Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Biological Research]]> vol. 44 num. 4 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<strong>Slow axoplasmic transport under scrutiny</strong>]]> The origin of axoplasmic proteins is central for the biology of axons. For over fifty years axons have been considered unable to synthesize proteins and that cell bodies supply them with proteins by a slow transport mechanism. To allow for prolonged transport times, proteins were assumed to be stable, i.e., not degraded in axons. These are now textbook notions that configure the slow transport model (STM). The aim of this article is to cast doubts on the validity of STM, as a step toward gaining more understanding about the supply of axoplasmic proteins. First, the stability of axonal proteins claimed by STM has been disproved by experimental evidence. Moreover, the evidence for protein synthesis in axons indicates that the repertoire is extensive and the amount sizeable, which disproves the notion that axons are unable to synthesize proteins and that cell bodies supply most axonal proteins. In turn, axoplasmic protein synthesis gives rise to the metabolic model (MM). We point out a few inconsistencies in STM that MM redresses. Although both models address the supply of proteins to axons, so far they have had no crosstalk. Since proteins underlie every conceivable cellular function, it is necessary to re-evaluate in-depth the origin of axonal proteins. We hope this will shape a novel understanding of the biology of axons, with impact on development and maintenance of axons, nerve repair, axonopathies and plasticity, to mention a few fields. <![CDATA[Regulation of Pax7 protein levels by caspase-3 and proteasome activity in differentiating myoblasts]]> The transcription factor Pax7 negatively regulates the activity of the muscle regulatory transcription factor MyoD, preventing muscle precursor cells from undergoing terminal differentiation. In this context, the ratio between Pax7 and MyoD protein levels is thought to be critical in allowing myogenesis to proceed or to maintain the undifferentiated muscle precursor state. We have previously shown that Pax7 is subject to rapid down regulation in differentiating myoblasts, via a proteasome-dependent pathway. Here we present evidence indicating that Pax7 is also subject to caspase-3-dependent regulation. Furthermore, simultaneous inhibition of caspase-3 and proteasome activity induced further accumulation of Pax7 protein in differentiating myoblasts. These results suggest that at early stages of muscle differentiation, Pax7 levels are regulated by at least two independent mechanisms involving caspase-3 and proteasome activity. <![CDATA[Porcine oviduct sperm binding glycoprotein and its deleterious effect on sperm: a mechanism for negative selection of sperm?]]> In their journey through the oviduct some subpopulations of sperm are preserved in a reservoir, while others are negatively selected. Sperm binding glycoprotein (SBG) is a pig oviductal epithelial cell glycoprotein that produces, under capacitating conditions, acrosome alteration, p97 tyrosine-phosphorylation and reduction of the motility of sperm. In this paper, we show that SBG is accessible at the extracellular surface of the oviductal epithelial cells, supporting a sperm interaction biological role in situ. We analyze the possible dependence of the tyrosine-phosphorylation of p97 on the PKA mechanism, finding that apparently it is not PKA dependent. Also, after SBG treatment the phosphorylated proteins locate mainly at the detached periacrosomal region and at the tail of sperm; the latter may be related to SBG's motility reduction effect. The study of the time course effect of SBG on sperm as detected by chlortetracycline (CTC) staining and of its binding to sperm by immunodetection in conjunction with CTC, shows results in agreement with the hypothesis that this glycoprotein is involved in the alteration of acrosomes in a specific sperm subpopulation. The results suggest that SBG may be part of a mechanism for negative selection of sperm. <![CDATA[<strong>Accumulation of Antioxidants in Apricot Fruit through Ripening</strong>: <strong>Characterization of a Genotype with Enhanced Functional Properties</strong>]]> Two apricot genotypes, 'Gonci magyarkajszi' and 'Preventa' were assayed at three ripening stages for flesh color indices (L*, a*, b*, C* and Hº), contents of total phenolics and vitamin C, and both water- and lipid-soluble antioxidant capacities (ferric reducing antioxidant power; 2,2'-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl scavenging activity; total radical scavenging activity; and Photochem lipid-soluble antioxidant capacity) to compare their dynamics in the accumulation of antioxidant compounds and capacities through ripening. The increase in a*, b* and C* and decrease in Hº during ripening represented a color shift from green to yellow and orange due to carotenoid accumulation. Parallel to carotenoid accumulation, contents of total phenolics and vitamin C and antioxidant capacity increased significantly (p < 0.05) from unripe to fully ripe fruits. More phenolics and vitamin C accumulated in fully ripe fruits of 'Preventa' than 'Gonci magyarkajszi'. The accumulation patterns of these compounds were different: while the vitamin C contents in unripe fruit of 'Preventa' and 'Gonci magyarkajszi' were identical (approx. 6 mg/100 g fresh weight), unripe 'Preventa' contained even more phenolics (approx. 