To assess levels of dioxin background contamination and transfer of dioxins from mothers to unborn children and infants, concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and coplanar-polychlorinated biphenyls (Co-PCBs) were measured in human samples from expectant and nursing mothers living in Nara, Japan. The average toxic equivalency quantities (TEQs) of PCDDs/PCDFs and Co-PCBs from circulating maternal blood, cord blood, placenta, milk taken 3–10 d after delivery, milk taken one month after delivery, and adipose tissue were 26 and 9.3, 15 and 2.3, 31 and 1.2, 16 and 5.4, 18 and 8.8, and 16 and 7.7 pg-TEQ/g-fat, respectively. Among the various PCDD/PCDF congeners, 1,2,3,7,8-PeCDD and 2,3,4,7,8-PeCDF contributed most heavily to the TEQs of all maternal samples. Among the various Co-PCB congeners, 3,3′,4,4′,5-PeCB (#126), 2,3,3′,4,4′,5-HxCB (#156), and 2,3′,4,4′,5-PeCB (#118) contributed most heavily to the TEQs of all maternal samples. But, the concentrations and relative percentages of congeners differed among the various samples, suggesting that congeners showing high toxic equivalency factor accumulate in the placenta.
The crystalline structure of N-(S)-2-heptyl (1R,2R)-2-(2,3-anthracenedicarboximido)cyclohexamide (1), which was crystallized from methanol, was determined by an X-ray analysis and had a different conformation from its preferred one in CD3OD by a 1H-NMR analysis. Inter- and intra-molecular CH-π interaction in a crystal plays a very important role in crystal packing. The preferred conformation of the amide derivative in a solution allows us to exploit (1R,2R)-2-(2,3-anthracenedicarboximido)cyclohexanecarbonyl chloride as a conversion reagent to determine the absolute configuration of chiral amines by 1H-NMR.
Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess), the American serpentine leafminer fly, is well known as a serious pest throughout the world. This insect attack over 21 different plant families including solanaceae plants. The mature sweet pepper, Capsicum annuum (Solanaceae), however, shows resistance to this leafminer fly. This resistance is based on the ovipositional deterrent in the sweet pepper leaf against the fly species. Based on bioassay-guided fractionation, luteolin 7-O-β-D-apiofuranosyl-(1→2)-β-D-glucopyranoside was isolated and identified as the ovipositional deterrent against this insect species. This compound completely deterred L. trifolii females from laying their eggs on a host plant leaf treated at 4.90 μg/cm2.
A new and efficient route to (S)-azetidine-2-carboxylic acid (>99.9% ee) in five steps and total yield of 48% via malonic ester intermediates was established. As the key step, efficient four-membered ring formation (99%) was achieved from dimethyl (S)-(1′-methyl)benzylaminomalonate by treating with 1,2-dibromoethane (1.5 eq) and cesium carbonate (2 eq) in DMF. Krapcho dealkoxycarbonylation of dimethyl (1′S)-1-(1′-methyl)benzylazetidine-2,2-dicarboxylate, the product of this cyclization procedure, proceeded with preferential formation (2.7:1, 78% total yield) of the desired (2S,1′S)-monoester, with the help of a chiral auxiliary which was introduced on the nitrogen atom. The undesired (2R,1′S)-isomer could be converted to that with proper stereochemistry, by a deprotonation and subsequent re-protonation step. Finally, lipase-catalyzed preferential hydrolysis of the (2S,1′S)-monoester and subsequent deprotection provided enantiomerically pure (S)-azetidine-2-carboxylic acid in a 91% yield from the mixture of (2S,1′S)- and (2R,1′S)-isomers.
Stimulation of murine macrophages with corn silk induced cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 with secretion of PGE2. Expression of COX-2 was inhibited by pyrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC), and increased DNA binding by nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), indicating that COX-2 induction proceeds also via the NF-κB signaling pathway. A specific inhibitor of COX-2 decreased the expression level of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) stimulated by corn silk. PGE2 elevated the expression level of iNOS, probably via EP2 and EP4 receptors on the surface of the macrophages.
