Open AccessArticle
Human Intrinsic Factor Expression for Bioavailable Vitamin B12 Enrichment in Microalgae
Biology 2018, 7(1), 19; doi:10.3390/biology7010019 -
Abstract
Dietary supplements and functional foods are becoming increasingly popular complements to regular diets. A recurring ingredient is the essential cofactor vitamin B12 (B12). Microalgae are making their way into the dietary supplement and functional food market but do not produce
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Dietary supplements and functional foods are becoming increasingly popular complements to regular diets. A recurring ingredient is the essential cofactor vitamin B12 (B12). Microalgae are making their way into the dietary supplement and functional food market but do not produce B12, and their B12 content is very variable. In this study, the suitability of using the human B12-binding protein intrinsic factor (IF) to enrich bioavailable B12 using microalgae was tested. The IF protein was successfully expressed from the nuclear genome of the model microalga Chlamydomonasreinhardtiiand the addition of an N-terminal ARS2 signal peptide resulted in efficient IF secretion to the medium. Co-abundance of B12 and the secreted IF suggests the algal produced IF protein is functional and B12-binding. Utilizing IF expression could be an efficient tool to generate B12-enriched microalgae in a controlled manner that is suitable for vegetarians and, potentially, more bioavailable for humans. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Microwave-Assisted Extraction for Microalgae: From Biofuels to Biorefinery
Biology 2018, 7(1), 18; doi:10.3390/biology7010018 -
Abstract
The commercial reality of bioactive compounds and oil production from microalgal species is constrained by the high cost of production. Downstream processing, which includes harvesting and extraction, can account for 70–80% of the total cost of production. Consequently, from an economic perspective extraction
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The commercial reality of bioactive compounds and oil production from microalgal species is constrained by the high cost of production. Downstream processing, which includes harvesting and extraction, can account for 70–80% of the total cost of production. Consequently, from an economic perspective extraction technologies need to be improved. Microalgal cells are difficult to disrupt due to polymers within their cell wall such as algaenan and sporopollenin. Consequently, solvents and disruption devices are required to obtain products of interest from within the cells. Conventional techniques used for cell disruption and extraction are expensive and are often hindered by low efficiencies. Microwave-assisted extraction offers a possibility for extraction of biochemical components including lipids, pigments, carbohydrates, vitamins and proteins, individually and as part of a biorefinery. Microwave technology has advanced since its use in the 1970s. It can cut down working times and result in higher yields and purity of products. In this review, the ability and challenges in using microwave technology are discussed for the extraction of bioactive products individually and as part of a biorefinery approach. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Detection and Enhancement of Ketocarotenoid Accumulation in the Newly Isolated Sarcinoid Green Microalga Chlorosarcinopsis PY02
Biology 2018, 7(1), 17; doi:10.3390/biology7010017 -
Abstract
The sarcinoid alga PY02 is a newly isolated soil alga native to western Thailand. In this study PY02 is described, the carotenoid profile of the green and red forms of the algal cells are compared, and the effect of nitrogen reduction and media
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The sarcinoid alga PY02 is a newly isolated soil alga native to western Thailand. In this study PY02 is described, the carotenoid profile of the green and red forms of the algal cells are compared, and the effect of nitrogen reduction and media volume on ketocarotenoid production are reported. Partial sequences of the genes from elongation factor Tu (tufA) and 18S rRNA reveal that the alga is from the Chlorosarcinopsis genus. Growth studies demonstrated that Chlorosarcinopsis PY02 is capable of photoautotrophic, heterotrophic and mixotrophic growth. A gradual change in colony colour from green to red was observed over a period of four weeks under mixotrophic conditions. Pigment analysis of lyophilized red cells using ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) with Photo Diode Array Detection (PDA), showed for the first time that an alga from the genus Chlorosarcinopsis is capable of producing ketocarotenoids such as adonixanthin and 3-OH-echinenone, with canthaxanthin as the dominant pigment. Interestingly, a reduction of nitrogen in the medium exerts a positive effect on the rate of colour change from one month to less than seven days. Enhancements of the canthaxanthin content from 520 to 1504 or 1427 µg·gDW−1 were detected under 50% and 10% nitrogen content, respectively. An increase of 16% in biomass production of PY02 was unexpectedly detected from a 50% nitrogen reduction under mixotrophic culture. Notably, in liquid mixotrophic media with volumes of 15, 30 and 60 mL, the lowest volume produced a significantly higher biomass and canthaxanthin content. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Integrated Systems Approach Reveals Sphingolipid Metabolism Pathway Dysregulation in Association with Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
Biology 2018, 7(1), 16; doi:10.3390/biology7010016 -
Abstract
Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) and age are significantly correlated such that one-third of Americans beyond 85 years of age are afflicted. We have designed and implemented a pilot study that combines systems biology approaches with traditional next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis techniques to identify
