A Study on Diversity of the Family Encyrtidae (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) in Forest Habitat of Doon Valley, Uttarakhand, India
Encyrtidae is the largest family of superfamily Chalcidoidea of parasitic Hymenoptera group. They are endoparasitoids or hyperparasitoids of other arthropods and have the greatest impact on maintaining diversity. It not only forms a major component of diversity itself but also is very important in sustaining diversity in other groups. They are used as efficient biological control agents against key insect pests world over. The present study is based on the collection of Encyrtidae (Chalcidoidea: Hymenoptera) made during a survey in Doon Valley from 2008 to 2011 in all the five seasons (Spring, Summer cum Pre-monsoon, Monsoon, Post-monsoon, Winter) for each year. The collections were made from forest habitat in different localities of the Valley using sweep net and yellow pan trap methods. A total of 1346 specimens of encyrtids were collected and identified from the forest habitat (745 with a sweep net and 601with yellow pan trap).Of these, season-wise (post monsoon, spring, summer, monsoon, and winter) represented Encyrtids were 30.46%, 19.31%, 17.16%, 16.64% and 16.41%, respectively. A total of 161 species of Encyrtids belonging to 43 genera under 2 subfamilies were recorded.
Comparative Functional Analysis of Two Major Sterol-Biosynthesis Regulating Transcription Factors, Hob1 and Sre1, in Pathogenic Cryptococcus Species Complex
Sterol lipid is essential for cell membrane structure in eukaryotic cells. In mammalian cells, sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBPs) act as principal regulators of cellular cholesterol which is essential for proper cell membrane fluidity and structure. SREBP and sterol regulation are related to levels of cellular oxygen because it is a major substrate for sterol synthesis. Upon cellular sterol and oxygen levels are depleted, SREBP is translocated to the Golgi where it undergoes proteolytic cleavage of N terminus, then it travels to the nucleus to play a role as transcription factor. In yeast cells, synthesis of ergosterol is also highly oxygen consumptive, and Sre1 is a transcription factor known to play a central role in adaptation to growth under low oxygen condition and sterol homeostasis in Cryptococcus neoformans. In this study, we observed phenotypes in other strains of Cryptococcus species by constructing hob1Δ and sre1Δ mutants to confirm whether the functions of both genes are conserved in most serotypes. As a result, hob1Δ showed no noticeable phenotype under treatment of antifungal drugs and most environmental stresses in R265 (C. gattii) and XL280 (C. neoformans), suggesting that Hob1 is related to sterol regulation only in H99 (serotype A). On the other hand, the function of Sre1 was found to be conserved in most serotypes. Furthermore, mating experiment of hob1Δ or sre1Δ showed dramatic defects in serotype A (H99) and D (XL280). It revealed that Hob1 and Sre1 related to mating ability in Cryptococcus species, especially cell fusion efficiency. In conclusion, HOB1 and SRE1 play crucial role in regulating sterol-homeostasis and differentiation in C. neoformans, moreover, Hob1 is specific gene in Cryptococcus neoformans. It suggests that Hob1 is considered as potent factor-targeted new safety antifungal drug.
Optimisation of Wastewater Treatment for Yeast Processing Effluent Using Response Surface Methodology
In the present study, the interactive effects of temperature and cultured bacteria on the performance of a biological treatment system of yeast processing wastewater were investigated. The main objective of this study was to investigate and optimize the operating parameters that reduce organic load and colour. Experiments were conducted based on a Central Composite Design (CCD) and analysed using Response Surface Methodology (RSM). Three dependent parameters were either directly measured or calculated as response. These parameters were total Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) removal, colour reduction and total solids. COD removal efficiency of 26 % and decolourization efficiency of 44 % were recorded for the wastewater treatment. The optimized conditions for the biological treatment were found to be at 20 g/l cultured bacteria and 25 °C for COD reduction. For colour reduction optimum conditions were temperature of 30.35°C and bacterial formulation of 20g/l. Biological treatment of baker’s yeast processing effluent is a suitable process for the removal of organic load and colour from wastewater, especially when the operating parameters are optimized.
Influence of Farnesol on Growth and Development of Dysdercus koenigii
Dysdercus koenigii is an economically important pest of cotton worldwide. The pest damages the crop by sucking sap, staining lint, reducing the oil content of the seeds and deteriorating the quality of cotton. Plant possesses a plethora of secondary metabolites which are used as defense mechanism against herbivores. One of the important categories of such chemicals is insect growth regulators and the intermediates in their biosynthesis. Farnesol belongs to sesquiterpenoid. It is an intermediate in Juvenile hormone biosynthetic pathway in insects has been widely reported in the variety of plants. This chemical can disrupt the normal metabolic function and therefore, affects various life processes of the insects. Present study tested the efficacy of farnesol against Dysdercus koenigii. 2μl of 5% (100µg) and 10% (200µg) of the farnesol was applied topically on the dorsum of thoracic region of the newly emerged fifth instar nymphs of Dysdercus. The treated insects were observed daily for their survival, weight gain, and developmental anomalies for a period of ten days. The results indicated that treatment with 200µg farnesol decreased survival of the insects to 70% after 24h of exposure. At lower doses, no significant decrease in the survival was observed. However, the surviving nymphs showed alteration in growth, development, and metamorphosis. The weight gain in the treated nymphs showed deviation from control. The treated nymphs showed an increase in mortality during subsequent days and increase in the nymphal duration. The number of nymphs undergoing metamorphosis decreased to 46% and 88% in the treatments with the dose of 200µg and 100µg respectively. Severe developmental anomalies were also observed in the treated nymphs. The treated nymphs moulted into supernumerary nymphs, adultoids, adults with exuviae attached and adults with wing deformities. On treatment with 200µg; 26% adultoid, 4% adults with exuviae attached and 12% adults with wing deformed were produced. Treatment with 100µg resulted in production of 34% adultoid, 26% adults with deformed wing and 4% adults with exuviae attached. Many of the treated nymphs did not metamorphose into adults, remained in nymphal stage and died. Our results indicated potential application plant-derived secondary metabolites like farnesol in the management of Dysdercus population.
