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Journal: International journal of molecular sciences


We report the preparation and characterization of spherical core-shell structured Fe3O4-Au magnetic nanoparticles, modified with two component self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) consisting of 3-mercaptophenylboronic acid (3-MBA) and 1-decanethiol (1-DT). The rapid and room temperature synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles was achieved using the hydroxylamine reduction of HAuCl4 on the surface of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)-immobilized iron (magnetite Fe3O4) nanoparticles in the presence of an aqueous solution of hexadecyltrimetylammonium bromide (CTAB) as a dispersant. The reduction of gold on the surface of Fe3O4 nanoparticles exhibits a uniform, highly stable, and narrow particle size distribution of Fe3O4-Au nanoparticles with an average diameter of 9 ± 2 nm. The saturation magnetization value for the resulting nanoparticles was found to be 15 emu/g at 298 K. Subsequent surface modification with SAMs against glucoside moieties on the surface of bacteria provided effective magnetic separation. Comparison of the bacteria capturing efficiency, by means of different molecular recognition agents 3-MBA, 1-DT and the mixed monolayer of 3-MBA and 1-DT was presented. The best capturing efficiency of E. coli was achieved with the mixed monolayer of 3-MBA and 1-DT-modified nanoparticles. Molecular specificity and selectivity were also demonstrated by comparing the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectrum of E. coli-nanoparticle conjugates with bacterial growth media.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Nanoparticle, Escherichia coli, Chemistry, Magnetism, Proteobacteria, Magnetite


The Asian cycads are mostly allopatric, distributed in small population sizes. Hybridization between allopatric species provides clues in determining the mechanism of species divergence. Horticultural introduction provides the chance of interspecific gene flow between allopatric species. Two allopatrically eastern Asian Cycas sect. Asiorientales species, C. revoluta and C. taitungensis, which are widely distributed in Ryukyus and Fujian Province and endemic to Taiwan, respectively, were planted in eastern Taiwan for horticultural reason. Higher degrees of genetic admixture in cultivated samples than wild populations in both cycad species were detected based on multilocus scans by neutral AFLP markers. Furthermore, bidirectional but asymmetric introgression by horticultural introduction of C. revoluta is evidenced by the reanalyses of species associated loci, which are assumed to be diverged after species divergence. Partial loci introgressed from native cycad to the invaders were also detected at the loci of strong species association. Consistent results tested by all neutral loci, and the species-associated loci, specify the recent introgression from the paradox of sharing of ancestral polymorphisms. Phenomenon of introgression of cultivated cycads implies niche conservation among two geographic-isolated cycads, even though the habitats of the extant wild populations of two species are distinct.

Concepts: Biology, Taiwan, Gene flow, Cycad, Cycas, Cycas revoluta


Size-controlled and monodispersed silver nanoparticles were synthesized from an aqueous solution containing silver nitrate as a metal precursor, polyvinyl alcohol as a capping agent, isopropyl alcohol as hydrogen and hydroxyl radical scavengers, and deionized water as a solvent with a simple radiolytic method. The average particle size decreased with an increase in dose due to the domination of nucleation over ion association in the formation of the nanoparticles by gamma reduction. The silver nanoparticles exhibit a very sharp and strong absorption spectrum with the absorption maximum λmax blue shifting with an increased dose, owing to a decrease in particle size. The absorption spectra of silver nanoparticles of various particle sizes were also calculated using a quantum physics treatment and an agreement was obtained with the experimental absorption data. The results suggest that the absorption spectrum of silver nanoparticles possibly derived from the intra-band excitations of conduction electrons from the lowest energy state (n = 5, l = 0) to higher energy states (n ≥ 6; Δl = 0, ±1; Δs = 0, ±1), allowed by the quantum numbers principle. This demonstrates that the absorption phenomenon of metal nanoparticles based on a quantum physics description could be exploited to be added into the fundamentals of metal nanoparticles and the related fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Concepts: Alcohol, Photon, Energy, Quantum mechanics, Chemistry, Atom, Nanotechnology, Atomic orbital