It has been reported that one of the hyperthermostable aminopeptidases from Pyrococcus horikoshii exhibits hydrolytic activity toward short peptides and acyl-peptides (deblocking activity). In the genome database of P. horikoshii, two new open reading frames homologous to the hyperthermostable aminopeptidase of P. horikoshii were found. The two new genes for the proteins were cloned, expressed using E. coli, and characterized. The purified proteins gave a single band on SDS-PAGE corresponding to molecular masses of 42 kDa and 41 kDa respectively, and exhibited aminopeptidase activity, including deblocking activity. These enzymes are likely to exist as oligomeric structures at neutral pH. The optimum pHs of the two enzyme activities were in the range of 7.0 to 7.5, and the optimum temperatures for the activities were around 100 °C. The enzymes exhibited low hydrolytic activity for peptide substrates longer than 10 residues. They were activated by cobalt and zinc ions. Their substrate specificities and activation factors are different. It was confirmed that P. horikoshii has three similar aminopeptidases with deblocking activity and that these enzymes appear to play important roles in hydrolyzing small peptides in P. horikoshii cells.
The rocG gene encoding glutamate dehydrogenase from Bacillus subtilis (Bs-GluDH) was cloned, and expressed at considerable magnitude in Escherichia coli. The recombinant Bs-GluDH was purified to homogeneity and has been determined to have a hexameric structure (Mr 270 kDa) with strict specificity for 2-oxoglutarate and L-glutamate, requiring NADH and NAD+ as cofactors respectively. The enzyme showed low thermostability with Tm=41 °C due to dissociation of the hexamer. To improve the thermostability of this enzyme, we performed error-prone PCR, introducing random mutagenesis on cloned GluDH. Two single mutant enzymes, Q144R and E27F, were isolated from the final mutant library. Their Tm values were 61 °C and 49 °C respectively. Furthermore, Q144R had a remarkably high kcat value (435 s−1) for amination reaction at 37 °C, 1.3 times higher than that of the wild-type. Thus, Q144R can be used as a template gene to modify the substrate specificity of Bs-GluDH for industrial use.
The aim of this study was to elucidate the expression pattern of ABCG2 in the placenta from the mid stage to the end of gestation. rABCG2 expression was investigated in rats on the 14th gestation day (gd) and the 20th gd. Expression of the rABCG2 gene and expression of rABCG2 protein in the placenta were detected on gd 14 by RT-PCR and Western blot analysis respectively. The expression level of rABCG2 on gd 20 was less than that on gd 14. We investigated whether progesterone, secreted from the placenta, regulates the expression of ABCG2 in BeWo cells. Expression levels of the ABCG2 gene and protein in BeWo cells were decreased by progesterone treatment. We conclude that progesterone plays a role in reduction in the expression level of ABCG2 in the placenta with the advance of gestation from the mid stage to the end of gestation.
ATPase was purified 51-fold from a chemoautotrophic, obligately acidophilic iron-oxidizing bacterium, Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans NASF-1. The purified ATPase showed the typical subunit pattern of the F1-ATPase on a polyacrylamide gel containing sodium dodecyl sulfate, with 5 subunits of apparent molecular masses of 55, 50, 33, 20, and 18 kDa. The enzyme hydrolyzed ATP, GTP, and ITP, but neither UTP nor ADP. The Km value for ATP was 1.8 mM. ATPase activity was optimum at pH 8.5 at 45 °C, and was activated by sulfite. Azide strongly inhibited the enzyme activity, whereas the enzyme was relatively resistant to vanadate, nitrate, and N,N′-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide. The genes encoding the subunits for the F1FO-ATPase from A. ferrooxidans NASF-1 were cloned as three overlapping fragments by PCR cloning and sequenced. The molecular masses of the α, β, γ, δ, and ε subunits of the F1 portion were deduced from the amino acid sequences to be 55.5, 50.5, 33.1, 19.2, and 15.1 kDa, respectively.
A starch-hydrolyzing enzyme from Schwanniomyces occidentalis has been reported to be a novel glucoamylase, but there is no conclusive proof that it is glucoamylase. An enzyme having the hydrolytic activity toward soluble starch was purified from a strain of S. occidentalis. The enzyme showed high catalytic efficiency (kcat⁄Km) for maltooligosaccharides, compared with that for soluble starch. The product anomer was α-glucose, differing from glucoamylase as a β-glucose producing enzyme. These findings are striking characteristics of α-glucosidase. The DNA encoding the enzyme was cloned and sequenced. The primary structure deduced from the nucleotide sequence was highly similar to mold, plant, and mammalian α-glucosidases of α-glucosidase family II and other glucoside hydrolase family 31 enzymes, and the two regions involved in the catalytic reaction of α-glucosidases were conserved. These were no similarities to the so-called glucoamylases. It was concluded that the enzyme and also S. occidentalis glucoamylase, had been already reported, were typical α-glucosidases, and not glucoamylase.
Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) eliminate virus-infected cells and tumor cells by two distinct killing pathways, mediated by lytic granules containing perforin and by Fas ligand (FasL). ECH [(2R,3R,4S)-2,3-epoxy-4-hydroxy-5-hydroxymethyl-6-(1E)-propenyl-cyclohex-5-en-1-one] has been shown to inhibit FasL-dependent apoptosis or the killing pathway in short-term culture. However, since ECH exhibited cell toxicity in long-term culture, we attempted the synthesis of less toxic epoxycyclohexenone derivatives. In the present study, we found that RKTS-33 [(2R,3R,4S)-2,3-epoxy-4-hydroxy-5-hydroxymethyl-cyclohex-5-en-1-one] has cell toxicity lower than ECH in long-term culture, and further investigated the inhibitory effect of RKTS-33 on CTL-mediated killing pathways. RKTS-33 did not affect cell-surface expression of FasL upon CD3 stimulation, but profoundly inhibited the FasL-dependent killing pathway mediated by CD4+ and CD8+ CTLs, indicating that RKTS-33 specifically blocks target cell apoptosis but not CTL function. By contrast, RKTS-33 did not affect the perforin-dependent killing pathway in CD8+ CTLs. These results indicate that RKTS-33 is a specific inhibitor of the FasL-dependent killing pathway in CTL-mediated cytotoxicity.
The Arabidopsis lesion initiation 1 (len1) mutant develops lesions on leaves without pathogen attack. The len1 plants display lesion formation as they grow under short-day conditions (SD), but not under long-day conditions (LD). This study was conducted to examine how lesion formation, viz., cell death, in len1 plants occurs under SD. I present genetic and physiological data to show that tetrapyrrole metobolism is necessary for lesion formation in len1 plants. Lesion formation was suppressed in the len1lin2 double mutant under SD. lesion initiation 2 (lin2) is another lesion mimic mutant with a defect in tetrapyrrole biosynthesis. Suppression of lesion formation in len1 plants was also observed when they were crossed with the mutants that had defects in other steps in tetrapyrrole metabolism. Suppression was correlated with reduced chlorophyll (Chl) levels in the double mutants. Furthermore, I found that dark-to-light transition caused a bleached phenotype in len1 plants, as in the case of antisense ACD1 (acd, accelerated cell death) plants. ACD1 encodes pheophorbide a oxygenase (PaO), which is involved in Chl catabolism in Arabidopsis. These results suggest that tetrapyrrole metabolism, especially Chl breakdown, might be involved in lesion formation in len1 plants.
An expression system of recombinant myoglobins (Mb) of 3 scombridae fish species was constructed. The stability of these Mbs was compared with native Mbs purified from slow skeletal muscle. The addition of hemin during the cultivation of an Escherichia coli strain harboring a pGEX-2T expression vector was found to be necessary to prevent recombinant Mb from degrading and to attain its proper folding. The stabilities of recombinant Mbs were generally lower than those of native Mbs, partly due to the absence of post-translational modification. The α-Helical content of bullet tuna recombinant Mb at 10 °C was the lowest (29.0%) among the recombinant Mbs examined (the values for bluefin tuna and bigeye tuna Mbs being 34.8 and 35.5%, respectively). On the other hand, the stabilities of recombinant Mbs of bluefin tuna and bigeye tuna against denaturants (urea and guanidine hydrochloride) were found to be similar, whereas bullet tuna recombinant Mb exhibited the lowest stability among these Mbs. The pattern of temperature-dependent decrease in the α-helical content supported these results.
An arabinogalactan-protein macroarray of all 48 Arabidopsis arabinogalactan-protein genes was prepared as a handy detection system for arabinogalactan-protein gene expression. The major transcript in inflorescence stems was identified as AtFLA11. AtFLA11 is categorized as a fasciclin-like arabinogalactan-protein that possesses a fasciclin domain with a cell adhesion function in animal cells. AtFLA11 was specifically expressed in the sclerenchyma cells of inflorescence stems and siliques, which are characterized by their thick secondary cell walls, and was confirmed by immunostaining at the protein level. The fluctuation of AtFLA11 transcripts during the maturation process of sclerenchyma cells suggests its role in the formation of the secondary cell wall.
