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1.  Real-Time Microscopic Observation of Candida Biofilm Development and Effects Due to Micafungin and Fluconazole 
To understand the process of Candida biofilm development and the effects of antifungal agents on biofilms, we analyzed real-time data comprising time-lapse images taken at times separated by brief intervals. The growth rate was calculated by measuring the change of biofilm thickness every hour. For the antifungal study, 5-h-old biofilms of Candida albicans were treated with either micafungin (MCFG) or fluconazole (FLCZ). MCFG began to suppress biofilm growth a few minutes after the initiation of the treatment, and this effect was maintained over the course of the observation period. In contrast, the suppressive effects of FLCZ on biofilm growth took longer to manifest: biofilms grew in the first 5 h after treatment, and then their growth was suppressed over the next 10 h, finally producing results similar to those observed with MCFG. MCFG was also involved in the disruption of cells in the biofilms, releasing string-like structures (undefined extracellular component) from the burst hyphae. Thus, MCFG inhibited the detachment of yeast cell clusters from the tips of hyphae. In contrast, FLCZ did not disrupt biofilm cells. MCFG also showed fast antifungal activity against Candida parapsilosis biofilms. In conclusion, our results show that inhibition of glucan synthesis due to MCFG contributed not only to fungicidal activity but also to the immediate suppression of biofilm growth, while FLCZ suppressed growth by inhibiting ergosterol synthesis. Therefore, those characteristic differences should be considered when treating clinical biofilm infections.
PMCID: PMC3632923  PMID: 23459484
2.  Coordinated Roles of Pregnane X Receptor and Constitutive Androstane Receptor in Autoinduction of Voriconazole Metabolism in Mice 
The antifungal efficacy of voriconazole (VRC) differs among host species, with potent efficacy in humans but less in rodents. We investigated the possible involvement of pregnane X receptor (PXR) and constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) in the species-specific efficacy of VRC through pharmacokinetic analyses using genetically modified mice and primary human hepatocytes. VRC (30 mg/kg) was orally administered to wild-type, Pxr-null, Car-null, and Pxr- and Car-null (Pxr/Car-null) mice for 7 days. Hepatic VRC metabolism was significantly increased by VRC administration, and the elimination rates of plasma VRC were much higher on day 7 than on day 1 in wild-type mice. This autoinduction was also observed in Pxr-null and Car-null mice but not in Pxr/Car-null mice, suggesting coordinated roles of PXR and CAR in the autoinduction of VRC metabolism in mice. Hepatic Cyp3a11 mRNA levels were increased by VRC administration, hepatic metabolic activities for VRC were correlated with CYP3A activities, and the induced VRC metabolism was inhibited by ketoconazole (a CYP3A inhibitor). In primary human hepatocytes, VRC barely increased mRNA levels of CYP3A4 and CYP2B6 (human PXR/CAR target genes) at its therapeutic concentrations. In conclusion, these results suggest that VRC is metabolized mainly by CYP3A11 in mouse livers and that PXR- and CAR-mediated CYP3A11 induction, namely, autoinduction of VRC metabolism, is a primary reason for the ineffectiveness of VRC in mice. A limited ability of VRC to activate human PXR/CAR at its clinical concentration might explain the VRC efficacy in humans. Therefore, the ability to activate PXR/CAR might determine the VRC efficacy in different mammalian species.
PMCID: PMC3591884  PMID: 23274663
3.  Fine mapping of the clubroot resistance gene CRb and development of a useful selectable marker in Brassica rapa 
Breeding Science  2013;63(1):116-124.
In Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa), the clubroot resistance (CR) gene CRb is effective against Plasmodiophora brassicae isolate No. 14, which is classified as pathotype group 3. Although markers linked to CRb have been reported, an accurate position in the genome and the gene structure are unknown. To determine the genomic location and estimate the structure of CRb, we developed 28 markers (average distance, 20.4 kb) around CRb and constructed a high-density partial map. The precise position of CRb was determined by using a population of 2,032 F2 plants generated by selfing B. rapa ‘CR Shinki.’ We determined that CRb is located in the 140-kb genomic region between markers KB59N07 and B1005 and found candidate resistance genes. Among other CR genes on chromosome R3, a genotype of CRa closest marker clearly matched those of CRb and Crr3 did not confer resistance to isolate No. 14. Based on the genotypes of 11 markers developed near CRb and resistance to isolate No. 14, 82 of 108 cultivars showed a strong correlation between genotypes and phenotypes. The results of this study will be useful for isolating CRb and breeding cultivars with resistance to pathotype group 3 by introducing CRb into susceptible cultivars through marker-assisted selection.
