Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Biological Research]]> vol. 43 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Improving the editorial management</b>: <b>A new editorial panel</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Comparative analysis of two immunohistochemical methods for antigen retrieval in the optical lobe of the honeybee <i>Apis mellifera</i></b>: <b>Myosin-v assay</b>]]> The present study compared two heating methods currently used for antigen retrieval (AR) immunostaining: the microwave oven and the steam cooker. Myosin-V, a molecular motor involved in vesicle transport, was used as a neuronal marker in honeybee Apis mellifera brains fixed in formalin. Overall, the steam cooker showed the most satisfactory AR results. At 100 ºC, tissue morphology was maintained and revealed epitope recovery, while evaporation of the AR solution was markedly reduced; this is important for stabilizing the sodium citrate molarity of the AR buffer and reducing background effects. Standardization of heat-mediated AR of formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissue sections results in more reliable immunostaining of the honeybee brain. <![CDATA[<b>Stable expression of <i>Leptospira interrogans </i>antigens in auxotrophic <i>Mycobacterium bovis </i>BCG</b>]]> Mycobacterium bovis BCG has been proposed as an effective live vector for multivalent vaccines. The development of mycobacterial genetic systems to express foreign antigens and the adjuvanticity of BCG are the basis for the potential use of this attenuated mycobacterium as a recombinant vaccine vector. Stable plasmid vectors without antibiotic resistance markers are needed for heterologous antigen expression in BCG. Our group recently described the construction of a BCG expression system using auxotrophic complementation as a selectable marker. In this work, LipL32 and LigAni antigens of Leptospira interrogans were cloned and expressed in M. bovis BCG Pasteur and in the auxotrophic M. bovis BCG ΔleuD strains under the control of the M. leprae 18kDa promoter. Stability of the plasmids during in vitro growth and after inoculation of the recombinant BCG strains in hamsters was compared. The auxotrophic complementation system was highly stable, even during in vivo growth, as the selective pressure was maintained, whereas the conventional vector was unstable in the absence of selective pressure. These results confirm the usefulness of the new expression system, which represents a huge improvement over previously described expression systems for the development of BCG into an effective vaccine vector. <![CDATA[<b>Description of the immatures of <i>Linepithema humile </i>Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)</b>]]> Linepithema humile Mayr is an ant species originally native to South America that has been spread accidently throughout the globe through international trade. It is a serious urban and crop pest. Despite its economic importance, little is known about the larvae of this species apart from a brief description based on a few specimens. The present investigation is aimed at describing every immature stage of L. humile. Three larval instars were determined through the frequency distribution of the maximum width of head capsules from a sample of 525 larvae. The morphological descriptions were based on 150 eggs, 70 larvae, and 90 pupae examined by light and scanning electron microscopy. Some morphological characteristics reported to be typical of Linepithema Mayr larvae were confirmed - dolichoderoid body shape, presence of dorsal protuberance, sparse simple body hairs, presence of nine pairs of spiracles and dolichoderoid mandibles. We concluded that an earlier published description was based on queen larvae, and that the protuberance is only present in worker larvae. The information provided in this study may aid ant systematics and phylogenetics, as well provide a better understanding of the biology of this species. <![CDATA[<b>Cytotoxic activity of some marine brown algae against cancer cell lines</b>]]> The aim of this study was to investigate the in vitro cytotoxic activity of total extract of MeOH (70%) and partition fractions of hexan, chloroform (CHCL3), ethylacetate (EtOAc) and MeOH-H2O of brown algae species (Sargassum swartzii, Cystoseira myrica, Colpomenia sinuosa) found in the Persian Gulf against in different cell lines including HT-29, Caco-2, T47D, MDA-MB468 and NIH 3T3 cell lines by MTT and AnnexinV-PI assay. The hexan fraction of S. swartzii and C. myrica showed selective cytotoxicity against proliferation of Caco-2 cells (IC50<100 μg/ml) T47D cell line (IC50<100 μg/ml), respectively. S. swartzii and C. myrica were also observed for increasing apoptosis in Caco-2 and T47D cells. Total extract and fractions of C. sinuosa did not show any significant cytotoxicity against the studied cell lines. MDA-MB468 cells were more sensitive to C. myrica than was T47D (IC50 99.9±8.11 vs. 56.50‘± 0.88). This reflects an estrogen receptor independent mechanism for cytotoxicity of the extract. The IC50 of the hexan fraction of C. myrica on T47D parent cells was lower than it was on T47D-TR cells (IC50 99.9±8.11 vs. 143.15 ± 7.80). This finding suggests a role for the MDR-1 in the development of possible future tolerance to the extract. <![CDATA[<b>Nitric oxide is not involved in <i>Neisseria gonorrhoeae</i>-induced cellular damage of human Fallopian tubes in vitro</b>]]> In the present study, we investigated whether cellular damage, as demonstrated by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release in the human