• A Kumar

      Articles written in Journal of Biosciences

    • Canavanine-lnduced inhibition of growth and heterocyst differentiation inAnabaena doliolum and isolation of a canavanine-resistant mutant

      A KUMAR H D Kumar

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      The effect of the arginine analogue, canavanine on growth and heterocyst differentiation in the nitrogen-fixing algaAnabaena doliolum has been studied. The analogue inhibited growth and heterocyst differentiation at a concentration as low as 1 μM. The treated algal cells lacked conspicuous granular inclusions, whereas treatment with chloramphenicol led to increased synthesis of granules (probably cyanophycin granules). Exogenously added arginine completely reversed the effect of the analogue but lysine could only partially relieve the effect. A time course study with canavanine indicated inhibition of fresh protein(s) synthesis at all steps where a new class of proteins is synthesized so that the action of the analogue does not seem to be specific for a particular kind of protein. A mutant resistant to this analogue has been successfully isolated indicating that this alga does not show mutational immunity at least to the amino acid analogues unlike in the observation with different antibiotics. Our observations indicate that canavanine either directly inhibits protein synthesis or forms defective protein(s) which produces all the observed effects.

    • Role of membrane-associated cytoskeleton in maintenance of membrane structure

      C M Gupta A Kumar P Joshi

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      Various structural components of biological membranes are asymmetrically localized in the two surfaces of the membrane bilayer. This asymmetry is absolute for membrane (glyco) proteins, but only a partial asymmetry has been observed for membrane phospholipids. In the red cell membrane, choline-phospholipids are localized mainly in the outer monolayer whereas aminophospholipids are distributed almost exclusively in the inner monolayer. Several evidences are now available to suggest that this distribution of membrane phospholipids in red cells is directly or indirectly maintained by the membrane-associated cytoskeleton (membrane skeleton). This belief is well supported by the previous as well as recent studies carried out in the authors laboratory. Previously, it has been shown that lipid-lipid interactions play no major role in maintaining the transmembrane phospholipid asymmetry in erythrocytes, and that the asymmetry is lost upon covalent crosslinking of the major membrane skeletal protein, spectrin. The recent data presented here further shows that degradation or denaturation of spectrin indices rapid transbilayer movement of membrane phospholipids in the cells which, in turn, leads to more random phospholipid distributions across the membrane. These studies taken together strongly suggest that the skeleton-membrane associations are the major determinants of the transmembrane phospholipid asymmetry in erythrocytes, and that the dissociation of the skeleton from the membrane bilayer probably results in generation of new reorientation sites for phospholipids in the membrane.

    • Abnormal erythrocyte membrane phospholipid organisation in chronic myeloid leukaemia

      A Kumar S Daniel S S Agarwal C M Gupta

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      The membrane phospholipid organisation in the red cells of humans suffering from chronic myeloid leukaemia has been analysed using the amino-group labelling reagent trinitrobenzenesulphonic acid and the fluid-sensing fluorophore, Merocyanine 540. Unlike the normal human erythrocytes, trinitrobenzenesulphonic acid in intact chronic myeloid leukaemia erythrocytes modified about 30% phosphatidylserine, under controlled conditions. Also, the chronic myeloid laukaemia red cells, but not the normal cells, were found to bind the fluorescent dye Merocyanine 540. These results demonstrate that loss of the transmembrane phospholipid asymmetry in chronic myeloid leukaemia erythrocytes is accompanied by an enhancement in the outer surface fluidity and, therefore, suggest that the red cells membrane phase-state asymmetry originates probably from the asymmetric arrangements of phospholipids across the membrane bilayer.

    • Malaria in India: Challenges and opportunities

      A P Dash Neena Valecha A R Anvikar A Kumar

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      India contributes about 70% of malaria in the South East Asian Region of WHO. Although annually India reports about two million cases and 1000 deaths attributable to malaria, there is an increasing trend in the proportion of Plasmodium falciparum as the agent. There exists heterogeneity and variability in the risk of malaria transmission between and within the states of the country as many ecotypes/paradigms of malaria have been recognized. The pattern of clinical presentation of severe malaria has also changed and while multi-organ failure is more frequently observed in falciparum malaria, there are reports of vivax malaria presenting with severe manifestations. The high burden populations are ethnic tribes living in the forested pockets of the states like Orissa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and the North Eastern states which contribute bulk of morbidity and mortality due to malaria in the country. Drug resistance, insecticide resistance, lack of knowledge of actual disease burden along with new paradigms of malaria pose a challenge for malaria control in the country. Considering the existing gaps in reported and estimated morbidity and mortality, need for estimation of true burden of malaria has been stressed. Administrative, financial, technical and operational challenges faced by the national programme have been elucidated. Approaches and priorities that may be helpful in tackling serious issues confronting malaria programme have been outlined.

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