Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 199 in total

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Chew LL, Chong VC
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e2052.
    PMID: 27257540 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2052
    Background. Climate change concurrent with anthropogenic disturbances can initiate serial changes that reverberate up the food chain with repercussions for fisheries. To date, there is no information available concerning the combined effects of global warming and human impacts on tropical marine food webs. While temperate copepods respond differently to warming and environmental stressors, the extent to which tropical copepods can adapt to rising temperature of already warm waters remains unknown. We hypothesize that sea warming and other anthropogenic disturbances over the long term will have the greatest impact on the copepod community in nearshore waters where their effects are accentuated, and therefore vulnerable and resilient species could be identified. Methods. Zooplankton samples were collected during two time periods (1985-86 and 2014-15) interposed by marked anthropogenic disturbances, and at the same five stations located progressively from inshore to offshore in Klang Strait, Malaysia, following the asymmetrical before-after-control-impact (BACI) design. Copepods were identified to species, and results were interpreted by univariate (ANOVA) and multivariate (PERMANOVA, PCO) analyses of the computed species abundance and diversity measures. Results. Copepod total abundance was not significantly different among stations but higher after disturbance than before disturbance. However, changes in the abundance of particular species and the community structure between time periods were dramatic. Coastal large-bodied calanoid species (e.g., Acartia spinicauda, Calanopia thompsoni, Pseudodiaptomus bowmani and Tortanus forcipatus) were the most vulnerable group to disturbance. This however favored the opportunistic species (e.g., Oithona simplex, O. attenuata, Hemicyclops sp., Pseudomacrochiron sp. and Microsetella norvegica). Small-bodied copepods (e.g., Paracalanus sp., Parvocalanus crassirostris and Euterpina acutifrons) were unaffected. Centropages tenuiremis was likely an introduced species. There was no significant loss in species richness of copepods despite the dramatic changes in community structure. Discussion. Sea warming and other human-induced effects such as eutrophication, acidification and coastal habitat degradation are likely the main factors that have altered copepod community structure. The large-bodied estuarine and coastal calanoid copepods are surmised to be vulnerable to eutrophication and hypoxia, while both resilient and opportunistic species are largely unaffected by, or adaptable to, degraded coastal environments and observed sea surface temperature (SST) rise. It is forecasted that SST rise with unmitigated anthropogenic impacts will further reduce large-bodied copepod species the favoured food for fish larvae with dire consequences for coastal fish production.
  4. Subramanian P, Jayapalan JJ, Abdul-Rahman PS, Arumugam M, Hashim OH
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e2080.
    PMID: 27257555 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2080
    Background. Diurnal rhythms of protein synthesis controlled by the biological clock underlie the rhythmic physiology in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. In this study, we conducted a proteome-wide investigation of rhythmic protein accumulation in D. melanogaster. Materials and Methods. Total protein collected from fly samples harvested at 4 h intervals over the 24 h period were subjected to two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, trypsin digestion and MS/MS analysis. Protein spots/clusters were identified with MASCOT search engine and Swiss-Prot database. Expression of proteins was documented as percentage of volume contribution using the Image Master 2D Platinum software. Results. A total of 124 protein spots/clusters were identified using MS/MS analysis. Significant variation in the expression of 88 proteins over the 24-h period was observed. A relatively higher number of proteins was upregulated during the night compared to the daytime. The complexity of temporal regulation of the D. melanogaster proteome was further reflected from functional annotations of the differently expressed proteins, with those that were upregulated at night being restricted to the heat shock proteins and proteins involved in metabolism, muscle activity, protein synthesis/folding/degradation and apoptosis, whilst those that were overexpressed in the daytime were apparently involved in metabolism, muscle activity, ion-channel/cellular transport, protein synthesis/folding/degradation, redox homeostasis, development and transcription. Conclusion. Our data suggests that a wide range of proteins synthesized by the fruit fly, D. melanogaster, is under the regulation of the biological clock.
  5. Dieye Y, Mbengue B, Dagamajalu S, Fall MM, Loke MF, Nguer CM, et al.
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e1965.
