Helicobacter pylori infection results in diverse clinical conditions ranging from chronic gastritis and ulceration to gastric adenocarcinoma. Among the multiethnic population of Malaysia, Indians consistently have a higher H. pylori prevalence as compared with Chinese and Malays. Despite the high prevalence of H. pylori, Indians have a relatively low incidence of peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer. In contrast, gastric cancer and peptic ulcer disease incidence is high in Chinese. H. pylori strains from Chinese strains predominantly belong to the hspEAsia subpopulation while Indian/Malay strains mainly belong to the hspIndia subpopulation. By comparing the genome of 27 Asian strains from different subpopulations, we identified six genes associated with risk of H. pylori-induced peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer. This study serves as an important foundation for future studies aiming to understand the role of bacterial factors in H. pylori-induced gastro-duodenal diseases.
N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL)-based quorum sensing (QS) is important for the regulation of proteobacterial virulence determinants. Thus, the inhibition of AHL synthases offers non-antibiotics-based therapeutic potentials against QS-mediated bacterial infections. In this work, functional AHL synthases of Pseudomonas aeruginosa LasI and RhlI were heterologously expressed in an AHL-negative Escherichia coli followed by assessments on their AHLs production using AHL biosensors and high resolution liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LCMS). These AHL-producing E. coli served as tools for screening AHL synthase inhibitors. Based on a campaign of screening synthetic molecules and natural products using our approach, three strongest inhibitors namely are salicylic acid, tannic acid and trans-cinnamaldehyde have been identified. LCMS analysis further confirmed tannic acid and trans-cinnemaldehyde efficiently inhibited AHL production by RhlI. We further demonstrated the application of trans-cinnemaldehyde inhibiting Rhl QS system regulated pyocyanin production in P. aeruginosa up to 42.06%. Molecular docking analysis suggested that trans-cinnemaldehyde binds to the LasI and EsaI with known structures mainly interacting with their substrate binding sites. Our data suggested a new class of QS-inhibiting agents from natural products targeting AHL synthase and provided a potential approach for facilitating the discovery of anti-QS signal synthesis as basis of novel anti-infective approach.
The development of metal-based agents has had a tremendous role in the present progress in cancer chemotherapy. One well-known example of metal-based agents is Schiff based metal complexes, which hold great promise for cancer therapy. Based on the potential of Schiff based complexes for the induction of apoptosis, this study aimed to examine the cytotoxic and apoptotic activity of a CdCl2(C14H21N3O2) complex on HT-29 cells. The complex exerted a potent suppressive effect on HT-29 cells with an IC50 value of 2.57 ± 0.39 after 72 h of treatment. The collapse of the mitochondrial membrane potential and the elevated release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria to the cytosol indicate the involvement of the intrinsic pathway in the induction of apoptosis. The role of the mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathway was further proved by the significant activation of the initiator caspase-9 and the executioner caspases-3 and -7. In addition, the activation of caspase-8, which is associated with the suppression of NF-κB translocation to the nucleus, also revealed the involvement of the extrinsic pathway in the induced apoptosis. The results suggest that the CdCl2(C14H21N3O2) complex is able to induce the apoptosis of colon cancer cells and is a potential candidate for future cancer studies.
