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Concept: Ulex europaeus


Mucins are the main components of the gastrointestinal mucus layer. Mucin glycosylation is critical to most intermolecular and intercellular interactions. However, due to the highly complex and heterogeneous mucin glycan structures, the encoded biological information remains largely encrypted. Here we have developed a methodology based on force spectroscopy to identify biologically accessible glycoepitopes in purified porcine gastric mucin (pPGM) and purified porcine jejunal mucin (pPJM). The binding specificity of lectins Ricinus communis agglutinin I (RCA), peanut (Arachis hypogaea) agglutinin (PNA), Maackia amurensis lectin II (MALII), and Ulex europaeus agglutinin I (UEA) was utilized in force spectroscopy measurements to quantify the affinity and spatial distribution of their cognate sugars at the molecular scale. Binding energy of 4, 1.6, and 26 aJ was determined on pPGM for RCA, PNA, and UEA. Binding was abolished by competition with free ligands, demonstrating the validity of the affinity data. The distributions of the nearest binding site separations estimated the number of binding sites in a 200-nm mucin segment to be 4 for RCA, PNA, and UEA, and 1.8 for MALII. Binding site separations were affected by partial defucosylation of pPGM. Furthermore, we showed that this new approach can resolve differences between gastric and jejunum mucins.-Gunning, A. P., Kirby, A. R., Fuell, C., Pin, C., Tailford L. E., Juge, N. Mining the “glycocode”-exploring the spatial distribution of glycans in gastrointestinal mucin using force spectroscopy.

Concepts: DNA, Proteins, Mass, Ricin, Peanut, Faboideae, Glycomics, Ulex europaeus


Associations between plants and nitrogen (N)-fixing rhizobia intensify with decreasing N supply and come at a carbon cost to the host. However, what additional impact parasitic plants have on their leguminous hosts' carbon budget in terms of effects on host physiology and growth is unknown. Under glasshouse conditions, Ulex europaeus and Acacia paradoxa either uninfected or infected with the hemiparasite Cassytha pubescens were supplied (high nitrogen (HN)) or not (low nitrogen (LN)) with extra N. The photosynthetic performance and growth of the association were measured. Cassytha pubescens significantly reduced the maximum electron transport rates and total biomass of U. europaeus but not those of A. paradoxa, regardless of N. Infection significantly decreased the root biomass of A. paradoxa only at LN, while the significant negative effect of infection on roots of U. europaeus was less severe at LN. Infection had a significant negative impact on host nodule biomass. Ulex europaeus supported significantly greater parasite biomass (also per unit host biomass) than A. paradoxa, regardless of N. We concluded that rhizobia do not influence the effect of a native parasite on overall growth of leguminous hosts. Our results suggest that C. pubescens will have a strong impact on U. europaeus but not A. paradoxa, regardless of N in the field.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Carbon dioxide, Bacteria, Symbiosis, Nitrogen, Parasitism, Parasitic plant, Ulex europaeus


Glycoconjugate mucin secretion from conjunctival goblet cells is tightly regulated by nerves and specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) to maintain ocular surface health. Here we investigated the actions of the SPM resolvin E1 (RvE1) on cultured rat conjunctival goblet cell glycoconjugate secretion and intracellular [Ca2+] ([Ca2+]i) and the signaling pathways used by RvE1. Goblet cells were cultured from rat conjunctiva in RPMI medium. The amount of RvE1-stimulated glycoconjugate mucin secretion was determined using an enzyme-linked lectin assay with Ulex Europaeus Agglutinin 1 lectin. Cultured goblet cells were also incubated with the Ca2+ indicator dye fura 2/AM and [Ca2+]i was measured. Cultured goblet cells were incubated with inhibitors to phospholipase (PL-) C, D, and A2 signaling pathways. RvE1 stimulated glycoconjugate secretion in a concentration dependent manner and was inhibited with the Ca2+ chelator BAPTA. The Ca2+i response was also increased in a concentration manner when stimulated by RvE1. Inhibition of PLC, PLD, and PLA2, but not Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase blocked RvE1-stimulated increase in [Ca2+]i and glycoconjugate secretion. We conclude that under normal, physiological conditions RvE1 stimulates multiple pathways to increase glycoconjugate secretion and [Ca2+]i. RvE1 could be an important regulator of goblet cell glycoconjugate mucin secretion to maintain ocular surface health.

