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  1. Anisuzzaman SM, Joseph CG, Krishnaiah D, Bono A, Ooi LC
    Water Sci. Technol., 2015;72(6):896-907.
    PMID: 26360749 DOI: 10.2166/wst.2015.247
    In this study, durian (Durio zibethinus Murray) skin was examined for its ability to remove methylene blue (MB) dye from simulated textile wastewater. Adsorption equilibrium and kinetics of MB removal from aqueous solutions at different parametric conditions such as different initial concentrations (2-10 mg/L), biosorbent dosages (0.3-0.7 g) and pH solution (4-9) onto durian skin were studied using batch adsorption. The amount of MB adsorbed increased from 3.45 to 17.31 mg/g with the increase in initial concentration of MB dye; whereas biosorbent dosage increased from 1.08 to 2.47 mg/g. Maximum dye adsorption capacity of the durian skin was found to increase from 3.78 to 6.40 mg/g, with increasing solution pH. Equilibrium isotherm data were analyzed according to Langmuir and Freundlich isotherm models. The sorption equilibrium was best described by the Freundlich isotherm model with maximum adsorption capacity of 7.23 mg/g and this was due to the heterogeneous nature of the durian skin surface. Kinetic studies indicated that the sorption of MB dye tended to follow the pseudo second-order kinetic model with promising correlation of 0.9836 < R(2) < 0.9918.
  2. Ooi LC, Watanabe N, Futamura Y, Sulaiman SF, Darah I, Osada H
    Cancer Sci., 2013 Nov;104(11):1461-7.
    PMID: 23910095 DOI: 10.1111/cas.12246
    Dysregulation of p27(Kip1) due to proteolysis that involves the ubiquitin ligase (SCF) complex with S-phase kinase-associated protein 2 (Skp2) as the substrate-recognition component (SCF(Skp2)) frequently results in tumorigenesis. In this report, we developed a high-throughput screening system to identify small-molecule inhibitors of p27(Kip1) degradation. This system was established by tagging Skp2 with fluorescent monomeric Azami Green (mAG) and CDK subunit 1 (Cks1) (mAGSkp2-Cks1) to bind to p27(Kip1) phosphopeptides. We identified two compounds that inhibited the interaction between mAGSkp2-Cks1 and p27(Kip1): linichlorin A and gentian violet. Further studies have shown that the compounds inhibit the ubiquitination of p27(Kip1) in vitro as well as p27(Kip1) degradation in HeLa cells. Notably, both compounds exhibited preferential antiproliferative activity against HeLa and tsFT210 cells compared with NIH3T3 cells and delayed the G1 phase progression in tsFT210 cells. Our approach indicates a potential strategy for restoring p27(Kip1) levels in human cancers.
  3. Chan PL, Rose RJ, Abdul Murad AM, Zainal Z, Low ET, Ooi LC, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2014;9(6):e99774.
    PMID: 24927412 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099774
    The somatic embryogenesis tissue culture process has been utilized to propagate high yielding oil palm. Due to the low callogenesis and embryogenesis rates, molecular studies were initiated to identify genes regulating the process, and their expression levels are usually quantified using reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR). With the recent release of oil palm genome sequences, it is crucial to establish a proper strategy for gene analysis using RT-qPCR. Selection of the most suitable reference genes should be performed for accurate quantification of gene expression levels.
  4. Singh R, Tan SG, Panandam JM, Rahman RA, Ooi LC, Low ET, et al.
    BMC Plant Biol., 2009;9:114.
    PMID: 19706196 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2229-9-114
    Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) is well suited to a perennial crop like oil palm, in which the economic products are not produced until several years after planting. The use of DNA markers for selection in such crops can greatly reduce the number of breeding cycles needed. With the use of DNA markers, informed decisions can be made at the nursery stage, regarding which individuals should be retained as breeding stock, which are satisfactory for agricultural production, and which should be culled. The trait associated with oil quality, measured in terms of its fatty acid composition, is an important agronomic trait that can eventually be tracked using molecular markers. This will speed up the production of new and improved oil palm planting materials.
  5. Ting NC, Jansen J, Mayes S, Massawe F, Sambanthamurthi R, Ooi LC, et al.
    BMC Genomics, 2014;15:309.
    PMID: 24767304 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-309
    Oil palm is an important perennial oil crop with an extremely long selection cycle of 10 to 12 years. As such, any tool that speeds up its genetic improvement process, such as marker-assisted breeding is invaluable. Previously, genetic linkage maps based on AFLP, RFLP and SSR markers were developed and QTLs for fatty acid composition and yield components identified. High density genetic maps of crosses of different genetic backgrounds are indispensable tools for investigating oil palm genetics. They are also useful for comparative mapping analyses to identify markers closely linked to traits of interest.
  6. Low ET, Alias H, Boon SH, Shariff EM, Tan CY, Ooi LC, et al.
    BMC Plant Biol., 2008;8:62.
    PMID: 18507865 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2229-8-62
    Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) is one of the most important oil bearing crops in the world. However, genetic improvement of oil palm through conventional breeding is extremely slow and costly, as the breeding cycle can take up to 10 years. This has brought about interest in vegetative propagation of oil palm. Since the introduction of oil palm tissue culture in the 1970s, clonal propagation has proven to be useful, not only in producing uniform planting materials, but also in the development of the genetic engineering programme. Despite considerable progress in improving the tissue culture techniques, the callusing and embryogenesis rates from proliferating callus cultures remain very low. Thus, understanding the gene diversity and expression profiles in oil palm tissue culture is critical in increasing the efficiency of these processes.