Graphene oxide (GO) was deposited on the surface of a MnO2 air cathode by thermal evaporation at 50°C from a GO colloidal suspension. Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy and field emission scanning electron microscopy confirmed the presence of GO on the MnO2 air cathode (GO-MnO2). Voltammetry and chrono-amperometry showed increased currents for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in 6 M KOH solution for GO-MnO2 compared to the MnO2 cathode. The GO-MnO2 was used as an air cathode in an alkaline tin-air cell and produced a maximum power density of 13 mW cm(-2), in contrast to MnO2, which produced a maximum power density of 9.2 mW cm(-2). The electrochemical impedance spectroscopy results suggest that the chemical step for the ORR is the rate determining step, as proposed earlier by different researchers. It is suggested that the presence of GO and electrochemically reduced graphene oxide (ERGO) on the MnO2 surface are responsible for the increased rate of this step, whereby GO and ERGO accelerate the process of electron donation to the MnO2 and to adsorbed oxygen atoms.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6n-3) plays a vital role in the enhancement of human health, particularly for cognitive, neurological, and visual functions. Marine microalgae, such as members of the genus Aurantiochytrium, are rich in DHA and represent a promising source of omega-3 fatty acids. In this study, levels of glucose, yeast extract, sodium glutamate and sea salt were optimized for enhanced lipid and DHA production by a Malaysian isolate of thraustochytrid, Aurantiochytrium sp. SW1, using response surface methodology (RSM). The optimized medium contained 60 g/L glucose, 2 g/L yeast extract, 24 g/L sodium glutamate and 6 g/L sea salt. This combination produced 17.8 g/L biomass containing 53.9% lipid (9.6 g/L) which contained 44.07% DHA (4.23 g/L). The optimized medium was used in a scale-up run, where a 5 L bench-top bioreactor was employed to verify the applicability of the medium at larger scale. This produced 24.46 g/L biomass containing 38.43% lipid (9.4 g/L), of which 47.87% was DHA (4.5 g/L). The total amount of DHA produced was 25% higher than that produced in the original medium prior to optimization. This result suggests that Aurantiochytrium sp. SW1 could be developed for industrial application as a commercial DHA-producing microorganism.
Local heterogeneity in lipid self-assembly is important for executing the cellular membrane functions. In this work, we chemically modified 2-(2'-hydroxyphenyl)benzoxazole (HBO) and attached a C8 alkyl chain in two different locations to probe the microscopic environment of four lipidic phases of dodecyl β-maltoside. The fluorescence change in HBO and the new probes (HBO-1 and HBO-2) shows that in all phases (micellar, hexagonal, cubic and lamellar) three HBO tautomeric species (solvated syn-enol, anionic, and closed syn-keto) are stable. The formation of multi tautomers reflects the heterogeneity of the lipidic phases. The results indicate that HBO and HBO-1 reside in a similar location within the head group region, whereas HBO-2 is slightly pushed away from the sugar-dominated area. The stability of the solvated syn-enol tautomer is due to the formation of a hydrogen bond between the OH group of the HBO moiety and an adjacent oxygen atom of a sugar unit. The detected HBO anions was proposed to be a consequence of this solvation effect where a hydrogen ion abstraction by the sugar units is enhanced. Our results point to a degree of local heterogeneity and ionization ability in the head group region as a consequence of the sugar amphoterism.
Emerging of drug resistant influenza A virus (IAV) has been a big challenge for anti-IAV therapy. In this study, we describe a relatively easy and safe cell-based screening system for anti-IAV replication inhibitors using a non-replicative strain of IAV. A nickel (II) complex of polyhydroxybenzaldehyde N4-thiosemicarbazone (NiPT5) was recently found to exhibit anti-inflammatory activity in vivo and in vitro. NiPT5 impedes the signaling cascades that lead to the activation of NF-κB in response to different stimuli, such as LPS and TNFα. Using our cell-based screening system, we report that pretreating cells with NiPT5 protects cells from influenza A virus (IAV) and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) infection. Furthermore, NiPT5 inhibits replication of IAV by inhibiting transcription and translation of vRNAs of IAV. Additionally, NiPT5 reduces IAV-induced type I interferon response and cytokines production. Moreover, NiPT5 prevents activation of NF-κB, and IRF3 in response to IAV infection. These results demonstrate that NiPT5 is a potent antiviral agent that inhibits the early phase of IAV replication.
