa than in the larva and the adult moth. In insulin injected and juvenile hormone treated fat body, glycogen deposition was more than in glucagon injected tissues. The periodic-acid Schiff stained bands in PAGE had electrophoretic mobility similar to the corresponding protein band numbers, indicating their glycoprotein nature.

    • Isolation of propionate degrading bacterium in co-culture with a methanogen from a cattle dung biogas plant

      K K Meher D R Ranade

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      Various anaerobic hydrolytic and methanogenic bacteria active in cattle dung biogas plants are reported in the literature. Anaerobic bacteria with ability to use volatile fatty acids constitute a vital bridge between hydrolytic bacteria and methanogenic bacteria. The present paper describes the isolation ofSyntrophobacter wolinii a propionate degrading bacterium in co-culture with a hydrogen utilizing methanogenviz.,Methanobacterium formicicum from the fermenting slurry of cattle dung biogas plant. Earlier studies on propionate and butyrate degradation indicatedMethanospirillum hungatei as the hydrogen utilizing partner of the co-culture whereas in the present studies this was not the case. Temperature 35° C, pH 7.5 and 20 mM of propionate were found optimal for growth and activity of co-culture.

    • Gap phase regeneration of tree species of differing successional status in a humid tropical forest of Kerala, India

      U M Chandrashekara P S Ramakrishnan

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      Germination, establishment and growth of seedlings of tree speciesPalaquium ellipticum (primary),Actinodaphne malabarica (late secondary) andMacaranga peltata (early secondary) were studied in a humid tropical forest at Nelliampathy, in the Western Ghats of Kerala. While the primary species completed its germination within a brief period of 1.5 months, at the other extreme, early secondary species showed slow germination extending for about 5 months, the late secondary species falling in between. Although, all the species studied showed higher establishment and growth under gaps, the early secondary species were more responsive compared to the primary species. Primary species showed better establishment in undisturbed sites and natural gaps than under selection felled gaps; the reverse was true for late and early secondary species. Survival of seedlings increased with gap size, but sharply declined with gap age. Shoot/root ratio was consistently higher in the early secondary species than in the primary species.

    • Induction and accumulation of phytoalexins in cowpea roots infected with a mycorrhizal fungusGlomus fasciculatum and their resistance toFusarium wilt disease

      P Sundaresan N Ubalthoose Raja P Gunasekaran

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      The interaction of a vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungusGlomus fasciculatum with a wilt-causing soil borne pathogen,Fusarium oxysporum, was studied in cowpea (Vigna unguiculata). It was found that pre-establishment by vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus reduced the colonization of the pathogen and the severity of the disease, as determined by reduction in vascular discolouration index. In mycorrhizal plants, the production of phytoalexin compounds was always higher than in the nonmycorrhizal plants. There appeared to be a direct correlation between the concentration of the phytoalexins and the degree of mycorrhizal association. Three different compounds withRf values of 0.23 (I), 0.17 (II) and 0.11 (III) were obtained from mycorrhizal plants. Similar compounds were also found to be induced by an abiotic elicitor CuSO4. The first compound was identified as an isoflavonoid, daidzein and the other two remain to be identified. These compounds were checked for their antifungal activityin vitro. The germination of conidial spores ofFusarium oxysporum was strongly inhibited by the compound III than the other two. It is argued that the production of phytoalexin compounds in mycorrhizal plant could be one of the mechanisms imparting tolerance of the plants to wilt disease.

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