Lysozymes (EC 220.127.116.11) are hydrolytic enzymes, characterized by their ability to cleave the β-(1,4)-glycosidic bond between N-acetylmuramic acid and N-acetylglucosamine in peptidoglycan, the major bacterial cell wall polymer. In the animal kingdom, three major distinct lysozyme types have been identified — the c-type (chicken or conventional type), the g-type (goose-type) and the i-type (invertebrate type) lysozyme. Examination of the phylogenetic distribution of these lysozymes reveals that c-type lysozymes are predominantly present in the phylum of the Chordata and in different classes of the Arthropoda. Moreover, g-type lysozymes (or at least their corresponding genes) are found in members of the Chordata, as well as in some bivalve mollusks belonging to the invertebrates. In general, the latter animals are known to produce i-type lysozymes. Although the homology in primary structure for representatives of these three lysozyme types is limited, their three-dimensional structures show striking similarities. Nevertheless, some variation exists in their catalytic mechanisms and the genomic organization of their genes. Regarding their biological role, the widely recognized function of lysozymes is their contribution to antibacterial defence but, additionally, some lysozymes (belonging to different types) are known to function as digestive enzymes.
DNA is continuously attacked by reactive species that can affect its structure and function severely. Structural modifications to DNA mainly arise from modifications in its bases that primarily occur due to their exposure to different reactive species. Apart from this, DNA strand break, inter- and intra-strand crosslinks and DNA–protein crosslinks can also affect the structure of DNA significantly. These structural modifications are involved in mutation, cancer and many other diseases. As it has the least oxidation potential among all the DNA bases, guanine is frequently attacked by reactive species, producing a plethora of lethal lesions. Fortunately, living cells are evolved with intelligent enzymes that continuously protect DNA from such damages. This review provides an overview of different guanine lesions formed due to reactions of guanine with different reactive species. Involvement of these lesions in inter- and intra-strand crosslinks, DNA–protein crosslinks and mutagenesis are discussed. How certain enzymes recognize and repair different guanine lesions in DNA are also presented.
Heat shock induced gene expression and other cellular responses help limit the damage caused by stress and thus facilitate cellular recovery. Cellular damage also triggers apoptotic cell death through several pathways. This paper briefly reviews interactions of the major heat shock proteins with components of the apoptotic pathways. Hsp90, which acts as a chaperone for unstable signal transducers to keep them poised for activation, interacts with RIP and Akt and promotes NF-κB mediated inhibition of apoptosis; in addition it also blocks some steps in the apoptotic pathways. Hsp70 is mostly anti-apoptotic and acts at several levels like inhibition of translocation of Bax into mitochondria, release of cytochrome c from mitochondria, formation of apoptosome and inhibition of activation of initiator caspases. Hsp70 also modulates JNK, NF-κB and Akt signaling pathways in the apoptotic cascade. In contrast, Hsp60 has both anti-and pro-apoptotic roles. Cytosolic Hsp60 prevents translocation of the pro-apoptotic protein Bax into mitochondria and thus promotes cell survival but it also promotes maturation of procaspase-3, essential for caspase mediated cell death. Our recent in vivo studies show that RNAi for the Hsp60D in Drosophila melanogaster prevents induced apoptosis. Hsp27 exerts its anti-apoptotic influence by inhibiting cytochrome c and TNF-mediated cell death. αβ crystallin suppresses caspase-8 and cytochrome c mediated activation of caspase-3. Studies in our laboratory also reveal that absence or reduced levels of the developmentally active as well as stress induced non-coding hsrω transcripts, which are known to sequester diverse hnRNPs and related nuclear RNA-binding proteins, block induced apoptosis in Drosophila. Modulation of the apoptotic pathways by Hsps reflects their roles as “weak links” between various “hubs” in cellular networks. On the other hand, non-coding RNAs, by virtue of their potential to bind with multiple proteins, can act as “hubs” in these networks. In view of the integrative nature of living systems, it is not surprising that stress-induced genes, generally believed to primarily function in cell survival pathways, inhibit or even promote cell death pathways at multiple levels to ensure homeostasis at cell and/or organism level. The heat shock genes obviously do much more than merely help cells survive stress.
