Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Biological Research]]> vol. 37 num. 4 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>SOBRE EL PREMIO NACIONAL DE CIENCIAS NATURALES</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Simultaneous presence of Paralytic and Diarrheic Shellfish Poisoning toxins in<i> Mytilus chilensis</i> samples collected in the Chiloe Island, Austral Chilean Fjords </b>]]> The study shown here provides the first indisputable evidence that shellfish can be contaminated with Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) and Diarrheic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) toxins during the summer season in the Southern Chilean fjords. Quantitative analysis of the simultaneous presence of PSP and DSP toxins in Mytilus chilensis samples collected in the Chiloe Island are shown. The High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) analysis with pre-column derivatization method for DSP toxins and the post-column derivatization methods for PSP toxins, both with fluorescent on-line detections, showed that both type of toxins were concentrated by the filter bivalve Mytilus chilensis in amounts above the international safe limits. The phytoplankton analysis showed the presence of both Alexandrium catenella and Dinophysis acuta in the water column. The data shows stratification of the toxic dinoflagellates in the water column, since the lowest amount of both DSP and PSP toxins were measured in the superficial and deeper levels of the water column. Moreover, the highest toxicities of both types of toxins were shown by the shellfish samples collected at a depth of 6 meters with 190 nanograms of DTX-1 / gram of digestive gland and 709.8 mg of PSP toxins / 100 grams of mussel meat. <![CDATA[<b>Structural-functional analysis of the oligomeric protein R-phycoerythrin </b>]]> The structure of phycobiliproteins and their spatial organization in the phycobilisome provide the environment for high efficiency in light harvesting and conduction towards photosystem II. This article focuses on the analysis of R-phycoerythrin, a light harvesting hexameric phycobiliprotein that is part of the phycobilisomes. The interaction surfaces and the environment of the chromophores of R-phycoerythrin were studied in order to explain its structural stability and spectroscopic sensitivity, properties revealed by perturbation experiments. Three interaction surfaces are described (ab), (ab)3 and (ab)6. The analysis shows the importance of a subunits in the interaction between trimers, the homodimeric nature of the monomer (ab) and also the presence of anchor points in every interaction surface studied: a18Phe and b18Tyr for (ab), b76Asn for (ab)3 and a25Asn for (ab)6 . Side chains of arginine, lysine or glutamine residues are located in the proximity of the chromophores providing the correct stabilization of their carboxylates. Aspartic acids residues are associated through H-bonds to the N atom of the two central rings of the tetrapyrrolic chromophores. Changes in the spectroscopic properties are observed in perturbation experiments, confirming the spatial requirement for an efficient resonance energy transfer among chromophores and through the phycobilisome <![CDATA[<b>Genetic polymorphism of clinical and environmental strains of <i>Pichia anomala</i></b>]]> In this work 20 clinical and 3 environmental yeast isolates were characterized by classical morphological and physiological methods, as well as molecular methods based on PCR of the ITS1-5.8S rDNA-ITS2 region. The characteristic morphology and biochemical profiles observed in these samples correspond to those described for the Pichia genera, more specifically to P. anomala. The profiles of susceptibility to five antifungal drugs were determined by two broth dilution methods. The results obtained by both methods were comparable and showed that clinical isolates presented more resistance to azoles, amphotericin B, and 5-fluorocytosine, than environmental ones did. By amplification and sequencing of internal transcribed spacers (ITS1 and ITS2) and the ribosomal 5.8S DNA, the yeast samples were divided into four groups, where the strains within each group had the same sequence. Of the analyzed yeast isolates, 78% were identified as Pichia anomala. Using RAPD analysis with seven different Operon primers, polymorphism was observed within the four groups. Our study highlights the growing importance of P. anomala in fungemic episodes in premature neonates. Furthermore, the methodologies used provide a powerful tool to identify and determine differences in similar strains of this yeast <![CDATA[<b>Time