Allozyme diversity in natural populations of Viola palmensis Webb & Berth. (Violaceae) from La Palma (Canary Islands): implications for conservation genetics.
Genetic diversity was measured by allozyme electrophoresis in eight natural populations of the threatened Canarian endemic Viola palmensis Webb & Berth. (Violaceae). Nineteen alleles corresponding to 11 gene loci were detected. High levels of genetic diversity were found, ranging from 36.3 to 45.4 % for the percentage of polymorphic loci (P), from 1.45 to 1.60 for the average number of alleles per locus (A) and from 0.128 to 0.200 for the expected heterozygosity (H(e)). Between 85.5 and 96.6 % of genetic variability was apportioned within populations. As a whole, populations were not at Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, with a deficit of heterozygous individuals attributable to the existence of genetic structuring in the populations analysed. The levels of interpopulation genetic differentiation were low (mean F(ST) = 0.100), while genetic identity pair-wise comparisons were high (mean I = 0.973) suggesting considerable levels of gene flow among populations. No relationship was detected between genetic differentiation and geographical distances between populations. An outcrossing insect-mediated breeding system might contribute to pollen dispersion of this species. For conservation genetics we suggest in situ preservation areas are defined that are free of disturbance and that include populations with the highest genetic diversity. (+info)
Cyclotides: a novel type of cytotoxic agents.
Cytotoxic activities of three naturally occurring macrocyclic peptides (cyclotides) isolated from the two violets, Viola arvensis Murr. and Viola odorata L., were investigated. A nonclonogenic fluorometric microculture assay was used to examine cytotoxicity in a panel of 10 human tumor cell lines representing defined types of cytotoxic drug resistance. Additionally, primary cultures of tumor cells from patients, and for comparison normal lymphocytes, were used to quantify cytotoxic activity. All three cyclotides, varv A, varv F, and cycloviolacin 02, exhibited strong cytotoxic activities, which varied in a dose-dependent manner. Cycloviolacin 02 was the most potent in all cell lines (IC50 0.1-0.3 microM), followed by varv A (IC50 2.7-6.35 microM) and varv F (IC50 2.6-7.4 microM), respectively. Activity profiles of the cyclotides differed significantly from those of antitumor drugs in clinical use, which may indicate a new mode of action. This, together with the exceptional chemical and biological stability of cyclotides, makes them interesting in particular for their potential as pharmacological tools and possibly as leads to antitumor agents. (+info)
Floral biology and pollination mechanisms in two Viola species--from nectar to pollen flowers?
The genus Viola is represented by four related species in Brazil belonging to section Leptidium, one of the most primitive sections in the genus. Floral biology and pollination by bees were studied in Viola cerasifolia and V. subdimidiata in high-altitude areas in south-eastern Brazil. Flowers are zygomorphic and spurred. The five stamens are arranged in a cuff around the ovary, and pollen is released by means of apical connective projections, which form a cone surrounding the base of the style. The connective projections of the inferior stamens are elongated and curved to form a hook-shaped structure. Nectar-secreting tissue can occur in the basal connective appendages of the inferior stamens, which project into the spur. Flowers of V. subdimidiata secreted a mean volume of 0.14 micro l nectar over a 24-h period; approx. 40 % of flowers did not secrete any nectar. The main pollinators of these Viola species are female bees belonging to the genus Anthrenoides (Andrenidae), which search mainly for pollen. These bees seem to be oligolectic and obtain large amounts of pollen from Viola by vibrating the flowers or by moving the hook repeatedly back and forth. Males of Anthrenoides patrol Viola clusters and also feed on nectar, acting as secondary pollinators. The basic floral structure in the genus Viola fits that of 'nectar flowers'. The uncommon hook-shaped projections, scanty nectar production, and behaviour of pollinators suggest that V. cerasifolia and V. subdimidiata are shifting their reward for pollinators from nectar to pollen. Based on floral morphology, this shift may be widespread in Viola sect. Leptidium. (+info)
Variability of the essential oil of Viola etrusca.
Essential oils obtained from different populations of Viola etrusca from Italy have been analysed to verify the phenotypic discontinuity observed in a previous study. All of the essential oils contained methyl salicylate as a main constituent. However, multivariate analysis showed differences among some populations, in particular between northern and southern ones. Results suggest that this species could be undergoing a slow schizogenetic differentiation process due to its genetic isolation. (+info)
The cumulation of Wild pansy (Viola tricolor L.) accessions: the possibility of species preservation and usage in medicine.
