Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Biological Research]]> vol. 42 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<strong>Nkx-2.3 gene in mouse epidemial maturation</strong>]]> In higher vertebrates, from amphibians to humans, epidemial maturation is a conserved developmental process. Using adult epidemial tissue and an established keratinocyte cell line, the mouse Nkx-2.3 homeobox gene was demonstrated, for the first time, to be expressed in mouse epidermal keratinocytes. Under the normal culture condition, the spontaneous aggregation phenomenon, a common initiation step of ES cell differentiation, and the induction of mouse adult K1 keratin, a marker of mature epidermal keratinocytes, were both observed in vitro when the Xenopus Nkx-2.3 gene was stably transfected into a mouse pluripotent P19 EC cell line. The induction of mouse K1 keratin by using its Xenopus orthologous gene in the mouse P19 cell implies that Nkx-2.3 may play a conserved role in the epidermal maturation of the mouse, as it does in that of the frog (Ma, 2004). However, the CAT assay study on frog adult keratin promoter could not find the induction of adult keratin. This implies there might not be a direct activation of its promoter. <![CDATA[<strong>Effects of isoflavone on oxidative stress parameters and homocysteine in postmenopausal women complaining of insomnia</strong>]]> Sleep disorders have an increased incidence after menopause. The objective of this work was to evaluate the effects of isoflavone on some oxidative stress markers in postmenopausal women complaining of insomnia. Women aged between 50-65 years (n=38) were recruited and assigned to a double-blind placebo controlled study for 4 months. The treated group received 100 mg/day of isoflavones. Blood collections were conducted on three different occasions to assess total glutathione; superoxide dismutase and catalase in erythrocytes; lipid peroxidation; and homocysteine plasma concentrations. No differences between the groups were observed. However, all the patients seem to improve their oxidative stress status and homocysteine concentration after treatment. Superoxide dismutase activity was correlated with age and time of menopause at the beginning of the treatment, but these correlations were no longer observed by the end of the study. Soy isoflavones were not able to overcome the placebo effect for either oxidative stress parameters or homocysteine concentrations. <![CDATA[<strong>Coexistence of cytotypes and chromosomal mosaicism in <i>Hoplias malabaricus </i>(Characiformes, Erythrinidae)</strong>]]> Karyotypes of seventeen Hoplias malabaricus specimens, collected in the fish culture station of UNOPAR (University of Northern Paraná), were analyzed. The station is in the Claro River system in the Tibagi River basin. Two distinct and coexistent karyotype forms (cytotypes) were identified, comprising either 42 chromosomes (cytotype A) or 40 chromosomes (cytotype C), both presenting metacentric and submetacentric chromosomes. In two specimens, one male and one female, it was not possible to characterize a modal diploid number because different cell lines were observed, with a predominance of 2n=41 and 2n=42 chromosomes at a frequency of 38.24% and 41.12%, respectively. The karyotype with 2n=41 showed some putative monosomic and trisomic chromosomes, while the karyotype with 2n=42 showed 21 chromosomal pairs, similar to cytotype A. RAPD analysis showed that these two specimens have the same band pro file of cytotype A (Nei's genetic identity=92%), discarding a possible hybridization between both cytotypes and supporting the mosaicism hypothesis. These findings corroborate the isolation between cytotypes A and C. <![CDATA[<strong>Growth of <i>in vitro Fusarium oxysporum </i>f. sp. <i>niveum </i>in chemically defined media amended with gallic acid</strong>]]> Gallic acid was artificially added to the media to grow Fusarium oxysporum f.sp.niveum to investigate its effect on the pathogenic fungus. Results indicate that gallic acid inhibited the growth of F. oxysporum f.sp.niveum. The colony diameter, the conidia germinating rate and the conidia yield were reduced by 5.7-22.9%%, 35.8-55.6% and 38.9-62.2% respectively. However, the virulence factors by the fungus were stimulated. The activity of pectinase, proteinase and cellulase increased by 12.3-627.8%, 11.8-41.2% and 0.5-325.0% respectively, while the activity of amylase increased slightly. The results suggest that gallic acid repressed growth but facilitated the relative pathogenicity of invading pathogens. <![CDATA[<strong>Isolation, molecular characterization and growth-promotion activities of a cold tolerant bacterium <i>Pseudomonas </i>sp. NARs9 (MTCC9002) from the Indian Himalayas</strong>]]> A bacterium that grows and expresses plant growth promotion traits at 4°C was isolated from the rhizospheric soil of Amaranth, cultivated at a high altitude location in the North Western Indian Himalayas. The isolate was Gram negative and the cells appeared as rods (2.91 x 0.71 μm in size). It grew at temperatures ranging from 4 to 30°C, with a growth optimum at 28°C. It exhibited tolerance to a wide pH range (5-10; optimum 8.0) and salt concentrations up to 6% (wt/vol). Although it was sensitive to Rifampicin (R 20 μg mi-1), Gentamicin (G 3 μg mi-1), and Streptomycin (S 5 μg mi-1), it showed resistance to higher