Plants are invaded by an array of pathogens of which only a few succeed in causing disease. The attack by others is countered by a sophisticated immune system possessed by the plants. The plant immune system is broadly divided into two, viz. microbial-associated molecular-patterns-triggered immunity (MTI) and effector-triggered immunity (ETI). MTI confers basal resistance, while ETI confers durable resistance, often resulting in hypersensitive response. Plants also possess systemic acquired resistance (SAR), which provides long-term defense against a broad-spectrum of pathogens. Salicylic-acid-mediated systemic acquired immunity provokes the defense response throughout the plant system during pathogen infection at a particular site. Trans-generational immune priming allows the plant to heritably shield their progeny towards pathogens previously encountered. Plants circumvent the viral infection through RNA interference phenomena by utilizing small RNAs. This review summarizes the molecular mechanisms of plant immune system, and the latest breakthroughs reported in plant defense. We discuss the plant–pathogen interactions and integrated defense responses in the context of presenting an integral understanding in plant molecular immunity.
The Fungal Genetics Stock Center (FGSC) was established in 1960 to ensure that important strains used in early genetics research were available to subsequent generations of fungal geneticists. Originally, only mutant strains were held. At present, any organism that has had its genome sequenced is a genetic system and so the FGSC has added many new organisms. The FGSC is well integrated in its core community and, as research came to depend on cloned genes, vectors and gene libraries, the FGSC included these materials. When the community expanded to include plant and human pathogens, the FGSC adopted these systems as well. Wild isolates from around the world have also proven instrumental in answering important questions. The FGSC holds tremendous diversity of the Neurospora species, which form the core of the collection. The growth in the number of strains distributed illustrates the growth in research on fungi. Because of its position near the centre of the fungal genetics effort, the FGSC is also the first to see trends in research directions. One recent example is the 300% jump in requests for strains of Neurospora crassa carrying a mutation that makes them sensitive to high salt concentration. These strains were seldom requested over many years, but became among our most popular resources following the demonstration of their utility in studying fungicide resistance. This exemplifies why materials need to be preserved without regard to their immediate perceived value and reinforces the need for long-term support for preservation of a broad variety of genetic resources.
Leptospirosis has been recognized as an emerging global public health problem because of its increasing incidence in both developing and developed countries. A number of leptospirosis outbreaks have occurred in the past few years in various places such as Nicaragua, Brazil and India. Some of these resulted due to natural calamities such as cyclone and floods. It is a direct zoonotic disease caused by spirochetes belonging to different pathogenic species of the genus Leptospira. Large number of animals acts as carriers or vectors. Human infection results from accidental contact with carrier animals or environment contaminated with leptospires. The primary source of leptospires is the excretor animal, from whose renal tubules leptospires are excreted into the environment with the animal urine. Majority of leptospiral infections are either sub clinical or result in very mild illness and recover without any complications. However, a small proportion develops various complications due to involvement of multiple organ systems. In such patients, the clinical presentation depends upon the predominant organs involved and the case fatality ratio could be about 40% or more. Febrile illness with icterus, splenomegaly and nephritis (known as Weil’s disease), acute febrile illness with severe muscle pain, febrile illness with pulmonary haemorrhages in the form of haemoptysis, jaundice with pulmonary haemorrhages, jaundice with heamaturea, meningitis with haemorrhages including sub conjunctival haemorrhage or febrile illness with cardiac arrhythmias with or without haemorrhages are some of the syndromes. Because of the protean manifestations of leptospirosis it is often misdiagnosed and under-reported. Although the basic principles of prevention such as source reduction, environmental sanitation, more hygienic work-related and personal practices etc., are same everywhere, there is no universal control method applicable to all epidemiological settings. Comprehensive understanding of the eco- epidemiological and cultural characteristics of a community that faces the problem of leptospirosis is an essential prerequisite for evolving an effective and acceptable control measure.