  7. Singh R, Low ET, Ooi LC, Ong-Abdullah M, Nookiah R, Ting NC, et al.
    Nat Commun, 2014 Jun 30;5:4106.
    PMID: 24978855 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5106
    Oil palm, a plantation crop of major economic importance in Southeast Asia, is the predominant source of edible oil worldwide. We report the identification of the virescens (VIR) gene, which controls fruit exocarp colour and is an indicator of ripeness. VIR is a R2R3-MYB transcription factor with homology to Lilium LhMYB12 and similarity to Arabidopsis production of anthocyanin pigment1 (PAP1). We identify five independent mutant alleles of VIR in over 400 accessions from sub-Saharan Africa that account for the dominant-negative virescens phenotype. Each mutation results in premature termination of the carboxy-terminal domain of VIR, resembling McClintock's C1-I allele in maize. The abundance of alleles likely reflects cultural practices, by which fruits were venerated for magical and medicinal properties. The identification of VIR will allow selection of the trait at the seed or early-nursery stage, 3-6 years before fruits are produced, greatly advancing introgression into elite breeding material.
  8. Singh R, Low ET, Ooi LC, Ong-Abdullah M, Ting NC, Nagappan J, et al.
    Nature, 2013 Aug 15;500(7462):340-4.
    PMID: 23883930 DOI: 10.1038/nature12356
    A key event in the domestication and breeding of the oil palm Elaeis guineensis was loss of the thick coconut-like shell surrounding the kernel. Modern E. guineensis has three fruit forms, dura (thick-shelled), pisifera (shell-less) and tenera (thin-shelled), a hybrid between dura and pisifera. The pisifera palm is usually female-sterile. The tenera palm yields far more oil than dura, and is the basis for commercial palm oil production in all of southeast Asia. Here we describe the mapping and identification of the SHELL gene responsible for the different fruit forms. Using homozygosity mapping by sequencing, we found two independent mutations in the DNA-binding domain of a homologue of the MADS-box gene SEEDSTICK (STK, also known as AGAMOUS-LIKE 11), which controls ovule identity and seed development in Arabidopsis. The SHELL gene is responsible for the tenera phenotype in both cultivated and wild palms from sub-Saharan Africa, and our findings provide a genetic explanation for the single gene hybrid vigour (or heterosis) attributed to SHELL, via heterodimerization. This gene mutation explains the single most important economic trait in oil palm, and has implications for the competing interests of global edible oil production, biofuels and rainforest conservation.
  9. Singh R, Ong-Abdullah M, Low ET, Manaf MA, Rosli R, Nookiah R, et al.
    Nature, 2013 Aug 15;500(7462):335-9.
    PMID: 23883927 DOI: 10.1038/nature12309
    Oil palm is the most productive oil-bearing crop. Although it is planted on only 5% of the total world vegetable oil acreage, palm oil accounts for 33% of vegetable oil and 45% of edible oil worldwide, but increased cultivation competes with dwindling rainforest reserves. We report the 1.8-gigabase (Gb) genome sequence of the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis, the predominant source of worldwide oil production. A total of 1.535 Gb of assembled sequence and transcriptome data from 30 tissue types were used to predict at least 34,802 genes, including oil biosynthesis genes and homologues of WRINKLED1 (WRI1), and other transcriptional regulators, which are highly expressed in the kernel. We also report the draft sequence of the South American oil palm Elaeis oleifera, which has the same number of chromosomes (2n = 32) and produces fertile interspecific hybrids with E. guineensis but seems to have diverged in the New World. Segmental duplications of chromosome arms define the palaeotetraploid origin of palm trees. The oil palm sequence enables the discovery of genes for important traits as well as somaclonal epigenetic alterations that restrict the use of clones in commercial plantings, and should therefore help to achieve sustainability for biofuels and edible oils, reducing the rainforest footprint of this tropical plantation crop.
  10. Ooi LC, Low ET, Abdullah MO, Nookiah R, Ting NC, Nagappan J, et al.
    Front Plant Sci, 2016;7:771.
    PMID: 27446094 DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00771
    Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) is the most productive oil bearing crop worldwide. It has three fruit forms, namely dura (thick-shelled), pisifera (shell-less) and tenera (thin-shelled), which are controlled by the SHELL gene. The fruit forms exhibit monogenic co-dominant inheritance, where tenera is a hybrid obtained by crossing maternal dura and paternal pisifera palms. Commercial palm oil production is based on planting thin-shelled tenera palms, which typically yield 30% more oil than dura palms, while pisifera palms are female-sterile and have little to no palm oil yield. It is clear that tenera hybrids produce more oil than either parent due to single gene heterosis. The unintentional planting of dura or pisifera palms reduces overall yield and impacts land utilization that would otherwise be devoted to more productive tenera palms. Here, we identify three additional novel mutant alleles of the SHELL gene, which encode a type II MADS-box transcription factor, and determine oil yield via control of shell fruit form phenotype in a manner similar to two previously identified mutant SHELL alleles. Assays encompassing all five mutations account for all dura and pisifera palms analyzed. By assaying for these variants in 10,224 mature palms or seedlings, we report the first large scale accurate genotype-based determination of the fruit forms in independent oil palm planting sites and in the nurseries that supply them throughout Malaysia. The measured non-tenera contamination rate (10.9% overall on a weighted average basis) underscores the importance of SHELL genetic testing of seedlings prior to planting in production fields. By eliminating non-tenera contamination, comprehensive SHELL genetic testing can improve sustainability by increasing yield on existing planted lands. In addition, economic modeling demonstrates that SHELL gene testing will confer substantial annual economic gains to the oil palm industry, to Malaysian gross national income and to Malaysian government tax receipts.
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