Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 264 in total

  1. Chee CS, Chang KM, Loke MF, Angela Loo VP, Subrayan V
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e2022.
    PMID: 27280065 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2022
    AIM/HYPOTHESIS: The aim of our study was to characterize the human salivary proteome and determine the changes in protein expression in two different stages of diabetic retinopathy with type-2 diabetes mellitus: (1) with non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) and (2) with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). Type-2 diabetes mellitus without diabetic retinopathy (XDR) was designated as control.
    METHOD: In this study, 45 saliva samples were collected (15 samples from XDR control group, 15 samples from NPDR disease group and 15 samples from PDR disease group). Salivary proteins were extracted, reduced, alkylated, trypsin digested and labeled with an isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) before being analyzed by an Orbitrap fusion tribrid mass spectrometer. Protein annotation, fold change calculation and statistical analysis were interrogated by Proteome Discoverer. Biological pathway analysis was performed by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifiers PXD003723-PX003725.
    RESULTS: A total of 315 proteins were identified from the salivary proteome and 119 proteins were found to be differentially expressed. The differentially expressed proteins from the NPDR disease group and the PDR disease group were assigned to respective canonical pathways indicating increased Liver X receptor/Retinoid X receptor (LXR/RXR) activation, Farnesoid X receptor/Retinoid X receptor (FXR/RXR) activation, acute phase response signaling, sucrose degradation V and regulation of actin-based motility by Rho in the PDR disease group compared to the NPDR disease group.
    CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Progression from non-proliferative to proliferative retinopathy in type-2 diabetic patients is a complex multi-mechanism and systemic process. Furthermore, saliva was shown to be a feasible alternative sample source for diabetic retinopathy biomarkers.
  2. Lim AC, Chong VC, Wong CS, Muniandy SV
    PeerJ, 2015;3:e1471.
    PMID: 26734507 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1471
    Background. Syngnathid fishes produce three kinds of sounds, named click, growl and purr. These sounds are generated by different mechanisms to give a consistent signal pattern or signature which is believed to play a role in intraspecific and interspecific communication. Commonly known sounds are produced when the fish feeds (click, purr) or is under duress (growl). While there are more acoustic studies on seahorses, pipefishes have not received much attention. Here we document the differences in feeding click signals between three species of pipefishes and relate them to cranial morphology and kinesis, or the sound-producing mechanism. Methods. The feeding clicks of two species of freshwater pipefishes, Doryichthys martensii and Doryichthys deokhathoides and one species of estuarine pipefish, Syngnathoides biaculeatus, were recorded by a hydrophone in acoustic dampened tanks. The acoustic signals were analysed using time-scale distribution (or scalogram) based on wavelet transform. A detailed time-varying analysis of the spectral contents of the localized acoustic signal was obtained by jointly interpreting the oscillogram, scalogram and power spectrum. The heads of both Doryichthys species were prepared for microtomographical scans which were analysed using a 3D imaging software. Additionally, the cranial bones of all three species were examined using a clearing and double-staining method for histological studies. Results. The sound characteristics of the feeding click of the pipefish is species-specific, appearing to be dependent on three bones: the supraoccipital, 1st postcranial plate and 2nd postcranial plate. The sounds are generated when the head of the Dorichthyes pipefishes flexes backward during the feeding strike, as the supraoccipital slides backwards, striking and pushing the 1st postcranial plate against (and striking) the 2nd postcranial plate. In the Syngnathoides pipefish, in the absence of the 1st postcranial plate, the supraoccipital rubs against the 2nd postcranial plate twice as it is pulled backward and released on the return. Cranial morphology and kinesis produce acoustic signals consistent with the bone strikes that produce sharp energy spikes (discrete or merged), or stridulations between bones that produce repeated or multimodal sinusoidal waveforms. Discussion. The variable structure of the sound-producing mechanism explains the unique acoustic signatures of the three species of pipefish. The differences in cranial bone morphology, cranial kinesis and acoustic signatures among pipefishes (and seahorses) could be attributed to independent evolution within the Syngnathidae, which warrants further investigation.
