Volume 23, Issue 2
June 1998, pages 87-162
pp 87-92 June 1998 Perspectives
pp 93-100 June 1998
Female fecundity, oviposition preference and specificity on one normal and two novel food media were assayed on four laboratory populations ofDrosophila melanogaster, revealing considerable among- and within-population variation in oviposition preference. Overall, there was a significant tendency of females to prefer novel media to their normal banana food as an oviposition substrate. Specificity in the populations was fairly high, implying that a large proportion of females tended to lay the majority of their eggs on the preferred medium. The results showed that oviposition preference for a given food medium could be affected by the alternative provided, and that, consequently, oviposition preference for a given food medium versus another cannot be predicted based upon a knowledge of what the preference for each of the two media was versus a common third medium. Specificity, on the other hand, was not significantly affected by the type of alternative food media provided in a given trial. Moreover, comparison of results from fecundity and oviposition preference assays also showed that the egg laying behaviour ofDrosophila females in response to different food media may be different in choice versus no-choice situations. Thus, a substrate on which fecundity is higher than on another, when assayed in a no-choice situation, may not be preferred over the other substrate when a choice between the two is provided to the ovipositing females. The latter two results point to possible complexity in the responses of females to various oviposition substrates based upon the overall setting of the assay, including the alternative substrates present for egg laying.
pp 101-110 June 1998
We have previously reported the isolation and characterization of a functional initiator tRNA gene,metA, and a second initiator tRNA-like sequence,metB, fromMycobacterium tuberculosis. Here we describe the fine mapping of the initiator tRNA gene locus of the avirulent (H37Ra) and virulent (H37Rv) strains ofM. tuberculosis. The genomic blot analyses show that the 1.7 kb (harbouringmetE) and the 6.0 kb BamHI (harbouringmetA) fragments are linked. Further, sequencing of a portion of the 6.0kb fragment, in conjunction with the sequence of the 1.7 kb fragment confirmed the presence of an IS6110 element in the vicinity ofmetB. The IS element is flanked by inverted (28 bp, with 3 contiguous mismatches in the middle) and direct (3 bp) repeats considered to be the hallmarks of IS6110 integration sites. The organization of the initiator tRNA gene locus is identical in both the H37Ra and H37Rv strains and they carry a single copy of the functional initiator tRNA gene. Interestingly, the fast growingMycobacterium smegmatis also bears a single initiator tRNA gene. This finding is significant in view of the qualitative differences in total tRNA pools and the copy number of rRNA genes in the fast- and slow-growing mycobacteria. Finally, we discuss hypotheses related to the origin ofmetB inM. tuberculosis.
pp 111-118 June 1998
A functional immunoassay, that has proved very useful, is described for screening and identifying monoclonal antibodies (McAbs) against scarce and labile enzymes. This method does not require purified enzyme or antigen and it has been successfully applied to isolate three hybridomas secreting McAbs to NADPH:nitrate reductase from the chloronema cells of the mossFunaria hygrometrica. Briefly, the protocol involves: adsorption of murine antibodies from hybridoma supernatants by rabbit antimouse IgG antibody pre-adsorbed toStaphylococcus aureus cells (SAC), reaction with crude extract for 15 min, sedimentation of the SAC complex by centrifugation and measurement of residual enzymatic activity in the supernatant. A depletion indicates the presence of antibodies that bind to the active enzyme. The method is rapid, sensitive and versatile enough to be used to isolate McAbs with exquisite specificities. The three isolated McAbs recognized nitrate reductase protein in a conformation-independent and/or a conformation-dependent manner.
pp 119-123 June 1998
We have analysed the status of the p53 gene in the mouse embryo fibroblast cell line Balb 3T12 (TD50=106) and its transformed clonal derivative 312 (TD50=104) with an aim to determine whether there exists a correlation between increased tumorigenicity and clonal expansion of cells bearing a mutation in the p53 gene. While Southern hybridizations did not show any obvious changes in the p53 gene organization in 3T12 and 312 cells, sequencing the p53 cDNA revealed that 3T12 is mutated at the amino acid residue 233 (Tyr→ Asp) whereas 312 is mutated at the residue 132 (Cys→Trp). Exploiting the altered RFLP pattern due to mutations, we identified that 3T12 contains p53 alleles that are different from the already identified mutant p53. On the basis of these observations, we conclude that 3T12 and 312 have evolved independently.