We showed previously that the bacterial ribonuclease P (RNase P) ribozyme has substrate shape preference depending on the concentrations of catalytically important magnesium ions. The ribozyme discriminates a canonical cloverleaf precursor tRNA from a hairpin RNA with a CCA-tag sequence at low concentrations of magnesium ions. By detailed analysis of the shape preference using the bottom-half part-shifting variants of a tRNA precursor, we showed that the RNAs in a T-shape structure can be substrates for the ribozyme reactions even at low concentrations of magnesium ions, and that the RNA in a natural L-shape is the best substrate for both the ribozyme and the holo enzyme. The results also showed that the position of the bottom-half part did not affect the cleavage site selection of a substrate by the enzyme. Our results are the first kinetic evidence to show the importance of the bottom-half part of tRNA molecule, and our result also showed that the holo enzyme can discriminate substrate shape as well as the ribozyme at low concentrations of metal ions.
A known biotransformed compound, 6,7,4′-trihydroxyisoflavone, was identified as a potent tyrosinase inhibitor. It inhibited mushroom tyrosinase with an IC50 value of 9.2 μM, which is six times the anti-tyrosinase activity of kojic acid (IC50=54.4 μM). The inhibition kinetics, analyzed by Lineweaver–Burk plots, indicated 6,7,4′-trihydroxyisoflavone to be a competitive inhibitor of tyrosinase when L-tyrosine was used as a substrate. Its biosynthesis precursors and analogs, including glycitein, daidzein, and genistein, showed little anti-tyrosinase activity. The results suggest that hydroxyl groups at the C-6 and C-7 positions of the isoflavone skeleton might play an important role in the expression of tyrosinase inhibitory activity.
We constructed an expression vector for the coat protein (CP) gene and the 3′ untranslated region (3′ UTR) of RNA virus (sweet potato feathery mottle virus severe strain (SPFMV-S)) lacking a foreign terminator. Out of seven transgenic tobacco plants, expression of the transgene was observed in six plants. RT-PCR analysis revealed that the transcripts had a poly(A) tail, and in most of them, polyadenylation occurred on the 5′ side of the 3′ UTR. These results suggest that the viral sequence contains a cryptic polyadenylation signal that permits 3′-end processing of the transcripts.
An enzyme catalyzing the hydrolysis of triacylglycerol was purified from an earthworm. The N-terminal amino acid sequence and the catalytic function of the purified enzyme were identical to those of Isozyme C, an isozyme of the earthworm-serine proteases. No other lipase proteins were found in the earthworm cells. The isozyme might act on the hydrolysis of triacylglycerol as well as the protein decomposition.
A protein which bound to 125I-labeled peptidoglycan (PGN) was isolated from hemolymph of silkworm larvae. The N-terminal amino acid sequence and the molecular weight of the protein were in accord with those described for Promoting Protein (PP) from the silkworm. The binding of the protein to [125I]PGN was competitively inhibited by various β-glucans. The binding kinetics of PGN and chitin to the protein were analyzed in a biosensor.
To analyze the relationship between resistance to oxidative stress and longevity, we isolated three novel paraquat-resistant mutants, mev-5, mev-6, and mev-7, from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. They all showed the Dyf (defective in dye filling) phenotype, but not always resistance to heat or UV. Life-span extension was observed only in the mev-5 mutant at 26 °C. These results indicate that longevity is uncoupled with the phenotype of paraquat resistance.
In our previous studies, medium- and long-chain triacylglycerols (MLCT), randomly interesterified triacylglycerols containing medium-chain and long-chain fatty acids in the same glycerol molecule, significantly reduced body fat accumulation in humans and rats. To clarify mechanism(s) for this effect of MLCT, we measured energy expenditure and hepatic fatty acid metabolism in rats by comparison with long-chain triacylglycerols (LCT) or medium-chain triacylglycerols (MCT). MLCT, compared with LCT, showed significantly lower body fat accumulation, higher 24-h energy expenditure and acyl-CoA dehydrogenase activity measured using octanoyl-CoA as a substrate, and similar lipogenic activity. MCT, compared with LCT, showed significantly higher energy expenditure, but fat accumulation was comparable. Additionally, MCT exhibited significantly higher lipogenic activity than the other oils. These data suggest that enhancement of energy expenditure and medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) oxidation without activating de novo lipogenesis are responsible at least for the lower body fat accumulation in rats fed MLCT. The activation of hepatic lipogenesis by excessive intake of MCFA might counteract their preventive effects on body fat accumulation.