  3. Furuoka F, Hoque MZ
    PeerJ, 2015;3:e1496.
    PMID: 26664812 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1496
    Among 35 million people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 2013, only 37% had access to antiretroviral therapy (ART). Despite global concerted efforts to provide the universal access to the ART treatment, the ART coverage varies among countries and regions. At present, there is a lack of systematic empirical analyses on factors that determine the ART coverage. Therefore, the current study aimed to identify the determinants of the ART coverage in 41 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. It employed statistical analyses for this purpose. Four elements, namely, the HIV prevalence, the level of national income, the level of medical expenditure and the number of nurses, were hypothesised to determine the ART coverage. The findings revealed that among the four proposed determinants only the HIV prevalence had a statistically significant impact on the ART coverage. In other words, the HIV prevalence was the sole determinant of the ART coverage in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  4. Miller J, Sweet MJ, Wood E, Bythell J
    PeerJ, 2015;3:e1391.
    PMID: 26732905 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1391
    Two of the most significant threats to coral reefs worldwide are bleaching and disease. However, there has been a scarcity of research on coral disease in South-East Asia, despite the high biodiversity and the strong dependence of local communities on the reefs in the region. This study provides baseline data on coral disease frequencies within three national parks in Sabah, Borneo, which exhibit different levels of human impacts and management histories. High mean coral cover (55%) and variable disease frequency (mean 0.25 diseased colonies m(-2)) were found across the three sites. Highest disease frequency (0.44 diseased colonies per m(2)) was seen at the site closest to coastal population centres. Bleaching and pigmentation responses were actually higher at Sipadan, the more remote, offshore site, whereas none of the other coral diseases detected in the other two parks were detected in Sipadan. Results of this study offer a baseline dataset of disease in these parks and indicate the need for continued monitoring, and suggest that coral colonies in parks under higher anthropogenic stressors and with lower coral cover may be more susceptible to contracting disease.
  5. Haniza MZ, Adams S, Jones EP, MacNicoll A, Mallon EB, Smith RH, et al.
    PeerJ, 2015;3:e1458.
    PMID: 26664802 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1458
    The brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) is a relatively recent (<300 years) addition to the British fauna, but by association with negative impacts on public health, animal health and agriculture, it is regarded as one of the most important vertebrate pest species. Anticoagulant rodenticides were introduced for brown rat control in the 1950s and are widely used for rat control in the UK, but long-standing resistance has been linked to control failures in some regions. One thus far ignored aspect of resistance biology is the population structure of the brown rat. This paper investigates the role population structure has on the development of anticoagulant resistance. Using mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA, we examined 186 individuals (from 15 counties in England and one location in Wales near the Wales-England border) to investigate the population structure of rural brown rat populations. We also examined individual rats for variations of the VKORC1 gene previously associated with resistance to anticoagulant rodenticides. We show that the populations were structured to some degree, but that this was only apparent in the microsatellite data and not the mtDNA data. We discuss various reasons why this is the case. We show that the population as a whole appears not to be at equilibrium. The relative lack of diversity in the mtDNA sequences examined can be explained by founder effects and a subsequent spatial expansion of a species introduced to the UK relatively recently. We found there was a geographical distribution of resistance mutations, and relatively low rate of gene flow between populations, which has implications for the development and management of anticoagulant resistance.
  6. Chelliah A, Amar HB, Hyde J, Yewdall K, Steinberg PD, Guest JR
    PeerJ, 2015;3:e777.
