Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 1460 in total

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  1. Ghane Kisomi M, Wong LP, Tay ST, Bulgiba A, Zandi K, Kho KL, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0157987.
    PMID: 27341678 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157987
    BACKGROUND: Farmworkers are at high-risk for tick bites, which potentially transmit various tick-borne diseases. Previous studies show that personal prevention against tick bites is key, and certain factors namely, knowledge, experience of tick bites, and health beliefs influence compliance with tick bites preventive behaviour. This study aimed to assess these factors and their associations with tick bite preventive practices among Malaysian farmworkers.

    METHODS: A total of eight cattle, goat and sheep farms in six states in Peninsular Malaysia participated in a cross-sectional survey between August and October 2013.

    RESULTS: A total of 151 (72.2%) out of 209 farmworkers answered the questionnaire. More than half of the farmworkers (n = 91) reported an experience of tick bites. Farms with monthly acaricide treatment had significantly (P<0.05) a low report of tick bites. Tick bite exposure rates did not differ significantly among field workers and administrative workers. The mean total knowledge score of ticks for the overall farmworkers was 13.6 (SD±3.2) from 20. The mean total tick bite preventive practices score for all farmworkers was 8.3 (SD±3.1) from 15. Fixed effect model showed the effects of four factors on tick bite prevention: (1) farms, (2) job categories (administrative workers vs. field workers), (3) perceived severity of tick bites, and (4) perceived barriers to tick bite prevention.

    CONCLUSIONS: A high proportion of farmworkers, including administrative workers, reported an experience of tick bites. The effectiveness of monthly acaricide treatment was declared by low reports of tick bites on these farms. Tick bite preventive practices were insufficient, particularly in certain farms and for administrative workers. Our findings emphasise the need to have education programmes for all farmworkers and targeting farms with low prevention practices. Education and health programmes should increase the perception of the risk of tick bites and remove perceived barriers of tick bite prevention.

