Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 1415 in total

  1. Surya W, Chooduang S, Choong YK, Torres J, Boonserm P
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0158356.
    PMID: 27341696 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0158356
    The binary toxin from Lysinibacillus sphaericus has been successfully used for controlling mosquito-transmitted diseases. An activation step shortens both subunits BinA and BinB before their interaction with membranes and internalization in midgut cells, but the precise role of this activation step is unknown. Herein, we show conclusively using three orthogonal biophysical techniques that protoxin subunits form only monomers in aqueous solution. However, in vitro activated toxins readily form heterodimers. This oligomeric state did not change after incubation of these heterodimers with detergent. These results are consistent with the evidence that maximal toxicity in mosquito larvae is achieved when the two subunits, BinA and BinB, are in a 1:1 molar ratio, and directly link proteolytic activation to heterodimerization. Formation of a heterodimer must thus be necessary for subsequent steps, e.g., interaction with membranes, or with a suitable receptor in susceptible mosquito species. Lastly, despite existing similarities between BinB C-terminal domain with domains 3 and 4 of pore-forming aerolysin, no aerolysin-like SDS-resistant heptameric oligomers were observed when the activated Bin subunits were incubated in the presence of detergents or lipidic membranes.
  2. Rosli R, Ming LC, Abd Aziz N, Manan MM
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(6):e0155385.
    PMID: 27249414 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155385
    BACKGROUND: Spontaneous reporting on adverse drug reactions (ADR) has been established in Malaysia since 1987, and although these reports are monitored by the Malaysia drug monitoring authority, the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau, information about ADRs in the paediatric patient population still remains unexplored. The aims of this study, therefore, were to characterize the ADRs reported in respect to the Malaysian paediatric population and to relate the data to specific paediatric age groups.

    METHODS: Data on all ADRs reported to the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau between 2000 and 2013 for individuals aged from birth to 17 years old were analysed with respect to age and gender, type of reporter, suspected medicines (using the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification), category of ADR (according to system organ class) as well as the severity of the ADR.

    RESULTS: In total, 11,523 ADR reports corresponding to 22,237 ADRs were analysed, with half of these reporting one ADR per report. Vaccines comprised 55.7% of the 11,523 ADR reports with the remaining being drug related ADRs. Overall, 63.9% of ADRs were reported for paediatric patients between 12 and 17 years of age, with the majority of ADRs reported in females (70.7%). The most common ADRs reported were from the following system organ classes: application site disorders (32.2%), skin and appendages disorders (20.6%), body as a whole general disorders (12.8%) and central and peripheral nervous system disorders (11.2%). Meanwhile, ADRs in respect to anti-infectives for systemic use (2194/5106; 43.0%) were the most frequently reported across all age groups, followed by drugs from the nervous system (1095/5106; 21.4%). Only 0.28% of the ADR cases were reported as fatal. A large proportion of the reports were received from healthcare providers in government health facilities.

    DISCUSSION: ADR reports concerning vaccines and anti-infectives were the most commonly reported in children, and are mainly seen in adolescents, with most of the ADRs manifesting in skin reactions. The majority of the ADR reports were received from nurses in the public sector, reporting ADRs associated with vaccine administration. The low fatality rate of ADR cases reported could potentially be caused by reporting bias due to the very low reporting percentage from the private healthcare institutions. This study indicates that ADR rates among Malaysian children are higher than in developed countries. Constant ADR reporting and monitoring, especially in respect to paediatric patients, should be undertaken to ensure their safety.

