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Biology, Volume 13, Issue 5 (May 2024) – 76 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Probiotics are increasingly popular in the dietary supplement market, offering various health benefits. They stabilize the gut microbiota, alleviate gastrointestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome and modulate the immune system. The muco-microbic layer in the intestine houses microbiota and facilitates communication with epithelial cells, impacting host health. Dysbiosis disrupts this balance, leading to conditions like leaky gut and associated inflammatory diseases. Metabolites produced by gut flora, including tryptophan, influence physiological functions and neurological pathways. This study focused on the TDO-2 pathway and suggests that probiotics protect against stress, restore epithelial barriers, and activate tryptophan pathways via extracellular vesicles, providing evidence for the gut–brain axis mediation by nanovesicles influencing central nervous system function. View this paper
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12 pages, 925 KiB  
Article
Identification of Insertion/Deletion Markers for Photoperiod Sensitivity in Rice (Oryza sativa L.)
by Nguyen Thanh Tam and Dang Kieu Nhan
Biology 2024, 13(5), 358; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050358 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 582
Abstract
The current study aims to identify candidate insertion/deletion (INDEL) markers associated with photoperiod sensitivity (PS) in rice landraces from the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. The whole-genome sequencing of 20 accessions was conducted to analyze INDEL variations between two photoperiod-sensitivity groups. A total of 2240 [...] Read more.
The current study aims to identify candidate insertion/deletion (INDEL) markers associated with photoperiod sensitivity (PS) in rice landraces from the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. The whole-genome sequencing of 20 accessions was conducted to analyze INDEL variations between two photoperiod-sensitivity groups. A total of 2240 INDELs were identified between the two photoperiod-sensitivity groups. The selection criteria included INDELs with insertions or deletions of at least 20 base pairs within the improved rice group. Six INDELs were discovered on chromosomes 01 (5 INDELs) and 6 (1 INDEL), and two genes were identified: LOC_Os01g23780 and LOC_Os01g36500. The gene LOC_Os01g23780, which may be involved in rice flowering, was identified in a 20 bp deletion on chromosome 01 from the improved rice accession group. A marker was devised for this gene, indicating a polymorphism rate of 20%. Remarkably, 20% of the materials comprised improved rice accessions. This INDEL marker could explain 100% of the observed distinctions. Further analysis of the mapping population demonstrated that an INDEL marker associated with the MADS-box gene on chromosome 01 was linked to photoperiod sensitivity. The F1 population displayed two bands across all hybrid individuals. The marker demonstrates efficacy in distinguishing improved rice accessions within the indica accessions. This study underscores the potential applicability of the INDEL marker in breeding strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Science)
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15 pages, 3798 KiB  
Article
α-Catenin and Piezo1 Mediate Cell Mechanical Communication via Cell Adhesions
by Mingxing Ouyang, Qingyu Zhang, Yiming Zhu, Mingzhi Luo, Bing Bu and Linhong Deng
Biology 2024, 13(5), 357; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050357 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 770
Abstract
Cell-to-cell distant mechanical communication has been demonstrated using in vitro and in vivo models. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying long-range cell mechanoresponsive interactions remain to be fully elucidated. This study further examined the roles of α-Catenin and Piezo1 in traction force-induced rapid branch [...] Read more.
Cell-to-cell distant mechanical communication has been demonstrated using in vitro and in vivo models. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying long-range cell mechanoresponsive interactions remain to be fully elucidated. This study further examined the roles of α-Catenin and Piezo1 in traction force-induced rapid branch assembly of airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells on a Matrigel hydrogel containing type I collagen. Our findings demonstrated that siRNA-mediated downregulation of α-Catenin or Piezo1 expression or chemical inhibition of Piezo1 activity significantly reduced both directional cell movement and branch assembly. Regarding the role of N-cadherin in regulating branch assembly but not directional migration, our results further confirmed that siRNA-mediated downregulation of α-Catenin expression caused a marked reduction in focal adhesion formation, as assessed by focal Paxillin and Integrin α5 localization. These observations imply that mechanosensitive α-Catenin is involved in both cell–cell and cell-matrix adhesions. Additionally, Piezo1 partially localized in focal adhesions, which was inhibited by siRNA-mediated downregulation of α-Catenin expression. This result provides insights into the Piezo1-mediated mechanosensing of traction force on a hydrogel. Collectively, our findings highlight the significance of α-Catenin in the regulation of cell-matrix interactions and provide a possible interpretation of Piezo1-mediated mechanosensing activity at focal adhesions during cell–cell mechanical communication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cell Biology)
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18 pages, 2772 KiB  
Article
Carrabiitol®, a Novel Oligosaccharide Polyol Composition, Mitigates the Impact of Flooding, Drought, Salinity, and High Temperature in Tomato
by Femida Yunus Patel, Kaushal Kishore Upreti, Ramanna Hunashikatti Laxman and Neil Jaykumar Shah
Biology 2024, 13(5), 356; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050356 - 19 May 2024
Viewed by 800
Abstract
Abiotic stress results in various physiological and biochemical changes in plants. Osmolytes play a pivotal role in improving the tolerance to abiotic stress in plants. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a commercial formulation, Carrabiitol®, an oligosaccharide polyol composition, in alleviating [...] Read more.
Abiotic stress results in various physiological and biochemical changes in plants. Osmolytes play a pivotal role in improving the tolerance to abiotic stress in plants. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a commercial formulation, Carrabiitol®, an oligosaccharide polyol composition, in alleviating adverse impacts of abiotic stress in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L. var. Arka Rakshak) plants. Plants were raised from seed and treated with 1 mL/L, 2 mL/L, and 3 mL/L of Carrabiitol®. The foliage of developing plants was treated at the 2–3 leaf stage (T2, T3, and T4) and at pre-flowering stage (T5, T6, and T7). Growth conditions were compared with those of plants developed from untreated seed (T1). Developing tomato plants were then exposed to flooding, salinity (50 mM NaCl), high temperature (41.1 °C), or drought at the flowering stage. Plants were evaluated for their dry weight, leaf water potential, stomatal conductance, transpiration rate, antioxidant potential, chlorophyll, carotenoid, glucose, sucrose, malondialdehyde, and proline contents. Pre-treated seed, which received a booster treatment at the 2–3 leaf stage (T4 = seed treatment and booster at the 2–3 leaf stage with 3 mL/L Carrabiitol®) and pre-flowering stages (T5, T6, and T7 = seed treatment and booster doses at the pre-flowering stage with 1, 2, and 3 mL/L Carrabiitol®, respectively), was effective in mitigating negative impacts on various growth parameters of stressed tomato plants (p < 0.05). Carrabiitol® may be an effective, sustainable, and bio-rational organic osmolyte formulation for reducing the effects of abiotic stress on plant growth and productivity. Full article
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16 pages, 4590 KiB  
Article
Among Other Tissues, Short-Term Garlic Oral Treatment Incrementally Improves Indicants of Only Pancreatic Islets of Langerhans Histology and Insulin mRNA Transcription and Synthesis in Diabetic Rats
by Amani M. Al-Adsani and Khaled K. Al-Qattan
Biology 2024, 13(5), 355; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050355 - 18 May 2024
Viewed by 710
Abstract
Background: The source, mRNA transcription, and synthesis of insulin in the pancreas, in addition to the bile duct and liver, in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats (DR) in response to garlic oral treatment are not yet clear. Objective: This study investigated the accumulative effects [...] Read more.