  2. Surya W, Chooduang S, Choong YK, Torres J, Boonserm P
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0158356.
    PMID: 27341696 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0158356
    The binary toxin from Lysinibacillus sphaericus has been successfully used for controlling mosquito-transmitted diseases. An activation step shortens both subunits BinA and BinB before their interaction with membranes and internalization in midgut cells, but the precise role of this activation step is unknown. Herein, we show conclusively using three orthogonal biophysical techniques that protoxin subunits form only monomers in aqueous solution. However, in vitro activated toxins readily form heterodimers. This oligomeric state did not change after incubation of these heterodimers with detergent. These results are consistent with the evidence that maximal toxicity in mosquito larvae is achieved when the two subunits, BinA and BinB, are in a 1:1 molar ratio, and directly link proteolytic activation to heterodimerization. Formation of a heterodimer must thus be necessary for subsequent steps, e.g., interaction with membranes, or with a suitable receptor in susceptible mosquito species. Lastly, despite existing similarities between BinB C-terminal domain with domains 3 and 4 of pore-forming aerolysin, no aerolysin-like SDS-resistant heptameric oligomers were observed when the activated Bin subunits were incubated in the presence of detergents or lipidic membranes.
  3. Hasani A, Moghavvemi S, Hamzah A
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0157624.
    PMID: 27341569 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157624
    In many countries, especially one such as Malaysia, tourism has become a key factor in economic development, and the industry heavily relies on feedback from local residents. It is essential to observe and examine the perceptions of residents towards tourists and tourism development for better planning in realizing successful and sustainable tourism development. Therefore, this research measured the relationship between residents' welcoming nature, emotional closeness, and sympathetic understanding (emotional solidarity) towards tourists and their respective attitudes towards supporting tourism development. To test the proposed research model, we collected data using a questionnaire survey from 333 residents in rural areas in Malaysia. We used the structural equation modelling technique (Amos) to evaluate the research model, and the results revealed that the residents' willingness (welcoming nature) to accept tourists is the strongest factor that effects the residents' attitudes towards supporting tourism development. However, there was no significant relationship between residents' emotional closeness and their sympathetic understanding towards tourists with their attitude and support towards tourism development. Welcoming nature, emotional closeness, and sympathetic understanding are able to predict 48% of residents' attitudes towards tourism development and 62% of their support towards tourism development.
  4. Kumar S, Ratnavelu K
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0157633.
    PMID: 27322645 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157633
    Scholars (n = 580) from 69 countries who had contributed articles in the field of Economics during the year 2015 participated in a survey that gauged their perceptions of various aspects of co-authorship, including its benefits, motivations, working relationships, order of authorship and association preferences. Among the main findings, significant differences emerged in the proportion of co-authored papers based on age, gender and number of years the researchers had spent in their present institution. Female scholars had a greater proportion of co-authored papers than male scholars. Respondents considered improved quality of paper, contribution of mutual expertise, and division of labor as the biggest benefits of and motivation for co-authorship. Contrary to common perceptions that Economics researchers used a predominantly alphabetical order of authorship, our study found that a considerable percentage of respondents (34.5%) had practiced an order of authorship based on the significance of the authors' contribution to the work. The relative importance of tasks differed significantly according to whether researchers co-authored as mentors or co-authored as colleagues. Lastly, researchers were found to associate, to varying degrees, with other researchers based on socio-academic parameters, such as nationality, ethnicity, gender, professional position and friendship. The study indicates that Economics authors perceive co-authorship as a rewarding endeavor. Nonetheless, the level of contribution and even the choice of association itself as a co-author depends to a great extent on the type of working relationship and socio-academic factors.
  5. Abram NK, MacMillan DC, Xofis P, Ancrenaz M, Tzanopoulos J, Ong R, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156481.
    PMID: 27276218 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156481
    Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) aims to avoid forest conversion to alternative land-uses through financial incentives. Oil-palm has high opportunity costs, which according to current literature questions the financial competitiveness of REDD+ in tropical lowlands. To understand this more, we undertook regional fine-scale and coarse-scale analyses (through carbon mapping and economic modelling) to assess the financial viability of REDD+ in safeguarding unprotected forest (30,173 ha) in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain in Malaysian Borneo. Results estimate 4.7 million metric tons of carbon (MgC) in unprotected forest, with 64% allocated for oil-palm cultivations. Through fine-scale mapping and carbon accounting, we demonstrated that REDD+ can outcompete oil-palm in regions with low suitability, with low carbon prices and low carbon stock. In areas with medium oil-palm suitability, REDD+ could outcompete oil palm in areas with: very high carbon and lower carbon price; medium carbon price and average carbon stock; or, low carbon stock and high carbon price. Areas with high oil palm suitability, REDD+ could only outcompete with higher carbon price and higher carbon stock. In the coarse-scale model, oil-palm outcompeted REDD+ in all cases. For the fine-scale models at the landscape level, low carbon offset prices (US $3 MgCO2e) would enable REDD+ to outcompete oil-palm in 55% of the unprotected forests requiring US $27 million to secure these areas for 25 years. Higher carbon offset price (US $30 MgCO2e) would increase the competitiveness of REDD+ within the landscape but would still only capture between 69%-74% of the unprotected forest, requiring US $380-416 million in carbon financing. REDD+ has been identified as a strategy to mitigate climate change by many countries (including Malaysia). Although REDD+ in certain scenarios cannot outcompete oil palm, this research contributes to the global REDD+ debate by: highlighting REDD+ competitiveness in tropical floodplain landscapes; and, providing a robust approach for identifying and targeting limited REDD+ funds.
  6. Jaber AA, Khan AH, Syed Sulaiman SA, Ahmad N, Anaam MS
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156258.
    PMID: 27257990 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156258
    BACKGROUND: The health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of Tuberculosis (TB) patients is important because it directly influences the outcome of TB patients in several aspects. The current study aims to evaluate and to find the factors influencing the HRQoL of TB patients in two major TB-prevalent cities (Taiz and Alhodidah) in Yemen.

