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Elmann A.,Israel Agricultural Research Organization | Beit-Yannai E.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev | Telerman A.,Israel Agricultural Research Organization | Ofir R.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Functional Foods | Year: 2016

Activated microglial cells release various mediators, which cause neuronal cell death and have been implicated in different neurological disorders. The present study demonstrates that an infusion prepared from the plant Pulicaria incisa (Pi) inhibits microglial activation and down-regulates levels of the inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and of the toxic mediators nitric oxide and glutamate. The infusion was also shown to have antioxidant properties in cell-free assays (e.g., differential pulse voltammetry) and in a cellular assay, in which the infusion attenuated the induced accumulation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). We found that Pi infusion is rich in polyphenols, especially chlorogenic acids and ferulic acids, which might be responsible for the observed activities. It is proposed that Pi infusion be further evaluated for use as a functional beverage for the prevention and/or treatment of chronic diseases, especially neurodegenerative disorders in which microglial activation and oxidative stress play important roles. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Ben-Simhon Z.,Newe Yaar Research Center | Ben-Simhon Z.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology | Judeinstein S.,Southern Arava Research and Development | Trainin T.,Newe Yaar Research Center | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Color is an important determinant of pomegranate fruit quality and commercial value. To understand the genetic factors controlling color in pomegranate, chemical, molecular and genetic characterization of a "white" pomegranate was performed. This unique accession is lacking the typical pomegranate color rendered by anthocyanins in all tissues of the plant, including flowers, fruit (skin and arils) and leaves. Steady-state gene-expression analysis indicated that none of the analyzed "white" pomegranate tissues are able to synthesize mRNA corresponding to the PgLDOX gene (leucoanthocyanidin dioxygenase, also called ANS, anthocyanidin synthase), which is one of the central structural genes in the anthocyanin- biosynthesis pathway. HPLC analysis revealed that none of the "white" pomegranate tissues accumulate anthocyanins, whereas other flavonoids, corresponding to biochemical reactions upstream of LDOX, were present. Molecular analysis of the "white" pomegranate revealed the presence of an insertion and an SNP within the coding region of PgLDOX. It was found that the SNP does not change amino acid sequence and is not fully linked with the "white" phenotype in all pomegranate accessions from the collection. On the other hand, genotyping of pomegranate accessions from the collection and segregating populations for the "white" phenotype demonstrated its complete linkage with the insertion, inherited as a recessive single-gene trait. Taken together, the results indicate that the insertion in PgLDOX is responsible for the "white" anthocyanin-less phenotype. These data provide the first direct molecular, genetic and chemical evidence for the effect of a natural modification in the LDOX gene on color accumulation in a fruit-bearing woody perennial deciduous tree. This modification can be further utilized to elucidate the physiological role of anthocyanins in protecting the tree organs from harmful environmental conditions, such as temperature and UV radiation. © 2015 Ben-Simhon et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source

Borochov-Neori H.,Southern Arava Research and Development | Lazarovitch N.,Ben - Gurion University of the Negev | Judeinstein S.,Southern Arava Research and Development | Patil B.S.,Texas A&M University | Holland D.,Newe Yaar Research Center
ACS Symposium Series | Year: 2013

Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) has recently become a commercially important crop due to multitude health promoting properties attributed to different parts of the fruit. Worldwide pomegranate production has expanded greatly in traditional and new locations of diverse climatic and water conditions. The pomegranate industry demands intensely red fruit with high antioxidant content. It is therefore especially important to investigate the effects of climate and water quality on pomegranate anthocyanin and phenolics accumulation. Our research has focused on the edible part of the fruit, specifically, the arils. A diverse selection of pomegranate cultivars was employed. To explore climate effect, fruit that developed and ripened under a wide range of temperature regimes were studied. To explore water quality effect, fruit from plants irrigated with a wide range of salinities, 0.5-9 dS m-1, were studied. Anthocyanins were analyzed by RP-HPLC and phenolics content was determined by the Folin-Ciocalteau assay. Both abiotic factors considerably affected arils' composition. Cooler temperatures enhanced both pigment and antioxidant accumulation. Climate also affected anthocyanin composition. Increased salinity enhanced phenolics accumulation in both accessions but reduced that of anthocyanins in a cultivar dependent manner. Our results can benefit breeding and agricultural efforts to enhance pomegranate fruit quality, especially, in face of global warming and water quality deterioration. © 2013 American Chemical Society. Source

Borochov-Neori H.,Southern Arava Research and Development | Borochov-Neori H.,Texas A&M University | Judeinstein S.,Southern Arava Research and Development | Harari M.,Southern Arava Research and Development | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry | Year: 2011

Worldwide pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) production has expanded greatly due to recent evidence on the fruit health attributes. The fruit's unique red color, conferred by anthocyanins, is an imperative sensory quality. Climate effects on the fruit's internal color were reported earlier. The present study investigated the influence of a wide range of temperature regimes (∼7-40 °C) on pomegranates' aril anthocyanins. The study included two deciduous and two evergreen accessions as well as desert and Mediterranean orchards. RP-HPLC analysis of the arils' anthocyanins revealed mono-and diglucosylated delphinidins and cyanidins as the major anthocyanins and pelargonidins as minor components. Anthocyanin accumulation changed inversely to the season's temperatures. Cyanidins were generally more abundant but delphinidin accumulation was enhanced in cooler season. Monoglucosylated anthocyanins prevailed at cooler temperatures and subsided during seasonal warming with a concomitant increase in diglucoside proportion. The findings can benefit breeding and agricultural efforts to enhance pomegranate quality, especially in the face of "global warming". © 2011 American Chemical Society. Source

Ben-Simhon Z.,Newe Yaar Research Center | Judeinstein S.,Southern Arava Research and Development | Nadler-Hassar T.,Newe Yaar Research Center | Trainin T.,Newe Yaar Research Center | And 3 more authors.
Planta | Year: 2011

Anthocyanins are the major pigments responsible for the pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) fruit skin color. The high variability in fruit external color in pomegranate cultivars reflects variations in anthocyanin composition. To identify genes involved in the regulation of anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway in the pomegranate fruit skin we have isolated, expressed and characterized the pomegranate homologue of the Arabidopsis thaliana TRANSPARENT TESTA GLABRA1 (TTG1), encoding a WD40-repeat protein. The TTG1 protein is a regulator of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins (PAs) biosynthesis in Arabidopsis, and acts by the formation of a transcriptional regulatory complex with two other regulatory proteins: bHLH and MYB. Our results reveal that the pomegranate gene, designated PgWD40, recovered the anthocyanin, PAs, trichome and seed coat mucilage phenotype in Arabidopsis ttg1 mutant. PgWD40 expression and anthocyanin composition in the skin were analyzed during pomegranate fruit development, in two accessions that differ in skin color intensity and timing of appearance. The results indicate high positive correlation between the total cyanidin derivatives quantity (red pigments) and the expression level of PgWD40. Furthermore, strong correlation was found between the steady state levels of PgWD40 transcripts and the transcripts of pomegranate homologues of the structural genes PgDFR and PgLDOX. PgWD40, PgDFR and PgLDOX expression also correlated with the expression of pomegranate homologues of the regulatory genes PgAn1 (bHLH) and PgAn2 (MYB). On the basis of our results we propose that PgWD40 is involved in the regulation of anthocyanin biosynthesis during pomegranate fruit development and that expression of PgWD40, PgAn1 and PgAn2 in the pomegranate fruit skin is required to regulate the expression of downstream structural genes involved in the anthocyanin biosynthesis. © 2011 Springer-Verlag. Source

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