Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 30 in total

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  1. Lee KW, Tan WS
    J. Virol. Methods, 2008 Aug;151(2):172-80.
    PMID: 18584885 DOI: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2008.05.025
    The recombinant hepatitis B virus (HBV) core antigen (HBcAg) expressed in Escherichia coli self-assembles into icosahedral capsids of about 35 nm which can be exploited as gene or drug delivery vehicles. The association and dissociation properties of the C-terminally truncated HBcAg with urea and guanidine hydrochloride (GdnHCl) were studied. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed that the dissociated HBcAg was able to re-associate into particles when the applied denaturing agents were physically removed. In order to evaluate the potential of the particles in capturing molecules, purified green fluorescent protein (GFP) was applied to the dissociated HBcAg for encapsidation. The HBcAg particles harbouring the GFP molecules were purified using sucrose density gradient ultracentrifugation and analysed using native agarose gel electrophoresis and TEM. A method for the encapsidation of GFP in HBcAg particles which has the potential to capture drugs or nucleic acids was established.
  2. Chin CT, Lee KW
    Br. J. Cancer, 1970 Sep;24(3):427-32.
    PMID: 5475750
    Changes in the buccal mucosa of 296 Indian and Malay betel-nut chewers in Perak, West Malaysia, were studied clinically. 167 out of 212 Indian subjects incorporated tobacco in their quids, while 45 out of 84 Malay subjects incorporated. "Gambir". The Indians appeared to show a higher proportion of mucosal changes, particularly when tobacco was used. "Gambir" did not appear to be potent in the production of mucosal changes. Comparison with studies in other parts of the world suggested comparable findings with respect to both tobacco and non-tobacco chewing samples, and there would appear to be some evidence that tobacco-containing quids are likely to produce a higher proportion of mucosal changes as compared to non-tobacco-containing quids. An attempt to demonstrate a dose-effect relationship by dividing the subjects into "slight" and "heavy" chewers did not yield significant differences between these two categories in each of the groups.
  3. Lee KW, Chin CT
    Br. J. Cancer, 1970 Sep;24(3):433-41.
    PMID: 5475751
    Sixty-two "leukoplakias" from the cheeks of betel-nut chewers in West Malaysia were studied histologically. Ten biopsies were from non-tobacco betel-nut chewers. An amorphous von Kossa positive layer was seen on the keratin surface in 42 specimens. Tobacco did not appear essential for its formation, and it appeared to be significantly associated with parakeratosis. Its possible significance as a cuticle-like layer prolonging contact between carcinogens and the mucosa is discussed.Parakeratosis appeared to be the most common form of cornification seen, and the mitotic activity in parakeratinized leukoplakias appeared to be significantly greater than orthokeratinized leukoplakias.Comparison with studies on other population samples using different quids suggested that severe histological changes were more likely to be seen when tobacoo-containing quids were chewed as compared to non-tobacco-containing quids.An attempt to correlate the histological changes seen with the clinical habit in leukoplakias from chewers using tobacco-containing quids suggested that epithelial atrophy appeared to be significantly related to the duration of the habit but not to the "intensity" of the habit.
  4. Lee KW, Tey BT, Ho KL, Tan WS
    J. Appl. Microbiol., 2012 Jan;112(1):119-31.
    PMID: 21992228 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2011.05176.x
    To display a liver-specific ligand on the hepatitis B virus core particles for cell-targeting delivery.
  5. Yoon KY, Tan WS, Tey BT, Lee KW, Ho KL
    Electrophoresis, 2013 Jan;34(2):244-53.
    PMID: 23161478 DOI: 10.1002/elps.201200257
    Hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) expressed in Escherichia coli is able to self-assemble into large and small capsids comprising 240 (triangulation number T = 4) and 180 (triangulation number T = 3) subunits, respectively. Conventionally, sucrose density gradient ultracentrifugation and SEC have been used to separate these capsids. However, good separation of the large and small particles with these methods is never achieved. In the present study, we employed a simple, fast, and cost-effective method to separate the T = 3 and T = 4 HBcAg capsids by using native agarose gel electrophoresis followed by an electroelution method (NAGE-EE). This is a direct, fast, and economic method for isolating the large and small HBcAg particles homogenously based on the hydrodynamic radius of the spherical particles. Dynamic light scattering analysis demonstrated that the T = 3 and T = 4 HBcAg capsids prepared using the NAGE-EE method are monodisperse with polydispersity values of ∼15% and ∼13%, respectively. ELISA proved that the antigenicity of the capsids was not affected in the purification process. Overall, NAGE-EE produced T = 3 and T = 4 capsids with a purity above 90%, and the recovery was 34% and 50%, respectively (total recovery of HBcAg is ∼84%), and the operation time is 15 and 4 times lesser than that of the sucrose density gradient ultracentrifugation and SEC, respectively.
