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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
First evidence of intraclonal genetic exchange in trypanosomatids using two Leishmania infantum fluorescent transgenic clones.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis
PUBLISHED: 09-04-2014
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The mode of reproduction in Leishmania spp has been argued to be essentially clonal. However, recent data (genetic analysis of populations and co-infections in sand flies) have proposed the existence of a non-obligate sexual cycle in the extracellular stage of the parasite within the sand fly vector. In this article we propose the existence of intraclonal genetic exchange in the natural vector of Leishmania infantum.
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p,p-Dihydroxydihydrostilbenophanes related to antimitotic combretastatins. Conformational analysis and its relationship to tubulin inhibition.
J. Org. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 07-23-2014
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The structures of a new family of macrocyclic analogues of combretastatins B combining oxygenated substituents on the phenyl rings and indole rings are described. The effects of the stereochemistry, of the length of the spacer linking both aryl groups, and of the decoration of the macrocycles on the kinematics of the system have been studied by means of NMR studies at several temperatures and in different solvents combined with theoretical studies including Monte Carlo conformational searches and molecular dynamics simulations at different temperatures. The new indole macrocycles provide a more rigid view of this kind of macrocycles than that previously held. The tubulin polymerization activity of this new class of macrocycles has been assayed and analyzed.
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Brucella abortus depends on pyruvate phosphate dikinase and malic enzyme but not on Fbp and GlpX fructose-1,6-bisphosphatases for full virulence in laboratory models.
J. Bacteriol.
PUBLISHED: 06-16-2014
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The brucellae are the etiological agents of brucellosis, a worldwide-distributed zoonosis. These bacteria are facultative intracellular parasites and thus are able to adjust their metabolism to the extra- and intracellular environments encountered during an infectious cycle. However, this aspect of Brucella biology is imperfectly understood, and the nutrients available in the intracellular niche are unknown. Here, we investigated the central pathways of C metabolism used by Brucella abortus by deleting the putative fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (fbp and glpX), phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (pckA), pyruvate phosphate dikinase (ppdK), and malic enzyme (mae) genes. In gluconeogenic but not in rich media, growth of ?ppdK and ?mae mutants was severely impaired and growth of the double ?fbp-?glpX mutant was reduced. In macrophages, only the ?ppdK and ?mae mutants showed reduced multiplication, and studies with the ?ppdK mutant confirmed that it reached the replicative niche. Similarly, only the ?ppdK and ?mae mutants were attenuated in mice, the former being cleared by week 10 and the latter persisting longer than 12 weeks. We also investigated the glyoxylate cycle. Although aceA (isocitrate lyase) promoter activity was enhanced in rich medium, aceA disruption had no effect in vitro or on multiplication in macrophages or mouse spleens. The results suggest that B. abortus grows intracellularly using a limited supply of 6-C (and 5-C) sugars that is compensated by glutamate and possibly other amino acids entering the Krebs cycle without a critical role of the glyoxylate shunt.
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Trypanosomatids see the light: recent advances in bioimaging research.
Drug Discov. Today
PUBLISHED: 05-22-2014
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The use of genetically engineered pathogens that express fluorescent or luminescent proteins represents a huge stride forward in the understanding of trypanosomatid-borne tropical diseases. Nowadays, such modified microorganisms are being used to screen thousands of compounds under a target-free (phenotypic) approach. In addition, experimental infections with transgenic parasites drastically reduce the number of animals required for preclinical studies, because no animal needs to be put down to assess its parasite load. Finally, the use of fluorescent parasites is contributing to unraveling genetic exchange events between trypanosomatid strains. This phenomenon is important for understanding the mechanism by which traits such as virulence, tissue tropism, and drug resistance are transferred, as well as the emergence of novel strains.
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The identification of wadB, a new glycosyltransferase gene, confirms the branched structure and the role in virulence of the lipopolysaccharide core of Brucella abortus.
Microb. Pathog.
PUBLISHED: 05-03-2014
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Brucellosis is a worldwide extended zoonosis caused by Brucella spp. These gram-negative bacteria are not readily detected by innate immunity, a virulence-related property largely linked to their surface lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The role of the LPS lipid A and O-polysaccharide in virulence is well known. Moreover, mutation of the glycosyltransferase gene wadC of Brucella abortus, although not affecting O-polysaccharide assembly onto the lipid-A core section causes a core oligosaccharide defect that increases recognition by innate immunity. Here, we report on a second gene (wadB) encoding a LPS core glycosyltransferase not involved in the assembly of the O-polysaccharide-linked core section. As compared to wild-type B. abortus, a wadB mutant was sensitive to bactericidal peptides and non-immune serum, and was attenuated in mice and dendritic cells. These observations show that as WadC, WadB is also involved in the assembly of a branch of Brucella LPS core and support the concept that this LPS section is a virulence-related structure.
