Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Biological Research]]> vol. 39 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>DAVID YUDILEVICH LEVY, CAMINANTE Y VISIONARIO (1930-2006)</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>OSVALDO ÁLVAREZ RECUERDA A SU PROFESOR</b>]]> <![CDATA[<strong>Circadian chronotypes among wild-captured west </strong><b> <strong>Andean octodontids</strong></b>]]> Rest activity pattern was studied in wild-captured males of Octodon degus (n=9), Octodon bridgesi (n=3), and Spalacopus cyanus (n=6) (Rodentia: Octodontidae). Ten-minute resolution actograms were constructed from data obtained by an automated acquisition system. After two months of habituation to a stable light-dark schedule, recordings were performed in isolation chambers under a 12: 12 Light Dark schedule. A free-running period (constant darkness) was recorded for O. bridgesi and S. cyanus. O. degus displayed a crepuscular pattern of rest activity rhythm. Entrained O. bridgesi and S. cyanus displayed nocturnal preference, with rest anticipating light phase and without crepuscular activity bouts. Under constant darkness, active phase occurred at subjective night in O. bridgesi and S. cyanus. Wild-captured O. bridgesi and S. cyanus possess a circadian driven nocturnal preference, while wild O. degus displays a crepuscular profile. Diurnal active phase preference of wild S. cyanus colonies observed in the field could not be explained solely by photic entrainment, since social and/or masking processes appear to be operative. The genus Octodon includes species with diverse chronotypes. We propose that crepuscular diurnal pattern observed in O. degus is a recent acquisition among the octodontid lineage <![CDATA[<strong><i>Arabidopsis thaliana</i></strong>: <strong>A model host plant to study plant-pathogen interaction using Chilean field isolates of <i>Botrytis cinerea</i></strong>]]> One of the fungal pathogens that causes more agriculture damage is Botrytis cinerea. Botrytis is a constant threat to crops because the fungus infects a wide range of host species, both native and cultivated. Furthermore, Botrytis persists on plant debris in and on the soil. Some of the most serious diseases caused by Botrytis include gray mold on vegetables and fruits, such as grapes and strawberries. Botrytis also causes secondary soft rot of fruits and vegetables during storage, transit and at the market. In many plant-pathogen interactions, resistance often is associated with the deposition of callose, accumulation of autofluorescent compounds, the synthesis and accumulation of salicylic acid as well as pathogenesis-related proteins. Arabidopsis thaliana has been used as a plant model to study plant-pathogen interaction. The genome of Arabidopsis has been completely sequenced and this plant serves as a good genetic and molecular model. In this study, we demonstrate that Chilean field isolates infect Arabidopsis thaliana and that Arabidopsis subsequently activates several defense response mechanisms associated with a hypersensitive response. Furthermore, we propose that Arabidopsis may be used as a model host species to analyze the diversity associated with infectivity among populations of Botrytis cinerea field isolates <![CDATA[<strong>Oxidative stress is closely related to clinical severity of pre-eclampsia</strong>]]> Pre-eclampsia is a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy in which enzymatic antioxidant defenses fail and tissues are injured. This prospective case-control study evaluated whether pre-eclamptic women and their newborns show higher degrees of oxidative stress than normal pregnancies and sought to determine if this stress is related to clinical severity. Forty-four pre-eclamptic and thirty healthy pregnant women attending two hospitals in Valparaíso, Chile, were studied. The following plasmatic variables of antioxidant capacity were evaluated: glutathione peroxidase activity (GPx), total antioxidant capacity measured by oxidation of ABTS substrate (2,2'-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid), and superoxide dismutase activity (SOD). malondialdehide (MDA) was measured to evaluate lipoperoxidation. The evaluation was performed at diagnosis of pre-eclampsia, delivery, 30 days and 120 days post delivery. Newborns were studied at delivery through umbilical cord blood samples. Our analysis shows that antioxidant enzyme activity (SOD, GPx, ABTS) was significantly decreased, while lipoperoxidation (MDA) was increased in both pre-eclamptic groups compared to normal pregnant women (p<0.01). Statistically significant difference was found between mild and severe pre-eclamptic groups (p<0.01), for all biochemical markers studied. Therefore, the clinical severity of this pathology is closely related to the degree of oxidative stress <![CDATA[<strong>Neuroanatomical basis of behavioral disturbances in patients with prefrontal lesions</strong>]]> The role of the frontal lobe in control of behavioral and cognitive abilities is explored in a group of 34 patients with brain lesions restricted to the prefrontal cortex. The scores in both structured behavioral questionnaires and standard neuropsychological tests were analyzed using the injured area of the frontal lobe as the independent variable. Our results show that