Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a major threat to the livestock industry worldwide. Despite constant surveillance and effective vaccination, the perpetual mutations of the foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) pose a huge challenge to FMD diagnosis. The immunodominant region of the FMDV VP1 protein (residues 131-170) displayed on phage T7 has been used to detect anti-FMDV in bovine sera. In the present study, the functional epitope was further delineated using amino acid sequence alignment, homology modelling and phage display. Two highly conserved regions (VP1145-152 and VP1159-170) were identified among different FMDV serotypes. The coding regions of these two epitopes were fused separately to the T7 genome and displayed on the phage particles. Interestingly, chimeric phage displaying the VP1159-170 epitope demonstrated a higher antigenicity than that displaying the VP1131-170 epitope. By contrast, phage T7 displaying the VP1145-152 epitope did not react significantly with the anti-FMDV antibodies in vaccinated bovine sera. This study has successfully identified a smaller functional epitope, VP1159-170, located at the C-terminal end of the structural VP1 protein. The phage T7 displaying this shorter epitope is a promising diagnostic reagent to detect anti-FMDV antibodies in vaccinated animals.
This article comparatively reports the workability of Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) and Pseudomonas putida KT2440 cell factories for the expression of three model autodisplayed cellulases (i.e., endoglucanase, BsCel5A; exoglucanase, CelK; β-glucosidase, BglA). The differentiation of the recombinant cells was restricted to their cell growth and enzyme expression/activity attributes. Comparatively, the recombinant E. coli showed higher cell growth rates but lower enzyme activities than the recombinant P. putida. However, the endo-, exoglucanase, and β-glucosidase on the surfaces of both cell factories showed activity over a broad range of pH (4-10) and temperature (30-100 °C). The pH and temperature optima were pH 6, 60 °C (BsCel5A); pH 6, 60-70 °C (CelK); and pH 6, 50 °C (BglA). Overall, the P. putida cell factory with autodisplayed enzymes demonstrated higher bioactivity and remarkable biochemical characteristics and thus was chosen for the saccharification of filter paper. A volumetric blend of the three cellulases with P. putida as the host yielded a ratio of 1:1:1.5 of endoglucanase, exoglucanase, and β-glucosidase, respectively, as the optimum blend composition for filter paper degradation. At an optical density (578 nm) of 50, the blend generated a maximum sugar yield of about 0.7 mg/ml (~ 0.08 U/g) from Whatman filter paper (Ø 6 mm, ~ 2.5 mg) within 24 h.
Efficient approaches for the utilization of waste sewage sludge have been widely studied. One of them is to use it for the bioenergy production, specifically methane gas which is well-known to be driven by complex bacterial interactions during the anaerobic digestion process. Therefore, it is important to understand not only microorganisms for producing methane but also those for controlling or regulating the process. In this study, azithromycin analogs belonging to macrolide, ketolide, and lincosamide groups were applied to investigate the mechanisms and dynamics of bacterial community in waste sewage sludge for methane production. The stages of anaerobic digestion process were evaluated by measuring the production of intermediate substrates, such as protease activity, organic acids, the quantification of bacteria and archaea, and its community dynamics. All azithromycin analogs used in this study achieved a high methane production compared to the control sample without any antibiotic due to the efficient hydrolysis process and the presence of important fermentative bacteria and archaea responsible in the methanogenesis stage. The key microorganisms contributing to the methane production may be Clostridia, Cladilinea, Planctomycetes, and Alphaproteobacteria as an accelerator whereas Nitrosomonadaceae and Nitrospiraceae may be suppressors for methane production. In conclusion, the utilization of antibiotic analogs of macrolide, ketolide, and lincosamide groups has a promising ability in finding the essential microorganisms and improving the methane production using waste sewage sludge.