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Specific inhibition of diverse pathogens in human cells by synthetic microRNA-like oligonucleotides inferred from RNAi screens.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 03-10-2014
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Systematic genetic perturbation screening in human cells remains technically challenging. Typically, large libraries of chemically synthesized siRNA oligonucleotides are used, each designed to degrade a specific cellular mRNA via the RNA interference (RNAi) mechanism. Here, we report on data from three genome-wide siRNA screens, conducted to uncover host factors required for infection of human cells by two bacterial and one viral pathogen. We find that the majority of phenotypic effects of siRNAs are unrelated to the intended "on-target" mechanism, defined by full complementarity of the 21-nt siRNA sequence to a target mRNA. Instead, phenotypes are largely dictated by "off-target" effects resulting from partial complementarity of siRNAs to multiple mRNAs via the "seed" region (i.e., nucleotides 2-8), reminiscent of the way specificity is determined for endogenous microRNAs. Quantitative analysis enabled the prediction of seeds that strongly and specifically block infection, independent of the intended on-target effect. This prediction was confirmed experimentally by designing oligos that do not have any on-target sequence match at all, yet can strongly reproduce the predicted phenotypes. Our results suggest that published RNAi screens have primarily, and unintentionally, screened the sequence space of microRNA seeds instead of the intended on-target space of protein-coding genes. This helps to explain why previously published RNAi screens have exhibited relatively little overlap. Our analysis suggests a possible way of identifying "seed reagents" for controlling phenotypes of interest and establishes a general strategy for extracting valuable untapped information from past and future RNAi screens.
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Biosynthetic modularity rules in the bisintercalator family of antitumor compounds.
Mar Drugs
PUBLISHED: 01-29-2014
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Diverse actinomycetes produce a family of structurally and biosynthetically related non-ribosomal peptide compounds which belong to the chromodepsipeptide family. These compounds act as bisintercalators into the DNA helix. They give rise to antitumor, antiparasitic, antibacterial and antiviral bioactivities. These compounds show a high degree of conserved modularity (chromophores, number and type of amino acids). This modularity and their high sequence similarities at the genetic level imply a common biosynthetic origin for these pathways. Here, we describe insights about rules governing this modular biosynthesis, taking advantage of the fact that nowadays five of these gene clusters have been made public (thiocoraline, triostin, SW-163 and echinomycin/quinomycin). This modularity has potential application for designing and producing novel genetic engineered derivatives, as well as for developing new chemical synthesis strategies. These would facilitate their clinical development.
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Mutants in the lipopolysaccharide of Brucella ovis are attenuated and protect against B. ovis infection in mice.
Vet. Res.
PUBLISHED: 01-23-2014
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Brucella spp. are Gram-negative bacteria that behave as facultative intracellular parasites of a variety of mammals. This genus includes smooth (S) and rough (R) species that carry S and R lipopolysaccharides (LPS), respectively. S-LPS is a virulence factor, and mutants affected in the S-LPS O-polysaccharide (R mutants), core oligosaccharide or both show attenuation. However, B. ovis is naturally R and is virulent in sheep. We studied the role of B. ovis LPS in virulence by mutating the orthologues of wadA, wadB and wadC, three genes known to encode LPS core glycosyltransferases in S brucellae. When mapped with antibodies to outer membrane proteins (Omps) and R-LPS, wadB and wadC mutants displayed defects in LPS structure and outer membrane topology but inactivation of wadA had little or no effect. Consistent with these observations, the wadB and wadC but not the wadA mutants were attenuated in mice. When tested as vaccines, the wadB and wadC mutants protected mice against B. ovis challenge. The results demonstrate that the LPS core is a structure essential for survival in vivo not only of S brucellae but also of a naturally R Brucella pathogenic species, and they confirm our previous hypothesis that the Brucella LPS core is a target for vaccine development. Since vaccine B. melitensis Rev 1 is S and thus interferes in serological testing for S brucellae, wadB mutant represents a candidate vaccine to be evaluated against B. ovis infection of sheep suitable for areas free of B. melitensis.
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Modular Access to N-Substituted cis-3,5-Diaminopiperidines.
J. Org. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 11-11-2013
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A sequence of oxidative cleavage/reductive amination/hydrogenolysis enables the preparation of N-substituted cis-3,5-diaminopiperidines from a readily available bicyclic hydrazine. This new synthetic route provides a simple and general access to RNA-friendly fragments with a good chemical diversity.
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Synthesis of marine ?-methoxylated fatty acid analogs that effectively inhibit the topoisomerase IB from Leishmania donovani with a mechanism different from that of camptothecin.
Mar Drugs
PUBLISHED: 08-07-2013
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Sponges biosynthesize ?-methoxylated fatty acids with unusual biophysical and biological properties and in some cases they display enhanced anticancer activities. However, the antiprotozoal properties of the ?-methoxylated fatty acids have been less studied. In this work, we describe the total synthesis of (5Z,9Z)-(±)-2-methoxy-5, 9-eicosadienoic acid (1) and its acetylenic analog (±)-2-methoxy-5,9-eicosadiynoic acid (2), and report that they inhibit (EC?? values between 31 and 22 µM) the Leishmania donovani DNA topoisomerase IB enzyme (LdTopIB). The inhibition of LdTopIB (EC?? = 53 µM) by the acid (±)-2-methoxy-6-icosynoic acid (12) was studied as well. The potency of LdTopIB inhibition followed the trend 2 > 1 > 12, indicating that the effectiveness of inhibition depends on the degree of unsaturation. All of the studied ?-methoxylated fatty acids failed to inhibit the human topoisomerase IB enzyme (hTopIB) at 100 µM. However, the ?-methoxylated fatty acids were capable of inhibiting an active but truncated LdTopIB with which camptothecin (CPT) cannot interact suggesting that the methoxylated fatty acids inhibit LdTopIB with a mechanism different from that of CPT. The diunsaturated fatty acids displayed low cytotoxicity towards Leishmania infantum promastigotes (EC?? values between 260 and 240 µM), but 12 displayed a better cytotoxicity towards Leishmania donovani promastigotes (EC?? = 100 µM) and a better therapeutic index.
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Endowing indole-based tubulin inhibitors with an anchor for derivatization: highly potent 3-substituted indolephenstatins and indoleisocombretastatins.