    PMID: 27168977 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1965
    Background. With 214 million cases and 438,000 deaths in 2015, malaria remains one of the deadliest infectious diseases in tropical countries. Several species of the protozoan Plasmodium cause malaria. However, almost all the fatalities are due to Plasmodium falciparum, a species responsible for the severest cases including cerebral malaria. Immune response to Plasmodium falciparum infection is mediated by the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and growth factors whose actions are crucial for the control of the parasites. Following this response, the induction of anti-inflammatory immune mediators downregulates the inflammation thus preventing its adverse effects such as damages to various organs and death. Methods. We performed a retrospective, nonprobability sampling study using clinical data and sera samples from patients, mainly adults, suffering of non-cerebral or cerebral malaria in Dakar, Sénégal. Healthy individuals residing in the same area were included as controls. We measured the serum levels of 29 biomarkers including growth factors, chemokines, inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Results. We found an induction of both pro- and anti-inflammatory immune mediators during malaria. The levels of pro-inflammatory biomarkers were higher in the cerebral malaria than in the non-cerebral malaria patients. In contrast, the concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines were comparable in these two groups or lower in CM patients. Additionally, four pro-inflammatory biomarkers were significantly increased in the deceased of cerebral malaria compared to the survivors. Regarding organ damage, kidney failure was significantly associated with death in adults suffering of cerebral malaria. Conclusions. Our results suggest that a poorly controlled inflammatory response determines a bad outcome in African adults suffering of cerebral malaria.
  6. Masum AK, Azad MA, Hoque KE, Beh LS, Wanke P, Arslan Ö
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e1896.
    PMID: 27168960 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1896
    The aim of this study was to identify the facets influencing job satisfaction and intention to quit of nurses employed in Turkey. Using a non-probability sampling technique, 417 nurses from six large private hospitals were surveyed from March 2014 to June 2014. The nurses' demographic data, their job-related satisfaction and turnover intentions were recorded through a self-administered questionnaire. In this study, descriptive and bivariate analyses were used to explore data, and multivariate analysis was performed using logistic regression. Nurses' job satisfaction was found at a moderate level with 61% of the nurses intended to quit. Nevertheless, nurses reported a high satisfaction level with work environment, supervisor support, and co-workers among the selected nine facets of job satisfaction. They also reported a low satisfaction level with contingent reward, fringe benefits, and pay. The impact of demographic characteristics on job satisfaction and intention to quit was also examined. The study revealed a negative relationship between job satisfaction and intention to quit the existing employment. Moreover, satisfaction with supervisor support was the only facet that significantly explained turnover intent when controlling for gender, age, marital status, education, and experience. The implications for nurse management were also described for increasing nurses' job satisfaction and retention. This study is beneficial for hospital management to ensure proper nursing care that would lead to a better quality healthcare service.
  7. 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.
  8. Samie N, Muniandy S, Kanthimathi MS, Haerian BS
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e1588.
    PMID: 27019772 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1588
    The purpose of this study was to assess the cytotoxic potential of a novel piperazine derivative (PCC) against human liver cancer cells. SNU-475 and 423 human liver cancer cell lines were used to determine the IC50 of PCC using the standard MTT assay. PCC displayed a strong suppressive effect on liver cancer cells with an IC50 value of 6.98 ± 0.11 µM and 7.76 ± 0.45 µM against SNU-475 and SNU-423 respectively after 24 h of treatment. Significant dipping in the mitochondrial membrane potential and elevation in the released of cytochrome c from the mitochondria indicated the induction of the intrinsic apoptosis pathway by PCC. Activation of this pathway was further evidenced by significant activation of caspase 3/7 and 9. PCC was also shown to activate the extrinsic pathways of apoptosis via activation of caspase-8 which is linked to the suppression of NF-κB translocation to the nucleus. Cell cycle arrest in the G1 phase was confirmed by flow cytometry and up-regulation of glutathione reductase expression was quantified by qPCR. Results of this study suggest that PCC is a potent anti-cancer agent inducing both intrinsic and extrinsic pathways of apoptosis in liver cancer cell lines.