Preservation of leptospiral cultures is tantamount to success in leptospiral diagnostics, research, and development of preventive strategies. Each Leptospira isolate has imperative value not only in disease diagnosis but also in epidemiology, virulence, pathogenesis, and drug development studies. As the number of circulating leptospires is continuously increasing and congruent with the importance to retain their original characteristics and properties, an efficient long-term preservation is critically needed to be well-established. However, the preservation of Leptospira is currently characterized by difficulties and conflicting results mainly due to the biological nature of this organism. Hence, this review seeks to describe the efforts in developing efficient preservation methods, to discover the challenges in preserving this organism and to identify the factors that can contribute to an effective long-term preservation of Leptospira. Through the enlightenment of the previous studies, a potentially effective method has been suggested. The article also attempts to evaluate novel strategies used in other industrial and biotechnological preservation efforts and consider their potential application to the conservation of Leptospira spp.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) play an important role in human diet. Despite the wide-ranging importance and benefits from heart health to brain functions, humans and mammals cannot synthesize PUFAs de novo. The primary sources of PUFA are fish and plants. Due to the increasing concerns associated with food security as well as issues of environmental contaminants in fish oil, there has been considerable interest in the production of polyunsaturated fatty acids from alternative resources which are more sustainable, safer, and economical. For instance, marine bacteria, particularly the genus of Shewanella, Photobacterium, Colwellia, Moritella, Psychromonas, Vibrio, and Alteromonas, are found to be one among the major microbial producers of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Recent developments in the area with a focus on the production of polyunsaturated fatty acids from marine bacteria as well as the metabolic engineering strategies for the improvement of PUFA production are discussed.
Rosmarinic acid (RA) is a highly valued natural phenolic compound that is very commonly found in plants of the families Lamiaceae and Boraginaceae, including Coleus blumei, Heliotropium foertherianum, Rosmarinus officinalis, Perilla frutescens, and Salvia officinalis. RA is also found in other members of higher plant families and in some fern and horned liverwort species. The biosynthesis of RA is catalyzed by the enzymes phenylalanine ammonia lyase and cytochrome P450-dependent hydroxylase using the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine. Chemically, RA can be produced via methods involving the esterification of 3,4-dihydroxyphenyllactic acid and caffeic acid. Some of the derivatives of RA include melitric acid, salvianolic acid, lithospermic acid, and yunnaneic acid. In plants, RA is known to have growth-promoting and defensive roles. Studies have elucidated the varied pharmacological potential of RA and its derived molecules, including anticancer, antiangiogenic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial activities. The demand for RA is therefore, very high in the pharmaceutical industry, but this demand cannot be met by plants alone because RA content in plant organs is very low. Further, many plants that synthesize RA are under threat and near extinction owing to biodiversity loss caused by unscientific harvesting, over-collection, environmental changes, and other inherent features. Moreover, the chemical synthesis of RA is complicated and expensive. Alternative approaches using biotechnological methodologies could overcome these problems. This review provides the state of the art information on the chemistry, sources, and biosynthetic pathways of RA, as well as its anticancer properties against different cancer types. Biotechnological methods are also discussed for producing RA using plant cell, tissue, and organ cultures and hairy-root cultures using flasks and bioreactors. The recent developments and applications of the functional genomics approach and heterologous production of RA in microbes are also highlighted. This chapter will be of benefit to readers aiming to design studies on RA and its applicability as an anticancer agent.
Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is one of the most important fruit trees that contribute a major part to the economy of Middle East and North African countries. It is quintessentially called "tree of life" owing to its resilience to adverse climatic conditions, along with manifold nutritional-cum-medicinal attributes that comes from its fruits and other plant parts. Being a tree with such immense utility, it has gained substantial attention of tree breeders for its genetic advancement via in vitro biotechnological interventions. Herein, an extensive review of biotechnological research advances in date palm has been consolidated as one of the major research achievements during the past two decades. This article compares the different biotechnological techniques used in this species such as: tissue and organ culture, bioreactor-mediated large-scale propagation, cell suspension culture, embryogenic culture, protoplast culture, conservation (for short- and long-term) of germplasms, in vitro mutagenesis, in vitro selection against biotic and abiotic stresses, secondary metabolite production in vitro, and genetic transformation. This review provides an insight on crop improvement and breeding programs for improved yield and quality fruits; besides, it would undeniably facilitate the tissue culture-based research on date palm for accelerated propagation and enhanced production of quality planting materials, along with conservation and exchange of germplasms, and genetic engineering. In addition, the unexplored research methodologies and major bottlenecks identified in this review should be contemplated on in near future.