    PMID: 25737817 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.777
    Knowledge about the timing and synchrony of coral spawning has important implications for both the ecology and management of coral reef ecosystems. Data on the timing of spawning and extent of synchrony, however, are still lacking for many coral reefs, particularly from equatorial regions and from locations within the coral triangle. Here we present the first documentation of a multi-species coral spawning event from reefs around Pulau Tioman, Peninsular Malaysia, a popular diving and tourist destination located on the edge of the coral triangle. At least 8 coral species from 3 genera (Acropora, Montipora and Porites) participated in multi-species spawning over five nights in April 2014, between two nights before and two nights after the full moon. In addition, two Acropora species were witnessed spawning one night prior to the full moon in October 2014. While two of the Acropora species that reproduced in April (A. millepora and A. nasuta) exhibited highly synchronous spawning (100% of sampled colonies), two other common species (A. hyacinthus and A. digitifera) did not contain visible eggs in the majority of colonies sampled (i.e., <15% of colonies) in either April or October, suggesting that these species spawn at other times of the year. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first detailed documented observation of multi-species coral spawning from reefs in Malaysia. These data provide further support for the contention that this phenomenon is a feature of all speciose coral assemblages, including equatorial reefs. More research is needed, however, to determine the seasonal cycles and extent of spawning synchrony on these reefs and elsewhere in Malaysia.
  7. Lai PS, Wong YY, Low YC, Lau HL, Chin KF, Mahadeva S
    PeerJ, 2014;2:e451.
    PMID: 25024919 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.451
    Background. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are currently the most effective agents for acid-related disorders. However, studies show that 25-75% of patients receiving intravenous PPIs had no appropriate justification, indicating high rates of inappropriate prescribing. Objective. To examine the appropriate use of intravenous PPIs in accordance with guidelines and the efficacy of a prescribing awareness intervention at an Asian teaching institution. Setting. Prospective audit in a tertiary hospital in Malaysia. Method. Every 4th intravenous PPI prescription received in the pharmacy was screened against hospital guidelines. Interventions for incorrect indication/dose/duration were performed. Patients' demographic data, medical history and the use of intravenous PPI were collected. Included were all adult inpatients prescribed intravenous PPI. Main Outcome Measure. Proportion of appropriate IV PPI prescriptions. Results. Data for 106 patients were collected. Most patients were male [65(61.3%)], Chinese [50(47.2%)], with mean age ± SD = 60.3 ± 18.0 years. Most intravenous PPI prescriptions were initiated by junior doctors from the surgical [47(44.3%)] and medical [42(39.6%)] departments. Only 50/106(47.2%) patients had upper gastrointestinal endoscopy/surgery performed to verify the source of bleeding. Unexplained abdominal pain [81(76.4%)] was the main driver for prescribing intravenous PPIs empirically, out of which 73(68.9%) were for suspected upper gastrointestinal bleed. Overall, intravenous PPI was found to be inappropriately prescribed in 56(52.8%) patients for indication, dose or duration. Interventions on the use of intravenous PPI were most effective when performed by senior doctors (100%), followed by clinical pharmacists (50%), and inpatient pharmacists (37.5%, p = 0.027). Conclusion. Inappropriate intravenous PPI usage is still prevalent despite the enforcement of hospital guidelines. The promotion of prescribing awareness and evidence-based prescribing through education of medical staff could result in more judicious use of intravenous PPI and dose-optimization.
  8. Liew TS, Schilthuizen M
    PeerJ, 2014;2:e329.
    PMID: 24749008 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.329
    Predator-prey interactions are among the main ecological interactions that shape the diversity of biological form. In many cases, the evolution of the mollusc shell form is presumably driven by predation. However, the adaptive significance of several uncommon, yet striking, shell traits of land snails are still poorly known. These include the distorted coiled "tuba" and the protruded radial ribs that can be found in micro-landsnails of the genus Plectostoma. Here, we experimentally tested whether these shell traits may act as defensive adaptations against predators. We characterised and quantified the possible anti-predation behaviour and shell traits of Plectostoma snails both in terms of their properties and efficiencies in defending against the Atopos slug predatory strategies, namely, shell-apertural entry and shell-drilling. The results showed that Atopos slugs would first attack the snail by shell-apertural entry, and, should this fail, shift to the energetically more costly shell-drilling strategy. We found that the shell tuba of Plectostoma snails is an effective defensive trait against shell-apertural entry attack. None of the snail traits, such as resting behaviour, shell thickness, shell tuba shape, shell rib density and intensity can fully protect the snail from the slug's shell-drilling attack. However, these traits could increase the predation costs to the slug. Further analysis on the shell traits revealed that the lack of effectiveness in these anti-predation shell traits may be caused by a functional trade-off between shell traits under selection of two different predatory strategies.