  9. 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.
  10. Khalili Samani N, Esa Y, Amin SM, Fatin Mohd Ikhsan N
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e1930.
    PMID: 27231645 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1930
    Plotosus canius (Hamilton, 1822) is a significant marine species in Malaysia from nutritional and commercial perspectives. Despite numerous fundamental research on biological characteristics of P. canius, there are various concerns on the level of population differentiation, genomic structure, and the level of genetic variability among their populations due to deficiency of genetic-based studies. Deficiency on basic contexts such as stock identification, phylogenetic relationship and population genetic structure would negatively impact their sustainable conservation. Hence, this study was conducted to characterize the genetic structure of P. canius for the first time through the application of mitochondrial Cytochrome Oxidase I (COI) gene, cross amplification of Tandanus tandanus microsatellites, and a total of 117 collected specimens across five selected populations of Malaysia. The experimental results of the mitochondrial analysis revealed that the haplotype diversity and nucleotide diversity varied from 0.395-0.771 and 0.033-0.65 respectively. Moreover, the statistical analysis of microsatellites addressed a considerable heterozygote insufficiency in all populations, with average observed heterozygosity (Ho ) value of 0.2168, which was lower than the standard heterozygosity in marine populations (Ho = 0.79). This alongside the high Fis values estimation, high pairwise differentiation among populations and low within population variations are supposed to be associated with small sample size, and inbreeding system. Besides, the significant finding of this study was the sharing of common haplotype KR086940, which reflects a historical genetic connectivity between Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo populations due to the geological history of Southeast Asia during Pleistocene era. Demographic analyses showed that all populations were in an equilibrium state with no significant evidence of population expansion. To put it briefly, the current study has managed to provide an initial genomic database toward understanding of the genetic characterization, phylogenetic, molecular diversification and population structure in P. canius, and should be necessary highlighted for appropriate management and conservation of species. Further studies must be carried out involving more geographical and sampling sites, larger population size per site, and utilization of species specific microsatellites loci.
  11. Wong FN, Chua KH, Kuppusamy UR, Wong CM, Lim SK, Tan JA
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e1908.
    PMID: 27114872 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1908
    Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition associated with progressive loss of kidney function and kidney damage. The two common causes of CKD are diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Other causes of CKD also include polycystic kidney disease, obstructive uropathy and primary glomerulonephritis. The receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) is a multi-ligand cell surface receptor of the immunoglobulin superfamily and it has been associated with kidney disease in both non-diabetic and diabetic patients. Presently, data on the association between RAGE polymorphisms and CKD in the Malaysian population is limited, while numerous studies have reported associations of RAGE polymorphisms with diabetic complications in other populations. The present study aims to explore the possibility of using RAGE polymorphisms as candidate markers of CKD in Malaysian population by using association analysis.
  12. Lefoulon E, Bain O, Makepeace BL, d'Haese C, Uni S, Martin C, et al.
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e1840.
    PMID: 27069790 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1840
    Wolbachia is an alpha-proteobacterial symbiont widely distributed in arthropods. Since the identification of Wolbachia in certain animal-parasitic nematodes (the Onchocercidae or filariae), the relationship between arthropod and nematode Wolbachia has attracted great interest. The obligate symbiosis in filariae, which renders infected species susceptible to antibiotic chemotherapy, was held to be distinct from the Wolbachia-arthropod relationship, typified by reproductive parasitism. While co-evolutionary signatures in Wolbachia-arthropod symbioses are generally weak, reflecting horizontal transmission events, strict co-evolution between filariae and Wolbachia has been reported previously. However, the absence of close outgroups for phylogenetic studies prevented the determination of which host group originally acquired Wolbachia. Here, we present the largest co-phylogenetic analysis of Wolbachia in filariae performed to date including: (i) a screening and an updated phylogeny of Wolbachia; (ii) a co-phylogenetic analysis; and (iii) a hypothesis on the acquisition of Wolbachia infection. First, our results show a general overestimation of Wolbachia occurrence and support the hypothesis of an ancestral absence of infection in the nematode phylum. The accuracy of supergroup J is also underlined. Second, although a global pattern of coevolution remains, the signal is derived predominantly from filarial clades associated with Wolbachia in supergroups C and J. In other filarial clades, harbouring Wolbachia supergroups D and F, horizontal acquisitions and secondary losses are common. Finally, our results suggest that supergroup C is the basal Wolbachia clade within the Ecdysozoa. This hypothesis on the origin of Wolbachia would change drastically our understanding of Wolbachia evolution.