MicroRNAs regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Differential expression of miRNAs can potentially be used as biomarkers for early diagnosis and prediction for outcomes. Failure in validation of miRNA profiles is often caused by variations in experimental parameters. In this study, the performance of five extraction kits and three RT-qPCR systems were evaluated using BioMark high-throughput platform and the effects of different experimental parameters on circulating miRNA levels were determined. Differences in the performance of extraction kits as well as varying accuracy, sensitivity and reproducibility in qPCR systems were observed. Normalisation of RT-qPCR data to spike-in controls can reduce extraction bias. However, the extent of correlation for different qPCR systems varies in different assays. At different time points, there was no significant fold change in eight of the plasma miRNAs that we evaluated. Higher level of miRNAs was detected in plasma as compared to serum of the same cohort. In summary, we demonstrated that high-throughput RT-qPCR with pre-amplification step had increased sensitivity and can be achieved with accuracy and high reproducibility through stringent experimental controls. The information provided here is useful for planning biomarker validation studies involving circulating miRNAs.
The search for renewable energy sources has become challenging in the current era, as conventional fuel sources are of finite origins. Recent research interest has focused on various biophotovoltaic (BPV) platforms utilizing algae, which are then used to harvest solar energy and generate electrical power. The majority of BPV platforms incorporate indium tin oxide (ITO) anodes for the purpose of charge transfer due to its inherent optical and electrical properties. However, other materials such as reduced graphene oxide (RGO) could provide higher efficiency due to their intrinsic electrical properties and biological compatibility. In this work, the performance of algae biofilms grown on RGO and ITO anodes were measured and discussed. Results indicate improved peak power of 0.1481 mWm(-2) using the RGO electrode and an increase in efficiency of 119%, illustrating the potential of RGO as an anode material for applications in biofilm derived devices and systems.
Mycobacterium iranicum is a newly reported mycobacterial species. We present the first comparative study of M. iranicum UM_TJL and other mycobacteria. We found M. iranicum to have a close genetic association with environmental mycobacteria infrequently associated with human infections. Nonetheless, UM_TJL is also equipped with many virulence genes (some of which appear to be the consequence of transduction-related gene transfer) that have been identified in established human pathogens. Taken all together, our data suggest that M. iranicum is an environmental bacterium adapted for pathogenicity in the human host. This comparative study provides important clues and forms the basis for future functional studies on this mycobacterium.
Terahertz technologies recently emerged as outstanding candidates for a variety of applications in such sectors as security, biomedical, pharmaceutical, aero spatial, etc. Imaging the terahertz field, however, still remains a challenge, particularly when sub-wavelength resolutions are involved. Here we demonstrate an all-optical technique for the terahertz near-field imaging directly at the source plane. A thin layer (<100 nm-thickness) of photo carriers is induced on the surface of the terahertz generation crystal, which acts as an all-optical, virtual blade for terahertz near-field imaging via a knife-edge technique. Remarkably, and in spite of the fact that the proposed approach does not require any mechanical probe, such as tips or apertures, we are able to demonstrate the imaging of a terahertz source with deeply sub-wavelength features (<30 μm) directly in its emission plane.
Helicobacter pylori, is an invariably commensal resident of the gut microbiome associated with gastric ulcer in adults. In addition, these patients also suffered from a low grade inflammation that activates the immune system and thus increased shunting of energy to host defense mechanisms. To assess whether a H. pylori infection could affect growth in early life, we determined the expression levels of selected metabolic gut hormones in germ free (GF) and specific pathogen-free (SPF) mice with and without the presence of H. pylori. Despite H. pylori-infected (SPFH) mice display alteration in host metabolism (elevated levels of leptin, insulin and peptide YY) compared to non-infected SPF mice, their growth curves remained the same. SPFH mice also displayed increased level of eotaxin-1. Interestingly, GF mice infected with H. pylori (GFH) also displayed increased levels of ghrelin and PYY. However, in contrast to SPFH mice, GFH showed reduced weight gain and malnutrition. These preliminary findings show that exposure to H. pylori alters host metabolism early in life; but the commensal microbiota in SPF mice can attenuate the growth retarding effect from H. pylori observed in GF mice. Further investigations of possible additional side effects of H. pylori are highly warranted.