  9. Liew TS, Kok AC, Schilthuizen M, Urdy S
    PeerJ, 2014;2:e383.
    PMID: 24883245 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.383
    The molluscan shell can be viewed as a petrified representation of the organism's ontogeny and thus can be used as a record of changes in form during growth. However, little empirical data is available on the actual growth and form of shells, as these are hard to quantify and examine simultaneously. To address these issues, we studied the growth and form of a land snail that has an irregularly coiled and heavily ornamented shell-Plectostoma concinnum. The growth data were collected in a natural growth experiment and the actual form changes of the aperture during shell ontogeny were quantified. We used an ontogeny axis that allows data of growth and form to be analysed simultaneously. Then, we examined the association between the growth and the form during three different whorl growing phases, namely, the regular coiled spire phase, the transitional constriction phase, and the distortedly-coiled tuba phase. In addition, we also explored the association between growth rate and the switching between whorl growing mode and rib growing mode. As a result, we show how the changes in the aperture ontogeny profiles in terms of aperture shape, size and growth trajectory, and the changes in growth rates, are associated with the different shell forms at different parts of the shell ontogeny. These associations suggest plausible constraints that underlie the three different shell ontogeny phases and the two different growth modes. We found that the mechanism behind the irregularly coiled-shell is the rotational changes of the animal's body and mantle edge with respect to the previously secreted shell. Overall, we propose that future study should focus on the role of the mantle and the columellar muscular system in the determination of shell form.
  10. Lee YY, Noridah N, Syed Hassan SA, Menon J
    PeerJ, 2014;2:e257.
    PMID: 24688841 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.257
    Aim. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is exceptionally rare in population from the north-eastern region of Peninsular Malaysia. This provides us an opportunity to contemplate the future without H. pylori in acute non-variceal upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. Methods. All cases in the GI registry with GI bleeding between 2003 and 2006 were reviewed. Cases with confirmed non-variceal aetiology were analysed. Rockall score > 5 was considered high risk for bleeding and primary outcomes studied were in-hospital mortality, recurrent bleeding and need for surgery. Results. The incidence of non-variceal upper GI bleeding was 2.2/100,000 person-years. Peptic ulcer bleeding was the most common aetiology (1.8/100,000 person-years). In-hospital mortality (3.6%), recurrent bleeding (9.6%) and need for surgery (4.0%) were uncommon in this population with a largely low risk score (85.2% with score ≤5). Elderly were at greater risk for bleeding (mean 68.5 years, P = 0.01) especially in the presence of duodenal ulcers (P = 0.04) despite gastric ulcers being more common. NSAIDs, aspirin and co-morbidities were the main risk factors. Conclusions. The absence of H. pylori infection may not reduce the risk of peptic ulcer bleeding in the presence of risk factors especially offending drugs in the elderly.
  11. Ab Latip R, Lee YY, Tang TK, Phuah ET, Lee CM, Tan CP, et al.
    PeerJ, 2013;1:e72.