Background: The source, mRNA transcription, and synthesis of insulin in the pancreas, in addition to the bile duct and liver, in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats (DR) in response to garlic oral treatment are not yet clear. Objective: This study investigated the accumulative effects of continued garlic oral treatment on changes in the pancreas, bile duct, and liver with regards to: 1—Insulin mRNA transcription, synthesis, and concentration in relation to changes in serum insulin (SI); 2—Insulinogenic cells insulin intensity and distribution, proliferation, and morphology. Method: Fasting blood glucose (FBG) and insulin concentration in serum and pancreas (PI) and sources and mRNA transcription in the pancreas, bile duct, and liver in normal rats given normal saline (NR-NS) and DR given either NS (DR-NS) or garlic extract (DR-GE) before and after 1, 4, and 8 weeks of oral treatment were examined. Results: Compared to NR-NS, DR-NS showed a significant increase in FBG and reductions in SI and PI and deterioration in islets histology, associated pancreatic insulin numerical intensities, and mRNA transcription. However, compared to DR-NS, the targeted biochemical, histological, and genetic variables of DR-GE were significantly and incrementally improved as garlic treatment continued. Insulin or its indicators were not detected either in the bile duct or the liver in DR-GE. Conclusions: 8 weeks of garlic oral treatment is enough to incrementally restore only pancreatic islets of Langerhans insulin intensity and insulinogenic cells proliferation, morphology, and distribution. These indices were associated with enhanced pancreatic insulin mRNA transcription and synthesis. Eight weeks of garlic treatment were not enough to stimulate insulinogenesis in either the bile duct or the liver. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Models of Pancreatic Diseases)
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17 pages, 2716 KiB  
Article
Antibacterial and Antibiofilm Potential of Bacterial Cellulose Hydrogel Containing Vancomycin against Multidrug-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis
by Ana Alice Venancio Correia, Luís André de Almeida Campos, Hanne Lazla Rafael de Queiroz Macêdo, Davi de Lacerda Coriolano, Maria Anndressa Alves Agreles, Danilo Elias Xavier, Rafaela de Siqueira Ferraz-Carvalho, José Lamartine de Andrade Aguiar and Isabella Macário Ferro Cavalcanti
Biology 2024, 13(5), 354; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050354 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 738
Abstract
The present study aimed to evaluate the in vitro antibacterial and antibiofilm activity of bacterial cellulose hydrogel produced by Zoogloea sp. (HYDROGEL) containing vancomycin (VAN) against bacterial strains that cause wound infections, such as multidrug-resistant (MDR) Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis. Initially, [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to evaluate the in vitro antibacterial and antibiofilm activity of bacterial cellulose hydrogel produced by Zoogloea sp. (HYDROGEL) containing vancomycin (VAN) against bacterial strains that cause wound infections, such as multidrug-resistant (MDR) Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis. Initially, HYDROGEL was obtained from sugar cane molasses, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was performed to determine morphological characteristics. Then, VAN was incorporated into HYDROGEL (VAN-HYDROGEL). The antibacterial activity of VAN, HYDROGEL, and VAN-HYDROGEL was assessed using the broth microdilution method to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and the minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) against methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) ATCC 25923, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) ATCC 33591, S. epidermidis INCQS 00016 (ATCC 12228), five clinical isolates of MRSA, and nine clinical isolates of methicillin-resistant S. epidermidis, following the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) guidelines. Additionally, the antibacterial activity of VAN, HYDROGEL, and VAN-HYDROGEL was studied using the time-kill assay. Subsequently, the antibiofilm activity of VAN, HYDROGEL, and VAN-HYDROGEL was evaluated using crystal violet and Congo red methods, as well as SEM analysis. VAN and VAN-HYDROGEL showed bacteriostatic and bactericidal activity against MRSA and methicillin-resistant S. epidermidis strains. HYDROGEL did not show any antibacterial activity. Analysis of the time-kill assay indicated that HYDROGEL maintained the antibacterial efficacy of VAN, highlighting its efficiency as a promising carrier. Regarding antibiofilm activity, VAN and HYDROGEL inhibited biofilm formation but did not demonstrate biofilm eradication activity against methicillin-resistant S. aureus and S. epidermidis strains. However, it was observed that the biofilm eradication potential of VAN was enhanced after incorporation into HYDROGEL, a result also proven through images obtained by SEM. From the methods carried out in this study, it was possible to observe that HYDROGEL preserved the antibacterial activity of vancomycin, aside from exhibiting antibiofilm activity and enhancing the antibiofilm effect of VAN. In conclusion, this study demonstrated the potential of HYDROGEL as a candidate and/or vehicle for antibiotics against MDR bacteria that cause wound infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Microbial Biology)
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12 pages, 1484 KiB  
Article
Effects of Seed Size and Frequency on Seed Dispersal and Predation by Small Mammals
by Jiming Cheng, Min Zhang, Xingfu Yan, Chao Zhang, Jinfeng Zhang and Yonghong Luo
Biology 2024, 13(5), 353; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050353 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 1048
Abstract
Frequency-dependent predation is common in predator–prey interactions. Size is an important characteristic of seeds and is crucial in the regeneration stage of plant seeds. However, the frequency dependence of animal predation on seed size has not been reported. In this study, we conducted [...] Read more.
Frequency-dependent predation is common in predator–prey interactions. Size is an important characteristic of seeds and is crucial in the regeneration stage of plant seeds. However, the frequency dependence of animal predation on seed size has not been reported. In this study, we conducted a field experiment and used different sizes of Liaodong oak (Quercus wutaishanica) seeds to test the frequency dependence of intraspecific seed size selection in rodents. We used the number ratio of large to small seeds as the frequency. The results show that the rate of small seeds being eaten in situ was significantly higher than that of large seeds (p < 0.05). The rates of different-sized seeds being eaten after removal decreased with increasing frequencies, and there was no significant difference between frequencies except for 1:9 and 9:1. The rates of large seeds being scatter-hoarded were significantly higher than those of small seeds at different frequencies (p < 0.05). The eating distances after removal of large seeds were significantly longer than those of small seeds at the same frequencies (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the scatter-hoarding distances of large seeds were significantly longer than those of small seeds at three frequencies (1:9, 3:7, and 9:1) (p < 0.05). That is, rodents consumed more small seeds in situ, dispersed and scatter-hoarded more large seeds, and dispersed large seeds over longer distances. Rodents exhibited a negative frequency dependence for small seeds and a positive frequency dependence for large seeds on being eaten in situ. Moreover, rodents exhibited a negative frequency dependence for large seeds and a positive frequency dependence for small seeds on being eaten after removal and scatter-hoarding. These results reveal the frequency dependence of rodent selection on seed size and provide new insights into animal-mediated seed dispersal and the regeneration of plant populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology)
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20 pages, 700 KiB  
Review
Associations between “Cancer Risk”, “Inflammation” and “Metabolic Syndrome”: A Scoping Review
by Elsa Vitale, Alessandro Rizzo, Kazuki Santa and Emilio Jirillo
Biology 2024, 13(5), 352; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050352 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 1161
Abstract
Background: Individuals with metabolic syndrome exhibit simultaneously pro-thrombotic and pro-inflammatory conditions which more probably can lead to cardiovascular diseases progression, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and some types of cancer. The present scoping review is aimed at highlighting the association between cancer risk, inflammation, [...] Read more.
Background: Individuals with metabolic syndrome exhibit simultaneously pro-thrombotic and pro-inflammatory conditions which more probably can lead to cardiovascular diseases progression, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and some types of cancer. The present scoping review is aimed at highlighting the association between cancer risk, inflammation, and metabolic syndrome. Methods: A search strategy was performed, mixing keywords and MeSH terms, such as “Cancer Risk”, “Inflammation”, “Metabolic Syndrome”, “Oncogenesis”, and “Oxidative Stress”, and matching them through Boolean operators. A total of 20 manuscripts were screened for the present study. Among the selected papers, we identified some associations with breast cancer, colorectal cancer, esophageal adenocarcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and cancer in general. Conclusions: Cancer and its related progression may also depend also on a latent chronic inflammatory condition associated with other concomitant conditions, including type 2 diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. Therefore, prevention may potentially help individuals to protect themselves from cancer. Full article
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27 pages, 6053 KiB  
Article
DExplore: An Online Tool for Detecting Differentially Expressed Genes from mRNA Microarray Experiments
by Anna D. Katsiki, Pantelis E. Karatzas, Hector-Xavier De Lastic, Alexandros G. Georgakilas, Ourania Tsitsilonis and Constantinos E. Vorgias
Biology 2024, 13(5), 351; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050351 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 691
Abstract
Microarray experiments, a mainstay in gene expression analysis for nearly two decades, pose challenges due to their complexity. To address this, we introduce DExplore, a user-friendly web application enabling researchers to detect differentially expressed genes using data from NCBI’s GEO. Developed with R, [...] Read more.