concentrations of Ampicillin (A 500 μg mi-1), Penicillin (P 300 μg mi-1), Polymixin B sulphate (Pb 100 μg mi-1) and Chloramphenicol (C 200 μg mi-1). The 16S rRNA sequence analysis revealed maximum identity with Pseudomonas lurida. The bacterium produced indole Acetic Acid (IAA) and solubilizes phosphate at 4, 15 and 28°C. It also retained its ability to produce rhamnolipids and siderophores at 15°C. Seed bacterization with the isolate enhanced the germination, shoot and root lengths of thirty-day-old wheat seedlings by 19.2, 30.0 & 22.9% respectively, as compared to the un-inoculated controls. <![CDATA[<strong>The Relationship between Leaf Rolling and Ascorbate-Glutathione Cycle Enzymes in Apoplastic and Symplastic Areas of <i>Ctenanthe setosa </i>Subjected to Drought Stress</strong>]]> The ascorbate-glutathione (ASC-GSH) cycle has an important role in defensive processes against oxidative damage generated by drought stress. In this study, the changes that take place in apoplastic and symplastic ASC-GSH cycle enzymes of the leaf and petiole were investigated under drought stress causing leaf rolling in Ctenanthe setosa (Rose.) Eichler (Marantaceae). Apoplastic and symplastic extractions of leaf and petiole were performed at different visual leaf rolling scores from 1 to 4 (1 is unrolled, 4 is tightly rolled and the others are intermediate forms). Glutathione reductase (GR), a key enzyme in the GSH regeneration cycle, and ascorbate (ASC) were present in apoplastic spaces of the leaf and petiole, whereas dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR), which uses glutathione as reductant, monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR), which uses NAD(P)H as reductant, and glutathione were absent. GR, DHAR and MDHAR activities increased in the symplastic and apoplastic areas of the leaf. Apoplastic and symplastic ASC and dehydroascorbate (DHA), the oxidized form of ascorbate, rose at all scores except score 4 of symplastic ASC in the leaf. On the other hand, while reduced glutathione (GSH) content was enhanced, oxidized glutathione (GSSG) content decreased in the leaf during rolling. As for the petiole, GR activity increased in the apoplastic area but decreased in the symplastic area. DHAR and MDHAR activities increased throughout all scores, but decreased to the score 1 level at score 4. The ASC content of the apoplast increased during leaf rolling. Conversely, symplastic ASC content increased at score 2, however decreased at the later scores. While the apoplastic DHA content declined, symplastic DHA rose at score 2, but later was down to the level of score 1. While GSH content enhanced during leaf rolling, GSSG content did not change except at score 2. As well, there were good correlations between leaf rolling and ASC-GSH cycle enzyme activities in the leaf (GR and DHAR) and leaf rolling and GSSG. These results showed that in apoplastic and symplastic areas, ASC-GSH cycle enzymes leading ROS detoxification may have a role in controlling leaf rolling. <![CDATA[Synergistic interaction of <i>Helichrysum pedunculatum </i>leaf extracts with antibiotics against wound infection associated bacteria]]> The effect of combinations of the crude methanolic extract of the leaves of Helichrysum pedunculatum and eight first-line antibiotics were investigated by time kill assays against a panel of bacterial strains that have been implicated in wound infections. The plant extract showed appreciable antibacterial activities against the test bacteria with zones of inhibition ranging between 18 and 27 mm, and minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) varying between 0.1 and 5.0 mg/ml. The MICs of the test antibiotics range between 0.001 and 0.412 mg/ml, and combination of the plant extract and the antibiotics resulted in reduction of bacterial counts by between 0 and 6.63 Log10 cfu/ml. At V2 MIC, 56.81% synergy; 43.19% indifference and no antagonism were observed, and at MIC levels, 55.68% synergy; 44.32% indifference and no antagonism were observed when the extracts were combined with eight different antibiotics. In all, 60% of the interactions were synergistic. All combination regimes on Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538 yielded no synergy, neither was antagonism detected in any of the assays. We propose that extracts of the leaves of Helichrysum pedunculatum could be of relevance in combination therapy and as a source of resistance modifying principies that could be useful as treatment options for persistent wound infections. <![CDATA[<strong>Studies on the biocidal and cell membrane disruption potentials of stem bark extracts of <i>Afzelia africana </i>(Smith)</strong>]]> We had recently reported antibacterial activity in the crude extract of the stem bark of Afzelia africana (Akinpelu et al., 2008). In this study, we assessed the biocidal and cell membrane disruption potentials of fractions obtained from the crude extract of the plant. The aqueous (AQ) and butanol (BL) fractions exhibited appreciable antibacterial activities against the test bacteria. The minimum inhibitory concentrations of the AQ and BL fractions ranged between 0.313 and 2.5 mg/ml, while their minimum bactericidal concentrations varied between 0.625 and 5.0 mg/ml. Also, the AQ fraction killed about 95.8% of E. coli cells within 105 min at a concentration of 5 mg/ml, while about 99.1% of Bacillus pumilus cells were killed by this fraction at the same concentration and exposure time. A similar trend was observed for the BL fraction. At a concentration of 5 mg/ml, the butanol fraction leaked 9.8 μg/ml of proteins from E. coli cells within 3 h, while the aqueous fraction leaked 6.5 μg/ml of proteins from the same organisms at the same concentration and exposure time. We propose that the stem bark of Afzelia africana is a potential source of bioactive compounds of importance to the pharmaceutical industry. <![CDATA[<strong>Antioxidant isolated from <i>Schisandra propinqua </i>(Wall.) Baill</strong>]]> Schisandra propinqua (Wall.) Baill.