    PMID: 23682348 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.72
    Fractionation which separates the olein (liquid) and stearin (solid) fractions of oil is used to modify the physicochemical properties of fats in order to extend its applications. Studies showed that the properties of fractionated end products can be affected by fractionation processing conditions. In the present study, dry fractionation of palm-based diacylglycerol (PDAG) was performed at different: cooling rates (0.05, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0°C/min), end-crystallisation temperatures (30, 35, 40, 45 and 50°C) and agitation speeds (30, 50, 70, 90 and 110 rpm) to determine the effect of these parameters on the properties and yield of the solid and liquid portions. To determine the physicochemical properties of olein and stearin fraction: Iodine value (IV), fatty acid composition (FAC), acylglycerol composition, slip melting point (SMP), solid fat content (SFC), thermal behaviour tests were carried out. Fractionation of PDAG fat changes the chemical composition of liquid and solid fractions. In terms of FAC, the major fatty acid in olein and stearin fractions were oleic (C18:1) and palmitic (C16:0) respectively. Acylglycerol composition showed that olein and stearin fractions is concentrated with TAG and DAG respectively. Crystallization temperature, cooling rate and agitation speed does not affect the IV, SFC, melting and cooling properties of the stearin fraction. The stearin fraction was only affected by cooling rate which changes its SMP. On the other hand, olein fraction was affected by crystallization temperature and cooling rate but not agitation speed which caused changes in IV, SMP, SFC, melting and crystallization behavior. Increase in both the crystallization temperature and cooling rate caused a reduction of IV, increment of the SFC, SMP, melting and crystallization behaviour of olein fraction and vice versa. The fractionated stearin part melted above 65°C while the olein melted at 40°C. SMP in olein fraction also reduced to a range of 26 to 44°C while SMP of stearin fractions increased to (60-62°C) compared to PDAG.
  12. Chan KG, Loke MF, Ong BL, Wong YL, Hong KW, Tan KH, et al.
    PeerJ, 2015;3:e1367.
    PMID: 26587340 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1367
    Background. Two non-tuberculous mycobacterial strains, UM_3 and UM_11, were isolated from the trunk wash of captive elephants in Malaysia. As they appeared to be identical phenotypes, they were investigated further by conventional and whole genome sequence-based methods of strain differentiation. Methods. Multiphasic investigations on the isolates included species identification with hsp65 PCR-sequencing, conventional biochemical tests, rapid biochemical profiling using API strips and the Biolog Phenotype Microarray analysis, protein profiling with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, repetitive sequence-based PCR typing and whole genome sequencing followed by phylogenomic analyses. Results. The isolates were shown to be possibly novel slow-growing schotochromogens with highly similar biological and genotypic characteristics. Both strains have a genome size of 5.2 Mbp, G+C content of 68.8%, one rRNA operon and 52 tRNAs each. They qualified for classification into the same species with their average nucleotide identity of 99.98% and tetranucleotide correlation coefficient of 0.99999. At the subspecies level, both strains showed 98.8% band similarity in the Diversilab automated repetitive sequence-based PCR typing system, 96.2% similarity in protein profiles obtained by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, and a genomic distance that is close to zero in the phylogenomic tree constructed with conserved orthologs. Detailed epidemiological tracking revealed that the elephants shared a common habitat eight years apart, thus, strengthening the possibility of a clonal relationship between the two strains.
  13. Mazlan FA, Annuar MS, Sharifuddin Y
    PeerJ, 2015;3:e1376.
    PMID: 26539336 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1376
    Lactobacillus plantarum BET003 isolated from Momordica charantia fruit was used to ferment its juice. Momordica charantia fresh juice was able to support good growth of the lactic acid bacterium. High growth rate and cell viability were obtained without further nutrient supplementation. In stirred tank reactor batch fermentation, agitation rate showed significant effect on specific growth rate of the bacterium in the fruit juice. After the fermentation, initially abundant momordicoside 23-O-β-Allopyranosyle-cucurbita-5,24-dien-7α,3β,22(R),23(S)-tetraol-3-O-β-allopyranoside was transformed into its corresponding aglycone in addition to the emergence of new metabolites. The fermented M. charantia juice consistently reduced glucose production by 27.2%, 14.5%, 17.1% and 19.2% at 15-minute intervals respectively, when compared against the negative control. This putative anti-diabetic activity can be attributed to the increase in availability and concentration of aglycones as well as other phenolic compounds resulting from degradation of glycosidic momordicoside. Biotransformation of M. charantia fruit juice via lactic acid bacterium fermentation reduced its bitterness, reduced its sugar content, produced aglycones and other metabolites as well as improved its inhibition of α-glucosidase activity compared with the fresh, non-fermented juice.
