Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 19

Search results for: dormancy

19 Study of Dormancy-Breaking of Bitter Apple Seed (Citrullus Colocynthis L. Schard)

Authors: Asghar Rahimi, Majid Puryousef


This study aimed to examine dormancy-breaking of bitter apple (Citrullus colocynthis) seed. Seeds of wild bitter apple collected from the Balochestan zone in east of Iran were subjected to different treatments including temperatures (20 and 30°C) and some dormancy breaking methods on breaking seed dormancy of bitter apple. Only 6 treatments from 12 dormancy breaking treatments were effective in dormancy breaking, therefore only effective treatments were analyzed. In general, germination percentage of cleaved seeds, soaked seeds in hot water (98°c) and soaking in H2SO4 in both temperatures was higher than other treatments and germination percentage of scarified seeds with sandy paper in both temperature was lower than other treatments. Also germination percentage of soaked seeds in hot water (98°c) and naturally cracked seeds in temperature 20°c was higher than 30°c.

Keywords: foliar application, nano chelate, nitrogen, Safflower

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18 Targeting Glucocorticoid Receptor Eliminate Dormant Chemoresistant Cancer Stem Cells in Glioblastoma

Authors: Aoxue Yang, Weili Tian, Yonghe Wu, Haikun Liu


Brain tumor stem cells (BTSCs) are resistant to therapy and give rise to recurrent tumors. These rare and elusive cells are likely to disseminate during cancer progression, and some may enter dormancy, remaining viable but not increasing. The identification of dormant BTSCs is thus necessary to design effective therapies for glioblastoma (GBM) patients. Little progress has been made in therapeutic treatment of glioblastoma in the last decade despite rapid progress in molecular understanding of brain tumors1. Here we show that the stress hormone glucocorticoid is essential for the maintenance of brain tumor stem cells (BTSCs), which are resistant to conventional therapy. The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) regulates metabolic plasticity and chemoresistance of the dormant BTSC via controlling expression of GPD1 (glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase 1), which is an essential regulator of lipid metabolism in BTSCs. Genomic, lipidomic and cellular analysis confirm that GR/GPD1 regulation is essential for BTSCs metabolic plasticity and survival. We further demonstrate that the GR agonist dexamethasone (DEXA), which is commonly used to control edema in glioblastoma, abolishes the effect of chemotherapy drug temozolomide (TMZ) by upregulating GPD1 and thus promoting tumor cell dormancy in vivo, this provides a mechanistic explanation and thus settle the long-standing debate of usage of steroid in brain tumor patient edema control. Pharmacological inhibition of GR/GPD1 pathway disrupts metabolic plasticity of BTSCs and prolong animal survival, which is superior to standard chemotherapy. Patient case study shows that GR antagonist mifepristone blocks tumor progression and leads to symptomatic improvement. This study identifies an important mechanism regulating cancer stem cell dormancy and provides a new opportunity for glioblastoma treatment.

Keywords: cancer stem cell, dormancy, glioblastoma, glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase 1, glucocorticoid receptor, dexamethasone, RNA-sequencing, phosphoglycerides.

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17 Germination and Bulb Formation of Allium tuncelianum L. under in vitro Condition

Authors: Suleyman Kizil, Tahsin Sogut, Khalid M. Khawar


Genus Allium includes 600 to 750 species and most of these including Allium tuncelianum (Kollman) N. Ozhatay, B. Mathew & Siraneci; Syn; A. macrochaetum Boiss. and Hausskn. subsp. tuncelianum Kollman] or Tunceli garlic is endemic to Eastern Turkish Province of Tunceli and Munzur mountains. They are edible, bear attractive white-to-purple flowers and fertile black seeds with deep seed dormancy. This study aimed to break seed dormancy of Tunceli garlic and determine the conditions for induction of bulblets on these seeds and increase their diameter by culturing them on MS medium supplemented different strengths of KNO3. Tunceli garlic seeds were collected from field grown plants. They were germinated on MS medium with or without 20 g/l sucrose followed by their culture on 1 × 1900 mg/l, 2 × 1900 mg/l, 4 ×1900 mg/l and 6 × 1900 mg/l mg/l KNO3 supplemented with 20 g/l sucrose to increase bulb diameter. Improved seeds germination was noted on MS medium with and without sucrose but with variation compared to previous reports. The bulb development percentage on each of the sprouted seeds was not parallel to the percentage of seed germination. The results showed 34% and 28.5% bulb induction was noted on germinated seeds after 150 and 158 days on MS medium containing 20 g l-1 sucrose and no sucrose respectively showing a delay of 8 days on the latter compared to the former. The results emphatically noted role of cold stratification on agar solidified MS medium supplemented with sucrose to improve seed germination. The best increase in bulb diameter was noted on MS medium containing 1 × 1900 mg/l KNO3 after 178 days with bulblet diameter and bulblet weight of 0.54 cm and 0.048 g, respectively. Consequently, the bulbs induced on sucrose containing MS medium could be transferred to pots earlier. Increased (>1 × 1900 mg/l KNO3) strengths of KNO3 induced negative effect on growth and development of Tunceli garlic bulbs. The strategy of seed germination and bulblet induction reported in this study could be positively used for conservation of this endemic plant species.