Phytoseiid Mite Species (Acari: mesostigmata) on Blackberry Plants in Florida and Georgia, USA
The family Phytoseiidae are the most common plant inhabiting group of predatory mites. They are generally considered to be important biological control agents of pest mites on many crops world-wide. Several species of these mites are commercially available in many countries. This study was carried out to determine phytoseiid mite species on nine different blackberry varieties (Arapaho, Choctaw, Kiowa, Nachez, Navaho, Osage, Ouachita, Von, Watchita). The survey was conducted from June to October 2016. Leaf samples were collected monthly from selected organic and conventional commercial blackberry (Rubus spp.) farms in Florida and Georgia, USA. Nine phytoseiid mite (Acari: Mesostigmata) species were determined during the study. The results also showed that the incidence of Phytoseiidae was greater in organic than in conventional blackberries. Future survey studies can provide detection of new species, which may hold potential for biological control of economically important pests in key fruit crops.
Unravelling of the Tor Signaling Pathway in Human Fungal Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans
Tor1 is a serine/threonine protein kinase that is widely conserved across eukaryotic species. Tor1 was first identified in Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a target of rapamycin (TOR). The TOR pathway has been implicated in regulating cellular responses to nutrients, proliferation, translation, transcription, autophagy, and ribosome biogenesis. Here we identified two homologues of S. cerevisiae Tor proteins, CNAG_06642 (Tor1) and CNAG_05220 (Tlk1, TOR-like kinase 1), in Cryptococcus neoformans causing a life-threatening fungal meningoencephalitis. Both Tor1 and Tlk1 have rapamycin-binding (RB) domains but Tlk1 has truncated RB form. To study the TOR-signaling pathway in the fungal pathogen, we attempt to construct the tor1Δ and tlk1Δ mutants and phenotypically analyze them. Although we failed to construct the tor1Δ mutant, we successfully construct the tlk1Δ mutant. The tlk1Δ mutant does not exhibit any discernable phenotypes, suggesting that Tlk1 is dispensable in C. neoformans. The essentiality of TOR1 is independently confirmed by constructing the TOR1 promoter replacement strain by using a copper transporter 4 (CTR4) promoter and the TOR1/tor1 heterozygous mutant in diploid C. neoformans strain background followed by sporulation analysis. To further analyze the function of Tor1, we construct TOR1 overexpression mutant using a constitutively active histone H3 in C. neoformans. We find that the Tor1 overexpression mutant is resistant to rapamycin but the tlk1Δ mutant does not exhibit any altered resistance to rapamycin, further confirming that Tor1, but not Tlk1, is critical for TOR signaling. Furthermore, we found that Tor1 is involved in response to diverse stresses, including genotoxic stress, oxidative stress, thermo-stress, antifungal drug treatment, and production of melanin. To identify any TOR-related transcription factors, we screened C. neoformans transcription factor library that we constructed in our previous study and identified several potential downstream factors of Tor1, including Atf1, Crg1 and Bzp3. In conclusion, the current study provides insight into the role of the TOR signaling pathway in human fungal pathogens as well as C. neoformans.
Molecular Portraits: The Role of Posttranslational Modification in Cancer Metastasis
Aim: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, and resistance to the current therapeutics, often concurrently, is an increasing clinical challenge. Glycosylation of proteins is one of the most important post-translational modifications. It is widely known that aberrant glycosylation has been implicated in many different diseases due to changes associated with biological function and protein folding. Alterations in cell surface glycosylation, can promote invasive behavior of tumor cells that ultimately lead to the progression of cancer. In breast cancer, there is an increasing evidence pertaining to the role of glycosylation in tumor formation and metastasis. In the present study, an attempt has been made to study the disease associated sialoglycoproteins in breast cancer by using bioinformatics tools. The sequence will be retrieved from UniProt database. A database in the form of a word document was made by a collection of FASTA sequences of breast cancer gene sequence. Glycosylation was studied using yinOyang tool on ExPASy and Differential genes expression and protein analysis was done in context of breast cancer metastasis. The number of residues predicted O-glc NAc threshold containing 50 aberrant glycosylation sites or more was detected and recorded for individual sequence. We found that the there is a significant change in the expression profiling of glycosylation patterns of various proteins associated with breast cancer. Differential aberrant glycosylated proteins in breast cancer cells with respect to non-neoplastic cells are an important factor for the overall progression and development of cancer.
Cryptic Diversity: Identifying Two Morphologically Similar Species of Invasive Apple Snails in Peninsular Malaysia
Invasive snails in the genus Pomacea have spread across Southeast Asia including Peninsular Malaysia. Apart from significant economic costs to wetland crops, very little is known about the snails’ effects on native species, and wetland function through their alteration of macrophyte communities. This study was conducted to establish diagnostic characteristics of Pomacea species in the Malaysian environment using genetic and morphological criteria. Snails were collected from eight localities in northern and central regions of Peninsular Malaysia. The mitochondrial COI gene of 52 adult snails was amplified and sequenced. Maximum likelihood analysis was used to analyse species identity and assess phylogenetic relationships among snails from different geographic locations. Shells of the two species were compared using geometric morphometric analysis and covariance analyses. Shell height accounted for most of the observed variation between P. canaliculata and P. maculata, with the latter possessing a smaller mean ratio of shell height: aperture height (p < 0.0001) and shell height to shell width (give p < 0.0001). Genomic and phylogenetic analysis demonstrated the presence of two monophyletic taxa, P. canaliculata and P. maculata, in Peninsular Malaysia samples. P. maculata co-occurred with P. canaliculata in 5 localities, but samples from 3 localities contained only P. canaliculata. This study is the first to confirm the presence of two of the most invasive species of Pomacea in Peninsular Malaysia using a genomic approach. P. canaliculata appears to be the more widespread species. Despite statistical differences, both quantitative and qualitative morphological characteristics demonstrate much interspecific overlap and intraspecific variability; thus morphology alone cannot reliably verify species identity. Molecular techniques for distinguishing between these two highly invasive Pomacea species are needed to understand their specific ecological niches and develop effective protocols for their management.