J. Med. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 03-20-2013
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Colchicine site ligands with indole B rings are potent tubulin polymerization inhibitors. Structural modifications at the indole 3-position of 1-methyl-5-indolyl-based isocombretastatins (1,1-diarylethenes) and phenstatins endowed them with anchors for further derivatization and resulted in highly potent compounds. The substituted derivatives displayed potent cytotoxicity against several human cancer cell lines due to tubulin inhibition, as shown by cell cycle analysis, confocal microscopy, and tubulin polymerization inhibitory activity studies and promoted cell killing mediated by caspase-3 activation. Binding at the colchicine site was confirmed by means of fluorescence measurements of MTC displacement. Molecular modeling suggests that the tropolone-binding region of the colchicine site of tubulin can adapt to hosting small polar substituents. Isocombretastatins accepted substitutions better than phenstatins, and the highest potencies were achieved for the cyano and hydroxyiminomethyl substituents, with TPI values in the submicromolar range and cytotoxicities in the subnanomolar range. A 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenyl ring usually afforded more potent derivatives than a 2,3,4-trimethoxyphenyl ring.
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Gimatecan and other camptothecin derivatives poison Leishmania DNA-topoisomerase IB leading to a strong leishmanicidal effect.
Biochem. Pharmacol.
PUBLISHED: 02-22-2013
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The aim of this work is the in vitro and ex vivo assessment of the leishmanicidal activity of camptothecin and three analogues used in cancer therapy: topotecan (Hycantim®), gimatecan (ST1481) and the pro-drug irinotecan (Camptosar®) as well as its active metabolite SN-38 against Leishmania infantum. The activity of camptothecin and its derivatives was studied on extracellular L. infantum infrared-emitting promastigotes and on an ex vivo murine model of infected splenocytes with L. infantum fluorescent amastigotes. In situ formation of SDS/KCl precipitable DNA-protein complexes in Leishmania promastigotes indicated that these drugs are DNA topoisomerase IB poisons. The inhibitory potency of camptothecin derivatives on recombinant L. infantum topoisomerase IB was assessed in vitro showing that gimatecan is the most active compound preventing the relaxation of supercoiled DNA at submicromolar concentrations. Cleavage equilibrium assays in Leishmania topoisomerase IB show that gimatecan changes the equilibrium towards cleavage at much lower concentrations than the other camptothecin derivatives and that this effect persists over time. Gimatecan and camptothecin were the most powerful compounds preventing cell growth of free-living L. infantum promastigotes within the same concentration range. All these compounds killed L. infantum splenocyte-infecting amastigotes within the nanomolar range. The amastigote form showed higher sensitivity to topoisomerase IB poisons (with high therapeutic selectivity indexes) than free-living promastigotes. All the compounds assayed poisoned L. infantum DNA topoisomerase IB leading to a strong leishmanicidal effect. Camptothecin derivatives are suitable for reducing the parasitic burden of ex vivo infected splenocytes. The selectivity index of gimatecan makes it a promising drug against this neglected disease.
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Sibship size, birth order, family structure and childhood mental disorders.
Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol
PUBLISHED: 01-28-2013
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The aim of this study was to determine the role that birth order, sibship size and family structure have as risk factors in the development of common childhood mental disorders.
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Comparison of Laryngeal Mask Airway Supreme and Laryngeal Mask Airway Proseal with respect to oropharyngeal leak pressure during laparoscopic cholecystectomy: a randomised controlled trial.
Eur J Anaesthesiol
PUBLISHED: 01-16-2013
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A comparison of the efficacy and safety of the Laryngeal Mask Airway (LMA) Supreme (LMAS) versus the LMA Proseal (LMAP) in elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
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Identification and characterization of the regions involved in the nuclear translocation of the heterodimeric leishmanial DNA topoisomerase IB.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Leishmania donovani, the causative organism for visceral leishmaniasis, contains a unique heterodimeric DNA-topoisomerase IB (LdTopIB). LdTopIB is a heterodimer made up of a large subunit and a small subunit that must interact with each other to build an active enzyme able to solve the topological tensions on the DNA. As LdTopIB is located within the nucleus, one or more nuclear localization signals (NLS) should exist to ensure its nuclear translocation. In this report three novel NLS have been identified through a sequential deletion study of the genes encoding of both subunits fused to that encoding the green fluorescent protein (GFP). NLS1 is a highly basic sequence of 43 amino acids in the C-terminal extension of the large protomer. We found two well-defined sequences in the small protomer: NLS2 is a 10-amino acid motif located in the N-terminal extension of the protein; NLS3 consists of a complex region of 28 amino acids placed in the vicinity of the catalytic Tyr-222 included at the conserved SKINY signature within the C-terminal. Furthermore, by means of yeast cell viability assays, conducted with several LdTopIB chimeras lacking any of the NLS motives, we have revealed that both subunits are transported independently to the nucleus. There was no evidence of LdTopIB accumulation in mitochondria or association to the kinetoplast DNA network. The results rule out the former hypothesis, which attributes nucleocytoplasmic transport of LdTopIB entirely to the large subunit. The LdTopIB is localized to the nucleus only.
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Leishmania donovani: proteasome-mediated down-regulation of methionine adenosyltransferase.