  14. Khang TF, Lau CY
    PeerJ, 2015;3:e1360.
    PMID: 26539333 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1360
    Background. A common research goal in transcriptome projects is to find genes that are differentially expressed in different phenotype classes. Biologists might wish to validate such gene candidates experimentally, or use them for downstream systems biology analysis. Producing a coherent differential gene expression analysis from RNA-seq count data requires an understanding of how numerous sources of variation such as the replicate size, the hypothesized biological effect size, and the specific method for making differential expression calls interact. We believe an explicit demonstration of such interactions in real RNA-seq data sets is of practical interest to biologists. Results. Using two large public RNA-seq data sets-one representing strong, and another mild, biological effect size-we simulated different replicate size scenarios, and tested the performance of several commonly-used methods for calling differentially expressed genes in each of them. We found that, when biological effect size was mild, RNA-seq experiments should focus on experimental validation of differentially expressed gene candidates. Importantly, at least triplicates must be used, and the differentially expressed genes should be called using methods with high positive predictive value (PPV), such as NOISeq or GFOLD. In contrast, when biological effect size was strong, differentially expressed genes mined from unreplicated experiments using NOISeq, ASC and GFOLD had between 30 to 50% mean PPV, an increase of more than 30-fold compared to the cases of mild biological effect size. Among methods with good PPV performance, having triplicates or more substantially improved mean PPV to over 90% for GFOLD, 60% for DESeq2, 50% for NOISeq, and 30% for edgeR. At a replicate size of six, we found DESeq2 and edgeR to be reasonable methods for calling differentially expressed genes at systems level analysis, as their PPV and sensitivity trade-off were superior to the other methods'. Conclusion. When biological effect size is weak, systems level investigation is not possible using RNAseq data, and no meaningful result can be obtained in unreplicated experiments. Nonetheless, NOISeq or GFOLD may yield limited numbers of gene candidates with good validation potential, when triplicates or more are available. When biological effect size is strong, NOISeq and GFOLD are effective tools for detecting differentially expressed genes in unreplicated RNA-seq experiments for qPCR validation. When triplicates or more are available, GFOLD is a sharp tool for identifying high confidence differentially expressed genes for targeted qPCR validation; for downstream systems level analysis, combined results from DESeq2 and edgeR are useful.
  15. How KY, Hong KW, Chan KG
    PeerJ, 2015;3:e1117.
    PMID: 26290785 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1117
    Quorum sensing is a mechanism for regulating proteobacterial gene expression in response to changes in cell population. In proteobacteria, N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) appears to be the most widely used signalling molecules in mediating, among others, the production of extracellular virulence factors for survival. In this work, the genome of B. cepacia strain GG4, a plasmid-free strain capable of AHL synthesis was explored. In silico analysis of the 6.6 Mb complete genome revealed the presence of a LuxI homologue which correspond to Type I quorum sensing. Here, we report the molecular cloning and characterization of this LuxI homologue, designated as BurI. This 609 bp gene was cloned and overexpressed in Escherichia coli BL21(DE3). The purified protein was approximately 25 kDa and is highly similar to several autoinducer proteins of the LuxI family among Burkholderia species. To verify the AHL synthesis activity of this protein, high resolution liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis revealed the production of 3-oxo-hexanoylhomoserine lactone, N-octanoylhomoserine lactone and 3-hydroxy-octanoylhomoserine lactone from induced E. coli BL21 harboring the recombinant BurI. Our data show, for the first time, the cloning and characterization of the LuxI homologue from B. cepacia strain GG4 and confirmation of its AHL synthesis activity.
  16. English M, Gillespie G, Goossens B, Ismail S, Ancrenaz M, Linklater W
    PeerJ, 2015;3:e1030.