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are biopolymers synthesized by a wide range of bacteria, which serve as a promising candidate in replacing some conventional petrochemical-based plastics. PHA synthase (PhaC) is the key enzyme in the polymerization of PHA, and the crystal structures were successfully determined using the catalytic domain of PhaC from Cupriavidus necator (PhaCCn-CAT) and Chromobacterium sp. USM2 (PhaCCs-CAT). Here, we review the beneficial mutations discovered in PhaCs from a structural perspective. The structural comparison of the residues involved in beneficial mutation reveals that the residues are near to the catalytic triad, but not inside the catalytic pocket. For instance, Ala510 of PhaCCn is near catalytic His508 and may be involved in the open-close regulation, which presumably play an important role in substrate specificity and activity. In the class II PhaC1 from Pseudomonas sp. 61-3 (PhaC1Ps), Ser325 stabilizes the catalytic cysteine through hydrogen bonding. Another residue, Gln508 of PhaC1Ps is located in a conserved hydrophobic pocket which is next to the catalytic Asp and His. A class I, II-conserved Phe420 of PhaCCn is one of the residues involved in dimerization and its mutation to serine greatly reduced the lag phase. The current structural analysis shows that the Phe362 and Phe518 of PhaC from Aeromonas caviae (PhaCAc) are assisting the dimer formation and maintaining the integrity of the core beta-sheet, respectively. The structure-function relationship of PhaCs discussed in this review will serve as valuable reference for future protein engineering works to enhance the performance of PhaCs and to produce novel biopolymers.
Due to the world's dwindling energy supplies, greater thrust has been placed on the utilization of renewable resources for global succinate production. Exploration of such biotechnological route could be seen as an act of counterbalance to the continued fossil fuel dominance. Malaysia being a tropical country stands out among many other nations for its plenty of resources in the form of lignocellulosic biomass. To date, oil palm frond (OPF) contributes to the largest fraction of agricultural residues in Malaysia, while kenaf, a newly introduced fiber crop with relatively high growth rate, holds great potential for developing sustainable succinate production, apart from OPF. Utilization of non-food, inexhaustible, and low-cost derived biomass in the form of OPF and kenaf for bio-based succinate production remains largely untapped. Owing to the richness of carbohydrates in OPF and kenaf, bio-succinate commercialization using these sources appears as an attractive proposition for future sustainable developments. The aim of this paper was to review some research efforts in developing a biorefinery system based on OPF and kenaf as processing inputs. It presents the importance of the current progress in bio-succinate commercialization, in addition to describing the potential use of different succinate production hosts and various pretreatments-saccharifications under development for OPF and kenaf. Evaluations on the feasibility of OPF and kenaf as fermentation substrates are also discussed.
Photobacterium species are Gram-negative coccobacilli which are distributed in marine habitats worldwide. Some species are unique because of their capability to produce luminescence. Taxonomically, about 23 species and 2 subspecies are validated to date. Genomes from a few Photobacterium spp. have been sequenced and studied. They are considered a special group of bacteria because some species are capable of producing essential polyunsaturated fatty acids, antibacterial compounds, lipases, esterases and asparaginases. They are also used as biosensors in food and environmental monitoring and detectors of drown victim, as well as an important symbiont.