Keywords: Tunceli garlic, seed, dormancy, bulblets, bulb growth

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16 Functional Characterization of Rv1019, a Putative TetR Family Transcriptional Regulator of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis H37Rv

Authors: Akhil Raj Pushparajan, Ranjit Ramachandran, Jijimole Gopi Reji, Ajay Kumar Ramakrishnan


Tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), is one of the leading causes of death by an infectious disease. In spite of the availability of effective drugs and a vaccine, TB is a major health concern and was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). The success of intracellular pathogens like Mtb depends on its ability to overcome the challenging environment in the host. Gene regulation controlled by transcriptional regulators (TRs) plays a crucial role for the bacteria to adapt to the host environment. In vitro studies on gene regulatory mechanisms during dormancy and reactivation have provided insights into the adaptations employed by Mtb to survive in the host. Here we present our efforts to functionally characterize Rv1019, a putative TR of Mtb H37Rv which was found to be present at significantly varying levels during dormancy and reactivation in vitro. The expression of this protein in the dormancy-reactivation model was validated by qRT-PCR and western blot. By DNA- protein interaction studies and reporter assays we found that under normal laboratory conditions of growth this protein behaves as an auto-repressor and tetracycline was found to abrogate this repression by interfering with its ability to bind DNA. Further, by cDNA analysis, we found that this TR is co-transcribed with its downstream genes Rv1020 (mfd) and Rv1021 (mazG) which are involved in DNA damage response in Mtb. Constitutive expression of this regulator in the surrogate host M. smegmatis showed downregulation of the orthologues of downstream genes suggested that Rv1019 could negatively regulate these genes. Our finds also show that M. smegmatis expressing Rv1019 is sensitive to DNA damage suggests the role of this protein in regulating DNA damage response induced by oxidative stress. Because of its role in regulating DNA damage response which may help in the persistence of Mtb, Rv1019 could be used as a prospective target for therapeutic intervention to fight TB.

Keywords: auto-repressor, DNA repair, mycobacterium smegmatis, mycobacterium tuberculosis, tuberculosis

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15 Ex Situ Conservation Practices for Rare Plants in Living Collections

Authors: Erika Pénzesné Kónya


The conservation programme of various vascular plant species has been started in the Botanical garden o fEszterházy College in Eger cooperating with two national parks in the Northern mountain region and Botanical garden of Eötvös Lóránd University in Budapest. The seeds of the species were collected in the chosen habitats with the permission determined by the National Parks and the conservation specialists. Now we have different numbers of individuals from mainly endemic and relict species. We took some experiments to know how can we germinate and grow up this species succesfully up to blooming and fruiting. In the temperate zone the majority of species after ripening the seeds or corps get dormancy to avoid the inadequate period to germinate. The seeds of species need variously pre-treatment (for example pre-chill) and suitable environment (for example basic medium) to unlock the seed dormancy and germinate in large scale. This impacts are often similar to in their originally habitat. To bloom the plants need suitable types of soil, but we couldn’t grow them in the most fruitful soil of habitat. Suitable microclimate is usually more important for some relict species than the soil, that’s why should we make experiments to find the suitable essential conditions for different species and know all of fenological states of them. These experiments can start a method for growing common wild native plants as food materials.