    METHODS: A prospective study was conducted, and all TB patients meeting the HRQoL criteria were asked to complete the HRQoL SF-36 survey. The records of TB patients were examined for disease confirmation, and a follow-up was consequently performed for patients during treatment between March 2013 and February 2014 in Taiz and Alhodidah Cities. HRQol scores were calculated by using QM scoring software version 4.5, in which the physical component score (PCS) and mental component score (MCS) were obtained. The scores obtained between 47-53 normal based score (NBS) were considered equivalent to the US normal score. Low scores indicate the poor health situation of TB patients.

    RESULTS: A total of 243 TB patients enrolled in the study at the beginning of the treatment. A total of 235 and 197 TB patients completed the questionnaire at the end of the intensive phase (I.P.) and continuation phase (C.P.), respectively. The final dropout rate was 16.2%. The mean PCS and MCS scores at the beginning of treatment were low, thus showing the poor health situation of TB patients. The mean PCS scores at the beginning of treatment, end of I.P., and end of treatment were (36.1), (44.9), and (48), respectively. Moreover, the mean MCS score at the beginning of treatment, end of I.P., and end of treatment were (35.1), (42.2), and (44.3), respectively. The result shows that significant increases are observed at the end of I.P. for PCS and MCS because of the treatment and slight changes at the end of C.P. Despite this finding, the MCS score remains below the normal range (47), thus indicating a significant risk of depression among TB patients. Furthermore, general linear repeated measure ANOVA was performed for selected variables, to examine the changes of PCS and MCS over time. It was found that Alhodiah city, chewing khat habit, stigmatization, and duration of treatment more than six months were greatly associated with low mean MCS score of TB patient, indicating great risk of depression which may result in poor treatment outcome.

    CONCLUSION: TB patients in Yemen were found to have poor QoL, with a significant likelihood of depression. Highly risk depression was found among TB patients in Alhodiah city, khat chewers, stigmatization and having a duration of treatment more than 6 months. Therefore, additional efforts should be made to improve their QoL because it may affect the final clinical outcome of patients.

  7. Al-Medhwahi M, Hashim F, Ali BM, Sali A
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156880.
    PMID: 27257964 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156880
    The rapid expansion of wireless monitoring and surveillance applications in several domains reinforces the trend of exploiting emerging technologies such as the cognitive radio. However, these technologies have to adjust their working concepts to consider the common characteristics of conventional wireless sensor networks (WSNs). The cognitive radio sensor network (CRSN), still an immature technology, has to deal with new networks that might have different types of data, traffic patterns, or quality of service (QoS) requirements. In this paper, we design and model a new cognitive radio-based medium access control (MAC) algorithm dealing with the heterogeneous nature of the developed networks in terms of either the traffic pattern or the required QoS for the node applications. The proposed algorithm decreases the consumed power on several fronts, provides satisfactory levels of latency and spectrum utilization with efficient scheduling, and manages the radio resources for various traffic conditions. An intensive performance evaluation is conducted to study the impact of key parameters such as the channel idle time length, node density, and the number of available channels. The performance evaluation of the proposed algorithm shows a better performance than the comparable protocols. Moreover, the results manifest that the proposed algorithm is suitable for real time monitoring applications.
  8. Soo KM, Khalid B, Ching SM, Chee HY
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(5):e0154760.
    PMID: 27213782 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154760
    INTRODUCTION: Dengue virus (DENV) infection is currently a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the world; it has become more common and virulent over the past half-century and has gained much attention. Thus, this review compared the percentage of severe cases of both primary and secondary infections with different serotypes of dengue virus.