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Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) and age are significantly correlated such that one-third of Americans beyond 85 years of age are afflicted. We have designed and implemented a pilot study that combines systems biology approaches with traditional next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis techniques to identify relevant regulatory pathways, infer functional relationships and confirm the dysregulation of these biological pathways in LOAD. Our study design is a most comprehensive systems approach combining co-expression network modeling derived from RNA-seq data, rigorous quality control (QC) standards, functional ontology, and expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) derived from whole exome (WES) single nucleotide variant (SNV) genotype data. Our initial results reveal several statistically significant, biologically relevant genes involved in sphingolipid metabolism. To validate these findings, we performed a gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA). The GSEA revealed the sphingolipid metabolism pathway and regulation of autophagy in association with LOAD cases. In the execution of this study, we have successfully tested an integrative approach to identify both novel and known LOAD drivers in order to develop a broader and more detailed picture of the highly complex transcriptional and regulatory landscape of age-related dementia. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Sex Steroid-Mediated Control of Oviductal Function in Cattle
Biology 2018, 7(1), 15; doi:10.3390/biology7010015 -
Abstract
In cattle, the oviduct is a tubular organ that connects the ovary and the uterus. The oviduct lumen stages a dynamic set of cellular and molecular interactions to fulfill the noble role of generating a new individual. Specific anatomical niches along the oviduct
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In cattle, the oviduct is a tubular organ that connects the ovary and the uterus. The oviduct lumen stages a dynamic set of cellular and molecular interactions to fulfill the noble role of generating a new individual. Specific anatomical niches along the oviduct lumen provide the appropriate microenvironment for final sperm capacitation, oocyte capture and fertilization, and early embryo development and transport. To accomplish such complex tasks, the oviduct undergoes spatially and temporally-regulated morphological, biochemical, and physiological changes that are associated with endocrine events of the estrous cycle. Specifically, elevated periovulatory concentrations of estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4) influence gene expression and morphological changes that have been associated positively to fertility in beef cattle. In this review, we explore how E2 and P4 influence oviductal function in the beginning of the estrous cycle, and prepare the oviductal lumen for interactions with gametes and embryos. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Potential of New Isolates of Dunaliella Salina for Natural β-Carotene Production
Biology 2018, 7(1), 14; doi:10.3390/biology7010014 -
Abstract
The halotolerant microalga Dunaliella salina has been widely studied for natural β-carotene production. This work shows biochemical characterization of three newly isolated Dunaliellasalina strains, DF15, DF17, and DF40, compared with D. salina CCAP 19/30 and D. salina UTEX 2538 (also known as
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The halotolerant microalga Dunaliella salina has been widely studied for natural β-carotene production. This work shows biochemical characterization of three newly isolated Dunaliellasalina strains, DF15, DF17, and DF40, compared with D. salina CCAP 19/30 and D. salina UTEX 2538 (also known as D. bardawil). Although all three new strains have been genetically characterized as Dunaliella salina strains, their ability to accumulate carotenoids and their capacity for photoprotection against high light stress are different. DF15 and UTEX 2538 reveal great potential for producing a large amount of β-carotene and maintained a high rate of photosynthesis under light of high intensity; however, DF17, DF40, and CCAP 19/30 showed increasing photoinhibition with increasing light intensity, and reduced contents of carotenoids, in particular β-carotene, suggesting that the capacity of photoprotection is dependent on the cellular content of carotenoids, in particular β-carotene. Strong positive correlations were found between the cellular content of all-trans β-carotene, 9-cis β-carotene, all-trans α-carotene and zeaxanthin but not lutein in the D. salina strains. Lutein was strongly correlated with respiration in photosynthetic cells and strongly related to photosynthesis, chlorophyll and respiration, suggesting an important and not hitherto identified role for lutein in coordinated control of the cellular functions of photosynthesis and respiration in response to changes in light conditions, which is broadly conserved in Dunaliella strains. Statistical analysis based on biochemical data revealed a different grouping strategy from the genetic classification of the strains. The significance of these data for strain selection for commercial carotenoid production is discussed. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Odor Communication and Mate Choice in Rodents
Biology 2018, 7(1), 13; doi:10.3390/biology7010013 -
Abstract
This paper details how chemical communication is affected by ecological challenges such as finding mates. I list several conditions that affect the decision to attract mates, the decision to respond to the signals of potential mates and how the response depends on context.
