1-(2,6-Dihydroxy-4-methoxyphenyl)-2-(4-hydroxyphenyl) ethanone (DMHE) was isolated from the ethyl acetate fraction of Phaleria macrocarpa (Scheff.) Boerl fruits and the structure confirmed by GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) and NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) analysis. This compound was tested on the HT-29 human colon adenocarcinoma cell line using MTT (method of transcriptional and translational) cell proliferation assay. The results of MTT assay showed that DMHE exhibited good cytotoxic effect on HT-29 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner but no cytotoxic effect on the MRC-5 cell line after 72 h incubation. Morphological features of apoptotic cells upon treatment by DMHE, e.g., cell shrinkage and membrane blebbing, were examined by an inverted and phase microscope. Other features, such as chromatin condension and nuclear fragmentation were studied using acridine orange and propidium iodide staining under the fluorescence microscope. Future evidence of apoptosis/necrosis was provided by result fromannexin V-FITC/PI (fluorescein-isothiocyanate/propidium iodide) staining revealed the percentage of early apoptotic, late apoptotic, necrotic and live cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner using flow cytometry. Cell cycle analysis showed G0/G1 arrest in a time-dependent manner. A western blot analysis indicated that cell death might be associated with the up-regulation of the pro-apoptotic proteins Bax PUMA. However, the anit-apotptic proteins Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Mcl-1 were also found to increase in a time-dependent manner. The expression of the pro-apoptotic protein Bak was not observed.
Recent advancement in cartilage tissue engineering has explored the potential of 3D culture to mimic the in vivo environment of human cartilaginous tissue. Three-dimensional culture using microspheres was described to play a role in driving the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells to chondrocyte lineage. However, factors such as mechanical agitation on cell chondrogenesis during culture on the microspheres has yet to be elucidated. In this study, we compared the 2D and 3D culture of bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) on gelatin microspheres (GMs) in terms of MSC stemness properties, immune-phenotype, multilineage differentiation properties, and proliferation rate. Then, to study the effect of mechanical agitation on chondrogenic differentiation in 3D culture, we cultured BMSCs on GM (BMSCs-GM) in either static or dynamic bioreactor system with two different mediums, i.e., F12: DMEM (1:1) + 10% FBS (FD) and chondrogenic induction medium (CIM). Our results show that BMSCs attached to the GM surface and remained viable in 3D culture. BMSCs-GM proliferated faster and displayed higher stemness properties than BMSCs on a tissue culture plate (BMSCs-TCP). GMs also enhanced the efficiency of in-vitro chondrogenesis of BMSCs, especially in a dynamic culture with higher cell proliferation, RNA expression, and protein expression compared to that in a static culture. To conclude, our results indicate that the 3D culture of BMSCs on gelatin microsphere was superior to 2D culture on a standard tissue culture plate. Furthermore, culturing BMSCs on GM in dynamic culture conditions enhanced their chondrogenic differentiation.
The crystallization of proteins makes it possible to determine their structure by X-ray crystallography, and is therefore important for the analysis of protein structure-function relationships. L2 lipase was crystallized by using the J-tube counter diffusion method. A crystallization consisting of 20% PEG 6000, 50 mM MES pH 6.5 and 50 mM NaCl was found to be the best condition to produce crystals with good shape and size (0.5 × 0.1 × 0.2 mm). The protein concentration used for the crystallization was 3 mg/mL. L2 lipase crystal has two crystal forms, Shape 1 and Shape 2. Shape 2 L2 lipase crystal was diffracted at 1.5 Å and the crystal belongs to the orthorhombic space group P2(1)2(1)2(1), with unit-cell parameters a = 72.0, b = 81.8, c = 83.4 Å, α = β = γ = 90°. There is one molecule per asymmetric unit and the solvent content of the crystals is 56.9%, with a Matthew's coefficient of 2.85 Å Da(-1). The 3D structure of L2 lipase revealed topological organization of α/β-hydrolase fold consisting of 11 β-strands and 13 α-helices. Ser-113, His-358 and Asp-317 were assigned as catalytic triad residues. One Ca(2+) and one Zn(2+) were found in the L2 lipase molecule.