  3. Rouffaer LO, Lens L, Haesendonck R, Teyssier A, Hudin NS, Strubbe D, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(5):e0155366.
    PMID: 27168186 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155366
    In recent decades major declines in urban house sparrow (Passer domesticus) populations have been observed in north-western European cities, whereas suburban and rural house sparrow populations have remained relatively stable or are recovering from previous declines. Differential exposure to avian pathogens known to cause epidemics in house sparrows may in part explain this spatial pattern of declines. Here we investigate the potential effect of urbanization on the development of a bacterial pathogen reservoir in free-ranging house sparrows. This was achieved by comparing the prevalence of Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serotype Typhimurium in 364 apparently healthy house sparrows captured in urban, suburban and rural regions across Flanders, Belgium between September 2013 and March 2014. In addition 12 dead birds, received from bird rescue centers, were necropsied. The apparent absence of Salmonella Typhimurium in fecal samples of healthy birds, and the identification of only one house sparrow seropositive for Salmonella spp., suggests that during the winter of 2013-2014 these birds did not represent any considerable Salmonella Typhimurium reservoir in Belgium and thus may be considered naïve hosts, susceptible to clinical infection. This susceptibility is demonstrated by the isolation of two different Salmonella Typhimurium strains from two of the deceased house sparrows: one DT99, typically associated with disease in pigeons, and one DT195, previously associated with a passerine decline. The apparent absence (prevalence: <1.3%) of a reservoir in healthy house sparrows and the association of infection with clinical disease suggests that the impact of Salmonella Typhimurium on house sparrows is largely driven by the risk of exogenous exposure to pathogenic Salmonella Typhimurium strains. However, no inference could be made on a causal relationship between Salmonella infection and the observed house sparrow population declines.
  4. Nordin N, Fadaeinasab M, Mohan S, Mohd Hashim N, Othman R, Karimian H, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(5):e0154023.
    PMID: 27136097 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154023
    Drug resistance presents a challenge in chemotherapy and has attracted research interest worldwide and particular attention has been given to natural compounds to overcome this difficulty. Pulchrin A, a new compound isolated from natural products has demonstrated novel potential for development as a drug. The identification of pulchrin A was conducted using several spectroscopic techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance, liquid chromatography mass spectrometer, infrared and ultraviolet spectrometry. The cytotoxicity effects on CAOV-3 cells indicates that pulchrin A is more active than cisplatin, which has an IC50 of 22.3 μM. Significant changes in cell morphology were present, such as cell membrane blebbing and formation of apoptotic bodies. The involvement of phosphatidylserine (PS) in apoptosis was confirmed by Annexin V-FITC after a 24 h treatment. Apoptosis was activated through the intrinsic pathway by activation of procaspases 3 and 9 as well as cleaved caspases 3 and 9 and ended at the executioner pathway, with the occurrence of DNA laddering. Apoptosis was further confirmed via gene and protein expression levels, in which Bcl-2 protein was down-regulated and Bax protein was up-regulated. Furthermore, the CAOV-3 cell cycle was disrupted at the G0/G1 phase, leading to apoptosis. Molecular modeling of Bcl-2 proteins demonstrated a high- binding affinity, which inhibited the function of Bcl-2 proteins and led to cell death. Results of the current study can shed light on the development of new therapeutic agents, particularly, human ovarian cancer treatments.
  5. Ismail E, Nofal OK, Sakthiswary R, Shaharir SS, Sridharan R
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(4):e0153752.
    PMID: 27105431 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153752
    OBJECTIVE: Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) acts as an inhibitor of IL-1; which is one of the culprit cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Although +2018 polymorphism of IL-1Ra has been implicated in the pathogenesis of RA, its importance remains poorly understood. Hence, the purpose of this study was to determine the clinical significance of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) +2018 polymorphism in RA.

    METHODS: Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing were used to determine the genotypes of the IL-1Ra +2018 for 77 RA patients and 18 healthy controls. All RA patients were assessed for the disease activity score that includes 28 joints (DAS28) and radiographic disease damage based on Modified Sharp Score (MSS).

    RESULTS: The frequency of the T/T and C/T genotypes did not differ significantly (p = 0.893) between the RA patients and the controls. The C/T genotype had significantly higher mean disease activity (DAS 28) and disease damage (MSS) scores with p values of 0.017 and 0.004, respectively. Additionally, the ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), CRP (C-reactive protein), the number of swollen and tender joints were higher for the C/T individuals. On multivariate analysis the CRP, swollen joint count and MSS remained significant with the following p values i.e. 0.045, 0.046 and less than 0.05.