Parasitology
PUBLISHED: 08-05-2011
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Methionine adenosyltransferase (MAT) is an important enzyme for metabolic processes, to the extent that its product, S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet), plays a key role in trans-methylation, trans-sulphuration and polyamine synthesis. Previous studies have shown that a MAT-overexpressing strain of Leishmania donovani controls AdoMet production, keeping the intracellular AdoMet concentration at levels that are compatible with cell survival. This unexpected result, together with the fact that MAT activity and abundance changed with time in culture, suggests that different regulatory mechanisms acting beyond the post-transcriptional level are controlling this protein. In order to gain an insight into these mechanisms, several experiments were carried out to explain the MAT abundance during promastigote cell growth. Determination of MAT turnover in cycloheximide (CHX)-treated cultures resulted in a surprising 5-fold increase in MAT turnover compared to CHX-untreated cultures. This increase agrees with a stabilization of the MAT protein, whose integrity was maintained during culture. The presence of proteasome inhibitors, namely MG-132, MG-115, epoxomycin and lactacystin in the culture medium prevented MAT degradation in both MAT-overexpressing and mock-transfected leishmanial strains. The role of the ubiquitin (Ub) pathway in MAT down-regulation was supported using immunoprecipitation experiments. Immunoprecipitated MAT cross-reacted with anti-Ub antibodies, which provides evidence of a proteasome-mediated down-regulation of the leishmanial MAT abundance.
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Role of trypanosomatids arginase in polyamine biosynthesis and pathogenesis.
Mol. Biochem. Parasitol.
PUBLISHED: 08-01-2011
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L-Arginine is one of the precursor amino acids of polyamine biosynthesis in most living organisms including Leishmania parasites. L-Arginine is enzymatically hydrolyzed by arginase producing L-ornithine and urea. In Leishmania spp. and other trypanosomatids a single gene encoding arginase has been described. The product of this gene is compartmentalized in glycosomes and is the main source of L-ornithine for polyamine synthesis in these parasites. L-Ornithine is substrate of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) - one of the key enzymes of polyamine biosynthesis and a validated target for therapeutic intervention - producing putrescine, which in turn is converted to spermidine by condensing with an aminopropyl group from decarboxylated S-adenosylmethionine. Unlike trypanosomatids, mammalian hosts have two arginases (arginase I and II), which have close structural and kinetic resemblances, but localize in different subcellular organelles, respond to different stimuli and have different immunological reactivity. Arginase I is a cytosolic enzyme, mostly expressed in the liver as a pivotal component of the urea cycle, providing in addition L-ornithine for polyamine synthesis. In contrast, arginase II localizes inside mitochondria and is metabolically involved in L-proline and L-glutamine biosynthesis. More striking is the role played by L-arginine as substrate for nitric oxide synthase (NOS2) in macrophages, the main route of clearance of many infectious agents including Leishmania and Trypanosoma cruzi. In infected macrophages L-arginine is catalysed by NOS2 or arginase, contributing to host defense or parasite killing, respectively. A balance between NOS2 and arginase activities is a crucial factor in the progression of the Leishmania infection inside macrophages. In response to T-helper type 2 (Th2) cytokines, resident macrophages induce arginase I inhibiting NO production from L-arginine, thereby promoting parasite proliferation. Conversely, the response to T-helper type 1 (Th1) cytokines is linked to NOS2 induction and parasite death. Moreover, induction of any of these enzymes is accompanied by suppression of the other. Specifically, arginase reduces NO synthesis by substrate depletion, and N(?)-hydroxy-L-arginine, one of the intermediates of NOS2 catalysis, competitively inhibits arginase activity. In spite of abundant data concerning arginases in mammals as well their involvement in parasite killing, there are very few papers regarding the actual role of arginase in the parasite itself. This review is an update on the recent progress in research on leishmanial arginase including the role played by this enzyme in the establishment of infection in macrophages and the immune response of the host. A comparative study of arginases from other kinetoplatids is also discussed.
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Protection by DHA of early hippocampal changes in diabetes: possible role of CREB and NF-?B.
Neurochem. Res.
PUBLISHED: 06-24-2011
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The mechanisms underlying diabetic encephalopathy, are only partially understood. In this study, we try to address the mechanisms of diabetes induced damage and whether docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) could attenuate the degenerative changes in diabetic hippocampus in a rodent model of diabetes. Diabetes was induced in rats by an intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin. Animals were divided into the following experimental groups: control rats; control animals treated with DHA; untreated diabetic rats; diabetic rats treated with insulin; diabetic rats treated with DHA; diabetic rats treated with insulin and DHA. At the end of week 12, rats were killed and one of the hemispheres was cryosectioned and the other was dissected and hippocampi homogenized. The number of bromodeoxyuridine positive cells in the hippocampus of diabetic rats was decreased, and the latency time to find the platform in the Morris Water maze was significantly increased in the diabetic rats when compared to controls. No changes where observed in the expression of p21 in the hippocampus of control and diabetic rats. Biochemical markers of oxidative stress were altered in hippocampus of diabetic rats, and NF?B-positive cells were increased in the hippocampus of diabetic rats when compared to controls. Treatment with DHA, or the combination of DHA with insulin, significantly restored to control levels all the values mentioned above. Our findings confirm a pivotal role for oxidative stress as well as NF-?B, but not p21, in diabetes-induced hippocampal impairments. Administration of DHA as well as insulin prevented the changes induced by diabetes in hippocampus.
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Phylogenetic relationships elucidate colonization patterns in the intertidal grazers Osilinus Philippi, 1847 and Phorcus Risso, 1826 (Gastropoda: Trochidae) in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
Mol. Phylogenet. Evol.