Latent transforming growth factor-β-1 binding protein-2 (LTBP-2) belongs to the LTBP-fibrillin superfamily of extracellular proteins. Unlike other LTBPs, LTBP-2 does not covalently bind transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) but appears to be implicated in the regulation of TGF-β1 bioactivity, although the mechanisms are largely unknown. In experiments originally designed to study the displacement of latent TGF-β1 complexes from matrix storage, we found that the addition of exogenous LTBP-2 to cultured human MSU-1.1 fibroblasts caused an increase in TGF-β1 levels in the medium. However, the TGF-β1 increase was due to an upregulation of TGF-β1 expression and secretion rather than a displacement of matrix-stored TGF-β1. The secreted TGF-β1 was mainly in an inactive form, and its concentration peaked around 15 h after addition of LTBP-2. Using a series of recombinant LTBP-2 fragments, the bioactivity was identified to a small region of LTBP-2 consisting of an 8-Cys motif flanked by four epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like repeats. The LTBP-2 stimulation of TGF-β expression involved the phosphorylation of both Akt and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling proteins, and specific inactivation of each protein individually blocked TGF-β1 increase. The search for the cell surface receptor mediating this LTBP-2 activity proved inconclusive. Inhibitory antibodies to integrins β1 and αVβ5 showed no reduction of LTBP-2 stimulation of TGF-β1. However, TGF-β1 upregulation was partially inhibited by anti-αVβ3 integrin antibodies, suggestive of a direct or indirect role for this integrin. Overall, the study indicates that LTBP-2 can directly upregulate cellular TGF-β1 expression and secretion by interaction with cells via a short central bioactive region. This may be significant in connective tissue disorders involving aberrant TGF-β1 signalling.
A total of 60 products of traditional herbal medicine (THM) in various dosage forms of herbal preparation were analyzed to determine selected trace elements (i.e., Zn, Mn, Cu, Cd, and Se) using ICP-MS. Thirty types of both Chinese and Malay THMs were chosen to represent each population. The closed vessel acid microwave digestion method, using CEM MARS 5, was employed for the extraction of the selected trace elements. The digestion method applied was validated by using certified reference material from the Trace Element in Spinach Leaves (SRM1570a). The recoveries of all elements were found to be in the range of 85.3%-98.9%. The results indicated that Zn, Mn, Cu, Cd and Se have their own trends of concentrations in all samples studied. The daily intake concentrations of the elements were in the following order: Mn > Zn > Cu > Se > Cd. Concentrations of all five elements were found to be dominant in Chinese THMs. The essentiality of the selected trace elements was also assessed, based on the recommended daily allowance (RDA), adequate intake (AI) and the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) for trace elements as reference. The concentrations of all elements studied were below the RDA, AI and USP values, which fall within the essential concentration range, except for cadmium.
Electron scattering cross sections for pyridine in the energy range 0-100 eV, which we previously measured or calculated, have been critically compiled and complemented here with new measurements of electron energy loss spectra and double differential ionization cross sections. Experimental techniques employed in this study include a linear transmission apparatus and a reaction microscope system. To fulfill the transport model requirements, theoretical data have been recalculated within our independent atom model with screening corrected additivity rule and interference effects (IAM-SCAR) method for energies above 10 eV. In addition, results from the R-matrix and Schwinger multichannel with pseudopotential methods, for energies below 15 eV and 20 eV, respectively, are presented here. The reliability of this complete data set has been evaluated by comparing the simulated energy distribution of electrons transmitted through pyridine, with that observed in an electron-gas transmission experiment under magnetic confinement conditions. In addition, our representation of the angular distribution of the inelastically scattered electrons is discussed on the basis of the present double differential cross section experimental results.