    METHODS: Data related to the number of cases involving dengue fever (DF), dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), dengue shock syndrome (DSS) or severe dengue infections caused by different serotypes of dengue virus were obtained by using the SCOPUS, the PUBMED and the OVID search engines with the keywords "(dengue* OR dengue virus*) AND (severe dengue* OR severity of illness index* OR severity* OR DF* OR DHF* OR DSS*) AND (serotypes* OR serogroup*)", according to the MESH terms suggested by PUBMED and OVID.

    RESULTS: Approximately 31 studies encompassing 15,741 cases reporting on the dengue serotypes together with their severity were obtained, and meta-analysis was carried out to analyze the data. This study found that DENV-3 from the Southeast Asia (SEA) region displayed the greatest percentage of severe cases in primary infection (95% confidence interval (CI), 31.22-53.67, 9 studies, n = 598, I2 = 71.53%), whereas DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4 from the SEA region, as well as DENV-2 and DENV-3 from non-SEA regions, exhibited the greatest percentage of severe cases in secondary infection (95% CI, 11.64-80.89, 4-14 studies, n = 668-3,149, I2 = 14.77-96.20%). Moreover, DENV-2 and DENV-4 from the SEA region had been found to be more highly associated with dengue shock syndrome (DSS) (95% CI, 10.47-40.24, 5-8 studies, n = 642-2,530, I2 = 76.93-97.70%), while DENV-3 and DENV-4 from the SEA region were found to be more highly associated with dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) (95% CI, 31.86-54.58, 9 studies, n = 674-2,278, I2 = 55.74-88.47%), according to the 1997 WHO dengue classification. Finally, DENV-2 and DENV-4 from the SEA region were discovered to be more highly associated with secondary infection compared to other serotypes (95% CI, 72.01-96.32, 9-12 studies, n = 671-2,863, I2 = 25.01-96.75%).

    CONCLUSION: This study provides evidence that the presence of certain serotypes, including primary infection with DENV-3 from the SEA region and secondary infection with DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4 also from the SEA region, as well as DENV-2 and DENV-3 from non SEA regions, increased the risk of severe dengue infections. Thus, these serotypes are worthy of special consideration when making clinical predictions upon the severity of the infection.

    SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: PROSPERO CRD42015026093 (http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO).