  13. Zheng W, Mutha NV, Heydari H, Dutta A, Siow CC, Jakubovics NS, et al.
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e1698.
    PMID: 27017950 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1698
    Background. The gram-negative Neisseria is associated with two of the most potent human epidemic diseases: meningococcal meningitis and gonorrhoea. In both cases, disease is caused by bacteria colonizing human mucosal membrane surfaces. Overall, the genus shows great diversity and genetic variation mainly due to its ability to acquire and incorporate genetic material from a diverse range of sources through horizontal gene transfer. Although a number of databases exist for the Neisseria genomes, they are mostly focused on the pathogenic species. In this present study we present the freely available NeisseriaBase, a database dedicated to the genus Neisseria encompassing the complete and draft genomes of 15 pathogenic and commensal Neisseria species. Methods. The genomic data were retrieved from National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and annotated using the RAST server which were then stored into the MySQL database. The protein-coding genes were further analyzed to obtain information such as calculation of GC content (%), predicted hydrophobicity and molecular weight (Da) using in-house Perl scripts. The web application was developed following the secure four-tier web application architecture: (1) client workstation, (2) web server, (3) application server, and (4) database server. The web interface was constructed using PHP, JavaScript, jQuery, AJAX and CSS, utilizing the model-view-controller (MVC) framework. The in-house developed bioinformatics tools implemented in NeisseraBase were developed using Python, Perl, BioPerl and R languages. Results. Currently, NeisseriaBase houses 603,500 Coding Sequences (CDSs), 16,071 RNAs and 13,119 tRNA genes from 227 Neisseria genomes. The database is equipped with interactive web interfaces. Incorporation of the JBrowse genome browser in the database enables fast and smooth browsing of Neisseria genomes. NeisseriaBase includes the standard BLAST program to facilitate homology searching, and for Virulence Factor Database (VFDB) specific homology searches, the VFDB BLAST is also incorporated into the database. In addition, NeisseriaBase is equipped with in-house designed tools such as the Pairwise Genome Comparison tool (PGC) for comparative genomic analysis and the Pathogenomics Profiling Tool (PathoProT) for the comparative pathogenomics analysis of Neisseria strains. Discussion. This user-friendly database not only provides access to a host of genomic resources on Neisseria but also enables high-quality comparative genome analysis, which is crucial for the expanding scientific community interested in Neisseria research. This database is freely available at http://neisseria.um.edu.my.
  14. 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.
  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. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Kong KW, Mat-Junit S, Aminudin N, Hassan FA, Ismail A, Abdul Aziz A
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e1628.
    PMID: 26839752 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1628
    Barringtonia racemosa is a tropical plant with medicinal values. In this study, the ability of the water extracts of the leaf (BLE) and stem (BSE) from the shoots to protect HepG2 cells against oxidative damage was studied. Five major polyphenolic compounds consisting of gallic acid, ellagic acid, protocatechuic acid, quercetin and kaempferol were identified using HPLC-DAD and ESI-MS. Cell viability assay revealed that BLE and BSE were non-cytotoxic (cell viabilities >80%) at concentration less than 250 µg/ml and 500 µg/ml, respectively. BLE and BSE improved cellular antioxidant status measured by FRAP assay and protected HepG2 cells against H2O2-induced cytotoxicity. The extracts also inhibited lipid peroxidation in HepG2 cells as well as the production of reactive oxygen species. BLE and BSE could also suppress the activities of superoxide dismutase and catalase during oxidative stress. The shoots of B. racemosa can be an alternative bioactive ingredient in the prevention of oxidative damage.
