Lampreys possess two T-like lymphocyte lineages that express either variable lymphocyte receptor (VLR) A or VLRC antigen receptors. VLRA(+) and VLRC(+) lymphocytes share many similarities with the two principal T-cell lineages of jawed vertebrates expressing the ?? and ?? T-cell receptors (TCRs). During the assembly of VLR genes, several types of genomic cassettes are inserted, in step-wise fashion, into incomplete germ-line genes to generate the mature forms of antigen receptor genes. Unexpectedly, the structurally variable components of VLRA and VLRC receptors often possess partially identical sequences; this phenomenon of module sharing between these two VLR isotypes occurs in both lampreys and hagfishes. By contrast, VLRA and VLRC molecules typically do not share their building blocks with the structurally analogous VLRB receptors that are expressed by B-like lymphocytes. Our studies reveal that VLRA and VLRC germ-line genes are situated in close proximity to each other in the lamprey genome and indicate the interspersed arrangement of isotype-specific and shared genomic donor cassettes; these features may facilitate the shared cassette use. The genomic structure of the VLRA/VLRC locus in lampreys is reminiscent of the interspersed nature of the TCRA/TCRD locus in jawed vertebrates that also allows the sharing of some variable gene segments during the recombinatorial assembly of TCR genes.
Abstract Paclitaxel (PTX) is a natural broad-spectrum anticancer drug with poor aqueous solubility. PTX nanocrystals were formulated to improve the water solubility, and PTX nanosuspensions were prepared using anti-solvent precipitation, and then organic solvent and surfactants were removed by filtering through a vacuum system. The physical characterization of PTX nanocrystals were measured by transmission electron microscope, X-ray diffraction and differential scanning calorimetry. In addition, saturation solubility, in vitro release, stability and pharmacokinetic characteristics were examined. The average particle size of PTX nanocrystals was ?200?nm, and they had a stable potential and a uniform distribution. Paclitaxel nanocrystals can effectively improve drug solubility and in vitro release. PTX pharmacokinetic and tissue distribution studies were compared after intravenous administration of nanocrystals versus a commercial injection formulation. PTX nanocrystals were rapidly distributed with a longer elimination phase. Moreover, tissue distribution indicated that PTX nanocrystals are mainly absorbed by the liver and spleen and may offer reduced renal and cardiovascular toxicity which may reduce side effects.
Most studies support the viewpoint that the vomeronasal organ has a profound effect on conspecific odor recognition, scent marking and mating behavior in the golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus). However, the role of the vomeronasal organ in social odor recognition, social interaction and fitness is not well understood. Therefore, we conducted a series of behavioral and physiological tests to examine the referred points in golden hamster. We found that male hamsters with vomeronasal organ lesion showed no preference between a predator odor (the anal gland secretion of the Siberian weasels (Mustela sibirica) and putative female pheromone components (myristic acid and palmitic acid), but were still able to discriminate between these 2 kinds of odors. In behavioral tests of anxiety, we found that vomeronasal organ removal causes female hamsters to spend much less time in center grids and to cross fewer center grids and males to make fewer crossings between light and dark boxes than sham-operated controls. This indicates that a chronic vomeronasal organ lesion induced anxious responses in females. In aggressive behavioral tests, we found that a chronic vomeronasal organ lesion decreased agonistic behavior in female hamsters but not in males. The pup growth and litter size show no differences between the 2 groups. All together, our data suggested that vomeronasal organ ablation disrupted the olfactory recognition of social chemosignals in males, and induced anxiety-like and aggressive behavior changes in females. However, a vomeronasal organ lesion did not affect the reproductive capacity and fitness of hamsters. Our studies may have important implications concerning the role of the vomeronasal organ in golden hamsters and also in rodents.