PMCID: PMC3621437  PMID: 23641188
clubroot; Plasmodiophora brassicae; CRb; fine mapping; marker-assisted selection; Brassica rapa
4.  Identification and Characterization of Crr1a, a Gene for Resistance to Clubroot Disease (Plasmodiophora brassicae Woronin) in Brassica rapa L. 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54745.
Clubroot disease, caused by the obligate biotrophic protist Plasmodiophora brassicae Woronin, is one of the most economically important diseases of Brassica crops in the world. Although many clubroot resistance (CR) loci have been identified through genetic analysis and QTL mapping, the molecular mechanisms of defense responses against P. brassicae remain unknown. Fine mapping of the Crr1 locus, which was originally identified as a single locus, revealed that it comprises two gene loci, Crr1a and Crr1b. Here we report the map-based cloning and characterization of Crr1a, which confers resistance to clubroot in Brassica rapa. Crr1aG004, cloned from the resistant line G004, encodes a Toll-Interleukin-1 receptor/nucleotide-binding site/leucine-rich repeat (TIR-NB-LRR) protein expressed in the stele and cortex of hypocotyl and roots, where secondary infection of the pathogen occurs, but not in root hairs, where primary infection occurs. Gain-of-function analysis proved that Crr1aG004 alone conferred resistance to isolate Ano-01 in susceptible Arabidopsis and B. rapa. In comparison, the susceptible allele Crr1aA9709 encodes a truncated NB-LRR protein, which lacked more than half of the TIR domain on account of the insertion of a solo-long terminal repeat (LTR) in exon 1 and included several substitutions and insertion-deletions in the LRR domain. This study provides a basis for further molecular analysis of defense mechanisms against P. brassicae and will contribute to the breeding of resistant cultivars of Brassica vegetables by marker-assisted selection.
Data deposition The sequence reported in this paper has been deposited in the GenBank database (accession no. AB605024).
PMCID: PMC3559844  PMID: 23382954
5.  Identificaiton of a clubroot resistance locus conferring resistance to a Plasmodiophora brassicae classified into pathotype group 3 in Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa L.) 
Breeding Science  2012;62(3):282-287.
In Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa), the clubroot resistance (CR) genes Crr1 and Crr2 are effective against the mild Plasmodiophora brassicae isolate Ano-01 and the more virulent isolate Wakayama-01, but not against isolate No. 14, classified into pathotype group 3. ‘Akiriso’, a clubroot-resistant F1 cultivar, showed resistance to isolate No. 14. To increase the durability of resistance, we attempted to identify the CR locus in ‘Akiriso’. CR in ‘Akiriso’ segregated as a single dominant gene and was linked to several molecular markers that were also linked to CRb, a CR locus from cultivar ‘CR Shinki’. We developed additional markers around CRb and constructed partial genetic maps of this region in ‘Akiriso’ and ‘CR Shinki’. The positions and order of markers in the genetic maps of the two cultivars were very similar. The segregation ratios for resistance to isolate No. 14 in F2 populations derived from each of the two cultivars were also very similar. These results suggest that the CR locus in ‘Akiriso’ is CRb or a tightly linked locus. The newly developed markers in this study were more closely linked to CRb than previously reported markers and will be useful for marker-assisted selection of CRb in Chinese cabbage breeding.
PMCID: PMC3501946  PMID: 23226089
clubroot; disease resistance; Plasmodiophora brassicae; linkage map; CRb; simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers; Brassica rapa
6.  Microstructure of a Brassica rapa genome segment homoeologous to the resistance gene cluster on Arabidopsis chromosome 4 
Breeding Science  2012;62(2):170-177.