Concepts: Adenosine triphosphate, Golgi apparatus, Secretion, Endoplasmic reticulum, Cell biology, Cell wall, Goblet cell, Ulex europaeus


The importance of competition in low productive habitats is still debated. Studies which simultaneously evaluate preemption of resources and consequences for population dynamics are needed for a comprehensive view of competitive outcomes. We cultivated two emblematic species of European heathlands (Calluna vulgaris and Molinia caerulea) in a nursery for 2 years at two fertility levels, reproducing the productivity gradient found in phosphorus (P)-depleted heathlands in southwest France. The second year, we planted Ulex europaeus seedlings, a ubiquitous heathland species, under the cover of the two species to evaluate its ability to regenerate. Half of the seedlings were placed in tubes for exclusion of competitor roots. We measured the development of the competitors aboveground and belowground and their interception of resources (light, water, inorganic P). Ulex seedlings' growth and survival were also measured. Our results on resources interception were consistent with species distribution in heathlands. Molinia, which dominates rich heathlands, was the strongest competitor for light and water in the rich soil. Calluna, which dominates poor heathlands, increased its root allocation in the poor soil, decreasing water and inorganic P availability. However, the impact of total competition and root competition on Ulex seedlings decreased in the poor soil. Other mechanisms, especially decrease of water stress under neighbouring plant cover, appeared to have more influence on the seedlings' response. We found no formal contradiction between Tilman and Grime’s theories. Root competition has a primary role in acquisition of soil resources in poor habitats. However, the importance of competition decreases with decreasing fertility.

Concepts: Human, Competition, Plant, Shrub, War, Heath, Ulex europaeus, Competitor analysis


The development of submucosal glands of rat nasopharynx was studied with respect to their morphological maturation and glycoprotein alterations during the postnatal period. This study examined the histological morphology with hematoxylin-eosin and the binding pattern of lectins, soybean agglutinin (SBA), Dolichos biflorus agglutinin (DBA), Vicia villosa agglutinin (VVA), Ulex europaeus agglutinin-I (UEA-I), peanut agglutinin (PNA), wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), and succinylated WGA (sucWGA) on frozen sections from newborn into adulthood. At birth, nasopharyngeal glands consisted of rudimentary secretory units which by postnatal day 3 (PN3) showed the characteristic features of salivary glands comprised of mixed mucous and serous cells. With maturation, serous cells increased in number and were arranged in clusters. Lectin reactivity at birth was detected at the acinar cell basal membranes for DBA, SBA, VVA, UEA-1 and PNA. At PN3, lectins labeled the apical cytoplasm and basolateral membranes of mucous cells and progressively with maturation, extended from the apical to basal portions of the cytoplasm with variable reactivity of VVA, PNA and sucWGA. Serous cells were labeled by UEA-1 starting from PN10 and also by PNA in adults. Ducts showed variable lectin reaction on the luminal membrane with strong reactivity of DBA and UEA-1 at PN21. Taken together, lectin histochemistry indicated the transitional occurrence of glycoproteins depending on the stage of maturation of the glands. Moreover, these results emphasize the difference in the morphology and lectin histochemistry between the nasopharyngeal and palatine glands.