  19. Velasco C, Woods AT, Marks LE, Cheok AD, Spence C
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e1644.
    PMID: 26966646 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1644
    Previous research shows that people systematically match tastes with shapes. Here, we assess the extent to which matched taste and shape stimuli share a common semantic space and whether semantically congruent versus incongruent taste/shape associations can influence the speed with which people respond to both shapes and taste words. In Experiment 1, semantic differentiation was used to assess the semantic space of both taste words and shapes. The results suggest a common semantic space containing two principal components (seemingly, intensity and hedonics) and two principal clusters, one including round shapes and the taste word "sweet," and the other including angular shapes and the taste words "salty," "sour," and "bitter." The former cluster appears more positively-valenced whilst less potent than the latter. In Experiment 2, two speeded classification tasks assessed whether congruent versus incongruent mappings of stimuli and responses (e.g., sweet with round versus sweet with angular) would influence the speed of participants' responding, to both shapes and taste words. The results revealed an overall effect of congruence with congruent trials yielding faster responses than their incongruent counterparts. These results are consistent with previous evidence suggesting a close relation (or crossmodal correspondence) between tastes and shape curvature that may derive from common semantic coding, perhaps along the intensity and hedonic dimensions.
  20. Khang TF, Soo OY, Tan WB, Lim LH
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e1668.
    PMID: 26966649 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1668
    Background. Anchors are one of the important attachment appendages for monogenean parasites. Common descent and evolutionary processes have left their mark on anchor morphometry, in the form of patterns of shape and size variation useful for systematic and evolutionary studies. When combined with morphological and molecular data, analysis of anchor morphometry can potentially answer a wide range of biological questions. Materials and Methods. We used data from anchor morphometry, body size and morphology of 13 Ligophorus (Monogenea: Ancyrocephalidae) species infecting two marine mugilid (Teleostei: Mugilidae) fish hosts: Moolgarda buchanani (Bleeker) and Liza subviridis (Valenciennes) from Malaysia. Anchor shape and size data (n = 530) were generated using methods of geometric morphometrics. We used 28S rRNA, 18S rRNA, and ITS1 sequence data to infer a maximum likelihood phylogeny. We discriminated species using principal component and cluster analysis of shape data. Adams's K mult was used to detect phylogenetic signal in anchor shape. Phylogeny-correlated size and shape changes were investigated using continuous character mapping and directional statistics, respectively. We assessed morphological constraints in anchor morphometry using phylogenetic regression of anchor shape against body size and anchor size. Anchor morphological integration was studied using partial least squares method. The association between copulatory organ morphology and anchor shape and size in phylomorphospace was used to test the Rohde-Hobbs hypothesis. We created monogeneaGM, a new R package that integrates analyses of monogenean anchor geometric morphometric data with morphological and phylogenetic data. Results. We discriminated 12 of the 13 Ligophorus species using anchor shape data. Significant phylogenetic signal was detected in anchor shape. Thus, we discovered new morphological characters based on anchor shaft shape, the length between the inner root point and the outer root point, and the length between the inner root point and the dent point. The species on M. buchanani evolved larger, more robust anchors; those on L. subviridis evolved smaller, more delicate anchors. Anchor shape and size were significantly correlated, suggesting constraints in anchor evolution. Tight integration between the root and the point compartments within anchors confirms the anchor as a single, fully integrated module. The correlation between male copulatory organ morphology and size with anchor shape was consistent with predictions from the Rohde-Hobbs hypothesis. Conclusions. Monogenean anchors are tightly integrated structures, and their shape variation correlates strongly with phylogeny, thus underscoring their value for systematic and evolutionary biology studies. Our MonogeneaGM R package provides tools for researchers to mine biological insights from geometric morphometric data of speciose monogenean genera.
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