A study of glutathione reductase (GR) activity and its stimulation by flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) in erythrocytes of Malaysian newborns and adults of different racial groups showed that GR stimulation by FAD was greater than 20% in 50% of 866 newborns (57% of Malays, 55% of Indians and 41% of Chinese) and 54% of 274 adults (46% of Malays, 65% of Indians and 45% of Chinese). There was a significant negative correlation between GR activity and percentage FAD stimulation in both newborns and adults in all racial groups. Low GR activity and a high percentage FAD stimulation were more prevalent among parents of newborns with low GR activity than among parents of newborns with higher GR activity. Administration of riboflavin to mothers with low GR activity resulted in increased GR activity and a decreased percentage of FAD stimulation. None of the individuals examined had clear clinical manifestations of riboflavin deficiency. It is concluded that subclinical riboflavin deficiency leading to low GR activity is prevalent in Malaysia among adults and newborns, especially among Malays and Indians.
Sphingobium sp. strain SYK-6 is able to degrade various lignin-derived biaryls, including a phenylcoumaran-type compound, dehydrodiconiferyl alcohol (DCA). In SYK-6 cells, the alcohol group of the B-ring side chain of DCA is initially oxidized to the carboxyl group to generate 3-(2-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-3-(hydroxymethyl)-7-methoxy-2,3-dihydrobenzofuran-5-yl) acrylic acid (DCA-C). Next, the alcohol group of the A-ring side chain of DCA-C is oxidized to the carboxyl group, and then the resulting metabolite is catabolized through vanillin and 5-formylferulate. In this study, the genes involved in the conversion of DCA-C were identified and characterized. The DCA-C oxidation activities in SYK-6 were enhanced in the presence of flavin adenine dinucleotide and an artificial electron acceptor and were induced ca. 1.6-fold when the cells were grown with DCA. Based on these observations, SLG_09480 (phcC) and SLG_09500 (phcD), encoding glucose-methanol-choline oxidoreductase family proteins, were presumed to encode DCA-C oxidases. Analyses of phcC and phcD mutants indicated that PhcC and PhcD are essential for the conversion of (+)-DCA-C and (-)-DCA-C, respectively. When phcC and phcD were expressed in SYK-6 and Escherichia coli, the gene products were mainly observed in their membrane fractions. The membrane fractions of E. coli that expressed phcC and phcD catalyzed the specific conversion of DCA-C into the corresponding carboxyl derivatives. In the oxidation of DCA-C, PhcC and PhcD effectively utilized ubiquinone derivatives as electron acceptors. Furthermore, the transcription of a putative cytochrome c gene was significantly induced in SYK-6 grown with DCA. The DCA-C oxidation catalyzed by membrane-associated PhcC and PhcD appears to be coupled to the respiratory chain.
Abscisic acid (ABA) has been known to exist in a microalgal system and serves as one of the chemical stimuli in various biological pathways. Nonetheless, the involvement of ABA in fatty acid biosynthesis, particularly at the transcription level in microalgae is poorly understood. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of exogenous ABA on growth, total oil content, fatty acid composition, and the expression level of beta ketoacyl-ACP synthase I (KAS I) and omega-3 fatty acid desaturase (ω-3 FAD) genes in Chlorella vulgaris UMT-M1. ABA was applied to early stationary C. vulgaris cultures at concentrations of 0, 10, 20, and 80 μM for 48 h. The results showed that ABA significantly increased biomass production and total oil content. The increment of palmitic (C16:0) and stearic (C18:0) acids was coupled by decrement in linoleic (C18:2) and α-linolenic (C18:3n3) acids. Both KAS I and ω-3 FAD gene expression were downregulated, which was negatively correlated to saturated fatty acid (SFAs), but positively correlated to polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) accumulations. Further analysis of both KAS I and ω-3 FAD promoters revealed the presence of multiple ABA-responsive elements (ABREs) in addition to other phytohormone-responsive elements. However, the role of these phytohormone-responsive elements in regulating KAS I and ω-3 FAD gene expression still remains elusive. This revelation might suggest that phytohormone-responsive gene regulation in C. vulgaris and microalgae as a whole might diverge from higher plants which deserve further scientific research to elucidate its functional roles.