Microalgae contribute up to 60% of the oxygen content in the Earth's atmosphere by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen during photosynthesis. Microalgae are abundantly available in the natural environment, thanks to their ability to survive and grow rapidly under harsh and inhospitable conditions. Microalgal cultivation is environmentally friendly because the microalgal biomass can be utilized for the productions of biofuels, food and feed supplements, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and cosmetics. The cultivation of microalgal also can complement approaches like carbon dioxide sequestration and bioremediation of wastewaters, thereby addressing the serious environmental concerns. This review focuses on the factors affecting microalgal cultures, techniques adapted to obtain high-density microalgal cultures in photobioreactors, and the conversion of microalgal biomass into biofuels. The applications of microalgae in carbon dioxide sequestration and phycoremediation of wastewater are also discussed.
The use of nanotechnology could play a significant role in the agriculture sector, especially in the preparation of new-generation agronanochemicals. Currently, the economically important plant of Malaysia, the oil palm, faces the threat of a devastating disease which is particularly caused by a pathogenic fungus, Ganoderma boninense. For the development of an effective antifungal agent, a series of chitosan nanoparticles loaded with a fumigant, dazomet, were prepared using various concentrations of sodium tripolyphosphate (TPP)-2.5, 5, 10, and 20 mg/mL, abbreviated as CDEN2.5, CDEN5, CDEN10, and CDEN20, respectively. The effect of TPP as a crosslinking agent on the resulting particle size of the synthesized nanoparticles was investigated using a particle size analyzer and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). Both methods confirmed that increasing the TPP concentration resulted in smaller particles. In addition, in vitro fumigant release at pH 5.5 showed that the release of the fumigant from the nanoparticles was of a sustained manner, with a prolonged release time up to 24 h. Furthermore, the relationship between the chitosan-dazomet nanoparticles and the in vitro antifungal activity against G. boninense was also explored, where the nanoparticles of the smallest size, CDEN20, gave the highest antifungal efficacy with the lowest half maximum effective concentration (EC50) value of 13.7 ± 1.76 ppb. This indicates that the smaller-sized agronanoparticles were more effective as an antifungal agent. The size can be altered, which plays a crucial role in combatting the Ganoderma disease. The agronanoparticles have controlled release properties and high antifungal efficacy on G. boninense, thus making them a promising candidate to be applied in the field for Ganoderma treatment.
A series of 21 compounds isolated from Curcuma zedoaria was subjected to cytotoxicity test against MCF7; Ca Ski; PC3 and HT-29 cancer cell lines; and a normal HUVEC cell line. To rationalize the structure-activity relationships of the isolated compounds; a set of electronic; steric and hydrophobic descriptors were calculated using density functional theory (DFT) method. Statistical analyses were carried out using simple and multiple linear regressions (SLR; MLR); principal component analysis (PCA); and hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA). SLR analyses showed that the cytotoxicity of the isolated compounds against a given cell line depend on certain descriptors; and the corresponding correlation coefficients (R2) vary from 0%-55%. MLR results revealed that the best models can be achieved with a limited number of specific descriptors applicable for compounds having a similar basic skeleton. Based on PCA; HCA and MLR analyses; active compounds were classified into subgroups; which was in agreement with the cell based cytotoxicity assay.