Microarray experiments, a mainstay in gene expression analysis for nearly two decades, pose challenges due to their complexity. To address this, we introduce DExplore, a user-friendly web application enabling researchers to detect differentially expressed genes using data from NCBI’s GEO. Developed with R, Shiny, and Bioconductor, DExplore integrates WebGestalt for functional enrichment analysis. It also provides visualization plots for enhanced result interpretation. With a Docker image for local execution, DExplore accommodates unpublished data. To illustrate its utility, we showcase two case studies on cancer cells treated with chemotherapeutic drugs. DExplore streamlines microarray data analysis, empowering molecular biologists to focus on genes of biological significance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Differential Gene Expression and Coexpression 2.0)
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18 pages, 3069 KiB  
Article
Paired Primary and Recurrent Rhabdoid Meningiomas: Cytogenetic Alterations, BAP1 Gene Expression Profile and Patient Outcome
by Patricia Alejandra Garrido Ruiz, Álvaro Otero Rodriguez, Luis Antonio Corchete, Victoria Zelaya Huerta, Alejandro Pasco Peña, Cristina Caballero Martínez, Joaquín González-Carreró Fojón, Inmaculada Catalina Fernández, Juan Carlos López Duque, Laura Zaldumbide Dueñas, Lorena Mosteiro González, María Aurora Astudillo, Aurelio Hernández-Laín, Emma Natalia Camacho Urkaray, María Amparo Viguri Diaz, Alberto Orfao and María Dolores Tabernero
Biology 2024, 13(5), 350; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050350 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 596
Abstract
Rhabdoid meningiomas (RM) are a rare meningioma subtype with a heterogeneous clinical course which is more frequently associated with recurrence, even among tumors undergoing-complete surgical removal. Here, we retrospectively analyzed the clinical-histopathological and cytogenetic features of 29 tumors, from patients with recurrent (seven [...] Read more.
Rhabdoid meningiomas (RM) are a rare meningioma subtype with a heterogeneous clinical course which is more frequently associated with recurrence, even among tumors undergoing-complete surgical removal. Here, we retrospectively analyzed the clinical-histopathological and cytogenetic features of 29 tumors, from patients with recurrent (seven primary and 14 recurrent tumors) vs. non-recurrent RM (n = 8). Recurrent RM showed one (29%), two (29%) or three (42%) recurrences. BAP1 loss of expression was found in one third of all RM at diagnosis and increased to 100% in subsequent tumor recurrences. Despite both recurrent and non-recurrent RM shared chromosome 22 losses, non-recurrent tumors more frequently displayed extensive losses of chromosome 19p (62%) and/or 19q (50%), together with gains of chromosomes 20 and 21 (38%, respectively), whereas recurrent RM (at diagnosis) displayed more complex genotypic profiles with extensive losses of chromosomes 1p, 14q, 18p, 18q (67% each) and 21p (50%), together with focal gains at chromosome 17q22 (67%). Compared to paired primary tumors, recurrent RM samples revealed additional losses at chromosomes 16q and 19p (50% each), together with gains at chromosomes 1q and 17q in most recurrent tumors (67%, each). All deceased recurrent RM patients corresponded to women with chromosome 17q gains, although no statistical significant differences were found vs. the other RM patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Sight in Cancer Genetics)
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14 pages, 2795 KiB  
Article
Transcriptomic Profiles of Long Noncoding RNAs and Their Target Protein-Coding Genes Reveals Speciation Adaptation on the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Plateau in Orinus
by Qinyue Min, Kaifeng Zheng, Tao Liu, Zitao Wang, Xiuhua Xue, Wanjie Li, Yuping Liu, Yanfen Zhang, Feng Qiao, Jinyuan Chen, Xu Su and Shengcheng Han
Biology 2024, 13(5), 349; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050349 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 673
Abstract
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are RNA molecules longer than 200 nt, which lack the ability to encode proteins and are involved in multifarious growth, development, and regulatory processes in plants and mammals. However, the environmental-regulated expression profiles of lncRNAs in Orinus that may [...] Read more.
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are RNA molecules longer than 200 nt, which lack the ability to encode proteins and are involved in multifarious growth, development, and regulatory processes in plants and mammals. However, the environmental-regulated expression profiles of lncRNAs in Orinus that may associated with their adaptation on the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Plateau (QTP) have never been characterized. Here, we utilized transcriptomic sequencing data of two Orinus species (O. thoroldii and O. kokonoricus) to identify 1624 lncRNAs, including 1119 intergenic lncRNAs, 200 antisense lncRNAs, five intronic lncRNAs, and 300 sense lncRNAs. In addition, the evolutionary relationships of Orinus lncRNAs showed limited sequence conservation among 39 species, which implied that Orinus-specific lncRNAs contribute to speciation adaptation evolution. Furthermore, considering the cis-regulation mechanism, from 286 differentially expressed lncRNAs (DElncRNAs) and their nearby protein coding genes (PCGs) between O. thoroldii and O. kokonoricus, 128 lncRNA-PCG pairs were obtained in O. thoroldii, whereas 92 lncRNA-PCG pairs were obtained in O. kokonoricus. In addition, a total of 19 lncRNA-PCG pairs in O. thoroldii and 14 lncRNA-PCG pairs in O. kokonoricus were found to participate in different biological processes, indicating that the different expression profiles of DElncRNAs between O. thoroldii and O. kokonoricus were associated with their adaptation at different elevations on the QTP. We also found several pairs of DElncRNA nearby transcription factors (TFs), indicating that these DElncRNAs regulate the expression of TFs to aid O. thoroldii in adapting to the environment. Therefore, this work systematically identified a series of lncRNAs in Orinus, laying the groundwork for further exploration into the biological function of Orinus in environmental adaptation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Response of Plants to Environmental Changes)
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16 pages, 5213 KiB  
Article
Effects of Bacillus subtilis on Cucumber Seedling Growth and Photosynthetic System under Different Potassium Ion Levels
by Chun Li, Qingpan Zeng, Yuzhu Han, Xiaofu Zhou and Hongwei Xu
Biology 2024, 13(5), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13050348 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 708
Abstract
Potassium deficiency is one of the important factors restricting cucumber growth and development. This experiment mainly explored the effect of Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) on cucumber seedling growth and the photosynthetic system under different potassium levels, and the rhizosphere bacteria (PGPR) [...] Read more.
Potassium deficiency is one of the important factors restricting cucumber growth and development. This experiment mainly explored the effect of Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) on cucumber seedling growth and the photosynthetic system under different potassium levels, and the rhizosphere bacteria (PGPR) that promote plant growth were used to solubilize potassium in soil, providing theoretical support for a further investigation of the effect of biological bacteria fertilizer on cucumber growth and potassium absorption. “Xinjin No. 4” was used as the test material for the pot experiment, and a two-factor experiment was designed. The first factor was potassium application treatment, and the second factor was bacterial application treatment. The effects of different treatments on cucumber seedling growth, photosynthetic characteristics, root morphology, and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters were studied. The results showed that potassium and B. subtilis had obvious promotion effects on the cucumber seedling growth and the photosynthesis of leaves. Compared with the blank control, the B. subtilis treatment had obvious effects on the cucumber seedling height, stem diameter, leaf area, total root length, total root surface area, total root volume, branch number, crossing number, gs, WUE, Ci, and A; the dry weight of the shoot and root increased significantly (p ≤ 0.05). Potassium application could significantly promote cucumber growth, and the effect of B. subtilis and potassium application was greater than that of potassium application alone, and the best effect was when 0.2 g/pot and B. subtilis were applied. In conclusion, potassium combined with B. subtilis could enhance the photosynthesis of cucumber leaves and promote the growth of cucumber. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beneficial Microorganisms for Plants)
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11 pages, 2007 KiB  
Article
New Discovery of Calamitaceae from the Cisuralian in Northwest China: Morphological Evolution of Strobilus
by Xuelian Wang, Yunfa Miao, Yanzhao Ji and Bainian Sun
Biology 2024, 13(5), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13050347 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 628
Abstract
Calamitaceae was the predominant arborescent element of the Late Paleozoic plant assemblages. However, there is currently controversy surrounding the evolutionary relationships of their four reproductive organs, and there is no unified understanding of the geographical distribution and species richness characteristics. This paper is [...] Read more.