patients with simultaneous lesions in supero_ and inferomedial areas of the prefrontal cortex exhibit higher behavioral disturbances. Bilateral lesions also are associated with greater behavioral troubles. On the contrary, cognitive abilities are globally impaired in prefrontal patients. Results are discussed in relation to current models of the organization of the prefrontal cortex and its role on behavior control <![CDATA[<strong>Social stimuli cause changes of plasma oxytocin and behavior in guinea pigs</strong>]]> The neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) is a key factor in the initiation and regulation of sociosexual behavior. The present study analyzes the effects of cohabitation and social challenge on plasma OXT concentration rates in guinea pig pairs in relation to male sociosexual behavior. The cohabitation phase lasted 3 days. On day 4, the pair was socially challenged by introducing an unfamiliar male. Displayed male sexual behavior varied significantly during cohabitation, with peaks on day 1. Sociopositive behavior, i.e., side-by-side contact, was increased on days 3 and 4. Cohabitation per se led to elevated plasma OXT concentrations only in males. In contrast, both sexes reacted with increased plasma OXT concentrations to the social challenge (day 4). At that time, male OXT was significantly correlated with sexual behavior and female OXT with sociosexual behavior received from the partner. Additionally, pairs were synchronized in their OXT release during days 3 and 4. We conclude that cohabitation causes sexually dimorphic plasma OXT concentration patterns in guinea pigs. Secondly, the conformity of OXT release in both sexes may represent an endocrine marker for long-term cohabitation, which is reflected behaviorally by increased spatial proximity <![CDATA[<strong>Relevance of a neutral cue in a two-choice detection task in the rat</strong>]]> Relevance of a neutral cue for performance in a two-choice visuospatial detection task was examined. Nine rats were trained, 5 with short intertrial interval (ITI) and 4 with long ITI, to detect a target (lateral lights) presented after a neutral-cue (central light). The removal of the neutral-cue decreased accuracy and increased response latencies and omissions. These results demonstrate that a neutral-cue, preceding the target, is relevant for the performance, suggesting that rats are highly expectant during the neutral-cue and reallocate attentional resources during ITI. Furthermore, latencies were higher, omissions were lower and the fall of accuracy was greater for rats with long than with short ITI, which could indicate that the neutral-cue was more relevant for the former group <![CDATA[<strong>Expression of the crucifer-infecting TMV-Cg movement protein in tobacco plants complements <i>in trans</i> a TMV-U1 trafficking-deficient mutant</strong>]]> Tobamovirus movement proteins play a determinant role in the establishment of infections in plants, allowing the local movement of viral RNA genome through plasmodesmatas. We expressed the movement protein (MP) of the crucifer- and garlic-infecting Tobacco Mosaic Virus strain Cg (TMV-Cg) in both resistant Xanthi NN and sensitive Xanthi nn Nicotiana tabacum plants. MP-Cg function was assayed by inoculating transgenic plants with a trafficking-deficient mutant of TMV strain U1. Following infection, local necrotic lesions were developed in resistant transgenic plants, and a systemic infection was produced in sensitive tobaccos. Thus, movement function of the mutant virus was complemented in trans by MP-Cg expressed in transgenic plants, causing the same symptoms as wild-type strain. We demonstrated that the function of MP-U1 could be replaced efficiently by MP-Cg, even though these proteins share only 36% of identity. Similar hydrophobic patterns of MP-Cg and MP-U1 suggests structure and function conservations of both proteins. This work is an example of how two tobamoviruses differing in their host range help to understand viral movement mechanism during the infection <![CDATA[<strong>Antioxidant activity of extract from <i>Polygonum aviculare</i> L.</strong>]]> Free radicals induce numerous diseases by lipid peroxidation, protein peroxidation, and DNA damage. It has been reported that numerous plant extracts have antioxidant activities to scavenge free radicals. Whether Polygonum aviculare L. (Polygonaceae) has antioxidant activity is unknown. In this study, dried Polygonum aviculare L. was extracted by ethanol, and the extract was lyophilized. The antioxidant activities of extract powder were examined by free radical scavenging assays, superoxide radical scavenging assays, lipid peroxidation assays and hydroxyl radical-induced DNA strand scission assays. The results show that the IC50 value of Polygonum aviculare L. extract is 50 µg/ml in free radical scavenging assays, 0.8 µg/ml in superoxide radical scavenging assays, and 15 µg/ml in lipid peroxidation assays, respectively. Furthermore, Polygonum aviculare L. extract has DNA protective effect in hydroxyl radical-induced DNA strand scission assays. The total phenolics and flavonoid content of extract is 677.4 ± 62.7 µg/g and 112.7 ± 13 µg/g. The results indicate that Polygonum aviculare L. extract clearly has antioxidant effects <![CDATA[<strong>The Ca<sup>2+</sup> pump