Genome evolution is a continuous process and genomic rearrangement occurs both within and between species. With the sequencing of the Arabidopsis thaliana genome, comparative genetics and genomics offer new insights into plant biology. The genus Brassica offers excellent opportunities with which to compare genomic synteny so as to reveal genome evolution. During a previous genetic analysis of clubroot resistance in Brassica rapa, we identified a genetic region that is highly collinear with Arabidopsis chromosome 4. This region corresponds to a disease resistance gene cluster in the A. thaliana genome. Relying on synteny with Arabidopsis, we fine-mapped the region and found that the location and order of the markers showed good correspondence with those in Arabidopsis. Microsynteny on a physical map indicated an almost parallel correspondence, with a few rearrangements such as inversions and insertions. The results show that this genomic region of Brassica is conserved extensively with that of Arabidopsis and has potential as a disease resistance gene cluster, although the genera diverged 20 million years ago.
PMCID: PMC3405966  PMID: 23136528
microsynteny; genome evolution; genome organization; genomic collinearity; BAC library
7.  A consensus linkage map for molecular markers and Quantitative Trait Loci associated with economically important traits in melon (Cucumis melo L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:111.
A number of molecular marker linkage maps have been developed for melon (Cucumis melo L.) over the last two decades. However, these maps were constructed using different marker sets, thus, making comparative analysis among maps difficult. In order to solve this problem, a consensus genetic map in melon was constructed using primarily highly transferable anchor markers that have broad potential use for mapping, synteny, and comparative quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis, increasing breeding effectiveness and efficiency via marker-assisted selection (MAS).
Under the framework of the International Cucurbit Genomics Initiative (ICuGI,, an integrated genetic map has been constructed by merging data from eight independent mapping experiments using a genetically diverse array of parental lines. The consensus map spans 1150 cM across the 12 melon linkage groups and is composed of 1592 markers (640 SSRs, 330 SNPs, 252 AFLPs, 239 RFLPs, 89 RAPDs, 15 IMAs, 16 indels and 11 morphological traits) with a mean marker density of 0.72 cM/marker. One hundred and ninety-six of these markers (157 SSRs, 32 SNPs, 6 indels and 1 RAPD) were newly developed, mapped or provided by industry representatives as released markers, including 27 SNPs and 5 indels from genes involved in the organic acid metabolism and transport, and 58 EST-SSRs. Additionally, 85 of 822 SSR markers contributed by Syngenta Seeds were included in the integrated map. In addition, 370 QTL controlling 62 traits from 18 previously reported mapping experiments using genetically diverse parental genotypes were also integrated into the consensus map. Some QTL associated with economically important traits detected in separate studies mapped to similar genomic positions. For example, independently identified QTL controlling fruit shape were mapped on similar genomic positions, suggesting that such QTL are possibly responsible for the phenotypic variability observed for this trait in a broad array of melon germplasm.
Even though relatively unsaturated genetic maps in a diverse set of melon market types have been published, the integrated saturated map presented herein should be considered the initial reference map for melon. Most of the mapped markers contained in the reference map are polymorphic in diverse collection of germplasm, and thus are potentially transferrable to a broad array of genetic experimentation (e.g., integration of physical and genetic maps, colinearity analysis, map-based gene cloning, epistasis dissection, and marker-assisted selection).
PMCID: PMC3163537  PMID: 21797998
8.  Development of Full-Length cDNAs from Chinese Cabbage (Brassica rapa Subsp. pekinensis) and Identification of Marker Genes for Defence Response 
Arabidopsis belongs to the Brassicaceae family and plays an important role as a model plant for which researchers have developed fine-tuned genome resources. Genome sequencing projects have been initiated for other members of the Brassicaceae family. Among these projects, research on Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis) started early because of strong interest in this species. Here, we report the development of a library of Chinese cabbage full-length cDNA clones, the RIKEN BRC B. rapa full-length cDNA (BBRAF) resource, to accelerate research on Brassica species. We sequenced 10 000 BBRAF clones and confirmed 5476 independent clones. Most of these cDNAs showed high homology to Arabidopsis genes, but we also obtained more than 200 cDNA clones that lacked any sequence homology to Arabidopsis genes. We also successfully identified several possible candidate marker genes for plant defence responses from our analysis of the expression of the Brassica counterparts of Arabidopsis marker genes in response to salicylic acid and jasmonic acid. We compared gene expression of these markers in several Chinese cabbage cultivars. Our BBRAF cDNA resource will be publicly available from the RIKEN Bioresource Center and will help researchers to transfer Arabidopsis-related knowledge to Brassica crops.