Conserved Stem-Loop Structure at the End of Short Interspersed Nuclear Elements (SINE) and Long Interspersed Nuclear Elements (LINE) Pairs of Different Species
Transposable elements play an important role in the evolution of various species from bacteria to human. Long Interspersed Nuclear Elements (LINEs) and Short Interspersed Nuclear Elements (SINEs) are two major classes of retrotransposons that occupy a considerable part of any genome and their copy numbers can range form several hundreds to a million. Both LINEs and SINEs multiply through a copy-and-paste mechanism. LINEs encode proteins, which make them capable of self-propagation while SINEs are parasitic and require the machinery of LINEs to multiply. The mechanisms how LINE and SINE RNA is recognized by the LINE-encoded reverse transcriptase (RT) remain unclear. For some SINE-LINE pairs, it was shown that they share a common 3’-end with a stem-loop structure. Majority of the SINE-LINE pairs do not have a common 3’-end. Recently we have shown that in the human genome Alu-L1 pairs have structurally similar stem-loop structure at the 3’-end. Here we extended our analysis to a wide range of species and analyzed LINEs from 161 different species from Repbase and 217 SINE sequences from SINEBase. It appeared that all of the analyzed sequences contained stem-loop structures at the 3’-end. Here we conclude that it is very likely that a common evolutionary mechanism of transposon RNA recognition requires the presence of stem-loop structures at their 3’-end.
Population Growth of Bracon hebetor Say. Under the Influence of Various Lepidopteran Host
Bracon hebetor Say (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is considered as a highly cosmopolitan ecto-parasitoid of various species of order Lepidoptera. To study the influence of lepidopteran hosts on population growth of B. hebetor, the newly mated gravid females were released on various host and the eggs laid by such females on respective host were counted and a single egg was allow to develop on single host larvae. The experiment was conducted at 27 ± 1°C, 65 ± 5% RH and 14L: 10D hr in Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) chamber. Upon hatching the tiny larvae of parasitoid pierced the body of insect host, enter into them and consumed the internal body contents of paralyzed host larvae. Present findings showed that B. hebetor took ~36 days to complete its survivorship on Corcyra cephalonica and Galleria mellonella. However, on Spodoptera littoralis the survivorship decreased to 24 days. Nevertheless, development of H. hebetor’s immature was significantly prolonged on S. littoralis and S. litura compared to other insect hosts tested. Female of B. hebetor took longer time to lay eggs on C. cephalonica and G. mellonella than other hosts tested in this study. Longevity of male and female is significantly prolonged on C. cephalonica and G. mellonella compared to others insect hosts tested. Population growth parameters like mx Ro, rm, Tc, and τ was considerably highest on C. cephalonica and lowest on S. littoralis. Based on the demographic studies C. cephalonica and H. armegera were proved to be the most suitable host for the mass rearing of B. hebetor. Nevertheless, results of present investigation could be utilized to improve the mass-breeding program of B. hebetor, so that sufficient number of B. hebetor’s adults could be provided time to time for the effective control of lepidopteran pests of various economically important crops.
Induction of Immune Tolerance by Antigen-Entrapped Erythrocytes to Counteract Therapeutic Protein Hypersensitivity
Objective: Recombinant proteins are widely used in human therapeutic. Netherless, their immunogenicity remains a major problem. In Pompe disease, due to acid α-glucosidase (GAA) deficiency, injection of a recombinant protein, alglucosidase α (AGA), is the unique approved therapy. However, its immunogenicity and the frequencies of injection all the patient life induced severe adverse reactions. In this context, our approach is based on the natural recycling properties of erythrocytes to deliver immunogenic therapeutic protein to antigen-presenting cells in liver to induce specific tolerance against antigen entrapped. Methods: A hypotonic dialysis process was used to entrap AGA in erythrocytes. In order to stimulate erythrophagocytosis and favor organ targeting, erythrocytes were artificially aged with [bis(sulphosuccinimidyl)] suberate (BS3). Then, induction of specific tolerance was tested in adult mice. For that, AGA free form or entrapped in erythrocytes was injected to animals followed a sensitization step with AGA mixed with adjuvant to stimulate the immune system. Results: Three injections of AGA entrapped in BS3-treated erythrocytes induce a strong decrease of the specific humoral response normally induced after administrations of AGA mixed with adjuvant. This tolerance induced is robustness whatever the adjuvant used to stimulate the immune system (85% and 91% of IgG decrease with respectively cholera toxin and poly(I:C) adjuvant) and the injection route (intradermal vs intravenous). Furthermore, this tolerance induction is specific to protein entrapped in erythrocytes, persistent at least 2 month after the end of tolerance step and mice remain fully responsive to antigen stimulation. Conclusion: We have developed a promising strategy to inhibit protein-specific humoral responses. This approach of tolerance induction could offer multiple applications in patients developing hypersensitivity to therapeutic proteins. After this successful proof of concept study, experiments in juvenile mice are ongoing in order to develop a tolerance platform for AGA therapy.
Diapause Incidence in Zygogramma bicolorata Pallister Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae
Zygogramma bicolorata Pallister (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) is an exotic insect and effective biocontrol agent of Parthenium hysterophorus L. (Asteraceae). Our study aimed to determine the induction and termination of diapause, in response to abiotic (temperature and moisture) and biotic factors (age and reproductive status) and the effect of diapause on adult longevity and female fecundity. The adults burrowed into the soil about 1–6 cm below the surface for diapause at any time from July to December with a peak of 70% in the 2nd week of December at Aligarh region, India. The termination of diapause took place in May and June with the commencement of monsoon rains. Non-diapausing adults were also capable of breeding during winter under laboratory conditions. There was a significantly increased in the percentage of diapaused adults in subsequent generation i.e. 4% in F1 generation and 90% in F7 generation. The percentage of diapause was also significantly increased with age of adults. It has a positive effect on female fecundity as compared to the fecundity in pre-diapaused duration. Experiments proved that soil moisture played an important role in providing the conditions for initiation and termination of diapause. The adults which undergone diapause in January and February were continuously exposed to 35º, 40º and 45º C for one week and a daily dose of 10 and 8 hours for 6 and 5 days, respectively resulting in termination of diapause. This method may be used to initiate mass multiplication for carrying out releases early in the season. Exposure of adults to extremely low temperatures i.e. 5º and 10º C induced 94.3% and 92.5% diapause, respectively with no adult mortality. Therefore, low temperatures can also be used as a medium for the storage of mass reared beetles for a long time without having negative effect on their longevity and fecundity. Thus, our findings are of great utility in the biological suppression of P. hysterophorus as it will enhance the effectiveness of this beetle through manipulation of diapause.
