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  1. Khoo CH, Sim JH, Salleh NA, Cheah YK
    Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek, 2015 Jan;107(1):23-37.
    PMID: 25312847 DOI: 10.1007/s10482-014-0300-7
    Salmonella is an important food-borne pathogen causing disease in humans and animals worldwide. Salmonellosis may be caused by any one of over 2,500 serovars of Salmonella. Nonetheless, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and Salmonella enterica serovar Agona are the second most prevalent serovars isolated from humans and livestock products respectively. Limited knowledge is available about the virulence mechanisms responsible for diarrheal disease caused by them. To investigate the contribution of sopB, sopD and pipD as virulence factors in intracellular infections and the uniqueness of these bacteria becoming far more prevalent than other serovars, the infection model of Caenorhabditis elegans and phenotypic microarray were used to characterize their mutants. The strains containing the mutation in sopB, sopD and pipD genes were constructed by using latest site-specific group II intron mutagenesis approach to reveal the pathogenicity of the virulence factors. Overall, we observed that the mutations in sopB, sopD and pipD genes of both serovars did not exhibit significant decrease in virulence towards the nematode. This may indicate that these virulence effectors may not be universal virulence factors involved in conserved innate immunity. There are significant phenotypic differences amongst strains carrying sopB, sopD and pipD gene mutations via the analysis of biochemical profiles of the bacteria. Interestingly, mutant strains displayed different susceptibility to chemical stressors from several distinct pharmacological and structural classes when compared to its isogenic parental strains. These metabolic and chemosensitivity assays also revealed multiple roles of Salmonella virulence factors in nutrient metabolism and antibiotic resistance.
  2. Sim JH, Khoo CH, Lee LH, Cheah YK
    J. Microbiol. Biotechnol., 2010 Apr;20(4):651-8.
    PMID: 20467234
    Garcinia is commonly found in Malaysia, but limited information is available regarding endophytic fungi associated with this plant. In this study, 24 endophytic fungi were successfully recovered from different parts of two Garcinia species. Characterization of endophytic fungi was performed based on the conserved internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region sequence analysis and the antimicrobial properties. Results revealed that fruits of the plant appeared to be the highest inhabitation site (38 %) as compared with others. Glomerella sp., Guignardia sp., and Phomopsis sp. appeared to be the predominant endophytic fungi group in Garcinia mangostana and Garcinia parvifolia. Phylogenetic relationships of the isolated endophytic fungi were estimated from the sequences of the ITS region. On the other hand, antibacterial screening showed 11 of the isolates possessed positive response towards pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria. However, there was no direct association between certain antibacterial properties with the specific genus observed.
  3. Cheah YK, Cheng RW, Yeap SK, Khoo CH, See HS
    Genet. Mol. Res., 2014;13(1):1679-83.
    PMID: 24535903 DOI: 10.4238/2014.January.22.4
    The identification of new biomarkers for early detection of highly recurrent head and neck cancer is urgently needed. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small and non-coding RNAs that regulate cancer-related gene expression, such as tumor protein 53 (TP53) gene expression. This study was carried out to analyze TP53 gene expression using real-time PCR and to determine changes in intracellular p53 level by flow cytometry after downregulation of miRNA-181a miRNA inhibitor in the FaDu cell line. TP53 gene expression showed a 3-fold increment and the p53 protein level was also increased in the miRNA-181a-treated cells. In conclusion, miRNA-181a binds to the TP53 gene and inhibits its expression, decreasing the synthesis of p53.
  4. Gwee CP, Khoo CH, Yeap SK, Tan GC, Cheah YK
    PeerJ, 2019;7:e5989.
    PMID: 30671294 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.5989
    The fight against cancer has been a never-ending battle. Limitations of conventional therapies include lack of selectivity, poor penetration and highly toxic to the host. Using genetically modified bacteria as a tumour therapy agent has gained the interest of scientist from the past few decades. Low virulence and highly tolerability of Salmonella spp. in animals and humans make it as the most studied pathogen with regards to anti-tumour therapy. The present study aims to construct a genetically modified S. Agona auxotroph as an anti-tumour agent. LeuB and ArgD metabolic genes in ΔSopBΔSopD double knockout S. Agona were successfully knocked out using a Targetron gene knockout system. The knockout was confirmed by colony PCR and the strains were characterized in vitro and in vivo. The knockout of metabolic genes causes significant growth defect in M9 minimal media. Quadruple knockout ΔSopBΔSopDΔLeuBΔArgD (BDLA) exhibited lowest virulence among all of the strains in all parameters including bacterial load, immunity profile and histopathology studies. In vivo anti-tumour study on colorectal tumour bearing-BALB/c mice revealed that all strains of S. Agona were able to suppress the growth of the large solid tumour as compared with negative control and ΔLeuBΔArgD (LA) and BDLA auxotroph showed better efficacy. Interestingly, higher level of tumour growth suppression was noticed in large tumour. However, multiple administration of bacteria dosage did not increase the tumour suppression efficacy. In this study, the virulence of BDLA knockout strain was slightly reduced and tumour growth suppression efficacy was successfully enhanced, which provide a valuable starting point for the development of S. Agona as anti-tumour agent.