    CONCLUSIONS: C/T genotype of IL-1Ra +2018 prognosticates more aggressive disease in RA.
  6. Aftab SM, Mohd Rafie AS, Razak NA, Ahmad KA
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(4):e0153755.
    PMID: 27104354 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153755
    One of the major flow phenomena associated with low Reynolds number flow is the formation of separation bubbles on an airfoil's surface. NACA4415 airfoil is commonly used in wind turbines and UAV applications. The stall characteristics are gradual compared to thin airfoils. The primary criterion set for this work is the capture of laminar separation bubble. Flow is simulated for a Reynolds number of 120,000. The numerical analysis carried out shows the advantages and disadvantages of a few turbulence models. The turbulence models tested were: one equation Spallart Allmars (S-A), two equation SST K-ω, three equation Intermittency (γ) SST, k-kl-ω and finally, the four equation transition γ-Reθ SST. However, the variation in flow physics differs between these turbulence models. Procedure to establish the accuracy of the simulation, in accord with previous experimental results, has been discussed in detail.
  7. Rahman MA, Ramli F, Karimian H, Dehghan F, Nordin N, Mohd Ali H, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(3):e0151466.
    PMID: 27019365 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151466
    Artonin E is a prenylated flavonoid isolated from the stem bark of Artocarpus elasticus Reinw.(Moraceae). This study aimed to investigate the apoptotic mechanisms induced by artonin E in a metastatic human ovarian cancer cell line SKOV-3 in vitro. MTT assay, clonogenic assay, acridine orange and propidium iodide double staining, cell cycle and annexin V analyses were performed to explore the mode of artonin E-induced cell death at different time points. DNA laddering, activation of caspases-3, -8, and -9, multi-parametric cytotoxicity-3analysis by high-content screening, measurement of reactive oxygen species generation, and Western blot were employed to study the pathways involved in the apoptosis. MTT results showed that artonin E inhibited the growth of SKOV-3 cells, with IC50 values of 6.5±0.5μg/mL after 72 h treatment, and showed less toxicity toward a normal human ovarian cell lineT1074, with IC50 value of 32.5±0.5μg/mL. Results showed that artonin E induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest at the S phase. This compound also promoted the activation of caspases-3, -8, and -9. Further investigation into the depletion of mitochondrial membrane potential and release of cytochrome c revealed that artonin E treatment induced apoptosis via regulation of the expression of pro-survival and pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members. The expression levels of survivin and HSP70 proteins were also down regulated in SKOV-3 cells treated with artonin E. We propose that artonin E induced an antiproliferative effect that led to S phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis through dysregulation of mitochondrial pathways, particularly the pro- and anti-apoptosis signaling pathways.
  8. Chew BH, Vos R, Mohd-Sidik S, Rutten GE
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(3):e0152095.
    PMID: 27002728 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152095
    Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) brings about an increasing psychosocial problem in adult patients. Prevalence data on and associated factors of diabetes related distress (DRD) and depression have been lacking in Asia. This study aimed to examine the prevalence of DRD and depression, and their associated factors in Asian adult T2DM patients. This study was conducted in three public health clinics measuring DRD (Diabetes Distress Scale, DDS), and depression (Patient Health Questionnaire, PHQ). Patients who were at least 30 years of age, had T2DM for more than one year, with regular follow-up and recent laboratory results (< 3 months) were consecutively recruited. Associations between DRD, depression and the combination DRD-depression with demographic and clinical characteristics were analysed using generalized linear models. From 752 invited people, 700 participated (mean age 56.9 years, 52.8% female, 52.9% Malay, 79.1% married). Prevalence of DRD and depression were 49.2% and 41.7%, respectively. Distress and depression were correlated, spearman's r = 0.50. Patients with higher DRD were younger (OR 0.995, 95% CI 0.996 to 0.991), Chinese (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.29), attending Dengkil health clinic (OR 1.1, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.22) and had higher scores on the PHQ (OR 1.1, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.06). Depression was less likely in the unmarried compared to divorced/separately living and those attending Dengkil health clinic, but more likely in patients with microvascular complications (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.73) and higher DDS (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.03). For the combination of DRD and depression, unemployment (OR 4.7, 95% CI 1.02 to 21.20) had positive association, whereas those under medical care at the Salak health clinics (OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.63), and those with a blood pressure > 130/80 mmHg (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.32 to 0.89) were less likely to experience both DRD and depression. DRD and depression were common and correlated in Asian adults with T2DM at primary care level. Socio-demographic more than clinical characteristics were related to DRD and depression.
  9. Tan TL, Ahmad NS, Nasuruddin DN, Ithnin A, Tajul Arifin K, Zaini IZ, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(3):e0152065.
    PMID: 27003588 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152065
    INTRODUCTION: Early diagnosis of sepsis and bacterial infection is imperative as treatment relies on early antibiotic administration. There is a need to develop new biomarkers to detect patients with sepsis and bacterial infection as early as possible, thereby enabling prompt antibiotic treatment and improving the survival rate.