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This paper details how chemical communication is affected by ecological challenges such as finding mates. I list several conditions that affect the decision to attract mates, the decision to respond to the signals of potential mates and how the response depends on context. These mate-choice decisions and their outcomes will depend on the life history constraints placed on individuals such as their fecundity, sex, lifespan, opportunities to mate in the future and age at senescence. Consequently, the sender’s decision to scent mark or self-groom as well as the receiver’s choice of response represents a tradeoff between the current costs of the participant’s own survival and future reproduction against that of reproducing now. The decision to scent mark and the response to the scent mark of opposite-sex conspecifics should maximize the fitness of the participants in that context. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparing Nutrient Removal from Membrane Filtered and Unfiltered Domestic Wastewater Using Chlorella vulgaris
Biology 2018, 7(1), 12; doi:10.3390/biology7010012 -
Abstract
The nutrient removal efficiency of Chlorella vulgaris cultivated in domestic wastewater was investigated, along with the potential to use membrane filtration as a pre-treatment tool during the wastewater treatment process. Chlorella vulgaris was batch cultivated for 12 days in a bubble column system
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The nutrient removal efficiency of Chlorella vulgaris cultivated in domestic wastewater was investigated, along with the potential to use membrane filtration as a pre-treatment tool during the wastewater treatment process. Chlorella vulgaris was batch cultivated for 12 days in a bubble column system with two different wastewater treatments. Maximum uptake of 94.18% ammonium (NH4-N) and 97.69% ortho-phosphate (PO4-P) occurred in 0.2 μm membrane filtered primary wastewater. Membrane filtration enhanced the nutrient uptake performance of C. vulgaris by removing bacteria, protozoa, colloidal particles and suspended solids, thereby improving light availability for photosynthesis. The results of this study suggest that growing C. vulgaris in nutrient rich membrane filtered wastewater provides an option for domestic wastewater treatment to improve the quality of the final effluent. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Biology in 2017
Biology 2018, 7(1), 11; doi:10.3390/biology7010011 -
Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Biology maintains high quality standards for its published papers. In 2017, a total of 50 papers were published in the journal.[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Intraperitoneal Administration of Oxygen/Ozone to Rats Reduces the Pancreatic Damage Induced by Streptozotocin
Biology 2018, 7(1), 10; doi:10.3390/biology7010010 -
Abstract
Background: The rat model of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced pancreatic damage was used to examine whether a systemic oxygen/ozone mixture could be beneficial for the pancreas by reducing the machinery of the local detrimental mediators released by STZ. Results: The results showed that oxygen/ozone administration
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Background: The rat model of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced pancreatic damage was used to examine whether a systemic oxygen/ozone mixture could be beneficial for the pancreas by reducing the machinery of the local detrimental mediators released by STZ. Results: The results showed that oxygen/ozone administration (150 µg/Kg i.p.) for ten days in STZ rats increased the endogenous glutathione-s-transferase (GST) enzyme and nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) into the pancreatic tissue, together with reduction of 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) and PARP-1 compared to STZ rats receiving O2 only. Interestingly, these changes resulted in higher levels of serum insulin and leptin, and pancreatic glucagon immunostaining. Consequently, glucose metabolism improved as evidenced by the monitoring of glycemia throughout. Conclusions: This study provides evidence that systemic administration of oxygen/ozone reduces the machinery of detrimental mediators released by STZ into the pancreas with less local damage and better functionality. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Kiss Switch Brings Inactive R3C Ligase Ribozyme Back to Life
Biology 2018, 7(1), 7; doi:10.3390/biology7010007 -
Abstract
R3C ligase ribozyme catalyzes the nucleophilic attack by a 3′-hydroxyl on a 5′-α-phosphorus of triphosphates to form a 3′-5′-phosphodiester bond. In the present study, although the truncation of R3C ribozyme was accompanied by a large reduction in ligation activity (decrease by two orders