  9. Abdul Majid H, Ramli L, Ying SP, Su TT, Jalaludin MY, Abdul Mohsein NA
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(5):e0155447.
    PMID: 27187889 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155447
    Optimal nutrition is essential for healthy growth during adolescence. This study aims to investigate the baseline nutritional intake of Malaysian adolescents by gender, body mass index, and places of residence, both urban and rural. A cohort study was conducted consisting of 794 adolescents (aged 13-years) attending 15 public secondary schools from the Central (Kuala Lumpur and Selangor) and Northern (Perak) Regions of Peninsular Malaysia. Qualified dietitians conducted a 7-day historical assessment of habitual food intakes. Facilitated by flipcharts and household measurement tools, detailed information on portion sizes and meal contents were recorded. Nutritionist Pro™ Diet Analysis software was also used to analyze the dietary records.The mean age of the adolescents was 12.86 ± 0.33 y; the mean energy intake was 1659.0 ± 329.6 kcal/d. Males had significantly (P < .001) higher energy intake than females (1774.0 ± 369.8 vs 1595.2 ± 320.6 kcal/d); adolescents in rural schools consumed more energy and cholesterol (P < .001) compared to adolescents in urban schools (1706.1 ± 377.7 kcal/d and 244.1 ± 100.2 mg/d, respectively). Obese adolescents in rural schools consumed more energy and sugar (1987.6 ± 374.0 kcal/d and 48.9 ± 23.0 g/d) (p-value <0.001).The dietary intake of normal weight versus obese adolescents differs by the location of their school. Thus, the implementation of a structured and tailored intervention is recommended to help minimize this nutritional inequality.
  10. Lee SY, Ng WL, Mahat MN, Nazre M, Mohamed R
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(4):e0154631.
    PMID: 27128309 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154631
    The identification of Aquilaria species from their resinous non-wood product, the agarwood, is challenging as conventional techniques alone are unable to ascertain the species origin. Aquilaria is a highly protected species due to the excessive exploitation of its precious agarwood. Here, we applied the DNA barcoding technique to generate barcode sequences for Aquilaria species and later applied the barcodes to identify the source species of agarwood found in the market. We developed a reference DNA barcode library using eight candidate barcode loci (matK, rbcL, rpoB, rpoC1, psbA-trnH, trnL-trnF, ITS, and ITS2) amplified from 24 leaf accessions of seven Aquilaria species obtained from living trees. Our results indicated that all single barcodes can be easily amplified and sequenced with the selected primers. The combination of trnL-trnF+ITS and trnL-trnF+ITS2 yielded the greatest species resolution using the least number of loci combination, while matK+trnL-trnF+ITS showed potential in detecting the geographical origins of Aquilaria species. We propose trnL-trnF+ITS2 as the best candidate barcode for Aquilaria as ITS2 has a shorter sequence length compared to ITS, which eases PCR amplification especially when using degraded DNA samples such as those extracted from processed agarwood products. A blind test conducted on eight agarwood samples in different forms using the proposed barcode combination proved successful in their identification up to the species level. Such potential of DNA barcoding in identifying the source species of agarwood will contribute to the international timber trade control, by providing an effective method for species identification and product authentication.
  11. Leong KH, Looi CY, Loong XM, Cheah FK, Supratman U, Litaudon M, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(4):e0152652.
    PMID: 27070314 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152652
    Plants in the Meliaceae family are known to possess interesting biological activities, such as antimalaral, antihypertensive and antitumour activities. Previously, our group reported the plant-derived compound cycloart-24-ene-26-ol-3-one isolated from the hexane extracts of Aglaia exima leaves, which shows cytotoxicity towards various cancer cell lines, in particular, colon cancer cell lines. In this report, we further demonstrate that cycloart-24-ene-26-ol-3-one, from here forth known as cycloartane, reduces the viability of the colon cancer cell lines HT-29 and CaCO-2 in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Further elucidation of the compound's mechanism showed that it binds to tumour necrosis factor-receptor 1 (TNF-R1) leading to the initiation of caspase-8 and, through the activation of Bid, in the activation of caspase-9. This activity causes a reduction in mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and the release of cytochrome-C. The activation of caspase-8 and -9 both act to commit the cancer cells to apoptosis through downstream caspase-3/7 activation, PARP cleavage and the lack of NFkB translocation into the nucleus. A molecular docking study showed that the cycloartane binds to the receptor through a hydrophobic interaction with cysteine-96 and hydrogen bonds with lysine-75 and -132. The results show that further development of the cycloartane as an anti-cancer drug is worthwhile.
  12. Nguyen HT, Dawal SZ, Nukman Y, Rifai AP, Aoyama H
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(4):e0153222.
    PMID: 27070543 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153222