12 mmolGA/l) than fully ripe 'Gonci magyarkajszi' (8 mmolGA/l). Our results confirm that fully ripe 'Preventa' fruits are characterized by outstanding functional properties due to the increased accumulation of vitamin C and phenolics throughout the ripening process. <![CDATA[<strong>Genetic characterization of pomegranate <i>(Punica granatum</i> L.) genotypes by AFLP markers</strong>]]> The Coruh Valley, located in Northeastern Turkey, is one of the most important centers of diversity in pomegranate in Turkey. In this study, we attempted to characterize 19 promising pomegranate genotypes originating from the Coruh Valley in using fluorescent dye AFLP markers and capillary electrophoresis. Four AFLP primer combinations were used, generating a total of 297 fragments, 213 of which were polymorphic (73.0%). Resolving powers of the AFLP primers ranged from 0.700 to 1.018, with a total of 3.440, while polymorphism information contents ranged from 0.707 to 0.837 with an average of 0.764. UPGMA clustering of the genotypes showed two major groups. Most of the fruit characteristics of the genotypes within the same group were variable. Therefore, the results showed that molecular characterization is necessary to get reliable relationships among pomegranate genotypes and AFLP markers can be used effectively in pomegranate. <![CDATA[<strong>The PcACE1 transcription factor from <i>Phanerochaete chrysosporium</i> contains a Cys- and Ser-rich transactivation domain</strong>]]> Transcription factor Ace1 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae regulates the expression of target genes when the copper concentration reaches 200 ìÌ levels. We are studying the ortholog of Ace1 from fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium PcACE1, isolated by complementation in yeast. In this report we show the localization of the transactivation region of PcACE1. Different PcACE1 fragments were ligated in frame to the GAL4 DNA-binding domain by site-directed mutagenesis in a suitable yeast expression vector. Transformation of an appropriate Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain was used as host. This strain contains the fusion GAL1:lacZ in its genome under the control of promoter sequences recognized by GAL4. Finally, we measured â-galactosidase activity in each yeast clone. The activation of the reporter gene is proportional to the transactivation capacity of the transcription factor PcACE1. The results obtained indicate that PcACE1 transactivation domain is located in the carboxy terminal half and contains an array of cysteines in the form of Cys-X-Cys and Cys-X2-Cys and a 60% of Ser. Therefore, these results show that this type of Cys motif can function as transcription activating domain not only in transcription factors that respond to minimal copper concentrations but also in those that respond to high copper concentrations. This is the first transactivation domain reported in a basidiomycete fungus. <![CDATA[<strong>Trait anxiety affects the orofacial nociceptive response in rats</strong>]]> The aims of the present study were to assess the influence of: a) trait anxiety on orofacial pain; and b) orofacial pain on state anxiety. Forty-four rats were initially exposed to the free-exploratory paradigm for the evaluation of their anxiety profiles. In accordance to the parameter "Percentage of time in the novel side", the animals were considered as presenting high or low levels of trait anxiety when presenting values below the 1st quartile, or above the 3rd quartile, respectively. A week later, formalin-1.5% was injected into the upper lip of each animal. The behavioural nociceptive response, characterized by increased orofacial rubbing (OR), was quantified for 30 minutes, as follows: Total time OR (0-30 minutes: total pain), 1st phase OR (0-6 minutes: neurogenic pain), and 2nd phase OR (12-30 minutes: inflammatory pain). Immediately after this test, but still under the effect of formalin, the rats were submitted to the Elevated Plus-maze test (EPM). The results showed that the high trait anxiety individuals presented higher frequency of OR than the low trait anxiety ones, except during the neurogenic pain period. However, no correlation was found between OR frequency and levels of state anxiety presented on the EPM. In conclusion, the animals presenting higher anxiety profiles were the most susceptible to orofacial pain, nevertheless, orofacial pain did not influence state anxiety. <![CDATA[<strong>Anti-inflammatory and redox-protective activities of citronellal</strong>]]> The anti-inflammatory and redox protective effects of the citronellal (CT) were evaluated using in vivo and in vitro tests. Intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of CT (50, 100, and 200 mg/kg) inhibited (p < 0.05) the carrageenan-induced leukocyte migration to the peritoneal cavity. Additionally, the carrageenan- and arachidonic acid-induced rat hind paw edema was significantly inhibited (p < 0.05) by i.p. administration of 100 and 200 mg/kg of the compound. When the redox activity was evaluated, CT (200 mg/kg) significantly reduced hepatic lipoperoxidation (p < 0.001), as well as oxidation of plasmatic (p < 0.05) and hepatic (p < 0.01) proteins. The results of the present study support the hypothesis that CT possesses anti-inflammatory and redox protective activities. It is suggested that its effects are associated with the inhibition of the enzymes in the arachidonic acid pathway, which prevent cell migration by inhibiting leukotriene production, edema formation and the increase of reactive oxygen species in tissues. Therefore, CT is of potential benefit to manage inflammatory disorders and correlated damages caused by oxidant agents. <![CDATA[<b>High-level expression of modified gene encoding human adiponectin in transgenic rice</b>]]> Adiponectin is a polypeptide specifically secreted from