    PMID: 26290779 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1030
    Plant recovery rates after herbivory are thought to be a key factor driving recursion by herbivores to sites and plants to optimise resource-use but have not been investigated as an explanation for recursion in large herbivores. We investigated the relationship between plant recovery and recursion by elephants (Elephas maximus borneensis) in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Sabah. We identified 182 recently eaten food plants, from 30 species, along 14 × 50 m transects and measured their recovery growth each month over nine months or until they were re-browsed by elephants. The monthly growth in leaf and branch or shoot length for each plant was used to calculate the time required (months) for each species to recover to its pre-eaten length. Elephant returned to all but two transects with 10 eaten plants, a further 26 plants died leaving 146 plants that could be re-eaten. Recursion occurred to 58% of all plants and 12 of the 30 species. Seventy-seven percent of the re-eaten plants were grasses. Recovery times to all plants varied from two to twenty months depending on the species. Recursion to all grasses coincided with plant recovery whereas recursion to most browsed plants occurred four to twelve months before they had recovered to their previous length. The small sample size of many browsed plants that received recursion and uneven plant species distribution across transects limits our ability to generalise for most browsed species but a prominent pattern in plant-scale recursion did emerge. Plant recovery time was a good predictor of time to recursion but varied as a function of growth form (grass, ginger, palm, liana and woody) and differences between sites. Time to plant recursion coincided with plant recovery time for the elephant's preferred food, grasses, and perhaps also gingers, but not the other browsed species. Elephants are bulk feeders so it is likely that they time their returns to bulk feed on these grass species when quantities have recovered sufficiently to meet their intake requirements. The implications for habitat and elephant management are discussed.
  17. Razali N, Abdul Aziz A, Lim CY, Mat Junit S
    PeerJ, 2015;3:e1292.
    PMID: 26557426 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1292
    The leaf extract of Tamarindus indica L. (T. indica) had been reported to possess high phenolic content and showed high antioxidant activities. In this study, the effects of the antioxidant-rich leaf extract of the T. indica on lipid peroxidation, antioxidant enzyme activities, H2O2-induced ROS production and gene expression patterns were investigated in liver HepG2 cells. Lipid peroxidation and ROS production were inhibited and the activity of antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase was enhanced when the cells were treated with the antioxidant-rich leaf extract. cDNA microarray analysis revealed that 207 genes were significantly regulated by at least 1.5-fold (p < 0.05) in cells treated with the antioxidant-rich leaf extract. The expression of KNG1, SERPINC1, SERPIND1, SERPINE1, FGG, FGA, MVK, DHCR24, CYP24A1, ALDH6A1, EPHX1 and LEAP2 were amongst the highly regulated. When the significantly regulated genes were analyzed using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis software, "Lipid Metabolism, Small Molecule Biochemistry, Hematological Disease" was the top biological network affected by the leaf extract, with a score of 36. The top predicted canonical pathway affected by the leaf extract was the coagulation system (P < 2.80 × 10(-6)) followed by the superpathway of cholesterol biosynthesis (P < 2.17 × 10(-4)), intrinsic prothrombin pathway (P < 2.92 × 10(-4)), Immune Protection/Antimicrobial Response (P < 2.28 × 10(-3)) and xenobiotic metabolism signaling (P < 2.41 × 10(-3)). The antioxidant-rich leaf extract of T. indica also altered the expression of proteins that are involved in the Coagulation System and the Intrinsic Prothrombin Activation Pathway (KNG1, SERPINE1, FGG), Superpathway of Cholesterol Biosynthesis (MVK), Immune protection/antimicrobial response (IFNGR1, LEAP2, ANXA3 and MX1) and Xenobiotic Metabolism Signaling (ALDH6A1, ADH6). In conclusion, the antioxidant-rich leaf extract of T. indica inhibited lipid peroxidation and ROS production, enhanced antioxidant enzyme activities and significantly regulated the expression of genes and proteins involved with consequential impact on the coagulation system, cholesterol biosynthesis, xenobiotic metabolism signaling and antimicrobial response.
  18. Tan KH, Tan JY, Yin WF, Chan KG
    PeerJ, 2015;3:e1216.