Cell adhesion is essential in cell communication and regulation, and is of fundamental importance in the development and maintenance of tissues. The mechanical interactions between a cell and its extracellular matrix (ECM) can influence and control cell behavior and function. The essential function of cell adhesion has created tremendous interests in developing methods for measuring and studying cell adhesion properties. The study of cell adhesion could be categorized into cell adhesion attachment and detachment events. The study of cell adhesion has been widely explored via both events for many important purposes in cellular biology, biomedical, and engineering fields. Cell adhesion attachment and detachment events could be further grouped into the cell population and single cell approach. Various techniques to measure cell adhesion have been applied to many fields of study in order to gain understanding of cell signaling pathways, biomaterial studies for implantable sensors, artificial bone and tooth replacement, the development of tissue-on-a-chip and organ-on-a-chip in tissue engineering, the effects of biochemical treatments and environmental stimuli to the cell adhesion, the potential of drug treatments, cancer metastasis study, and the determination of the adhesion properties of normal and cancerous cells. This review discussed the overview of the available methods to study cell adhesion through attachment and detachment events.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) hold tremendous potential for therapeutic use in stem cell-based gene therapy. Ex vivo genetic modification of MSCs with beneficial genes of interest is a prerequisite for successful use of stem cell-based therapeutic applications. However, genetic manipulation of MSCs is challenging because they are resistant to commonly used methods to introduce exogenous DNA or RNA. Herein we compared the effectiveness of several techniques (classic calcium phosphate precipitation, cationic polymer, and standard electroporation) with that of microporation technology to introduce the plasmid encoding for angiopoietin-1 (ANGPT-1) and enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) into human adipose-derived MSCs (hAD-MSCs). The microporation technique had a higher transfection efficiency, with up to 50% of the viable hAD-MSCs being transfected, compared to the other transfection techniques, for which less than 1% of cells were positive for eGFP expression following transfection. The capability of cells to proliferate and differentiate into three major lineages (chondrocytes, adipocytes, and osteocytes) was found to be independent of the technique used for transfection. These results show that the microporation technique is superior to the others in terms of its ability to transfect hAD-MSCs without affecting their proliferation and differentiation capabilities. Therefore, this study provides a foundation for the selection of techniques when using ex vivo gene manipulation for cell-based gene therapy with MSCs as the vehicle for gene delivery.
Adiponectin is one of the most bioactive substances secreted by adipose tissue and is involved in the protection against metabolic syndrome, artherosclerosis and type II diabetes. Research into the use of adiponectin as a promising drug for metabolic syndromes requires production of this hormone in high quantities considering its molecular isoforms. The objective of this study is to produce recombinant human adiponectin by Pichia pastoris (P-ADP) as a cheap and convenient eukaryotic expression system for potential application in pharmaceutical therapy. For comparison, adiponectin was also expressed using the Escherichia coli (E-ADP) expression system. Adiponectin was constructed by overlap-extension PCR, and cloned in standard cloning vector and hosts. Recombinant expression vectors were cloned in the P. pastoris and E. coli host strains, respectively. SDS-PAGE and western blotting were used to detect and analyse expressed recombinant protein in both systems. Adiponectin was purified by affinity chromatography and quantified using the Bradford Assay. The results of this study indicated that P-ADP quantity (0.111 mg/mL) was higher than that of E-ADP (0.04 mg/mL) and both were produced in soluble form. However, P-ADP was able to form high molecular weights of adiponectin molecules, whilst E-ADP was not able to form isoforms higher than trimer. In addition, P-ADP was more active in lowering blood glucose compared with E-ADP. The two types of proteins were equally efficient and significantly decreased blood triglyceride and increased high density lipoprotein. We conclude that P. pastoris is able to produce high quantity of bioactive adiponectin for potential use in treatment of metabolic syndromes.
In this work, poly(lactic acid) (PLA) a fully biodegradable thermoplastic polymer matrix was melt blended with three different epoxidized palm oil (EPO). The aim of this research was to enhance the flexibility, mechanical and thermal properties of PLA. The blends were prepared at various EPO contents of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 wt% and characterized. The SEM analysis evidenced successful modification on the neat PLA brittle morphology. Tensile tests indicate that the addition of 1 wt% EPO is sufficient to improve the strength and flexibility compared to neat PLA. Additionally, the flexural and impact properties were also enhanced. Further, DSC analysis showed that the addition of EPO results in a decrease in T(g), which implies an increase in the PLA chain mobility. In the presence of 1 wt% EPO, TGA results revealed significant increase in the thermal stability by 27%. Among the three EPOs used, EPO(3) showed the best mechanical and thermal properties compared to the other EPO's, with an optimum loading of 1 wt%. Conclusively, EPO showed a promising outcome to overcome the brittleness and improve the overall properties of neat PLA, thus can be considered as a potential plasticizer.