PMCID: PMC3158467  PMID: 21745830
Arabidopsis; Brassica rapa; full-length cDNA; jasmonic acid; salicylic acid
9.  Killing Activity of Micafungin against Aspergillus fumigatus Hyphae Assessed by Specific Fluorescent Staining for Cell Viability 
We studied the anti-Aspergillus activity of micafungin by using two fluorescent dyes to detect cell viability. Micafungin induced flattened hyphae, caused by the bursting of cells, which had lost their viability. Micafungin has killing activity against actively growing hyphae, even though it is not fungicidal against the whole burden of Aspergillus fumigatus.
PMCID: PMC155853  PMID: 12760883
10.  Efficacy of FK463, a New Lipopeptide Antifungal Agent, in Mouse Models of Pulmonary Aspergillosis 
The efficacy of FK463, a novel water-soluble lipopeptide, was evaluated in mouse models of pulmonary aspergillosis and was compared with that of amphotericin B (AMPH-B). In the pulmonary aspergillosis models induced by intranasal inoculation, FK463 exhibited good efficacy, with 50% effective doses in the range of 0.26 to 0.51 mg/kg of body weight; these values were comparable to those of AMPH-B. In an Aspergillus target organ assay with immunosuppressed mice, under conditions of constant plasma levels of FK463, using a subcutaneously implanted osmotic pressure pump, a significant reduction in viable fungal cells was observed at plasma FK463 levels of 0.55 to 0.80 μg/ml or higher. We conclude that FK463 is highly effective in the treatment of pulmonary aspergillosis in this animal model. These results indicate that FK463 may be a potent parenterally administered antifungal agent for pulmonary aspergillosis.
PMCID: PMC89736  PMID: 10681328
11.  Efficacy of FK463, a New Lipopeptide Antifungal Agent, in Mouse Models of Disseminated Candidiasis and Aspergillosis 
The efficacy of intravenous injection of FK463, a novel water-soluble lipopeptide, was evaluated in mouse models of disseminated candidiasis and aspergillosis and was compared with those of fluconazole (FLCZ) and amphotericin B (AMPH-B). In the candidiasis model, FK463 significantly prolonged the survival of intravenously infected mice at doses of 0.125 mg/kg of body weight or higher. In disseminated candidiasis caused by Candida species, including FLCZ-resistant Candida albicans, FK463 exhibited an efficacy 1.4 to 18 times inferior to that of AMPH-B, with 50% effective doses (ED50s) ranging from 0.21 to 1.00 mg/kg and 0.06 to 0.26 mg/kg, respectively, and was much more active than FLCZ. The protective effect of FK463 was not obviously influenced by the fungal inoculum size, the starting time of the treatment, or the immunosuppressed status of the host. The reduction in efficacy was less than that observed with FLCZ or AMPH-B. The efficacy of FK463 was also evaluated in the disseminated candidiasis target organ assay and was compared with those of FLCZ and AMPH-B. Efficacies were evaluated on the basis of a comparison between the mean log10 CFU in kidneys in the groups treated with antifungal agents and that in control group. A single dose of FK463 at 0.5 mg/kg or higher significantly reduced the viable counts in kidneys compared with the numbers of yeast cells before treatment, and its efficacy was comparable to that of AMPH-B, while FLCZ at 4 mg/kg showed only a suppressive effect on the growth of C. albicans in the kidneys. In the disseminated aspergillosis model, FK463 given at doses of 0.5 mg/kg or higher significantly prolonged the survival of mice infected intravenously with Aspergillus fumigatus conidia. The efficacy of FK463 was about 2 times inferior to that of AMPH-B, with ED50s ranging from 0.25 to 0.50 mg/kg and 0.11 to 0.29 mg/kg, respectively. These results indicate that FK463 may be a potent parenterally administered therapeutic agent for disseminated candidiasis and aspergillosis.
PMCID: PMC89735  PMID: 10681327

Results 1-11 (11)