Thiocyanate (SCN-) forms as a by-product of cyanidation during gold ore processing and can be degraded by a variety of microorganisms utilizing it as an energy, nitrogen, sulphur and/or carbon source. In complex consortia inhabiting bioreactor systems, a range of metabolisms are sustained by SCN- degradation; however, despite the addition or presence of labile carbon sources in most bioreactor designs to date, autotrophic bacteria have been found to dominate key metabolic functions. In this study, we cultured an autotrophic SCN--degrading consortium directly from gold mine tailings. In a batch-mode bioreactor experiment, this consortium degraded 22 mM SCN-, accumulating ammonium (NH4+) and sulphate (SO42-) as the major end products. The consortium consisted of a diverse microbial community comprised of chemolithoautotrophic members, and despite the absence of an added organic carbon substrate, a significant population of heterotrophic bacteria. The role of eukaryotes in bioreactor systems is often poorly understood; however, we found their 18S rRNA genes to be most closely related to sequences from bacterivorous Amoebozoa. Through combined chemical and phylogenetic analyses, we were able to infer roles for key microbial consortium members during SCN- biodegradation. This study provides a basis for understanding the behaviour of a SCN- degrading bioreactor under autotrophic conditions, an anticipated approach to remediating SCN- at contemporary gold mines.
This review covers a developmental progression on early to modern taxonomy at cellular level following the advent of electron microscopy and the advancement in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) extraction for expatiation of biological classification at DNA level. Here, we discuss the fundamental values of conventional chemical methods of DNA extraction using liquid/liquid extraction (LLE) followed by development of solid-phase extraction (SPE) methods, as well as recent advances in microfluidics device-based system for DNA extraction on-chip. We also discuss the importance of DNA extraction as well as the advantages over conventional chemical methods, and how Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) system plays a crucial role for the future achievements.
Previous studies have shown that enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) performance under continuous aerobic conditions always eventually deteriorates; however, the speed at which this happens depends on the carbon source supplied. The published data suggest that propionate is a better carbon source than acetate is for maintaining operational stability, although it is not clear why. A lab-scale sequencing batch reactor was run initially under conventional anaerobic/aerobic conditions with either acetate or propionate as the carbon source. Chemical and microbiological analyses revealed that both sources performed as expected for such systems. When continuous aerobic conditions were imposed on both these established communities, marked shifts of the "Candidatus Accumulibacter" clades were recorded for both carbon sources. Here, we discuss whether this shift could explain the prolonged EBPR stability observed with propionate.
Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) is a family of microbial polyesters that is completely biodegradable and possesses the mechanical and thermal properties of some commonly used petrochemical-based plastics. Therefore, PHA is attractive as a biodegradable thermoplastic. It has always been a challenge to commercialize PHA due to the high cost involved in the biosynthesis of PHA via bacterial fermentation and the subsequent purification of the synthesized PHA from bacterial cells. Innovative enterprise by researchers from various disciplines over several decades successfully reduced the cost of PHA production through the efficient use of cheap and renewable feedstock, precisely controlled fermentation process, and customized bacterial strains. Despite the fact that PHA yields have been improved tremendously, the recovery and purification processes of PHA from bacterial cells remain exhaustive and require large amounts of water and high energy input besides some chemicals. In addition, the residual cell biomass ends up as waste that needs to be treated. We have found that some animals can readily feed on the dried bacterial cells that contain PHA granules. The digestive system of the animals is able to assimilate the bacterial cells but not the PHA granules which are excreted in the form of fecal pellets, thus resulting in partial recovery and purification of PHA. In this mini-review, we will discuss this new concept of biological recovery, the selection of the animal model for biological recovery, and the properties and possible applications of the biologically recovered PHA.
