Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 1652

Search results for: molecular topology

32 Genomic and Proteomic Variability in Glycine Max Genotypes in Response to Salt Stress

Authors: Faheema Khan

Abstract:

To investigate the ability of sensitive and tolerant genotype of Glycine max to adapt to a saline environment in a field, we examined the growth performance, water relation and activities of antioxidant enzymes in relation to photosynthetic rate, chlorophyll a fluorescence, photosynthetic pigment concentration, protein and proline in plants exposed to salt stress. Ten soybean genotypes (Pusa-20, Pusa-40, Pusa-37, Pusa-16, Pusa-24, Pusa-22, BRAGG, PK-416, PK-1042, and DS-9712) were selected and grown hydroponically. After 3 days of proper germination, the seedlings were transferred to Hoagland’s solution (Hoagland and Arnon 1950). The growth chamber was maintained at a photosynthetic photon flux density of 430 μmol m−2 s−1, 14 h of light, 10 h of dark and a relative humidity of 60%. The nutrient solution was bubbled with sterile air and changed on alternate days. Ten-day-old seedlings were given seven levels of salt in the form of NaCl viz., T1 = 0 mM NaCl, T2=25 mM NaCl, T3=50 mM NaCl, T4=75 mM NaCl, T5=100 mM NaCl, T6=125 mM NaCl, T7=150 mM NaCl. The investigation showed that genotype Pusa-24, PK-416 and Pusa-20 appeared to be the most salt-sensitive. genotypes as inferred from their significantly reduced length, fresh weight and dry weight in response to the NaCl exposure. Pusa-37 appeared to be the most tolerant genotype since no significant effect of NaCl treatment on growth was found. We observed a greater decline in the photosynthetic variables like photosynthetic rate, chlorophyll fluorescence and chlorophyll content, in salt-sensitive (Pusa-24) genotype than in salt-tolerant Pusa-37 under high salinity. Numerous primers were verified on ten soybean genotypes obtained from Operon technologies among which 30 RAPD primers shown high polymorphism and genetic variation. The Jaccard’s similarity coefficient values for each pairwise comparison between cultivars were calculated and similarity coefficient matrix was constructed. The closer varieties in the cluster behaved similar in their response to salinity tolerance. Intra-clustering within the two clusters precisely grouped the 10 genotypes in sub-cluster as expected from their physiological findings.Salt tolerant genotype Pusa-37, was further analysed by 2-Dimensional gel electrophoresis to analyse the differential expression of proteins at high salt stress. In the Present study, 173 protein spots were identified. Of these, 40 proteins responsive to salinity were either up- or down-regulated in Pusa-37. Proteomic analysis in salt-tolerant genotype (Pusa-37) led to the detection of proteins involved in a variety of biological processes, such as protein synthesis (12 %), redox regulation (19 %), primary and secondary metabolism (25 %), or disease- and defence-related processes (32 %). In conclusion, the soybean plants in our study responded to salt stress by changing their protein expression pattern. The photosynthetic, biochemical and molecular study showed that there is variability in salt tolerance behaviour in soybean genotypes. Pusa-24 is the salt-sensitive and Pusa-37 is the salt-tolerant genotype. Moreover this study gives new insights into the salt-stress response in soybean and demonstrates the power of genomic and proteomic approach in plant biology studies which finally could help us in identifying the possible regulatory switches (gene/s) controlling the salt tolerant genotype of the crop plants and their possible role in defence mechanism.

Keywords: Salt Stress, glycine max, RAPD, genomic and proteomic variability

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31 Possible Involvement of DNA-methyltransferase and Histone Deacetylase in the Regulation of Virulence Potential of Acanthamoeba castellanii

Authors: Yi H. Wong, Li L. Chan, Chee O. Leong, Stephen Ambu, Joon W. Mak, Priyadashi S. Sahu

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Background: Acanthamoeba is a free-living opportunistic protist which is ubiquitously distributed in the environment. Virulent Acanthamoeba can cause fatal encephalitis in immunocompromised patients and potential blinding keratitis in immunocompetent contact lens wearers. Approximately 24 species have been identified but only the A. castellanii, A. polyphaga and A. culbertsoni are commonly associated with human infections. Until to date, the precise molecular basis for Acanthamoeba pathogenesis remains unclear. Previous studies reported that Acanthamoeba virulence can be diminished through prolonged axenic culture but revived through serial mouse passages. As no clear explanation on this reversible pathogenesis is established, hereby, we postulate that the epigenetic regulators, DNA-methyltransferases (DNMT) and histone-deacetylases (HDAC), could possibly be involved in granting the virulence plasticity of Acanthamoeba spp. Methods: Four rounds of mouse passages were conducted to revive the virulence potential of the virulence-attenuated Acanthamoeba castellanii strain (ATCC 50492). Briefly, each mouse (n=6/group) was inoculated intraperitoneally with Acanthamoebae cells (2x 105 trophozoites/mouse) and incubated for 2 months. Acanthamoebae cells were isolated from infected mouse organs by culture method and subjected to subsequent mouse passage. In vitro cytopathic, encystment and gelatinolytic assays were conducted to evaluate the virulence characteristics of Acanthamoebae isolates for each passage. PCR primers which targeted on the 2 members (DNMT1 and DNMT2) and 5 members (HDAC1 to 5) of the DNMT and HDAC gene families respectively were custom designed. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) was performed to detect and quantify the relative expression of the two gene families in each Acanthamoeba isolates. Beta-tubulin of A. castellanii (Genbank accession no: XP_004353728) was included as housekeeping gene for data normalisation. PCR mixtures were also analyzed by electrophoresis for amplicons detection. All statistical analyses were performed using the paired one-tailed Student’s t test. Results: Our pathogenicity tests showed that the virulence-reactivated Acanthamoeba had a higher degree of cytopathic effect on vero cells, a better resistance to encystment challenge and a higher gelatinolytic activity which was catalysed by serine protease. qPCR assay showed that DNMT1 expression was significantly higher in the virulence-reactivated compared to the virulence-attenuated Acanthamoeba strain (p ≤ 0.01). The specificity of primers which targeted on DNMT1 was confirmed by sequence analysis of PCR amplicons, which showed a 97% similarity to the published DNA-methyltransferase gene of A. castellanii (GenBank accession no: XM_004332804.1). Out of the five primer pairs which targeted on the HDAC family genes, only HDAC4 expression was significantly difference between the two variant strains. In contrast to DNMT1, HDAC4 expression was much higher in the virulence-attenuated Acanthamoeba strain. Conclusion: Our mouse passages had successfully restored the virulence of the attenuated strain. Our findings suggested that DNA-methyltransferase (DNMT1) and histone deacetylase (HDAC4) expressions are associated with virulence potential of Acanthamoeba spp.

Keywords: Acanthamoeba, DNA-methyltransferase, histone deacetylase, virulence-associated proteins

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30 Quantum Dots Incorporated in Biomembrane Models for Cancer Marker

Authors: Thiago E. Goto, Carla C. Lopes, Helena B. Nader, Anielle C. A. Silva, Noelio O. Dantas, José R. Siqueira Jr., Luciano Caseli

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Quantum dots (QD) are semiconductor nanocrystals that can be employed in biological research as a tool for fluorescence imagings, having the potential to expand in vivo and in vitro analysis as cancerous cell biomarkers. Particularly, cadmium selenide (CdSe) magic-sized quantum dots (MSQDs) exhibit stable luminescence that is feasible for biological applications, especially for imaging of tumor cells. For these facts, it is interesting to know the mechanisms of action of how such QDs mark biological cells. For that, simplified models are a suitable strategy. Among these models, Langmuir films of lipids formed at the air-water interface seem to be adequate since they can mimic half a membrane. They are monomolecular films formed at liquid-gas interfaces that can spontaneously form when organic solutions of amphiphilic compounds are spread on the liquid-gas interface. After solvent evaporation, the monomolecular film is formed, and a variety of techniques, including tensiometric, spectroscopic and optic can be applied. When the monolayer is formed by membrane lipids at the air-water interface, a model for half a membrane can be inferred where the aqueous subphase serve as a model for external or internal compartment of the cell. These films can be transferred to solid supports forming the so-called Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) films, and an ampler variety of techniques can be additionally used to characterize the film, allowing for the formation of devices and sensors. With these ideas in mind, the objective of this work was to investigate the specific interactions of CdSe MSQDs with tumorigenic and non-tumorigenic cells using Langmuir monolayers and LB films of lipids and specific cell extracts as membrane models for diagnosis of cancerous cells. Surface pressure-area isotherms and polarization modulation reflection-absorption spectroscopy (PM-IRRAS) showed an intrinsic interaction between the quantum dots, inserted in the aqueous subphase, and Langmuir monolayers, constructed either of selected lipids or of non-tumorigenic and tumorigenic cells extracts. The quantum dots expanded the monolayers and changed the PM-IRRAS spectra for the lipid monolayers. The mixed films were then compressed to high surface pressures and transferred from the floating monolayer to solid supports by using the LB technique. Images of the films were then obtained with atomic force microscopy (AFM) and confocal microscopy, which provided information about the morphology of the films. Similarities and differences between films with different composition representing cell membranes, with or without CdSe MSQDs, was analyzed. The results indicated that the interaction of quantum dots with the bioinspired films is modulated by the lipid composition. The properties of the normal cell monolayer were not significantly altered, whereas for the tumorigenic cell monolayer models, the films presented significant alteration. The images therefore exhibited a stronger effect of CdSe MSQDs on the models representing cancerous cells. As important implication of these findings, one may envisage for new bioinspired surfaces based on molecular recognition for biomedical applications.

Keywords: Quantum Dots, Surfaces, biomembrane, langmuir monolayers

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29 Role of Functional Divergence in Specific Inhibitor Design: Using γ-Glutamyltranspeptidase (GGT) as a Model Protein

Authors: Ved Vrat Verma, Rani Gupta, Manisha Goel

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γ-glutamyltranspeptidase (GGT: EC 2.3.2.2) is an N-terminal nucleophile hydrolase conserved in all three domains of life. GGT plays a key role in glutathione metabolism where it catalyzes the breakage of the γ-glutamyl bonds and transfer of γ-glutamyl group to water (hydrolytic activity) or amino acids or short peptides (transpeptidase activity). GGTs from bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes (human, rat and mouse) are homologous proteins sharing >50% sequence similarity and conserved four layered αββα sandwich like three dimensional structural fold. These proteins though similar in their structure to each other, are quite diverse in their enzyme activity: some GGTs are better at hydrolysis reactions but poor in transpeptidase activity, whereas many others may show opposite behaviour. GGT is known to be involved in various diseases like asthma, parkinson, arthritis, and gastric cancer. Its inhibition prior to chemotherapy treatments has been shown to sensitize tumours to the treatment. Microbial GGT is known to be a virulence factor too, important for the colonization of bacteria in host. However, all known inhibitors (mimics of its native substrate, glutamate) are highly toxic because they interfere with other enzyme pathways. However, a few successful efforts have been reported previously in designing species specific inhibitors. We aim to leverage the diversity seen in GGT family (pathogen vs. eukaryotes) for designing specific inhibitors. Thus, in the present study, we have used DIVERGE software to identify sites in GGT proteins, which are crucial for the functional and structural divergence of these proteins. Since, type II divergence sites vary in clade specific manner, so type II divergent sites were our focus of interest throughout the study. Type II divergent sites were identified for pathogen vs. eukaryotes clusters and sites were marked on clade specific representative structures HpGGT (2QM6) and HmGGT (4ZCG) of pathogen and eukaryotes clade respectively. The crucial divergent sites within 15 A radii of the binding cavity were highlighted, and in-silico mutations were performed on these sites to delineate the role of these sites on the mechanism of catalysis and protein folding. Further, the amino acid network (AAN) analysis was also performed by Cytoscape to delineate assortative mixing for cavity divergent sites which could strengthen our hypothesis. Additionally, molecular dynamics simulations were performed for wild complexes and mutant complexes close to physiological conditions (pH 7.0, 0.1 M ionic strength and 1 atm pressure) and the role of putative divergence sites and structural integrities of the homologous proteins have been analysed. The dynamics data were scrutinized in terms of RMSD, RMSF, non-native H-bonds and salt bridges. The RMSD, RMSF fluctuations of proteins complexes are compared, and the changes at protein ligand binding sites were highlighted. The outcomes of our study highlighted some crucial divergent sites which could be used for novel inhibitors designing in a species-specific manner. Since, for drug development, it is challenging to design novel drug by targeting similar protein which exists in eukaryotes, so this study could set up an initial platform to overcome this challenge and help to deduce the more effective targets for novel drug discovery.