White-Rot Fungi Phellinus as a Source of Antioxidant and Antitumor Agents
Introduction: The Genus Phellinus, locally known as Phansomba is a well-known traditional folk medicine. Especially, in Western Ghats of India, many tribes use several species of Phellinus for various ailments related to teeth, throat, tongue, stomach and even wound healing. It is one of the few mushrooms which play a pivotal role in Ayurvedic Dravyaguna. Aim: The present study focuses on to investigate phytochemical analysis, antioxidant, and antitumor (in vitro and in vivo) potential of Phellinus robinae from South India, Kerala Material and Methods: The present study explores the following: 1. Phellinus samples were collected from Ranni, Pathanamthitta district of Kerala state, India from Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam. and species were identified using rDNA region. 2. The fruiting body was shadow dried, powdered and extracted with 50% alcohol using water bath at 60°C which was further condensed by rotary evaporator and lyophilized at minus 40°C temperature. 3. Secondary metabolites were analyzed by using various phytochemical screening assay (Hager’s Test, Wagner’s Test, Sodium hydroxide Test, Lead acetate Test, Ferric chloride Test, Folin-ciocalteu Test, Foaming Test, Benedict’s test, Fehling’s Test and Lowry’s Test). 4. Antioxidant and free radical scavenging activity were analyzed by DPPH, FRAP and Iron chelating assay. 5. The antitumor potential of Water alcohol extract of Phellinus (PAWE) is evaluated through In vitro condition by Trypan blue dye exclusion method in DLA cell line and In vivo by murine model. Result and Discussion: Preliminary phytochemical screening by various biochemical tests revealed presence of a variety of active secondary molecules like alkaloids, flavanoids, saponins, carbohydrate, protein and phenol. In DPPH and FRAP assay PAWE showed significantly higher antioxidant activity as compared to standard Ascorbic acid. While, in Iron chelating assay, PAWE exhibits similar antioxidant activity that of Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) as standard. Further, in the in vitro study, PAWE showed significant inhibition on DLA cell proliferation in dose dependent manner and showed no toxicity on mice splenocytes, when compared to standard chemotherapy drug doxorubicin. In vivo study, oral administration of PAWE showed dose dependent tumor regression in mice and also raised the immunogenicity by restoring levels of antioxidant enzymes in liver and kidney tissue. In both in vitro and in vivo gene expression studies PAWE up-regulates pro-apoptotic genes (Bax, Caspases 3, 8 and 9) and down- regulates anti-apoptotic genes (Bcl2). PAWE also down regulates inflammatory gene (Cox-2) and angiogenic gene (VEGF). Conclusion: Preliminary phytochemical screening revealed that PAWE contains various secondary metabolites which contribute to its antioxidant and free radical scavenging property as evaluated by DPPH, FRAP and Iron chelating assay. PAWE exhibits anti-proliferative activity by the induction of apoptosis through a signaling cascade of death receptor-mediated extrinsic (Caspase8 and Tnf-α), as well as mitochondria-mediated intrinsic (caspase9) and caspase pathways (Caspase3, 8 and 9) and also by regressing angiogenic factor (VEGF) without any inflammation or adverse side effects. Hence, PAWE serve as a potential antioxidant and antitumor agent.
Electrochemical Biosensor for Rutin Detection with Multiwall Carbon Nanotubes and Cerium Dioxide Nanoparticles
A new enzymatic electrochemical biosensor based on multiwall carbon nanotubes and cerium oxide nanoparticles for the detection of rutin has been developed. The cerium oxide nanoparticles /HRP/ multiwall carbon nanotubes/ carbon paste electrode (HRP/ CeO2/MWCNTs/CPE) was prepared by ensuing addition of MWCNTs and HRP on the CPE, followed by the mixing with cerium oxide nanoparticles. Surface physical characteristics of the modified electrode and the electrochemical properties of the composite were investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), cylic voltammetry (CV), differential pulse voltammetry (DPV) and square wave voltammetry (SWV). The HRP/ CeO2/MWCNTs/CPE showed good selectivity, stability and reproducibility, which was further applied to detect rutin tablet and capsule samples with satisfactory results.
Determining the Functionality of Urban Wildlife with Large Megafauna: A Case Study from Chobe District, Northern Botswana
Transfrontier wildlife corridors can be successful conservation tools, connecting protected areas and reducing the impact of habitat fragmentation on mobile species. Urban wildlife corridors have been proposed as a potential mitigation tool to facilitate the passage of elephants through towns without causing conflict with urban communities. However, because such corridors are typically narrow and close to human development, wildlife (particularly large mammals) may be less likely to use them. We used remote-sensor camera traps and global positioning system collars to identify the movement patterns of African elephants Loxondonta africana through narrow, urban corridors in Botswana. The corridors were in three types of human-dominated land-use designations with varying levels of human activity: agricultural, industrial and open space recreational land. We found that elephants used the corridors within all three land-use designations and we identified, using a model selection approach, that season, time of day and rainfall were important factors in determining the presence of elephants in the corridors. Elephants moved more slowly through the narrow corridors compared with their movement patterns through broader, wide-ranging corridors. Our results indicate that urban wildlife corridors are useful for facilitating elephants to pass through urban areas.
