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Lisburn, United Kingdom

Pakeman R.J.,James Hutton Institute | Alexander J.,James Hutton Institute | Beaton J.,James Hutton Institute | Brooker R.,James Hutton Institute | And 17 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2015

Climate change is expected to have an impact on plant communities as increased temperatures are expected to drive individual species' distributions polewards. The results of a revisitation study after c. 34 years of 89 coastal sites in Scotland, UK, were examined to assess the degree of shifts in species composition that could be accounted for by climate change. There was little evidence for either species retreat northwards or for plots to become more dominated by species with a more southern distribution. At a few sites where significant change occurred, the changes were accounted for by the invasion, or in one instance the removal, of woody species. Also, the vegetation types that showed the most sensitivity to change were all early successional types and changes were primarily the result of succession rather than climate-driven changes. Dune vegetation appears resistant to climate change impacts on the vegetation, either as the vegetation is inherently resistant to change, management prevents increased dominance of more southerly species or because of dispersal limitation to geographically isolated sites. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


McLean D.T.F.,Center for Infection and Immunity | Lundy F.T.,Center for Infection and Immunity | Timson D.J.,Medical Biology Center
Biochimie | Year: 2013

The IQ-motif is an amphipathic, often positively charged, α-helical, calmodulin binding sequence found in a number of eukaryote signalling, transport and cytoskeletal proteins. They share common biophysical characteristics with established, cationic α-helical antimicrobial peptides, such as the human cathelicidin LL-37. Therefore, we tested eight peptides encoding the sequences of IQ-motifs derived from the human cytoskeletal scaffolding proteins IQGAP2 and IQGAP3. Some of these peptides were able to inhibit the growth of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus with minimal inhibitory concentrations (MIC) comparable to LL-37. In addition some IQ-motifs had activity against the fungus Candida albicans. This antimicrobial activity is combined with low haemolytic activity (comparable to, or lower than, that of LL-37). Those IQ-motifs with anti-microbial activity tended to be able to bind to lipopolysaccharide. Some of these were also able to permeabilise the cell membranes of both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria. These results demonstrate that IQ-motifs are viable lead sequences for the identification and optimisation of novel anti-microbial peptides. Thus, further investigation of the anti-microbial properties of this diverse group of sequences is merited. © 2012 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.


McCloskey K.D.,Medical Biology Center
Neurourology and Urodynamics | Year: 2010

Aims: This review summarizes the currently available literature on the localization and proposed functions of a novel group of cells in the urinary bladder known as interstitial cells or interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC). Methods: On-line searches of "Pubmed" for bladder, c-Kit, ICC, interstitial cell and myofibroblast were performed to identify relevant studies for the review. Results: The literature contains substantial data that several subpopulations of ICC are present in the wall of the mammalian urinary bladder. These are located in the lamina propria and within the detrusor with distinctive cell shapes and morphological arrangements. Bladder ICC are identified with transmission electron microscopy or by immunohistochemical labeling using antibodies to the Kit receptor which is an established ICC marker. Lamina propria-ICC form a loose network connected via Cx43 gap junctions and are associated with mucosal nerves. Detrusor ICC track the smooth muscle bundles and make frequent contacts with intramural nerves. Both groups of ICC exhibit spontaneous electrical and Ca2+-signalling and also respond to application of neurotransmitter substances including ATP and carbachol. There is emerging evidence that the expression of ICC is upregulated in pathophysiological conditions including the overactive bladder. Conclusions: There is now a convincing body of evidence that specialized ICC are present in the urinary bladder making important associations with other cells that make up the bladder wall and possessing physiological properties consistent with a role of bladder activity modulation. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


Busetti A.,Queens University of Belfast | Shaw G.,Queens University of Belfast | Megaw J.,Queens University of Belfast | Gorman S.P.,Queens University of Belfast | And 2 more authors.
Marine Drugs | Year: 2015

Bacterial epiphytes isolated from marine eukaryotes were screened for the production of quorum sensing inhibitory compounds (QSIs). Marine isolate KS8, identified as a Pseudoalteromonas sp., was found to display strong quorum sensing inhibitory (QSI) activity against acyl homoserine lactone (AHL)-based reporter strains Chromobacterium violaceum ATCC 12472 and CV026. KS8 supernatant significantly reduced biofilm biomass during biofilm formation (-63%) and in pre-established, mature P. aeruginosa PAO1 biofilms (-33%). KS8 supernatant also caused a 0.97-log reduction (-89%) and a 2-log reduction (-99%) in PAO1 biofilm viable counts in the biofilm formation assay and the biofilm eradication assay respectively. The crude organic extract of KS8 had a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 2 mg/mL against PAO1 but no minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) was observed over the concentration range tested (MBC > 16 mg/mL). Sub-MIC concentrations (1 mg/mL) of KS8 crude organic extract significantly reduced the quorum sensing (QS)-dependent production of both pyoverdin and pyocyanin in P. aeruginosa PAO1 without affecting growth. A combinatorial approach using tobramycin and the crude organic extract at 1 mg/mL against planktonic P. aeruginosa PAO1 was found to increase the efficacy of tobramycin ten-fold, decreasing the MIC from 0.75 to 0.075 μg/mL. These data support the validity of approaches combining conventional antibiotic therapy with non-antibiotic compounds to improve the efficacy of current treatments. © 2014 by the authors licensee MDPI Basel Switzerland.


Allen C.C.R.,Medical Biology Center | Boudet C.J.,Queens University of Belfast | Hardacre C.,Queens University of Belfast | Migaud M.E.,Queens University of Belfast
RSC Advances | Year: 2014

Accessing chirally pure cis-diols from arenes using micro-organisms over-expressing toluene dioxygenase (TDO) is now well established, but the conversions remain low for the more toxic and volatile substrates. For such arenes, improved production has already been achieved in the presence of hydrophobic non-toxic ionic liquids (ILs) acting in the form of a reservoir for the arene substrate. Yet, the costs associated with such ILs require extensive process development to render them viable. Herein, we show that optimization of the hydrophobic IL's cationic moiety and of the IL's concentration are key to enhanced conversion yielding between a 2-5 fold yield increase in the conversion of four haloarenes (Ph-X; X = F, Cl, Br, I). Additionally, we report that hydrophilic imidazolium-based ILs offer opportunities to achieve similarly high yielding biotransformations, with further improved reaction rates (<6 h), and this at very low ILs' concentrations (0.0015 VIL/Vaq). We also demonstrate that the increased biotransformations are due to these ILs being inhibitors of cellular respiration processes and thus favoring the shunting of NADH and O2 towards the overexpressed biocatalytic process. © 2014 the Partner Organisations.

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