Keywords: Drug Design, divergence, species-specific, γ-glutamyltranspeptidase

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28 A Next-Generation Pin-On-Plate Tribometer for Use in Arthroplasty Material Performance Research

Authors: Lewis J. Woollin, Robert I. Davidson, Paul Watson, Philip J. Hyde

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Introduction: In-vitro testing of arthroplasty materials is of paramount importance when ensuring that they can withstand the performance requirements encountered in-vivo. One common machine used for in-vitro testing is a pin-on-plate tribometer, an early stage screening device that generates data on the wear characteristics of arthroplasty bearing materials. These devices test vertically loaded rotating cylindrical pins acting against reciprocating plates, representing the bearing surfaces. In this study, a pin-on-plate machine has been developed that provides several improvements over current technology, thereby progressing arthroplasty bearing research. Historically, pin-on-plate tribometers have been used to investigate the performance of arthroplasty bearing materials under conditions commonly encountered during a standard gait cycle; nominal operating pressures of 2-6 MPa and an operating frequency of 1 Hz are typical. There has been increased interest in using pin-on-plate machines to test more representative in-vivo conditions, due to the drive to test 'beyond compliance', as well as their testing speed and economic advantages over hip simulators. Current pin-on-plate machines do not accommodate the increased performance requirements associated with more extreme kinematic conditions, therefore a next-generation pin-on-plate tribometer has been developed to bridge the gap between current technology and future research requirements. Methodology: The design was driven by several physiologically relevant requirements. Firstly, an increased loading capacity was essential to replicate the peak pressures that occur in the natural hip joint during running and chair-rising, as well as increasing the understanding of wear rates in obese patients. Secondly, the introduction of mid-cycle load variation was of paramount importance, as this allows for an approximation of the loads present in a gait cycle to be applied and to test the fatigue properties of materials. Finally, the rig must be validated against previous-generation pin-on-plate and arthroplasty wear data. Results: The resulting machine is a twelve station device that is split into three sets of four stations, providing an increased testing capacity compared to most current pin-on-plate tribometers. The loading of the pins is generated using a pneumatic system, which can produce contact pressures of up to 201 MPa on a 3.2 mm² round pin face. This greatly exceeds currently achievable contact pressures in literature and opens new research avenues such as testing rim wear of mal-positioned hip implants. Additionally, the contact pressure of each set can be changed independently of the others, allowing multiple loading conditions to be tested simultaneously. Using pneumatics also allows the applied pressure to be switched ON/OFF mid-cycle, another feature not currently reported elsewhere, which allows for investigation into intermittent loading and material fatigue. The device is currently undergoing a series of validation tests using Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight-Polyethylene pins and 316L Stainless Steel Plates (polished to a Ra < 0.05 µm). The operating pressures will be between 2-6 MPa, operating at 1 Hz, allowing for validation of the machine against results reported previously in the literature. The successful production of this next-generation pin-on-plate tribometer will, following its validation, unlock multiple previously unavailable research avenues.

Keywords: Arthroplasty, Mechanical Design, pin-on-plate, total joint replacement, wear testing

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27 Structural Fluxionality of Luminescent Coordination Compounds with Lanthanide Ions

Authors: Juliana A. B. Silva, Caio H. T. L. Albuquerque, Leonardo L. dos Santos, Cristiane K. Oliveira, Ivani Malvestiti, Fernando Hallwass, Ricardo L. Longo

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Complexes with lanthanide ions have been extensively studied due to their applications as luminescent, magnetic and catalytic materials as molecular or extended crystals, thin films, glasses, polymeric matrices, ionic liquids, and in solution. NMR chemical shift data in solution have been reported and suggest fluxional structures in a wide range of coordination compounds with rare earth ions. However, the fluxional mechanisms for these compounds are still not established. This structural fluxionality may affect the photophysical, catalytic and magnetic properties in solution. Thus, understanding the structural interconversion mechanisms may aid the design of coordination compounds with, for instance, improved (electro)luminescence, catalytic and magnetic behaviors. The [Eu(btfa)₃bipy] complex, where btfa= 4,4,4-trifluoro-1-phenyl-1,3-butanedionate and bipy= 2,2’-bipiridyl, has a well-defined X-ray crystallographic structure and preliminary 1H NMR data suggested a structural fluxionality. Thus, we have investigated a series of coordination compounds with lanthanide ions [Ln(btfa)₃L], where Ln = La, Eu, Gd or Yb and L= bipy or phen (phen=1,10-phenanthroline) using a combined theoretical-experimental approach. These complexes were synthesized and fully characterized, and detailed NMR measurements were obtained. They were also studied by quantum chemical computational methods (DFT-PBE0). The aim was to determine the relevant factors in the structure of these compounds that favor or not the fluxional behavior. Measurements of the 1H NMR signals at variable temperature in CD₂Cl₂ of the [Eu(btfa)₃L] complexes suggest that these compounds have a fluxional structure, because the crystal structure has non-equivalent btfa ligands that should lead to non-equivalent hydrogen atoms and thus to more signals in the NMR spectra than those obtained at room temperature, where all hydrogen atoms of the btfa ligands are equivalent, and phen ligand has an effective vertical symmetry plane. For the [Eu(btfa)₃bipy] complex, the broadening of the signals at –70°C provides a lower bound for the coalescence temperature, which indicates the energy barriers involved in the structural interconversion mechanisms are quite small. These barriers and, consequently, the coalescence temperature are dependent upon the radii of the lanthanide ion as well as to their paramagnetic effects. The PBE0 calculated structures are in very good agreement with the crystallographic data and, for the [Eu(btfa)₃bipy] complex, this method provided several distinct structures with almost the same energy. However, the energy barrier for structural interconversion via dissociative pathways were found to be quite high and could not explain the experimental observations. Whereas the pseudo-rotation pathways, involving the btfa and bipy ligands, have very small activation barriers, in excellent agreement with the NMR data. The results also showed an increase in the activation barrier along the lanthanide series due to the decrease of the ionic radii and consequent increase of the steric effects. TD-DFT calculations showed a dependence of the ligand donor state energy with different structures of the complex [Eu(btfa)₃phen], which can affect the energy transfer rates and the luminescence. The energy required to promote the structural fluxionality may also enhance the luminescence quenching in solution. These results can aid in the design of more luminescent compounds and more efficient devices.

Keywords: Computational Chemistry, NMR, lanthanide-based compounds, structural fluxionality

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26 The Effects of Circadian Rhythms Change in High Latitudes

Authors: Ekaterina Zvorykina

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Nowadays, Arctic and Antarctic regions are distinguished to be one of the most important strategic resources for global development. Nonetheless, living conditions in Arctic regions still demand certain improvements. As soon as the region is rarely populated, one of the main points of interest is health accommodation of the people, who migrate to Arctic region for permanent and shift work. At Arctic and Antarctic latitudes, personnel face polar day and polar night conditions during the time of the year. It means that they are deprived of natural sunlight in winter season and have continuous daylight in summer. Firstly, the change in light intensity during 24-hours period due to migration affects circadian rhythms. Moreover, the controlled artificial light in winter is also an issue. The results of the recent studies on night shift medical professionals, who were exposed to permanent artificial light, have already demonstrated higher risks in cancer, depression, Alzheimer disease. Moreover, people exposed to frequent time zones change are also subjected to higher risks of heart attack and cancer. Thus, our main goals are to understand how high latitude work and living conditions can affect human health and how it can be prevented. In our study, we analyze molecular and cellular factors, which play important role in circadian rhythm change and distinguish main risk groups in people, migrating to high latitudes. The main well-studied index of circadian timing is melatonin or its metabolite 6-sulfatoxymelatonin. In low light intensity melatonin synthesis is disturbed and as a result human organism requires more time for sleep, which is still disregarded when it comes to working time organization. Lack of melatonin also causes shortage in serotonin production, which leads to higher depression risk. Melatonin is also known to inhibit oncogenes and increase apoptosis level in cells, the main factors for tumor growth, as well as circadian clock genes (for example Per2). Thus, people who work in high latitudes can be distinguished as a risk group for cancer diseases and demand more attention. Clock/Clock genes, known to be one of the main circadian clock regulators, decrease sensitivity of hypothalamus to estrogen and decrease glucose sensibility, which leads to premature aging and oestrous cycle disruption. Permanent light exposure also leads to accumulation superoxide dismutase and oxidative stress, which is one of the main factors for early dementia and Alzheimer disease. We propose a new screening system adjusted for people, migrating from middle to high latitudes and accommodation therapy. Screening is focused on melatonin and estrogen levels, sleep deprivation and neural disorders, depression level, cancer risks and heart and vascular disorders. Accommodation therapy includes different types artificial light exposure, additional melatonin and neuroprotectors. Preventive procedures can lead to increase of migration intensity to high latitudes and, as a result, the prosperity of Arctic region.

Keywords: Circadian Rhythm, Melatonin, high latitudes, neuroprotectors

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25 Gas-Phase Noncovalent Functionalization of Pristine Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes with 3D Metal(II) Phthalocyanines

Authors: Vladimir A. Basiuk, Laura J. Flores-Sanchez, Victor Meza-Laguna, Jose O. Flores-Flores, Lauro Bucio-Galindo, Elena V. Basiuk

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Noncovalent nanohybrid materials combining carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with phthalocyanines (Pcs) is a subject of increasing research effort, with a particular emphasis on the design of new heterogeneous catalysts, efficient organic photovoltaic cells, lithium batteries, gas sensors, field effect transistors, among other possible applications. The possibility of using unsubstituted Pcs for CNT functionalization is very attractive due to their very moderate cost and easy commercial availability. However, unfortunately, the deposition of unsubstituted Pcs onto nanotube sidewalls through the traditional liquid-phase protocols turns to be very problematic due to extremely poor solubility of Pcs. On the other hand, unsubstituted free-base H₂Pc phthalocyanine ligand, as well as many of its transition metal complexes, exhibit very high thermal stability and considerable volatility under reduced pressure, which opens the possibility for their physical vapor deposition onto solid surfaces, including nanotube sidewalls. In the present work, we show the possibility of simple, fast and efficient noncovalent functionalization of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) with a series of 3d metal(II) phthalocyanines Me(II)Pc, where Me= Co, Ni, Cu, and Zn. The functionalization can be performed in a temperature range of 400-500 °C under moderate vacuum and requires about 2-3 h only. The functionalized materials obtained were characterized by means of Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR), Raman, UV-visible and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM and TEM, respectively) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). TGA suggested that Me(II)Pc weight content is 30%, 17% and 35% for NiPc, CuPc, and ZnPc, respectively (CoPc exhibited anomalous thermal decomposition behavior). The above values are consistent with those estimated from EDS spectra, namely, of 24-39%, 27-36% and 27-44% for CoPc, CuPc, and ZnPc, respectively. A strong increase in intensity of D band in the Raman spectra of SWNT‒Me(II)Pc hybrids, as compared to that of pristine nanotubes, implies very strong interactions between Pc molecules and SWNT sidewalls. Very high absolute values of binding energies of 32.46-37.12 kcal/mol and the highest occupied and lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (HOMO and LUMO, respectively) distribution patterns, calculated with density functional theory by using Perdew-Burke-Ernzerhof general gradient approximation correlation functional in combination with the Grimme’s empirical dispersion correction (PBE-D) and the double numerical basis set (DNP), also suggested that the interactions between Me(II) phthalocyanines and nanotube sidewalls are very strong. The authors thank the National Autonomous University of Mexico (grant DGAPA-IN200516) and the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACYT, grant 250655) for financial support. The authors are also grateful to Dr. Natalia Alzate-Carvajal (CCADET of UNAM), Eréndira Martínez (IF of UNAM) and Iván Puente-Lee (Faculty of Chemistry of UNAM) for technical assistance with FTIR, TGA measurements, and TEM imaging, respectively.