Control synthesis of high quality large-area graphene on transition metals (TMs) by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is the most fascinating approach for practical device applications. Interaction of carbon atoms and TMs is quite critical to obtain graphene with precise layer number, crystal size and structure. Here, we reveal a solid phase reaction process to achieve Cu assisted graphene growth in nanoscale by in-situ transmission electron microscope (TEM). Significant structural transformation of amorphous carbon nanofiber (CNF) coated with Cu is observed with an applied potential in a two probe system. The coated Cu particle recrystallize and agglomerate toward the cathode with applied potential due to joule heating and large thermal gradient. Consequently, the amorphous carbon start crystallizing and forming sp(2) hybridized carbon to form graphene sheet from the tip of Cu surface. We observed structural deformation and breaking of the graphene nanoribbon with a higher applied potential, attributing to saturated current flow and induced Joule heating. The observed graphene formation in nanoscale by the in-situ TEM process can be significant to understand carbon atoms and Cu interaction.
The clinical relevance of DNA copy number alterations in chromosome 8 were investigated in oral cancers. The copy numbers of 30 selected genes in 33 OSCC patients were detected using the multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) technique. Amplifications of the EIF3E gene were found in 27.3% of the patients, MYC in 18.2%, RECQL4 in 15.2% and MYBL1 in 12.1% of patients. The most frequent gene losses found were the GATA4 gene (24.2%), FGFR1 gene (24.2%), MSRA (21.2) and CSGALNACT1 (12.1%). The co-amplification of EIF3E and RECQL4 was found in 9% of patients and showed significant association with alcohol drinkers. There was a significant association between the amplification of EIF3E gene with non-betel quid chewers and the negative lymph node status. EIF3E amplifications did not show prognostic significance on survival. Our results suggest that EIF3E may have a role in the carcinogenesis of OSCC in non-betel quid chewers.
Dragonflies of the genus Orthetrum are members of the suborder Anisoptera, family Libellulidae. There are species pairs whose members are not easily separated from each other by morphological characters. In the present study, the DNA nucleotide sequences of mitochondrial and nuclear genes were employed to elucidate the phylogeny and systematics of Orthetrum dragonflies. Phylogenetic analyses could not resolve the various subfamilies of the family Libellulidae unequivocally. The nuclear 28S rRNA gene is highly conserved and could not resolve congeneric species of Orthetrum. Individual mitochondrial genes (COI, COII, and 16S rRNA) and combination of these genes as well as the nuclear ITS1&2 genes clearly differentiate morphologically similar species, such as the reddish species pairs O. chrysis and O. testaceum, and the bluish-coloured species O. glaucum and O. luzonicum. This study also reveals distinct genetic lineages between O. pruinosum schneideri (occurring in Malaysia) and O. pruinosum neglectum (occurring north of Peninsular Malaysia from India to Japan), indicating these taxa are cryptic species.
Baicalin, a flavonoid derived from Scutellaria baicalensis, is the main metabolite of baicalein released following administration in different animal models and human. We previously reported the antiviral activity of baicalein against dengue virus (DENV). Here, we examined the anti-DENV properties of baicalin in vitro, and described the inhibitory potentials of baicalin at different steps of DENV-2 (NGC strain) replication. Our in vitro antiviral experiments showed that baicalin inhibited virus replication at IC50 = 13.5 ± 0.08 μg/ml with SI = 21.5 following virus internalization by Vero cells. Baicalin exhibited virucidal activity against DENV-2 extracellular particles at IC50 = 8.74 ± 0.08 μg/ml and showed anti-adsorption effect with IC50 = 18.07 ± 0.2 μg/ml. Our findings showed that baicalin as the main metabolite of baicalein exerting in vitro anti-DENV activity. Further investigations on baicalein and baicalin to deduce its antiviral therapeutic effects are warranted.
