• Vassili V Velkov

      Articles written in Journal of Biosciences

    • How overproduction of foreign proteins affects physiology of the recombinant strains ofHansenula polymorpha

      Vassili V Velkov Veronika Yu Matys Dmitry M Sokolov

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      Changes in the activity of key enzymes of the methanol utilization pathway of the recombinant strains of methylotrophic yeastHansenula polymorpha R22-2B and LAC-56 were studied at different rates of chemostat growth on methanol containing mineral media. It was shown that the strain R22-2B, initially having a 10-fold increased activity of dihydroxyacetone kinase (DHAK, a key enzyme of formaldehyde assimilation) acquired increased activity of formaldehyde dehydrogenase (FADH, a key enzyme of formaldehyde dissimilation) which resulted in the enhanced oxidation of formaldehyde to CO2. Strain LAC-56, overproducingEscherichia coli β-galactosidase, acquired the decreased intracellular concentration of ATP which resulted in the decrease of the efficiency of formaldehyde assimilation catalyzed by DHAK and resulted in accumulation of toxic formaldehyde. As a consequence some biochemical responses occurred in cells that were directed to a diminishing of the toxic effect of accumulated formaldehyde, namely, the decreasing of methanol oxidase activity (to reduce the rate of formaldehyde synthesis), and the increasing of FADH activity (to increase the rate of formaldehyde oxidation).

    • How environmental factors regulate mutagenesis and gene transfer in microorganisms

      Vassili V Velkov

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      This review is focused on the physiological and evolutionary strategies of the processes occurring during the entry of microbial cells into stationary phase and the subsequent period of stasis. The molecular mechanisms adapting microorganisms from exponential growth to a static state involve activation and complex regulation of the stationary factor Sigma-S, which directs RNA polymerase to the specific promoters. As a result the static cells acquire general resistance (simultaneous tolerances) to different environmental stresses. In parallel with the physiological adaptation to stasis, diverse genetical processes are aimed towards resuming the growth of the static cells. Different types of mutagenesis occur: (i) in cells entering stasis and (ii) in static cells (adaptive mutagenesis). Cessation of growth induces the transient hypermutator state resulting in the accumulation of random mutations in the subpopulation of the static cells. If by chance, one or a few of such mutations lead to resumption of division, the growing cell will return to a normal mechanism of spontaneous mutagenesis.

      Another mechanism for generating genetical variability in stressed cells involves transposons and conjugative plasmids. Stresses can stimulate the excision of some transposons, which, in turn, can generate chromosomal mutations and activate intracellular mechanisms of mutagenesis. Under stress some conjugative plasmids activate genes encoding antirestriction proteins that repress restriction-modification systems of the recipient cells. Moreover, under stress special cellular mechanisms decrease (alleviate) the activity of restriction-modification systems which, in turn, enhance the probability of gene transfer into the stressed cells.

      Under stress, the efficiency of inter-species genetical barriers also decreases. This, stimulates inter-species gene transfer and may lead to a burst of incipient speciation in the population of non-growing cells. After resumption of growth the genetical barriers leading to isolation will be restored.

      In general, the cessation of growth “switches on”, and resumption of growth “switches off”, a set of special processes that are responsible for generating bursts of genetical variability in populations of microorganisms.

    • Commentary: The blazing life of N V Timofeeff-Ressovsky

      Vladimir I Korogodin Gennadii G Polikarpov Vassili V Velkov

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    • Stress-induced evolution and the biosafety of genetically modified microorganisms released into the environment

      Vassili V Velkov

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      This article is focused on the problems of reduction of the risk associated with the deliberate release of genetically modified microorganisms (GMMs) into the environment. Special attention is given to overview the most probable physiological and genetic processes which could be induced in the released GMMs by adverse environmental conditions, namely: (i) activation of quorum sensing and the functions associated with it, (ii) entering into a state of general resistance, (iii) activation of adaptive mutagenesis, adaptive amplifications and transpositions and (iv) stimulation of inter-species gene transfer. To reduce the risks associated with GMMs, the inactivation of their key genes responsible for stress-stimulated increase of viability and evolvability is proposed.

    • Will transgenic plants adversely affect the environment?

      Vassili V Velkov Alexander B Medvinsky Mikhail S Sokolov Anatoly I Marchenko

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      Transgenic insecticidal plants based onBacillus thuringiensis (Bt) endotoxins, on proteinase inhibitors and on lectins, and transgenic herbicide tolerant plants are widely used in modern agriculture. The results of the studies on likelihood and non-likelihood of adverse effects of transgenic plants on the environment including: (i) effects on nontarget species; (ii) invasiveness; (iii) potential for transgenes to ‘escape’ into the environment by horizontal gene transfer; and (iv) adverse effects on soil biota are reviewed. In general, it seems that large-scale implementation of transgenic insecticidal and herbicide tolerant plants do not display considerable negative effects on the environments and, moreover, at least some transgenic plants can improve the corresponding environments and human health because their production considerably reduces the load of chemical insecticides and herbicides.

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