Keywords: Carbon Nanotubes, functionalization, gas-phase, metal(II) phthalocyanines

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24 Preliminary Characterization of Hericium Species Sampled in Tuscany, Italy

Authors: V. Cesaroni, C. Girometta, A. Bernicchia, M. Brusoni, F. Corana, R. M. Baiguera, C. M. Cusaro, M. L. Guglielminetti, B. Mannucci, H. Kawagishi, C. Perini, A. M. Picco, P. Rossi, E. Salerni, E. Savino

Abstract:

Fungi of the genus Hericium contain various compounds with antibacterial activity, cytotoxic effect on cancer cells and bioactive molecules. Some of the active metabolites stimulate the synthesis of the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). Recently, the effect of dietary supplement based on Hericium erinaceus on recognition memory and on hippocampal mossy fiber-CA3 neurotransmission was published. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of Hericium species on Italian territory in order to isolate the strains for further studies and applications. The first step was to collect Hericium sporophores in Tuscany: H. alpestre Pers., H. coralloides (Scop.) Pers. and H. erinaceus (Bull.) Pers. were the species present. The strains of H. alpestre (H.a.1), H. coralloides (H.c.1) and H. erinaceus (H.e.1 & H.e.2) have been isolated in pure culture and preserved in the collection of the University of Pavia (MicUNIPV). The DNA sequences obtained from the strains were compared to other sequences found in international databases. Therefore, it was possible to construct a phylogenetic tree that highlights the clear separation in clades of the sequences and the molecular identification of our strains with the species of Hericium considered. The second step was to cultivate indoor and outdoor H. erinaceus in order to obtain as many sporophores as possible for further chemical analysis. All the procedures for H. erinaceus cultivation have been followed. Among the available recipes for indoor H. erinaceus cultivation, it was used a substrate formulation contained 70% oak sawdust, 20% rice bran, 10% wheat straw, 1% CaCO3 and 1% sucrose. The bioactive compounds present in the mycelia and in the sporophores of H. erinaceus were chemically analyzed in collaboration with the Centro Grandi Strumenti of the University of Pavia using high-performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC/ESI-MS/MS). The materials to be analyzed were previously freeze-dried and then extracted with an alcoholic procedure. Preliminary chromatographic analysis revealed the presence of potentially bioactive and structurally different secondary metabolites such as polysaccharides, erinacins, ericenones, steroids and other terpenoids. Ericenones C and D (in sporophores) and erinacin A (in mycelium) have been identified by comparison with the respective standards. These molecules are known to have effects on the Central Nervous System (CNS) cells, which is the main objective of our studies. Thanks to the high sensitivity in the detection of bioactive compounds of H. erinaceus, it will be possible to use the To obtain lyophilized mycelium and the respective culture broth, 4 small pieces (about 5 mm2) of the respective H.e.1 or H.c.1 strains, taken from the margin of growing cultures (MEA), were inoculated into 1 liter of 2% ME (malt extract, Biokar Diagnostics). The static liquid cultures were kept at 24 °C in the dark chamber and fungi grew for one month. 10 replicates for each strain have been done. The method proposed as an analytical screening protocol to determine the optimal growth conditions of the fungus and to improve the production chain of H. erinaceus. These results encourage to carry out chemical analyzes also on H. alpestre and H. coralloides in order to evaluate the presence of bioactive compounds in these two species.

Keywords: Medicinal Mushrooms, Hericium species, Hercium erinaceus bioactive compounds, mushroom cultivation

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23 Isolation of Bacterial Species with Potential Capacity for Siloxane Removal in Biogas Upgrading

Authors: Ellana Boada, Eric Santos-Clotas, Alba Cabrera-Codony, Maria Martin, Lluis Baneras, Frederic Gich

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Volatile methylsiloxanes (VMS) are a group of manmade silicone compounds widely used in household and industrial applications that end up on the biogas produced through the anaerobic digestion of organic matter in landfills and wastewater treatment plants. The presence of VMS during the biogas energy conversion can cause damage on the engines, reducing the efficiency of this renewable energy source. Non regenerative adsorption onto activated carbon is the most widely used technology to remove siloxanes from biogas, while new trends point out that biotechnology offers a low-cost and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional technologies. The first objective of this research was to enrich, isolate and identify bacterial species able to grow using siloxane molecules as a sole carbon source: anoxic wastewater sludge was used as initial inoculum in liquid anoxic enrichments, adding D4 (as representative siloxane compound) previously adsorbed on activated carbon. After several months of acclimatization, liquid enrichments were plated onto solid media containing D4 and thirty-four bacterial isolates were obtained. 16S rRNA gene sequencing allowed the identification of strains belonging to the following species: Ciceribacter lividus, Alicycliphilus denitrificans, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Pseudomonas citronellolis which are described to be capable to degrade toxic volatile organic compounds. Kinetic assays with 8 representative strains revealed higher cell growth in the presence of D4 compared to the control. Our second objective was to characterize the community composition and diversity of the microbial community present in the enrichments and to elucidate whether the isolated strains were representative members of the community or not. DNA samples were extracted, the 16S rRNA gene was amplified (515F & 806R primer pair), and the microbiome analyzed from sequences obtained with a MiSeq PE250 platform. Results showed that the retrieved isolates only represented a minor fraction of the microorganisms present in the enrichment samples, which were represented by Alpha, Beta, and Gamma proteobacteria as dominant groups in the category class thus suggesting that other microbial species and/or consortia may be important for D4 biodegradation. These results highlight the need of additional protocols for the isolation of relevant D4 degraders. Currently, we are developing molecular tools targeting key genes involved in siloxane biodegradation to identify and quantify the capacity of the isolates to metabolize D4 in batch cultures supplied with a synthetic gas stream of air containing 60 mg m⁻³ of D4 together with other volatile organic compounds found in the biogas mixture (i.e. toluene, hexane and limonene). The isolates were used as inoculum in a biotrickling filter containing lava rocks and activated carbon to assess their capacity for siloxane removal. Preliminary results of biotrickling filter performance showed 35% of siloxane biodegradation in a contact time of 14 minutes, denoting that biological siloxane removal is a promising technology for biogas upgrading.

Keywords: Microbiome, biogas upgrading, siloxanes, bacterial cultivation

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22 Impact of Ocean Acidification on Gene Expression Dynamics during Development of the Sea Urchin Species Heliocidaris erythrogramma

Authors: Hannah R. Devens, Phillip L. Davidson, Dione Deaker, Kathryn E. Smith, Gregory A. Wray, Maria Byrne

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Marine invertebrate species with calcifying larvae are especially vulnerable to ocean acidification (OA) caused by rising atmospheric CO₂ levels. Acidic conditions can delay development, suppress metabolism, and decrease the availability of carbonate ions in the ocean environment for skeletogenesis. These stresses often result in increased larval mortality, which may lead to significant ecological consequences including alterations to the larval settlement, population distribution, and genetic connectivity. Importantly, many of these physiological and developmental effects are caused by genetic and molecular level changes. Although many studies have examined the effect of near-future oceanic pH levels on gene expression in marine invertebrates, little is known about the impact of OA on gene expression in a developmental context. Here, we performed mRNA-sequencing to investigate the impact of environmental acidity on gene expression across three developmental stages in the sea urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma. We collected RNA from gastrula, early larva, and 1-day post-metamorphic juvenile sea urchins cultured at present-day and predicted future oceanic pH levels (pH 8.1 and 7.7, respectively). We assembled an annotated reference transcriptome encompassing development from egg to ten days post-metamorphosis by combining these data with datasets from two previous developmental transcriptomic studies of H. erythrogramma. Differential gene expression and time course analyses between pH conditions revealed significant alterations to developmental transcription that are potentially associated with pH stress. Consistent with previous investigations, genes involved in biomineralization and ion transport were significantly upregulated under acidic conditions. Differences in gene expression between the two pH conditions became more pronounced post-metamorphosis, suggesting a development-dependent effect of OA on gene expression. Furthermore, many differences in gene expression later in development appeared to be a result of broad downregulation at pH 7.7: of 539 genes differentially expressed at the juvenile stage, 519 of these were lower in the acidic condition. Time course comparisons between pH 8.1 and 7.7 samples also demonstrated over 500 genes were more lowly expressed in pH 7.7 samples throughout development. Of the genes exhibiting stage-dependent expression level changes, over 15% of these diverged from the expected temporal pattern of expression in the acidic condition. Through these analyses, we identify novel candidate genes involved in development, metabolism, and transcriptional regulation that are possibly affected by pH stress. Our results demonstrate that pH stress significantly alters gene expression dynamics throughout development. A large number of genes differentially expressed between pH conditions in juveniles relative to earlier stages may be attributed to the effects of acidity on transcriptional regulation, as a greater proportion of mRNA at this later stage has been nascent transcribed rather than maternally loaded. Also, the overall downregulation of many genes in the acidic condition suggests that OA-induced developmental delay manifests as suppressed mRNA expression, possibly from lower transcription rates or increased mRNA degradation in the acidic environment. Further studies will be necessary to determine in greater detail the extent of OA effects on early developing marine invertebrates.

Keywords: Development, Ocean acidification, Gene expression, RNA-sequencing, sea urchins

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21 Differential Expression Profile Analysis of DNA Repair Genes in Mycobacterium Leprae by qPCR

Authors: Mukul Sharma, Madhusmita Das, Sundeep Chaitanya Vedithi

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Leprosy is a chronic human disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, that cannot be cultured in vitro. Though treatable with multidrug therapy (MDT), recently, bacteria reported resistance to multiple antibiotics. Targeting DNA replication and repair pathways can serve as the foundation of developing new anti-leprosy drugs. Due to the absence of an axenic culture medium for the propagation of M. leprae, studying cellular processes, especially those belonging to DNA repair pathways, is challenging. Genomic understanding of M. Leprae harbors several protein-coding genes with no previously assigned function known as 'hypothetical proteins'. Here, we report identification and expression of known and hypothetical DNA repair genes from a human skin biopsy and mouse footpads that are involved in base excision repair, direct reversal repair, and SOS response. Initially, a bioinformatics approach was employed based on sequence similarity, identification of known protein domains to screen the hypothetical proteins in the genome of M. leprae, that are potentially related to DNA repair mechanisms. Before testing on clinical samples, pure stocks of bacterial reference DNA of M. leprae (NHDP63 strain) was used to construct standard graphs to validate and identify lower detection limit in the qPCR experiments. Primers were designed to amplify the respective transcripts, and PCR products of the predicted size were obtained. Later, excisional skin biopsies of newly diagnosed untreated, treated, and drug resistance leprosy cases from SIHR & LC hospital, Vellore, India were taken for the extraction of RNA. To determine the presence of the predicted transcripts, cDNA was generated from M. leprae mRNA isolated from clinically confirmed leprosy skin biopsy specimen across all the study groups. Melting curve analysis was performed to determine the integrity of the amplification and to rule out primer‑dimer formation. The Ct values obtained from qPCR were fitted to standard curve to determine transcript copy number. Same procedure was applied for M. leprae extracted after processing a footpad of nude mice of drug sensitive and drug resistant strains. 16S rRNA was used as positive control. Of all the 16 genes involved in BER, DR, and SOS, differential expression pattern of the genes was observed in terms of Ct values when compared to human samples; this was because of the different host and its immune response. However, no drastic variation in gene expression levels was observed in human samples except the nth gene. The higher expression of nth gene could be because of the mutations that may be associated with sequence diversity and drug resistance which suggests an important role in the repair mechanism and remains to be explored. In both human and mouse samples, SOS system – lexA and RecA, and BER genes AlkB and Ogt were expressing efficiently to deal with possible DNA damage. Together, the results of the present study suggest that DNA repair genes are constitutively expressed and may provide a reference for molecular diagnosis, therapeutic target selection, determination of treatment and prognostic judgment in M. leprae pathogenesis.