This study was carried out to investigate the prevalence and risk factors of Giardia infection among indigenous people in rural Malaysia. Faecal samples were collected from 1,330 participants from seven states of Malaysia and examined by wet mount and formalin-ether sedimentation methods while demographic, socioeconomic and environmental information was collected using a pre-tested questionnaire. The overall prevalence of Giardia infection was 11.6% and was significantly higher among those aged ≤ 12 years compared to their older counterparts. Multivariate logistic regression identified age of ≤ 12 years, lacking of toilet at household, not washing hands before eating, not washing hands after playing with animals, not boiling water before consumption, bathing in the river, and not wearing shoes when outside as the significant risk factors of Giardia infection among these communities. Based on a multilocus genotyping approach (including tpi, gdh and bg gene sequences), 69 isolates were identified as assemblage A, and 69 as assemblage B. No association between the assemblages and presence of symptoms was found. Providing proper sanitation, as well as provision of clean drinking water and proper health education regarding good personal hygiene practices will help significantly in reducing the prevalence and burden of Giardia infection in these communities.
The α-amylases from Anoxybacillus species (ASKA and ADTA), Bacillus aquimaris (BaqA) and Geobacillus thermoleovorans (GTA, Pizzo and GtamyII) were proposed as a novel group of the α-amylase family GH13. An ASKA yielding a high percentage of maltose upon its reaction on starch was chosen as a model to study the residues responsible for the biochemical properties. Four residues from conserved sequence regions (CSRs) were thus selected, and the mutants F113V (CSR-I), Y187F and L189I (CSR-II) and A161D (CSR-V) were characterised. Few changes in the optimum reaction temperature and pH were observed for all mutants. Whereas the Y187F (t1/2 43 h) and L189I (t1/2 36 h) mutants had a lower thermostability at 65°C than the native ASKA (t1/2 48 h), the mutants F113V and A161D exhibited an improved t1/2 of 51 h and 53 h, respectively. Among the mutants, only the A161D had a specific activity, k(cat) and k(cat)/K(m) higher (1.23-, 1.17- and 2.88-times, respectively) than the values determined for the ASKA. The replacement of the Ala-161 in the CSR-V with an aspartic acid also caused a significant reduction in the ratio of maltose formed. This finding suggests the Ala-161 may contribute to the high maltose production of the ASKA.
The complex architecture of the cortical part of the bovine-femur was examined to develop potential tissue engineering (TE) scaffolds. Weight-change and X-ray diffraction (XRD) results show that significant phase transformation and morphology conversion of the bone occur at 500-750°C and 750-900°C, respectively. Another breakthrough finding was achieved by determining a sintering condition for the nucleation of hydroxyapatite crystal from bovine bone via XRD technique. Scanning electron microscopy results of morphological growth suggests that the concentration of polymer fibrils increases (or decreases, in case of apatite crystals) from the distal to proximal end of the femur. Energy-dispersive analysis of X-ray, Fourier transform infrared, micro-computer tomography, and mechanical studies of the actual composition also strongly support our microscopic results and firmly indicate the functionally graded material properties of bovine-femur. Bones sintered at 900 and 1000°C show potential properties for soft and hard TE applications, respectively.
The steady boundary layer flow and heat transfer of a nanofluid past a nonlinearly permeable stretching/shrinking sheet is numerically studied. The governing partial differential equations are reduced into a system of ordinary differential equations using a similarity transformation, which are then solved numerically using a shooting method. The local Nusselt number and the local Sherwood number and some samples of velocity, temperature and nanoparticle concentration profiles are graphically presented and discussed. Effects of the suction parameter, thermophoresis parameter, Brownian motion parameter and the stretching/shrinking parameter on the flow, concentration and heat transfer characteristics are thoroughly investigated. Dual solutions are found to exist in a certain range of the stretching/shrinking parameter for both shrinking and stretching cases. Results indicate that suction widens the range of the stretching/shrinking parameter for which the solution exists.