Concepts: Cell membrane, Cytoplasm, Histology, Glycoprotein, Vicia, Salivary gland, Lectin, Ulex europaeus


Ulex europaeus (gorse) is an invasive shrub deemed as one of the most invasive species in the world. U. europaeus is widely distributed in the south-central area of Chile, which is considered a world hotspot for biodiversity conservation. In addition to its negative effects on the biodiversity of natural ecosystems, U. europaeus is one of the most severe pests for agriculture and forestry. Despite its importance as an invasive species, U. europaeus has been little studied. Although information exists on the potential distribution of the species, the interaction of the invasion process with the spatial dynamic of the landscape and the landscape-scale factors that control the presence or absence of the species is still lacking. We studied the spatial and temporal dynamics of the landscape and how these relate to U. europaeus invasion in south-central Chile. We used supervised classification of satellite images to determine the spatial distribution of the species and other land covers for the years 1986 and 2003, analysing the transitions between the different land covers. We used logistic regression for modelling the increase, decrease and permanence of U. europaeus invasion considering landscape variables. Results showed that the species covers only around 1 % of the study area and showed a 42 % reduction in area for the studied period. However, U. europaeus was the cover type which presented the greatest dynamism in the landscape. We found a strong relationship between changes in land cover and the invasion process, especially connected with forest plantations of exotic species, which promotes the displacement of U. europaeus. The model of gorse cover increase presented the best performance, and the most important predictors were distance to seed source and landscape complexity index. Our model predicted high spread potential of U. europaeus in areas of high conservation value. We conclude that proper management for this invasive species must take into account the spatial dynamics of the landscape within the invaded area in order to address containment, control or mitigation of the invasion.

Concepts: Conservation biology, Ecology, Ecosystem, Genetic pollution, Invasive species, Introduced species, Gorse, Ulex europaeus


Taste signals are received by taste buds. To better understand the taste reception system, expression patterns of taste-related molecules are determined by in situ hybridization (ISH) analyses at the histological level. Nevertheless, even though ISH is essential for determining mRNA expression, few taste bud markers can be applied together with ISH. Ulex europaeus agglutinin-1 (UEA-1) appears to be a reliable murine taste bud marker based on immunohistochemistry (IHC) analyses. However, there is no evidence as to whether UEA-1 can be used for ISH. Thus, the present study evaluated UEA-1 using various histochemical methods, especially ISH. When lectin staining was performed after ISH procedures, UEA-1 clearly labeled taste cellular membranes and distinctly indicated boundaries between taste buds and the surrounding epithelial cells. Additionally, UEA-1 was determined as a taste bud marker not only when used in single-colored ISH but also when employed with double-labeled ISH or during simultaneous detection using IHC and ISH methods. These results suggest that UEA-1 is a useful marker when conducting analyses based on ISH methods. To clarify UEA-1 staining details, multi-fluorescent IHC (together with UEA-1 staining) was examined, resulting in more than 99% of cells being labeled by UEA-1 and overlapping with KCNQ1-expressing cells.

Concepts: DNA, Gustatory system, Ulex europaeus


: Alterations in the development of the placental vasculature can lead to pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia. Currently, the cause of preeclampsia is unknown, and there are no specific prevention or treatment strategies. Further insight into the placental vasculature may aid in identifying causal factors. Endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs) are a subset of endothelial progenitor cells capable of self-renewal and de novo vessel formation in vitro. We hypothesized that ECFCs exist in the micro- and macrovasculature of the normal, term human placenta. Human placentas were collected from term pregnancies delivered by cesarean section (n = 16). Placental micro- and macrovasculature was collected from the maternal and fetal side of the placenta, respectively, and ECFCs were isolated and characterized. ECFCs were CD31(+), CD105(+), CD144(+), CD146(+), CD14(-), and CD45(-), took up 1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethyl-indocarbocyanine perchlorate-labeled acetylated low-density lipoprotein, and bound Ulex europaeus agglutinin 1. In vitro, macrovascular ECFCs had a greater potential to generate high-proliferative colonies and formed more complex capillary-like networks on Matrigel compared with microvascular ECFCs. In contrast, in vivo assessment demonstrated that microvascular ECFCs had a greater potential to form vessels. Macrovascular ECFCs were of fetal origin, whereas microvascular ECFCs were of maternal origin. ECFCs exist in the micro- and macrovasculature of the normal, term human placenta. Although macrovascular ECFCs demonstrated greater vessel and colony-forming potency in vitro, this did not translate in vivo, where microvascular ECFCs exhibited a greater vessel-forming ability. These important findings contribute to the current understanding of normal placental vascular development and may aid in identifying factors involved in preeclampsia and other pregnancy complications.