Keywords: DNA repair, qPCR, human biopsy, hypothetical proteins, mouse footpads, Mycobacterium leprae

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20 Familial Exome Sequencing to Decipher the Complex Genetic Basis of Holoprosencephaly

Authors: Artem Kim, Clara Savary, Christele Dubourg, Wilfrid Carre, Houda Hamdi-Roze, Valerie Dupé, Sylvie Odent, Marie De Tayrac, Veronique David

Abstract:

Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is a rare congenital brain malformation resulting from the incomplete separation of the two cerebral hemispheres. It is characterized by a wide phenotypic spectrum and a high degree of locus heterogeneity. Genetic defects in 16 genes have already been implicated in HPE, but account for only 30% of cases, suggesting that a large part of genetic factors remains to be discovered. HPE has been recently redefined as a complex multigenic disorder, requiring the joint effect of multiple mutational events in genes belonging to one or several developmental pathways. The onset of HPE may result from accumulation of the effects of multiple rare variants in functionally-related genes, each conferring a moderate increase in the risk of HPE onset. In order to decipher the genetic basis of HPE, unconventional patterns of inheritance involving multiple genetic factors need to be considered. The primary objective of this study was to uncover possible disease causing combinations of multiple rare variants underlying HPE by performing trio-based Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) of familial cases where no molecular diagnosis could be established. 39 families were selected with no fully-penetrant causal mutation in known HPE gene, no chromosomic aberrations/copy number variants and without any implication of environmental factors. As the main challenge was to identify disease-related variants among a large number of nonpathogenic polymorphisms detected by WES classical scheme, a novel variant prioritization approach was established. It combined WES filtering with complementary gene-level approaches: transcriptome-driven (RNA-Seq data) and clinically-driven (public clinical data) strategies. Briefly, a filtering approach was performed to select variants compatible with disease segregation, population frequency and pathogenicity prediction to identify an exhaustive list of rare deleterious variants. The exome search space was then reduced by restricting the analysis to candidate genes identified by either transcriptome-driven strategy (genes sharing highly similar expression patterns with known HPE genes during cerebral development) or clinically-driven strategy (genes associated to phenotypes of interest overlapping with HPE). Deeper analyses of candidate variants were then performed on a family-by-family basis. These included the exploration of clinical information, expression studies, variant characteristics, recurrence of mutated genes and available biological knowledge. A novel bioinformatics pipeline was designed. Applied to the 39 families, this final integrated workflow identified an average of 11 candidate variants per family. Most of candidate variants were inherited from asymptomatic parents suggesting a multigenic inheritance pattern requiring the association of multiple mutational events. The manual analysis highlighted 5 new strong HPE candidate genes showing recurrences in distinct families. Functional validations of these genes are foreseen.

Keywords: whole exome sequencing, complex genetic disorder, holoprosencephaly, multiple rare variants

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19 Biosynthesis of a Nanoparticle-Antibody Phthalocyanine Photosensitizer for Use in Targeted Photodynamic Therapy of Cervical Cancer

Authors: Elvin P. Chizenga, Heidi Abrahamse

Abstract:

Cancer cell resistance to therapy is the main cause of treatment failures and the poor prognosis of cancer convalescence. The progression of cervical cancer to other parts of the genitourinary system and the reported recurrence rates are overwhelming. Current treatments, including surgery, chemo and radiation have been inefficient in eradicating the tumor cells. These treatments are also associated with poor prognosis and reduced quality of life, including fertility loss. This has inspired the need for the development of new treatment modalities to eradicate cervical cancer successfully. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a modern treatment modality that induces cell death by photochemical interactions of light and a photosensitizer, which in the presence of molecular oxygen, yields a set of chemical reactions that generate Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and other free radical species causing cell damage. Enhancing PDT using modified drug delivery can increase the concentration of the photosensitizer in the tumor cells, and this has the potential to maximize its therapeutic efficacy. In cervical cancer, all infected cells constitutively express genes of the E6 and E7 HPV viral oncoproteins, resulting in high concentrations of E6 and E7 in the cytoplasm. This provides an opportunity for active targeting of cervical cancer cells using immune-mediated drug delivery to maximize therapeutic efficacy. The use of nanoparticles in PDT has also proven effective in enhancing therapeutic efficacy. Gold nanoparticles (AuNps) in particular, are explored for their use in biomedicine due to their biocompatibility, low toxicity, and enhancement of drug uptake by tumor cells. In this present study, a biomolecule comprising of AuNPs, anti-E6 monoclonal antibodies, and Aluminium Phthalocyanine photosensitizer was synthesized for use in targeted PDT of cervical cancer. The AuNp-Anti-E6-Sulfonated Aluminium Phthalocyanine mix (AlPcSmix) photosensitizing biomolecule was synthesized by coupling AuNps and anti-E6 monoclonal antibodies to the AlPcSmix via Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) chemical links. The final product was characterized using Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), Zeta Potential, Uv-Vis Spectrophotometry, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), and X-ray diffraction (XRD), to confirm its chemical structure and functionality. To observe its therapeutic role in treating cervical cancer, cervical cancer cells, HeLa cells were seeded in 3.4 cm² diameter culture dishes at a concentration of 5x10⁵ cells/ml, in vitro. The cells were treated with varying concentrations of the photosensitizing biomolecule and irradiated using a 673.2 nm wavelength of laser light. Post irradiation cellular responses were performed to observe changes in morphology, viability, proliferation, cytotoxicity, and cell death pathways induced. Dose-Dependent response of the cells to treatment was demonstrated as significant morphologic changes, increased cytotoxicity, and decreased cell viability and proliferation This study presented a synthetic biomolecule for targeted PDT of cervical cancer. The study suggested that PDT using this AuNp- Anti-E6- AlPcSmix photosensitizing biomolecule is a very effective treatment method for the eradication of cervical cancer cells, in vitro. Further studies in vivo need to be conducted to support the use of this biomolecule in treating cervical cancer in clinical settings.

Keywords: Cervical Cancer, photodynamic therapy, gold nanoparticles, anti-E6 monoclonal antibody

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18 Angiopermissive Foamed and Fibrillar Scaffolds for Vascular Graft Applications

Authors: Deon Bezuidenhout

Abstract:

Pre-seeding with autologous endothelial cells improves the long-term patency of synthetic vascular grafts levels obtained with autografts, but is limited to a single centre due to resource, time and other constraints. Spontaneous in vivo endothelialization would obviate the need for pre-seeding, but has been shown to be absent in man due to limited transanastomotic and fallout healing, and the lack of transmural ingrowth due to insufficient porosity. Two types of graft scaffolds with increased interconnected porosity for improved tissue ingrowth and healing are thus proposed and described. Foam-type polyurethane (PU) scaffolds with small, medium and large, interconnected pores were made by phase inversion and spherical porogen extraction, with and without additional surface modification with covalently attached heparin and subsequent loading with and delivery of growth factors. Fibrillar scaffolds were made either by standard electrospinning using degradable PU (Degrapol®), or by dual electrospinning using non-degradable PU. The latter process involves sacrificial fibres that are co-spun with structural fibres and subsequently removed to increased porosity and pore size. Degrapol samples were subjected to in vitro degradation, and all scaffold types were evaluated in vivo for tissue ingrowth and vascularization using rat subcutaneous model. The foam scaffolds were additionally evaluated in a circulatory (rat infrarenal aortic interposition) model that allows for the grafts to be anastomotically and/or ablumenally isolated to discern and determine endothelialization mode. Foam-type grafts with large (150 µm) pores showed improved subcutaneous healing in terms of vascularization and inflammatory response over smaller pore sizes (60 and 90µm), and vascularization of the large porosity scaffolds was significantly increased by more than 70% by heparin modification alone, and by 150% to 400% when combined with growth factors. In the circulatory model, extensive transmural endothelialization (95±10% at 12 w) was achieved. Fallout healing was shown to be sporadic and limited in groups that were ablumenally isolated to prevent transmural ingrowth (16±30% wrapped vs. 80±20% control; p<0.002). Heparinization and GF delivery improved both mural vascularization and lumenal endothelialization. Degrapol electrospun scaffolds showed decrease in molecular mass and corresponding tensile strength over the first 2 weeks, but very little decrease in mass over the 4w test period. Studies on the effect of tissue ingrowth with and without concomitant degradation of the scaffolds, are being used to develop material models for the finite element modelling. In the case of the dual-spun scaffolds, the PU fibre fraction could be controlled shown to vary linearly with porosity (P = −0.18FF +93.5, r2=0.91), which in turn showed inverse linear correlation with tensile strength and elastic modulus (r2 > 0.96). Calculated compliance and burst pressures of the scaffolds increased with fibre fraction, and compliances matching the human popliteal artery (5-10 %/100 mmHg), and high burst pressures (> 2000 mmHg) could be achieved. Increasing porosity (76 to 82 and 90%) resulted in increased tissue ingrowth from 33±7 to 77±20 and 98±1% after 28d. Transmural endothelialization of highly porous foamed grafts is achievable in a circulatory model, and the enhancement of porosity and tissue ingrowth may hold the key the development of spontaneously endothelializing electrospun grafts.