  6. Lee KW, Tey BT, Ho KL, Tejo BA, Tan WS
    Mol. Pharm., 2012 Sep 4;9(9):2415-23.
    PMID: 22775561 DOI: 10.1021/mp200389t
    Cell-internalizing peptides (CIPs) can be used to mediate specific delivery of nanoparticles across cellular membrane. The objective of this study was to develop a display technique using hepatitis B virus (HBV) capsid-binding peptide as a "nanoglue" to present CIPs on HBV nanoparticles for cell-targeting delivery. A CIP was selected from a phage display library and cross-linked specifically at the tips of the spikes of the HBV capsid nanoparticle via the "nanoglue" by using 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) and N-hydroxysulfosuccinimide (sulfo-NHS). Fluorescent oligonucleotides packaged in the nanoparticles and the fluorescein molecules conjugated on the nanoparticles were delivered to cells by using this display technique. This study demonstrated a proof of principle for cell-targeting delivery via "nanoglue" bioconjugation.
  7. Wong YC, Abd El Ghany M, Naeem R, Lee KW, Tan YC, Pain A, et al.
    Front Microbiol, 2016;7:1288.
    PMID: 27597847 DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01288
    Burkholderia cenocepacia infection often leads to fatal cepacia syndrome in cystic fibrosis patients. However, antibiotic therapy rarely results in complete eradication of the pathogen due to its intrinsic resistance to many clinically available antibiotics. Recent attention has turned to the identification of essential genes as the proteins encoded by these genes may serve as potential targets for development of novel antimicrobials. In this study, we utilized TraDIS (Transposon Directed Insertion-site Sequencing) as a genome-wide screening tool to facilitate the identification of B. cenocepacia genes essential for its growth and viability. A transposon mutant pool consisting of approximately 500,000 mutants was successfully constructed, with more than 400,000 unique transposon insertion sites identified by computational analysis of TraDIS datasets. The saturated library allowed for the identification of 383 genes that were predicted to be essential in B. cenocepacia. We extended the application of TraDIS to identify conditionally essential genes required for in vitro growth and revealed an additional repertoire of 439 genes to be crucial for B. cenocepacia growth under nutrient-depleted conditions. The library of B. cenocepacia mutants can subsequently be subjected to various biologically related conditions to facilitate the discovery of genes involved in niche adaptation as well as pathogenicity and virulence.
  8. Chan CL, Yew SM, Ngeow YF, Na SL, Lee KW, Hoh CC, et al.
    BMC Genomics, 2015 Nov 18;16:966.
    PMID: 26581579 DOI: 10.1186/s12864-015-2200-2
    BACKGROUND: Daldinia eschscholtzii is a wood-inhabiting fungus that causes wood decay under certain conditions. It has a broad host range and produces a large repertoire of potentially bioactive compounds. However, there is no extensive genome analysis on this fungal species.

    RESULTS: Two fungal isolates (UM 1400 and UM 1020) from human specimens were identified as Daldinia eschscholtzii by morphological features and ITS-based phylogenetic analysis. Both genomes were similar in size with 10,822 predicted genes in UM 1400 (35.8 Mb) and 11,120 predicted genes in UM 1020 (35.5 Mb). A total of 751 gene families were shared among both UM isolates, including gene families associated with fungus-host interactions. In the CAZyme comparative analysis, both genomes were found to contain arrays of CAZyme related to plant cell wall degradation. Genes encoding secreted peptidases were found in the genomes, which encode for the peptidases involved in the degradation of structural proteins in plant cell wall. In addition, arrays of secondary metabolite backbone genes were identified in both genomes, indicating of their potential to produce bioactive secondary metabolites. Both genomes also contained an abundance of gene encoding signaling components, with three proposed MAPK cascades involved in cell wall integrity, osmoregulation, and mating/filamentation. Besides genomic evidence for degrading capability, both isolates also harbored an array of genes encoding stress response proteins that are potentially significant for adaptation to living in the hostile environments.

    CONCLUSIONS: Our genomic studies provide further information for the biological understanding of the D. eschscholtzii and suggest that these wood-decaying fungi are also equipped for adaptation to adverse environments in the human host.