Modified Gold Screen Printed Electrode with Ruthenium Complex for Selective Detection of Porcine DNA
Studies on identification of pork content in food have grown rapidly to meet the Halal food standard in Malaysia. The used mitochondria DNA (mtDNA) approaches for the identification of pig species is thought to be the most precise marker due to the mtDNA genes are present in thousands of copies per cell, the large variability of mtDNA. The standard method commonly used for DNA detection is based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method combined with gel electrophoresis but has major drawback. Its major drawbacks are laborious, need longer time and toxic to handle. Therefore, the need for simplicity and fast assay of DNA is vital and has triggered us to develop DNA biosensors for porcine DNA detection. Therefore, the aim of this project is to develop electrochemical DNA biosensor based on ruthenium (II) complex, [Ru(bpy)2(p-PIP)]2+ as DNA hybridization label. The interaction of DNA and [Ru(bpy)2(p-HPIP)]2+ will be studied by electrochemical transduction using Gold Screen-Printed Electrode (GSPE) modified with gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and succinimide acrylic microspheres. The electrochemical detection by redox active ruthenium (II) complex was measured by cyclic voltammetry (CV) and differential pulse voltammetry (DPV). The results indicate that the interaction of [Ru(bpy)2(PIP)]2+ with hybridization complementary DNA has higher response compared to single-stranded and mismatch complementary DNA. Under optimized condition, this porcine DNA biosensor incorporated modified GSPE shows good linear range towards porcine DNA.
Sensing Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals by Virus-Based Structural Colour Nanostructure
The adverse effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) has attracted considerable public interests. The benzene-like EDCs structure mimics the mechanisms of hormones naturally occurring in vivo, and alters physiological function of the endocrine system. Although, some of the most representative EDCs such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and phthalates compounds already have been prohibited to produce and use in many countries, however, PCBs and phthalates in plastic products as flame retardant and plasticizer are still circulated nowadays. EDCs can be released from products while using and discarding, and it causes serious environmental and health issues. Here, we developed virus-based structurally coloured nanostructure that can detect minute EDCs concentration sensitively and selectively. These structurally coloured nanostructure exhibits characteristic angel-independent colors due to the regular virus bundle structure formation through simple pulling technique. The designed number of different colour bands can be formed through controlling concentration of virus solution and pulling speed. The virus, M-13 bacteriophage, was genetically engineered to react with specific ECDs, typically PCBs and phthalates. M-13 bacteriophage surface (pVIII major coat protein) was decorated with benzene derivative binding peptides (WHW) through phage library method. In the initial assessment, virus-based color sensor was exposed to several organic chemicals including benzene, toluene, phenol, chlorobenzene, and phthalic anhydride. Along with the selectivity evaluation of virus-based colour sensor, it also been tested for sensitivity. 10 to 300 ppm of phthalic anhydride and chlorobenzene were detected by colour sensor, and showed the significant sensitivity with about 90 of dissociation constant. Noteworthy, all measurements were analyzed through principal component analysis (PCA) and linear discrimination analysis (LDA), and exhibited clear discrimination ability upon exposure to 2 categories of EDCs (PCBs and phthalates). Because of its easy fabrication, high sensitivity, and the superior selectivity, M-13 bacteriophage-based color sensor could be a simple and reliable portable sensing system for environmental monitoring, healthcare, social security, and so on.
M13 Bacteriophage-Based Self-Assembly Nanoscaled Structure for Selective Ion Detection
Recently, as the sizes of devices and equipment have become smaller and more elaborated, convergence industries using nanotechnology have been developed. Therefore, study for making highly precise nanostructures have been actively conducted. And self-assembly technology that can easily fabricate a nano scaled structure with a large area at a low cost. Here, we employ the M13 bacteriophage as a genetically controlled self-assembling unit. M13 bacteriophage has bio-affinity filamentous nanomaterial with liquid crystalline behavior. We fabricated various nano-structures through self-assembly of M13 bacteriophage by meniscus dragging deposition technique. Above all, the porous structure has a nanomesh form. We have obtained the result of selective ion treatment using charge difference and confirmed the possibility as membrane. In addition, a functionalized nano-structure can be produced by expressing a peptide reactive to a specific substance on a virus surface through genetic engineering. We expect that it will perform a special assignment, such as sensing, in relation to a specific substance rather than a structure formed by existing nanoparticles.
Numerical Model to Study Calcium and Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate Dynamics in a Myocyte Cell
Calcium signalling is one of the most important intracellular signalling mechanisms. A lot of approaches and investigators have been made in the study of calcium signalling in various cells to understand its mechanisms over recent decades. However, most of existing investigators have mainly focussed on the study of calcium signalling in various cells without paying attention to the dependence of calcium signalling on other chemical ions like inositol-1; 4; 5 triphosphate ions, etc. Some models for the independent study of calcium signalling and inositol-1; 4; 5 triphosphate signalling in various cells are present but very little attention has been paid by the researchers to study the interdependence of these two signalling processes in a cell. In this paper, we propose a coupled mathematical model to understand the interdependence of inositol-1; 4; 5 triphosphate dynamics and calcium dynamics in a myocyte cell. Such studies will provide the deeper understanding of various factors involved in calcium signalling in myocytes, which may be of great use to biomedical scientists for various medical applications.
Design of an Artificial Oil Body-Cyanogen Bromide Technology Platform for the Expression of Small Bioactive Peptide, Mastoparan B
In this study, we attempted to develop a recombinant oleosin-based fusion expression strategy in Escherichia coli (E. coli) and coupled with the artificial oil bodies (AOB)-cyanogen bromide technology platform to produce bioactive mastoparan B (MP-B). As reported, the oleosin in AOB system plays a carrier (fusion with target protein), since oleosin possess two amphipathic regions (at the N-terminus and C-terminus), which result in the N-terminus and C-terminus of oleosin could be arranged on the surface of AOB. Thus, the target protein fused to the N-terminus or C-terminus of oleosin which also is exposed on the surface of AOB, and this process will greatly facilitate the subsequent separation and purification of target protein from AOB. In addition, oleosin, a unique structural protein of seed oil bodies, has the added advantage of helping the fused MP-B expressed in inclusion bodies, which can protect from proteolytic degradation. In this work, MP-B was fused to the C-terminus of oleosin and then was expressed in E. coli as an insoluble recombinant protein. As a consequence, we successfully developed a reliable recombinant oleosin-based fusion expression strategy in Escherichia coli and coupled with the artificial oil bodies (AOB)-cyanogen bromide technology platform to produce the small peptide, MP-B. Take together, this platform provides an insight into the production of active MP-B, which will facilitate studies and applications of this peptide in the future.