Keywords: Electrospinning, Scaffold, porosity, endothelialization, vascular graft

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17 Glucose Uptake Rate of Insulin-Resistant Human Liver Carcinoma Cells (IR/HepG2) by Flavonoids from Enicostema littorale via IR/IRS1/AKT Pathway

Authors: Priyanka Mokashi, Aparna Khanna, Nancy Pandita

Abstract:

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder which will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030. The current line of treatment for the diabetes mellitus is oral antidiabetic drugs (biguanides, sulfonylureas, meglitinides, thiazolidinediones and alpha-glycosidase inhibitors) and insulin therapy depending upon the type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus. But, these treatments have their disadvantages, ranging from the developing of resistance to the drugs and adverse effects caused by them. Alternative to these synthetic agents, natural products provides a new insight for the development of more efficient and safe drugs due to their therapeutic values. Enicostema littorale blume (A. Raynal) is a traditional Indian plant belongs to the Gentianaceae family. It is widely distributed in Asia, Africa, and South America. There are few reports on Swrtiamarin, major component of this plant for its antidiabetic activity. However, the antidiabetic activity of flavonoids from E. littorale and their mechanism of action have not yet been elucidated. Flavonoids have a positive relationship with disease prevention and can act on various molecular targets and regulate different signaling pathways in pancreatic β-cells, adipocytes, hepatocytes and skeletal myofibers. They may exert beneficial effects in diabetes by (i) improving hyperglycemia through regulation of glucose metabolism in hepatocytes; (ii) enhancing insulin secretion and reducing apoptosis and promoting proliferation of pancreatic β-cells; (iii) increasing glucose uptake in hepatocytes, skeletal muscle and white adipose tissue (iv) reducing insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress. Therefore, we have isolated four flavonoid rich fractions, Fraction A (FA), Fraction B (FB), Fraction C (FC), Fraction D (FD) from crude alcoholic hot (AH) extract from E. littorale, identified by LC/MS. Total eight flavonoids were identified on the basis of fragmentation pattern. Flavonoid FA showed the presence of swertisin, isovitexin, and saponarin; FB showed genkwanin, quercetin, isovitexin, FC showed apigenin, swertisin, quercetin, 5-O-glucosylswertisin and 5-O-glucosylisoswertisin whereas FD showed the presence of swertisin. Further, these fractions were assessed for their antidiabetic activity on stimulating glucose uptake in insulin-resistant HepG2 cell line model (IR/HepG2). The results showed that FD containing C-glycoside Swertisin has significantly increased the glucose uptake rate of IR/HepG2 cells at the concentration of 10 µg/ml as compared to positive control Metformin (0.5mM) which was determined by glucose oxidase- peroxidase method. It has been reported that enhancement of glucose uptake of cells occurs due the translocation of Glut4 vesicles to cell membrane through IR/IRS1/AKT pathway. Therefore, we have studied expressions of three genes IRS1, AKT and Glut4 by real-time PCR to evaluate whether they follow the same pathway or not. It was seen that the glucose uptake rate has increased in FD treated IR/HepG2 cells due to the activation of insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS1) followed by protein kinase B (AKT) through phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) leading to translocation of Glut 4 vesicles to cell membrane, thereby enhancing glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity of insulin resistant HepG2 cells. Hence, the up-regulation indicated the mechanism of action through which FD (Swertisin) acts as antidiabetic candidate in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Keywords: insulin resistance, E. littorale, glucose transporter, glucose uptake rate

Procedia PDF Downloads 175
16 Optimizing Solids Control and Cuttings Dewatering for Water-Powered Percussive Drilling in Mineral Exploration

Authors: S. J. Addinell, A. F. Grabsch, P. D. Fawell, B. Evans

Abstract:

The Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre (DET CRC) is researching and developing a new coiled tubing based greenfields mineral exploration drilling system utilising down-hole water-powered percussive drill tooling. This new drilling system is aimed at significantly reducing the costs associated with identifying mineral resource deposits beneath deep, barren cover. This system has shown superior rates of penetration in water-rich, hard rock formations at depths exceeding 500 metres. With fluid flow rates of up to 120 litres per minute at 200 bar operating pressure to energise the bottom hole tooling, excessive quantities of high quality drilling fluid (water) would be required for a prolonged drilling campaign. As a result, drilling fluid recovery and recycling has been identified as a necessary option to minimise costs and logistical effort. While the majority of the cuttings report as coarse particles, a significant fines fraction will typically also be present. To maximise tool life longevity, the percussive bottom hole assembly requires high quality fluid with minimal solids loading and any recycled fluid needs to have a solids cut point below 40 microns and a concentration less than 400 ppm before it can be used to reenergise the system. This paper presents experimental results obtained from the research program during laboratory and field testing of the prototype drilling system. A study of the morphological aspects of the cuttings generated during the percussive drilling process shows a strong power law relationship for particle size distributions. This data is critical in optimising solids control strategies and cuttings dewatering techniques. Optimisation of deployable solids control equipment is discussed and how the required centrate clarity was achieved in the presence of pyrite-rich metasediment cuttings. Key results were the successful pre-aggregation of fines through the selection and use of high molecular weight anionic polyacrylamide flocculants and the techniques developed for optimal dosing prior to scroll decanter centrifugation, thus keeping sub 40 micron solids loading within prescribed limits. Experiments on maximising fines capture in the presence of thixotropic drilling fluid additives (e.g. Xanthan gum and other biopolymers) are also discussed. As no core is produced during the drilling process, it is intended that the particle laden returned drilling fluid is used for top-of-hole geochemical and mineralogical assessment. A discussion is therefore presented on the biasing and latency of cuttings representivity by dewatering techniques, as well as the resulting detrimental effects on depth fidelity and accuracy. Data pertaining to the sample biasing with respect to geochemical signatures due to particle size distributions is presented and shows that, depending on the solids control and dewatering techniques used, it can have unwanted influence on top-of-hole analysis. Strategies are proposed to overcome these effects, improving sample quality. Successful solids control and cuttings dewatering for water-powered percussive drilling is presented, contributing towards the successful advancement of coiled tubing based greenfields mineral exploration.

Keywords: Dewatering, Flocculation, cuttings, percussive drilling, solids control

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15 Gene Cloning and Expression of Azoreductases from Azo-Degraders Lysinibacillus macrolides and Bacillus coagulans Isolated from Egyptian Industrial Wastewater

Authors: Wafaa M. Abd El-Rahim, Omaima A. Sharaf, Hassan Moawad, Michael J. Sadowsky

Abstract:

Textile industry is one of the important industries in the worldwide. It is known that the eco-friendly industrial and agricultural activities are significant for socio-economic stability of all countries. The absence of appropriate industrial waste water treatments is essential barrier for sustainable development in food and agricultural sectors especially in developing country like Egypt. Thus, the development of enzymatic bioremediation technology for textile dye removal will enhance the collaboration between scientists who develop the technology and industry where this technology will be implemented towards the safe disposal of the textile dye wastes. Highly efficient microorganisms are of most importance in developing and using highly effective biological treatment processes. Bacterial degradation of azo dyes is generally initiated by an enzymatic step that involves cleavage of azo linkages, usually with the aid of an azoreductase as electron donor. Thus, expanding the spectrum of microorganisms with high enzymatic activities as azoreductases and discovering novel azo-dye degrading enzymes, with enhanced stability and superior catalytic properties, are necessary for many environmental and industrial applications. Consequently, the use of molecular tools has become increasingly integrated into the understanding of enzyme properties and characterization. Researchers have utilized a gene cloning and expression methods as a tool to produce recombinant protein for decolorizing dyes more efficiently. Thus, presumptive evidence for the presence of genes encoding azoreductases in the genomes of selected local, and most potent azo-degrading strains were obtained by using specific oligonucleotides primers. These potent strains have been isolated from textile industrial wastewater in Egypt and identified using 16S rRNA sequence analysis as 'Lysinibacillus macrolidesB8, Brevibacillus parabrevisB11, Bacillus coagulansB7, and B. cereusB5'. PCR products of two full length genes designated as (AZO1;621bp and AZO2;534bp) were detected. BLASTx results indicated that AZO1 gene was corresponding to predicted azoreductase from of Bacillus sp. ABP14, complete genome, multispecies azoreductase [Bacillus], It was submitted to the gene bank by an accession no., BankIt2085371 AZO1 MG923210 (621bp; 207 amino acids). AZO1 was generated from the DNA of our identified strains Lysinibacillus macrolidesB8. On the other hand, AZO2 gene was corresponding to a predicted azoreductase from Bacillus cereus strain S2-8. Gene bank accession no. was BankIt2085839 AZO2 MG932081 (534bp;178 amino acids) and it was amplified from our Bacillus coagulansB7. Both genes were successfully cloned into pCR2.1TOPO (Invitrogen) and in pET28b+ vectors, then they transformed into E. coli DH5α and BL21(DE3) cells for heterologous expression studies. Our recombinant azoreductases (AZO1&AZO2) exhibited potential enzyme activity and efficiently decolorized an azo dye (Direct violet). They exhibited pH stability between 6 and 8 with optimum temperature up to 60°C and 37 °C after induction by 1mM and 1.5mM IPTG, for both AZO1 &AZO2, respectively. These results suggested that further optimization and purification of these recombinant proteins by using different heterologous expression systems will give great potential for the sustainable utilization of these recombinant enzymes in several industrial applications especially in wastewater treatments.

Keywords: Enzyme Activity, decolorization, azoreductases, gene cloning and expression

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14 Sheep Pox Virus Recombinant Proteins To Develop Subunit Vaccines

Authors: Olga V. Chervyakova, Elmira T. Tailakova, Vitaliy M. Strochkov, Kulyaisan T. Sultankulova, Nurlan T. Sandybayev, Lev G. Nemchinov, Rosemarie W. Hammond

Abstract:

Sheep pox is a highly contagious infection that OIE regards to be one of the most dangerous animal diseases. It causes enormous economic losses because of death and slaughter of infected animals, lower productivity, cost of veterinary and sanitary as well as quarantine measures. To control spread of sheep pox infection the attenuated vaccines are widely used in the Republic of Kazakhstan and other Former Soviet Union countries. In spite of high efficiency of live vaccines, the possible presence of the residual virulence, potential genetic instability restricts their use in disease-free areas that leads to necessity to exploit new approaches in vaccine development involving recombinant DNA technology. Vaccines on the basis of recombinant proteins are the newest generation of prophylactic preparations. The main advantage of these vaccines is their low reactogenicity and this fact makes them widely used in medical and veterinary practice for vaccination of humans and farm animals. The objective of the study is to produce recombinant immunogenic proteins for development of the high-performance means for sheep pox prophylaxis. The SPV proteins were chosen for their homology with the known immunogenic vaccinia virus proteins. Assay of nucleotide and amino acid sequences of the target SPV protein genes. It has been shown that four proteins SPPV060 (ortholog L1), SPPV074 (ortholog H3), SPPV122 (ortholog A33) and SPPV141 (ortholog B5) possess transmembrane domains at N- or C-terminus while in amino acid sequences of SPPV095 (ortholog А 4) and SPPV117 (ortholog А 27) proteins these domains were absent. On the basis of these findings the primers were constructed. Target genes were amplified and subsequently cloned into the expression vector рЕТ26b(+) or рЕТ28b(+). Six constructions (pSPPV060ΔТМ, pSPPV074ΔТМ, pSPPV095, pSPPV117, pSPPV122ΔТМ and pSPPV141ΔТМ) were obtained for expression of the SPV genes under control of T7 promoter in Escherichia coli. To purify and detect recombinant proteins the amino acid sequences were modified by adding six histidine molecules at C-terminus. Induction of gene expression by IPTG was resulted in production of the proteins with molecular weights corresponding to the estimated values for SPPV060, SPPV074, SPPV095, SPPV117, SPPV122 and SPPV141, i.e. 22, 30, 20, 19, 17 and 22 kDa respectively. Optimal protocol of expression for each gene that ensures high yield of the recombinant protein was identified. Assay of cellular lysates by western blotting confirmed expression of the target proteins. Recombinant proteins bind specifically with antibodies to polyhistidine. Moreover all produced proteins are specifically recognized by the serum from experimentally SPV-infected sheep. The recombinant proteins SPPV060, SPPV074, SPPV117, SPPV122 and SPPV141 were also shown to induce formation of antibodies with virus-neutralizing activity. The results of the research will help to develop a new-generation high-performance means for specific sheep pox prophylaxis that is one of key moments in animal health protection. The research was conducted under the International project ISTC # K-1704 “Development of methods to construct recombinant prophylactic means for sheep pox with use of transgenic plants” and under the Grant Project RK MES G.2015/0115RK01983 "Recombinant vaccine for sheep pox prophylaxis".