We examined the effects of ingesting a non-sugar chocolate containing polydextrose and lactitol in place of sucrose and lactose on the concentrations of plasma glucose and serum insulin and triglyceride in humans. A regular chocolate was used as the control. A crossover study was employed, and the subjects each ingested 46 g of the control or non-sugar chocolate in the experiments. Alterations in the blood components were monitored for a period of 150 min after ingestion. The control chocolate elevated the concentrations of plasma glucose and serum insulin, with the peak occurring 30 min after ingestion, but the non-sugar chocolate had a very minor effect. The serum triglyceride concentration gradually increased after ingesting the control chocolate, but was only slightly elevated 150 min after ingesting the non-sugar chocolate. An animal study also showed an attenuated response of serum triglyceride to the administration of a fat emulsion containing polydextrose and lactitol, suggesting that the triglyceride transit through the gut was promoted by these compounds. These results suggest that, compared to regular chocolate, fat absorption in the gut was less after ingesting the non-sugar chocolate, presumably resulting in less effect on body fat deposition.
Porphyran is a major component of the red algae, Porphyra tenera and P. yezoensis, which are processed into a sheet type of dried food, “Nori”. Porphyran has been reported to activate murine macrophages by in vitro and i.p. injection studies. The contact hypersensitivity (CHS) reaction in mice is commonly used as a model to evaluate the anti-allergic activity of food and food components. We therefore studied the effect of porphyran on the CHS reaction in Balb/c mice to evaluate anti-allergic activity of porphyran. We found that an oral administration of porphyran (2% in drinking water) suppressed the CHS reaction (ear edema) induced by 2,4,6-trinitrochlorobenzene. We also found that porphyran suppressed the serum level of IgE and the production of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) in the challenged ear lobe. We conclude from these results that the CHS reaction was suppressed by oral porphyran due to the decreased serum level of IgE and the production of IFN-γ in the challenged ear lobe.
The effect of germination and subsequent heat-processing on the degradation of soluble proteins, including some allergenic proteins, in brown rice grains was investigated. The content of soluble proteins, including 14–16-kDa and 26-kDa allergens, in the germinated and processed brown rice grains (GPR) was much lower than that of non-germinated brown rice. These proteins in brown rice grains were also much lower after subsequent heat-processing during the manufacturing process. The protease activity of germinated brown rice (GR) was detected and increased 1.5 times after germination. The optimum pH values for degradation of the 26-kDa and 14–16-kDa allergens in the GR grains were 4 and between 5 and 7, respectively. These results suggest that the decrease in the soluble proteins and allergens was induced in part by proteolytic degradation. The presence of a detergent enhanced the proteolytic degradation of the soluble proteins, especially of the 26-kDa allergen, in the brown rice grains. The degradation of the 26-kDa allergen was weakly inhibited by NEM, suggesting cysteine protease(s) may have been involved in its degradation. These results suggest that the two abundant allergens were degraded in a different manner and probably by different proteases in the grains during germination.
The effect of the heat-dried product of Shochu distillery by-products (HSDB) derived from sweet potato on mammary carcinogenesis in rats was investigated. HSDB was fed at 2.5% or 5% of the total feed weight. Dietary HSDB at the 5% level suppressed the incidence and number of tumors, and delayed the latency of mammary tumor development relative to the control diet. Experiments were conducted to determine the relative polarity of the anticarcinogenic constituent(s). The number of tumors per tumor-bearing rat was lower in the diet group fed with an ethyl acetate extract of HSDB than in the control group. The tumor incidence evaluated at both palpation and autopsy was slightly lower in the group fed with a methanol extract than in the control group. These results suggest that HSDB contained at least two constituents of differing polarity that counteracted mammary carcinogenesis.
The detection threshold and taste characteristics of sanshools were examined by sensory evaluation, after isolating four sanshools (α-, β-, γ-, and δ-), and two hydroxy sanshools (α- and β-) from the pericarp of Japanese pepper. The Scoville unit (SU) values of the four sanshools were in the range of 80,000–110,000, while those of hydroxy sanshools were 3–5 fold lower than corresponding sanshools. The pungent qualities of each sanshool were different. Burning and tingling were predominantly perceived and lasted for the longest time with α-sanshool. Burning and fresh for γ-sanshool, and tingling and numbing for hydroxy α-sanshool were perceived. Tests on the activation of rat TRPV1 were also performed. All of them were weak agonists. Among them, γ-sanshool was the most potent agonist, although its EC50 value of 5.3 μM was 230 fold higher than that of capsaicin. These results indicate that it would be difficult to explain the pungent quality of each sanshool simply in terms of TRPV1 activation.