Graphene-Oxide-Supported Coal-Layered Double Hydroxides: Synthesis and Characterizations
Nanosheets for cobalt-layered double hydroxide (Co-Al-LDH)/GO were successfully synthesized with different Co:M g:Al ratios (0:3:1, 1.5:1.5:1, and 3:0:1). The layered double hydroxide structure and morphology were determined using x-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Temperature prgrammed reduction (TPR) of Co-Al-LDH showed reduction peaks at lower temperature which indicates the ease reducibility of this particular sample. The thermal behaviour was studied using thermal graviemetric technique (TG), and the BET-surface area was determined using N2 physisorption at -196°C. The C-C coupling reaction was carried out over all the investigated catalysts. The Mg–Al LDH catalyst without Co ions is inactive, but the isomorphic substitution of Mg by Co ions (Co:Mg:Al = 1.5:1.5:1) in the cationic sheet resulted in 88% conversion of iodobenzene under reflux. LDH/GO hybrid is up to 2 times higher activity than for the unsupported LDH.
Insect Inducible Methanol Production in Plants for Insect Resistance
Plant cell wall plays a major role in defence mechanism against biotic and abiotic stress as it constitutes the physical barrier between the microenvironment and internal component of the cell. It is a complex structure composed of mostly carbohydrates among which cellulose and hemicelluloses are most abundant that is embedded in a matrix of pectins and proteins. Multiple enzymes have been reported which plays a vital role in cell wall modification, Pectin Methylesterase (PME) is one of them which catalyses the demethylesterification of homogalacturonans component of pectin which releases acidic pectin and methanol. As emitted methanol is toxic to the insect pest, we use PME gene for the better methanol production. In the current study we showed overexpression of PME gene isolated from Withania somnifera under the insect inducible promoter causes enhancement of methanol production at the time of insect feeds to plants, and that provides better insect resistance property. We found that the 85-90% mortality causes by transgenic tobacco in both chewing (Spodoptera litura larvae and Helicoverpa armigera) and sap-sucking (Aphid, mealybug, and whitefly) pest. The methanol content and emission level were also enhanced by 10-15 folds at different inducible time point interval (15min, 30min, 45min, 60min) which would be analysed by Purpald/Alcohol Oxidase method.
Measurement of Resonance Frequency of a Quartz Crystal Oscillator with Immensely Improved Time Resolution Using a Fixed Frequency Drive
Measurement of transient biological processes, such as conformational changes of a molecular complex or formation and breaking of weaker interactions, which control crucial cellular functions, requires a sub-millisecond time resolution. Although the quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) has been used extensively for real-time measurement of molecular binding, it has been largely limited in terms of time resolution, which is typically 1 second in an impedance analysis method. Reported here is a novel method of determination of resonance frequency, where a quartz crystal oscillator is driven continuously at a fixed frequency anywhere within the resonance bandwidth. The imaginary impedance recorded experimentally is used to estimate the resonance frequency employing the Butterworth Van-dyke (BVD) equivalent circuit of a quartz crystal oscillator, noting that the variations in series capacitance and inductance around resonance are negligible. Triplicate sets of experiments involving subsequent loading of a 14.3 MHz quartz crystal oscillator with two liquids of different absolute viscosities, namely methanol and deionized (DI) water respectively, were performed. Intermittent frequency sweeps and fixed frequency drives, both of 0.1 second and applied near 14.3 MHz, were recorded at intervals of 5 minutes. The average shift in resonance frequency due to increase in viscous loading estimated from the fixed frequency drive (992 Hz) was found to be within 2% of that estimated by fitting of the impedance data from the frequency sweep using the BVD model (1010 Hz), and in agreement with the theoretical estimate using the Kanazawa and Gordon equation. The fixed frequency drive (FFD) method allows the estimation of resonance frequency from each impedance data point measured from a continuous drive, unlike the frequency sweep method, which requires the fitting of the impedance data over a span covering the resonance bandwidth from multiple sweeps, which have to be separated by a minimum time, usually 1 second, to account for averaging and ringing down. As a result, the time resolution of the FFD method is limited only by the data acquisition rate of the instrument, which in our case was 30 kHz. Thus the time resolution achieved in this work was 0.03 millisecond, which is more than 4 orders of magnitude improvement over a standard QCM. Thus, the FFD method can be potentially applied to measure transient biomolecular processes and is currently under further investigation.