in physics and biology </b>]]> In contrast with classical physics, particularly with Sir Isaac Newton, where time is a continuous function, generally valid, eternally and evenly flowing as an absolute time dimension, in the biological sciences, time is in essence of cyclical nature (physiological periodicities), where future passes to past through an infinitely thin boundary, the present. In addition, the duration of the present (DP) leads to the so-called 'granulation of time' in living beings, so that by the fusion of two successive pictures of the world, which are not entirely similar, they attain the perception of 'movement,' both in the real world as well as in the sham-movement in the mass media (TV). <![CDATA[<b>Gametogenesis and nucleotypic effects in the tetraploid red vizcacha rat, <i>Tympanoctomys barrerae</i> (Rodentia, Octodontidae) </b>]]> Nucleotypic effects link DNA content with nuclear size and cell dimensions of reproductive cells in polyploid organisms. We studied the gametogenesis of the allotetraploid rodent Tympanoctomys barrerae, aiming to determine these effects in reproductive cells. The species' cofamily members, Octodon degus and Spalacopus cyanus were used as control. Spermatogenesis and oogenesis in T. barrerae follows the pattern of differentiation and sequence of events of the control species, but varied nucleotypic effects were observed. Exceedingly large, spatulated spermatozoa with a submedially attached flagellum are characteristic of male T. barrerae. The diameter of the nuclei of primordial and growing follicles as well as those of the Graaff follicles, of the granulose, and of luteal cells are significantly larger and heavily heterochromatic. Moreover, the width of the pellucid zone is 108% thicker in T. barrerae than in S. cyanus. Binucleation was recorded in 26% of luteal bodies examined whereas no binucleated cells are detected in the diploid control. Likewise, large heterochromatic nucleoli were observed in the follicle cells but not in S. cyanus. This finding and the high heterochromatin content of reproductive cells in the red vizcacha rat is probably associated with its genome complexity so that redundant genetic information is silenced through heterochromatinization <![CDATA[<b>Analysis of rhythmic variance - ANORVA. A new simple method for detecting rhythms in biological time series</b>]]> Cyclic variations of variables are ubiquitous in biomedical science. A number of methods for detecting rhythms have been developed, but they are often difficult to interpret. A simple procedure for detecting cyclic variations in biological time series and quantification of their probability is presented here. Analysis of rhythmic variance (ANORVA) is based on the premise that the variance in groups of data from rhythmic variables is low when a time distance of one period exists between the data entries. A detailed stepwise calculation is presented including data entry and preparation, variance calculating, and difference testing. An example for the application of the procedure is provided, and a real dataset of the number of papers published per day in January 2003 using selected keywords is compared to randomized datasets. Randomized datasets show no cyclic variations. The number of papers published daily, however, shows a clear and significant (p<0.03) circaseptan (period of 7 days) rhythm, probably of social origin <![CDATA[<b>Isolation and expression of the genes coding for the membrane bound transglycosylase B (MltB) and the transferrin binding protein B (TbpB) of the salmon pathogen <i>Piscirickettsia salmonis</i></b>]]> We have isolated and sequenced the genes encoding the membrane bound transglycosylase B (MltB) and the transferring binding protein B (TbpB) of the salmon pathogen Piscirickettsia salmonis. The results of the sequence revealed two open reading frames that encode proteins with calculated molecular weights of 38,830 and 85,140. The deduced aminoacid sequences of both proteins show a significant homology to the respective protein from phylogenetically related microorganisms. Partial sequences coding the amino and carboxyl regions of MltB and a sequence of 761 base pairs encoding the amino region of TbpB have been expressed in E. coli. The strong humoral response elicited by these proteins in mouse confirmed the immunogenic properties of the recombinant proteins. A similar response was elicited by both proteins when injected intraperitoneally in Atlantic salmon. The present data indicates that these proteins are good candidates to be used in formulations to study the protective immunity of salmon to infection by P. salmonis.