Keywords: ex situ conservation, germination success, soil preference Hungary, regionality, native wild plants

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14 Targeting Glucocorticoid Receptor Eliminate Dormant Chemoresistant Cancer Stem Cells in Glioblastoma

Authors: Aoxue Yang, Weili Tian, Haikun Liu


Brain tumor stem cells (BTSCs) are resistant to therapy and give rise to recurrent tumors. These rare and elusive cells are likely to disseminate during cancer progression, and some may enter dormancy, remaining viable but not increasing. The identification of dormant BTSCs is thus necessary to design effective therapies for glioblastoma (GBM) patients. Glucocorticoids (GCs) are used to treat GBM-associated edema. However, glucocorticoids participate in the physiological response to psychosocial stress, linked to poor cancer prognosis. This raises concern that glucocorticoids affect the tumor and BTSCs. Identifying markers specifically expressed by brain tumor stem cells (BTSCs) may enable specific therapies that spare their regular tissue-resident counterparts. By ribosome profiling analysis, we have identified that glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase 1 (GPD1) is expressed by dormant BTSCs but not by NSCs. Through different stress-induced experiments in vitro, we found that only dexamethasone (DEXA) can significantly increase the expression of GPD1 in NSCs. Adversely, mifepristone (MIFE) which is classified as glucocorticoid receptors antagonists, could decrease GPD1 protein level and weaken the proliferation and stemness in BTSCs. Furthermore, DEXA can induce GPD1 expression in tumor-bearing mice brains and shorten animal survival, whereas MIFE has a distinct adverse effect that prolonged mice lifespan. Knocking out GR in NSC can block the upregulation of GPD1 inducing by DEXA, and we find the specific sequences on GPD1 promotor combined with GR, thus improving the efficiency of GPD1 transcription from CHIP-Seq. Moreover, GR and GPD1 are highly co-stained on GBM sections obtained from patients and mice. All these findings confirmed that GR could regulate GPD1 and loss of GPD1 Impairs Multiple Pathways Important for BTSCs Maintenance GPD1 is also a critical enzyme regulating glycolysis and lipid synthesis. We observed that DEXA and MIFE could change the metabolic profiles of BTSCs by regulating GPD1 to shift the transition of cell dormancy. Our transcriptome and lipidomics analysis demonstrated that cell cycle signaling and phosphoglycerides synthesis pathways contributed a lot to the inhibition of GPD1 caused by MIFE. In conclusion, our findings raise concern that treatment of GBM with GCs may compromise the efficacy of chemotherapy and contribute to BTSC dormancy. Inhibition of GR can dramatically reduce GPD1 and extend the survival duration of GBM-bearing mice. The molecular link between GPD1 and GR may give us an attractive therapeutic target for glioblastoma.

Keywords: cancer stem cell, dormancy, glioblastoma, glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase 1, glucocorticoid receptor, dexamethasone, RNA-sequencing, phosphoglycerides

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13 A Novel Gene Encoding Ankyrin-Repeat Protein, SHG1, Is Indispensable for Seed Germination under Moderate Salt Stress

Authors: H. Sakamoto, J. Tochimoto, S. Kurosawa, M. Suzuki, S. Oguri


Salt stress adversely affects plant growth at various stages of development including seed germination, seedling establishment, vegetative growth and finally reproduction. Because of their immobile nature, plants have evolved mechanisms to sense and respond to salt stress. Seed dormancy is an adaptive trait that enables seed germination to coincide with favorable environmental conditions. We identified a novel locus of Arabidopsis, designated SHG1 (salt hypersensitive germination 1), whose disruption leads to reduced germination rate under moderate salt stress conditions. SHG1 encodes a transmembrane protein with an ankyrin repeat motif that has been implicated in diverse cellular processes such as signal transduction. The SGH1-disrupted Arabidopsis mutant died at the cotyledon stage when sown on salt-containing medium, although wild type plants could form true leaves under the same conditions. On the other hand, this mutant showed similar phenotypes to wild type plants when sown on medium without salt and transferred to salt-containing medium at the vegetative stage. These results suggested that SHG1 played indispensable role in the seed germination and seedling establishment under moderate salt stress conditions. SHG1 may be involved in the release of seed dormancy.