Epigenetic mechanisms are responsible for the regulation of transcription of imprinted genes and those that induce a totipotent state. Starting just after fertilization, DNA methylation pattern undergoes establishment, reestablishment and maintenance. These modifications are important for normal embryo and placental developments. Throughout life and passing to the next generation, epigenetic events establish, maintain, erase and reestablish. In the context of differentiated cell reprogramming, demethylation and activation of genes whose expressions contribute to the pluripotent state is the crux of the matter. In this review, firstly, regulatory epigenetic mechanisms related to somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) reprogramming are discussed, followed by embryonic development, and placental epigenetic issues.
l-glutamaic acid is the principal excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and an important intermediate in metabolism. In the present study, lactic acid bacteria (218) were isolated from six different fermented foods as potent sources of glutamic acid producers. The presumptive bacteria were tested for their ability to synthesize glutamic acid. Out of the 35 strains showing this capability, strain MNZ was determined as the highest glutamic-acid producer. Identification tests including 16S rRNA gene sequencing and sugar assimilation ability identified the strain MNZ as Lactobacillus plantarum. The characteristics of this microorganism related to its glutamic acid-producing ability, growth rate, glucose consumption and pH profile were studied. Results revealed that glutamic acid was formed inside the cell and excreted into the extracellular medium. Glutamic acid production was found to be growth-associated and glucose significantly enhanced glutamic acid production (1.032 mmol/L) compared to other carbon sources. A concentration of 0.7% ammonium nitrate as a nitrogen source effectively enhanced glutamic acid production. To the best of our knowledge this is the first report of glutamic acid production by lactic acid bacteria. The results of this study can be further applied for developing functional foods enriched in glutamic acid and subsequently γ-amino butyric acid (GABA) as a bioactive compound.
An amylopullulanase of the thermophilic Anoxybacillus sp. SK3-4 (ApuASK) was purified to homogeneity and characterized. Though amylopullulanases larger than 200 kDa are rare, the molecular mass of purified ApuASK appears to be approximately 225 kDa, on both SDS-PAGE analyses and native-PAGE analyses. ApuASK was stable between pH 6.0 and pH 8.0 and exhibited optimal activity at pH 7.5. The optimal temperature for ApuASK enzyme activity was 60 °C, and it retained 54% of its total activity for 240 min at 65 °C. ApuASK reacts with pullulan, starch, glycogen, and dextrin, yielding glucose, maltose, and maltotriose. Interestingly, most of the previously described amylopullulanases are unable to produce glucose and maltose from these substrates. Thus, ApuASK is a novel, high molecular-mass amylopullulanase able to produce glucose, maltose, and maltotriose from pullulan and starch. Based on whole genome sequencing data, ApuASK appeared to be the largest protein present in Anoxybacillus sp. SK3-4. The α-amylase catalytic domain present in all of the amylase superfamily members is present in ApuASK, located between the cyclodextrin (CD)-pullulan-degrading N-terminus and the α-amylase catalytic C-terminus (amyC) domains. In addition, the existence of a S-layer homology (SLH) domain indicates that ApuASK might function as a cell-anchoring enzyme and be important for carbohydrate utilization in a streaming hot spring.
A thermophilic lipolytic bacterium identified as Bacillus sp. L2 via 16S rDNA was previously isolated from a hot spring in Perak, Malaysia. Bacillus sp. L2 was confirmed to be in Group 5 of bacterial classification, a phylogenically and phenotypically coherent group of thermophilic bacilli displaying very high similarity among their 16S rRNA sequences (98.5-99.2%). Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) cloning of L2 lipase gene was conducted by using five different primers. Sequence analysis of the L2 lipase gene revealed an open reading frame (ORF) of 1251 bp that codes for 417 amino acids. The signal peptides consist of 28 amino acids. The mature protein is made of 388 amino acid residues. Recombinant lipase was successfully overexpressed with a 178-fold increase in activity compared to crude native L2 lipase. The recombinant L2 lipase (43.2 kDa) was purified to homogeneity in a single chromatography step. The purified lipase was found to be reactive at a temperature range of 55-80 °C and at a pH of 6-10. The L2 lipase had a melting temperature (Tm) of 59.04 °C when analyzed by circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy studies. The optimum activity was found to be at 70 °C and pH 9. Lipase L2 was strongly inhibited by ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) (100%), whereas phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride (PMSF), pepstatin-A, 2-mercaptoethanol and dithiothreitol (DTT) inhibited the enzyme by over 40%. The CD spectra of secondary structure analysis showed that the L2 lipase structure contained 38.6% α-helices, 2.2% ß-strands, 23.6% turns and 35.6% random conformations.