Calamitaceae was the predominant arborescent element of the Late Paleozoic plant assemblages. However, there is currently controversy surrounding the evolutionary relationships of their four reproductive organs, and there is no unified understanding of the geographical distribution and species richness characteristics. This paper is based on the detailed description of the macro- and microstructures of Calamites and Macrostachya discovered in the Shanxi Formation of the Cisuralian in the eastern Hexi Corridor of northwestern China, and it discusses the evolutionary patterns of calamitean reproductive organs. The results indicate that the current specimens can be identified as the Calamites cistii and Macrostachya sp., and the in situ spores should exhibit distinct trilete marks, indicating that they belong to the Punctatisporites punctatus. The abundant fossil records suggest that the “Calamostachys” type should be considered as the ancestral type of strobili. Additionally, Calamitaceae was widely distributed in mid to low latitudes globally from the Pennsylvanian to the Cisuralian and coupled with paleogeographic distribution characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Science)
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22 pages, 3527 KiB  
Article
1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 Suppresses Prognostic Survival Biomarkers Associated with Cell Cycle and Actin Organization in a Non-Malignant African American Prostate Cell Line
by Jabril R. Johnson, Rachel N. Martini, Yate-Ching Yuan, Leanne Woods-Burnham, Mya Walker, Greisha L. Ortiz-Hernandez, Firas Kobeissy, Dorothy Galloway, Amani Gaddy, Chidinma Oguejiofor, Blake Allen, Deyana Lewis, Melissa B. Davis, K. Sean Kimbro, Clayton C. Yates, Adam B. Murphy and Rick A. Kittles
Biology 2024, 13(5), 346; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050346 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 1431
Abstract
Vitamin D3 is a steroid hormone that confers anti-tumorigenic properties in prostate cells. Serum vitamin D3 deficiency has been associated with advanced prostate cancer (PCa), particularly affecting African American (AA) men. Therefore, elucidating the pleiotropic effects of vitamin D on signaling [...] Read more.
Vitamin D3 is a steroid hormone that confers anti-tumorigenic properties in prostate cells. Serum vitamin D3 deficiency has been associated with advanced prostate cancer (PCa), particularly affecting African American (AA) men. Therefore, elucidating the pleiotropic effects of vitamin D on signaling pathways, essential to maintaining non-malignancy, may provide additional drug targets to mitigate disparate outcomes for men with PCa, especially AA men. We conducted RNA sequencing on an AA non-malignant prostate cell line, RC-77N/E, comparing untreated cells to those treated with 10 nM of vitamin D3 metabolite, 1α,25(OH)2D3, at 24 h. Differential gene expression analysis revealed 1601 significant genes affected by 1α,25(OH)2D3 treatment. Pathway enrichment analysis predicted 1α,25(OH)2D3- mediated repression of prostate cancer, cell proliferation, actin cytoskeletal, and actin-related signaling pathways (p < 0.05). Prioritizing genes with vitamin D response elements and associating expression levels with overall survival (OS) in The Cancer Genome Atlas Prostate Adenocarcinoma (TCGA PRAD) cohort, we identified ANLN (Anillin) and ECT2 (Epithelial Cell Transforming 2) as potential prognostic PCa biomarkers. Both genes were strongly correlated and significantly downregulated by 1α,25(OH)2D3 treatment, where low expression was statistically associated with better overall survival outcomes in the TCGA PRAD public cohort. Increased ANLN and ECT2 mRNA gene expression was significantly associated with PCa, and Gleason scores using both the TCGA cohort (p < 0.05) and an AA non-malignant/tumor-matched cohort. Our findings suggest 1α,25(OH)2D3 regulation of these biomarkers may be significant for PCa prevention. In addition, 1α,25(OH)2D3 could be used as an adjuvant treatment targeting actin cytoskeleton signaling and actin cytoskeleton-related signaling pathways, particularly among AA men. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer and Signalling: Targeting Cellular Pathways)
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11 pages, 933 KiB  
Communication
Distinct Expression Profiles of Neuroblastoma-Associated mRNAs in Peripheral Blood and Bone Marrow of Non-High-Risk and High-Risk Neuroblastoma Patients
by Naoko Nakatani, Kaung Htet Nay Win, Cho Yee Mon, Tomoko Fujikawa, Suguru Uemura, Atsuro Saito, Toshiaki Ishida, Takeshi Mori, Daiichiro Hasegawa, Yoshiyuki Kosaka, Shotaro Inoue, Akihiro Nishimura, Nanako Nino, Akihiro Tamura, Nobuyuki Yamamoto, Kandai Nozu and Noriyuki Nishimura
Biology 2024, 13(5), 345; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050345 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 536
Abstract
Non-high-risk (non-HR) neuroblastoma (NB) patients have excellent outcomes, with more than a 90% survival rate, whereas HR NB patients expect less than a 50% survival rate. Metastatic disease is the principal cause of death among both non-HR and HR NB patients. Previous studies [...] Read more.
Non-high-risk (non-HR) neuroblastoma (NB) patients have excellent outcomes, with more than a 90% survival rate, whereas HR NB patients expect less than a 50% survival rate. Metastatic disease is the principal cause of death among both non-HR and HR NB patients. Previous studies have reported the significant but limited prognostic value of quantitative PCR (qPCR)-based assays, measuring overlapping but different sets of neuroblastoma-associated mRNAs (NB-mRNAs), to detect metastatic disease in both non-HR and HR patient samples. A droplet digital PCR (ddPCR)-based assay measuring seven NB-mRNAs (CRMP1, DBH, DDC, GAP43, ISL1, PHOX2B, and TH mRNAs) was recently developed and exhibited a better prognostic value for HR patient samples than qPCR-based assays. However, it remained to be tested on non-HR patient samples. In the present study, we employed the ddPCR-based assay to study peripheral blood (PB) and bone marrow (BM) samples collected at diagnosis from eight non-HR and eleven HR cases and characterized the expression profiles of NB-mRNAs. The most highly expressed NB-mRNAs in PB and BM differed between non-HR and HR cases, with the CRMP1 mRNA being predominant in non-HR cases and the GAP43 mRNA in HR cases. The levels of NB-mRNAs in PB and BM were 5 to 1000 times lower in non-HR cases than in HR cases. The PB to BM ratio of NB-mRNAs was 10 to 100 times higher in non-HR cases compared to HR cases. The present case series suggests that non-HR and HR NB patients have the distinct expression profiles of NB-mRNAs in their PB and BM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Biology)
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13 pages, 2367 KiB  
Article
Influence of Cluster-Situated Regulator PteF in Filipin Biosynthetic Cluster on Avermectin Biosynthesis in Streptomyces avermitilis
by Guozhong Du, Xue Yang, Zhengxiong Wu, Minghui Pan, Zhuoxu Dong, Yanyan Zhang, Wensheng Xiang and Shanshan Li
Biology 2024, 13(5), 344; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050344 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 587
Abstract
Crosstalk regulation is widespread in Streptomyces species. Elucidating the influence of a specific regulator on target biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) and cell metabolism is crucial for strain improvement through regulatory protein engineering. PteF and PteR are two regulators that control the biosynthesis of [...] Read more.