Cultivation of paddy rice for human consumption is a dominant agricultural activity throughout Asia. High levels of mercury (Hg) in rice grain pose a potential threat to human health, although the extent of risk is dependent on the chemical speciation of Hg inside the grain. We have investigated the speciation and localization of Hg in three fractions of rice grain (hull, bran, and white rice) collected from a Hg-contaminated region in China. On a mass basis, the majority of inorganic mercury (IHg) in a rice grain is found in hull and bran. However, the majority of the more toxic species methyl mercury (MeHg) is found in edible white rice. Our data show that during grain processing, most of the IHg (?78%) is eliminated, but the majority of the MeHg remains in the food product (?80%). Synchrotron radiation microscopic X-ray fluorescence (SR-?XRF) mapping shows strong localization of Hg at the surface of brown rice grains, corresponding to the pericarp and aleurone layer. We infer that this Hg is predominantly IHg absorbed from the atmosphere. Based on X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES) data we propose that IHg in bran is primarily bound to cysteine, and is associated with phytochelatins. Consequently, IHg is largely immobile and restricted to the outer layers of rice grain. MeHg in bran is primarily bound to cysteine and is associated with proteins. However, this MeHg-cysteine association behaves like a mobile nutrient and is actively transported to the endosperm during seed ripening. Concentration of MeHg-cysteine in white rice has implications for public health. There is growing evidence for Hg contamination of rice throughout Asia due to point and diffuse sources of Hg pollution. The magnitude of the associated risk must be quantified through better understanding of the localization and speciation of mercury in rice. Our work makes an effort to contribute to this understanding.
In this study, porous PLGA microparticles for the co-delivery of doxorubicin and PEI25K/p53 were successfully prepared by the water-oil-water emulsion solvent evaporation method, using ammonium bicarbonate as a porogen. The porous microparticles were obtained with a mean diameter of 22.9±11.8?m as determined by laser scattering particle size analysis. The particles' surface porous morphology and distributions of doxorubicin and p53 were systematically characterized by scanning electron microscopy, flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy, revealing that doxorubicin and the plasmid were successfully co-encapsulated. Encapsulation efficiencies of 88.2±1.7% and 36.5±7.5% were achieved for doxorubicin and the plasmid, respectively, demonstrating that the porous structure did not adversely affect payload encapsulation. Microparticles harboring both doxorubicin and PEI25K/p53 exhibited enhanced tumor growth inhibition and apoptosis induction compared to those loaded with either agent alone in A549 human lung adenocarcinoma cells. Overall, the porous PLGA microparticles provide a promising anticancer delivery system for combined chemotherapy and gene therapy, and have great potential as a tool for sustained local drug delivery by inhalation.
The immobilized thermophilic esterase from Archaeoglobus fulgidus was successfully constructed through the glutaraldehyde-mediated covalent coupling after its physical adsorption on a hydrophobic macroporous resin, Sepabeads EC-OD. Through 0.05% glutaraldehyde treatment, the prevention of enzyme leaching and the maintenance of catalytic activity could be simultaneously realized. Using the enzymatic ring-opening polymerization of ?-caprolactone as a model, effects of organic solvents and reaction temperature on the monomer conversion and product molecular weight were systematically investigated. After the optimization of reaction conditions, products were obtained with 100% monomer conversion and Mn values lower than 1010 g/mol. Furthermore, the cross?linked immobilized thermophilic esterase exhibited an excellent operational stability, with monomer conversion values exceeding 90% over the course of 12 batch reactions, still more than 80% after 16 batch reactions.
The authors studied the concentration of heavy metals and mercury fractionation in contaminated soil in 2 agricultural land use systems (paddy rice and dry land) at the Wanshan mercury mine in China. The average concentrations of chromium, lead, copper, nickel, and zinc were generally lower in paddy rice soil relative to corn field soil. Soil under corn field production was slightly contaminated with lead (22-100?mg/kg), copper (31-64?mg/kg), and nickel (22-76?mg/kg) and moderately contaminated with zinc (112-635?mg/kg). In both soils, correlation of these metals with the titanium concentration in the soil indicates a geogenic origin for each metal (lead, r?=?0.48; copper, r?=?0.63; nickel, r?=?0.47; zinc, r?=?0.48). The mercury and antimony concentration in soil was high under both cropping systems, and future remediation efforts should consider the potential environmental risk presented by these metals. The concentration of bioavailable mercury in soil ranged from 0.3?ng/g to 11?ng/g across the 2 cropping systems. The majority of mercury (>80%) was associated with organic matter and the residual fraction. However, soil under paddy rice production exhibited a significantly lower concentration of Fe/Mn oxide-bound mercury than that under corn field production. This may be a function of the reduction of Fe/Mn oxides in the paddy rice soil, with the subsequent release of adsorbed metals to the soil solution. Sequential change from corn field to paddy rice production, as practiced in Wanshan, should therefore be avoided. Mercury adsorbed to Fe/Mn oxides in corn field soil potentially could be released into the soil solution and be made available for biomethylation under the flooded water management conditions of a rice paddy.