    The conveyor system plays a vital role in improving the performance of flexible manufacturing cells (FMCs). The conveyor selection problem involves the evaluation of a set of potential alternatives based on qualitative and quantitative criteria. This paper presents an integrated multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) model of a fuzzy AHP (analytic hierarchy process) and fuzzy ARAS (additive ratio assessment) for conveyor evaluation and selection. In this model, linguistic terms represented as triangular fuzzy numbers are used to quantify experts' uncertain assessments of alternatives with respect to the criteria. The fuzzy set is then integrated into the AHP to determine the weights of the criteria. Finally, a fuzzy ARAS is used to calculate the weights of the alternatives. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed model, a case study is performed of a practical example, and the results obtained demonstrate practical potential for the implementation of FMCs.
  13. Ng TL, Karim R, Tan YS, Teh HF, Danial AD, Ho LS, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156714.
    PMID: 27258536 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156714
    Interest in the medicinal properties of secondary metabolites of Boesenbergia rotunda (fingerroot ginger) has led to investigations into tissue culture of this plant. In this study, we profiled its primary and secondary metabolites, as well as hormones of embryogenic and non-embryogenic (dry and watery) callus and shoot base, Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry together with histological characterization. Metabolite profiling showed relatively higher levels of glutamine, arginine and lysine in embryogenic callus than in dry and watery calli, while shoot base tissue showed an intermediate level of primary metabolites. For the five secondary metabolites analyzed (ie. panduratin, pinocembrin, pinostrobin, cardamonin and alpinetin), shoot base had the highest concentrations, followed by watery, dry and embryogenic calli. Furthermore, intracellular auxin levels were found to decrease from dry to watery calli, followed by shoot base and finally embryogenic calli. Our morphological observations showed the presence of fibrils on the cell surface of embryogenic callus while diphenylboric acid 2-aminoethylester staining indicated the presence of flavonoids in both dry and embryogenic calli. Periodic acid-Schiff staining showed that shoot base and dry and embryogenic calli contained starch reserves while none were found in watery callus. This study identified several primary metabolites that could be used as markers of embryogenic cells in B. rotunda, while secondary metabolite analysis indicated that biosynthesis pathways of these important metabolites may not be active in callus and embryogenic tissue.
  14. Al-Nahari A, Mohamad MM
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156670.
    PMID: 27258013 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156670
    Decreasing the route rediscovery time process in reactive routing protocols is challenging in mobile ad hoc networks. Links between nodes are continuously established and broken because of the characteristics of the network. Finding multiple routes to increase the reliability is also important but requires a fast update, especially in high traffic load and high mobility where paths can be broken as well. The sender node keeps re-establishing path discovery to find new paths, which makes for long time delay. In this paper we propose an improved multipath routing protocol, called Receiver-based ad hoc on demand multipath routing protocol (RB-AOMDV), which takes advantage of the reliability of the state of the art ad hoc on demand multipath distance vector (AOMDV) protocol with less re-established discovery time. The receiver node assumes the role of discovering paths when finding data packets that have not been received after a period of time. Simulation results show the delay and delivery ratio performances are improved compared with AOMDV.
  15. Ramanathan B, Poh CL, Kirk K, McBride WJ, Aaskov J, Grollo L
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(5):e0155900.
    PMID: 27223692 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155900
    Dengue virus (DENV) is a major public health threat worldwide. A key element in protection from dengue fever is the neutralising antibody response. Anti-dengue IgG purified from DENV-2 infected human sera showed reactivity against several peptides when evaluated by ELISA and epitope extraction techniques. A multi-step computational approach predicted six antigenic regions within the E protein of DENV-2 that concur with the 6 epitopes identified by the combined ELISA and epitope extraction approach. The selected peptides representing B-cell epitopes were attached to a known dengue T-helper epitope and evaluated for their vaccine potency. Immunization of mice revealed two novel synthetic vaccine constructs that elicited good humoral immune responses and produced cross-reactive neutralising antibodies against DENV-1, 2 and 3. The findings indicate new directions for epitope mapping and contribute towards the future development of multi-epitope based synthetic peptide vaccine.
  16. Fong MY, Rashdi SA, Yusof R, Lau YL
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(5):e0155627.
    PMID: 27195821 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155627
    BACKGROUND: Plasmodium knowlesi is a simian malaria parasite that has been reported to cause malaria in humans in Southeast Asia. This parasite invades the erythrocytes of humans and of its natural host, the macaque Macaca fascicularis, via interaction between the Duffy binding protein region II (PkDBPαRII) and the Duffy antigen receptor on the host erythrocytes. In contrast, the P. knowlesi gamma protein region II (PkγRII) is not involved in the invasion of P. knowlesi into humans. PkγRII, however, mediates the invasion of P. knowlesi into the erythrocytes of M. mulata, a non-natural host of P. knowlesi via a hitherto unknown receptor. The haplotypes of PkDBPαRII in P. knowlesi isolates from Peninsular Malaysia and North Borneo have been shown to be genetically distinct and geographically clustered. Also, the PkDBPαRII was observed to be undergoing purifying (negative) selection. The present study aimed to determine whether similar phenomena occur in PkγRII.