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R3C ligase ribozyme catalyzes the nucleophilic attack by a 3′-hydroxyl on a 5′-α-phosphorus of triphosphates to form a 3′-5′-phosphodiester bond. In the present study, although the truncation of R3C ribozyme was accompanied by a large reduction in ligation activity (decrease by two orders of magnitude compared to that of the ligated product of full-length R3C ribozyme after 18.5 h at 23 °C), the introduction of complementary seven-membered kissing-loops served as a “switch” to reactivate the truncated R3C ribozyme with approximately one-fifth of the activity of the full-length R3C ribozyme. This reactivation occurred in a trans-manner, and the grip region and substrate-binding site of the truncated R3C ribozyme were necessary to locate the substrate in the proper position for ligation with the other molecule. Reactivation resulted from complex tertiary interactions between two ribozymes, including kissing-loop interaction-induced annealing and the formation of a stable duplex. The drastic increase of the activity of poorly active ribozymes through the kissing-loop interaction may provide an important clue into the acquisition of substantial activity during the evolution of the RNA world. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Effects of Sex Steroids on Fish Leukocytes
Biology 2018, 7(1), 9; doi:10.3390/biology7010009 -
Abstract
In vertebrates, in addition to their classically reproductive functions, steroids regulate the immune system. This action is possible mainly due to the presence of steroid receptors in the different immune cell types. Much evidence suggests that the immune system of fish is vulnerable
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In vertebrates, in addition to their classically reproductive functions, steroids regulate the immune system. This action is possible mainly due to the presence of steroid receptors in the different immune cell types. Much evidence suggests that the immune system of fish is vulnerable to xenosteroids, which are ubiquitous in the aquatic environment. In vivo and in vitro assays have amply demonstrated that oestrogens interfere with both the innate and the adaptive immune system of fish by regulating the main leukocyte activities and transcriptional genes. They activate nuclear oestrogen receptors and/or G-protein coupled oestrogen receptor. Less understood is the role of androgens in the immune system, mainly due to the complexity of the transcriptional regulation of androgen receptors in fish. The aim of this manuscript is to review our present knowledge concerning the effect of sex steroid hormones and the presence of their receptors on fish leukocytes, taking into consideration that the studies performed vary as regard the fish species, doses, exposure protocols and hormones used. Moreover, we also include evidence of the probable role of progestins in the regulation of the immune system of fish. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bacteriophage ΦSA012 Has a Broad Host Range against Staphylococcus aureus and Effective Lytic Capacity in a Mouse Mastitis Model
Biology 2018, 7(1), 8; doi:10.3390/biology7010008 -
Abstract
Bovine mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary gland caused by bacterial infection in dairy cattle. It is the most costly disease in the dairy industry because of the high use of antibiotics. Staphylococcus aureus is one of the major causative agents of
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Bovine mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary gland caused by bacterial infection in dairy cattle. It is the most costly disease in the dairy industry because of the high use of antibiotics. Staphylococcus aureus is one of the major causative agents of bovine mastitis and antimicrobial resistance. Therefore, new strategies to control bacterial infection are required in the dairy industry. One potential strategy is bacteriophage (phage) therapy. In the present study, we examined the host range of previously isolated S. aureus phages ΦSA012 and ΦSA039 against S. aureus strains isolated from mastitic cows. These phages could kill all S. aureus (93 strains from 40 genotypes) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (six strains from six genotypes) strains tested. Using a mouse mastitis model, we demonstrated that ΦSA012 reduced proliferation of S. aureus and inflammation in the mammary gland. Furthermore, intravenous or intraperitoneal phage administration reduced proliferation of S. aureus in the mammary glands. These results suggest that broad host range phages ΦSA012 is potential antibacterial agents for dairy production medicine. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Interaction Analysis of Longevity Interventions Using Survival Curves
Biology 2018, 7(1), 6; doi:10.3390/biology7010006 -
Abstract
A long-standing problem in ageing research is to understand how different factors contributing to longevity should be expected to act in combination under the assumption that they are independent. Standard interaction analysis compares the extension of mean lifespan achieved by a combination of
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A long-standing problem in ageing research is to understand how different factors contributing to longevity should be expected to act in combination under the assumption that they are independent. Standard interaction analysis compares the extension of mean lifespan achieved by a combination of interventions to the prediction under an additive or multiplicative null model, but neither model is fundamentally justified. Moreover, the target of longevity interventions is not mean life span but the entire survival curve. Here we formulate a mathematical approach for predicting the survival curve resulting from a combination of two independent interventions based on the survival curves of the individual treatments, and quantify interaction between interventions as the deviation from this prediction. We test the method on a published data set comprising survival curves for all combinations of four different longevity interventions in Caenorhabditis elegans. We find that interactions are generally weak even when the standard analysis indicates otherwise. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Family A and B DNA Polymerases in Cancer: Opportunities for Therapeutic Interventions