  9. Yew SM, Chan CL, Lee KW, Na SL, Tan R, Hoh CC, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2014;9(8):e104352.
    PMID: 25098697 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104352
    Dematiaceous fungi (black fungi) are a heterogeneous group of fungi present in diverse environments worldwide. Many species in this group are known to cause allergic reactions and potentially fatal diseases in humans and animals, especially in tropical and subtropical climates. This study represents the first survey of dematiaceous fungi in Malaysia and provides observations on their diversity as well as in vitro response to antifungal drugs. Seventy-five strains isolated from various clinical specimens were identified by morphology as well as an internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-based phylogenetic analysis. The combined molecular and conventional approach enabled the identification of three classes of the Ascomycota phylum and 16 genera, the most common being Cladosporium, Cochliobolus and Neoscytalidium. Several of the species identified have not been associated before with human infections. Among 8 antifungal agents tested, the azoles posaconazole (96%), voriconazole (90.7%), ketoconazole (86.7%) and itraconazole (85.3%) showed in vitro activity (MIC ≤ 1 µg/mL) to the largest number of strains, followed by anidulafungin (89.3%), caspofungin (74.7%) and amphotericin B (70.7%). Fluconazole appeared to be the least effective with only 10.7% of isolates showing in vitro susceptibility. Overall, almost half (45.3%) of the isolates showed reduced susceptibility (MIC >1 µg/mL) to at least one antifungal agent, and three strains (one Pyrenochaeta unguis-hominis and two Nigrospora oryzae) showed potential multidrug resistance.
  10. Chan CL, Yew SM, Na SL, Tan YC, Lee KW, Yee WY, et al.
    Genome Announc, 2014;2(2).
    PMID: 24744321 DOI: 10.1128/genomeA.00074-14
    Ochroconis constricta is a soilborne dematiaceous fungus that has never been reported to be associated with human infection. Here we report the first draft genome sequence of strain UM 578, isolated from human skin scraping. The genomic information revealed will contribute to a better understanding of this species.
  11. Toh YF, Yew SM, Chan CL, Na SL, Lee KW, Hoh CC, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(9):e0162095.
    PMID: 27626635 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162095
    Pyrenochaeta unguis-hominis is a rare human pathogen that causes infection in human skin and nail. P. unguis-hominis has received little attention, and thus, the basic biology and pathogenicity of this fungus is not fully understood. In this study, we performed in-depth analysis of the P. unguis-hominis UM 256 genome that was isolated from the skin scraping of a dermatitis patient. The isolate was identified to species level using a comprehensive multilocus phylogenetic analysis of the genus Pyrenochaeta. The assembled UM 256 genome has a size of 35.5 Mb and encodes 12,545 putative genes, and 0.34% of the assembled genome is predicted transposable elements. Its genomic features propose that the fungus is a heterothallic fungus that encodes a wide array of plant cell wall degrading enzymes, peptidases, and secondary metabolite biosynthetic enzymes. Antifungal drug resistance genes including MDR, CDR, and ERG11/CYP51 were identified in P. unguis-hominis UM 256, which may confer resistance to this fungus. The genome analysis of P. unguis-hominis provides an insight into molecular and genetic basis of the fungal lifestyles, understanding the unrevealed biology of antifungal resistance in this fungus.
  12. Tan AH, Toh TH, Low SC, Fong SL, Chong KK, Lee KW, et al.
    J Mov Disord, 2018 Sep;11(3):149-151.
    PMID: 30086616 DOI: 10.14802/jmd.18017
  13. Ooi EH, Lee KW, Yap S, Khattab MA, Liao IY, Ooi ET, et al.
    Comput. Biol. Med., 2019 Jan 11;106:12-23.
    PMID: 30665137 DOI: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2019.01.003
    Effects of different boundary conditions prescribed across the boundaries of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) models of liver cancer are investigated for the case where the tumour is at the liver boundary. Ground and Robin-type conditions (electrical field) and body temperature and thermal insulation (thermal field) conditions are examined. 3D models of the human liver based on publicly-available CT images of the liver are developed. An artificial tumour is placed inside the liver at the boundary. Simulations are carried out using the finite element method. The numerical results indicated that different electrical and thermal boundary conditions led to different predictions of the electrical potential, temperature and thermal coagulation distributions. Ground and body temperature conditions presented an unnatural physical conditions around the ablation site, which results in more intense Joule heating and excessive heat loss from the tissue. This led to thermal damage volumes that are smaller than the cases when the Robin type or the thermal insulation conditions are prescribed. The present study suggests that RFA simulations in the future must take into consideration the choice of the type of electrical and thermal boundary conditions to be prescribed in the case where the tumour is located near to the liver boundary.