The distributions of each sanshool in the Japanese pepper plant grown in various regions and the change in composition of sanshools during maturation of the fruit were investigated. The degree of pungency, defined as the amount of a sanshool/the threshold value, was calculated, and the pungent qualities of the products were evaluated and compared. The degree of pungency and amount of a sanshool showed a positive correlation. In young leaves and flowers, the degree of pungency was less than that in the fruits, the main compound being α-sanshool, while the two hydroxy sanshools were detected only in trace amounts. The main compound in fruits was hydroxy α-sanshool, whose threshold value was higher than that of α-sanshool. It is concluded that the pungency of Japanese pepper should be evaluated not only by the threshold values, but also by the pungent qualities, the composition of sanshools, and the usage of each product of Japanese pepper.
To clarify the effects of the dietary calcium (Ca)/phosphorus (P) ratio on bone mineralization under the condition of estrogen deficiency, Wistar strain female rats were ovariectomized (OVX) at 12 weeks old. At 16 weeks old, the rats were divided into three dietary groups fed varying levels of P containing 0.5% Ca: 0.25% P, Ca/P=2; 0.5% P, Ca/P=1; and 1.0% P, Ca/P=0.5 respectively. This study indicates that the reduction of the dietary Ca/P ratio impairs trabecular bone turnover accompanying the acceleration of bone formation in OVX rats.
Extracts from immature fruit of the apple (Rosaceae, Malus sp.), which contain procyanidins (polymers of catechins) as the major ingredients, are known to inhibit histamine release from mast cells. We analyzed in this study the mechanism for the anti-allergic activity of two polyphenol-enriched apple extracts. These extracts, termed “crude apple polyphenol (CAP)” and “apple condensed tannin (ACT)”, reduced the degranulation of mast cells caused by cross-linking of the high-affinity receptor for IgE (FcεRI) with IgE and the antigen in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, western blotting revealed that phosphorylation of the intracellular signal-transduction molecules caused by cross-linking of FcεRI was markedly decreased by the addition of CAP or ACT. We then analyzed the effects of CAP and ACT on the binding of the IgE antibody to FcεRI on mast cells, which is the first key step in the allergic reaction mediated by mast cells, and found that this binding was markedly inhibited by both CAP and ACT. These results indicate that the inhibition of binding between FcεRI and IgE by either CAP or ACT was the probable cause of the suppression of mast cell activation. This is the first report demonstrating the molecular mechanism for the anti-allergic effect of procyanidin-enriched extracts from apples.
Iron deficiency is known as the most important nutritional problem in the world. The loss of appetite is a common characteristic of iron deficiency. Iron-containing heme is required as a cofactor for nitric oxide synthase (NOS) which produces nitric oxide (NO). NOS in the central nervous system has been suggested to regulate food intake. Hence, we examined the expression of hypothalamic NOS at various levels of dietary iron. ICR mice (n=30) were randomly divided into three groups based on the level of dietary iron and fed experimental diets for 4 weeks: the normal-iron diet group (7 mg/kg diet, n=10), the low-iron diet group (21 mg/kg diet, n=10) and the high-iron diet group (42 mg/kg diet, n=10). Expression of NOS in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) of hypothalamus was examined by histochemistry for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate–diaphorase (NADPH–diaphorase). The high-iron diet mice showed significantly higher staining intensity of NADPH–diaphorase-positive neurons in the PVN and LHA than the normal- and low-iron diet mice.
The obese Zucker rat, whose genotype is transmitted in an autosomal recessive fashion, is an animal model widely used in the field of obesity. The expression of the nuclear transcription factors c-Fos and c-Jun in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and arcuate nucleus (ARC) of the hypothalamus of obese Zucker rats was studied using immunohistochemical methods. PVN and ARC in the hypothalamus are known as centers for the control of food intake. It was observed that the numbers of c-Fos-positive and c-Jun-positive neurons in these regions decreased in obese rats compared to lean rats, and that difference was more evident in the ARC than in the PVN which has to do with the regulation of body weight. The reduction in expression in the ARC of obese rats was greater for c-Jun than for c-Fos. These results suggest a possible difference in Fos immunoreactivity in hypothalamic resistance to circulating satiety factors in genetically obese Zucker rats.