Biology 2018, 7(1), 5; doi:10.3390/biology7010005 -
Abstract
DNA polymerases are essential for genome replication, DNA repair and translesion DNA synthesis (TLS). Broadly, these enzymes belong to two groups: replicative and non-replicative DNA polymerases. A considerable body of data suggests that both groups of DNA polymerases are associated with cancer. Many
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DNA polymerases are essential for genome replication, DNA repair and translesion DNA synthesis (TLS). Broadly, these enzymes belong to two groups: replicative and non-replicative DNA polymerases. A considerable body of data suggests that both groups of DNA polymerases are associated with cancer. Many mutations in cancer cells are either the result of error-prone DNA synthesis by non-replicative polymerases, or the inability of replicative DNA polymerases to proofread mismatched nucleotides due to mutations in 3′-5′ exonuclease activity. Moreover, non-replicative, TLS-capable DNA polymerases can negatively impact cancer treatment by synthesizing DNA past lesions generated from treatments such as cisplatin, oxaliplatin, etoposide, bleomycin, and radiotherapy. Hence, the inhibition of DNA polymerases in tumor cells has the potential to enhance treatment outcomes. Here, we review the association of DNA polymerases in cancer from the A and B families, which participate in lesion bypass, and conduct gene replication. We also discuss possible therapeutic interventions that could be used to maneuver the role of these enzymes in tumorigenesis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Harvesting Environmental Microalgal Blooms for Remediation and Resource Recovery: A Laboratory Scale Investigation with Economic and Microbial Community Impact Assessment
Biology 2018, 7(1), 4; doi:10.3390/biology7010004 -
Abstract
A laboratory based microflotation rig termed efficient FLOtation of Algae Technology (eFLOAT) was used to optimise parameters for harvesting microalgal biomass from eutrophic water systems. This was performed for the dual objectives of remediation (nutrient removal) and resource recovery. Preliminary experiments demonstrated that
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A laboratory based microflotation rig termed efficient FLOtation of Algae Technology (eFLOAT) was used to optimise parameters for harvesting microalgal biomass from eutrophic water systems. This was performed for the dual objectives of remediation (nutrient removal) and resource recovery. Preliminary experiments demonstrated that chitosan was more efficient than alum for flocculation of biomass and the presence of bacteria could play a positive role and reduce flocculant application rates under the natural conditions tested. Maximum biomass removal from a hyper-eutrophic water retention pond sample was achieved with 5 mg·L−1 chitosan (90% Chlorophyll a removal). Harvesting at maximum rates showed that after 10 days, the bacterial diversity is significantly increased with reduced cyanobacteria, indicating improved ecosystem functioning. The resource potential within the biomass was characterized by 9.02 μg phosphate, 0.36 mg protein, and 103.7 μg lipid per mg of biomass. Fatty acid methyl ester composition was comparable to pure cultures of microalgae, dominated by C16 and C18 chain lengths with saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Finally, the laboratory data was translated into a full-size and modular eFLOAT system, with estimated costs as a novel eco-technology for efficient algal bloom harvesting. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Media Screening for Obtaining Haematococcus pluvialis Red Motile Macrozooids Rich in Astaxanthin and Fatty Acids
Biology 2018, 7(1), 2; doi:10.3390/biology7010002 -
Abstract
Astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis is commercially produced in a two-stage process, involving green vegetative (macrozooid) and red aplanospore stages. This approach has been scaled up to an industrial process but constraints limit its commercial success and profitability, including: contamination issues, high pigment extraction
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Astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis is commercially produced in a two-stage process, involving green vegetative (macrozooid) and red aplanospore stages. This approach has been scaled up to an industrial process but constraints limit its commercial success and profitability, including: contamination issues, high pigment extraction costs, requirements for high light levels and photo-bleaching in the red stage. However, in addition to the aplanospore stage, this alga can produce astaxanthin in vegetative palmelloid and motile macrozooid cells. In this study, a two-stage process utilising different media in the green stage, with subsequent re-suspension in medium without nitrate was employed to optimise the formation of red motile macrozooids. Optimal growth in the green phase was obtained on cultivation under mixotrophic conditions in EG:JM media followed by re-suspension in medium without nitrate resulting in red motile macrozooids with an astaxanthin content of 2.74% (78.4% of total carotenoids) and a lipid content of 35.3% (rich in unsaturated fatty acids. It is envisaged that the red motile macrozooids could be harvested and fed as a whole-cell product directly in the animal feed and aquaculture sectors, or used as a blend of carotenoids and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in nutraceutical products. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Incomplete Penetrance and Variable Expressivity: Hallmarks in Channelopathies Associated with Sudden Cardiac Death