Different environmental stresses to a plant may result in similar responses at the cellular and molecular level. This is due to the fact that the impacts of the stressors trigger similar strains and downstream signal transduction chains. A good example for an unspecific response is the reaction to stressors which induce water deficiency e.g. drought, salinity and cold, especially frost. The stabilizing effect of liquid water on the membrane bilayer can be supported by compatible solutes and special proteins. At the metabolic level, osmotic adjustment by synthesis of low-molecular osmolytes (carbohydrates, betains, proline) can counteract cellular dehydration and turgor loss. Taking the example of Pinus sylvestris, changes at the level of membrane composition, and concomitantly of photosynthetic capacity during frost hardening is shown. Additionally the effect of photoperiod as measured via the phytochrome system and the effect of subfreezing temperatures on the incidence of frost hardening is discussed. Extremely hydrophilic proteins such as dehydrins are common products protecting not only the biomembranes in ripening seeds (late embryogenesis abundant proteins) but accumulate also in the shoots and roots during cold adaptation, especially in drought tolerant plants. Dehydrins are characterized by conserved amino acid motifs, called the K-, Y-or S-segments. Accumulation of dehydrins can be induced not only by drought, but also by cold, salinity, treatment with abscisic acid and methyl jasmonate. Positive effects of the overexpression of a wild chickpea (Cicer pinnatifidum) dehydrin in tobacco plants on the dehydration tolerance is shown. The presentation discusses the perception of cold and drought, the subsequent signal transduction and expression of genes and their products. Differences and similarities between the plant responses to both stressors are also discussed.
RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated gene silencing was explored for the control of sap-sucking pest Bemisia tabaci, commonly known as whitefly. dsRNAs and siRNAs were synthesized from five different genes – actin ortholog, ADP/ATP translocase, α-tubulin, ribosomal protein L9 (RPL9) and V-ATPase A subunit. A simplified insect bioassay method was developed for the delivery of ds/siRNA through the oral route, and efficacy was evaluated. ds/siRNA caused 29–97% mortality after 6 days of feeding. Each insect ingested nearly 150 nl of insect diet per day, which contained a maximum of 6 ng of RNA. Knocking down the expression of RPL9 and V-ATPase A caused higher mortality with LC50 11.21 and 3.08 μg/ml, respectively, as compared to other genes. Semi-quantitative PCR of the treated insects showed significant decrease in the level of RPL9 and V-ATPase A transcripts. siRNAs were found stable in the insect diet for at least 7 days at the room temperature. Phloem-specific expression of dsRNAs of RPL9 and V-ATPase A in transgenic plants for the protection against whiteflies might be an interesting application of this technology.
Epidemiological studies have indicated that obesity is associated with colorectal cancer. The obesity hormone leptin is considered as a key mediator for cancer development and progression. The present study aims to investigate regulatory effects of leptin on colorectal carcinoma. The expression of leptin and its receptor Ob-R was examined by immunohistochemistry in 108 Chinese patients with colorectal carcinoma. The results showed that leptin/Ob-R expression was significantly associated with T stage, TNM stage, lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis, differentiation and expression of p-mTOR, p-70S6 kinase, and p-Akt. Furthermore, the effects of leptin on proliferation and apoptosis of HCT-116 colon carcinoma cells were determined. The results showed that leptin could stimulate the proliferation and inhibit the apoptosis of HCT-116 colon cells through the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway. Ly294002 (a PI3K inhibitor) and rapamycin (an mTOR inhibitor) could prevent the regulatory effects of leptin on the proliferation and apoptosis of HCT-116 cells via abrogating leptin-mediated PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway. All these results indicated that leptin could regulate proliferation and apoptosis of colorectal carcinoma through the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signalling pathway.
