Photo- and antioxidative protection during summer leaf senescence in Pistacia lentiscus L. grown under Mediterranean field conditions. (1/46)

Summer leaf senescence in Pistacia lentiscus L. plants serves to remobilize nutrients from the oldest leaves to the youngest ones, and therefore contributes to plant survival during the adverse climatic conditions typical of Mediterranean summers, i.e. water deficit superimposed on high solar radiation and high temperatures. To evaluate the extent of photo- and antioxidative protection during leaf senescence of this species, changes in carotenoids, including xanthophyll cycle pigments, and in the levels of ascorbate and alpha-tocopherol were measured prior to and during summer leaf senescence in 3-year-old plants grown under Mediterranean field conditions. Although a chlorophyll loss of approx. 20% was observed during the first stages of leaf senescence, no damage to the photosynthetic apparatus occurred as indicated by constant maximum efficiencies of photosystem II photochemistry. During this period the de-epoxidation state of the xanthophyll cycle, and lutein, neoxanthin and ascorbate levels were kept constant. At the same time beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol levels increased by approx. 9 and 70%, respectively, presumably conferring photo- and antioxidative protection to the photosynthetic apparatus. By contrast, during the later stages of leaf senescence, characterized by severe chlorophyll loss, carotenoids were moderately degraded (neoxanthin by approx. 20%, and both lutein and beta-carotene by approx. 35%), ascorbate decreased by approx. 80% and alpha-tocopherol was not detected in senescing leaves. This study demonstrates that mechanisms of photo- and antioxidative protection may play a major role in maintaining chloroplast function during the first stages of leaf senescence, while antioxidant defences are lost during the latest stages of senescence.  (+info)

Cavitation, stomatal conductance, and leaf dieback in seedlings of two co-occurring Mediterranean shrubs during an intense drought. (2/46)

Seedling shrubs in the Mediterranean semi-arid climate are subjected to intense droughts during summer. Thus, seedlings often surpass their limits of tolerance to water stress, resulting in the loss of hydraulic conductivity due to xylem cavitation. The response in terms of stomatal conductance, vulnerability to cavitation, leaf dieback, and survival were analysed in two co-occurring seedlings of mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus L.) and kermes oak (Quercus coccifera L.) during an intense drought period. Both species reacted to drought with steep decreases in stomatal conductance before the critical water potential brought about the onset of cavitation events. Q. coccifera showed wider safety margins for avoiding runaway embolism than P. lentiscus and these differences could be related to the particular drought strategy displayed by each species: water saver or water spender. The limits for survival, resprout capacity and leaf dieback were also analysed in terms of loss of conductivity. By contrast with previous studies, the species showing higher seedling survival in the presence of drought also showed higher susceptibility to cavitation and operated with a lower safety margin for cavitation. Both species showed a leaf specific conductivity (LSC) threshold below which leaf biomass had to be regulated to avoid runaway embolism. However, each species displayed a different type of response: P. lentiscus conserved total leaf area up to 100% loss of LSC, whereas Q. coccifera continuously adjusted leaf biomass throughout the drought period in order to maintain the LSC very close to the maximum values recorded without loss of conductivity. Both species maintained the capacity for survival until the loss of conductivity was very nearly 100%.  (+info)

Do positive interactions increase with abiotic stress? A test from a semi-arid steppe. (3/46)

Theoretical models predict that the relative importance of facilitation and competition may vary inversely across gradients of abiotic stress. However, these predictions have not been thoroughly tested in the field, especially in semi-arid environments. In this study, we evaluated how the net effect of the tussock grass Stipa tenacissima on the shrub Pistacia lentiscus varied across a gradient of abiotic stress in semi-arid Mediterranean steppes. We fitted the relationship between accumulated rainfall and the relative neighbour index (our measures of abiotic stress and of the net effect of S. tenacissima on P. lentiscus, respectively), which varied across this gradient, to a quadratic model. Competitive interactions dominated at both extremes of the gradient. Our results do not support established theory. Instead, they suggest that a shift from facilitation to competition under high abiotic stress conditions is likely to occur when the levels of the most limiting resource are so low that the benefits provided by the facilitator cannot overcome its own resource uptake.  (+info)

Photoinhibition and drought in Mediterranean woody saplings: scaling effects and interactions in sun and shade phenotypes. (4/46)

Interacting effects of high light and drought on the performance of sun and shade phenotypes were experimentally undertaken following survival, chlorophyll fluorescence and gas exchange in 2-year-old saplings of four Mediterranean trees (Quercus ilex and Q. coccifera as water-saving species, and Pistacia lentiscus and P. terebinthus as water-spending species). Half of the saplings were grown in full sunlight and the other half in the shade (6% sunlight). Half of each combination of species-phenotype was exposed to high light during a simulated late-summer drought. Light absorptance and gas exchange were scaled up to the whole plant with the 3-D geometrical model, Y-Plant. Quercus species were more plastic and tolerated high light and water stress better than Pistacia species, surviving longer and in drier soils, and exhibiting a less pronounced photoinhibition. There was no evidence of disadvantage for shade phenotypes under high light with increasing drought. By contrast, shade phenotypes survived longer despite larger initial decreases in photochemical efficiency and higher sensitivity to drought than sun phenotypes. The enhanced control of transpiration during drought in water-saving versus water-spending species (and also in shade versus sun phenotypes in three out of the four species) allowed extended survival. Photoinhibition reduced whole crown carbon gain in high light by c. 3% and affected significantly more the shaded leaves of a given plant (reducing their carbon gain by up to 7%) than those exposed to direct sunlight. Despite this apparently minor impact, whole plant carbon gain reduction by photoinhibition negatively correlated with survival and drought tolerance. The implications for succession and forest regeneration in arid environments, particularly under a global change scenario, are discussed.  (+info)