In the past two decades, enzymatic polymerization has rapidly developed and become an important polymer synthesis technique. However, the range of polymers resulting from enzymatic polymerization could be further expanded through combination with chemical methods. This review systematically introduces recent developments in the combination of lipase-catalyzed polymerization with atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), kinetic resolution, reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT), click reaction and carbene chemistry to construct polymeric materials like block, brush, comb and graft copolymers, hyperbranched and chiral polymers. Moreover, it presents a thorough and descriptive evaluation of future trends and perspectives concerning chemoenzymatic polymerization. It is expected that combining enzymatic polymerization with multiple chemical methods will be an efficient tool for producing more highly advanced polymeric materials.
Jawless vertebrates (cyclostomes) have an alternative adaptive immune system in which lymphocytes somatically diversify their variable lymphocyte receptors (VLR) through recombinatorial use of leucine-rich repeat cassettes during VLR gene assembly. Three types of these anticipatory receptors in lampreys (VLRA, VLRB, and VLRC) are expressed by separate lymphocyte lineages. However, only two VLR genes (VLRA and VLRB) have been found in hagfish. Here we have identified a third hagfish VLR, which undergoes somatic assembly to generate sufficient diversity to encode a large repertoire of anticipatory receptors. Sequence analysis, structural comparison, and phylogenetic analysis indicate that the unique hagfish VLR is the counterpart of lamprey VLRA and the previously identified hagfish "VLRA" is the lamprey VLRC counterpart. The demonstration of three orthologous VLR genes in both lampreys and hagfish suggests that this anticipatory receptor system evolved in a common ancestor of the two cyclostome lineages around 480 Mya.
PARP-1 and MGMT play an important role in the DNA repair system and therefore have been implicated in human carcinogenesis. However, the association between the most studied PARP-1 rs1136410: T?>?C and MGMT rs12917: C?>?T polymorphism and risk of gastrointestinal (GI) cancers was reported with inconclusive results. Accordingly, a meta-analysis of 23 published case-control studies was conducted to assess the strength of association using crude odds ratios (ORs) with 95 % confidence intervals (CIs). Overall, the C allele of PARP-1 rs1136410: T?>?C polymorphism was significantly associated with increased susceptibility of GI cancers (homozygote comparison: OR?=?1.43, 95 % CI 1.14-1.81; heterozygote comparison: OR?=?1.18, 95 % CI 1.07-1.29; dominant model: OR?=?1.23, 95 % CI 1.12-1.35; recessive model: OR?=?1.30, 95 % CI 1.04-1.62; allelic comparison: OR?=?1.19, 95 % CI 1.07-1.32). In the subgroup analysis, still obvious associations were found in the Asian population, gastric cancer, and high-quality studies. For MGMT rs12917: C?>?T polymorphism, no obvious associations were found for all genetic models overall. However, in the subgroup analysis, we found that the T allele was significantly associated with reduced colorectal cancer risk for heterozygote (OR?=?0.83, 95 % CI 0.70-0.97) and dominant model (OR?=?0.84, 95 % CI 0.72-0.98). In conclusion, this meta-analysis suggests that the PARP-1 rs1136410: T?>?C polymorphism is a susceptibility factor for GI cancers, but the variant allele of MGMT rs12917: C?>?T polymorphism appears to be a protective factor for colorectal cancer. Large-scale and well-designed case-control studies are necessary to validate the risk identified in the present meta-analysis.
Mercury (Hg) speciation and mobility were determined in calcines and waste rocks collected from 9 Hg mines in China. Total Hg (THg) concentrations in the mine wastes varied widely in different Hg mines (with a range of 0.369 to 2,620 mg kg(-1)). Cinnabar is the dominant form of Hg in the mine wastes. However, Hg(2+) and Hg(0) concentrations in the calcines were significantly higher than these in the waste rocks, which suggested the retorting can produce large amounts of by-product Hg compounds. The THg and Hg(0) concentrations in certain mine wastes exceeded soil guidelines recommended by US Environmental Protection Agency; while total soluble Hg concentrations of leachates in certain mine wastes exceeded National Surface Water Quality Standard of China. Mine wastes are important Hg pollution sources to the aquatic ecosystem and atmosphere.
Amphibian skins act as the first line against noxious aggression by microorganisms, parasites, and predators. Anti-microorganism activity is an important task of amphibian skins. A large amount of gene-encoded antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) has been identified from amphibian skins. Only a few of small protease inhibitors have been found in amphibian skins. From skin secretions of 5 species (Odorrana livida, Hylarana nigrovittata, Limnonectes kuhlii, Odorrana grahami, and Amolops loloensis) of Ranidae frogs, 16 small serine protease inhibitor peptides have been purified and characterized. They have lengths of 17-20 amino acid residues (aa). All of them are encoded by precursors with length of 65-70 aa. These small peptides show strong trypsin-inhibitory abilities. Some of them can exert antimicrobial activities. They share the conserved GCWTKSXXPKPC fragment in their primary structures, suggesting they belong to the same families of peptide. Signal peptides of precursors encoding these serine protease inhibitors share obvious sequence similarity with those of precursors encoding AMPs from Ranidae frogs. The current results suggest that these small serine protease inhibitors are the common defensive compounds in frog skin of Ranidae as amphibian skin AMPs.