Keywords: germination, ankyrin repeat, arabidopsis, salt tolerance

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12 Treatments for Overcoming Dormancy of Leucaena Seeds (Leucaena leucocephala)

Authors: Tiago Valente, Erico Lima, Bruno Deminicis, Andreia Cezario, Wallacy Santos, Fabiane Brito


Introduction: The Leucaena leucocephala known as leucaena is a perennial legume shrub of subtropical regions in which the forage shows favorable characteristics for livestock production. The objective of the study was to evaluate the influence of methods for overcoming dormancy the seeds of Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.). Materials and Methods: The number of germinated seeds was evaluated daily at the germination criterion radicle protrusion (growth, with about 2 cm long, the emerged seedlings of all). After the counting of the number of germinated seeds daily, the following characteristics were evaluated: Step 1: Germination count which represents the cumulative percentage of germinated seeds on the third day after the start of the test (Germ3); Step 2: Percentage of germinated seeds that correspond to the total percentage of seeds that germinate until the a seventh day after start of the test (Germ7); Step 3: Percentage of germinated seeds that correspond to the total percentage of seeds that germinate until the fifteenth day after start of the test (Germ15);Step 4: Germination speed index (GSI), which was calculated with number of germinated seeds to the nth observation; divided by number of days after sowing. Step 5: Total count of seeds do not germinate after 15 days (NGerm).The seed treatments were: (T1) water at 100 ºC/10 min; (T2) water at 100 ºC/1 min; (T3) Acetone (10 min); (T4) Ethyl alcohol (10 minutes); and (T5) intact seeds (control). Data were analyzed using a completely randomized design with eight replications, and it was adopted the Tukey test at 5% significance level. Results and Discussion: The treatment T1, had the highest speed of germination of seeds GSI, differed (P < 0.05). The T5 treatment (control) was the slowest response, between treatments until the seventh day after the beginning of the test (Germ7), with an amount of 20% accumulation of germinated seeds. The worst result of germination it was T5, with 30% of non-germinated seeds after 15 days of sowing. Acknowledgments: IFGoiano and CNPq (Brazil).

Keywords: acetone, boiling water, germination, seed physiology

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11 Comparative Germination Studies in Mature Seeds of Haloxylon Salicornicum

Authors: Laila Almulla


As native plants are better adapted to the local environment, can endure long spells of drought, withstand high soil salinity levels and provide a more natural effect to landscape projects, their use in landscape projects are gaining popularity. Standardization of seed germination methods and raising the hardened plants of selected native plants for their use in landscape projects will both conserve natural resources and produce sustainable greenery. In the present study, Haloxylon salicornicum, a perennial herb with a potential use for urban greenery was selected for seed germination tests as there is an urgent need to mass multiply them for their large-scale use. Among the nine treatments tried with different concentrations of gibberelic acid (GA3) and dry heat, the seeds responded with treatments when the wings were removed. The control as well as 250 GA3 treatments produced the maximum germination of 86%.

Keywords: dormancy, gibberelic acid, germination trays , vigor index

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10 Anthropology of Women and War (1979-1988) in Iran: The Role of Islamic Republic Media

Authors: Mina Dousti


Like many women worldwide, and especially those living in the Middle East, Iranian women are struggling to have equal rights as men. The Islamic Republic regime, established in 1979, made this path even more difficult for Iranian women. Media and the Islamic Republic's powerful propaganda are the main factors and advertisers in omitting women's social rights and civic activities. Also, the hijab (veil), which became obligatory immediately after the revolution based on the Qur'an and religious Hadiths, was another way of suppressing women. Since the Islamic Republic Revolution and the following Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), the Iranian female community has been experiencing different social and legal challenges. Aside from the Islamic regime's role in ignoring women, their families have also contributed to this limitation via unreasonable zeals and religious prejudices. Subsequently, all these factors led to pushing Iranian women to the corner and public dormancy. During the eight-year war, many Iranian women directly participated in the war front line. Although they became martyred, the regime intentionally ignored their public presence employing Islamic justifications and Sharia as an excuse. The government did these actions to justify censorship and unfairness toward women.

Keywords: Iranian women, Islamic Republic Regime, hijab, revolution, Iran-Iraq war, Martyr

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9 Refinement of Existing Benzthiazole lead Targeting Lysine Aminotransferase in Dormant Stage of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Authors: R. Reshma srilakshmi, S. Shalini, P. Yogeeswari, D. Sriram


