Samarangenin B from Limonium sinense suppresses herpes simplex virus type 1 replication in Vero cells by regulation of viral macromolecular synthesis. (1/28)

Inhibitory effects of ethanolic extracts from 10 Chinese herbs on herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) replication were investigated. By a bioassay-guided fractionation procedure, samarangenin B (Sam B) was isolated from Limonium sinense; Sam B significantly suppressed HSV-1 multiplication in Vero cells without apparent cytotoxicity. Time-of-addition experiments suggested that the inhibitory action of Sam B on HSV-1 replication was not due to the blocking of virus adsorption. In an attempt to further localize the point in the HSV-1 replication cycle where arrest occurred, a set of key regulatory events leading to viral multiplication was examined, including viral immediate-early (alpha), early (beta), and late (gamma) gene expression and DNA replication. Results indicated that levels of glycoprotein B (gB), gC, gD, gG, and infected-cell protein 5 (ICP5) expression and gB mRNA expression in Vero cells were impeded by Sam B. Data from PCR showed that replication of HSV-1 DNA in Vero cells was arrested by Sam B. Furthermore, Sam B decreased DNA polymerase, ICP0, and ICP4 gene expression in Vero cells. Results of an electrophoretic mobility shift assay demonstrated that Sam B interrupted the formation of an alpha-trans-induction factor/C1/Oct-1/GARAT multiprotein complex. The mechanisms of antiviral action of Sam B seem to be mediated, at least in part, by inhibiting HSV-1 alpha gene expression, including expression of the ICP0 and ICP4 genes, by blocking beta transcripts such as DNA polymerase mRNA, and by arresting HSV-1 DNA synthesis and structural protein expression in Vero cells. These results show that Sam B is an antiviral agent against HSV-1 replication.  (+info)

beta-alanine N-methyltransferase of Limonium latifolium. cDNA cloning and functional expression of a novel N-methyltransferase implicated in the synthesis of the osmoprotectant beta-alanine betaine. (2/28)

Beta-alanine (Ala) betaine, an osmoprotectant suitable under saline and hypoxic environments, is found in most members of the halophytic plant family Plumbaginaceae. In Limonium latifolium (Plumbaginaceae), it is synthesized via methylation of beta-Ala by the action of a trifunctional S-adenosyl L-methionine (Ado-Met): beta-Ala N-methyltransferase (NMTase). Peptide sequences from purified beta-Ala NMTase were used to design primers for reverse transcriptase-PCR, and several cDNA clones were isolated. The 5' end of the cDNA was cloned using a 5'-rapid amplification of cDNA ends protocol. A 500-bp cDNA was used as a probe to screen a lambda-gt10 L. latifolium leaf cDNA library. Partial cDNA clones represented two groups, NMTase A and NMTase B, differing only in their 3'-untranslated regions. The full-length NMTase A cDNA was 1,414 bp and included a 1128-bp open reading frame and a 119-bp 5'-untranslated region. The deduced amino acid sequence of 375 residues had motifs known to be involved in the binding of Ado-Met. The NMTase mRNA was expressed in L. latifolium leaves but was absent in Limonium sinuatum, a member of the genus that lacks the synthetic pathway for beta-Ala betaine. NMTase mRNA expression was high in young and mature leaves and was enhanced by light. NMTase cDNA was expressed in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) under the control of a galactose-inducible promoter. Protein extracts of galactose-induced recombinant yeast had Ado-Met-specific NMTase activities that were highly specific to beta-Ala, N-methyl beta-Ala, and N,N-dimethyl beta-Ala as methyl acceptors. NMTase activities were not detectable in comparable protein extracts of yeast, transformed with vector control. The NMTase protein sequence shared homology with plant caffeic acid O-methyltransferases and related enzymes. Phylogenetic analyses suggested that beta-Ala NMTase represents a novel family of N-methyltransferases that are evolutionarily related to O-methyltransferases.  (+info)

Fine-scale geographical structure, intra-individual polymorphism and recombination in nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacers in Armeria (Plumbaginaceae). (3/28)

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Isolation and drift are the main causes for geographic structure of molecular variation. In contrast, the one found in a previous survey in Armeria (Plumbaginaceae) for nuclear ribosomal ITS multicopy regions was species-independent and has been hypothesized to be due to extensive gene-flow and biased concerted evolution. Since this was inferred from a genus-level phylogenetic analysis, the aim of this study was to check for the occurrence of such structure and the validity of the proposed model at a local scale, in a southern Spanish massif (Sierra Nevada), as well as to examine the evolutionary implications at the organism level. METHODS: In addition to 117 sequences of direct PCR products from genomic DNA, 50 sequences of PCR products from cloned DNA were obtained to analyse cases of intragenomic polymorphisms for the ITS regions. KEY RESULTS: Sequence data confirm the occurrence of a species-independent structure at a local scale and reveal insights through the analysis of contact areas between different ITS copies (ribotypes). A comparison between cloned and direct sequences (a) confirms that, within these contact areas, ITS copies co-occur both in different individuals and within single genomes; and (b) reveals recombination between different copies. CONCLUSIONS: This study supports the utility of direct sequences for detecting intra-individual polymorphism and for partially inferring the ITS copies involved, given previous knowledge of the variability. The main evolutionary implication at the organism level is that gene-flow and concerted evolution shape the geographic structure of ITS variation.  (+info)