  14. Yew SM, Chan CL, Ngeow YF, Toh YF, Na SL, Lee KW, et al.
    Sci Rep, 2016 05 31;6:27008.
    PMID: 27243961 DOI: 10.1038/srep27008
    Cladosporium sphaerospermum, a dematiaceous saprophytic fungus commonly found in diverse environments, has been reported to cause allergy and other occasional diseases in humans. However, its basic biology and genetic information are largely unexplored. A clinical isolate C. sphaerospermum genome, UM 843, was re-sequenced and combined with previously generated sequences to form a model 26.89 Mb genome containing 9,652 predicted genes. Functional annotation on predicted genes suggests the ability of this fungus to degrade carbohydrate and protein complexes. Several putative peptidases responsible for lung tissue hydrolysis were identified. These genes shared high similarity with the Aspergillus peptidases. The UM 843 genome encodes a wide array of proteins involved in the biosynthesis of melanin, siderophores, cladosins and survival in high salinity environment. In addition, a total of 28 genes were predicted to be associated with allergy. Orthologous gene analysis together with 22 other Dothideomycetes showed genes uniquely present in UM 843 that encode four class 1 hydrophobins which may be allergens specific to Cladosporium. The mRNA of these hydrophobins were detected by RT-PCR. The genomic analysis of UM 843 contributes to the understanding of the biology and allergenicity of this widely-prevalent species.
  15. Kuan CS, Ismail R, Kwan Z, Yew SM, Yeo SK, Chan CL, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0156119.
    PMID: 27280438 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156119
    A yeast-like organism was isolated from the skin scraping sample of a stasis dermatitis patient in the Mycology Unit Department of Medical Microbiology, University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The isolate produced no pigment and was not identifiable using chromogenic agar and API 20C AUX. The fungus was identified as Metschnikowia sp. strain UM 1034, which is close to that of Metschnikowia drosophilae based on ITS- and D1/D2 domain-based phylogenetic analysis. However, the physiology of the strain was not associated to M. drosophilae. This pathogen exhibited low sensitivity to all tested azoles, echinocandins, 5-flucytosine and amphotericin B. This study provided insight into Metschnikowia sp. strain UM 1034 phenotype profiles using a Biolog phenotypic microarray (PM). The isolate utilized 373 nutrients of 760 nutrient sources and could adapt to a broad range of osmotic and pH environments. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the isolation of Metschnikowia non-pulcherrima sp. from skin scraping, revealing this rare yeast species as a potential human pathogen that may be misidentified as Candida sp. using conventional methods. Metschnikowia sp. strain UM 1034 can survive in flexible and diverse environments with a generalist lifestyle.
  16. Yew SM, Chan CL, Kuan CS, Toh YF, Ngeow YF, Na SL, et al.
    BMC Genomics, 2016 Feb 03;17:91.
    PMID: 26842951 DOI: 10.1186/s12864-016-2409-8
    Ochroconis mirabilis, a recently introduced water-borne dematiaceous fungus, is occasionally isolated from human skin lesions and nails. We identified an isolate of O. mirabilis from a skin scraping with morphological and molecular studies. Its genome was then sequenced and analysed for genetic features related to classification and biological characteristics.
  17. Kuan CS, Yew SM, Toh YF, Chan CL, Lim SK, Lee KW, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(12):e0145932.
    PMID: 26716988 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145932
    Peritonitis is the leading complication of peritoneal dialysis, which is primarily caused by bacteria rather than fungi. Peritonitis is responsible for approximately 18% of the infection-related mortality in peritoneal dialysis patients. In this paper, we report the isolation of a rare fungus, Quambalaria cyanescens, from the peritoneal fluid of a man after he switched from continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis to nocturnal intermittent peritoneal dialysis. Based on the morphological examination and multigene phylogeny, the clinical isolate was confirmed as Q. cyanescens. This pathogen exhibited low sensitivity to all tested echinocandins and 5-flucytosine. Interestingly, morphological characterization revealed that Q. cyanescens UM 1095 produced different pigments at low temperatures (25°C and 30°C) on various culture media. It is important to monitor the emergence of this rare fungus as a potential human pathogen in the tropics. This study provides insight into Q. cyanescens UM 1095 phenotype profiles using a Biolog phenotypic microarray (PM). Of the 760 nutrient sources tested, Q. cyanescens UM 1095 utilized 42 compounds, and the fungus can adapt to a broad range of osmotic and acidic environments. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the isolation of Q. cyanescens from peritoneal fluid, revealing this rare fungus as a potential human pathogen that may be misidentified using conventional methods. The detailed morphological, molecular and phenotypic characterization of Q. cyanescens UM 1095 provides the basis for future studies on its biology, lifestyle, and potential pathogenicity.