The level of mercury bioaccumulation in wild plants; the distribution of bioavailable Hg, elemental Hg, and total Hg in soil; and the concentration of total gaseous Hg (TGM) in ambient air was studied at three different mining sites (SiKeng [SK], WuKeng [WK], and GouXi [GX]) in the Wanshan mercury mining district of China. Results of the present study showed that the distribution of soil total Hg, elemental Hg, bioavailable Hg, and TGM varies across the three mining sites. Higher soil total Hg (29.4-1,972.3 mg/kg) and elemental Hg (19.03-443.8 mg/kg) concentrations were recorded for plots SK and WK than for plot GX. Bioavailable Hg was lower at plot SK and GX (SK, 3-12 ng/g; GX, 9-14 ng/g) than at plot WK (11-1,063 ng/g), although the TGM concentration in the ambient air was significantly higher for plot GX (52,723 ng/m(3) ) relative to WK (106 ng/m(3) ) and SK (43 ng/m(3)). Mercury in sampled herbage was elevated and ranged from 0.8 to 4.75 mg/kg (SK), from 2.17 to 34.38 mg/kg (WK), and from 47.45 to 136.5 mg/kg (GX). Many of the sampled plants are used as fodder or for medicinal purposes. High shoot Hg concentrations may therefore pose an unacceptable human health risk. Statistical analysis of the recorded data showed that the Hg concentration in plant shoots was positively correlated with TGM and that the Hg concentration in roots was positively correlated with the bioavailable Hg concentration in the soil. The bioaccumulation factor (BAF) in the present study was defined with reference to the concentration of bioavailable Hg in the soil (Hg([root]) /Hg([bioavail])). Three plant species, Macleaya cordata L., Achillea millefolium L., and Pteris vittata L., showed enhanced accumulation of Hg and therefore may have potential for use in the phytoremediation of soils of the Wanshan mining area.
Because of the immunogenicity and toxicity in vivo of large molecules such as lectins, the application of these molecules is remarkably restricted in drug delivery systems. In this study, to improve the brain drug delivery and reduce the immunogenicity of traditional lectin modified delivery system, Odorranalectin (OL, 1700 Da), a novel non-immunogenic small peptide, was selected to establish an OL-modified cubosomes (Cubs) system. The streptavidin (SA)-conjugated Cubs were prepared by incorporating maleimide-PEG-oleate and taking advantage of its thiol group binding reactivity to conjugate with 2-iminothiolane thiolated SA; mono-biotinylated OL was then coupled with the SA-modified Cubs. The OL-decorated Cubs (OL-Cubs) devised via a non-covalent SA-biotin "bridge" made it easy to conjugate OL and determine the number of ligands on the surface of the Cubs using sensitive chemiluminescent detection. Retention of the bio-recognitive activity of OL after covalent coupling was verified by hemagglutination testing. Nose-to-brain delivery characteristic of OL-Cubs was investigated by in vivo fluorescent biodistribution using coumarin-6 as a marker. The relative uptake of coumarin carried by OL-Cubs was 1.66- to 3.46-fold in brain tissues compared to that incorporated in the Cubs. Besides, Gly14-Humanin (S14G-HN) as a model peptide drug was loaded into cubosomes and evaluated for its pharmacodynamics on Alzheimers disease (AD) rats following intranasal administration by Morris water maze test and acetylcholinesterase activity determination. The results suggested that OL functionalization enhanced the therapeutic effects of S14G-HN-loaded cubosomes on AD. Thus, OL-Cubs might offer a novel effective and noninvasive system for brain drug delivery, especially for peptides and proteins.