Keywords: prophylactic preparation, recombinant protein, sheep pox virus, subunit vaccine

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13 Mapping Iron Content in the Brain with Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Machine Learning

Authors: Gabrielle Robertson, Matthew Downs, Joseph Dagher

Abstract:

Iron deposition in the brain has been linked with a host of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis. While some treatment options exist, there are no objective measurement tools that allow for the monitoring of iron levels in the brain in vivo. An emerging Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) method has been recently proposed to deduce iron concentration through quantitative measurement of magnetic susceptibility. This is a multi-step process that involves repeated modeling of physical processes via approximate numerical solutions. For example, the last two steps of this Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping (QSM) method involve I) mapping magnetic field into magnetic susceptibility and II) mapping magnetic susceptibility into iron concentration. Process I involves solving an ill-posed inverse problem by using regularization via injection of prior belief. The end result from Process II highly depends on the model used to describe the molecular content of each voxel (type of iron, water fraction, etc.) Due to these factors, the accuracy and repeatability of QSM have been an active area of research in the MRI and medical imaging community. This work aims to estimate iron concentration in the brain via a single step. A synthetic numerical model of the human head was created by automatically and manually segmenting the human head on a high-resolution grid (640x640x640, 0.4mm³) yielding detailed structures such as microvasculature and subcortical regions as well as bone, soft tissue, Cerebral Spinal Fluid, sinuses, arteries, and eyes. Each segmented region was then assigned tissue properties such as relaxation rates, proton density, electromagnetic tissue properties and iron concentration. These tissue property values were randomly selected from a Probability Distribution Function derived from a thorough literature review. In addition to having unique tissue property values, different synthetic head realizations also possess unique structural geometry created by morphing the boundary regions of different areas within normal physical constraints. This model of the human brain is then used to create synthetic MRI measurements. This is repeated thousands of times, for different head shapes, volume, tissue properties and noise realizations. Collectively, this constitutes a training-set that is similar to in vivo data, but larger than datasets available from clinical measurements. This 3D convolutional U-Net neural network architecture was used to train data-driven Deep Learning models to solve for iron concentrations from raw MRI measurements. The performance was then tested on both synthetic data not used in training as well as real in vivo data. Results showed that the model trained on synthetic MRI measurements is able to directly learn iron concentrations in areas of interest more effectively than other existing QSM reconstruction methods. For comparison, models trained on random geometric shapes (as proposed in the Deep QSM method) are less effective than models trained on realistic synthetic head models. Such an accurate method for the quantitative measurement of iron deposits in the brain would be of important value in clinical studies aiming to understand the role of iron in neurological disease.

Keywords: Machine Learning, MRI, Magnetic resonance imaging, iron deposition, quantitative susceptibility mapping

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12 Non-Mammalian Pattern Recognition Receptor from Rock Bream (Oplegnathus fasciatus): Genomic Characterization and Transcriptional Profile upon Bacterial and Viral Inductions

Authors: Thanthrige Thiunuwan Priyathilaka, Don Anushka Sandaruwan Elvitigala, Bong-Soo Lim, Hyung-Bok Jeong, Jehee Lee

Abstract:

Toll like receptors (TLRs) are a phylogeneticaly conserved family of pattern recognition receptors, which participates in the host immune responses against various pathogens and pathogen derived mitogen. TLR21, a non-mammalian type, is almost restricted to the fish species even though those can be identified rarely in avians and amphibians. Herein, this study was carried out to identify and characterize TLR21 from rock bream (Oplegnathus fasciatus) designated as RbTLR21, at transcriptional and genomic level. In this study, the full length cDNA and genomic sequence of RbTLR21 was identified using previously constructed cDNA sequence database and BAC library, respectively. Identified RbTLR21 sequence was characterized using several bioinformatics tools. The quantitative real time PCR (qPCR) experiment was conducted to determine tissue specific expressional distribution of RbTLR21. Further, transcriptional modulation of RbTLR21 upon the stimulation with Streptococcus iniae (S. iniae), rock bream iridovirus (RBIV) and Edwardsiella tarda (E. tarda) was analyzed in spleen tissues. The complete coding sequence of RbTLR21 was 2919 bp in length which can encode a protein consisting of 973 amino acid residues with molecular mass of 112 kDa and theoretical isoelectric point of 8.6. The anticipated protein sequence resembled a typical TLR domain architecture including C-terminal ectodomain with 16 leucine rich repeats, a transmembrane domain, cytoplasmic TIR domain and signal peptide with 23 amino acid residues. Moreover, protein folding pattern prediction of RbTLR21 exhibited well-structured and folded ectodomain, transmembrane domain and cytoplasmc TIR domain. According to the pair wise sequence analysis data, RbTLR21 showed closest homology with orange-spotted grouper (Epinephelus coioides) TLR21with 76.9% amino acid identity. Furthermore, our phylogenetic analysis revealed that RbTLR21 shows a close evolutionary relationship with its ortholog from Danio rerio. Genomic structure of RbTLR21 consisted of single exon similar to its ortholog of zebra fish. Sevaral putative transcription factor binding sites were also identified in 5ʹ flanking region of RbTLR21. The RBTLR 21 was ubiquitously expressed in all the tissues we tested. Relatively, high expression levels were found in spleen, liver and blood tissues. Upon induction with rock bream iridovirus, RbTLR21 expression was upregulated at the early phase of post induction period even though RbTLR21 expression level was fluctuated at the latter phase of post induction period. Post Edwardsiella tarda injection, RbTLR transcripts were upregulated throughout the experiment. Similarly, Streptococcus iniae induction exhibited significant upregulations of RbTLR21 mRNA expression in the spleen tissues. Collectively, our findings suggest that RbTLR21 is indeed a homolog of TLR21 family members and RbTLR21 may be involved in host immune responses against bacterial and DNA viral infections.

Keywords: rock bream, toll like receptor 21 (TLR21), pattern recognition receptor, genomic characterization

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11 Photosynthesis Metabolism Affects Yield Potentials in Jatropha curcas L.: A Transcriptomic and Physiological Data Analysis

Authors: Nisha Govender, Siju Senan, Zeti-Azura Hussein, Wickneswari Ratnam

Abstract:

Jatropha curcas, a well-described bioenergy crop has been extensively accepted as future fuel need especially in tropical regions. Ideal planting material required for large-scale plantation is still lacking. Breeding programmes for improved J. curcas varieties are rendered difficult due to limitations in genetic diversity. Using a combined transcriptome and physiological data, we investigated the molecular and physiological differences in high and low yielding Jatropha curcas to address plausible heritable variations underpinning these differences, in regard to photosynthesis, a key metabolism affecting yield potentials. A total of 6 individual Jatropha plant from 4 accessions described as high and low yielding planting materials were selected from the Experimental Plot A, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Bangi. The inflorescence and shoots were collected for transcriptome study. For the physiological study, each individual plant (n=10) from the high and low yielding populations were screened for agronomic traits, chlorophyll content and stomatal patterning. The J. curcas transcriptomes are available under BioProject PRJNA338924 and BioSample SAMN05827448-65, respectively Each transcriptome was subjected to functional annotation analysis of sequence datasets using the BLAST2Go suite; BLASTing, mapping, annotation, statistical analysis and visualization Large-scale phenotyping of the number of fruits per plant (NFPP) and fruits per inflorescence (FPI) classified the high yielding Jatropha accessions with average NFPP =60 and FPI > 10, whereas the low yielding accessions yielded an average NFPP=10 and FPI < 5. Next generation sequencing revealed genes with differential expressions in the high yielding Jatropha relative to the low yielding plants. Distinct differences were observed in transcript level associated to photosynthesis metabolism. DEGs collection in the low yielding population showed comparable CAM photosynthetic metabolism and photorespiration, evident as followings: phosphoenolpyruvate phosphate translocator chloroplastic like isoform with 2.5 fold change (FC) and malate dehydrogenase (2.03 FC). Green leaves have the most pronounced photosynthetic activity in a plant body due to significant accumulation of chloroplast. In most plants, the leaf is always the dominant photosynthesizing heart of the plant body. Large number of the DEGS in the high-yielding population were found attributable to chloroplast and chloroplast associated events; STAY-GREEN chloroplastic, Chlorophyllase-1-like (5.08 FC), beta-amylase (3.66 FC), chlorophyllase-chloroplastic-like (3.1 FC), thiamine thiazole chloroplastic like (2.8 FC), 1-4, alpha glucan branching enzyme chloroplastic amyliplastic (2.6FC), photosynthetic NDH subunit (2.1 FC) and protochlorophyllide chloroplastic (2 FC). The results were parallel to a significant increase in chlorophyll a content in the high yielding population. In addition to the chloroplast associated transcript abundance, the TOO MANY MOUTHS (TMM) at 2.9 FC, which code for distant stomatal distribution and patterning in the high-yielding population may explain high concentration of CO2. The results were in agreement with the role of TMM. Clustered stomata causes back diffusion in the presence of gaps localized closely to one another. We conclude that high yielding Jatropha population corresponds to a collective function of C3 metabolism with a low degree of CAM photosynthetic fixation. From the physiological descriptions, high chlorophyll a content and even distribution of stomata in the leaf contribute to better photosynthetic efficiency in the high yielding Jatropha compared to the low yielding population.

Keywords: Genetic Variation, Gene expression, Stomata, chlorophyll

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10 Screening and Improved Production of an Extracellular β-Fructofuranosidase from Bacillus Sp

Authors: Lynette Lincoln, Sunil S. More

Abstract:

With the rising demand of sugar used today, it is proposed that world sugar is expected to escalate up to 203 million tonnes by 2021. Hydrolysis of sucrose (table sugar) into glucose and fructose equimolar mixture is catalyzed by β-D-fructofuranoside fructohydrolase (EC 3.2.1.26), commonly called as invertase. For fluid filled center in chocolates, preparation of artificial honey, as a sweetener and especially to ensure that food stuffs remain fresh, moist and soft for longer spans invertase is applied widely and is extensively being used. From an industrial perspective, properties such as increased solubility, osmotic pressure and prevention of crystallization of sugar in food products are highly desired. Screening for invertase does not involve plate assay/qualitative test to determine the enzyme production. In this study, we use a three-step screening strategy for identification of a novel bacterial isolate from soil which is positive for invertase production. The primary step was serial dilution of soil collected from sugarcane fields (black soil, Maddur region of Mandya district, Karnataka, India) was grown on a Czapek-Dox medium (pH 5.0) containing sucrose as the sole C-source. Only colonies with the capability to utilize/breakdown sucrose exhibited growth. Bacterial isolates released invertase in order to take up sucrose, splitting the disaccharide into simple sugars. Secondly, invertase activity was determined from cell free extract by measuring the glucose released in the medium at 540 nm. Morphological observation of the most potent bacteria was examined by several identification tests using Bergey’s manual, which enabled us to know the genus of the isolate to be Bacillus. Furthermore, this potent bacterial colony was subjected to 16S rDNA PCR amplification and a single discrete PCR amplicon band of 1500 bp was observed. The 16S rDNA sequence was used to carry out BLAST alignment search tool of NCBI Genbank database to obtain maximum identity score of sequence. Molecular sequencing and identification was performed by Xcelris Labs Ltd. (Ahmedabad, India). The colony was identified as Bacillus sp. BAB-3434, indicating to be the first novel strain for extracellular invertase production. Molasses, a by-product of the sugarcane industry is a dark viscous liquid obtained upon crystallization of sugar. An enhanced invertase production and optimization studies were carried out by one-factor-at-a-time approach. Crucial parameters such as time course (24 h), pH (6.0), temperature (45 °C), inoculum size (2% v/v), N-source (yeast extract, 0.2% w/v) and C-source (molasses, 4% v/v) were found to be optimum demonstrating an increased yield. The findings of this study reveal a simple screening method of an extracellular invertase from a rapidly growing Bacillus sp., and selection of best factors that elevate enzyme activity especially utilization of molasses which served as an ideal substrate and also as C-source, results in a cost-effective production under submerged conditions. The invert mixture could be a replacement for table sugar which is an economic advantage and reduce the tedious work of sugar growers. On-going studies involve purification of extracellular invertase and determination of transfructosylating activity as at high concentration of sucrose, invertase produces fructooligosaccharides (FOS) which possesses probiotic properties.