PUBLISHED: 04-06-2011
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Snails in the closely related trochid genera Phorcus Risso, 1826 and Osilinus Philippi, 1847 are ecologically important algal grazers in the intertidal zone of the northeastern Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Here we present the first complete molecular phylogeny for these genera, based on the nuclear 28S rRNA gene and the mitochondrial 16S rRNA and COI genes, and show that the current classification is erroneous. We recognize nine species in a single genus, Phorcus: estimated by BEAST analysis, this arose 30 (± 10) Ma; it consists of two subgenera, Phorcus and Osilinus, which we estimate diverged 14 (± 4.5) Ma. Osilinus kotschyi, from the Arabian and Red Seas, is not closely related and is tentatively referred to Priotrochus Fischer, 1879. Our phylogeny allows us to address biogeographical questions concerning the origins of the Mediterranean and Macaronesian species of this group. The former appear to have evolved from Atlantic ancestors that invaded the Mediterranean on several occasions after the Zanclean Flood, which ended the Messinian Salinity Crisis 5.3 Ma; whereas the latter arose from several colonizations of mainland Atlantic ancestors within the last 3 (± 1.5) Ma.
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New para-para stilbenophanes: synthesis by McMurry coupling, conformational analysis and inhibition of tubulin polymerisation.
Chemistry
PUBLISHED: 02-23-2011
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The synthesis of a new family of methoxy-substituted [2.7]- and [2.8]paracyclophanes linked by 3-oxapentamethylene-1,5-dioxy and hexamethylene-1,6-dioxy bridges has been carried out by using the McMurry methodology. Related indole compounds were also synthesised. Olefin-to-diol ratios depended on the bridge length, the structure of the aromatic ring and the reaction conditions. Macrocyclisation, the methoxy substituents and the presence of a rigid indole moiety restricted the conformational equilibria, as observed by NMR spectroscopy and according to theoretical calculations. The synthesised compounds display micromolar tubulin polymerisation inhibitory activity. The conformational implications on the tubulin polymerisation inhibitory activity derived from the macrocyclisation when compared with combretastatins, closely related stilbenes, are also discussed.
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Brucella abortus ornithine lipids are dispensable outer membrane components devoid of a marked pathogen-associated molecular pattern.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-07-2011
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The brucellae are ?-Proteobacteria facultative intracellular parasites that cause an important zoonosis. These bacteria escape early detection by innate immunity, an ability associated to the absence of marked pathogen-associated molecular patterns in the cell envelope lipopolysaccharide, lipoproteins and flagellin. We show here that, in contrast to the outer membrane ornithine lipids (OL) of other Gram negative bacteria, Brucella abortus OL lack a marked pathogen-associated molecular pattern activity. We identified two OL genes (olsB and olsA) and by generating the corresponding mutants found that olsB deficient B. abortus did not synthesize OL or their lyso-OL precursors. Liposomes constructed with B. abortus OL did not trigger IL-6 or TNF-? release by macrophages whereas those constructed with Bordetella pertussis OL and the olsB mutant lipids as carriers were highly active. The OL deficiency in the olsB mutant did not promote proinflammatory responses or generated attenuation in mice. In addition, OL deficiency did not increase sensitivity to polymyxins, normal serum or complement consumption, or alter the permeability to antibiotics and dyes. Taken together, these observations indicate that OL have become dispensable in the extant brucellae and are consistent within the trend observed in ?-Proteobacteria animal pathogens to reduce and eventually eliminate the envelope components susceptible of recognition by innate immunity.
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Oxidative stress induces distinct physiological responses in the two Trebouxia phycobionts of the lichen Ramalina farinacea.
Ann. Bot.
PUBLISHED: 11-04-2010
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Most lichens form associations with Trebouxia phycobionts and some of them simultaneously include genetically different algal lineages. In other symbiotic systems involving algae (e.g. reef corals), the relative abundances of different endosymbiotic algal clades may change over time. This process seems to provide a mechanism allowing the organism to respond to environmental stress. A similar mechanism may operate in lichens with more than one algal lineage, likewise protecting them against environmental stresses. Here, the physiological responses to oxidative stress of two distinct Trebouxia phycobionts (provisionally named TR1 and TR9) that coexist within the lichen Ramalina farinacea were analysed.
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A reliable method of liquid chromatography for the quantification of acetaminophen and identification of its toxic metabolite N-acetyl-p-benzoquinoneimine for application in pediatric studies.
Biomed. Chromatogr.
PUBLISHED: 03-10-2010
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The aim of the present study was to develop a simple, selective and reliable method to quantify acetaminophen and its toxic metabolite N-acetyl-p-benzoquinoneimine (NAPQI) for pediatric studies using 100?µL plasma samples, by reverse-phase HPLC and UV detection. The assay was performed using a C?? column and an isocratic elution with water-methanol-formic acid (70:30:0.15; v/v/v) as mobile phase. Linearity of the method was assayed in the range of 1-30?µg/mL for acetaminophen and 10-200 µg/mL for NAPQI, with a correlation coefficient r?=?0.999 for both compounds, and inter- and intra-day coefficients of variation of less than 13%. Several commonly co-administered drugs were analyzed for selectivity and no interference with the determinations was observed. The detection and quantification limits for acetaminophen and NAPQI were 0.1 and 1?µg/mL, and 0.1 and 10?µg/mL respectively. The present method can be used to monitor acetaminophen levels using 100 µL plasma samples, which may be helpful when very small samples need to be analyzed, as in pharmacokinetics determination or drug monitoring in plasma in children. This assay is also able to detect the NAPQI for drug monitoring in patients diagnosed with acetaminophen intoxication.