Lysine aminotransferase is a crucial enzyme for dormancy in M. tuberculosis. It is involved in persistence and antibiotic resistance. In present work, we attempted to develop benzthiazole derivatives as lysine aminotransferase inhibitors. In our attempts, we also unexpectedly arrived at an interesting compound 21 (E)-4-(5-(2-(benzo[d]thiazol-2-yl)-2-cyanovinyl)thiophen-2-yl)benzoic acid which even though has moderate activity against persistent phase of mycobacterium, it has significant potency against active phase. In the entire series compound 22 (E)-4-(5-(2-(benzo[d]thiazol-2-yl)-2-cyanovinyl)thiophen-2-yl)isophthalic acid emerged as potent molecule with LAT IC50 of 2.62 µM. It has a significant log reduction of 2.9 and 2.3 fold against nutrient starved and biofilm forming mycobacteria. It was found to be inactive in MABA assay and M.marinum induced zebra fish model. It is also devoid of cytotoxicity. Compound 22 was also found to possess bactericidal effect which is independent of concentration and time. It was found to be effective in combination with Rifampicin in 3D granuloma model. The results are very encouraging as the hit molecule shows activity against active as well as persistent forms of tuberculosis. The identified hit needs further more pharmacokinetic and dynamic screening for development as new drug candidate.

Keywords: benzothiazole, latent tuberculosis, LAT, nutrient starvation

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8 Relationship between Chlorophyl Content and Calculated Index Values of Citrus Trees

Authors: Namik Kemal Sonmez


Based passive remote sensing technologies have been widely used in many plant species. However, use of these techniques in orange trees is limited. In this study, the relationships between chlorophyll content (Chl) and calculated red edge (RE) and vegetation index values of the citrus leave at different growth stages were formed the basis for the analysis. Canopy reflectance by hand-held spectroradiometer and total Chl analysis at the lab were measured simultaneously, from the random samples taken from four different parts of an orange orchard. Plant materials consisted of four different age groups of 15, 20, 25, and 30 years old orange trees. Reflectance measurements were conducted between 450 and 900 nanometer (nm) wavelength at four different bands (3 visible bands and 1 near-infrared band) at the four basic physiological periods (flowering, fruit setting, fruit maturity, and dormancy) of orange trees. According to the statistical analysis conducted, there was a strong relationship between the chlorophyll content and calculated indexes (p ≤ 0.01; R²= 0.925 at red edge and R²= 0.986 at vegetation index) at the fruit setting stage of 20 years old trees. Again at this stage, fruit setting, total Chl content values among all orange trees were significantly correlated at the RE and VI with the R² values of 0.672 and 0.635 at the 0.001 level, respectively. This indicated that the relationships between Chl content and index values were very strong at this stage, in comparison to the other stages.

Keywords: spectroradiometer, citrus, chlorophyll, reflectance, index

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7 Design and Identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Glutamate Racemase (MurI) Inhibitors

Authors: Prasanthi Malapati, R. Reshma, Vijay Soni, Perumal Yogeeswari, Dharmarajan Sriram


In the present study, we attempted to develop Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) inhibitors by exploring the pharmaceutically underexploited enzyme targets which are majorly involved in cell wall biosynthesis of mycobacteria. For this purpose, glutamate racemase (coded by MurI gene) was selected. This enzyme racemize L-glutamate to D-glutamate required for the construction of peptidoglycan in the bacterial cell wall synthesis process. Furthermore this enzyme is neither expressed nor its product, D-glutamate is normally found in mammals, and hence designing inhibitors against this enzyme will not affect the host system as well act as potential antitubercular drugs. A library of BITS in house compounds were screened against Mtb MurI enzyme. Based on docking score, interactions and synthetic feasibility one hit lead was identified. Further optimization of lead was attempted and its derivatives were synthesized. Forty eight derivatives of 2-phenylbenzo[d]oxazole and 2-phenylbenzo[d]thiazole were synthesized and evaluated for Mtb MurI inhibition study, in vitro activities against Mtb, cytotoxicity against RAW 264.7 cell line. Chemical derivatization of the lead resulted in compounds NR-1213 AND NR-1124 as the potent M. tuberculosis glutamate racemase inhibitors with IC50 of 4-5µM which are remarkable and were found to be non-cytotoxic. Molecular dynamics, dormant models and cardiotoxicity studies of the most active molecules are in process.