    METHODS: Blood samples from 78 knowlesi malaria patients were used. Forty-eight of the samples were from Peninsular Malaysia, and 30 were from Malaysia Borneo. The genomic DNA of the samples was extracted and used as template for the PCR amplification of the PkγRII. The PCR product was cloned and sequenced. The sequences obtained were analysed for genetic diversity and natural selection using MEGA6 and DnaSP (version 5.10.00) programmes. Genetic differentiation between the PkγRII of Peninsular Malaysia and North Borneo isolates was estimated using the Wright's FST fixation index in DnaSP (version 5.10.00). Haplotype analysis was carried out using the Median-Joining approach in NETWORK (version 4.6.1.3).

    RESULTS: A total of 78 PkγRII sequences was obtained. Comparative analysis showed that the PkγRII have similar range of haplotype (Hd) and nucleotide diversity (π) with that of PkDBPαRII. Other similarities between PkγRII and PkDBPαRII include undergoing purifying (negative) selection, geographical clustering of haplotypes, and high inter-population genetic differentiation (FST index). The main differences between PkγRII and PkDBPαRII include length polymorphism and no departure from neutrality (as measured by Tajima's D statistics) in the PkγRII.

    CONCLUSION: Despite the biological difference between PkγRII and PkDBPαRII, both generally have similar genetic diversity level, natural selection, geographical haplotype clustering and inter-population genetic differentiation index.