Over the last few decades, the use of molecular markers has played an increasing role in rice breeding and genetics. Of the different types of molecular markers, microsatellites have been utilized most extensively, because they can be readily amplified by PCR and the large amount of allelic variation at each locus. Microsatellites are also known as simple sequence repeats (SSR), and they are typically composed of 1-6 nucleotide repeats. These markers are abundant, distributed throughout the genome and are highly polymorphic compared with other genetic markers, as well as being species-specific and co-dominant. For these reasons, they have become increasingly important genetic markers in rice breeding programs. The evolution of new biotypes of pests and diseases as well as the pressures of climate change pose serious challenges to rice breeders, who would like to increase rice production by introducing resistance to multiple biotic and abiotic stresses. Recent advances in rice genomics have now made it possible to identify and map a number of genes through linkage to existing DNA markers. Among the more noteworthy examples of genes that have been tightly linked to molecular markers in rice are those that confer resistance or tolerance to blast. Therefore, in combination with conventional breeding approaches, marker-assisted selection (MAS) can be used to monitor the presence or lack of these genes in breeding populations. For example, marker-assisted backcross breeding has been used to integrate important genes with significant biological effects into a number of commonly grown rice varieties. The use of cost-effective, finely mapped microsatellite markers and MAS strategies should provide opportunities for breeders to develop high-yield, blast resistance rice cultivars. The aim of this review is to summarize the current knowledge concerning the linkage of microsatellite markers to rice blast resistance genes, as well as to explore the use of MAS in rice breeding programs aimed at improving blast resistance in this species. We also discuss the various advantages, disadvantages and uses of microsatellite markers relative to other molecular marker types.
Hematologic malignancies constitute about 9% of all new cases of cancers as reported via the GLOBOCAN series by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2008. So far, the conventional therapeutic and surgical approaches to cancer therapy have not been able to curtail the rising incidence of cancers, including hematological malignancies, worldwide. The last decade has witnessed great research interest in biological activities of phenolic compounds that include anticancer, anti-oxidation and anti-inflammation, among other things. A large number of anticancer agents combat cancer through cell cycle arrest, induction of apoptosis and differentiation, as well as through inhibition of cell growth and proliferation, or a combination of two or more of these mechanisms. Various phenolic compounds from different sources have been reported to be promising anticancer agents by acting through one of these mechanisms. Honey, which has a long history of human consumption both for medicinal and nutritional uses, contains a variety of phenolic compounds such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, coumarins and tannins. This paper presents a review on the molecular mechanisms of the anti-leukemic activity of various phenolic compounds on cell cycle, cell growth and proliferation and apoptosis, and it advocates that more studies should be conducted to determine the potential role of honey in both chemoprevention and chemotherapy in leukemia.
Physiological and ecological constraints that cause the slow growth and depleted production of crops have raised a major concern in the agriculture industry as they represent a possible threat of short food supply in the future. The key feature that regulates the stress signaling pathway is always related to the reactive oxygen species (ROS). The accumulation of ROS in plant cells would leave traces of biomarkers at the genome, proteome, and metabolome levels, which could be identified with the recent technological breakthrough coupled with improved performance of bioinformatics. This review highlights the recent breakthrough in molecular strategies (comprising transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) in identifying oxidative stress biomarkers and the arising opportunities and obstacles observed in research on biomarkers in rice. The major issue in incorporating bioinformatics to validate the biomarkers from different omic platforms for the use of rice-breeding programs is also discussed. The development of powerful techniques for identification of oxidative stress-related biomarkers and the integration of data from different disciplines shed light on the oxidative response pathways in plants.