fallopian tube (FT) infected by Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ngo), correlated with high levels of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) mRNA and enzyme activity. Infection with Ngo induced a significant increase (~35-fold) in mRNA transcripts of the inducible isoform of NOS. Paradoxically, a reduction in NOS enzyme activity was observed in infected cultures, suggesting that gonococcal infection possibly influences translation of iNOS mRNA to the enzyme. In addition, treatment with the NOS inhibitor TRIM did not prevent gonococcal-induced cellular damage. In contrast, the addition of the inhibitor L-NAME induced a 40% reduction in LDH release, which correlated with a ~50% reduction in gonococcal numbers. Moreover, treatment of normal FT explants with an exogenous NO donor, SNAP, did not induce significant cellular damage. Taken together, our data suggest that NO does not contribute to cellular damage during infection of the human FT with Neisseria gonorrhoeae. <![CDATA[<b>Genetic relatedness of Brazilian <i>Colletotrichum truncatum </i>isolates assessed by vegetative compatibility groups and RAPD analysis</b>]]> The genetic variation among nine soybean-originating isolates of Colletotrichum truncatum from different Brazilian states was studied. Nitrate non-utilizing (nit) mutants were obtained with potassium chlorate and used to characterize vegetative compatibility reactions, heterokaryosis and RAPD profile. Based on pairings of nit mutants from the different isolates, five vegetative complementation groups (VCG) were identified, and barriers to the formation of heterokaryons were observed among isolates derived from the same geographic area. No complementation was observed among any of the nit mutants recovered from the isolate A, which was designed heterokaryon-self-incompatible. Based on RAPD analysis, a polymorphism was detected among the wild isolate C and their nit1 and NitM mutants. RAPD amplification, with five different primers, also showed polymorphic profiles among Brazilian C. truncatum isolates. Dendrogram analysis resulted in a similarity degree ranging between 0.331 and 0.882 among isolates and identified three RAPD groups. Despite the lack of a correlation between the RAPD analysis and the vegetative compatibility grouping, results demonstrated the potential of VCG analysis to differentiate C. truncatum isolates genotypically similar when compared by RAPD. <![CDATA[<b>Inhibition of peroxidase activity and scavenging of reactive oxygen species by astilbin isolated from <i>Dimorphandra mollis </i>(Fabaceae, Caesalpinioideae)</b>]]> Astilbin (5,7,3’,4’-tetrahydroxy-2,3-dihydroflavonol-3-ß-o-rhamnoside), a flavonoid with a large range of biological activities, was isolated from Dimorphandra mollis, a shrub common to the Brazilian Cerrado. The purpose of this study is to verify the effects of astilbin on myeloperoxidase (MPO) and horseradish peroxidase (HRP), and its antioxidant activity against hypochlorous acid (HOCl) and total antioxidant activity (TAC) by the 2,2’-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) radical cation (ABTS•+). Astilbin inhibited MPO and HRP activities in a concentration-dependent relationship and effectively scavenged HOCl. The TAC by ABTS•+ of astilbin (IC50 ~ 20 mM) was higher than that of uric acid, which was used as a positive control. These data demonstrate that astilbin is a potent antioxidant and that it inhibits MPO and HRP activities efficiently. <![CDATA[<b>Symmorphosis in the proximal pathway for oxygen in the leaf-eared mouse <i>Phyllotis darwini</i></b>]]> In this report, we explore the matching of structures to functional needs by comparing previously reported data of maximal oxygen consumption and the development of the lung in the leaf-eared mouse Phyllotis darwini in warm and cold environments. We discuss whether the state of structural design is commensurate with functional needs from regulated morphogenesis as predicted by the hypothesis of symmorphosis. We found a close match between respiratory structures and functional needs during postnatal development, expressed as safety factors close to unity. However, in the adult stage the safety factors were greater than two, which suggests that adult animals acquired a structure greater than that required considering their maximum capacities. A high safety factor in the respiratory system of adult mice may be a consequence of the symmorphosis that operates during ontogeny and does not necessarily support a rejection of this hypothesis. <![CDATA[<b>Effect of crocus sativus on gentamicin induced nephrotoxicity</b>]]> Crocus sativus, known as saffron, is used in folk medicine for treatment of different types of diseases, and its anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenging activities have been demonstrated. The present study evaluated gentamicin nephrotoxicity in saffron treated rats. Male Wistar rats (200-250g) were treated with saffron (40 or 80 mg/k/d) for 10 days, or saffron (40 or 80 mg/ kg/d) for 10 days and gentamicin 80 mg/kg/d for five days, starting from day 6. At the end of treatment, blood samples were taken for measurement of serum creatinine (SCr) and BUN. The left kidney was prepared for histological evaluation and the right kidney for Malondialdehyde (MDA) measurement. Gentamicin 80 (mg/k/d) increased SCr, BUN and renal tissue levels of MDA and induced severe histological changes. Saffron at 40 mg/k/d significantly reduced gentamicin-induced increases in BUN and histological scores (p<0.05). Gentamicin-induced increases in BUN, SCr and MDA and histological injury