Biology 2018, 7(1), 3; doi:10.3390/biology7010003 -
Abstract
Sudden cardiac death is defined as an unexpected decease of cardiac origin. In individuals under 35 years old, most of these deaths are due to familial arrhythmogenic syndromes of genetic origin, also known as channelopathies. These familial cardiac syndromes commonly follow an autosomal
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Sudden cardiac death is defined as an unexpected decease of cardiac origin. In individuals under 35 years old, most of these deaths are due to familial arrhythmogenic syndromes of genetic origin, also known as channelopathies. These familial cardiac syndromes commonly follow an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. Diagnosis, however, can be difficult, mainly due to incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity, which are hallmarks in these syndromes. The clinical manifestation of these diseases can range from asymptomatic to syncope but sudden death can sometimes be the first symptom of disease. Early identification of at-risk individuals is crucial to prevent a lethal episode. In this review, we will focus on the genetic basis of channelopathies and the effect of genetic and non-genetic modifiers on their phenotypes. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Age-Dependence and Aging-Dependence: Neuronal Loss and Lifespan in a C. elegans Model of Parkinson’s Disease
Biology 2018, 7(1), 1; doi:10.3390/biology7010001 -
Abstract
It is often assumed, but not established, that the major neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, are not just age-dependent (their incidence changes with time) but actually aging-dependent (their incidence is coupled to the process that determines lifespan). To determine a dependence on
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It is often assumed, but not established, that the major neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, are not just age-dependent (their incidence changes with time) but actually aging-dependent (their incidence is coupled to the process that determines lifespan). To determine a dependence on the aging process requires the joint probability distribution of disease onset and lifespan. For human Parkinson’s disease, such a joint distribution is not available, because the disease cuts lifespan short. To acquire a joint distribution, we resorted to an established C. elegans model of Parkinson’s disease in which the loss of dopaminergic neurons is not fatal. We find that lifespan is not correlated with the loss of individual neurons. Therefore, neuronal loss is age-dependent and aging-independent. We also find that a lifespan-extending intervention into insulin/IGF1 signaling accelerates the loss of specific dopaminergic neurons, while leaving death and neuronal loss times uncorrelated. This suggests that distinct and compartmentalized instances of the same genetically encoded insulin/IGF1 signaling machinery act independently to control neurodegeneration and lifespan in C. elegans. Although the human context might well be different, our study calls attention to the need to maintain a rigorous distinction between age-dependence and aging-dependence. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Was the Watchmaker Blind? Or Was She One-Eyed?
Biology 2017, 6(4), 47; doi:10.3390/biology6040047 -
Abstract
The question whether evolution is blind is usually presented as a choice between no goals at all (‘the blind watchmaker’) and long-term goals which would be external to the organism, for example in the form of special creation or intelligent design. The arguments
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The question whether evolution is blind is usually presented as a choice between no goals at all (‘the blind watchmaker’) and long-term goals which would be external to the organism, for example in the form of special creation or intelligent design. The arguments either way do not address the question whether there are short-term goals within rather than external to organisms. Organisms and their interacting populations have evolved mechanisms by which they can harness blind stochasticity and so generate rapid functional responses to environmental challenges. They can achieve this by re-organising their genomes and/or their regulatory networks. Epigenetic as well as DNA changes are involved. Evolution may have no foresight, but it is at least partially directed by organisms themselves and by the populations of which they form part. Similar arguments support partial direction in the evolution of behavior. Full article
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