Social dominance and agonistic behavior play important roles in animal societies. Melatonin and testosterone are closely related to social dominance and agonistic behavior in rodents, but interactions between both of them remain unknown. In this study we investigated the effects of testosterone and melatonin by manipulating photoperiod and castration on social dominance and agonistic behavior in male Tscheskia triton. Castration significantly decreases social dominance of both short- and long-day males, suggesting that testosterone benefits social dominance of males in both breeding and non-breeding seasons. In intact conditions, long-day males tended to dominate short-day males, suggesting that the effect of testosterone on social dominance was a little stronger than melatonin. However, castrated short-day males became dominant over their castrated long-day opponents meaning that high melatonin levels obviously benefit social dominance in males. Hormone implantation indicated that testosterone had no effect on non-breeding condition, but that melatonin was important during the breeding season. Our results indicate that both testosterone and melatonin are important in determining social dominance in male hamsters, and the effect of testosterone appears to be stronger than melatonin. Testosterone is responsible for aggression and social dominance in male hamsters during the breeding season, while melatonin regulates behavior during non-breeding, probably due to the different seasonal secretory patterns of the hormones.
Cathelicidins are a family of antimicrobial peptides acting as multifunctional effector molecules in innate immunity. Cathelicidin-BF has been purified from the snake venoms of Bungarus fasciatus and it is the first identified cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide in reptiles. In this study, cathelicidin-BF was found exerting strong antibacterial activities against Propionibacterium acnes. Its minimal inhibitory concentration against two strains of P. acnes was 4.7 µg/ml. Cathelicidin-BF also effectively killed other microorganisms including Staphylococcus epidermidis, which was possible pathogen for acne vulgaris. Cathelicidin-BF significantly inhibited pro-inflammatory factors secretion in human monocytic cells and P. acnes-induced O2.- production of human HaCaT keratinocyte cells. Observed by scanning electron microscopy, the surfaces of the treated pathogens underwent obvious morphological changes compared with the untreated controls, suggesting that this antimicrobial peptide exerts its action by disrupting membranes of microorganisms. The efficacy of cathelicidin-BF gel topical administering was evaluated in experimental mice skin colonization model. In vivo anti-inflammatory effects of cathelicidin-BF were confirmed by relieving P. acnes-induced mice ear swelling and granulomatous inflammation. The anti-inflammatory effects combined with potent antimicrobial activities and O2.- production inhibition activities of cathelicidin-BF indicate its potential as a novel therapeutic option for acne vulgaris.
Two antimicrobial peptides (piceain 1 and 2) derived from sequences encoded Picea sitchensis are identified. Their amino acid sequences are KSLRPRCWIKIKFRCKSLKF and RPRCWIKIKFRCKSLKF, respectively. One intra-molecular disulfide bridge is formed by these two half-cysteines in both piceain 1 and 2. Antimicrobial activities of synthesized piceains against several kinds of microorganisms were tested. They showed antimicrobial activities against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and fungus Candida albicans but little antimicrobial activity against Bacillus subtilis. The results of nematicidal test showed they exerted strong nematicidal activities against Caenorhabditis elegans, following exposure for 5 h at concentrations as low as 10 µg/ml. They had weak hemolytic abilities against human and rabbit red cells. At the concentration of 250 µg/ml, they induced red cell hemolysis of less than 5%. Circular dichroism spectra of the two antimicrobial peptides were investigated in several solutions. Their main secondary structure components are ?-sheet and random. The current work provides a novel family of antimicrobial and nematicidal peptides with unique disulfided loop containing nine amino acid residues.
According to the hard and soft acid-base principle, mercury is a soft metal and will preferentially form soluble chemical complexes with sulphur-containing ligands. In this work mercury uptake by Chenopodium glaucum L. growing on mercury-contaminated soil was promoted using ammonium thiosulphate. The relative geochemical fractionation of mercury in the soil was subsequently investigated as a function of plant growth with and without thiosulphate amendment. The results indicate that the solubility of mercury is significantly increased through the application of thiosulphate to the soil. Substantially higher mercury levels were found in C. glaucum L. treated with 2 g kg(-1) thiosulphate of soil when compared to the non-treated plants. Compared with initial soil, soluble and exchangeable fractions were increased both in planted and planted treated plants. However, no significant difference was observed between the soils of the planted and planted treated plants. The oxide-bound mercury concentration was significantly decreased for the planted soil (treated and non-treated) at the end of the experiment. Moreover, this fraction was highly correlated with the plant tissue mercury concentration. Taken together, thiosulphate assisted phytoextraction could be used to reduce environmental risk apparent for mercury-contaminated soil through reducing the oxide bound fractions, while managing the bioavailable fractions (compared with no treated plant).