pp 125-129 June 1998
A single polypeptide protein (MP 66) of molecular weight 66 kDa purified to homogeneity from melanosomes of normal human skin epidermal melanocytes, was partially characterized. The isoelectric point of MP 66 is in the range of 7.3 to 7.6. This protein, which was shown to inhibit partially purified human skin tyrosinase activity at pH 6.8, also inhibits murine tyrosinase at pH 6.8. However, at pH 5.0, it stimulates murine tyrosinase activity. The physiological implications of these results are discussed.
pp 131-136 June 1998
The aim of the present work is to design an electrode for biosensors by covalent immobilization of the redox enzyme. In the covalently modified electrode, the biocatalyst is located close to the electrode surface and this is expected to enhance the electron transfer rate from the enzyme to the electrode. Several methods of covalent immobilization of enzymes onto a glassy carbon surface are described. We have chosen horse radish peroxidase enzyme in our study but any other suitable enzyme can be immobilized depending on the intended use. A three step procedure that includes (i) heat treatment of matrix at l00-l10°C to remove volatiles and absorbates, (ii) chemjcal pretreatment to introduce functional groups like -OH, -NO2, -Br etc. followed by (iii) glutaraldehyde coupling of the enzyme (for the nitrated matix after subsequent reduction) or modification of the matrix by carboxymethylation and enzyme coupling using carbodiimide (for hydroxylated matrix) was followed. The amount of enzyme immobilized onto the carbon surface was estimated by spectrophotometric enzymatic activity assay, commonly used for the soluble enzyme. We found that simple nitration did not introduce any significant amount of functional groups and the matrix with hydrogen peroxide pretreatment showed the highest enzyme loading of 0.05 U/mg of carbon matrix. The HRP enzyme electrode was tested in a rotating disk experiment for its response with the substrate.
pp 137-141 June 1998
During affinity chromatographic purification of bovine heart 14 kDa galactose-binding lectin (galectin 1) on lactose-Sepharose, several high molecular weight non-lectin glycoproteins were co-purified with the lectin. Glycoprotein binding to the affinity matrix was neither hydrophobic nor ionic, but galactose-dependent since lactose abolished binding. Purification of galectin from the co-purified glycoproteins by affinity electrophoresis in presence of the specific sugar lactose increased agglutination activity about 65-fold, indicating that a complex containing galectin molecules bound sugar specifically to endogenous glycoproteins with sugar binding sites still available had been retained on lactose-Sepharose.
pp 143-150 June 1998
The DNA of bacteriophage 9NA, a virulent phage ofSalmonella typhimurium, is linear, double stranded, circularly permuted and is approximately 56 kilobase pairs long. The 9NA genome is partially methylated. A physical map of the DNA has been constructed using the restriction endonucleasesBamHI,BglII,SmaI andPvuII. The putative packaging end (‘pac’ end) and the direction of packaging of the concatemeric DNA has been postulated.
pp 151-154 June 1998
A physical map of bacteriophage MB78 DNA indicating the cleavage sites for the enzymeBglII,ClaI,EcoRI,PvuII,SalI andSmaI comprising of a total of 34 cleavage sites have been constructed earlier. The cleavage sites for a few more restriction endonucleases likeApaI,AvaI,BglI,HindIII,KpnI andXhoI have now been mapped. A total of 72 cleavage sites on MB78 DNA are known by now. Relative positions ofEcoRI I and J fragments which could not be decided earlier has now been determined.
pp 155-162 June 1998
Berries of steroid-bearingSolanum viarum Dunal are exploited commercially in India as raw material by steroid industries for solasodine, a glycoalkaloid, present in the mucilaginous exotesta of the seed. Comparative ontogeny of exotesta studied through histochemical studies in diploid, autotetraploid and trisomic plants indicated similarity in the histochemical changes occurring during ontogeny of the outermost seed coat layer which culminated in the transformation of this layer into the mucilage layer. The increased cell size in this layer in the autotetraploid plants probably accounts for the higher steroid content reported. Corroborative evidences for histochemical changes observed in the mucilage layer were obtained from studies of ultrastructure using transmission electron microscopy.
pp 162-162 June 1998 Erratum