Pyrroloquinoline-quinine (PQQ) was initially characterized as a redox cofactor for membrane-bound dehydrogenases in the bacterial system. Subsequently, PQQ was shown to be an antioxidant protecting the living cells from oxidative damage in vivo and the biomolecules from artificially produced reaction oxygen species in vitro. The presence of PQQ has been documented from different biological samples. It functions as a nutrient and vitamin for supporting the growth and protection of living cells under stress. Recently, the role of PQQ has also been shown as a bio-control agent for plant fungal pathogens, an inducer for proteins kinases involved in cellular differentiation of mammalian cells and as a redox sensor leading to development of biosensor. Recent reviews published on PQQ and enzymes requiring this cofactor have brought forth the case specific roles of PQQ. This review covers the comprehensive information on various aspects of PQQ known till date. These include the roles of PQQ in the regulation of cellular growth and differentiation in mammalian system, as a nutrient and vitamin in stress tolerance, in crop productivity through increasing the availability of insoluble phosphate and as a bio-control agent, and as a redox agent leading to the biosensor development. Most recent findings correlating the exceptionally high redox recycling ability of PQQ to its potential as anti-neurodegenerative, anticancer and pharmacological agents, and as a signalling molecule have been distinctly brought out. This review discusses different findings suggesting the versatility in PQQ functions and provides the most plausible intellectual basis to the ubiquitous roles of this compound in a large number of biological processes, as a nutrient and a perspective vitamin.
The bromodomains and extra-terminal domain (BET) family proteins recognize acetylated chromatin through their bromodomains (BDs) and help in regulating gene expression. BDs are chromatin ‘readers’: by interacting with acetylated lysines on the histone tails, they recruit chromatin-regulating proteins on the promoter region to regulate gene expression and repression. Extensive efforts have been employed by scientific communities worldwide to identify and develop potential inhibitors of BET family BDs to regulate protein expression by inhibiting acetylated histone (H3/H4) interactions. Several small molecule inhibitors have been reported, which not only have high affinity but also have high specificity to BET BDs. These developments make BET family proteins an important therapeutic targets for major diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders, obesity and inflammation. Here, we review and discuss the structural biology of BET family BDs and their applications in major diseases.
During the efficient genetic transformation of plants with the gene of interest, some selectable marker genes are also used in order to identify the transgenic plant cells or tissues. Usually, antibiotic- or herbicide-selective agents and their corresponding resistance genes are used to introduce economically valuable genes into crop plants. From the biosafety authority and consumer viewpoints, the presence of selectable marker genes in released transgenic crops may be transferred to weeds or pathogenic microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract or soil, making them resistant to treatment with herbicides or antibiotics, respectively. Sexual crossing also raises the problem of transgene expression because redundancy of transgenes in the genome may trigger homology-dependent gene silencing. The future potential of transgenic technologies for crop improvement depends greatly on our abilities to engineer stable expression of multiple transgenic traits in a predictable fashion and to prevent the transfer of undesirable transgenic material to non-transgenic crops and related species. Therefore, it is now essential to develop an efficient marker-free transgenic system. These considerations underline the development of various approaches designed to facilitate timely elimination of transgenes when their function is no longer needed. Due to the limiting number of available selectable marker genes, in future the stacking of transgenes will be increasingly desirable. The production of marker-free transgenic plants is now a critical requisite for their commercial deployment and also for engineering multiple and complex trait. Here we describe the current technologies to eliminate the selectable marker genes (SMG) in order to develop marker-free transgenic plants and also discuss the regulation and biosafety concern of genetically modified (GM) crops.
The hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a small RNA virus and the etiological agent for hepatitis E, a form of acute viral hepatitis. The virus has a feco-oral transmission cycle and is transmitted through environmental contamination, mainly through drinking water. Recent studies on the isolation of HEV-like viruses from animal species also suggest zoonotic transfer of the virus. The absence of small animal models of infection and efficient cell culture systems has precluded virological studies on the replication cycle and pathogenesis of HEV. A vaccine against HEV has undergone successful clinical testing and diagnostic tests are available. This review describes HEV epidemiology, clinical presentation, pathogenesis, molecular virology and the host response to HEV infection. The focus is on published literature in the past decade.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death throughout the world. We aimed to investigate the role of a novel microRNA-876-5p and its potential molecular target bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP-4), in the epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) of lung cancer. Expressions of microRNA-876-5p and its potential target BMP-4 were analysed in lung cancer cells and patient tissues. Luciferase activity assay was conducted to verify direct targeting of microRNA-876-5p to the 3′-UTR of BMP-4 mRNA. Migration, invasion capacities of lung cancer cells expressing microRNA-876-5p were analysed, and characteristics of lung cancer EMT protein markers were also evaluated. A xenograft tumour mouse model was established to address the roles of microRNA-876-5p and BMP-4 in lung cancer EMT in vivo. MicroRNA-876-5p was decreased while BMP-4 was increased in lung cancer cells and tissues. MicroRNA-876-5p directly targeted 3′-UTR of BMP-4 mRNA to inhibit its expression. MicroRNA-876-5p expression significantly inhibited the migration, invasion and EMT of lung cancer cells in vitro, as well as metastasis in vivo, which required BMP-4 expression. MicroRNA-876-5p suppresses EMT of lung cancer by directly down-regulating BMP-4, both of which could serve as potential therapeutic targets in the treatment of lung cancer.
Inositol pyrophosphates are water soluble derivatives of inositol that contain pyrophosphate or diphosphate moieties in addition to monophosphates. The best characterised inositol pyrophosphates, are IP7 (diphosphoinositol pentakisphosphate or PP-IP5), and IP8 (bisdiphosphoinositol tetrakisphosphate or (PP)2-IP4). These energy-rich small molecules are present in all eukaryotic cells, from yeast to mammals, and are involved in a wide range of cellular functions including apoptosis, vesicle trafficking, DNA repair, osmoregulation, phosphate homeostasis, insulin sensitivity, immune signalling, cell cycle regulation, and ribosome synthesis. Identified more than 20 years ago, there is still only a rudimentary understanding of the mechanisms by which inositol pyrophosphates participate in these myriad pathways governing cell physiology and homeostasis. The unique stereochemical and bioenergetic properties these molecules possess as a consequence of the presence of one or two pyrophosphate moieties in the vicinity of densely packed monophosphates are likely to form the molecular basis for their participation in multiple signalling and metabolic pathways. The aim of this review is to provide first time researchers in this area with an introduction to inositol pyrophosphates and a comprehensive overview on their cellular functions.
Quorum sensing (QS) plays an important role in virulence, biofilm formation and survival of many pathogenic bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This signalling pathway is considered as novel and promising target for anti-infective agents. In the present investigation, effect of the Sub-MICs of clove oil on QS regulated virulence factors and biofilm formation was evaluated against P. aeruginosa PAO1 and Aeromonas hydrophila WAF-38 strain. Sub-inhibitory concentrations of the clove oil demonstrated statistically significant reduction of las- and rhl-regulated virulence factors such as LasB, total protease, chitinase and pyocyanin production, swimming motility and exopolysaccharide production. The biofilm forming capability of PAO1 and A. hydrophila WAF-38 was also reduced in a concentration-dependent manner at all tested sub-MIC values. Further, the PAO1-preinfected Caenorhabditis elegans displayed an enhanced survival when treated with 1.6% v/v of clove oil. The above findings highlight the promising anti-QS-dependent therapeutic function of clove oil against P. aeruginosa.