were significantly reduced by treatment with saffron 80 mg/k/d (p<0.05, p<0.001, p<0.05, and p<0.001 respectively). In conclusion, our results suggest that saffron treatment reduces gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity and this effect seems to be dose dependent. <![CDATA[<b>Effects of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) on rooting and root growth of kiwifruit (<i>Actinidia deliciosa</i>) stem cuttings</b>]]> The effects of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) on the rooting and root growth of semi-hardwood and hardwood kiwifruit stem cuttings were investigated. The PGPR used were Bacillus RC23, Paenibacillus polymyxa RC05, Bacillus subtilis OSU142, Bacillus RC03, Comamonas acidovorans RC41, Bacillus megaterium RC01 and Bacillus simplex RC19. All the bacteria showed indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) producing capacity. Among the PGPR used, the highest rooting ratios were obtained at 47.50% for semi-hardwood stem cuttings from Bacillus RC03 and Bacillus simplex RC19 treatments and 42.50% for hardwood stem cuttings from Bacillus RC03. As well, Comamonas acidovorans RC41 inoculations indicated higher value than control treatments. The results suggest that these PGPR can be used in organic nursery material production and point to the feasibility of synthetic auxin (IBA) replacement by organic management based on PGPR. <![CDATA[<b>Analysis of chlorophyll fluorescence reveals stage specific patterns of chloroplast-containing cells during Arabidopsis embryogenesis</b>]]> The basic body plan of a plant is established early in embryogenesis when cells differentiate, giving rise to the apical and basal regions of the embryo. Using chlorophyll fluorescence as a marker for chloroplasts, we have detected specific patterns of chloroplast-containing cells at specific stages of embryogenesis. Non-randomly distributed chloroplast-containing cells are seen as early as the globular stage of embryogenesis in Arabidopsis. In the heart stage of embryogenesis, chloroplast containing cells are detected in epidermal cells as well as a central region of the heart stage embryo, forming a triangular septum of chloroplast-containing cells that divides the embryo into three equal sectors. Torpedo stage embryos have chloroplast-containing epidermal cells and a central band of chloroplast-containing cells in the cortex layer, just below the shoot apical meristem. In the walking-stick stage of embryogenesis, chloroplasts are present in the epidermal, cortex and endodermal cells. The chloroplasts appear reduced or absent from the provascular and columella cells of walking-stick stage embryos. These results suggest that there is a tight regulation of plastid differentiation during embryogenesis that generates specific patterns of chloroplast-containing cells in specific cell layers at specific stages of embryogenesis. <![CDATA[<b>Protective effect of <i>Cassia fistula </i>Linn. on diethylnitrosamine induced hepatocellular damage and oxidative stress in ethanol pretreated rats</b>]]> Diethylnitrosamine (DEN), found in many commonly consumed foods, is widely reported to induce cancer in animals and humans. The aim of the present study was to investigate the hepatoprotective and antioxidant activities of the leaf extract of the medicinal plant Cassia fistula Linn. against diethylnitrosamine induced liver injury in ethanol pretreated rats. Albino Wistar rats, pretreated with ethanol for 15 days, were administered a single dose of DEN. Thirty days after DEN administration, hepatotocellular damage was observed histologically, along with elevated levels of serum AST, ALT, ALP, LDH, γ-GT and bilirubin and a simultaneous fall in the levels of the marker enzymes in the liver tissue. Liver oxidative stress was confirmed by elevated levels of lipid peroxidation (LPO) and a decrease in enzymic and non-enzymic antioxidants activities. Oral administration of the ethanolic leaf extract (ELE) of Cassia fistula for 30 days to ethanol + DEN treated rats significantly improved the above alterations in the markers of hepatotoxicity and oxidative stress, resulting in the reversal of most of the parameters studied and were comparable to the standard hepatoprotective drug silymarin. <![CDATA[<b>Effects of abiotic stress on biomass and anthocyanin production in cell cultures of <i>Melastoma malabathricum</i></b>]]> Plant cell cultures could be used as an important tool for biochemical production, ranging from natural coloring (pigments) to pharmaceutical products. Anthocyanins are becoming a very important alternative to synthetic dyes because of increased public concern over the safety of artificial food coloring agents. Several factors are responsible for the production of anthocynin in cell cultures. In the present study, we investigate the effects of different environmental factors, such as light intensity, irradiance (continuous irradiance or continuous darkness), temperature and medium pH on cell biomass yield and anthocyanin production in cultures of Melastoma malabathricum. Moderate light intensity (301 - 600 lux) induced higher accumulation of anthocyanins in the cells. The cultures exposed to 10-d continuous darkness showed the lowest pigment content, while the cultures exposed to 10-d continuous irradiance showed the highest pigment content. The cell cultures incubated at a lower temperature range (20 ± 2 ºC) grew better and had higher pigment content than those grown at 26 ± 2ºC and 29 ± 2ºC. Different medium pH did not affect the yield of cell biomass but anthocyanin accumulation was highest at pH 5.25 - 6.25.