Keywords: Screening, submerged fermentation, molasses, Bacillus sp, invertase

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9 Al2O3-Dielectric AlGaN/GaN Enhancement-Mode MOS-HEMTs by Using Ozone Water Oxidization Technique

Authors: Ching-Sung Lee, Wei-Chou Hsu, Han-Yin Liu, Hung-Hsi Huang, Si-Fu Chen, Yun-Jung Yang, Bo-Chun Chiang, Yu-Chuang Chen, Shen-Tin Yang

Abstract:

AlGaN/GaN high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs) have been intensively studied due to their intrinsic advantages of high breakdown electric field, high electron saturation velocity, and excellent chemical stability. They are also suitable for ultra-violet (UV) photodetection due to the corresponding wavelengths of GaN bandgap. To improve the optical responsivity by decreasing the dark current due to gate leakage problems and limited Schottky barrier heights in GaN-based HEMT devices, various metal-oxide-semiconductor HEMTs (MOS-HEMTs) have been devised by using atomic layer deposition (ALD), molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD), liquid phase deposition (LPD), and RF sputtering. The gate dielectrics include MgO, HfO2, Al2O3, La2O3, and TiO2. In order to provide complementary circuit operation, enhancement-mode (E-mode) devices have been lately studied using techniques of fluorine treatment, p-type capper, piezoneutralization layer, and MOS-gate structure. This work reports an Al2O3-dielectric Al0.25Ga0.75N/GaN E-mode MOS-HEMT design by using a cost-effective ozone water oxidization technique. The present ozone oxidization method advantages of low cost processing facility, processing simplicity, compatibility to device fabrication, and room-temperature operation under atmospheric pressure. It can further reduce the gate-to-channel distance and improve the transocnductance (gm) gain for a specific oxide thickness, since the formation of the Al2O3 will consume part of the AlGaN barrier at the same time. The epitaxial structure of the studied devices was grown by using the MOCVD technique. On a Si substrate, the layer structures include a 3.9 m C-doped GaN buffer, a 300 nm GaN channel layer, and a 5 nm Al0.25Ga0.75N barrier layer. Mesa etching was performed to provide electrical isolation by using an inductively coupled-plasma reactive ion etcher (ICP-RIE). Ti/Al/Au were thermally evaporated and annealed to form the source and drain ohmic contacts. The device was immersed into the H2O2 solution pumped with ozone gas generated by using an OW-K2 ozone generator. Ni/Au were deposited as the gate electrode to complete device fabrication of MOS-HEMT. The formed Al2O3 oxide thickness 7 nm and the remained AlGaN barrier thickness is 2 nm. A reference HEMT device has also been fabricated in comparison on the same epitaxial structure. The gate dimensions are 1.2 × 100 µm 2 with a source-to-drain spacing of 5 μm for both devices. The dielectric constant (k) of Al2O3 was characterized to be 9.2 by using C-V measurement. Reduced interface state density after oxidization has been verified by the low-frequency noise spectra, Hooge coefficients, and pulse I-V measurement. Improved device characteristics at temperatures of 300 K-450 K have been achieved for the present MOS-HEMT design. Consequently, Al2O3-dielectric Al0.25Ga0.75N/GaN E-mode MOS-HEMTs by using the ozone water oxidization method are reported. In comparison with a conventional Schottky-gate HEMT, the MOS-HEMT design has demonstrated excellent enhancements of 138% (176%) in gm, max, 118% (139%) in IDS, max, 53% (62%) in BVGD, 3 (2)-order reduction in IG leakage at VGD = -60 V at 300 (450) K. This work is promising for millimeter-wave integrated circuit (MMIC) and three-terminal active UV photodetector applications.

Keywords: passivation, AlGaN/GaN, MOS-HEMT, enhancement mode, ozone water oxidation, gate leakage

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8 Impact of Elevated Temperature on Spot Blotch Development in Wheat and Induction of Resistance by Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria

Authors: Jayanwita Sarkar, Usha Chakraborty, Bishwanath Chakraborty

Abstract:

Plants are constantly interacting with various abiotic and biotic stresses. In changing climate scenario plants are continuously modifying physiological processes to adapt to changing environmental conditions which profoundly affect plant-pathogen interactions. Spot blotch in wheat is a fast-rising disease in the warmer plains of South Asia where the rise in minimum average temperature over most of the year already affecting wheat production. Hence, the study was undertaken to explore the role of elevated temperature in spot blotch disease development and modulation of antioxidative responses by plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) for biocontrol of spot blotch at high temperature. Elevated temperature significantly increases the susceptibility of wheat plants to spot blotch causing pathogen Bipolaris sorokiniana. Two PGPR Bacillus safensis (W10) and Ochrobactrum pseudogrignonense (IP8) isolated from wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and blady grass (Imperata cylindrical L.) rhizophere respectively, showing in vitro antagonistic activity against Bipolaris sorokiniana were tested for growth promotion and induction of resistance against spot blotch in wheat. GC-MS analysis showed that Bacillus safensis (W10) and Ochrobactrum pseudogrignonense (IP8) produced antifungal and antimicrobial compounds in culture. Seed priming with these two bacteria significantly increase growth, modulate antioxidative signaling and induce resistance and eventually reduce disease incidence in wheat plants at optimum as well as elevated temperature which was further confirmed by indirect immunofluorescence assay using polyclonal antibody raised against Bipolaris sorokiniana. Application of the PGPR led to enhancement in activities of plant defense enzymes- phenylalanine ammonia lyase, peroxidase, chitinase and β-1,3 glucanase in infected leaves. Immunolocalization of chitinase and β-1,3 glucanase in PGPR primed and pathogen inoculated leaf tissue was further confirmed by transmission electron microscopy using PAb of chitinase, β-1,3 glucanase and gold labelled conjugates. Activity of ascorbate-glutathione redox cycle related enzymes such as ascorbate peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione reductase along with antioxidants such as carotenoids, glutathione and ascorbate and osmolytes like proline and glycine betain accumulation were also increased during disease development in PGPR primed plant in comparison to unprimed plants at high temperature. Real-time PCR analysis revealed enhanced expression of defense genes- chalcone synthase and phenyl alanineammonia lyase. Over expression of heat shock proteins like HSP 70, small HSP 26.3 and heat shock factor HsfA3 in PGPR primed plants effectively protect plants against spot blotch infection at elevated temperature as compared with control plants. Our results revealed dynamic biochemical cross talk between elevated temperature and spot blotch disease development and furthermore highlight PGPR mediated array of antioxidative and molecular alterations responsible for induction of resistance against spot blotch disease at elevated temperature which seems to be associated with up-regulation of defense genes, heat shock proteins and heat shock factors, less ROS production, membrane damage, increased expression of redox enzymes and accumulation of osmolytes and antioxidants.

Keywords: Wheat, real-time PCR, heat shock proteins, elevated temperature, PGPR, defense enzymes, antioxidative enzymes, spot blotch

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7 Geospatial and Statistical Evidences of Non-Engineered Landfill Leachate Effects on Groundwater Quality in a Highly Urbanised Area of Nigeria

Authors: David A. Olasehinde, Peter I. Olasehinde, Segun M. A. Adelana, Dapo O. Olasehinde

Abstract:

An investigation was carried out on underground water system dynamics within Ilorin metropolis to monitor the subsurface flow and its corresponding pollution. Africa population growth rate is the highest among the regions of the world, especially in urban areas. A corresponding increase in waste generation and a change in waste composition from predominantly organic to non-organic waste has also been observed. Percolation of leachate from non-engineered landfills, the chief means of waste disposal in many of its cities, constitutes a threat to the underground water bodies. Ilorin city, a transboundary town in southwestern Nigeria, is a ready microcosm of Africa’s unique challenge. In spite of the fact that groundwater is naturally protected from common contaminants such as bacteria as the subsurface provides natural attenuation process, groundwater samples have been noted to however possesses relatively higher dissolved chemical contaminants such as bicarbonate, sodium, and chloride which poses a great threat to environmental receptors and human consumption. The Geographic Information System (GIS) was used as a tool to illustrate, subsurface dynamics and the corresponding pollutant indicators. Forty-four sampling points were selected around known groundwater pollutant, major old dumpsites without landfill liners. The results of the groundwater flow directions and the corresponding contaminant transport were presented using expert geospatial software. The experimental results were subjected to four descriptive statistical analyses, namely: principal component analysis, Pearson correlation analysis, scree plot analysis, and Ward cluster analysis. Regression model was also developed aimed at finding functional relationships that can adequately relate or describe the behaviour of water qualities and the hypothetical factors landfill characteristics that may influence them namely; distance of source of water body from dumpsites, static water level of groundwater, subsurface permeability (inferred from hydraulic gradient), and soil infiltration. The regression equations developed were validated using the graphical approach. Underground water seems to flow from the northern portion of Ilorin metropolis down southwards transporting contaminants. Pollution pattern in the study area generally assumed a bimodal pattern with the major concentration of the chemical pollutants in the underground watershed and the recharge. The correlation between contaminant concentrations and the spread of pollution indicates that areas of lower subsurface permeability display a higher concentration of dissolved chemical content. The principal component analysis showed that conductivity, suspended solids, calcium hardness, total dissolved solids, total coliforms, and coliforms were the chief contaminant indicators in the underground water system in the study area. Pearson correlation revealed a high correlation of electrical conductivity for many parameters analyzed. In the same vein, the regression models suggest that the heavier the molecular weight of a chemical contaminant of a pollutant from a point source, the greater the pollution of the underground water system at a short distance. The study concludes that the associative properties of landfill have a significant effect on groundwater quality in the study area.

Keywords: Leachate, Groundwater Pollution, Linear Regression, principal component, dumpsite

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6 Molecular Signaling Involved in the 'Benzo(a)Pyrene' Induced Germ Cell DNA Damage and Apoptosis: Possible Protection by Natural Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Antagonist and Anti-Tumor Agent

Authors: Kuladip Jana

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Benzo(a)pyrene [B(a)P] is an environmental toxicant present mostly in cigarette smoke and car exhaust, is an aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) ligand that exerts its toxic effects on both male and female reproductive systems. In this study, the effect of B(a)P at different doses (0.1, 0.25, 0.5, 1 and 5 mg /kg body weight) was studied on male reproductive system of rat. A significant decrease in cauda epididymal sperm count and motility along with the presence of sperm head abnormalities and altered epididymal and testicular histology were documented following B(a)P treatment. B(a)P treatment resulted apoptotic sperm cells as observed by TUNEL and Annexin V-PI assay with increased ROS, altered sperm mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) with a simultaneous decrease in the activity of antioxidant enzymes and GSH status. TUNEL positive apoptotic cells also observed in testis as well as isolated germ and Leydig cells following B(a)P exposure. Western Blot analysis revealed the activation of p38MAPK, cytosolic translocation of cytochrome-c, up-regulation of Bax and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) with cleavage of PARP and down-regulation of BCl2 in testis upon B(a)P treatment. The protein and mRNA levels of testicular key steroidogenesis regulatory proteins like StAR, cytochrome P450 IIA1 (CYPIIA1), 3β HSD, 17β HSD showed a significant decrease in a dose dependent manner while an increase in the expression of cytochrome P450 1A1 (CYP1A1), Aryl hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR), active caspase- 9 and caspase- 3 following B(a)P exposure. We conclude that exposure of benzo(a)pyrene caused testicular gamatogenic and steroidogenic disorders by induction of oxidative stress, inhibition of StAR and other steroidogenic enzymes along with activation of p38MAPK and initiated caspase-3 mediated germ and Leydig cell apoptosis.The possible protective role of naturally occurring phytochemicals against B(a)P induced testicular toxicity needs immediate consideration. Curcumin and resveratrol separately were found to protect against B(a)P induced germ cell apoptosis, and their combinatorial effect was more significant. Our present study in isolated testicular germ cell population from adult male Wistar rats, highlighted their synergistic protective effect against B(a)P induced germ cell apoptosis. Curcumin-resveratrol co-treatment decreased the expression of pro-apoptotic proteins like cleaved caspase 3,8,9, cleaved PARP, Apaf1, FasL, tBid. Curcumin-resveratrol co-treatment decreased Bax/Bcl2 ratio, mitochondria to cytosolic translocation of cytochrome c and activated the survival protein Akt. Curcumin-resveratrol decreased the expression of p53 dependent apoptotic genes like Fas, FasL, Bax, Bcl2, Apaf1.Curcumin-resveratrol co-treatment thus prevented B(a)P induced germ cell apoptosis. B(a)P induced testicular ROS generation and oxidative stress were significantly ameliorated with curcumin and resveratrol. Curcumin-resveratrol co-treatment prevented B(a)P induced nuclear translocation of AhR and CYP1A1 production. The combinatorial treatment significantly inhibited B(a)P induced ERK 1/2, p38 MAPK and JNK 1/2 activation. B(a)P treatment increased the expression of p53 and its phosphorylation (p53 ser 15). Curcumin-resveratrol co-treatment significantly decreased p53 level and its phosphorylation (p53 ser 15). The study concludes that curcumin-resveratrol synergistically modulated MAPKs and p53, prevented oxidative stress, regulated the expression of pro and anti-apoptotic proteins as well as the proteins involved in B(a)P metabolism thus protected germ cells from B(a)P induced apoptosis.

