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Cecropin is a well-studied antimicrobial peptide that is synthesized in fat body cells and hemocytes of insects in response to hypodermic injury or bacterial infection. A 503 bp cDNA encoding for a cecropin-like peptide was isolated by employing annealing control primer (ACP)-based differential display PCR and 5'-RACE with immunized Papilio xuthus larvae. The open reading frame of the isolated cDNA encoded for a 62-amino acid prepropeptide with a putative 22-residue signal peptide, a 2-residue propeptide, and a 38-residue mature peptide with a theoretical mass of 4060.89 Da. The deduced amino acid sequence of the peptide evidenced a significant degree of identity with other lepidopteran cecropins. This peptide was named papiliocin. RTPCR results revealed that the papiliocin transcript was detected at significant levels after injection with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). On the basis of the deduced amino acid sequence of papiliocin, a 38-mer mature peptide was chemically synthesized via the Fmoc method, and its antimicrobial activity was analyzed. The synthetic papiliocin peptide evidenced a broad spectrum of activity against fungi, Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and also evidenced no hemolytic activity against human red blood cells. Source

Chen H.,Washington State University | Kim H.U.,Donald Danforth Plant Science Center | Weng H.,National Academy of Agricultural Science | Browse J.,35 Agricultural Mall Drive
Plant Cell

Malonyl-CoA is the precursor for fatty acid synthesis and elongation. It is also one of the building blocks for the biosynthesis of some phytoalexins, flavonoids, and many malonylated compounds. In plants as well as in animals, malonyl-CoA is almost exclusively derived from acetyl-CoA by acetyl-CoA carboxylase (EC However, previous studies have suggested that malonyl-CoA may also be made directly from malonic acid by malonyl-CoA synthetase (EC Here, we report the cloning of a eukaryotic malonyl-CoA synthetase gene, Acyl Activating Enzyme13 (AAE13; At3g16170), from Arabidopsis thaliana. Recombinant AAE13 protein showed high activity against malonic acid (K m = 529.4 6 98.5 mM; V m = 24.0 6 2.7 mmol/mg/min) but little or no activity against other dicarboxylic or fatty acids tested. Exogenous malonic acid was toxic to Arabidopsis seedlings and caused accumulation of malonic and succinic acids in the seedlings. aae13 null mutants also grew poorly and accumulated malonic and succinic acids. These defects were complemented by an AAE13 transgene or by a bacterial malonyl-CoA synthetase gene under control of the AAE13 promoter. Our results demonstrate that the malonyl-CoA synthetase encoded by AAE13 is essential for healthy growth and development, probably because it is required for the detoxification of malonate. © 2011 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved. Source

Bolan N.S.,University of South Australia | Kunhikrishnan A.,National Academy of Agricultural Science | Naidu R.,University of South Australia
Science of the Total Environment

Applying organic amendments including biosolids and composts to agricultural land could increase carbon (C) storage in soils and contribute significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Although a number of studies have examined the potential value of biosolids as a soil conditioner and nutrient source, there has been only limited work on the impact of biosolid application on C sequestration in soils. The objective of this study was to examine the potential value of biosolids in C sequestration in soils. Two types of experiments were conducted to examine the effect of biosolid application on C sequestration. In the first laboratory incubation experiment, the rate of decomposition of a range of biosolid samples was compared with other organic amendments including composts and biochars. In the second field experiment, the effect of biosolids on the growth of two bioenergy crops, Brassica juncea (Indian mustard) and Helianthus annuus (sunflower) on a landfill site was examined in relation to biomass production and C sequestration. The rate of decomposition varied amongst the organic amendments, and followed: composts>biosolids>biochar. There was a hundred fold difference in the rate of decomposition between biochar and other organic amendments. The rate of decomposition of biosolids decreased with increasing iron (Fe) and aluminum (Al) contents of biosolids. Biosolid application increased the dry matter yield of both plant species (by 2-2.5 fold), thereby increasing the biomass C input to soils. The rate of net C sequestration resulting from biosolid application (Mg C ha-1yr-1Mg-1 biosolids) was higher for mustard (0.103) than sunflower (0.087). Biosolid application is likely to result in a higher level of C sequestration when compared to other management strategies including fertilizer application and conservation tillage, which is attributed to increased microbial biomass, and Fe and Al oxide-induced immobilization of C. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

Han S.M.,National Academy of Agricultural Science
Journal of integrative medicine

Acne vulgaris is a chronic dermatologic problem with multiple factors involved in its pathogenesis. Alternative solutions to acne treatment were instigated by antibiotic resistance despite of its extensive use. Purified bee venom (PBV) has been proposed as a promising candidate for that purpose. The present study was designed to confirm the antibacterial effect of PBV and access the efficacy of cosmetics containing PBV in subjects with acne vulgaris. The skin bacterium Propionibacterium acnes was incubated with PBV at various concentrations and bacterial growth was evaluated using the colony forming unit (CFU) assay. The mechanism of PBV employed in killing P. acnes was examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). In addition, a total of 12 subjects were randomized in a double-blind, controlled trial to receive either cosmetics containing PBV or cosmetics without PBV for two weeks. Evaluations included lesion counts and skin microorganism. PBV exhibited antimicrobial activity in a concentration-dependent manner, reducing the number of P. acnes CFU by approximately 6 logs at a concentration of 0.5 mg. When PBV concentration was higher than 1.0 mg, no P. acnes colonies were spotted on an agar. TEM and SEM of untreated P. acnes illustrated the normal pleomorphic structure, whereas the PBV-treated bacterium lost the integrity of surface architecture. Significant difference (P=0.027) in the grading levels based on numbers of lesion counts for inflammatory and noninflammatory was observed in favour of the PBV group compared with the control group. In terms of average decrement of skin microorganism, subjects receiving cosmetics containing PBV experienced a significant 57.5% decrease of adenosine triphosphate levels, whereas participants receiving cosmetics without PBV experienced a nonsignificant decrease of 4.7%. These results show that the in vitro actions of antimicrobial activity of PBV were translated in vivo. Cosmetics containing PBV provided a certain degree of efficacy in terms of lesion counts and skin microorganism concentration compared with cosmetics without PBV in subjects with acne vulgaris. PBV may be a good candidate compound for developing therapeutic drug for the treatment of acne vulgaris. Source

Han S.M.,National Academy of Agricultural Science
BMC complementary and alternative medicine

Free radicals are involved in neuronal cell death in human neurodegenerative diseases. Since ancient times, honeybee venom has been used in a complementary medicine to treat various diseases and neurologic disorders. Melittin, the main component of honeybee venom, has various biologic effects, including anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory activities. We investigated the neuroprotective effects of melittin against H2O2-induced apoptosis in the human neuroblastoma cell line SH-SY5Y. The neuroprotective effects of melittin on H2O2-induced apoptosis were investigated using a 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenylterazolium bromide assay, caspase 3 activity, 4,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole staining, a lactate dehydrogenase release assay, Western blots, and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. The H2O2-treated cells had decreased cell viability with apoptotic features and increased production of caspase-3. On the other hand, melittin treatment increased cell viability and decreased apoptotic DNA fragmentation. Melittin attenuated the H2O2-induced decrease in mRNA and protein production of the anti-apoptotic factor Bcl-2. In addition, melittin inhibited both the H2O2-induced mRNA and protein expression of Bax-associated pro-apoptotic factor and caspase-3. These findings suggest that melittin has potential therapeutic effects as an agent for the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. Source

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