Keywords: cell wall biosynthesis, dormancy, glutamate racemase, tuberculosis

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6 Acacia mearnsii De Wild-A New Scourge on Cork Oak Forests of El Kala National Park (North-Eastern Algeria)

Authors: Samir Chekchaki, ArifaBeddiar


Nowadays, more and more species are introduced outside their natural range. If most of them remain difficult, some may adopt a much more dynamic behavior. Indeed, we have witnessed in recent decades, the development of high forests of Acacia mearnsii in El Kala National Park. Introduced indefinitely, this leguminous intended to make money (nitrogen supply for industrial plantations of Eucalyptus), became one of the most invasive and more costly in terms of forest management. It has crossed all barriers: it has acclimatized, naturalized and then expanded through diverse landscapes; entry into competition with native species such as cork oak and altered ecosystem functioning. Therefore, it is interesting to analyze this new threat by relying on plants as bio-indicator for assessing biodiversity at different scales. We have identified the species present in several plots distributed in a range of vegetation types subjected to different degrees of disturbance by using the braun-blanquet method. Fifty-six species have been recorded. They are distributed in 48 genera and 29 families. The analysis of the relative frequency of species correlated with relative abundance clearly shows that the Acacia mearnsii feels marginalized. The ecological analysis of this biological invasion shows that disruption of either natural or anthropogenic origin (fire, prolonged drought, cut) represent the factors that exacerbate invasion by opening invasion windows. The lifting of seeds of Acacia mearnsii lasting physical dormancy (and variable) is ensured by the thermal shock in relation to its heliophilous character.

Keywords: Acacia mearnsii De Wild, El Kala National park, fire, invasive, vegetation

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5 Standardization of Propagation Techniques in Selected Native Plants of Kuwait

Authors: Laila Almulla, Narayana Bhat, Majda Suleiman, Sheena Jacob


Biodiversity conservation has become one of the challenging priorities to combat species extinction for many countries, including the state of Kuwait. Since native plants are better adapted to the local environment, can endure long spells of drought, withstand high soil salinity levels and provide a more natural effect to landscape projects, their use will both conserve natural resources and produce sustainable greenery. When native plants are properly blended with naturalized exotic ornamental plants in a landscape, they can improve social and cultural benefits. Screening of exotic and native plants in Kuwait during the past two decades has led to the selection of some very promising plants. Continuation of evaluation of additional native and exotic plants is essential to increase diversity of plant resources for greenery projects. Therefore, an effort was made to evaluate further native plants for their suitability for greenery applications. In the present study, various treatments were used to mass multiply selected plants using seeds to secure maximum germination. Seeds were subjected to nine treatments, and each treatment was replicated five times with ten seeds per treatment unit. After the treatment, the seeds of Zygophyllum qatarense were incubated at 30 °C, three lights for 12 h, at 40% humidity; where as the seeds of Haloxylon salicornicum were incubated at 22 °C with continuous light, at 40% humidity. Soaking in 250-ppm GA3 resulted in highest germination percentage of 20% in Zygophyllum qatarense and, Soaking in 500-ppm GA3 resulted in 6% germination in Haloxylon salicornicum. Germination of the viable seeds is influenced by various external and internal factors, seed must not be in a state of dormancy and the environmental requirements for germination of that seed must be met, before germination can occur.

Keywords: landscape, native plants, revegetation, seed germination

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4 Empirical Measures to Enhance Germination Potential and Control Browning of Tissue Cultures of Andrographis paniculata

Authors: Nidhi Jindal, Ashok Chaudhury, Manisha Mangal


Andrographis paniculata, (Burm f.) Wallich ex. Nees (Family Acanthaceae) popularly known as King of Bitters, is an important medicinal herb. It has an astonishingly wide range of medicinal properties such as anti-inflammatory,antidiarrhoeal, antiviral, antimalarial, hepatoprotective, cardiovascular, anticancer, and immunostimulatory activities. It is widely cultivated in southern Asia. Though propagation of this herb generally occurs through seeds, it has many germination problems which intrigued scientists to work out on the alternative techniques for its mass production. The potential of tissue culture techniques as an alternative tool for AP multiplication was found to be promising. However, the high mortality rate of explants caused by phenolic browning of explants is one of the difficulties reported. Low multiplication rates were reported in the proliferation phase, as well as cultures decline characterized by leaf fall and loss of overall vigor. In view of above problems, a study was undertaken to overcome seed dormancy to improve germination potential and to investigate further on the possible means for successful proliferation of cultures via preventive approaches to overcome failures caused by phenolic browning. Experiments were conducted to improve germination potential and among all the chemical and mechanical trials, scarification of seeds with sand paper proved to be the best method to enhance the germination potential (82.44%) within 7 days. Similarly, several pretreatments and media combinations were tried to overcome browning of explants leading to the conclusion that addition of 0.1% citric acid and 0.2% of ascorbic acid in the media followed by rapid sub culturing of explants controlled browning and decline of explants by 67.45%.