Defensin genes encode small cationic antimicrobial peptides that form an important part of the innate immune system. They are divided into three families, alpha (?), beta (?), and theta (), according to arrangement of the disulfide bonding pattern between cysteine residues. Considering the functional importance of defensins, investigators have studied the evolution and the genomic organization of defensin genes. However, these studies have been restricted mainly to ?-defensins. To understand the evolutionary dynamics of ?-defensin genes among primates, we identified the ?-defensin repertoires in human, chimpanzee, orangutan, macaque, and marmoset. The ?-defensin genes in primates can be classified into three phylogenetic classes (class I, II, and III). The presence of all three classes in the marmoset indicates that their divergence occurred before the separation of New World and Old World monkeys. Comparative analysis of the ?-defensin genomic clusters suggests that the makeup of the ?-defensin gene repertoires between primates is quite different, as their genes have undergone dramatic birth-and-death evolution. Analysis of the encoded peptides of the ?-defensin genes indicates that despite the overall high level of sequence divergence, certain amino acid residues or motifs are conserved within and between the three phylogenetic classes. The evolution of ?-defensins in primates, therefore, appears to be governed by two opposing evolutionary forces. One force stabilizes specific amino acid residues and motifs to preserve the functional and structural integrity of the molecules and the other diversifies the sequences generating molecules with a wide range of activities against a large number of pathogens.
Ticks are blood-feeding arthropods that may secrete immunosuppressant molecules, which inhibit host inflammatory and immune responses and provide survival advantages to pathogens at tick bleeding sites in hosts. In the current work, two families of immunoregulatory peptides, hyalomin-A and -B, were first identified from salivary glands of hard tick Hyalomma asiaticum asiaticum. Three copies of hyalomin-A are encoded by an identical gene and released from the same protein precursor. Both hyalomin-A and -B can exert significant anti-inflammatory functions, either by directly inhibiting host secretion of inflammatory factors such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha, monocyte chemotectic protein-1, and interferon-gamma or by indirectly increasing the secretion of immunosuppressant cytokine of interleukin-10. Hyalomin-A and -B were both found to potently scavenge free radical in vitro in a rapid manner and inhibited adjuvant-induced inflammation in mouse models in vivo. The JNK/SAPK subgroup of the MAPK signaling pathway was involved in such immunoregulatory functions of hyalomin-A and -B. These results showed that immunoregulatory peptides of tick salivary glands suppress host inflammatory response by modulating cytokine secretion and detoxifying reactive oxygen species.
More than ten bradykinin-related peptides and their cDNAs have been identified from amphibians, but their genes are unknown. In present study, four cDNAs encoding one, two, four and six copies of bradykinin-related peptides were cloned from the frog (Odorrana grahami) skin cDNA library, respectively. Three bradykinin-related peptides (bradykinin, Thr6-bradykinin, Leu5Thr6-bradykinin) were deduced from these four cDNA sequences. Based on the cDNA sequence, the gene sequence encoding an amphibian bradykinin-related peptide from O. grahami was determined. It is composed of 7481 base pairs including two exons and two introns. The first exon codes signal peptide and the second exon codes acidic spacer peptide and Thr6-bradykinin. The promoter region of the bradykinin gene contains several putative recognition sites for nuclear factors, such as SRY, GATA-1, LYF-1, DeltaE, CDXA, NKX-2.5, MIF1 and S8. The current work may facilitate to understand the regulation and possible functions of amphibian skin bradykinin-related peptides.
Much attention has been paid on amphibian peptides for their wide-ranging pharmacological properties, clinical potential, and gene-encoded origin. More than 300 antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) from amphibians have been studied. Peptidomics and genomics analysis combined with functional test including microorganism killing, histamine-releasing, and mast cell degranulation was used to investigate antimicrobial peptide diversity. Thirty-four novel AMPs from skin secretions of Rana nigrovittata were identified in current work, and they belong to 9 families, including 6 novel families. Other three families are classified into rugosin, gaegurin, and temporin family of amphibian AMP, respectively. These AMPs share highly conserved preproregions including signal peptides and spacer acidic peptides, while greatly diversified on mature peptides structures. In this work, peptidomics combined with genomics analysis was confirmed to be an effective way to identify amphibian AMPs, especially novel families. Some AMPs reported here will provide leading molecules for designing novel antimicrobial agents.