Many Gram-negative plant pathogenic bacteria employ a N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL)-based quorum sensing (QS) system to regulate their virulence traits. A sustainable biocontrol strategy has been developed using quorum quenching (QQ) bacteria to interfere with QS and protect plants from pathogens. Here, the prevalence and the diversity of QQ strains inhabiting tobacco leaf surfaces were explored. A total of 1177 leaf-associated isolates were screened for their ability to disrupt AHL-mediated QS, using the biosensor Chromobacterium violaceum CV026. One hundred and sixty-eight strains (14%) are capable of interfering with AHL activity. Among these, 106 strains (63%) of the culturable quenchers can enzymatically degrade AHL molecules, while the remaining strains might use other QS inhibitors to interrupt the chemical communication. Moreover, almost 79% of the QQ strains capable of inactivating AHLs enzymatically have lactonase activity. Further phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rDNA revealed that the leaf-associated QQ bacteria can be classified as Bacillus sp., Acinetobacter sp., Lysinibacillus sp., Serratia sp., Pseudomonas sp., and Myroides sp. The naturally occurring diversity of bacterial quenchers might provide opportunities to use them as effective biocontrol reagents for suppressing plant pathogen in situ.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pathogen, Cell wall, Biofilm, Quorum sensing, Pathogenic bacteria


Insulin resistance is defined as a reduced ability of insulin to stimulate glucose utilization. C57BL/6 mice fed with a high-fat diet (HFD) are a model of insulin resistance. In skeletal muscle, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) produced by NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2) is involved in signaling pathways triggered by insulin. We evaluated oxidative status in skeletal muscle fibers from insulin-resistant and control mice by determining H2O2 generation (HyPer probe), reduced-to-oxidized glutathione ratio and NOX2 expression. After eight weeks of HFD, insulin-dependent glucose uptake was impaired in skeletal muscle fibers when compared with control muscle fibers. Insulin-resistant mice showed increased insulin-stimulated H2O2 release and decreased reduced-to-oxidized glutathione ratio (GSH/GSSG). In addition, p47phox and gp91phox (NOX2 subunits) mRNA levels were also high (~3-fold in HFD mice compared to controls), while protein levels were 6.8- and 1.6-fold higher, respectively. Using apocynin (NOX2 inhibitor) during the HFD feeding period, the oxidative intracellular environment was diminished and skeletal muscle insulin-dependent glucose uptake restored. Our results indicate that insulin-resistant mice have increased H2O2 release upon insulin stimulation when compared with control animals, which appears to be mediated by an increase in NOX2 expression.

Concepts: Oxygen, Insulin, Glucose, Redox, Glycogen, Hydrogen peroxide, NADPH oxidase, Skeletal muscle


The influence of seven plum rootstocks (Adesoto, Monpol, Montizo, Puebla de Soto 67 AD, PM 105 AD, St. Julien GF 655/2 and Constantí 1) on individual and total sugars, as well as on antioxidant content in fruit flesh of “Catherine” peaches, was evaluated for three years. Agronomical and basic fruit quality parameters were also determined. At twelve years after budding, significant differences were found between rootstocks for the different agronomic and fruit quality traits evaluated. The Pollizo plum rootstocks Adesoto and PM 105 AD seem to induce higher sweetness to peach fruits, based on soluble solids content, individual (sucrose, fructose and sorbitol) and total sugars. A clear tendency was also observed with the rootstock Adesoto, inducing the highest content of phenolics, flavonoids, vitamin C and relative antioxidant capacity (RAC). Thus, the results of this study demonstrate the significant effect of rootstock on the sugar profile and phytochemical characteristics of peach fruits. In addition, this work shows the importance of the sugar profile, because specific sugars play an important role in peach flavour quality, as well as the studied phytochemical compounds when looking for high quality peaches with enhanced health properties.