    METHODS: Fifty-one adult patients with suspected bacterial sepsis on admission to the Emergency Department (ED) of a teaching hospital were included into the study. All relevant cultures and serology tests were performed. Serum levels for Group II Secretory Phospholipase A2 (sPLA2-IIA) and CD64 were subsequently analyzed.

    RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Sepsis was confirmed in 42 patients from a total of 51 recruited subjects. Twenty-one patients had culture-confirmed bacterial infections. Both biomarkers were shown to be good in distinguishing sepsis from non-sepsis groups. CD64 and sPLA2-IIA also demonstrated a strong correlation with early sepsis diagnosis in adults. The area under the curve (AUC) of both Receiver Operating Characteristic curves showed that sPLA2-IIA was better than CD64 (AUC = 0.93, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.83-0.97 and AUC = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.82-0.99, respectively). The optimum cutoff value was 2.13μg/l for sPLA2-IIA (sensitivity = 91%, specificity = 78%) and 45 antigen bound cell (abc) for CD64 (sensitivity = 81%, specificity = 89%). In diagnosing bacterial infections, sPLA2-IIA showed superiority over CD64 (AUC = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.85-0.96, and AUC = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.93-1.00, respectively). The optimum cutoff value for bacterial infection was 5.63μg/l for sPLA2-IIA (sensitivity = 94%, specificity = 94%) and 46abc for CD64 (sensitivity = 94%, specificity = 83%).

    CONCLUSIONS: sPLA2-IIA showed superior performance in sepsis and bacterial infection diagnosis compared to CD64. sPLA2-IIA appears to be an excellent biomarker for sepsis screening and for diagnosing bacterial infections, whereas CD64 could be used for screening bacterial infections. Both biomarkers either alone or in combination with other markers may assist in decision making for early antimicrobial administration. We recommend incorporating sPLA2-IIA and CD64 into the diagnostic algorithm of sepsis in ED.