A new type of electrolyzed hydrogen-saturated (EHS) water was produced using a water-electrolyzing device equipped with a special cation exchanger. Use of the EHS water for drinking in a feeding test with rats elicited an antioxidative effect. After intraperitoneal injection of 2,2-azobis-amidinopropane dihydrochloride, urinary secretion of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine and hepatic formation of peroxidized lipid were significantly lessened in rats which had received the EHS water for one week. These results suggest the possibility that this drinking water shows an effect in reduction of oxidative stress in the body.
In acute hepatic injury tests, an adzuki bean extract decreased D-galactosamine (GalN)-induced alterations in the serum alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotranferase activities to about 37% and 25%, respectively, although there were no significant differences in these activities between the GalN-treated group with the adzuki bean extract and the GalN-treated group without the adzuki bean extract. Furthermore, the hepatic glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, and Mn– and Cu,Zn–superoxide dismutase mRNA levels in the GalN-treated group with the adzuki bean extract were higher than those in the control group and GalN-treated group without the adzuki bean extract.
A novel aminoacylase was purified to homogeneity from culture broth of Streptomyces mobaraensis, as evidenced by SDS–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). The enzyme was a monomer with an approximate molecular mass of 100 kDa. The purified enzyme was inhibited by the presence of 1,10-phenanthroline and activated by the addition of Co2+. It was stable at temperatures of up to 60 °C for 1 h at pH 7.2. It showed broad substrate specificity to N-acetylated L-amino acids. It catalyzed the hydrolysis of the amide bonds of various N-acetylated L-amino acids, except for Nε-acetyl-L-lysine and N-acetyl-L-proline. Hydrolysis of N-acetyl-L-methionine and N-acetyl-L-histidine followed Michaelis–Menten kinetics with Km values of 1.3±0.1 mM and 2.7±0.1 mM respectively. The enzyme also catalyzed the deacetylation of 7-aminocephalosporanic acid (7-ACA) and cephalosporin C. Moreover, feruloylamino acids and L-lysine derivatives of ferulic acid derivatives were synthesized in an aqueous buffer using the enzyme.
We have established an efficient method for enzymatic production of cytidine 5′-monophospho-N-acetylneuraminic acid (CMP-NeuAc) from inexpensive materials, N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) and cytidine 5′-monophosphate (CMP). The Haemophilus influenzae nanE gene encoding GlcNAc 6-phosphate (GlcNAc 6-P) 2-epimerase and the Campylobacter jejuni neuB1 gene encoding N-acetylneuraminic acid (NeuAc) synthetase, both of whose products are involved in NeuAc biosynthesis, were cloned and co-expressed in Escherichia coli cells. We examined the synthesis of NeuAc from GlcNAc via GlcNAc 6-P, N-acetylmannosamine (ManNAc) 6-P, and ManNAc by the use of E. coli cells producing GlcNAc 6-P 2-epimerase and NeuAc synthetase, in expectation of biological functions of E. coli such as the supply of phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP), which is an essential substrate for NeuAc synthetase, GlcNAc phospholylation by the PEP-dependent phosphotransferase system, and dephospholylation of ManNAc 6-P. Eleven mM NeuAc was synthesized from 50 mM GlcNAc by recombinant E. coli cells with the addition of glucose as an energy source. Next we attempted to synthesize CMP-NeuAc from GlcNAc and CMP using yeast cells, recombinant E. coli cells, and H. influenzae CMP-NeuAc synthetase, and succeeded in efficient production of CMP-NeuAc due to a sufficient supply of PEP and efficient conversion of CMP to cytidine 5′-triphosphate by yeast cells.
Two Paenibacillus macerans strains, JCM 2500T and MCRI 12, exhibited two types of 16S rDNA copies in their genomes, accompanied by a length difference of 12 bp at positions 203 to 214 (Escherichia coli numbering). The long-type sequences were newly identified for P. macerans 16S rDNA, and the copy numbers were different between the two strains. Both types of 16S rRNA were expressed in each strain, and it was predicted that the polymorphism at this position is located in helix H10, based on a comparison with the E. coli 16S rRNA secondary structure model.