  18. Kuan CS, Yew SM, Chan CL, Toh YF, Lee KW, Cheong WH, et al.
    Database (Oxford), 2016;2016.
    PMID: 26980516 DOI: 10.1093/database/baw008
    Many species of dematiaceous fungi are associated with allergic reactions and potentially fatal diseases in human, especially in tropical climates. Over the past 10 years, we have isolated more than 400 dematiaceous fungi from various clinical samples. In this study, DemaDb, an integrated database was designed to support the integration and analysis of dematiaceous fungal genomes. A total of 92 072 putative genes and 6527 pathways that identified in eight dematiaceous fungi (Bipolaris papendorfii UM 226, Daldinia eschscholtzii UM 1400, D. eschscholtzii UM 1020, Pyrenochaeta unguis-hominis UM 256, Ochroconis mirabilis UM 578, Cladosporium sphaerospermum UM 843, Herpotrichiellaceae sp. UM 238 and Pleosporales sp. UM 1110) were deposited in DemaDb. DemaDb includes functional annotations for all predicted gene models in all genomes, such as Gene Ontology, EuKaryotic Orthologous Groups, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG), Pfam and InterProScan. All predicted protein models were further functionally annotated to Carbohydrate-Active enzymes, peptidases, secondary metabolites and virulence factors. DemaDb Genome Browser enables users to browse and visualize entire genomes with annotation data including gene prediction, structure, orientation and custom feature tracks. The Pathway Browser based on the KEGG pathway database allows users to look into molecular interaction and reaction networks for all KEGG annotated genes. The availability of downloadable files containing assembly, nucleic acid, as well as protein data allows the direct retrieval for further downstream works. DemaDb is a useful resource for fungal research community especially those involved in genome-scale analysis, functional genomics, genetics and disease studies of dematiaceous fungi. Database URL: http://fungaldb.um.edu.my.
  19. Tan KK, Tan YC, Chang LY, Lee KW, Nore SS, Yee WY, et al.
    BMC Genomics, 2015;16:93.
    PMID: 25888205 DOI: 10.1186/s12864-015-1294-x
    Brucellosis is an important zoonotic disease that affects both humans and animals. We sequenced the full genome and characterised the genetic diversity of two Brucella melitensis isolates from Malaysia and the Philippines. In addition, we performed a comparative whole-genome single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis of B. melitensis strains collected from around the world, to investigate the potential origin and the history of the global spread of B. melitensis.
  20. Kuan CS, Chan CL, Yew SM, Toh YF, Khoo JS, Chong J, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2015;10(6):e0131694.
    PMID: 26110649 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131694
    The outbreak of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) has become an increasing problem in many TB-burdened countries. The underlying drug resistance mechanisms, including the genetic variation favored by selective pressure in the resistant population, are partially understood. Recently, the first case of XDR-TB was reported in Malaysia. However, the detailed genotype family and mechanisms of the formation of multiple drugs resistance are unknown. We sequenced the whole genome of the UM 1072388579 strain with a 2-kb insert-size library and combined with that from previously sequenced 500-bp-insert paired-end reads to produce an improved sequence with maximal sequencing coverage across the genome. In silico spoligotyping and phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that UM 1072388579 strain belongs to an ancestral-like, non-Beijing clade of East Asia lineage. This is supported by the presence of a number of lineage-specific markers, including fadD28, embA, nuoD and pks7. Polymorphism analysis showed that the drug-susceptibility profile is correlated with the pattern of resistance mutations. Mutations in drug-efflux pumps and the cell wall biogenesis pathway such as mmpL, pks and fadD genes may play an important role in survival and adaptation of this strain to its surrounding environment. In this work, fifty-seven putative promoter SNPs were identified. Among them, we identified a novel SNP located at -4 T allele of TetR/acrR promoter as an informative marker to recognize strains of East Asian lineage. Our work indicates that the UM 1072388579 harbors both classical and uncommon SNPs that allow it to escape from inhibition by many antibiotics. This study provides a strong foundation to dissect the biology and underlying resistance mechanisms of the first reported XDR M. tuberculosis in Malaysia.
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