Crosstalk regulation is widespread in Streptomyces species. Elucidating the influence of a specific regulator on target biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) and cell metabolism is crucial for strain improvement through regulatory protein engineering. PteF and PteR are two regulators that control the biosynthesis of filipin, which competes for building blocks with avermectins in Streptomyces avermitilis. However, little is known about the effects of PteF and PteR on avermectin biosynthesis. In this study, we investigated their impact on avermectin biosynthesis and global cell metabolism. The deletion of pteF resulted in a 55.49% avermectin titer improvement, which was 23.08% higher than that observed from pteR deletion, suggesting that PteF plays a more significant role in regulating avermectin biosynthesis, while PteF hardly influences the transcription level of genes in avermectin and other polyketide BGCs. Transcriptome data revealed that PteF exhibited a global regulatory effect. Avermectin production enhancement could be attributed to the repression of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and fatty acid biosynthetic pathway, as well as the enhancement of pathways supplying acyl-CoA precursors. These findings provide new insights into the role of PteF on avermectin biosynthesis and cell metabolism, offering important clues for designing and building efficient metabolic pathways to develop high-yield avermectin-producing strains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biotechnology)
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15 pages, 3523 KiB  
Article
Examining the Influence of Cognitive Load and Environmental Conditions on Autonomic Nervous System Response in Military Aircrew: A Hypoxia–Normoxia Study
by Harrison L. Wittels, S. Howard Wittels, Michael J. Wishon, Jonathan Vogl, Paul St. Onge, Samantha M. McDonald and Leonard A. Temme
Biology 2024, 13(5), 343; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050343 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 674
Abstract
Executing flight operations demand that military personnel continuously perform tasks that utilize low- and high-order cognitive functions. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is crucial for regulating the supply of oxygen (O2) to the brain, but it is unclear how sustained cognitive loads of [...] Read more.
Executing flight operations demand that military personnel continuously perform tasks that utilize low- and high-order cognitive functions. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is crucial for regulating the supply of oxygen (O2) to the brain, but it is unclear how sustained cognitive loads of different complexities may affect this regulation. Therefore, in the current study, ANS responses to low and high cognitive loads in hypoxic and normoxic conditions were evaluated. The present analysis used data from a previously conducted, two-factor experimental design. Healthy subjects (n = 24) aged 19 to 45 years and located near Fort Novosel, AL, participated in the parent study. Over two, 2-h trials, subjects were exposed to hypoxic (14.0% O2) and normoxic (21.0% O2) air while simultaneously performing one, 15-min and one, 10-min simulation incorporating low- and high-cognitive aviation-related tasks, respectively. The tests were alternated across five, 27-min epochs; however, only epochs 2 through 4 were used in the analyses. Heart rate (HR), HR variability (HRV), and arterial O2 saturation were continuously measured using the Warfighter MonitorTM (Tiger Tech Solutions, Inc., Miami, FL, USA), a previously validated armband device equipped with electrocardiographic and pulse oximetry capabilities. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) regression models were performed to compare ANS responses between the low- and high-cognitive-load assessments under hypoxic and normoxic conditions. Pairwise comparisons corrected for familywise error were performed using Tukey’s test within and between high and low cognitive loads under each environmental condition. Across epochs 2 through 4, in both the hypoxic condition and the normoxic condition, the high-cognitive-load assessment (MATB-II) elicited heightened ANS activity, reflected by increased HR (+2.4 ± 6.9 bpm) and decreased HRV (−rMSSD: −0.4 ± 2.7 ms and SDNN: −13.6 ± 14.6 ms). Conversely, low cognitive load (ADVT) induced an improvement in ANS activity, with reduced HR (−2.6 ± 6.3 bpm) and increased HRV (rMSSD: +1.8 ± 6.0 ms and SDNN: vs. +0.7 ± 6.3 ms). Similar observations were found for the normoxic condition, albeit to a lower degree. These within-group ANS responses were significantly different between high and low cognitive loads (HR: +5.0 bpm, 95% CI: 2.1, 7.9, p < 0.0001; rMSSD: −2.2 ms, 95% CI: −4.2, −0.2, p = 0.03; SDNN: −14.3 ms, 95% CI: −18.4, −10.1, p < 0.0001) under the hypoxic condition. For normoxia, significant differences in ANS response were only observed for HR (+4.3 bpm, 95% CI: 1.2, 7.4, p = 0.002). Lastly, only high cognitive loads elicited significant differences between hypoxic and normoxic conditions but just for SDNN (−13.3 ms, 95% CI, −17.5, −8.9, p < 0.0001). Our study observations suggest that compared to low cognitive loads, performing high-cognitive-load tasks significantly alters ANS activity, especially under hypoxic conditions. Accounting for this response is critical, as military personnel during flight operations sustain exposure to high cognitive loads of unpredictable duration and frequency. Additionally, this is likely compounded by the increased ANS activity consequent to pre-flight activities and anticipation of combat-related outcomes. Full article
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16 pages, 916 KiB  
Systematic Review
Enhancement of Vascularization and Ovarian Follicle Survival Using Stem Cells in Cryopreserved Ovarian Tissue Transplantation—A Systematic Review
by Luca Zaninović, Marko Bašković, Davor Ježek, Dubravko Habek, Zenon Pogorelić, Ana Katušić Bojanac, Vesna Elveđi Gašparović and Lana Škrgatić
Biology 2024, 13(5), 342; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050342 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 739
Abstract
The increase in cancer survival rates has put a focus on ensuring fertility preservation procedures for cancer patients. Ovarian tissue cryopreservation presents the only option for prepubertal girls and patients who require immediate start of treatment and, therefore, cannot undergo controlled ovarian stimulation. [...] Read more.
The increase in cancer survival rates has put a focus on ensuring fertility preservation procedures for cancer patients. Ovarian tissue cryopreservation presents the only option for prepubertal girls and patients who require immediate start of treatment and, therefore, cannot undergo controlled ovarian stimulation. We aimed to provide an assessment of stem cells’ impact on cryopreserved ovarian tissue grafts in regard to the expression of growth factors, angiogenesis promotion, tissue oxygenation, ovarian follicle survival and restoration of endocrine function. For this systematic review, we searched the Scopus and PubMed databases and included reports of trials using murine and/or human cryopreserved ovarian tissue for transplantation or in vitro culture in combination with mesenchymal stem cell administration to the grafting site. Of the 1201 articles identified, 10 met the criteria. The application of stem cells to the grafting site has been proven to support vascular promotion and thereby shorten the period of tissue hypoxia, which is reflected in the increased number of remaining viable follicles and faster recovery of ovarian endocrine function. Further research is needed before implementing the use of stem cells in OT cryopreservation and transplantation procedures in clinical practice. Complex ethical dilemmas make this process more difficult. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Reproductive Biology)
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13 pages, 5311 KiB  
Article
Applying a Random Encounter Model to Estimate the Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus) Density from Camera Traps in the Hindu Raj Mountains, Pakistan
by Faizan Ahmad, Tomoki Mori, Muhammad Rehan, Luciano Bosso and Muhammad Kabir
Biology 2024, 13(5), 341; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050341 - 14 May 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1171
Abstract
Estimating the population density of vulnerable species, such as the elusive and nocturnal Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), is essential for wildlife conservation and management. We used camera traps and a Random Encounter Model (REM) to estimate the population density of [...] Read more.
Estimating the population density of vulnerable species, such as the elusive and nocturnal Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), is essential for wildlife conservation and management. We used camera traps and a Random Encounter Model (REM) to estimate the population density of U. thibetanus during the autumn and winter seasons in the Hindu Raj Mountains. We installed 23 camera traps from October to December 2020 and acquired 66 independent pictures of Asiatic black bears over 428 trap nights. Our results showed that the bears preferred lowland areas with the presence of Quercus spp. We estimated, using the REM, a population density of U. thibetanus of 1.875 (standard error = 0.185) per square kilometer, which is significantly higher than that in other habitats. Our results showed that during autumn and winter, the bear population density tends to concentrate at lower elevations. Forest cover showed a positive correlation with the rates of bear encounters unlike the Euclidean distance to human settlements, altitude, and aspect variables. The approaches used here are cost-effective for estimating the population density of rare and vulnerable species such as U. thibetanus, and can be used to estimate their population density in Pakistan. Population density estimation can identify areas where the bears live and human–bear conflicts occurred and use this information in future wildlife management plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Zoology)
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15 pages, 2523 KiB  
Article
Spectroscopic Investigation of Tomato Seed Germination Stimulated by Trichoderma spp.
by Igor Vukelić, Danka Radić, Ilinka Pećinar, Steva Lević, Daniela Djikanović, Ksenija Radotić and Dejana Panković
Biology 2024, 13(5), 340; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050340 - 13 May 2024
Viewed by 906
Abstract
Seed germination is a complex process that can be negatively affected by numerous stresses. Trichoderma spp. are known as effective biocontrol agents as well as plant growth and germination stimulators. However, understanding of the early interactions between seeds and Trichoderma spp. remains limited. [...] Read more.