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Cerebrolysin and morphine decrease glutathione and 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid levels in fasted rat brain.
Biomed. Pharmacother.
PUBLISHED: 12-16-2009
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The aim was to evaluate if morphine sulphate combined with cerebrolysin enhances the risk of oxidative damage in the presence of moderate hypoglycaemia.
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Beneficial effect of docosahexanoic acid and lutein on retinal structural, metabolic, and functional abnormalities in diabetic rats.
Curr. Eye Res.
PUBLISHED: 12-05-2009
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To assess the effect of docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and lutein (both compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties) on experimental diabetic retinopathy.
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Exploring the effect of 2,3,4-trimethoxy-phenyl moiety as a component of indolephenstatins.
Eur J Med Chem
PUBLISHED: 09-16-2009
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A new family of phenstatin analogues has been synthesized and assayed. This family simultaneously incorporates modifications of the A-ring (replacement of the 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenyl by the 2,3,4-trimethoxyphenyl arrangement), B-ring (N-alkyl-5-indolyl) and conversion of the Oxygen keto group into a substituted nitrogen (oximes, hydrazones, and their acetylderivatives). The conjunction of all this changes greatly diminishes the antimitotic and antiproliferative activities, but the maintenance of the keto bridge produces a potent analogue with the unusual 2,3,4-trimethoxyphenyl moiety.
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Oxidative stress induced by morphine in brain of rats fed with a protein deficient diet.
Hum Exp Toxicol
PUBLISHED: 09-10-2009
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The objective of the study is to determine the damage by oxidative stress induced by morphine in brain of rats fed with a protein-deficient diet. Twenty-eight malnourished male Wistar rats, 30 days old, were used in the study. The animals were divided into four groups of 7 rats per group. Group I received NaCl and the groups II; III and IV intraperitoneally received 3, 6 and 12 mg/kg of morphine sulphate, respectively, in a single dose. Animals were sacrificed and the levels of glutathione (GSH), dopamine, tryptophan and 5-hydroxyindole-3-acetic acid (5-HIAA) as well as, Na(+)/K(+) ATPase and total ATPase activity in the brain were measured. Tryptophan levels and Na(+)/K( +) ATPase activity showed non-significant changes in the experimental group. Levels of 5-HIAA decreased significantly (p = .03) in animals that received 12 mg/kg of morphine and in animals that received 3 mg/kg, levels of GSH and dopamine were found to have a significant decrease (p < .05), but a significant increase in the group that received 12 mg/kg of morphine (p < .05). Total ATPase activity increased significantly in the groups that received 3 mg/kg (p = .015) and 6 mg/kg (p = .0001) of morphine. The results show that malnutrition induces changes in cellular regulation and biochemical responses to oxidative stress caused by morphine sulphate.
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National pandemic influenza preparedness planning.
Influenza Other Respir Viruses
PUBLISHED: 07-25-2009
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The recent outbreaks of influenza A/H5N1 and swine influenza A/H1N1 have caused global concern over the potential for a new influenza pandemic. Although it is impossible to predict when the next pandemic will occur, appropriate planning is still needed to maximize efficient use of resources and to minimize loss of life and productivity. Many tools now exist to assist countries in evaluating their plans but there is little to aid in writing of the plans. This study discusses the process of drafting a pandemic influenza preparedness plan for developing countries that conforms to the International Health Regulations of 2005 and recommendations of the World Health Organization. Stakeholders from many sectors should be involved in drafting a comprehensive pandemic influenza plan that addresses all levels of preparedness.
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Isocombretastatins A: 1,1-diarylethenes as potent inhibitors of tubulin polymerization and cytotoxic compounds.
Bioorg. Med. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 06-01-2009
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Isocombretastatins A are 1,1-diarylethene isomers of combretastatins A. We have synthesized the isomers of combretastatin A-4, deoxycombretastatin A-4, 3-amino-deoxycombretastatin A-4 (AVE-8063), naphthylcombretastatin and the N-methyl- and N-ethyl-5-indolyl analogues of combretastatin A-4. Analogues with a 2,3,4-trimethoxyphenyl ring instead of the 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenyl ring have also been prepared. The isocombretastatins A strongly inhibit tubulin polymerization and are potent cytotoxic compounds, some of them with IC(50)s in the nanomolar range. This new family of tubulin inhibitors shows higher or comparable potency when compared to phenstatin or combretastatin analogues. These results suggest that one carbon bridges with a geminal diaryl substitution can successfully replace the two carbon bridge of combretastatins and that the carbonyl group of phenstatins is not essential for high potency.
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The differential interaction of Brucella and ochrobactrum with innate immunity reveals traits related to the evolution of stealthy pathogens.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 04-24-2009
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During evolution, innate immunity has been tuned to recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns. However, some alpha-Proteobacteria are stealthy intracellular pathogens not readily detected by this system. Brucella members follow this strategy and are highly virulent, but other Brucellaceae like Ochrobactrum are rhizosphere inhabitants and only opportunistic pathogens. To gain insight into the emergence of the stealthy strategy, we compared these two phylogenetically close but biologically divergent bacteria.
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Antioxidants rescue photoreceptors in rd1 mice: Relationship with thiol metabolism.
Free Radic. Biol. Med.