Agonistic behavior is crucial for conspecific members to maintain a social hierarchy, optimum population density, and high fitness. It is known that agonistic behavior and social ranking often interact with hormones such as testosterone (T) and glucocorticoids (GCs). The challenge hypothesis states that T levels in males are promoted by the agonistic behaviors of other males and has been widely testified in many taxa of vertebrates, even in humans, but seldom attempted in rodents. Here, we examined how fecal T and corticosterone (CORT) concentrations changed during prolonged social conflict in male greater long-tailed hamsters (Tscheskia triton). Dyads were subjected to 5 min staged encounters daily for 15 days during which agonistic and social behaviors were recorded and fecal hormone concentrations were determined by radioimmunoassay. Our results showed that pairwise male hamsters developed overt and stable dominant-subordinate relationships rapidly and that the agonistic behavior decreased over the course of the experiment. Dominant males exhibited more frequent flank marking and locomotion and shorter latency to initial attack than their subordinate counterparts. Testosterone levels were significantly increased in both dominant and subordinate males during early encounters, but T and CORT levels were higher in subordinate males. After five encounters, we found no difference between hormone levels and behavior for all males, implying some kind of behavioral and physiological habituation. This complex pattern of hormonal change during social conflict is discussed and correlations between behavioral and physiological habituation are hypothesized.
Jawless vertebrates use variable lymphocyte receptors (VLR) comprised of leucine-rich-repeat (LRR) segments as counterparts of the immunoglobulin-based receptors that jawed vertebrates use for antigen recognition. Highly diverse VLR genes are somatically assembled by the insertion of variable LRR sequences into incomplete germline VLRA and VLRB genes. Here we show that in sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) VLRA and VLRB anticipatory receptors are expressed by separate lymphocyte populations by monoallelic VLRA or VLRB assembly, together with expression of cytosine deaminase 1 (CDA1) or 2 (CDA2), respectively. Distinctive gene expression profiles for VLRA(+) and VLRB(+) lymphocytes resemble those of mammalian T and B cells. Although both the VLRA and the VLRB cells proliferate in response to antigenic stimulation, only the VLRB lymphocytes bind native antigens and differentiate into VLR antibody-secreting cells. Conversely, VLRA lymphocytes respond preferentially to a classical T-cell mitogen and upregulate the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokine genes interleukin-17 (IL-17) and macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF). The finding of T-like and B-like lymphocytes in lampreys offers new insight into the evolution of adaptive immunity.
Chemical signaling plays an important role in spider sexual communication, yet the chemistry of spider sex pheromones remains poorly understood. Unlike insects and mammals, the identification of spider pheromones has seldom been attempted, and no multicomponent pheromones have been found. Empty webs of sexually receptive females of Pholcus beijingensis were more attractive to male conspecifics as compared to webs of sexually unreceptive females or to mature males. Coincidently, chemical analysis revealed that (E,E)-farnesyl acetate, diisobutyl phthalate, and hexadecyl acetate of the spider webs exhibited higher relative abundances in sexually receptive females than in sexually unreceptive females or males, indicative of possible pheromone components. Two-choice behavioral assays verified that the blend of (E,E)-farnesyl acetate and hexadecyl acetate (w/w: 2:1) attracted males at a dosage equivalent to the amounts of these compounds in one spider web, whereas neither compound alone aroused males. In addition, diisobutyl phthalate (a likely contaminant from contact with plastic) alone or in combination with either of the acetates did not evoke the males attraction. The behavioral data suggest that (E,E)-farnesyl acetate and hexadecyl acetate comprise a two-component female-produced sex pheromone in P. beijingensis, the first multicomponent pheromone found in spiders.
Thienorphine hydrochloride (ThH) is a highly insoluble and readily metabolized partial-opioid agonist. It is used for the treatment of pain and heroin addiction. This study aimed to formulate and evaluate sublingual delivery systems containing ThH. Dimethyl-?-cyclodextrin (DM-?-CD) can enhance the solubility and permeability of hydrophobic drugs. In this paper, ThH cyclodextrin inclusion complexes were prepared and administrated sublingually with the objective of improving the drugs aqueous solubility, in vitro permeation rate, and in vivo absorption rate. The formulation was prepared with DM-?-CD using the freeze-dried method and characterized using phase solubility, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), X-ray and NMR analyses. The results of each test indicated the formation of dynamic inclusion complexes between ThH and DM-?-CD. The inclusion complexes also showed significant increases in in vitro aqueous solubility and mucosal permeability. According to the pharmacokinetic study of the complex in rats, the AUC and C(max) values of the sublingual delivery group were 40 and 46 times higher than those of the gastrointestinal group, whereas t(max) was shorter, which proved that in vivo absorption and metabolism had been improved. It can therefore be concluded that the inclusion technology and sublingual delivery system were suitable for ThH development.