Keywords: apoptosis, Oxidative Stress, Curcumin, Resveratrol, germ cell, benzo(a)pyrene

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5 Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities of Actinobacteria Isolated from the Pollen of Pinus sylvestris Grown on the Lake Baikal Shore

Authors: Denis V. Axenov-Gribanov, Irina V. Voytsekhovskaya, Evgenii S. Protasov, Maxim A. Timofeyev

Abstract:

Isolated ecosystems existing under specific environmental conditions have been shown to be promising sources of new strains of actinobacteria. The taiga forest of Baikal Siberia has not been well studied, and its actinobacterial population remains uncharacterized. The proximity between the huge water mass of Lake Baikal and high mountain ranges influences the structure and diversity of the plant world in Siberia. Here, we report the isolation of eighteen actinobacterial strains from male cones of Pinus sylvestris trees growing on the shore of the ancient Lake Baikal in Siberia. The actinobacterial strains were isolated on solid nutrient MS media and Czapek agar supplemented with cycloheximide and phosphomycin. Identification of actinobacteria was carried out by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and further analysis of the evolutionary history. Four different liquid and solid media (NL19, DNPM, SG and ISP) were tested for metabolite production. The metabolite extracts produced by the isolated strains were tested for antibacterial and antifungal activities. Also, antiradical activity of crude extracts was carried out. Strain Streptomyces sp. IB 2014 I 74-3 that active against Gram-negative bacteria was selected for dereplication analysis with using the high-yield liquid chromatography with mass-spectrometry. Mass detection was performed in both positive and negative modes, with the detection range set to 160–2500 m/z. Data were collected and analyzed using Bruker Compass Data Analysis software, version 4.1. Dereplication was performed using the Dictionary of Natural Products (DNP) database version 6.1 with the following search parameters: accurate molecular mass, absorption spectra and source of compound isolation. Thus, in addition to more common representative strains of Streptomyces, several species belonging to the genera Rhodococcus, Amycolatopsis, and Micromonospora were isolated. Several of the selected strains were deposited in the Russian Collection of Agricultural Microorganisms (RCAM), St. Petersburg, Russia. All isolated strains exhibited antibacterial and antifungal activities. We identified several strains that inhibited the growth of the pathogen Candida albicans but did not hinder the growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Several isolates were active against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Moreover, extracts of several strains demonstrated high antioxidant activity. The high proportion of biologically active strains producing antibacterial and specific antifungal compounds may reflect their role in protecting pollen against phytopathogens. Dereplication of the secondary metabolites of the strain Streptomyces sp. IB 2014 I 74-3 was resulted in the fact that a total of 59 major compounds were detected in the culture liquid extract of strain cultivated in ISP medium. Eight compounds were preliminarily identified based on characteristics described in the Dictionary of Natural Products database, using the search parameters Streptomyces sp. IB 2014 I 74-3 was found to produce saframycin A, Y3 and S; 2-amino-3-oxo-3H-phenoxazine-1,8-dicarboxylic acid; galtamycinone; platencin A4-13R and A4-4S; ganefromycin d1; the antibiotic SS 8201B; and streptothricin D, 40-decarbamoyl, 60-carbamoyl. Moreover, forty-nine of the 59 compounds detected in the extract examined in the present study did not result in any positive hits when searching within the DNP database and could not be identified based on available mass-spec data. Thus, these compounds might represent new findings.

Keywords: Biodiversity, actinobacteria, Baikal Lake, male cones, Pinus sylvestris

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4 [Keynote Talk]: Bioactive Cyclic Dipeptides of Microbial Origin in Discovery of Cytokine Inhibitors

Authors: Sajeli A. Begum, Ameer Basha, Kirti Hira, Rukaiyya Khan

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Cyclic dipeptides are simple diketopiperazine derivatives being investigated by several scientists for their biological effects which include anticancer, antimicrobial, haematological, anticonvulsant, immunomodulatory effect, etc. They are potentially active microbial metabolites having been synthesized too, for developing into drug candidates. Cultures of Pseudomonas species have earlier been reported to produce cyclic dipeptides, helping in quorum sensing signals and bacterial–host colonization phenomena during infections, causing cell anti-proliferation and immunosuppression. Fluorescing Pseudomonas species have been identified to secrete lipid derivatives, peptides, pyrroles, phenazines, indoles, aminoacids, pterines, pseudomonic acids and some antibiotics. In the present work, results of investigation on the cyclic dipeptide metabolites secreted by the culture broth of Pseudomonas species as potent pro-inflammatory cytokine inhibitors are discussed. The bacterial strain was isolated from the rhizospheric soil of groundnut crop and identified as Pseudomonas aeruginosa by 16S rDNA sequence (GenBank Accession No. KT625586). Culture broth of this strain was prepared by inoculating into King’s B broth and incubating at 30 ºC for 7 days. The ethyl acetate extract of culture broth was prepared and lyophilized to get a dry residue (EEPA). Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced ELISA assay proved the inhibition of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) secretion in culture supernatant of RAW 264.7 cells by EEPA (IC50 38.8 μg/mL). The effect of oral administration of EEPA on plasma TNF-α level in rats was tested by ELISA kit. The LPS mediated plasma TNF-α level was reduced to 45% with 125 mg/kg dose of EEPA. Isolation of the chemical constituents of EEPA through column chromatography yielded ten cyclic dipeptides, which were characterized using nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopic techniques. These cyclic dipeptides are biosynthesized in microorganisms by multifunctional assembly of non-ribosomal peptide synthases and cyclic dipeptide synthase. Cyclo (Gly-L-Pro) was found to be more potentially (IC50 value 4.5 μg/mL) inhibiting TNF-α production followed by cyclo (trans-4-hydroxy-L-Pro-L-Phe) (IC50 value 14.2 μg/mL) and the effect was equal to that of standard immunosuppressant drug, prednisolone. Further, the effect was analyzed by determining mRNA expression of TNF-α in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages using quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. EEPA and isolated cyclic dipeptides demonstrated diminution of TNF-α mRNA expression levels in a dose-dependent manner under the tested conditions. Also, they were found to control the expression of other pro-inflammatory cytokines like IL-1β and IL-6, when tested through their mRNA expression levels in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages under LPS-stimulated conditions. In addition, significant inhibition effect was found on Nitric oxide production. Further all the compounds exhibited weak toxicity to LPS-induced RAW 264.7 cells. Thus the outcome of the study disclosed the effectiveness of EEPA and the isolated cyclic dipeptides in down-regulating key cytokines involved in pathophysiology of autoimmune diseases.In another study led by the investigators, microbial cyclic dipeptides were found to exhibit excellent antimicrobial effect against Fusarium moniliforme which is an important causative agent of Sorghum grain mold disease. Thus, cyclic dipeptides are emerging small molecular drug candidates for various autoimmune diseases.

Keywords: Cytokines, Pseudomonas, TNF-Alpha, cyclic dipeptides, Fusarium moniliforme

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3 Case Study Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Authors: Magdy I. A. Alshourbagi

Abstract:

Background: The National Institute for Deafness and Communication Disorders defines idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss as the idiopathic loss of hearing of at least 30 dB across 3 contiguous frequencies occurring within 3 days.The most common clinical presentation involves an individual experiencing a sudden unilateral hearing loss, tinnitus, a sensation of aural fullness and vertigo. The etiologies and pathologies of ISSNHL remain unclear. Several pathophysiological mechanisms have been described including: vascular occlusion, viral infections, labyrinthine membrane breaks, immune associated disease, abnormal cochlear stress response, trauma, abnormal tissue growth, toxins, ototoxic drugs and cochlear membrane damage. The rationale for the use of hyperbaric oxygen to treat ISSHL is supported by an understanding of the high metabolism and paucity of vascularity to the cochlea. The cochlea and the structures within it require a high oxygen supply. The direct vascular supply, particularly to the organ of Corti, is minimal. Tissue oxygenation to the structures within the cochlea occurs via oxygen diffusion from cochlear capillary networks into the perilymph and the cortilymph. . The perilymph is the primary oxygen source for these intracochlear structures. Unfortunately, perilymph oxygen tension is decreased significantly in patients with ISSHL. To achieve a consistent rise of perilymph oxygen content, the arterial-perilymphatic oxygen concentration difference must be extremely high. This can be restored with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Subject and Methods: A 37 year old man was presented at the clinic with a five days history of muffled hearing and tinnitus of the right ear. Symptoms were sudden onset, with no associated pain, dizziness or otorrhea and no past history of hearing problems or medical illness. Family history was negative. Physical examination was normal. Otologic examination revealed normal tympanic membranes bilaterally, with no evidence of cerumen or middle ear effusion. Tuning fork examination showed positive Rinne test bilaterally but with lateralization of Weber test to the left side, indicating right ear sensorineural hearing loss. Audiometric analysis confirmed sensorineural hearing loss across all frequencies of about 70- dB in the right ear. Routine lab work were all within normal limits. Clinical diagnosis of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss of the right ear was made and the patient began a medical treatment (corticosteroid, vasodilator and HBO therapy). The recommended treatment profile consists of 100% O2 at 2.5 atmospheres absolute for 60 minutes daily (six days per week) for 40 treatments .The optimal number of HBOT treatments will vary, depending on the severity and duration of symptomatology and the response to treatment. Results: As HBOT is not yet a standard for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss, it was introduced to this patient as an adjuvant therapy. The HBOT program was scheduled for 40 sessions, we used a 12-seat multi place chamber for the HBOT, which was started at day seven after the hearing loss onset. After the tenth session of HBOT, improvement of both hearing (by audiogram) and tinnitus was obtained in the affected ear (right). Conclusions: In conclusion, HBOT may be used for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss as an adjuvant therapy. It may promote oxygenation to the inner ear apparatus and revive hearing ability. Patients who fail to respond to oral and intratympanic steroids may benefit from this treatment. Further investigation is warranted, including animal studies to understand the molecular and histopathological aspects of HBOT and randomized control clinical studies.

Keywords: idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (issnhl), hyperbaric oxygen therapy (hbot), the decibel (db), oxygen (o2)

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