Seed germination is a complex process that can be negatively affected by numerous stresses. Trichoderma spp. are known as effective biocontrol agents as well as plant growth and germination stimulators. However, understanding of the early interactions between seeds and Trichoderma spp. remains limited. In the present paper, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy were used to reveal the nature of tomato seed germination as stimulated by Trichoderma. A rapid response of tomato seeds to Trichoderma spp. was observed within 48 h on Murashige and Skoog medium (MS) substrate, preceding any physical contact. Raman analysis indicated that both Trichoderma species stimulated phenolic compound synthesis by triggering plant-specific responses in seed radicles. The impact of T. harzianum and T. brevicompactum on two tomato cultivars resulted in alterations to the middle lamella pectin, cellulose, and xyloglucan in the primary cell wall. The Raman spectra indicated increased xylan content in NA with T9 treatment as well as increased hemicelluloses in GZ with T4 treatment. Moreover, T4 treatment resulted in elevated conjugated aldehydes in lignin in GZ, whereas the trend was reversed in NA. Additionally, FTIR analysis revealed significant changes in total protein levels in Trichoderma spp.-treated tomato seed radicles, with simultaneous decreases in pectin and/or xyloglucan. Our results indicate that two complementary spectroscopic methods, FTIR and Raman spectroscopy, can give valuable information on rapid changes in the plant cell wall structure of tomato radicles during germination stimulated by Trichoderma spp. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beneficial Microorganisms for Plants)
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17 pages, 3759 KiB  
Communication
Genomic, Phylogenetic and Physiological Characterization of the PAH-Degrading Strain Gordonia polyisoprenivorans 135
by Ekaterina Frantsuzova, Alexander Bogun, Olga Kopylova, Anna Vetrova, Inna Solyanikova, Rostislav Streletskii and Yanina Delegan
Biology 2024, 13(5), 339; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050339 - 13 May 2024
Viewed by 643
Abstract
The strain Gordonia polyisoprenivorans 135 is able to utilize a wide range of aromatic compounds. The aim of this work was to study the features of genetic organization and biotechnological potential of the strain G. polyisoprenivorans 135 as a degrader of aromatic compounds. [...] Read more.
The strain Gordonia polyisoprenivorans 135 is able to utilize a wide range of aromatic compounds. The aim of this work was to study the features of genetic organization and biotechnological potential of the strain G. polyisoprenivorans 135 as a degrader of aromatic compounds. The study of the genome of the strain 135 and the pangenome of the G. polyisoprenivorans species revealed that some genes, presumably involved in PAH catabolism, are atypical for Gordonia and belong to the pangenome of Actinobacteria. Analyzing the intergenic regions of strain 135 alongside the “panIGRome” of G. polyisoprenivorans showed that some intergenic regions in strain 135 also differ from those located between the same pairs of genes in related strains. The strain G. polyisoprenivorans 135 in our work utilized naphthalene (degradation degree 39.43%) and grew actively on salicylate. At present, this is the only known strain of G. polyisoprenivorans with experimentally confirmed ability to utilize these compounds. Full article
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16 pages, 5812 KiB  
Article
Integrative Multi-Omics Analysis for Etiology Classification and Biomarker Discovery in Stroke: Advancing towards Precision Medicine
by Alberto Labarga, Judith Martínez-Gonzalez and Miguel Barajas
Biology 2024, 13(5), 338; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050338 - 13 May 2024
Viewed by 817
Abstract
Recent advancements in high-throughput omics technologies have opened new avenues for investigating stroke at the molecular level and elucidating the intricate interactions among various molecular components. We present a novel approach for multi-omics data integration on knowledge graphs and have applied it to [...] Read more.
Recent advancements in high-throughput omics technologies have opened new avenues for investigating stroke at the molecular level and elucidating the intricate interactions among various molecular components. We present a novel approach for multi-omics data integration on knowledge graphs and have applied it to a stroke etiology classification task of 30 stroke patients through the integrative analysis of DNA methylation and mRNA, miRNA, and circRNA. This approach has demonstrated promising performance as compared to other existing single technology approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multi-omics Data Integration in Complex Diseases)
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15 pages, 1765 KiB  
Article
A Dangerous Couple: Sequential Effect of Phosphorus Flame-Retardant and Polyurethane Decrease Locomotor Activity in Planarian Girardia tigrina
by Dora Bjedov, Rone S. Barbosa, Danielle Palma de Oliveira, Daniel Junqueira Dorta, Maíra Ignacio Sarmento, Renato Almeida Sarmento, Ana L. Patrício Silva and Carlos Gravato
Biology 2024, 13(5), 337; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050337 - 12 May 2024
Viewed by 853
Abstract
Understanding the interplay among organophosphorus flame retardants (OPFRs), microplastics, and freshwater organisms is crucial for unravelling the dynamics within freshwater environments and foreseeing the potential impacts of organic pollutants and plastic contamination. For that purpose, the present research assessed the exposure impact of [...] Read more.
Understanding the interplay among organophosphorus flame retardants (OPFRs), microplastics, and freshwater organisms is crucial for unravelling the dynamics within freshwater environments and foreseeing the potential impacts of organic pollutants and plastic contamination. For that purpose, the present research assessed the exposure impact of 10 mg L−1 flame-retardant aluminium diethylphosphinate (ALPI), 10 μg mg−1liver microplastics polyurethane (PU), and the combination of ALPI and PU on the freshwater planarian Girardia tigrina. The exposure to both ALPI and PU revealed a sequential effect, i.e., a decrease in locomotor activity, while oxidative stress biomarkers (total glutathione, catalase, glutathione S-transferase, lipid peroxidation) and metabolic responses (cholinesterase activity, electron transport system, and lactate dehydrogenase) remained unaffected. Despite this fact, it was possible to observe that the range of physiological responses in exposed organisms varied, in particular in the cases of the electron transport system, cholinesterase activity, glutathione S-transferase, catalase, and levels of total glutathione and proteins, showing that the energetic costs for detoxification and antioxidant capacity might be causing a lesser amount of energy allocated for the planarian activity. By examining the physiological, behavioural, and ecological responses of planarians to these pollutants, insights can be gained into broader ecosystem-level effects and inform strategies for mitigating environmental risks associated with OPFRs and microplastic pollution in freshwater environments. Full article
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10 pages, 1733 KiB  
Article
Sleep-like State in Pond Snails Leads to Enhanced Memory Formation
by Kengo Namiki, Junko Nakai, Ken Lukowiak and Etsuro Ito
Biology 2024, 13(5), 336; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050336 - 11 May 2024
Viewed by 544
Abstract
To test the hypothesis that a sleep-like quiescent state enhances memory consolidation in the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis, we interposed a period in which snails experienced either a quiescent, sleeping state or an active, non-sleeping state following escape behavior suppression learning (EBSL). [...] Read more.