The antibiotic pyrrolnitrin (PRN) is a tryptophan-derived secondary metabolite that plays an important role in the biocontrol of plant diseases due to its broad-spectrum of antimicrobial activities. The PRN biosynthetic gene cluster remains to be characterised in Serratia plymuthica, though it is highly conserved in PRN-producing bacteria. To better understand PRN biosynthesis and its regulation in Serratia, the prnABCD operon from S. plymuthica G3 was cloned, sequenced and expressed in Escherichia coli DH5α. Furthermore, an engineered strain prnind which is a conditional mutant of G3 prnABCD under the control of the Ptac promoter was constructed. This mutant was able to overproduce PRN with isopropylthiogalactoside (IPTG) induction by overexpressing prnABCD, whilst behaving as a conditional mutant of G3 prnABCD in the absence of IPTG. These results confirmed that prnABCD is responsible for PRN biosynthesis in strain G3. Further experiments involving lux-/dsRed-based promoter fusions, combined with site-directed mutagenesis of the putative σS extended -10 region in the prnA promoter, and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis extended our previous knowledge about G3, revealing that quorum sensing (QS) regulates PRN biosynthesis through cross talk with RpoS, which may directly activated prnABCD transcription. These findings suggest that PRN in S. plymuthica G3 is produced in a tightly controlled manner, and has diverse functions, such as modulation of cell motility, in addition to antimicrobial activities. Meanwhile, the construction of inducible mutants could be a powerful tool to improve PRN production, beyond its potential use for the investigation of the biological function of PRN.
The AcmA binding domains of Lactococcus lactis were used to display the VP1 protein of chicken anemia virus (CAV) on Lactobacillus acidophilus. One and two repeats of the cell wall binding domain of acmA gene were amplified from L. lactis MG1363 genome and then inserted into co-expression vector, pBudCE4.1. The VP1 gene of CAV was then fused to the acmA sequences and the VP2 gene was cloned into the second MCS of the same vector before transformation into Escherichia coli. The expressed recombinant proteins were purified using a His-tag affinity column and mixed with a culture of L. acidophilus. Whole cell ELISA and immunofluorescence assay showed the binding of the recombinant VP1 protein on the surface of the bacterial cells. The lactobacilli cells carrying the CAV VP1 protein were used to immunize specific pathogen-free chickens through the oral route. A moderate level of neutralizing antibody to CAV was detected in the serum of the immunized chickens. A VP1-specific proliferative response was observed in splenocytes of the chickens after oral immunization. The vaccinated groups also showed increased levels of Th1 cytokines interleukin (IL)-2, IL-12, and IFN-γ. These observations suggest that L. acidophilus can be used in the delivery of vaccines to chickens.
The aim of this work was to develop a standard quantitative method to measure the acid tolerance of probiotic cells when exposed to a simulated gastric fluid. Three model strains of different cell concentrations were exposed to a standard simulated gastric fluid of fixed volume. The fluid pH ranged from pH 1.5 to 2.5. In general, the death kinetics followed an exponential trend. The overall death constant, k (d), for all strains was found to be in a power relationship with the pH value and the initial cell concentration, and it can be expressed as k(d)=k(AII) (pH(-9.0)N(0)(-0.19)) where k (AII) is defined as the acid intolerance indicator and N (0) is the initial cell concentration (CFU/ml). This equation was validated with the experimental data with an average R (2) of 0.98. The acid intolerance of cells can be quantitatively expressed by the k (AII) values, where higher value indicates higher intolerance. In conclusion, a standard quantitative method has been developed to measure the acid tolerance of probiotic cells. This could facilitate the selection of probiotic strains and processing technologies.