  10. Lee CS, Taib NA, Ashrafzadeh A, Fadzli F, Harun F, Rahmat K, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(2):e0149551.
    PMID: 26890881 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149551
    Heavily glycosylated mucin glycopeptides such as CA 27.29 and CA 15-3 are currently being used as biomarkers for detection and monitoring of breast cancer. However, they are not well detected at the early stages of the cancer. In the present study, perchloric acid (PCA) was used to enhance detection of mucin-type O-glycosylated proteins in the serum in an attempt to identify new biomarkers for early stage breast cancer. Sensitivity and specificity of an earlier developed sandwich enzyme-linked lectin assay were significantly improved with the use of serum PCA isolates. When a pilot case-control study was performed using the serum PCA isolates of normal participants (n = 105) and patients with stage 0 (n = 31) and stage I (n = 48) breast cancer, higher levels of total O-glycosylated proteins in sera of both groups of early stage breast cancer patients compared to the normal control women were demonstrated. Further analysis by gel-based proteomics detected significant inverse altered abundance of proteoglycan 4 and plasma protease C1 inhibitor in both the early stages of breast cancer patients compared to the controls. Our data suggests that the ratio of serum proteoglycan 4 to protease C1 inhibitor may be used for screening of early breast cancer although this requires further validation in clinically representative populations.
  11. Eteng AA, Abdul Rahim SK, Leow CY, Chew BW, Vandenbosch GA
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(2):e0148808.
    PMID: 26890878 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148808
    Q-factor constraints are usually imposed on conductor loops employed as proximity range High Frequency Radio Frequency Identification (HF-RFID) reader antennas to ensure adequate data bandwidth. However, pairing such low Q-factor loops in inductive energy transmission links restricts the link transmission performance. The contribution of this paper is to assess the improvement that is reached with a two-stage design method, concerning the transmission performance of a planar square loop relative to an initial design, without compromise to a Q-factor constraint. The first stage of the synthesis flow is analytical in approach, and determines the number and spacing of turns by which coupling between similar paired square loops can be enhanced with low deviation from the Q-factor limit presented by an initial design. The second stage applies full-wave electromagnetic simulations to determine more appropriate turn spacing and widths to match the Q-factor constraint, and achieve improved coupling relative to the initial design. Evaluating the design method in a test scenario yielded a more than 5% increase in link transmission efficiency, as well as an improvement in the link fractional bandwidth by more than 3%, without violating the loop Q-factor limit. These transmission performance enhancements are indicative of a potential for modifying proximity HF-RFID reader antennas for efficient inductive energy transfer and data telemetry links.
  12. Radford CA, Ghazali SM, Montgomery JC, Jeffs AG
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(2):e0149338.
    PMID: 26890124 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149338
    Fish vocalisation is often a major component of underwater soundscapes. Therefore, interpretation of these soundscapes requires an understanding of the vocalisation characteristics of common soniferous fish species. This study of captive female bluefin gurnard, Chelidonichthys kumu, aims to formally characterise their vocalisation sounds and daily pattern of sound production. Four types of sound were produced and characterised, twice as many as previously reported in this species. These sounds fit two aural categories; grunt and growl, the mean peak frequencies for which ranged between 129 to 215 Hz. This species vocalized throughout the 24 hour period at an average rate of (18.5 ± 2.0 sounds fish-1 h-1) with an increase in vocalization rate at dawn and dusk. Competitive feeding did not elevate vocalisation as has been found in other gurnard species. Bluefin gurnard are common in coastal waters of New Zealand, Australia and Japan and, given their vocalization rate, are likely to be significant contributors to ambient underwater soundscape in these areas.
  13. Ibrahim I, Lim HN, Huang NM, Pandikumar A
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(5):e0154557.
    PMID: 27176635 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154557
    A photoelectrochemical (PEC) sensor with excellent sensitivity and detection toward copper (II) ions (Cu2+) was developed using a cadmium sulphide-reduced graphene oxide (CdS-rGO) nanocomposite on an indium tin oxide (ITO) surface, with triethanolamine (TEA) used as the sacrificial electron donor. The CdS nanoparticles were initially synthesized via the aerosol-assisted chemical vapor deposition (AACVD) method using cadmium acetate and thiourea as the precursors to Cd2+ and S2-, respectively. Graphene oxide (GO) was then dip-coated onto the CdS electrode and sintered under an argon gas flow (50 mL/min) for the reduction process. The nanostructured CdS was adhered securely to the ITO by a continuous network of rGO that also acted as an avenue to intensify the transfer of electrons from the conduction band of CdS. The photoelectrochemical results indicated that the ITO/CdS-rGO photoelectrode could facilitate broad UV-visible light absorption, which would lead to a higher and steady-state photocurrent response in the presence of TEA in 0.1 M KCl. The photocurrent decreased with an increase in the concentration of Cu2+ ions. The photoelectrode response for Cu2+ ion detection had a linear range of 0.5-120 μM, with a limit of detection (LoD) of 16 nM. The proposed PEC sensor displayed ultra-sensitivity and good selectivity toward Cu2+ ion detection.
  14. Chin JH, Ratnavelu K
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(5):e0155320.
    PMID: 27176470 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155320