To test the hypothesis that a sleep-like quiescent state enhances memory consolidation in the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis, we interposed a period in which snails experienced either a quiescent, sleeping state or an active, non-sleeping state following escape behavior suppression learning (EBSL). During EBSL training, the number of escapes made by a snail from a container was significantly suppressed using an external aversive stimulus (punishment). After training, the snails were divided into two groups. One group of snails was allowed to move freely and to experience a sleep-like quiescent state for 3 h in distilled water. The other group was stimulated with a sucrose solution every 10 min to keep them active (i.e., non-sleeping). In the memory test, escape behavior was suppressed in the group that experienced the quiescent state, whereas the suppression was not observed in snails that were kept active. Additionally, the latency of the first escape in the memory test was shorter in the snails kept active than in those that experienced the quiescent state. Together, these data are consistent with the hypothesis that a sleep-like quiescent state enhances EBSL memory consolidation in L. stagnalis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Zoology)
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14 pages, 1444 KiB  
Review
Advances in Drug Treatments for Companion Animal Obesity
by Helena D. Zomer and Paul S. Cooke
Biology 2024, 13(5), 335; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050335 - 11 May 2024
Viewed by 946
Abstract
Companion animal obesity has emerged as a significant veterinary health concern globally, with escalating rates posing challenges for preventive and therapeutic interventions. Obesity not only leads to immediate health problems but also contributes to various comorbidities affecting animal well-being and longevity, with consequent [...] Read more.
Companion animal obesity has emerged as a significant veterinary health concern globally, with escalating rates posing challenges for preventive and therapeutic interventions. Obesity not only leads to immediate health problems but also contributes to various comorbidities affecting animal well-being and longevity, with consequent emotional and financial burdens on owners. While past treatment strategies have shown limited success, recent breakthroughs in human medicine present new opportunities for addressing this complex issue in companion animals. Here, we discuss the potential of GLP-1 receptor agonists, specifically semaglutide and tirzepatide, already approved for human use, for addressing companion animal obesity. These drugs, originally developed to treat type 2 diabetes in humans and subsequently repurposed to treat obesity, have demonstrated remarkable weight loss effects in rodents, non-human primates and people. Additionally, newer drug combinations have shown even more promising results in clinical trials. Despite current cost and supply challenges, advancements in oral and/or extended-release formulations and increased production may make these drugs more accessible for veterinary use. Thus, these drugs may have utility in companion animal weight management, and future feasibility studies exploring their efficacy and safety in treating companion animal obesity are warranted. Full article
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17 pages, 3730 KiB  
Article
Changes in Rhizosphere Soil Microorganisms and Metabolites during the Cultivation of Fritillaria cirrhosa
by Zhixiang Liu, Jizhe Ying and Chengcheng Liu
Biology 2024, 13(5), 334; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050334 - 11 May 2024
Viewed by 712
Abstract
Fritillaria cirrhosa is an important cash crop, and its industrial development is being hampered by continuous cropping obstacles, but the composition and changes of rhizosphere soil microorganisms and metabolites in the cultivation process of Fritillaria cirrhosa have not been revealed. We used metagenomics [...] Read more.
Fritillaria cirrhosa is an important cash crop, and its industrial development is being hampered by continuous cropping obstacles, but the composition and changes of rhizosphere soil microorganisms and metabolites in the cultivation process of Fritillaria cirrhosa have not been revealed. We used metagenomics sequencing to analyze the changes of the microbiome in rhizosphere soil during a three-year cultivation process, and combined it with LC-MS/MS to detect the changes of metabolites. Results indicate that during the cultivation of Fritillaria cirrhosa, the composition and structure of the rhizosphere soil microbial community changed significantly, especially regarding the relative abundance of some beneficial bacteria. The abundance of Bradyrhizobium decreased from 7.04% in the first year to about 5% in the second and third years; the relative abundance of Pseudomonas also decreased from 6.20% in the first year to 2.22% in the third year; and the relative abundance of Lysobacter decreased significantly from more than 4% in the first two years of cultivation to 1.01% in the third year of cultivation. However, the relative abundance of some harmful fungi has significantly increased, such as Botrytis, which increased significantly from less than 3% in the first two years to 7.93% in the third year, and Talaromyces fungi, which were almost non-existent in the first two years of cultivation, significantly increased to 3.43% in the third year of cultivation. The composition and structure of Fritillaria cirrhosa rhizosphere metabolites also changed significantly, the most important of which were carbohydrates represented by sucrose (48.00–9.36–10.07%) and some amino acid compounds related to continuous cropping obstacles. Co-occurrence analysis showed that there was a significant correlation between differential microorganisms and differential metabolites, but Procrustes analysis showed that the relationship between bacteria and metabolites was closer than that between fungi and metabolites. In general, in the process of Fritillaria cirrhosa cultivation, the beneficial bacteria in the rhizosphere decreased, the harmful bacteria increased, and the relative abundance of carbohydrate and amino acid compounds related to continuous cropping obstacles changed significantly. There is a significant correlation between microorganisms and metabolites, and the shaping of the Fritillaria cirrhosa rhizosphere’s microecology by bacteria is more relevant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbiology)
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14 pages, 2627 KiB  
Article
Response Mechanism of cbbM Carbon Sequestration Microbial Community Characteristics in Different Wetland Types in Qinghai Lake
by Ni Zhang, Kelong Chen, Xinye Wang, Wei Ji, Ziwei Yang, Xia Wang and Junmin Li
Biology 2024, 13(5), 333; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050333 - 10 May 2024
Viewed by 531
Abstract
Carbon-sequestering microorganisms play an important role in the carbon cycle of wetland ecosystems. However, the response mechanism of carbon-sequestering microbial communities to wetland type changes and their relationship with soil carbon remain unclear. To explore these differences and identify the main influencing factors, [...] Read more.
Carbon-sequestering microorganisms play an important role in the carbon cycle of wetland ecosystems. However, the response mechanism of carbon-sequestering microbial communities to wetland type changes and their relationship with soil carbon remain unclear. To explore these differences and identify the main influencing factors, this study selected marsh wetlands, river wetlands and lakeside wetlands around Qinghai Lake as research subjects. High-throughput sequencing was employed to analyze the functional gene cbbM of carbon-sequestering microorganisms. The results revealed that the alpha diversity of cbbM carbon-sequestering microorganisms mirrored the trend in total carbon content, with the highest diversity observed in marsh wetlands and the lowest in lakeside wetlands. The dominant bacterial phylum was Proteobacteria, with prevalent genera including Thiothrix, Acidithiobacillus, and Thiodictyon. Acidithiobacillus served as a biomarker in lakeside wetlands, while two other genera were indicative of marsh wetlands. The hierarchical partitioning analysis indicated that the diversity of cbbM carbon-fixing microorganisms was primarily influenced by the total nitrogen content, while the community structure was significantly affected by the soil total carbon content. Moreover, an increased soil temperature and humidity were found to favor the carbon fixation processes of Thiomicrospira, Thiomonas, Polaromonas, and Acidithiobacillus. In summary, changes in wetland types seriously affected the characteristics of cbbM carbon sequestration in microbial communities, and a warm and humid climate may be conducive to wetland carbon sequestration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Microbial Biology)
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14 pages, 1149 KiB  
Article
Impact of Physical Interventions, Phosphorus Fertilization, and the Utilization of Soil Amendments on the Absorption of Cadmium by Lettuce Grown in a Solar-Powered Greenhouse
by Jun’an Zhang, Yingjun Hao, Guangsen Xiong, Quanzhong Tang and Xiwang Tang
Biology 2024, 13(5), 332; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050332 - 10 May 2024
Viewed by 685
Abstract
This study aimed to evaluate the effects of physical measures and the applications of phosphorus fertilizer and soil conditioner on the growth of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) and its uptake of cadmium (Cd). In a solar greenhouse that contained soil enriched with cadmium (Cd) [...] Read more.