PUBLISHED: 04-07-2009
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We have previously shown that the use of a combination of antioxidants delayed the degeneration process in rd1 mouse retina. In an effort to understand the mechanism of action of these substances (zeaxanthin, lutein, alpha-lipoic acid, glutathione, and Lycium barbarum extract) the changes in the levels of several proteins and oxidative stress markers in the rd1 retina have been studied. The treatment increased glutathione peroxidase activity and glutathione levels and decreased cystine concentrations in rd1 retinas. Considering all the results obtained from treated and untreated animals, a high correlation was present between glutathione concentration and glutathione peroxidase activity, and there was a negative correlation between glutathione retinal concentration and number of TUNEL-positive cells. No difference was observed between the numbers of nNOS- and NADPH-diaphorase-positive cells in treated and untreated rd1 mice. Thiol contents and thiol-dependent peroxide metabolism seem to be directly related to the survival of photoreceptors in rd1 mouse retina.
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Lipopolysaccharide as a target for brucellosis vaccine design.
Microb. Pathog.
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The gram-negative bacteria of the genus Brucella are facultative intracellular parasites that cause brucellosis, a world wide-distributed zoonotic disease that represents a serious problem for animal and human health. There is no human-to-human contagion and, since there is no human vaccine, animal vaccination is essential to control brucellosis. However, current vaccines (all developed empirically) do not provide 100% protection and are infectious in humans. Attempts to generate new vaccines by obtaining mutants lacking the lipopolysaccharide O-polysaccharide, in purine metabolism or in Brucella type IV secretion system have not been successful. Here we propose a new approach to develop brucellosis vaccines based on the concept that Brucella surface molecules evade efficient detection by innate immunity, thus delaying protective Th1 responses and opening a time window to reach sheltered intracellular compartments. We showed recently that a branch of the core oligosaccharide section of Brucella lipopolysaccharide hampers recognition by TLR4-MD2. Mutation of glycosyltransferase WadC, involved in the synthesis of this branch, results in a lipopolysaccharide that, while keeping the O-polysaccharide essential for optimal protection, shows a truncated core, is more efficiently recognized by MD2 and triggers an increased cytokine response. In keeping with this, the wadC mutant is attenuated in dendritic cells and mice. In the mouse model of brucellosis vaccines, the Brucella abortus wadC mutant conferred protection similar to that provided by S19, the best cattle vaccine available. The properties of the wadC mutant provide the proof of concept for this new approach and open the way for more effective brucellosis vaccines.
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Appraisal of a Leishmania major strain stably expressing mCherry fluorescent protein for both in vitro and in vivo studies of potential drugs and vaccine against cutaneous leishmaniasis.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis
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Leishmania major cutaneous leishmaniasis is an infectious zoonotic disease. It is produced by a digenetic parasite, which resides in the phagolysosomal compartment of different mammalian macrophage populations. There is an urgent need to develop new therapies (drugs) against this neglected disease that hits developing countries. The main goal of this work is to establish an easier and cheaper tool of choice for real-time monitoring of the establishment and progression of this pathology either in BALB/c mice or in vitro assays. To validate this new technique we vaccinated mice with an attenuated ?hsp70-II strain of Leishmania to assess protection against this disease.
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A pentapeptide signature motif plays a pivotal role in Leishmania DNA topoisomerase IB activity and camptothecin sensitivity.
Biochim. Biophys. Acta
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Leishmania donovani - the causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis - has several evolutionary characteristics that make the disease difficult to combat. Among these differences, a rare heterodimeric DNA topoisomerase IB has been reported thus opening a new promising field in the therapy of leishmaniasis. Several studies of the human enzyme have pointed to the importance of the linker domain in respect to camptothecin sensitivity. At present, it has been impossible to pinpoint the regions that make up the linker domain in Leishmania.
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Indotecan (LMP400) and AM13-55: two novel indenoisoquinolines show potential for treating visceral leishmaniasis.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
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Visceral leishmaniasis is an emerging neglected tropical disease (NTD) caused by the protozoan Leishmania infantum in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Basin. Currently there is no effective vaccine against this disease, and the therapeutic approach is based on toxic derivatives of Sb(V). Therefore, the discovery of new therapeutic targets and the development of drugs designed to inhibit them comprise an extremely important approach to fighting this disease. DNA topoisomerases (Top) have been identified as promising targets for therapy against leishmaniasis. These enzymes are involved in solving topological problems generated during replication, transcription, and recombination of DNA. Being unlike that of the mammalian host, type IB DNA topoisomerase (TopIB) from Leishmania spp. is a unique bisubunit protein, which makes it very interesting as a selective drug target. In the present investigation, we studied the effect of two TopIB poisons with indenoisoquinoline structure, indotecan and AM13-55, on a murine BALB/c model of infected splenocytes with L. infantum, comparing their effectiveness with that of the clinically tested leishmanicidal drug paromomycin. Both compounds have high selectivity indexes compared with uninfected splenocytes. SDS-KCl-precipitable DNA-protein complexes in Leishmania promastigotes and in vitro cleaving assays confirmed that these drugs are Top poisons. The inhibitory potency of both indenoisoquinolines on L. infantum recombinant TopIB was assessed in vitro, with results showing that indotecan was the most active compound, preventing the relaxation of supercoiled DNA. Experimental infections in susceptible BALB/c mice treated with 2.5 mg/kg body weight/day once every other day for a total of 15 days showed that indotecan cleared more than 80% of the parasite burden of the spleen and liver, indicating promising activity against visceral leishmaniasis.
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Different strategies to achieve Pb-tolerance by the two Trebouxia algae coexisting in the lichen Ramalina farinacea.