inhibitor, thapsigargin, inhibits root gravitropism in <i>Arabidopsis thaliana</i></strong>]]> Thapsigargin, a specific inhibitor of most animal intracellular SERCA-type Ca2+ pumps present in the sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum, was originally isolated from the roots of the Mediterranean plant Thapsia gargancia L. Here, we demonstrate that this root-derived compound is capable of altering root gravitropism in Arabidopsis thaliana. Thapsigargin concentrations as low as 0.1 µM alter root gravitropism whereas under similar conditions cyclopiazonic acid does not. Furthermore, a fluorescently conjugated thapsigargin (BODIPY FL thapsigargin) suggests that target sites for thapsigargin are located in intracellular organelles in the root distal elongation zone and the root cap, regions known to regulate root gravitropism <![CDATA[<strong>Parasexuality in asexual development mutants of A<i>spergillus nidulans</i></strong>]]> The parasexual cycle with parameiosis has been characterized previously by the occurrence of genetic recombination and haploidization inside heterokaryotic hyphae prior to conidial formation. The aim of current research was to characterize, through genetic and cytological analyses, an asexual development mutant strain of A. nidulans and to use it to obtain parameiotic segregants. Analyses showed the medusa phenotype of the B84 strain, whose mutant allele was mapped in the chromosome I. The heterokaryons B84(med)//G422(med+) and B84(med)//G839(brl) were formed in liquid MM+2% CM and inoculated in the appropriate selective media. Two mitotic segregant groups were obtained: aneuploids and haploid stable recombinants. Mitotic segregants, wild-types, and developmental mutants, which did not produce new visible mitotic sectors in the presence of Benomyl and which showed normal meiotic behavior during the sexual cycle, were classified as parameiotics <![CDATA[Hypercholesterolemia and tissue-specific differential mRNA expression of type-1 5'-iodothyronine deiodinase under different selenium status in rats]]> Type-1 5'-iodothyronine deiodinase (5'-DI) is responsible for conversion of T4 to T3. Selenium (Se) is an integral part of this enzyme. Keeping in view the strong association between atherosclerosis and hypothyroidism, the present study examined the behavior of 5'-DI in liver, aorta and thyroid during hypercholesterolemia following different Se status, i.e., Se deficiency (0.02ppm), adequate (0.2ppm) and excess dose (1ppm) in SD male rats. Animals were fed a control or high-cholesterol diet (2%) for 1 and 2 months. 5'-DI activity and mRNA expression was measured by RIA and RT-PCR respectively. In liver and aorta, 5'-DI expression significantly decreased with the Se-deficient and the high-cholesterol diet. The trend was opposite in thyroid, i.e., mRNA expression increased significantly during selenium deficiency and with a high-cholesterol feeding. But with 1ppm Se supplementation, the 5'-DI expression increased in all the three tissues. The present study indicates that hypercholesterolemia along with selenium deficiency is co-responsible for differential regulation of 5'-DI enzyme in thyroidal vs. extrathyroidal tissues. Distinct regulation of 5'-DI in the thyroid reflects the clinical importance of this selenoprotein during hypercholesterolemia as this enzyme is essential for T3 production, which further has a vital role in the maintenance of lipid metabolism <![CDATA[Association of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors with central respiratory control in isolated brainstem-spinal cord preparation of neonatal rats]]> Nicotine exposure is a risk factor in several breathing disorders Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) exist in the ventrolateral medulla, an important site for respiratory control. We examined the effects of nicotinic acetylcholine neurotransmission on central respiratory control by addition of a nAChR agonist or one of various antagonists into superfusion medium in the isolated brainstem-spinal cord from neonatal rats. Ventral C4 neuronal activity was monitored as central respiratory output, and activities of respiratory neurons in the ventrolateral medulla were recorded in whole-cell configuration. RJR-2403 (0.1-10mM), alpha4beta2 nAChR agonist induced dose-dependent increases in respiratory frequency. Non-selective nAChR antagonist mecamylamine (0.1-100mM), alpha4beta2 antagonist dihydro-beta-erythroidine (0.1-100mM), alpha7 antagonist methyllycaconitine (0.1-100mM), and a-bungarotoxin (0.01-10mM) all induced dose-dependent reductions in C4 respiratory rate. We next examined effects of 20mM dihydro-beta-erythroidine and 20mM methyllycaconitine on respiratory neurons. Dihydro-beta-erythroidine induces hyperpolarization and decreases intraburst firing frequency of inspiratory and preinspiratory neurons. In contrast, methyllycaconitine has no effect on the membrane potential of inspiratory neurons, but does decrease their intraburst firing frequency while inducing hyperpolarization and decreasing intraburst firing frequency in preinspiratory neurons. These findings indicate that alpha4beta2 nAChR is involved in both inspiratory and preinspiratory neurons, whereas alpha7 nAChR functions only in preinspiratory neurons to modulate C4 respiratory rate <![CDATA[The G2 checkpoint activated by DNA damage does not prevent genome instability in plant cells]]> Root growth, G2 length, and the frequency of aberrant mitoses and apoptotic nuclei were recorded after a single X-ray irradiation, ranging from 2.5 to 40 Gy, in Allium cepa L. root meristematic cells. After 72 h of recovery, root growth was reduced in a dose-dependent manner from 10 to 40 Gy, but not at 2.5 or 5 Gy doses. Flow cytometry plus TUNEL (TdT-mediated dUTP nick end labeling) showed that activation of apoptosis occurred only after 20 and 40 Gy of X-rays. Nevertheless, irrespective of the radiation dose, conventional flow cytometry showed that cells accumulated in G2 (4C DNA content). Simultaneously, the mitotic index fell, though a mitotic wave appeared later. Cell accumulation in G2 was transient and partially reversed by caffeine, thus it was checkpoint-dependent. Strikingly, the additional G2 time provided by this checkpoint was never long enough to complete DNA repair. Then, in all cases, some G2 cells with still-unrepaired DNA underwent checkpoint adaptation, i.e., they entered into the late mitotic wave with chromatid breaks. These cells and those produced by the breakage of chromosomal bridges in anaphase will reach the G1 of the next cell cycle unrepaired, ensuring the appearance of genome instability <![CDATA[Fuzzy subset approach in coupled population dynamics of blowflies]]> This paper is a study on the population dynamics of blowflies employing a density-dependent, non-linear mathematical model and a coupled population formalism. In this study, we investigated the coupled population dynamics applying fuzzy subsets to model the population trajectory, analyzing demographic parameters such as fecundity, survival, and migration. The main results suggest different possibilities in terms of dynamic behavior produced by migration in coupled populations between distinct environments and the rescue effect generated by the connection between populations. It was possible to conclude that environmental heterogeneity can play an important role in blowfly metapopulation systems. The implications of these results for population dynamics of blowflies are discussed <![CDATA[<strong>Genomic organization of nucleolin gene in carp fish</strong>: <strong>Evidence for several genes</strong>]]> The protein nucleolin, functionally involved in the main steps of ribosome biogenesis, is codified by a single copy gene in mammals. Here we report that at least three different genes codify for this protein in carp fish (Cyprinus carpio). This is the first description of the genomic organization of nucleolin in a teleost. The carp nucleolin gene includes 8.8 kb and contains 16 exons. Promoter cis regulatory elements are similar to constitutive genes, i.e., a putative TATA box, three G/C boxes, and three pyrimidine-rich boxes. As in other species, carp nucleolin gene introns host three snoRNA codifying sequences: U23 from the H/ACA family and two C/D box snoRNAs, U20 and U82. Both U20 and U82 span a complementary sequence with carp 18S rRNA. Additionally, we identified two cDNAs coding for nucleolin, confirming the existence of several nucleolin genes in carp. Amino acid-derived sequence from carp cDNAs differ from mammal protein because they span additional acidic domains at the amino end, whose functional significance remains unclear. We performed amino acid sequence comparison and phylogenetic analyses showing that the three isoforms of carp nucleolin, which we describe herein, cluster in two groups. cNUC1 probably diverges from cNUC2 and cNUC3 as result of ancestral fish-specific genome duplication, indeed C. carpio is a tetraploid fish <![CDATA[<strong>Generation and analysis of expressed sequence tags from <i>Botrytis cinerea</i></strong>]]> Botrytis cinerea is a filamentous plant pathogen of a wide range of plant species, and its infection may cause enormous damage both during plant growth and in the post-harvest phase. We have constructed a cDNA library from an isolate of B. cinerea and have sequenced 11,482 expressed sequence tags that were assembled into 1,003 contigs sequences and 3,032 singletons. Approximately 81% of the unigenes showed significant similarity to genes coding for proteins with known functions: more than 50% of the sequences code for genes involved in cellular metabolism, 12% for transport of metabolites, and approximately 10% for cellular organization. Other functional categories include responses to biotic and abiotic stimuli, cell communication, cell homeostasis, and cell development. We carried out pair-wise comparisons with fungal databases to determine the B. cinerea unisequence set with relevant similarity to genes in other fungal pathogenic counterparts. Among the 4,035 non-redundant B. cinerea unigenes, 1,338 (23%) have significant homology with Fusarium verticillioides unigenes. Similar values were obtained for Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Aspergillus nidulans (22% and 24%, respectively). The lower percentages of homology were with Magnaporthe grisae and Neurospora crassa (13% and 19%, respectively). Several genes involved in putative and known fungal virulence and general pathogenicity were identified. The results provide important information for future research on this fungal pathogen