Concepts: Nutrition, Glucose, Antioxidant, Fruit, Sugar, Fructose, Peach, Sucrose


Cranberry consumption has shown prophylactic effects against urinary tract infections (UTI), although the mechanisms involved are not completely understood. In this paper, cranberry phenolic compounds and their potential microbial-derived metabolites (such as simple phenols and benzoic, phenylacetic and phenylpropionic acids) were tested for their capacity to inhibit the adherence of uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) ATCC®53503™ to T24 epithelial bladder cells. Catechol, benzoic acid, vanillic acid, phenylacetic acid and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid showed anti-adhesive activity against UPEC in a concentration-dependent manner from 100-500 µM, whereas procyanidin A2, widely reported as an inhibitor of UPEC adherence on uroepithelium, was only statistically significant (p < 0.05) at 500 µM (51.3% inhibition). The results proved for the first time the anti-adhesive activity of some cranberry-derived phenolic metabolites against UPEC in vitro, suggesting that their presence in the urine could reduce bacterial colonization and progression of UTI.

Concepts: Kidney, Urinary tract infection, Urine, Escherichia coli, Urinary bladder, Urinary system, Catechin, Vanillin


Metabolomics is the study of low-weight molecules present in biological samples such as biofluids, tissue/cellular extracts, and culture media. Metabolomics research is increasing, and at the moment, it has several applications in the food science and nutrition fields. In the present review, we provide an update about the most frequently used methodologies and metabolomic platforms in these areas. Also, we discuss different metabolomic strategies regarding the discovery of new bioactive compounds (BACs) in plant-based foods. Furthermore, we review the existing literature related to the use of metabolomics to investigate the potential protective role of BACs in the prevention and treatment of non-communicable chronic diseases, namely cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Cancer, Disease, Infectious disease, Metabolism, Nutrition, Non-infectious disease


Microsatellite (simple sequence repeats, SSRs) marker is one of the most widely used markers in marker-assisted breeding. As one type of functional markers, MicroRNA-based SSR (miRNA-SSR) markers have been exploited mainly in animals, but the development and characterization of miRNA-SSR markers in plants are still limited. In the present study, miRNA-SSR markers for Medicago truncatula (M. truncatula) were developed and their cross-species transferability in six leguminous species was evaluated. A total of 169 primer pairs were successfully designed from 130 M. truncatula miRNA genes, the majority of which were mononucleotide repeats (70.41%), followed by dinucleotide repeats (14.20%), compound repeats (11.24%) and trinucleotide repeats (4.14%). Functional classification of SSR-containing miRNA genes showed that all targets could be grouped into three Gene Ontology (GO) categories: 17 in biological process, 11 in molecular function, and 14 in cellular component. The miRNA-SSR markers showed high transferability in other six leguminous species, ranged from 74.56% to 90.53%. Furthermore, 25 Mt-miRNA-SSR markers were used to evaluate polymorphisms in 20 alfalfa accessions, and the polymorphism information content (PIC) values ranged from 0.39 to 0.89 with an average of 0.71, the allele number per marker varied from 3 to 18 with an average of 7.88, indicating a high level of informativeness. The present study is the first time developed and characterized of M. truncatula miRNA-SSRs and demonstrated their utility in transferability, these novel markers will be valuable for genetic diversity analysis, marker-assisted selection and genotyping in leguminous species.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Allele, Biology, Fabaceae, Legume, Alfalfa


Argonaute (Ago) protein family plays a key role in the RNA interference (RNAi) process in different insects including Lepidopteran. However, the role of Ago proteins in the RNAi pathway of Plutella xylostella is still unknown. We cloned an Argonaute3 gene in P. xylostella (PxAgo3) with the complete coding sequence of 2832 bp. The encoded protein had 935 amino acids with an expected molecular weight of 108.9 kDa and an isoelectric point of 9.29. It contained a PAZ (PIWI/Argonaute/Zwile) domain and PIWI (P-element-induced whimpy testes) domain. PxAgo3 was classified into the Piwi subfamily of Ago proteins with a high similarity of 93.0% with Bombyx mori Ago3 (BmAgo3). The suppression of PxAgo3 by dsPxAgo3 was observed 3 h after treatment and was maintained until 24 h. Knockdown of PxAgo3 decreased the suppression level of PxActin by dsPxActin in P. xylostella cells, while overexpression of PxAgo3 increased the RNAi efficiency. Our results suggest that PxAgo3 play a key role in the double stranded RNA (dsRNA)-regulated RNAi pathway in P. xylostella.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Amino acid, Molecular biology, Virus, RNA, RNA interference