A Comparative Laboratory Evaluation of Efficacy of Two Fungi: Beauveria bassiana and Acremonium perscinum, on Dichomeris eridantis Meyrick (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) Larvae, an Important Pest of Dalbergia sissoo
Dalbergia sissoo Roxb., (Family- Leguminosae; Subfamily- Papilionoideae), is an economically and ecologically important tree species having medicinal value. Of the rich complex of insect fauna, ten have been recognized as potential pests of nurseries and plantations. Present study was conducted to explore an effective ecofriendly control of Dichomeris eridantis Meyrick, an important defoliator pest of D. sissoo. Health and environmental concerns demanded devising a bio-intensive pest management strategy and employing ecofriendly measures. In the present laboratory bioassay two entomopathogenic fungi Acremonium perscinum and Beauveria bassiana were tested and compared for evaluating the efficacy of their seven different concentrations (besides control) against the 3rd, 4th and 5th instar larvae of D. eridantis, on the basis of mean percent mortality data recorded and tabulated for seven days after treatment application. Analysis showed that both treatments vary significantly among themselves. Also, variations amongst instars and duration with respect to their mortality were highly significant (p < .001). All their interactions were found to vary significantly. B. bassiana at 0.25x107 spores / ml spore concentration caused maximum mean percent mortality (62.38%) followed by mean percent mortality at its 0.25x106 spores / ml concentration (56.67%). Mean percent mortality at maximum spore concentration (0.054x107 spores / ml) and next highest spore concentration (0.054 x106 spores / ml) due to A. perscinum treatment were far less effective (mean percent mortality of 45.40% and 31.29%, respectively). At 168 hours mean percent mortality of larval instars due to both fungal treatment applications reached its maximum (52.99%) whereas, at 24 hours mean percent mortality remained least (5.70%). In both cases, treatments were most effective against 3rd instar larvae and least effective against 5th instar larvae. A comparative acccount of efficacy of B. bassiana and A. perscinum on the 3rd, 4th and 5th instar larvae of D. eridantis on 5th, 6th and 7th post treatment observation days after their application, on the basis of their median lethal concentrations (LC50) proved B. bassiana to be more potential microbial pathogen of the two fungal microbes, for all the three instars (3rd, 4th and 5th) of D. eridantis, on all the three days (5th, 6th and 7th post observation days after application of both treatments). Percent mortality of D. eridantis increased in a dose dependent manner. Koch’s Postulates tested positive, thus confirming the pathogenicity of B. bassiana against the larval instars of D. eridantis. LC90 values of 0.280x1011 spores/ml, 0.301x108 spores/ml and 0.262x108 spores/ml concentrations of B. bassiana were standardized which can effectively cause mortality of all the larval instars of D. eridantis in the field after 5th, 6th and 7th day of their application, respectively. Therefore, these concentrations can be safely used in nurseries as well as plantations of D. sissoo for effective control of D. eridantis larvae.
Seasons and Saproxylic Beetles Biodiversity in an Urban Park in Tunisia
Forest ecosystems are known for its ability to contain a large diversity of fauna especially insects that represent a huge taxonomic group. A portion of forest insects are recognized as saproxylic including the group of organisms that ‘depend on dead or dying wood’ about them, 20% are beetles. We focused our study on saproxylic beetles in an old urban park ‘the park of Belvedere’, located in the north west of Tunis (36° 49'21’ N 10°10'24’ W). The vegetation is dominated by old trees (Eucalyptus, Olea, Aberia, Pinus) and many fallen wood exist. Saproxylic beetles were collected using three interception traps set in the park over one year (from June 2014 to May 2015) and recovered monthly. In total, we collected 189 beetles belonging to 20 families and 57 species. Several saproxylic families (Bostrichidae, Cerambycidae, Curculionidae, Melyridae, Nitidulidae, Staphylinidae), and well known genus (Rhizopertha, Thrychoplerus, Otiorhychus, Dolichosoma, Epuraea, Anotylus) are recorded. We have retained the largest activity of beetles in spring and a very low richness in winter with zero insect per traps. This result was certainly caused by the variation of meteorological factors that mainly influenced the activity of these organisms. Therefore, we were interested on the saproxylic diversity in an urban ‘forest’, and these results will be more interesting when they are compared in the future with other works from natural forest.
First Survey of Seasonal Abundance and Daily Activity of Stomoxys calcitrans: In Zaouiet Sousse, the Sahel Area of Tunisia
The seasonal changes and the daily activity of Stomoxys calcitrans (Diptera: Muscidae) were examined, using Vavoua traps, in a dairy cattle farm in Zaouiet Sousse, the Sahel area of Tunisia during May 2014 to October 2014. Over this period, a total of 4366 hematophagous diptera were captured and Stomoxys calcitrans was the most commonly trapped species (96.52%). Analysis of the seasonal activity, showed that S.calcitrans is bivoltine, with two peaks: a significant peak is recorded in May-June, during the dry season, and a second peak at the end of October, which is quite weak. This seasonal pattern would depend on climatic factors, particularly the temperature of the manure and that of the air. The activity pattern of Stomoxys calcitrans was diurnal with seasonal variations. The daily rhythm shows a peak between 11:00 am to 15:00 pm in May and between 11:00 am to 17:00 pm in June. These vector flies are important pests of livestock in Tunisia, where they are known as a mechanical vector of several pathogens and have a considerable economic and health impact on livestock. A better knowledge of their ecology is a prerequisite for more efficient control measures.
Biological Control of Karnal Bunt by Pseudomonas fluorescens
Pseudomonas species possess a variety of promising properties of antifungal and growth promoting activities in the wheat plant. In the present study, Pseudomonas fluorescens MTCC-9768 is tested against plant pathogenic fungus Tilletia indica, causing Karnal bunt, a quarantine disease of wheat (Triticum aestivum) affecting kernels of wheat. It is one of the 1/A1 harmful diseases of wheat worldwide under EU legislation. This disease develops in the growth phase by the spreading of microscopically small spores of the fungus (teliospores) being dispersed by the wind. The present chemical fungicidal treatments were reported to reduce teliospores germination, but its effect is questionable since T. indica can survive up to four years in the soil.
The fungal growth inhibition tests were performed using Dual Culture Technique, and the results showed inhibition by 82.5%. The interaction of antagonist bacteria-fungus causes changes in the morphology of hyphae, which was observed using Lactophenol cotton blue staining and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The rounded and swollen ends, called ‘theca’ were observed in interacted fungus as compared to control fungus (without bacterial interaction). This bacterium was tested for its antagonistic activity like protease, cellulose, HCN production, Chitinase, etc. The growth promoting activities showed increase production of IAA in bacteria. The bacterial secondary metabolites were extracted in different solvents for testing its growth inhibiting properties. The characterization and purification of the antifungal compound were done by Thin Layer Chromatography, and Rf value was calculated (Rf value = 0.54) and compared to the standard antifungal compound, 2, 4 DAPG (Rf value = 0.54). Further, the in vivo experiments showed a significant decrease in the severity of disease in the wheat plant due to direct injection method and seed treatment.
Our results indicate that the extracted and purified compound from the antagonist bacteria, P. fluorescens MTCC-9768 may be used as a potential biocontrol agent against T. indica. This also concludes that the PGPR properties of the bacteria may be utilized by incorporating it into bio-fertilizers.