This study aimed to evaluate the effects of physical measures and the applications of phosphorus fertilizer and soil conditioner on the growth of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) and its uptake of cadmium (Cd). In a solar greenhouse that contained soil enriched with cadmium (Cd) (1.75 ± 0.41 mg/kg) with lettuce used as a test plant, field experimental methods were utilized to explore the influence of physical measures, such as deep plowing and soil covering, and the applications of phosphorus fertilizer, including diammonium phosphate (DAP), calcium magnesium phosphate (CMP), and calcium superphosphate (SSP), and soil conditioners, such as biochar, attapulgite clay, and nano-hydroxyapatite, on the uptake of Cd in lettuce. The results indicated that the concentrations of Cd in the aboveground parts of lettuce were 1.49 ± 0.45, 1.26 ± 0.02, 1.00 ± 0.21, and 0.24 ± 0.13 mg/kg when the soil was plowed 30, 40, and 50 cm deep, respectively, and when the soil was covered with 15 cm, this resulted in reductions of 27.5%, 38.3%, 51.4%, and 88.4%, respectively, compared with the control treatment that entailed plowing to 15 cm. When 75, 150, and 225 kg/ha of phosphorus pentoxide (P2O5) were applied compared with the lack of application, the contents of Cd in the aboveground parts of lettuce increased by 2.0%, 54.5%, and 73.7%, respectively, when DAP was applied; by 52.5%, 48.5%, and 8.1%, respectively, when CMP was applied; and by 13.1%, 61.6%, and 90.9%, respectively, when SSP was applied. When the amounts of biochar applied were 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 t/ha, the contents of Cd in the aboveground parts of lettuce were 1.36 ± 0.27, 1.47 ± 0.56, 1.80 ± 0.73, 1.96 ± 0.12, 1.89 ± 0.52, 1.44 ± 0.30, and 1.10 ± 0.27 mg/kg, respectively. Under concentrations of 0, 40, 80, 120, 160, and 200 kg/ha, the application of nano-hydroxyapatite resulted in Cd contents of 1.34 ± 0.56, 1.47 ± 0.10, 1.60 ± 0.44, 1.70 ± 0.21, 1.31 ± 0.09, and 1.51 ± 0.34 mg/kg, respectively. The concentrations of Cd in the aboveground parts of lettuce treated with attapulgite clay were 1.44 ± 0.48, 1.88 ± 0.67, 2.10 ± 0.80, 2.24 ± 0.75, 1.78 ± 0.41, and 1.88 ± 0.48 mg/kg, respectively. In summary, under the conditions in this study, deep plowing and soil covering measures can reduce the concentration of Cd in the aboveground parts of lettuce. The application of phosphorus fertilizer increased the concentration of Cd in the aboveground parts of lettuce. The application of higher amounts of DAP and SSP led to greater concentrations of Cd in the aboveground parts of lettuce. The application of higher amounts of CMP caused a lower concentration of Cd in the aboveground parts of lettuce. When biochar, attapulgite clay, and nano-hydroxyapatite were applied, the concentration of Cd in the aboveground parts of lettuce increased in parallel with the increase in the concentration of application when low amounts were applied. In contrast, when high amounts were applied, the concentration of Cd in the aboveground parts of lettuce began to decrease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology)
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13 pages, 11077 KiB  
Article
The Histological and Biochemical Assessment of Monoiodoacetate-Induced Knee Osteoarthritis in a Rat Model Treated with Salicylic Acid-Iron Oxide Nanoparticles
by George Bică, Otilia-Constantina Rogoveanu, Florin-Liviu Gherghina, Cătălina-Gabriela Pisoschi, Sandra-Alice Buteică, Cristina-Elena Biță, Iulia-Alexandra Paliu and Ion Mîndrilă
Biology 2024, 13(5), 331; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050331 - 10 May 2024
Viewed by 702
Abstract
Iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) represent an important advance in the field of medicine with application in both diagnostic and drug delivery domains, offering a therapeutic approach that effectively overcomes physical and biological barriers. The current study aimed to assess whether oral administration of [...] Read more.
Iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) represent an important advance in the field of medicine with application in both diagnostic and drug delivery domains, offering a therapeutic approach that effectively overcomes physical and biological barriers. The current study aimed to assess whether oral administration of salicylic acid-functionalized iron oxide nanoparticles (SaIONPs) may exhibit beneficial effects in alleviating histological lesions in a murine monoiodoacetate (MIA) induced knee osteoarthritis model. In order to conduct our study, 15 Wistar male rats were randomly distributed into 3 work groups: Sham (S), MIA, and NP. At the end of the experiments, all animals were sacrificed for blood, knee, and liver sampling. Our results have shown that SaIONPs reached the targeted sites and also had a chondroprotective effect represented by less severe histological lesions regarding cellularity, altered structure morphology, and proteoglycan depletion across different layers of the knee joint cartilage tissue. Moreover, SaIONPs induced a decrease in malondialdehyde (MDA) and circulating Tumor Necrosis Factor-α (TNF-α) levels. The findings of this study suggest the therapeutic potential of SaIONPs knee osteoarthritis treatment; further studies are needed to establish a correlation between the administrated dose of SaIONPs and the improvement of the morphological and biochemical parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Models of Arthritis)
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19 pages, 3808 KiB  
Article
Effect of Metformin on Sertoli Cell Fatty Acid Metabolism and Blood–Testis Barrier Formation
by Gustavo Marcelo Rindone, Marina Ercilia Dasso, Cecilia Lucia Centola, Cristian Marcelo Sobarzo, María Noel Galardo, Silvina Beatriz Meroni and María Fernanda Riera
Biology 2024, 13(5), 330; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050330 - 9 May 2024
Viewed by 714
Abstract
Sertoli cells (SCs) are essential to maintaining germ cell development. Metformin, the main pharmacologic treatment for pediatric type 2 diabetes, is administered to children during SC maturation. The present study aimed to analyze whether metformin affects SC energy metabolism and blood–testis barrier (BTB) [...] Read more.
Sertoli cells (SCs) are essential to maintaining germ cell development. Metformin, the main pharmacologic treatment for pediatric type 2 diabetes, is administered to children during SC maturation. The present study aimed to analyze whether metformin affects SC energy metabolism and blood–testis barrier (BTB) integrity. Primary SC cultures were used for the in vitro studies. In vivo effects were studied in Sprague–Dawley rats treated with 200 mg/kg metformin from Pnd14 to Pnd30. Metformin decreased fatty acid oxidation and increased 3-hydroxybutyrate production in vitro. Moreover, it decreased the transepithelial electrical resistance across the monolayer and induced ZO-1 redistribution, suggesting an alteration of cell junctions. In vivo, a mild but significant increase in BTB permeability and ZO-1 expression was observed in the metformin group, without changes in testicular histology and meiosis progression. Additionally, adult rats that received metformin treatment during the juvenile period showed no alteration in BTB permeability or daily sperm production. In conclusion, metformin exposure may affect BTB permeability in juvenile rats, but this seems not to influence spermatogenesis progression. Considering the results obtained in adult animals, it is possible to speculate that metformin treatment during the juvenile period does not affect testicular function in adulthood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Germ, Sertoli and Leydig Cells in the Testis)
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18 pages, 1559 KiB  
Review
For a Colorful Life: Recent Advances in Anthocyanin Biosynthesis during Leaf Senescence
by Ziqi Pei, Yifei Huang, Junbei Ni, Yong Liu and Qinsong Yang
Biology 2024, 13(5), 329; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biology13050329 - 9 May 2024
Viewed by 1384
Abstract
Leaf senescence is the last stage of leaf development, and it is accompanied by a leaf color change. In some species, anthocyanins are accumulated during leaf senescence, which are vital indicators for both ornamental and commercial value. Therefore, it is essential to understand [...] Read more.
Leaf senescence is the last stage of leaf development, and it is accompanied by a leaf color change. In some species, anthocyanins are accumulated during leaf senescence, which are vital indicators for both ornamental and commercial value. Therefore, it is essential to understand the molecular mechanism of anthocyanin accumulation during leaf senescence, which would provide new insight into autumn coloration and molecular breeding for more colorful plants. Anthocyanin accumulation is a surprisingly complex process, and significant advances have been made in the past decades. In this review, we focused on leaf coloration during senescence. We emphatically discussed several networks linked to genetic, hormonal, environmental, and nutritional factors in regulating anthocyanin accumulation during leaf senescence. This paper aims to provide a regulatory model for leaf coloration and to put forward some prospects for future development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Biosynthesis and Degradation of Plant Anthocyanin)
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