J. Plant Physiol.
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Lichen thalli are permeable to airborne substances, including heavy metals, which are harmful to cell metabolism. Ramalina farinacea shows a moderate tolerance to Pb. This lichen comprises two Trebouxia phycobionts, provisionally referred to as TR1 and TR9, with distinct physiological responses to acute oxidative stress. Thus, there is a more severe decay in photosynthesis and photosynthetic pigments in TR1 than in TR9. Similarly, under oxidative stress, antioxidant enzymes and HSP70 protein decrease in TR1 but increase in TR9. Since Pb toxicity is associated with increased ROS formation, we hypothesized greater Pb tolerance in this phycobiont. Accordingly, the aim of the present study was to characterize the physiological differences in the responses of TR1 and TR9 to Pb exposure. Liquid cultures of isolated phycobionts were incubated for 7 days in the presence of Pb(NO?)?. Thereafter, extracellular and intracellular Pb accumulation, photosynthetic pigments, and photosynthesis (as modulated chlorophyll fluorescence) were analyzed along with the antioxidant enzymes glutathione reductase (GR), superoxide dismutase (SOD), ascorbate peroxidase (APx), and catalase (CAT), and the stress-related protein HSP70. Pb uptake increased with the amount of supplied Pb in both algae. However, while significantly more metal was immobilized extracellularly by TR9, the amount of intracellular Pb accumulation was three times higher in TR1. In neither of the phycobionts were significant effects on photosynthetic pigments or photosynthetic electron transport observed. While under control conditions GR, SOD, and APx levels were significantly higher in TR1 than in TR9, only in the latter were these enzymes induced by Pb. This resulted in quantitatively similar antioxidant activities in the two algae when exposed to Pb. In conclusion, the phycobionts of R. farinacea make use of two different strategies against stress, in which the integration of distinct anatomical and physiological features affords similar levels of Pb tolerance.
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The lipopolysaccharide core of Brucella abortus acts as a shield against innate immunity recognition.
PLoS Pathog.
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Innate immunity recognizes bacterial molecules bearing pathogen-associated molecular patterns to launch inflammatory responses leading to the activation of adaptive immunity. However, the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of the gram-negative bacterium Brucella lacks a marked pathogen-associated molecular pattern, and it has been postulated that this delays the development of immunity, creating a gap that is critical for the bacterium to reach the intracellular replicative niche. We found that a B. abortus mutant in the wadC gene displayed a disrupted LPS core while keeping both the LPS O-polysaccharide and lipid A. In mice, the wadC mutant induced proinflammatory responses and was attenuated. In addition, it was sensitive to killing by non-immune serum and bactericidal peptides and did not multiply in dendritic cells being targeted to lysosomal compartments. In contrast to wild type B. abortus, the wadC mutant induced dendritic cell maturation and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines. All these properties were reproduced by the wadC mutant purified LPS in a TLR4-dependent manner. Moreover, the core-mutated LPS displayed an increased binding to MD-2, the TLR4 co-receptor leading to subsequent increase in intracellular signaling. Here we show that Brucella escapes recognition in early stages of infection by expressing a shield against recognition by innate immunity in its LPS core and identify a novel virulence mechanism in intracellular pathogenic gram-negative bacteria. These results also encourage for an improvement in the generation of novel bacterial vaccines.
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Thermodynamic glass transition in a spin glass without time-reversal symmetry.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
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Spin glasses are a longstanding model for the sluggish dynamics that appear at the glass transition. However, spin glasses differ from structural glasses in a crucial feature: they enjoy a time reversal symmetry. This symmetry can be broken by applying an external magnetic field, but embarrassingly little is known about the critical behavior of a spin glass in a field. In this context, the space dimension is crucial. Simulations are easier to interpret in a large number of dimensions, but one must work below the upper critical dimension (i.e., in d < 6) in order for results to have relevance for experiments. Here we show conclusive evidence for the presence of a phase transition in a four-dimensional spin glass in a field. Two ingredients were crucial for this achievement: massive numerical simulations were carried out on the Janus special-purpose computer, and a new and powerful finite-size scaling method.
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Identification and functional analysis of the cyclopropane fatty acid synthase of Brucella abortus.
Microbiology (Reading, Engl.)
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The brucellae are facultative intracellular pathogens of mammals that are transmitted by contact with infected animals or contaminated materials. Several major lipidic components of the brucella cell envelope are imperfectly recognized by innate immunity, thus contributing to virulence. These components carry large proportions of acyl chains of lactobacillic acid, a long chain cyclopropane fatty acid (CFA). CFAs result from addition of a methylene group to unsaturated acyl chains and contribute to resistance to acidity, dryness and high osmolarity in many bacteria and to virulence in mycobacteria. We examined the role of lactobacillic acid in Brucella abortus virulence by creating a mutant in ORF BAB1_0476, the putative CFA synthase gene. The mutant did not incorporate [(14)C]methyl groups into lipids, lacked CFAs and synthesized the unsaturated precursors, proving that BAB1_0476 actually encodes a CFA synthase. BAB1_0476 promoter-luxAB fusion studies showed that CFA synthase expression was promoted by acid pH and high osmolarity. The mutant was not attenuated in macrophages or mice, strongly suggesting that CFAs are not essential for B. abortus intracellular life. However, when the mutant was tested under high osmolarity on agar and acid pH, two conditions likely to occur on contaminated materials and fomites, they showed reduced ability to grow or survive. Since CFA synthesis entails high ATP expenses and brucellae produce large proportions of lactobacillic acyl chains, we speculate that the CFA synthase has been conserved because it is useful for survival extracellularly, thus facilitating persistence in contaminated materials and transmission to new hosts.
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