Keywords: plant tissue culture, empirical measure, germination, tissue culture

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3 The Epidemiology of Dengue in Taiwan during 2014-15: A Descriptive Analysis of the Severe Outbreaks of Central Surveillance System Data

Authors: Chu-Tzu Chen, Angela S. Huang, Yu-Min Chou, Chin-Hui Yang


Dengue is a major public health concern throughout tropical and sub-tropical regions. Taiwan is located in the Pacific Ocean and overlying the tropical and subtropical zones. The island remains humid throughout the year and receives abundant rainfall, and the temperature is very hot in summer at southern Taiwan. It is ideal for the growth of dengue vectors and would be increasing the risk on dengue outbreaks. During the first half of the 20th century, there were three island-wide dengue outbreaks (1915, 1931, and 1942). After almost forty years of dormancy, a DEN-2 outbreak occurred in Liuchiu Township, Pingtung County in 1981. Thereafter, more dengue outbreaks occurred with different scales in southern Taiwan. However, there were more than ten thousands of dengue cases in 2014 and in 2015. It did not only affect human health, but also caused widespread social disruption and economic losses. The study would like to reveal the epidemiology of dengue on Taiwan, especially the severe outbreak in 2015, and try to find the effective interventions in dengue control including dengue vaccine development for the elderly. Methods: The study applied the Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System database of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control as data source. All cases were reported with the uniform case definition and confirmed by NS1 rapid diagnosis/laboratory diagnosis. Results: In 2014, Taiwan experienced a serious DEN-1 outbreak with 15,492 locally-acquired cases, including 136 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) which caused 21 deaths. However, a more serious DEN-2 outbreak occurred with 43,419 locally-acquired cases in 2015. The epidemic occurred mainly at Tainan City (22,760 cases) and Kaohsiung City (19,723 cases) in southern Taiwan. The age distribution for the cases were mainly adults. There were 228 deaths due to dengue infection, and the case fatality rate was 5.25 ‰. The average age of them was 73.66 years (range 29-96) and 86.84% of them were older than 60 years. Most of them were comorbidities. To review the clinical manifestations of the 228 death cases, 38.16% (N=87) of them were reported with warning signs, while 51.75% (N=118) were reported without warning signs. Among the 87 death cases reported to dengue with warning signs, 89.53% were diagnosed sever dengue and 84% needed the intensive care. Conclusion: The year 2015 was characterized by large dengue outbreaks worldwide. The risk of serious dengue outbreak may increase significantly in the future, and the elderly is the vulnerable group in Taiwan. However, a dengue vaccine has been licensed for use in people 9-45 years of age living in endemic settings at the end of 2015. In addition to carry out the research to find out new interventions in dengue control, developing the dengue vaccine for the elderly is very important to prevent severe dengue and deaths.

Keywords: case fatality rate, dengue, dengue vaccine, the elderly

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2 Human Beta Defensin 1 as Potential Antimycobacterial Agent against Active and Dormant Tubercle Bacilli