  5. Khoo CH, Cheah YK, Lee LH, Sim JH, Salleh NA, Sidik SM, et al.
    Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek, 2009 Nov;96(4):441-57.
    PMID: 19565351 DOI: 10.1007/s10482-009-9358-z
    The increased occurrence of Salmonella occurrence in local indigenous vegetables and poultry meat can be a potential health hazards. This study is aimed to detect the prevalence of twenty different virulence factors among Salmonella enterica strains isolated from poultry and local indigenous vegetables in Malaysia via an optimized, rapid and specific multiplex PCR assay. The assay encompasses a total of 19 Salmonella pathogenicity islands genes and a quorum sensing gene (sdiA) in three multiplex reaction sets. A total of 114 Salmonella enterica isolates belonging to 38 different serovars were tested. Each isolate in under this study was found to possess up to 70% of the virulence genes tested and exhibited variable pathogenicity gene patterns. Reproducibility of the multiplex PCR assay was found to be 100% and the detection limit of the optimized multiplex PCR was tested with lowest detectable concentration of DNA 0.8 pg microl(-1). This study demonstrated various Salmonella pathogenicity island virulence gene patterns even within the same serovar. This sets of multiplex PCR system provide a fast and reliable typing approach based on Salmonella pathogenicity islands, thus enabling an effective monitoring of emerging pathogenic Salmonella strains as an additional tool in Salmonella surveillance studies.
  6. Jamaludin NS, Goh ZJ, Cheah YK, Ang KP, Sim JH, Khoo CH, et al.
    Eur J Med Chem, 2013 Sep;67:127-41.
    PMID: 23856069 DOI: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2013.06.038
    The synthesis and characterisation of R3PAu[S2CN((i)Pr)CH2CH2OH], for R = Ph (1), Cy (2) and Et (3)4, is reported. Compounds 1-3 are cytotoxic against the doxorubicin-resistant breast cancer cell line, MCF-7R, with 1 exhibiting greater potency and cytotoxicity than either of doxorubicin and cisplatin. Based on human apoptosis PCR-array analysis, caspase activities, DNA fragmentation, cell apoptotic assays, intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) measurements and human topoisomerase I inhibition, induction of apoptosis by 1, and necrosis by 2 and 3, are demonstrated, by both extrinsic and intrinsic pathways. Compound 1 activates the p53 gene, 2 activates only the p73 gene, whereas 3 activates both the p53 and p73 genes. Compounds 1 and 3 activate NF-κB, and each inhibits topoisomerase I.
  7. Chen BJ, Jamaludin NS, Khoo CH, See TH, Sim JH, Cheah YK, et al.
    J. Inorg. Biochem., 2016 10;163:68-80.
    PMID: 27529597 DOI: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2016.08.002
    Four compounds, R3PAu[S2CN(CH2CH2OH)2], R=Ph (1) and cyclohexyl (2), and Et3PAuS2CNRꞌ2, Rꞌ=Rꞌ=Et (3) and Rꞌ2=(CH2)4(4), have been evaluated for antibacterial activity against a panel of 24 Gram positive (8) and Gram negative (16) bacteria. Based on minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) scores, compounds 1 and 2 were shown to be specifically potent against Gram positive bacteria whereas compounds 3 and, to a lesser extent, 4 exhibited broad range activity. All four compounds were active against methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Time kill assays revealed the compounds to exhibit both time- and concentration-dependent pharmacokinetics against susceptible bacteria. Each compound was bactericidal against one or more bacteria with 3 being especially potent after 8h exposure; compounds 1 and 3 were bactericidal against MRSA. Compound 3 was the most effective bactericide across the series especially toward B. subtilis, S. saprophyticus, A. hydrophila, P. vulgaris, and V. parahaemolyticus. This study demonstrates the potential of this class of compounds as antibacterial agents, either broad range or against specific bacteria.
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