human adipocytes, and its deficiency is closely linked to increased obesity and type II diabetes. There is an urgent demand for large-scale production of human adiponectin for pharmaceutical applications. Here, we report that we have successfully obtained a high-level of expression of modified genes encoding human adiponectin in transgenic rice. The 735 bp cDNA of the native human sequence was adopted to rice codon usage, fused to the translation initiation sequence in the N terminus and to the KDEL signal sequence in the C terminus. An amplification promoting sequence acting as an enhancer of transcription was also introduced to enhance gene expression. The presence of the transgene and mRNA transcripts was confirmed by PCR, Southern blot and RT-PCR. Western blot analysis revealed that a protein of approximately 30 kDa was produced in rice leaves. ELISA analysis was used to determine the amount of recombinant adiponectin in transformants with the modified gene in up to 0.32% of total soluble leaf protein. Our results establish the feasibility of high-level expression of recombinant human adiponectin in transgenic rice. <![CDATA[<strong>Elevated yield of Monacolin K in <i>Monascus purpureus</i> by fungal elicitor and mutagenesis of UV and LiCl</strong>]]> In China, Monascus spp., a traditional fungus used in fermentation, is used as a natural food additive. Monascus spp. can produce a secondary metabolite, monacolin K namely, which is proven to be a cholesterol-lowering and hypotensive agent. Hence, recently, many researchers have begun focusing on how to increase the production of monacolin K by Monascus purpureus. In the present study, we investigated the effect of the fungal elicitor and the mutagenesis of UV & LiCl on the amount of monacolin K produced by Monascus purpureus. The fugal elicitor, Sporobolomyces huaxiensis, was isolated from tea leaves and its filtrate was added into the culture filtrate of Monascus purpureus during growth to induct the production of monacolin K. The results showed that the highest amount of monacolin K produced by the liquid fermentation was 446.92 mg/mL, which was produced after the fungal elicitor was added to the culture filtrate of Monascus purpureus on the day 4; this amount was approximately 6 times greater than that of the control culture filtrate, whereas the highest amount of monacolin K produced by the mutated strain was 3 times greater than the control culture after the irradiation of UV light in the presence of 1.0 % LiCl in the medium. <![CDATA[<strong><i>Mycoplasma hyorhinis</i></strong><strong> and <i>Mycoplasma fermentans</i> induce cell apoptosis and changes in gene expression profiles of 32D cells</strong>]]> Infection of mycoplasmas has been linked to various human diseases including arthritis, pneumonia, infertility and cancer. While Mycoplasma hyorhinis and Mycoplasma fermentans have been detected in gastric adenocarcinomas, the mechanisms underlyine the pathogenesis are unknown. In this study, cell growth kinetics, Hoechst 33258 staining, DNA ladder assays, Western blotting analysis and cDNA microarray assays were performed to investigate the roles of M. hyorhinis and M. fermentans during infection of mammalian cells. Our data demonstrated that these mycoplasmas inhibid the growth of immortalised cell lines (32D and COS-7) ane tumor cell lines (HeLa and AGS). In addition, the infection of the 32D cell line with M. hyorhinis and M. fermentans induced compression of the nucleus, degradation of the cell genome and dysregulation of the expression of genes related to proliferation, apoptosis, tumorigenesis, signaling pathway and metabolism. Apoptosis related proteins Bcl-2, Bid and p53 were down-regulated, Fas was up-regulated and Bax was dysregulated in mycoplasma-infected 32D cells. Together, our data demonstrated that infection of mycoplasmas inhibitd cele growts through modification of gene expression profiles and post-translation modification of proliferation and apoptosis related proteins. <![CDATA[<strong>Human Sociogenetics</strong>]]> In three cities of Chile (Santiago, Valparaiso, Valdivia) the A allele and phenotype (ABO blood group) are more frequent in the higher socioeconomic strata (SES) and the O allele and phenotype are in the lower ones. This constitutes a structured sociogenetic cline (SGC). The B allele and phenotypes (B+AB) present a rather erratic or contradictory distribution among SES. This SGC was also found in England. The standard interpretation of the origin and maintenance of this SGC in Chile is founded on socio-ethno-historic-cultural and drift factors followed by socioeconomic assortative mating that has occurred since the origin of Chileans by the admixture of Europeans and Amerindians. This interpretation is insufficient to explain the coincidence of the cline in England and Chile, and for some findings in Chile. 1) The A and Rh(-) frequencies of the highest SES in Chile are significantly higher than those found in Europeans. 2) The B gene and phenotypes (with AB) behave differently and in contradiction to the socio-ethno-cultural-historical process. 3) There is a significant interaction of the SGC with gender in Chile and England. There is not at present a putative relationship between ABO and psycho-social factors that could account for this sociogenetic interaction. This SGC seems to be present in societies with a hierarchical organization in relation to power, prestige, ownership, income and life style, and when sampling includes the most extreme SES. It has not been found in two samples from Ireland and in a sample from Chile taken from a public hospital, probably because those variables and conditions were not ascertained.