Isolation and Screening of Antagonistic Bacteria against Wheat Pathogenic Fungus Tilletia indica
An economically important disease of wheat in North Western region of India is Karnal Bunt caused by smut fungus Tilletia indica. This fungal pathogen spreads by air, soil and seed borne sporodia at the time of flowering, which ultimately leads to partial bunting of wheat kernels with fishy odor and taste to wheat flour. It has very serious effects due to quarantine measures which have to be applied for grain exports. Chemical fungicides such as mercurial compounds and Propiconazole applied to the control of Karnal bunt have been only partially successful. Considering the harmful effects of chemical fungicides on man as well as environment, many countries are developing biological control as the superior substitute to chemical control. Repeated use of fungicides can be responsible for the development of resistance in fungal pathogens against certain chemical compounds. The present investigation is based on the isolation and evaluation of antifungal properties of some isolated (from natural manure) and commercial bacterial strains against Tilletia indica. Total 23 bacterial isolates were obtained and antagonistic activity of all isolates and commercial bacterial strains (Bacillus subtilis MTCC8601, Bacillus pumilus MTCC 8743, Pseudomonas aeruginosa) were tested against T. indica by dual culture plate assay (pour plate and streak plate). Test for the production of antifungal volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by antagonistic bacteria was done by sealed plate method. Amongst all s1, s3, s5, and B. subtilis showed more than 80% inhibition. Production of extracellular hydrolytic enzymes such as protease, beta 1, 4 glucanase, HCN and ammonia was studied for confirmation of antifungal activity. s1, s3, s5 and B. subtilis were found to be the best for protease activity and s5 and B. subtilis for beta 1, 4 glucanase activity. Bacillus subtilis was significantly effective for HCN whereas s3, s5 and Bacillus subtilis for ammonia production. Isolates were identified as Pseudomonas aeruginosa (s1) and B. licheniformis (s3, s5) by various biochemical assays and confirmed by16s rRNA sequencing. Use of microorganisms or their secretions as biocontrol agents to avoid plant diseases is ecologically safe and may offer long term of protection to crop. The above study reports the promising effects of these strains in better pathogen free crop production and quality maintenance as well as prevention of the excessive use of synthetic fungicides.
Clay Hydrogel Nanocomposite for Controlled Small Molecule Release
Clay-hydrogel nanocomposites have attracted great attention recently, mainly because of their enhanced mechanical properties and ease of fabrication. Moreover, the unique platelet structure of clay nanoparticles enables the incorporation of bioactive molecules, such as proteins or drugs, through ion exchange, adsorption or intercalation. This study seeks to improve the mechanical and rheological properties of a novel hydrogel system, copolymerized from a tetrapodal polyethylene glycol (PEG) thiol and a linear, triblock PEG-PPG-PEG (PPG: polypropylene glycol) α,ω-bispropynoate polymer, with the simultaneous incorporation of various amounts of Na-saturated, montmorillonite clay (MMT) platelets (av. lateral dimension = 200 nm), to form a bioactive three-dimensional network. Although the parent hydrogel has controlled swelling ability and its PEG groups have good affinity for the clay platelets, it suffers from poor mechanical stability and is currently unsuitable for potential applications. Nanocomposite hydrogels containing 4wt% MMT showed a twelve-fold enhancement in compressive strength, reaching 0.75MPa, and also a three-fold acceleration in gelation time, when compared with the parent hydrogel. Interestingly, clay nanoplatelet incorporation into the hydrogel slowed down the rate of its dehydration in air. Preliminary results showed that protein binding by the MMT varied with the nature of the protein, as horseradish peroxidase (HRP) was more strongly bound than bovine serum albumin. The HRP was no longer active when bound, presumably as a result of extensive structural refolding. Further work is being undertaken to assess protein binding behaviour within the nanocomposite hydrogel for potential diabetic wound healing applications.
Bioefficacy of Ocimum sanctum on Reproductive Performance of Red Cotton Bug, Dysdercus koenigii (Heteroptera: Pyrrhocoriedae)
Dysdercus koenigii is serious pest of cotton and other malvaceous crop. Present research work aimed at ecofriendly approach for management of pest by plant extracts. The impact of Ocimum sanctum was studied on reproductive performance of Dysdercus koenigii. The hexane extract of Ocimum leaves was prepared by ‘cold extraction method’. The newly emerged fifth instar nymphs were exposed to the extract of concentrations ranging from 0.1% to 0.00625% by ‘thin film residual method’ for a period of 24h. Reproductive fitness of the adults emerged from the treated nymphs was evaluated by assessing their courtship behaviour, oviposition behaviour, and fertility. The studies indicated that treatment of Dysdercus with the hexane extract of Ocimum altered their courtship behaviour. Consequently, the treated males exhibited less sexual activity, performed fewer mounting attempts, increased time to mate and showed decreased percent successful mating. The females often rejected courting treated male by shaking the abdomen. Similarly, the treated females in many cases remained non-receptive to the courting male. Premature termination of mating in the mating pairs prior to insemination further decreased the mating success of the treated adults. Maximum abbreviation of courtship behaviour was observed in the experimental set up where both the males and the females were treated. Only females which mate successfully were observed for study of oviposition behaviour. The treated females laid lesser number of egg batches and eggs in their life span. The eggs laid by these females were fertile indicating insemination of the female. However, percent hatchability was lesser than control. The effects of hexane extract were dose dependent. Treatment with 0.1% and 0.05% extract altered courtship behaviour. Doses of concentrations less than 0.05% did not affect courtship behaviour but altered the oviposition behaviour and fertility. Significant reduction in the fecundity and fertility was observed in the treatments at concentration as low as 0.00625%. The GCMS analysis of the extract revealed a plethora of phytochemicals including juvenile hormone mimics, and the intermediates of juvenile hormone biosynthesis. Therefore, some of these compounds individually or synergistically impair reproductive behaviour of Dysdercus. Alteration of courtship behaviour and suppression of fecundity and fertility with the help of plant extracts has wide potentials in suppression of pest population and ‘integrated pest management’.