Modulation of cellular response to cisplatin by a novel inhibitor of DNA polymerase beta. (5/46)

DNA polymerase beta (Pol beta) is an error-prone enzyme whose up-regulation has been shown to be a genetic instability enhancer as well as a contributor to cisplatin resistance in tumor cells. In this work, we describe the isolation of new Pol beta inhibitors after high throughput screening of 8448 semipurified natural extracts. In vitro, the selected molecules affect specifically Pol beta-mediated DNA synthesis compared with replicative extracts from cell nuclei. One of them, masticadienonic acid (MA), is particularly attractive because it perturbs neither the activity of the purified replicative Pol delta nor that of nuclear HeLa cell extracts. With an IC50 value of 8 microM, MA is the most potent of the Pol beta inhibitors found so far. Docking simulation revealed that this molecule could substitute for single-strand DNA in the binding site of Pol beta by binding Lys35, Lys68, and Lys60, which are the main residues involved in the interaction Pol beta/single-strand DNA. Selected inhibitors also affect the Pol beta-mediated translesion synthesis (TLS) across cisplatin adducts; MA was still the most efficient. Therefore, masticadienonic acid sensitized the cisplatin-resistant 2008C13*5.25 human tumor cells. Our data suggest that molecules such as masticadienonic acid could be suitable in conjunction with cisplatin to enhance anticancer treatments.  (+info)

Antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activities of the lipophylic extracts of Pistacia vera. (6/46)

In the present study, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties of 15 lipohylic extracts obtained from different parts (leaf, branch, stem, kernel, shell skins, seeds) of Pistacia vera were screened against both standard and the isolated strains of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans and C. parapsilosis by microdilution method. Both Herpes simplex (DNA) and Parainfluenza viruses (RNA) were used for the determination of antiviral activity of the P. vera extracts by using Vero cell line. Ampicilline, ofloxocine, ketoconazole, fluconazole, acyclovir and oseltamivir were used as the control agents. The extracts showed little antibacterial activity between the range of 128-256 microg/ml concentrations whereas they had noticeable antifungal activity at the same concentrations. Kernel and seed extracts showed significant antiviral activity compared to the rest of the extracts as well as the controls.  (+info)

Antioxidant properties of two gallotannins isolated from the leaves of Pistacia weinmannifolia. (7/46)

Pistacia weinmannifolia J. Poisson ex Franch (Anacardiaceae) is a shrub or arbor widely found in Yunnan province of China and its leaves are used as traditional Chinese medicine by herbalists. The leaves of P. weinmannifolia are rich in phenolic compounds, among which two novel gallotannins, Pistafolin A and Pistafolin B, are identified. In the present investigation, the antioxidant efficiency of Pistafolin A and Pistafolin B in preventing lipid, protein and DNA from reactive oxygen species-mediated damage was studied. Both Pistafolin A and Pistafolin B inhibited the peroxyl-radical induced lipid peroxidation of l-alpha-phosphatidylcholine liposomes dose-dependently and prevented the bovine serum albumin from peroxyl-induced oxidative damage. Pistafolin A and Pistafolin B also inhibited copper (II)-1,10-phenanthroline complex-induced DNA oxidative damage. Both Pistafolin A and Pistafolin B scavenged the hydrophilic 2,2'-azinobis(3-ethylbenzothiozoline-6-sulphonic acid) diammonium salt-free radicals and the hydrophobic 1,1-dipheny-2-picrylhydrazyl radicals effectively, suggesting they may act as hydrogen donating antioxidants. The protective effects of the two gallotannins against oxidative damage of biomacromolecules were due to their strong free radical scavenging ability. Pistafolin A with three galloyl moieties showed stronger antioxidant ability than Pistafolin B with two galloyl moieties.  (+info)

Food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis to pistachio. (8/46)

We report the case of a 16-year-old male who, 30 minutes after beginning to play football with previous ingestion of pistachio nuts, experienced an anaphylactic reaction. Prick-by-prick test with roasted pistachios was negative. Specific IgE antibodies to pistachio, cashew nuts and mango were negative. An open oral challenge test with pistachio in resting conditions was negative. Treadmill ergonometric stress in a fasting state and 60 minutes after a meal without pistachio gave negative results. A specific food exercise challenge 60 minutes after ingestion of 50 g pistachio nuts was positive, showing mild diffuse erythema and small wheals in face and thorax. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first described case of specific food dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis to pistachio. Negative allergologic tests is an unusual condition, since most cases appear to be IgE-mediated. In this case, a positive specific food exercise challenge test provided a definite diagnosis.  (+info)