(Schisandraceae) is widely used as a Chinese folk medicine. In this study, activity-guided fractionation of the ethanol extract from the stem of Schisandra propinqua led to the isolation of four extracts. Subsequently, a neolignan 4,4-di(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenly)-2,3-dimethylbutanol was isolated from the EtOAc part of the stem of Schisandra propinqua, the free radical scavenging activities of which were researched in vitro. The present work demonstrated that extracts and pure compound possessed scavenging activities to DPPH, superoxide anions and hydroxy radical, and could depress lipid peroxidation reaction induced by oxygen radical produced by the Fe2+/cysteine system in vitro. This suggests that the traditional application of Schisandra propinqua in China may be related to its antioxidant activities, and the EtOAc part of the stems of Schisandra propinqua can be utilized as an effective source of antioxidants. <![CDATA[<strong>Reversed phase HPLC determination of zidovudine in rat plasma and its pharmacokinetics after a single intranasal dose administration</strong>]]> The development and validation of a simple and accurate method based on HPLC with ultraviolet detection for the quantification of zidovudine in rat plasma and its application to a pharmacokinetic study following a single intranasal dose zidovudine is described. Zidovudine was extracted from the plasma using a single-step deproteinization. Chromatographic separation of zidovudine from interfering components was achieved with a C-18 reverse phase column, a mobile phase consisting of a mixture of sodium acetate buffer (55mM) with pH adjusted to 7.0 and acetonitrile (91:9 v/v) and UV detection set at 265 nm. The method was linear from 100 to 10000 ng.mL"¹ (r² > 0.9995), and zidovudine had a mean recovery from plasma of 92.8%. The coefficient of variation of inter-day and intra-day quality control samples was less than 15%. After a single intranasal dose of zidovudine administered to rats, pharmacokinetic parameters (AUC0 24, Cmax, t , t1/2) were determined. The proposed method was found to be simple, specific, accurate, and precise and could be applied to the quantitative analysis of clinical pharmacokinetic studies of zidovudine in rats. <![CDATA[<strong>Discrepancy variation of dinucleotide microsatellite repeats in eukaryotic genomes</strong>]]> To address whether there are differences of variation among repeat motif types and among taxonomic groups, we present here an analysis of variation and correlation of dinucleotide microsatellite repeats in eukaryotic genomes. Ten taxonomic groups were compared, those being primates, mammalia (excluding primates and rodentia), rodentia, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles, insects, molluscs, plants and fungi, respectively. The data used in the analysis is from the literature published in the Journal of Molecular Ecology Notes. Analysis of variation reveals that there are no significant differences between AC and AG repeat motif types. Moreover, the number of alleles correlates positively with the copy number in both AG and AC repeats. Similar conclusions can be obtained from each taxonomic group. These results strongly suggest that the increase of SSR variation is almost linear with the increase of the copy number of each repeat motif. As well, the results suggest that the variability of SSR in the genomes of low-ranking species seem to be more than that of high-ranking species, excluding primates and fungi. <![CDATA[A semi-quantitative assay to screen for angiogenic compounds and compounds with angiogenic potential using the EA.hy926 endothelial cell line]]> Angiogenesis, the development of new capillary vessels, has a host of clinical manifestations. The identification of agents that increase or decrease angiogenesis is of great pharmaceutical interest. Classically, in vitro angiogenesis utilizes human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) grown in matrigel. This valid and simple method has the drawbacks that each cell population is distinct and the constraint of obtaining primary source material. Herein we utilize the established EA.hy926 endothelial cell line as our model for in vitro angiogenesis and present a novel formula to quantify endothelial cell remodeling to identify pro- and anti-angiogenic agents. Furthermore, our technique details the procedures to identify and quantify compounds that have the capacity to generate pro- or anti-angiogenic factors when given to non-endothelial cells, which we define herein as angiogenic potential. In conclusion, we propose a novel formula that we are confident accurately reflects the degree of in vitro angiogenesis allowing the quantification of prospective angiogenic compounds.