The food-grade Lactococcus lactis is a potential vector to be used as a live vehicle for the delivery of heterologous proteins for vaccine and pharmaceutical purposes. We constructed a plasmid vector pSVac that harbors a 255-bp single-repeat sequence of the cell wall-binding protein region of the AcmA protein. The recombinant plasmid was transformed into Escherichia coli and expression of the gene fragment was driven by the T7 promoter of the plasmid. SDS-PAGE showed the presence of the putative AcmA' fragment and this was confirmed by Western blot analysis. The protein was isolated and purified using a His-tag affinity column. When mixed with a culture of L. lactis MG1363, ELISA and immunofluorescence assays showed that the cell wall-binding fragment was anchored onto the outer surface of the bacteria. This indicated that the AcmA' repeat unit retained the active site for binding onto the cell wall surface of the L. lactis cells. Stability assays showed that the fusion proteins (AcmA/A1, AcmA/A3) were stably docked onto the surface for at least 5 days. The AcmA' fragment was also shown to be able to strongly bind onto the cell surface of naturally occurring lactococcal strains and Lactobacillus and, with less strength, the cell surface of Bacillus sphericus. The new system designed for cell surface display of recombinant proteins on L. lactis was evaluated for the expression and display of A1 and A3 regions of the VP1 protein of enterovirus 71 (EV71). The A1 and A3 regions of the VP1 protein of EV71 were cloned upstream to the cell wall-binding domains of AcmA protein and successfully expressed as AcmA/A1 and AcmA/A3. Whole-cell ELISA showed the successful display of VP1 protein epitopes of EV71 on the surface of L. lactis. The success of the anchoring system developed in this study for docking the A1 and A3 epitopes of VP1 onto the surface of L. lactis cells opens up the possibilities of peptide and protein display for not only Lactococcus but also for other gram-positive bacteria. This novel way of displaying epitopes on the cell surface of L. lactis and other related organisms should be very useful in the delivery of vaccines and other useful proteins.
Aptamers are single-stranded nucleic acids or peptides identified from a randomized combinatorial library through specific interaction with the target of interest. Targets can be of any size, from small molecules to whole cells, attesting to the versatility of aptamers for binding a wide range of targets. Aptamers show drug properties that are analogous to antibodies, with high specificity and affinity to their target molecules. Aptamers can penetrate disease-causing microbial and mammalian cells. Generated aptamers that target surface biomarkers act as cell-targeting agents and intracellular delivery vehicles. Within this context, the "cell-internalizing aptamers" are widely investigated via the process of cell uptake with selective binding during in vivo systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX) or by cell-internalization SELEX, which targets cell surface antigens to be receptors. These internalizing aptamers are highly preferable for the localization and functional analyses of multiple targets. In this overview, we discuss the ways by which internalizing aptamers are generated and their successful applications. Furthermore, theranostic approaches featuring cell-internalized aptamers are discussed with the purpose of analyzing and diagnosing disease-causing pathogens.
Infectious diseases remain a significant threat to human health, contributing to more than 17 million deaths, annually. With the worsening trends of drug resistance, there is a need for newer and more powerful antimicrobial agents. We hypothesized that animals living in polluted environments are potential sources of antimicrobials. Under polluted milieus, organisms such as cockroaches encounter different types of microbes, including superbugs. Such creatures survive the onslaught of superbugs and are able to ward off disease by producing antimicrobial substances. Here, we characterized antibacterial properties in extracts of various body organs of cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) and showed potent antibacterial activity in crude brain extract against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and neuropathogenic Escherichia coli K1. The size-exclusion spin columns revealed that the active compound(s) are less than 10 kDa in molecular mass. Using cytotoxicity assays, it was observed that pre-treatment of bacteria with lysates inhibited bacteria-mediated host cell cytotoxicity. Using spectra obtained with LC-MS on Agilent 1290 infinity liquid chromatograph, coupled with an Agilent 6460 triple quadruple mass spectrometer, tissues lysates were analysed. Among hundreds of compounds, only a few homologous compounds were identified that contained the isoquinoline group, chromene derivatives, thiazine groups, imidazoles, pyrrole-containing analogs, sulfonamides, furanones, and flavanones and known to possess broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties and anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, and analgesic properties. Further identification, characterization, and functional studies using individual compounds can act as a breakthrough in developing novel therapeutics against various pathogens including superbugs.