Authors: Richa Sharma, Uma Nahar, Sadhna Sharma, Indu Verma


Counteracting the deadly pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb) effectively is still a global challenge. Scrutinizing alternative weapons like antimicrobial peptides to strengthen existing tuberculosis artillery is urgently required. Considering the antimycobacterial potential of Human Beta Defensin 1 (HBD-1) along with isoniazid, the present study was designed to explore the ability of HBD-1 to act against active and dormant M. tb. HBD-1 was screened in silico using antimicrobial peptide prediction servers to identify its short antimicrobial motif. The activity of both HBD-1 and its selected motif (Pep B) was determined at different concentrations against actively growing M. tb in vitro and ex vivo in monocyte derived macrophages (MDMs). Log phase M. tb was grown along with HBD-1 and Pep B for 7 days. M. tb infected MDMs were treated with HBD-1 and Pep B for 72 hours. Thereafter, colony forming unit (CFU) enumeration was performed to determine activity of both peptides against actively growing in vitro and intracellular M. tb. The dormant M. tb models were prepared by following two approaches and treated with different concentrations of HBD-1 and Pep B. Firstly, 20-22 days old M. tbH37Rv was grown in potassium deficient Sauton media for 35 days. The presence of dormant bacilli was confirmed by Nile red staining. Dormant bacilli were further treated with rifampicin, isoniazid, HBD-1 and its motif for 7 days. The effect of both peptides on latent bacilli was assessed by colony forming units (CFU) and most probable number (MPN) enumeration. Secondly, human PBMC granuloma model was prepared by infecting PBMCs seeded on collagen matrix with M. tb(MOI 0.1) for 10 days. Histopathology was done to confirm granuloma formation. The granuloma thus formed was incubated for 72 hours with rifampicin, HBD-1 and Pep B individually. Difference in bacillary load was determined by CFU enumeration. The minimum inhibitory concentrations of HBD-1 and Pep B restricting growth of mycobacteria in vitro were 2μg/ml and 20μg/ml respectively. The intracellular mycobacterial load was reduced significantly by HBD-1 and Pep B at 1μg/ml and 5μg/ml respectively. Nile red positive bacterial population, high MPN/ low CFU count and tolerance to isoniazid, confirmed the formation of potassium deficienybaseddormancy model. HBD-1 (8μg/ml) showed 96% and 99% killing and Pep B (40μg/ml) lowered dormant bacillary load by 68.89% and 92.49% based on CFU and MPN enumeration respectively. Further, H&E stained aggregates of macrophages and lymphocytes, acid fast bacilli surrounded by cellular aggregates and rifampicin resistance, indicated the formation of human granuloma dormancy model. HBD-1 (8μg/ml) led to 81.3% reduction in CFU whereas its motif Pep B (40μg/ml) showed only 54.66% decrease in bacterial load inside granuloma. Thus, the present study indicated that HBD-1 and its motif are effective antimicrobial players against both actively growing and dormant M. tb. They should be further explored to tap their potential to design a powerful weapon for combating tuberculosis.

Keywords: antimicrobial peptides, dormant, human beta defensin 1, tuberculosis

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1 Developing a High Performance Cement Based Material: The Influence of Silica Fume and Organosilane

Authors: Andrea Cretu, Calin Cadar, Maria Miclaus, Lucian Barbu-Tudoran, Siegfried Stapf, Ioan Ardelean


Additives and mineral admixtures have become an integral part of cement-based materials. It is common practice to add silica fume to cement based mixes in order to produce high-performance concrete. There is still a lack of scientific understanding regarding the effects that silica fume has on the microstructure of hydrated cement paste. The aim of the current study is to develop high-performance materials with low permeability and high resistance to flexural stress using silica fume and an organosilane. Organosilane bonds with cement grains and silica fume, influencing both the workability and the final properties of the mix, especially the pore size distributions and pore connectivity. Silica fume is a known pozzolanic agent which reacts with the calcium hydroxide in hydrated cement paste, producing more C-S-H and improving the mechanical properties of the mix. It is believed that particles of silica fume act as capillary pore fillers and nucleation centers for C-S-H and other hydration products. In order to be able to design cement-based materials with added silica fume and organosilane, it is necessary first to understand the formation of the porous network during hydration and to observe the distribution of pores and their connectivity. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods in low-fields are non-destructive and allow the study of cement-based materials from the standpoint of their porous structure. Other methods, such as XRD and SEM-EDS, help create a comprehensive picture of the samples, along with the classic mechanical tests (compressive and flexural strength measurements). The transverse relaxation time (T₂) was measured during the hydration of 16 samples prepared with two water/cement ratios (0.3 and 0.4) and different concentrations or organosilane (APTES, up to 2% by mass of cement) and silica fume (up to 6%). After their hydration, the pore size distribution was assessed using the same NMR approach on the samples filled with cyclohexane. The SEM-EDS and XRD measurements were applied on pieces and powders prepared from the samples that were used in mechanical testing, which were kept under water for 28 days. Adding silica fume does not influence the hydration dynamics of cement paste, while the addition of organosilane extends the dormancy stage up to 10 hours. The size distribution of the capillary pores is not influenced by the addition of silica fume or organosilane, while the connectivity of capillary pores is decreased only when there is organosilane in the mix. No filling effect is observed even at the highest concentration of silica fume. There is an apparent increase in flexural strength of samples prepared only with silica fume and a decrease for those prepared with organosilane, with a few exceptions. XRD reveals that the pozzolanic reactivity of silica fume can only be observed when there is no organosilane present and the SEM-EDS method reveals the pore distribution, as well as hydration products and the presence or absence of calcium hydroxide. The current work was funded by the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, CNCS – UEFISCDI, through project PN-III-P2-2.1-PED-2016-0719.

Keywords: cement hydration, concrete admixtures, NMR, organosilane, porosity, silica fume

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