Concepts: Childbirth, Fetus, Developmental biology, Blood vessel, In vitro fertilisation, In vitro, Placenta, Ulex europaeus


Epithelium of oviductal ampulla was studied in normal and in superovulated sheep using morphologic analysis and lectin glycohistochemistry. The lining epithelium consisted of two types of cells, ciliated and nonciliated cells. Unlike superovulated samples, the nonciliated cells from control ewes showed apical protrusions indicating an apocrine secretory activity. The ciliated cells showed lectin-binding sites mainly at the level of the cilia which bound all the used lectins except Peanut agglutinin, suggesting the lack of glycans terminating with Galβ1,3GalNAc. In superovulated specimens, the ciliated cells with high mannosylated glycans Concanavalin A (Con A) and GlcNAc and GalNac termini Griffonia simplicifolia agglutinin II (GSA II) and Dolicurus biflorus agglutinin (DBA) decreased. The luminal surface of nonciliated cells showed all investigated sugar residues in controls, whereas it was lacking in high mannosylated (Con A) and terminal GalNAcα1,3(LFucα1,2)Galβ1,3/4GlcNAcβ1 sequence (DBA) in superovulated ewes. Apical protrusions from control ampullae nonciliated cells showed glycans containing mannose, GlcNac, GalNAc, galactose, and α2,3-linked sialic acid (Con A, KOH-sialidase- Wheat germ agglutnin [WGA], GSA II, SBA, Griffonia simplicifolia agglutinin-isolectin B4 [GSA I-B4], Maackia amurensis agglutinin II [MAL II]). The supranuclear cytoplasm of nonciliated cells expressed terminal GlcNAc (GSA II) in all specimens, also O-linked glycans (mucin-type glycans) with GalNAc and sialic acid termini (Helix pomatia agglutinin [HPA] and MAL II) in control animals, and also N-linked glycans with fucose, galactose, lactosamine, and α2,3-linked sialic acid termini (Ulex europaeus agglutinin I [UEA I], GSA I-B4, Ricinus communis agglutinin120 [RCA120], and Sambucus nigra agglutinin [SNA] ) in superovulated ewes. These results report for the first time that the superovulation treatment affects the secretory activity and the glycan pattern of the epithelium lining the sheep oviductal ampulla.

Concepts: Cell, Ricin, Glycoprotein, Medicinal plants, Concanavalin A, Lectin, Griffonia simplicifolia, Ulex europaeus


Typical cutaneous basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are morphologically dissimilar. It is well known, however, that poorly differentiated SCC may assume a basaloid phenotype, complicating the histologic distinction between these 2 neoplasms. Selected immunohistochemical stains have been used in the past to aid in that differential diagnosis. In the current study, additional markers were evaluated to determine whether they would be helpful in that regard. Twenty-nine cases of metatypical (squamoid) BCC (MBCC) and 25 examples of basaloid SCC (BSCC) were studied using the antibodies Ber-EP4 and MOC-31 as well as a plant lectin preparation from Ulex europaeus I (UEA-1). The resulting immunostains were interpreted independently by 3 pathologists, and the results showed that MBCCs demonstrated strong and diffuse staining for Ber-EP4 (25/29) and MOC-31 (29/29). In contrast, BSCCs tended to be only sporadically reactive for both markers (4/25 and 1/25 cases, respectively). Labeling for UEA-1 was observed in almost all BSCCs (24/25), but only 6 of 29 cases of MBCC showed limited, focal staining with that lectin. These data suggest that MOC-31 is a useful marker in the specified differential diagnosis, especially when used together with UEA-1.

Concepts: Cancer, Anatomical pathology, Skin, Squamous cell carcinoma, Squamous epithelium, Immunohistochemistry, Basal cell carcinoma, Ulex europaeus