This article reviews the production of different phenotypes from the same genotype in the same environment by stochastic cellular events, nonlinear mechanisms during patterning and morphogenesis, and probabilistic self-reinforcing circuitries in the adult life. These aspects of phenotypic variation are summarized under the term ‘stochastic developmental variation’ (SDV) in the following. In the past, SDV has been viewed primarily as a nuisance, impairing laboratory experiments, pharmaceutical testing, and true-to-type breeding. This article also emphasizes the positive biological effects of SDV and discusses implications for genotype-to-phenotype mapping, biological individuation, ecology, evolution, and applied biology. There is strong evidence from experiments with genetically identical organisms performed in narrowly standardized laboratory set-ups that SDV is a source of phenotypic variation in its own right aside from genetic variation and environmental variation. It is obviously mediated by molecular and higher-order epigenetic mechanisms. Comparison of SDV in animals, plants, fungi, protists, bacteria, archaeans, and viruses suggests that it is a ubiquitous and phylogenetically old phenomenon. In animals, it is usually smallest for morphometric traits and highest for life history traits and behaviour. SDV is thought to contribute to phenotypic diversity in all populations but is particularly relevant for asexually reproducing and genetically impoverished populations, where it generates individuality despite genetic uniformity. In each generation, SDV produces a range of phenotypes around a well-adapted target phenotype, which is interpreted as a bet-hedging strategy to cope with the unpredictability of dynamic environments. At least some manifestations of SDV are heritable, adaptable, selectable, and evolvable, and therefore, SDV may be seen as a hitherto overlooked evolution factor. SDV is also relevant for husbandry, agriculture, and medicine because most pathogens are asexuals that exploit this third source of phenotypic variation to modify infectivity and resistance to antibiotics. Since SDV affects all types of organisms and almost all aspects of life, it urgently requires more intense research and a better integration into biological thinking.
Nitrogen is an essential mineral nutrient required for plant growth and development. Insufficient nitrogen (N) supply triggers extensive physiological and biochemical changes in plants. In this study, we used Affymetrix GeneChip rice genome arrays to analyse the dynamics of rice transcriptome under N starvation. N starvation induced or suppressed transcription of 3518 genes, representing 10.88% of the genome. These changes, mostly transient, affected various cellular metabolic pathways, including stress response, primary and secondary metabolism, molecular transport, regulatory process and organismal development. 462 or 13.1% transcripts for N starvation expressed similarly in root and shoot. Comparative analysis between rice and Arabidopsis identified 73 orthologous groups that responded to N starvation, demonstrated the existence of conserved N stress coupling mechanism among plants. Additional analysis of transcription profiles of microRNAs revealed differential expression of miR399 and miR530 under N starvation, suggesting their potential roles in plant nutrient homeostasis.
Genotyping with large numbers of molecular markers is now an indispensable tool within plant genetics and breeding. Especially through the identification of large numbers of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers using the novel high-throughput sequencing technologies, it is now possible to reliably identify many thousands of SNPs at many different loci in a given plant genome. For a number of important crop plants, SNP markers are now being used to design genotyping arrays containing thousands of markers spread over the entire genome and to analyse large numbers of samples. In this article, we discuss aspects that should be considered during the design of such large genotyping arrays and the analysis of individuals. The fact that crop plants are also often autopolyploid or allopolyploid is given due consideration. Furthermore, we outline some potential applications of large genotyping arrays including high-density genetic mapping, characterization (fingerprinting) of genetic material and breeding-related aspects such as association studies and genomic selection.
Regenerative medicine is an evolving interdisciplinary topic of research involving numerous technological methods that utilize stem cells to repair damaged tissues. Particularly, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a great tool in regenerative medicine because of their lack of tumorogenicity, immunogenicity and ability to perform immunomodulatory as well as anti-inflammatory functions. Numerous studies have investigated the role of MSCs in tissue repair and modulation of allogeneic immune responses. MSCs derived from different sources hold unique regenerative potential as they are self-renewing and can differentiate into chondrocytes, osteoblasts, adipocytes, cardiomyocytes, hepatocytes, endothelial and neuronal cells, among which neuronal-like cells have gained special interest. MSCs also have the ability to secrete multiple bioactive molecules capable of stimulating recovery of injured cells and inhibiting inflammation. In this review we focus on neural differentiation potential of MSCs isolated from different sources and how certain growth factors/small molecules can be used to derive neuronal phenotypes from MSCs. We also discuss the efficacy of MSCs when transplanted in vivo and how they can generate certain neurons and lead to relief or recovery of the diseased condition. Furthermore, we have tried to evaluate the appropriate merits of different sources of MSCs with respect to their propensity towards neurological differentiation as well as their effectiveness in preclinical studies.