Antimicrobial activity in vitro of plumbagin isolated from Plumbago species. (4/28)

Plumbagin is a naturally occurring naphthoquinone isolated from roots of Plumbago scandens. The plant was collected at the Campus of Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. P. scandens is used as a traditional medicine for the treatment of several diseases. The antimicrobial activity of plumbagin was evaluated using the macrodilution method. The compound exhibited relatively specific activity against bacteria and yeast. The minimum inhibitory concentration test showed the growth inhibiton of Staphylococcus aureus at a concentration of 1.56 g/ml and of Candida albicans at a concentration of 0.78 g/ml. These results suggest the naphthoquinone plumbagin as a promising antimicrobial agent.  (+info)

Inhibition of immediate allergic reactions by ethanol extract from Plumbago zeylanica stems. (5/28)

The antiallergic properties of the 70% ethanol extract from Plumbago zeylanica stems (EPZ) were investigated in the present study. The extract (500, 1000 mg/kg, p.o.) dose-dependently inhibited systemic anaphylactic shock induced by compound 48/80 in mice, reduced homologous passive cutaneous anaphylaxis and skin reactions induced by histamine or serotonin in rats, significant differences were observed at the dose of 1000 mg/kg. In vitro, EPZ (5, 20, 50 microg/ml) concentration-dependently reduced histamine release from rat peritoneal mast cells caused by compound 48/80 and antigen. EPZ (50 microg/ml) markedly increased intracellular cAMP content of rat mast cells. These findings demonstrate that EPZ inhibits mast cell-dependent immediate allergic reactions, which is probably mediated by reducing the release of mediators such as histamine from mast cells via elevating intracellular cAMP level and weakening the inflammatory action of mediators.  (+info)

Detection and molecular characterization of an aster yellows phytoplasma in poker statice and Queen Anne's lace in Alberta, Canada. (6/28)

Queen Anne's lace and poker statice plants were found with a yellows-type disease with typical phytoplasma symptoms in an experimental farm near Brooks, Alberta in 1996. Phytoplasma bodies were detected by transmission electron microscopy in phloem cells of symptomatic plants, but not in healthy plants. The presence of a phytoplasma was confirmed by analysis with the polymerase chain reaction. Using a pair of universal primer sequences derived from phytoplasma 16S rRNA, an amplified product of the expected size (1.2 kb) was observed in samples from infected plants, but not in asymptomatic plants. Sequence analysis of the PCR products from the 16S/23S rDNA intergenic spacer region indicated that the two phytoplasma isolates in Queen Anne's lace and poker statice are genetically closely related to the western aster yellows phytoplasma.  (+info)

Plumbagin quantification in roots of Plumbago scandens L. obtained by different extraction techniques. (7/28)

The Plumbago genus belongs to the Plumbaginaceae family and it is known due to its variety of biological uses, most of them attributed to the presence of naphthoquinones. Plumbagin is a naturally occurring naphthoquinone that can be obtained from roots of Plumbago scandens L. In order to find out the better technique for plumbagin extraction, were applied: static maceration, dynamic maceration, with assistance of ultrasonic waves and in Soxhlet apparatus. Four compounds were qualitatively detected in all extracts: the naphthoquinones plumbagin and epi-isoshinanolone, palmitic acid and sitosterol. Plumbagin was always the major component in all analyzed extracts and it was quantitatively determined by gas chromatograph coupled with mass spectrometer. Soxhlet was the most efficient extraction technique however, prolonged heating time promoted plumbagin degradation.  (+info)

Exogenous supply of pantoyl lactone to excised leaves increases their pantothenate levels. (8/28)

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: All plants synthesize pantothenate but its synthesis and regulation are not well understood. The aim of this work is to study the effect of exogenous supply of precursor compounds on pantothenate levels in leaves. METHODS: Precursor compounds were supplied in solution to excised leaves and the pantothenate content was measured using a microbial method. KEY RESULTS: Pantothenate levels in excised leaves of Limonium latifolium, tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) were examined following an exogenous supply of the precursor compounds pantoyl lactone or beta-alanine. Significantly higher levels of extractable pantothenate were found when pantoyl lactone was supplied, but not when beta-alanine was supplied despite a measurable uptake of beta-alanine into the leaf. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggested that the pantoate supply may be rate-limiting or regulating pantothenate synthesis in leaves.  (+info)