Wild pansy (Viola tricolor L.) has a history in folk medicine of helping respiratory problems such as bronchitis, asthma, and cold symptoms. The drugs and extracts are prepared from raw material of pansy; it is a component of some prepared antitussives, cholagogues, dermatological medicines, roborants and tonics, alternatives, and anti-phlebitis remedies. Wild pansy is indigenous to or naturalized in large parts of Europe and the Middle East as far as Central Asia, also found through the United States. In the Lithuanian flora wild pansy habitats areas have been fast reducing; this not only limits the availability of the reserves of medicinal raw materials for pharmacy and therapy needs but also causes a menace to survival of species. The reasons of reduction of natural habitats and areas of wild pansy are not only unfavorable meteorological conditions (including summer droughts) but also the competition of different herbs and irrational human activities. The opportunities of preservation of the species wild pansy need to be cultivated and the most exhaustive adaptation research should be performed. (+info)
Flavone C-glycosides from Viola yedoensis MAKINO.
A new flavone C-glycoside, apigenin 6-C-alpha-L-arabinopyranosyl-8-C-beta-L-arabinopyranoside, has been isolated from Viola yedoensis together with the known compounds, apigenin 6,8-di-C-alpha-L-arabinopyranoside, apigenin 6-C-alpha-L-arabinopyranosyl-8-C-beta-D-glucopyranoside (isoschaftoside), apigenin 6-C-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-8-C-alpha-L-arabinopyranoside (schaftoside), apigenin 6-C-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-8-C-beta-L-arabinopyranoside (neoschaftoside), apigenin 6,8-di-C-beta-D-glucopyranoside (vicenin-2), apigenin 6-C-alpha-L-arabinopyranosyl-8-C-beta-D-xylopyranoside, apigenin 6-C-beta-D-xylopyranosyl-8-C-alpha-L-arabinopyranoside, luteolin 6-C-beta-D-glucopyranoside (isoorientin) and luteolin 6-C-alpha-L-arabinopyranosyl-8-C-beta-D-glucopyranoside (isocarlinoside). The structures were determined by spectroscopic methods and new or revised (1)H- and (13)C-NMR spectral assignments are proposed for some compounds. (+info)
Tissue-specific expression of head-to-tail cyclized miniproteins in Violaceae and structure determination of the root cyclotide Viola hederacea root cyclotide1.
The plant cyclotides are a family of 28 to 37 amino acid miniproteins characterized by their head-to-tail cyclized peptide backbone and six absolutely conserved Cys residues arranged in a cystine knot motif: two disulfide bonds and the connecting backbone segments form a loop that is penetrated by the third disulfide bond. This knotted disulfide arrangement, together with the cyclic peptide backbone, renders the cyclotides extremely stable against enzymatic digest as well as thermal degradation, making them interesting targets for both pharmaceutical and agrochemical applications. We have examined the expression patterns of these fascinating peptides in various Viola species (Violaceae). All tissue types examined contained complex mixtures of cyclotides, with individual profiles differing significantly. We provide evidence for at least 57 novel cyclotides present in a single Viola species (Viola hederacea). Furthermore, we have isolated one cyclotide expressed only in underground parts of V. hederacea and characterized its primary and three-dimensional structure. We propose that cyclotides constitute a new family of plant defense peptides, which might constitute an even larger and, in their biological function, more diverse family than the well-known plant defensins. (+info)
Conserved structural and sequence elements implicated in the processing of gene-encoded circular proteins.
The cyclotides are the largest family of naturally occurring circular proteins. The mechanism by which the termini of these gene-encoded proteins are linked seamlessly with a peptide bond to form a circular backbone is unknown. Here we report cyclotide-encoding cDNA sequences from the plant Viola odorata and compare them with those from an evolutionarily distinct species, Oldenlandia affinis. Individual members of this multigene family encode one to three mature cyclotide domains. These domains are preceded by N-terminal repeat regions (NTRs) that are conserved within a plant species but not between species. We have structurally characterized peptides corresponding to these NTRs and show that, despite them having no sequence homology, they form a structurally conserved alpha-helical motif. This structural conservation suggests a vital role for the NTR in the in vivo folding, processing, or detoxification of cyclotide domains from the precursor protein. (+info)