    PMID: 26355540 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1216
    Cedecea neteri is a very rare human pathogen. We have isolated a strain of C. neteri SSMD04 from pickled mackerel sashimi identified using molecular and phenotypics approaches. Using the biosensor Chromobacterium violaceum CV026, we have demonstrated the presence of short chain N-acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) type quorum sensing (QS) activity in C. neteri SSMD04. Triple quadrupole LC/MS analysis revealed that C. neteri SSMD04 produced short chain N-butyryl-homoserine lactone (C4-HSL). With the available genome information of C. neteri SSMD04, we went on to analyse and identified a pair of luxI/R homologues in this genome that share the highest similarity with croI/R homologues from Citrobacter rodentium. The AHL synthase, which we named cneI(636 bp), was found in the genome sequences of C. neteri SSMD04. At a distance of 8bp from cneI is a sequence encoding a hypothetical protein, potentially the cognate receptor, a luxR homologue which we named it as cneR. Analysis of this protein amino acid sequence reveals two signature domains, the autoinducer-binding domain and the C-terminal effector which is typical characteristic of luxR. In addition, we found that this genome harboured an orphan luxR that is most closely related to easR in Enterobacter asburiae. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the AHL production activity in C. neteri, and the discovery of its luxI/R homologues, the orphan receptor and its whole genome sequence.
  19. Lim YL, Ee R, How KY, Lee SK, Yong D, Tee KK, et al.
    PeerJ, 2015;3:e1225.
    PMID: 26336650 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1225
    In this study, we sequenced the genome of Pandoraea pnomenusa RB38 using Pacific Biosciences RSII (PacBio) Single Molecule Real Time (SMRT) sequencing technology. A pair of cognate luxI/R homologs was identified where the luxI homolog, ppnI, was found adjacent to a luxR homolog, ppnR1. An additional orphan luxR homolog, ppnR2, was also discovered. Multiple sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis revealed that ppnI is an N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) synthase gene that is distinct from those of the nearest phylogenetic neighbor viz. Burkholderia spp. High resolution tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis showed that Escherichia coli BL21 harboring ppnI produced a similar AHL profile (N-octanoylhomoserine lactone, C8-HSL) as P. pnomenusa RB38, the wild-type donor strain, confirming that PpnI directed the synthesis of AHL in P. pnomenusa RB38. To our knowledge, this is the first documentation of the luxI/R homologs of the genus Pandoraea.
  20. Chua KH, Ng JG, Ng CC, Hilmi I, Goh KL, Kee BP
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e1843.
    PMID: 27069792 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1843
    Crohn's disease (CD) is a prominent type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. CD is known to have higher prevalence in the Western countries, but the number of cases has been increasing in the past decades in Asia, including Malaysia. Therefore, there is a need to investigate the underlining causes of CD that may shed light on its prevention and treatment. In this study, genetic polymorphisms in NOD1 (rs2075820), CXCL16 (rs2277680), STAT6 (rs324015) and TLR4 (rs4986791) genes were examined in a total of 335 individuals (85 CD patients and 250 healthy controls) with PCR-RFLP approach. There was no significant association observed between NOD1 rs2075820 and STAT6 rs324015 with the onset of CD in the studied cohort. However, the G allele of CXCL16 rs2277680 was found to have a weak association with CD patients (P = 0.0482; OR = 1.4310). The TLR4 rs4986791 was also significantly associated to CD. Both the homozygous C genotype (P = 0.0029; OR = 0.3611) and C allele (P = 0.0069; OR = 0.4369) were observed to confer protection against CD. On the other hand, the heterozygous C/T genotype was a risk genotype (P = 0.0015; OR = 3.1392). Further ethnic-stratified analysis showed that the significant associations in CXCL16 rs2277680 and TLR4 rs4986791 were accounted by the Malay cohort. In conclusion, the present study reported two CD-predisposing loci in the Malay CD patients. However, these loci were not associated to the onset of CD in Chinese and Indian patients.
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