  17. Chin JH, Ratnavelu K
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(5):e0155320.
    PMID: 27176470 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155320
    Community structure is considered one of the most interesting features in complex networks. Many real-world complex systems exhibit community structure, where individuals with similar properties form a community. The identification of communities in a network is important for understanding the structure of said network, in a specific perspective. Thus, community detection in complex networks gained immense interest over the last decade. A lot of community detection methods were proposed, and one of them is the label propagation algorithm (LPA). The simplicity and time efficiency of the LPA make it a popular community detection method. However, the LPA suffers from instability detection due to randomness that is induced in the algorithm. The focus of this paper is to improve the stability and accuracy of the LPA, while retaining its simplicity. Our proposed algorithm will first detect the main communities in a network by using the number of mutual neighbouring nodes. Subsequently, nodes are added into communities by using a constrained LPA. Those constraints are then gradually relaxed until all nodes are assigned into groups. In order to refine the quality of the detected communities, nodes in communities can be switched to another community or removed from their current communities at various stages of the algorithm. We evaluated our algorithm on three types of benchmark networks, namely the Lancichinetti-Fortunato-Radicchi (LFR), Relaxed Caveman (RC) and Girvan-Newman (GN) benchmarks. We also apply the present algorithm to some real-world networks of various sizes. The current results show some promising potential, of the proposed algorithm, in terms of detecting communities accurately. Furthermore, our constrained LPA has a robustness and stability that are significantly better than the simple LPA as it is able to yield deterministic results.
  18. Ibrahim I, Lim HN, Huang NM, Pandikumar A
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(5):e0154557.
    PMID: 27176635 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154557
    A photoelectrochemical (PEC) sensor with excellent sensitivity and detection toward copper (II) ions (Cu2+) was developed using a cadmium sulphide-reduced graphene oxide (CdS-rGO) nanocomposite on an indium tin oxide (ITO) surface, with triethanolamine (TEA) used as the sacrificial electron donor. The CdS nanoparticles were initially synthesized via the aerosol-assisted chemical vapor deposition (AACVD) method using cadmium acetate and thiourea as the precursors to Cd2+ and S2-, respectively. Graphene oxide (GO) was then dip-coated onto the CdS electrode and sintered under an argon gas flow (50 mL/min) for the reduction process. The nanostructured CdS was adhered securely to the ITO by a continuous network of rGO that also acted as an avenue to intensify the transfer of electrons from the conduction band of CdS. The photoelectrochemical results indicated that the ITO/CdS-rGO photoelectrode could facilitate broad UV-visible light absorption, which would lead to a higher and steady-state photocurrent response in the presence of TEA in 0.1 M KCl. The photocurrent decreased with an increase in the concentration of Cu2+ ions. The photoelectrode response for Cu2+ ion detection had a linear range of 0.5-120 μM, with a limit of detection (LoD) of 16 nM. The proposed PEC sensor displayed ultra-sensitivity and good selectivity toward Cu2+ ion detection.
  19. Ng KK, Motoda Y, Watanabe S, Sofiman Othman A, Kigawa T, Kodama Y, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(4):e0154081.
    PMID: 27100681 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154081
    In current plant biotechnology, the introduction of exogenous DNA encoding desired traits is the most common approach used to modify plants. However, general plant transformation methods can cause random integration of exogenous DNA into the plant genome. To avoid these events, alternative methods, such as a direct protein delivery system, are needed to modify the plant. Although there have been reports of the delivery of proteins into cultured plant cells, there are currently no methods for the direct delivery of proteins into intact plants, owing to their hierarchical structures. Here, we demonstrate the efficient fusion-peptide-based delivery of proteins into intact Arabidopsis thaliana. Bovine serum albumin (BSA, 66 kDa) was selected as a model protein to optimize conditions for delivery into the cytosol. The general applicability of our method to large protein cargo was also demonstrated by the delivery of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH, 150 kDa) into the cytosol. The compatibility of the fusion peptide system with the delivery of proteins to specific cellular organelles was also demonstrated using the fluorescent protein Citrine (27 kDa) conjugated to either a nuclear localization signal (NLS) or a peroxisomal targeting signal (PTS). In conclusion, our designed fusion peptide system can deliver proteins with a wide range of molecular weights (27 to 150 kDa) into the cells of intact A. thaliana without interfering with the organelle-targeting peptide conjugated to the protein. We expect that this efficient protein delivery system will be a powerful tool in plant biotechnology.
  20. Ghadiry M, Gholami M, Lai CK, Ahmad H, Chong WY
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(4):e0153949.
    PMID: 27101247 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153949
    Generally, in a waveguide-based humidity sensors, increasing the relative humidity (RH) causes the cladding refractive index (RI) to increase due to cladding water absorption. However, if graphene oxide (GO) is used, a reverse phenomenon is seen due to a gap increase in graphene layers. In this paper, this interesting property is applied in order to fabricate differential humidity sensor using the difference between RI of reduced GO (rGO) and nano-anatase TiO2 in a chip. First, a new approach is proposed to prepare high quality nano-anatase TiO2 in solution form making the fabrication process simple and straightforward. Then, the resulted solutions (TiO2 and GO) are effortlessly drop casted and reduced on SU8 two channels waveguide and extensively examined against several humid conditions. Investigating the sensitivity and performance (response time) of the device, reveals a great linearity in a wide range of RH (35% to 98%) and a variation of more than 30 dB in transmitted optical power with a response time of only ~0.7 sec. The effect of coating concentration and UV treatment are studied on the performance and repeatability of the sensor and the attributed mechanisms explained. In addition, we report that using the current approach, devices with high sensitivity and very low response time of only 0.3 sec can be fabricated. Also, the proposed device was comprehensively compared with other state of the art proposed sensors in the literature and the results were promising. Since high sensitivity ~0.47dB/%RH and high dynamic performances were demonstrated, this sensor is a proper choice for biomedical applications.
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