    Community structure is considered one of the most interesting features in complex networks. Many real-world complex systems exhibit community structure, where individuals with similar properties form a community. The identification of communities in a network is important for understanding the structure of said network, in a specific perspective. Thus, community detection in complex networks gained immense interest over the last decade. A lot of community detection methods were proposed, and one of them is the label propagation algorithm (LPA). The simplicity and time efficiency of the LPA make it a popular community detection method. However, the LPA suffers from instability detection due to randomness that is induced in the algorithm. The focus of this paper is to improve the stability and accuracy of the LPA, while retaining its simplicity. Our proposed algorithm will first detect the main communities in a network by using the number of mutual neighbouring nodes. Subsequently, nodes are added into communities by using a constrained LPA. Those constraints are then gradually relaxed until all nodes are assigned into groups. In order to refine the quality of the detected communities, nodes in communities can be switched to another community or removed from their current communities at various stages of the algorithm. We evaluated our algorithm on three types of benchmark networks, namely the Lancichinetti-Fortunato-Radicchi (LFR), Relaxed Caveman (RC) and Girvan-Newman (GN) benchmarks. We also apply the present algorithm to some real-world networks of various sizes. The current results show some promising potential, of the proposed algorithm, in terms of detecting communities accurately. Furthermore, our constrained LPA has a robustness and stability that are significantly better than the simple LPA as it is able to yield deterministic results.
  15. Suwarnalata G, Tan AH, Isa H, Gudimella R, Anwar A, Loke MF, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(4):e0153725.
    PMID: 27100827 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153725
    Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common chronic and progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Its etiology remains elusive and at present only symptomatic treatments exists. Helicobacter pylori chronically colonizes the gastric mucosa of more than half of the global human population. Interestingly, H. pylori positivity has been found to be associated with greater of PD motor severity. In order to investigate the underlying cause of this association, the Sengenics Immunome protein array, which enables simultaneous screening for autoantibodies against 1636 human proteins, was used to screen the serum of 30 H. pylori-seropositive PD patients (case) and 30 age- and gender-matched H. pylori-seronegative PD patients (control) in this study. In total, 13 significant autoantibodies were identified and ranked, with 8 up-regulated and 5 down-regulated in the case group. Among autoantibodies found to be elevated in H. pylori-seropositive PD were included antibodies that recognize Nuclear factor I subtype A (NFIA), Platelet-derived growth factor B (PDGFB) and Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4A3 (eIFA3). The presence of elevated autoantibodies against proteins essential for normal neurological functions suggest that immunomodulatory properties of H. pylori may explain the association between H. pylori positivity and greater PD motor severity.
  16. Ng KK, Motoda Y, Watanabe S, Sofiman Othman A, Kigawa T, Kodama Y, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(4):e0154081.
    PMID: 27100681 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154081
    In current plant biotechnology, the introduction of exogenous DNA encoding desired traits is the most common approach used to modify plants. However, general plant transformation methods can cause random integration of exogenous DNA into the plant genome. To avoid these events, alternative methods, such as a direct protein delivery system, are needed to modify the plant. Although there have been reports of the delivery of proteins into cultured plant cells, there are currently no methods for the direct delivery of proteins into intact plants, owing to their hierarchical structures. Here, we demonstrate the efficient fusion-peptide-based delivery of proteins into intact Arabidopsis thaliana. Bovine serum albumin (BSA, 66 kDa) was selected as a model protein to optimize conditions for delivery into the cytosol. The general applicability of our method to large protein cargo was also demonstrated by the delivery of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH, 150 kDa) into the cytosol. The compatibility of the fusion peptide system with the delivery of proteins to specific cellular organelles was also demonstrated using the fluorescent protein Citrine (27 kDa) conjugated to either a nuclear localization signal (NLS) or a peroxisomal targeting signal (PTS). In conclusion, our designed fusion peptide system can deliver proteins with a wide range of molecular weights (27 to 150 kDa) into the cells of intact A. thaliana without interfering with the organelle-targeting peptide conjugated to the protein. We expect that this efficient protein delivery system will be a powerful tool in plant biotechnology.
  17. Ghadiry M, Gholami M, Lai CK, Ahmad H, Chong WY
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(4):e0153949.
    PMID: 27101247 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153949
    Generally, in a waveguide-based humidity sensors, increasing the relative humidity (RH) causes the cladding refractive index (RI) to increase due to cladding water absorption. However, if graphene oxide (GO) is used, a reverse phenomenon is seen due to a gap increase in graphene layers. In this paper, this interesting property is applied in order to fabricate differential humidity sensor using the difference between RI of reduced GO (rGO) and nano-anatase TiO2 in a chip. First, a new approach is proposed to prepare high quality nano-anatase TiO2 in solution form making the fabrication process simple and straightforward. Then, the resulted solutions (TiO2 and GO) are effortlessly drop casted and reduced on SU8 two channels waveguide and extensively examined against several humid conditions. Investigating the sensitivity and performance (response time) of the device, reveals a great linearity in a wide range of RH (35% to 98%) and a variation of more than 30 dB in transmitted optical power with a response time of only ~0.7 sec. The effect of coating concentration and UV treatment are studied on the performance and repeatability of the sensor and the attributed mechanisms explained. In addition, we report that using the current approach, devices with high sensitivity and very low response time of only 0.3 sec can be fabricated. Also, the proposed device was comprehensively compared with other state of the art proposed sensors in the literature and the results were promising. Since high sensitivity ~0.47dB/%RH and high dynamic performances were demonstrated, this sensor is a proper choice for biomedical applications.
  18. Khan MU, Hassali MA, Ahmad A, Elkalmi RM, Zaidi ST, Dhingra S
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(2):e0149623.
    PMID: 26901404 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149623
    BACKGROUND: Increasing antimicrobial resistance is one of the pressing concerns globally. Injudicious use of antibiotics is one of the modifiable factors responsible for antimicrobial resistance. Given the widespread use of antimicrobials in community settings, pharmacists have an important role in ensuring appropriate use of antibiotics. The objective of this study was to assess the perception and self-reported practices of community pharmacists towards antimicrobial stewardship.

    METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted among community pharmacists between March-April, 2015, using a self-administered, pre-tested questionnaire in the State of Selangor, Malaysia. A simple random sampling approach was used to select pharmacy sites. Descriptive and inferential statistical methods were used to analyse the data.

    RESULTS: A total of 188 pharmacists responded to the survey, giving a response rate of 83.5%. The majority of participants (n = 182, 96.8%) believed that antimicrobial stewardship program helps healthcare professionals to improve the quality of patient care. However, more than half of pharmacists were neutral in their opinion about the incorporation of antimicrobial stewardship programs in community pharmacies (n = 102, 54.2%). Though collaboration was often done by pharmacists with other health professionals over the use of antibiotics (n = 104, 55.3%), a significant proportion of participants (n = 102, 54.2%) rarely/occasionally participate in antimicrobial awareness campaigns. Pharmacists having postgraduate qualification were more likely to held positive perceptions of, and were engaged in, antimicrobial stewardship than their non-postgraduate counterpart (p<0.05). Similarly, more experienced pharmacists (> 10 years) held positive perceptions towards antimicrobial stewardship (p<0.05).

    CONCLUSION: The study highlighted some gaps in the perception and practices of community pharmacist towards antimicrobial stewardship. Development of customized interventions would be critical to bridging these gaps and improve their perception and practices towards antimicrobial stewardship.

  19. Lan BL, Masoller C
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(2):e0150027.
    PMID: 26901346 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150027
    Although heavy-tailed fluctuations are ubiquitous in complex systems, a good understanding of the mechanisms that generate them is still lacking. Optical complex systems are ideal candidates for investigating heavy-tailed fluctuations, as they allow recording large datasets under controllable experimental conditions. A dynamical regime that has attracted a lot of attention over the years is the so-called low-frequency fluctuations (LFFs) of semiconductor lasers with optical feedback. In this regime, the laser output intensity is characterized by abrupt and apparently random dropouts. The statistical analysis of the inter-dropout-intervals (IDIs) has provided many useful insights into the underlying dynamics. However, the presence of large temporal fluctuations in the IDI sequence has not yet been investigated. Here, by applying fluctuation analysis we show that the experimental distribution of IDI fluctuations is heavy-tailed, and specifically, is well-modeled by a non-Gaussian stable distribution. We find a good qualitative agreement with simulations of the Lang-Kobayashi model. Moreover, we uncover a transition from a less-heavy-tailed state at low pump current to a more-heavy-tailed state at higher pump current. Our results indicate that fluctuation analysis can be a useful tool for investigating the output signals of complex optical systems; it can be used for detecting underlying regime shifts, for model validation and parameter estimation.
  20. NikNadia N, Sam IC, Khaidir N, Ngui R, Lim YA, Goh XT, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(2):e0148767.
    PMID: 26866912 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148767
    Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71), which is transmitted by the fecal-oral route, causes hand, foot and mouth disease and, rarely, severe neurological complications. In Malaysia, the indigenous rural community (Orang Asli) has a high prevalence of parasitic diseases due to poor sanitation, water supply and hygiene practices. This cross-sectional study compared the seroepidemiology of EV-A71 among rural Orang Asli and urban Kuala Lumpur populations in West Malaysia, and determined the risk factors associated with EV-A71 seropositivity in rural Orang Asli. Seropositive rates were determined by neutralization assay. EV-A71 seropositivity was strongly associated with increasing age in both populations. Rural Orang Asli children ≤12 years had significantly higher EV-A71 seropositivity rates than urban Kuala Lumpur children (95.5% vs 57.6%, P < 0.001), and also higher rates in the age groups of 1-3, 4-6 and 7-12 years. Multivariate analysis confirmed that age ≤12 years (adjusted OR 8.1, 95% CI 3.2-20.7, P < 0.001) and using untreated water (adjusted OR 6.2, 95% CI 2.3-16.6, P < 0.001) were independently associated with EV-A71 seropositivity in the Orang Asli population. Supply of clean drinking water may reduce the risk of EV-A71 infection. With significantly higher EV-A71 seropositive rates, younger rural children should be a priority target for future vaccination programs in Malaysia.
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