Five novel antimicrobial peptides (temporin-LK1, rugosin-LK1, rugosin-LK2, gaegurin-LK1, and gaegurin-LK2) are purified and characterized from Kuhls wart frog skin secretions, Limnonectes kuhlii. They share obvious similarity to temporin, rugosin, and gaegurin antimicrobial peptide family, respectively. Their amino acid sequences were determined by Edman degradation and mass spectrometry, and further confirmed by cDNA cloning. Nine cDNA sequences encoding precursors of these five purified antimicrobial peptides and other four hypothetical antimicrobial peptides were cloned from the skin cDNA library of L. kuhlii. The deduced precursors are composed of a predicted signal peptide, an acidic spacer peptide, and a mature antimicrobial peptide. Most of them showed strong antimicrobial activities against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and fungi. The current work identified and characterized three families of antimicrobial peptides from L. kuhlii skins and confirmed that the genus of Limnonectes amphibians share similar antimicrobial peptide families with the genus of Rana amphibians. In addition, a unique antimicrobial peptide (temporin-LK1) with 17 residues including four phenylalanines, which is significantly different from other temporins (16 residues, one or two phenylalanines), was identified in this work. Such unique structure might provide novel template or leading structure to design antimicrobial agents.
Environmental contamination caused by mercury is a serious problem worldwide. Coal combustion, mercury and gold mining activities and industrial activities have led to an increase in the mercury concentration in soil. The objective of this paper is to present an up-to-date understanding of the available techniques for the remediation of soil contaminated with mercury through considering: mercury contamination in soil, mercury speciation in soil; mercury toxicity to humans, plants and microorganisms, and remediation options. This paper describes the commonly employed and emerging techniques for mercury remediation, namely: stabilization/solidification (S/S), immobilization, vitrification, thermal desorption, nanotechnology, soil washing, electro-remediation, phytostabilization, phytoextraction and phytovolatilization.
Mercury uptake was induced in two cultivars of Brassica juncea under field conditions using thiosulfate. Analysis was conducted to better understand the mechanism of uptake, speciation of mercury in plants, and redistribution of mercury in the soil. Plant mercury and sulfur concentrations were increased after thiosulfate treatment, and a linear correlation between mercury and sulfur was observed. Mercury may be absorbed and transported in plants as the Hg-thiosulfate complex. The majority of mercury in treated plant tissues (two cultivars) was bound to sulfur in a form similar to ?-HgS (66-94%). Remaining mercury was present in forms similar to Hg-cysteine (1-10%) and Hg-dicysteine (8-28%). The formation of ?-HgS may relate to the transport and assimilation of sulfate in plant tissues. Mercury-thiosulfate complex could decompose to mercuric and sulfate ions in the presence of free protons inside the plasma membrane, while sulfide ions would be produced by the assimilation of sulfate. The concomitant presence of mercuric ions and S(2-) would precipitate ?-HgS. The mercury concentration in the rhizosphere decreased in the treated relative to the nontreated soil. The iron/manganese oxide and organic-bound fractions of soil mercury were transformed to more bioavailable forms (soluble and exchangeable and specifically sorbed) and taken up by plants.
Poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles (PLGA-NP) have been extensively used as a drug delivery system for proteins and peptides. However, their negative surface charge decreases bioavailability under oral administration. Recently, cationically modified PLGA-NP has been introduced as novel carriers for oral delivery. The characteristics of the nanoparticles, such as particle size, surface charge, and bioadhesion are considered the most significant determinants of the effect of these nanoparticles both in vitro and in vivo. Our aim was to introduce and evaluate the physiochemical characteristics, bioadhesion, and biological activity of positively charged chitosan-coated PLGA-NP (CS-PLGA-NP), using insulin as a model drug. Results were compared to those of common negatively charged PLGA-NP and the in vitro cytotoxicity of the two types of nanoparticles was examined. These results indicate that both CS-PLGA-NP and PLGA-NP had a narrow size distribution, averaging less than 150 nm. CS-PLGA-NP was positively charged (+43.1 ± 0.3 mV), exhibiting the cationic nature of chitosan, whereas PLGA-NP showed a negative surface charge (-1.72 ± 0.2 mV). CS-PLGA-NP exhibited stronger bioadhesive potency than PLGA-NP and much greater relative pharmacological availability with regard to orally delivered insulin. In addition, an evaluation of cytotoxicity by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay showed no increase in toxicity in either kind of nanoparticle during the formulation process. The study proves that CS-PLGA-NP can be used as a vector in oral drug delivery systems for proteins and peptides due to its positive surface charge and bioadhesive properties.
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