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1.  Deprivation of L-Arginine Induces Oxidative Stress Mediated Apoptosis in Leishmania donovani Promastigotes: Contribution of the Polyamine Pathway 
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases  2016;10(1):e0004373.
The growth and survival of intracellular parasites depends on the availability of extracellular nutrients. Deprivation of nutrients viz glucose or amino acid alters redox balance in mammalian cells as well as some lower organisms. To further understand the relationship, the mechanistic role of L-arginine in regulation of redox mediated survival of Leishmania donovani promastigotes was investigated. L-arginine deprivation from the culture medium was found to inhibit cell growth, reduce proliferation and increase L-arginine uptake. Relative expression of enzymes, involved in L-arginine metabolism, which leads to polyamine and trypanothione biosynthesis, were downregulated causing decreased production of polyamines in L-arginine deprived parasites and cell death. The resultant increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS), due to L-arginine deprivation, correlated with increased NADP+/NADPH ratio, decreased superoxide dismutase (SOD) level, increased lipid peroxidation and reduced thiol content. A deficiency of L-arginine triggered phosphatidyl serine externalization, a change in mitochondrial membrane potential, release of intracellular calcium and cytochrome-c. This finally led to DNA damage in Leishmania promastigotes. In summary, the growth and survival of Leishmania depends on the availability of extracellular L-arginine. In its absence the parasite undergoes ROS mediated, caspase-independent apoptosis-like cell death. Therefore, L-arginine metabolism pathway could be a probable target for controlling the growth of Leishmania parasites and disease pathogenesis.
Author Summary
Leishmania donovani, the causative agent of Indian Visceral Leishmaniasis, resides in the gut of the insect vector and the macrophages of their mammalian host and avail nutrients for survival. Nutrient deprivation such as glucose or amino acid alters redox balance in mammalian cells as well as some lower organisms. However, the role of L-arginine, in regulation of redox balance and L. donovani survival yet not properly elucidated. In the present study, we found that L-arginine deprivation from the culture medium hinders growth and proliferation of Leishmania promastigotes. Starvation of L-arginine downregulates the expression of polyamine biosynthetic and thiol metabolic pathway enzymes leading to decreased production of polyamines in Leishmania parasites. Moreover, deprivation of L-arginine alters redox balance in Leishmania promastigotes characterized by the concomitant increase in ROS and decreased antioxidant level. Furthermore, L-arginine deprivation triggered phosphatidyl serine externalization, alteration in mitochondrial membrane potential, release of intraellular calcium and cytochrome-c followed by DNA damage. In summary, the growth and survival of Leishmania depends on the availability of extracellular L-arginine, in absence of which the parasite undergoes ROS mediated, caspase-independent apoptosis-like cell death. Therefore, targeting L-arginine metabolism pathway could be an alternative approach for controlling Leishmania growth and hence disease outcome.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0004373
PMCID: PMC4726550  PMID: 26808657
2.  Two Chitotriose-Specific Lectins Show Anti-Angiogenesis, Induces Caspase-9-Mediated Apoptosis and Early Arrest of Pancreatic Tumor Cell Cycle 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(1):e0146110.
The antiproliferative activity of two chito- specific agglutinins purified from Benincasa hispida (BhL) and Datura innoxia (DiL9) of different plant family origin was investigated on various cancer cell lines. Both lectins showed chitotriose specificity, by inhibiting lectin hemagglutinating activity. On further studies, it was revealed that these agglutinins caused remarkable concentration-dependent antiproliferative effect on human pancreatic cancerous cells but not on the normal human umbilical vein endothelial cells even at higher doses determined using MTT assay. The GI50 values were approximately 8.4 μg ml-1 (0.247 μM) and 142 μg ml-1(14.8 μM) for BhL and DiL9, respectively, against PANC-1 cells. The growth inhibitory effect of these lectins on pancreatic cancer cells were shown to be a consequence of lectin cell surface binding and triggering G0/G1 arrest, mitochondrial membrane depolarization, sustained increase of the intracellular calcium release and the apoptotic signal is amplified by activation of caspases executing cell death. Interestingly, these lectins also showed anti-angiogenic activity by disrupting the endothelial tubulogenesis. Therefore, we report for the first time two chito-specific lectins specifically binding to tumor glycans; they can be considered to be a class of molecules with antitumor activity against pancreatic cancer cells mediated through caspase dependent mitochondrial apoptotic pathway.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146110
PMCID: PMC4721955  PMID: 26795117
3.  Education for practitioners and patients 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2013;6(12):724-726.
doi:10.4066/AMJ.2013.1952
PMCID: PMC3877856  PMID: 24391685
4.  Campylobacter-Induced Interleukin-8 Secretion in Polarized Human Intestinal Epithelial Cells Requires Campylobacter-Secreted Cytolethal Distending Toxin- and Toll-Like Receptor-Mediated Activation of NF-κB ▿  
Infection and Immunity  2008;76(10):4498-4508.
Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli colonize and infect the intestinal epithelium and cause acute inflammatory diarrhea. The intestinal epithelium serves as a physical barrier to, and a sensor of, bacterial infection by secreting proinflammatory cytokines. This study examined the mechanisms for Campylobacter-induced secretion of the proinflammatory chemokine interleukin-8 (IL-8) by using polarized T84 human colonic epithelial cells as a model. C. jejuni increased the secretion of both IL-8 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) in polarized epithelial cells. However, the increase in IL-8 secretion was independent of Campylobacter-stimulated TNF-α secretion. Polarized T84 cells secreted IL-8 predominantly to the basolateral medium independently of the inoculation direction. While there was a significant correlation between the levels of IL-8 secretion and Campylobacter invasion, all 11 strains tested increased IL-8 secretion by polarized T84 cells despite their differences in adherence, invasion, and transcytosis efficiencies. Cell-free supernatants of Campylobacter-T84-cell culture increased IL-8 secretion to levels similar to those induced by live bacterial inoculation. The ability of the supernatant to induce IL-8 secretion was reduced by flagellum and cytolethal distending toxin (CDT) gene mutants, treatment of the supernatant with protease K or heat, or treatment of T84 cells with the Toll-like receptor (TLR) inhibitor MyD88 inhibitory peptide or chloroquine. NF-κB inhibitors or cdtB mutation plus MyD88 inhibitor, but not flaA cdtB double mutations, abolished the ability of the supernatant to induce IL-8 secretion. Taken together, our results demonstrate that Campylobacter-induced IL-8 secretion requires functional flagella and CDT and depends on the activation of NF-κB through TLR signaling and CDT in human intestinal epithelial cells.
doi:10.1128/IAI.01317-07
PMCID: PMC2546826  PMID: 18644884
5.  Identification and Characterization of Shiga Toxin Type 2 Variants in Escherichia coli Isolates from Animals, Food, and Humans▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2008;74(18):5645-5652.
There is considerable heterogeneity among the Shiga toxin type 2 (Stx2) toxins elaborated by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). One such Stx2 variant, the Stx2d mucus-activatable toxin (Stx2dact), is rendered more toxic by the action of elastase present in intestinal mucus, which cleaves the last two amino acids of the A2 portion of the toxin A subunit. We screened 153 STEC isolates from food, animals, and humans for the gene encoding Stx2dact by using a novel one-step PCR procedure. This method targeted the region of stx2dact that encodes the elastase recognition site. The presence of stx2dact was confirmed by DNA sequencing of the complete toxin genes. Seven STEC isolates from cows (four isolates), meat (two isolates), and a human (one isolate) that carried the putative stx2dact gene were identified; all were eae negative, and none was the O157:H7 serotype. Three of the isolates (CVM9322, CVM9557, and CVM9584) also carried stx1, two (P1332 and P1334) carried stx1 and stx2c, and one (CL-15) carried stx2c. One isolate, P1130, harbored only stx2dact. The Vero cell cytotoxicities of supernatants from P1130 and stx1 deletion mutants of CVM9322, CVM9557, and CVM9584 were increased 13- to 30-fold after treatment with porcine elastase. Thus, Stx2dact-producing strains, as detected by our one-step PCR method, can be isolated not only from humans, as previously documented, but also from food and animals. The latter finding has important public health implications based on a recent report from Europe of a link between disease severity and infection with STEC isolates that produce Stx2dact.
doi:10.1128/AEM.00503-08
PMCID: PMC2547040  PMID: 18658282
6.  Attributing Illness to Food 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2005;11(7):993-999.
Identification and prioritization of effective food safety interventions require an understanding of the relationship between food and pathogen from farm to consumption. Critical to this cause is food attribution, the capacity to attribute cases of foodborne disease to the food vehicle or other source responsible for illness. A wide variety of food attribution approaches and data are used around the world, including the analysis of outbreak data, case-control studies, microbial subtyping and source tracking methods, and expert judgment, among others. The Food Safety Research Consortium sponsored the Food Attribution Data Workshop in October 2003 to discuss the virtues and limitations of these approaches and to identify future options for collecting food attribution data in the United States. We summarize workshop discussions and identify challenges that affect progress in this critical component of a risk-based approach to improving food safety.
doi:10.3201/eid1107.040634
PMCID: PMC3371809  PMID: 16022770
Campylobacter; outbreaks; Risk Assessment; risk factors; Salmonella; organizational models
7.  Microbial Diversity of Biofilms in Dental Unit Water Systems 
We investigated the microbial diversity of biofilms found in dental unit water systems (DUWS) by three methods. The first was microscopic examination by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), acridine orange staining, and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). Most bacteria present in the biofilm were viable. FISH detected the β and γ, but not the α, subclasses of Proteobacteria. In the second method, 55 cultivated biofilm isolates were identified with the Biolog system, fatty acid analysis, and 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequencing. Only 16S identified all 55 isolates, which represented 13 genera. The most common organisms, as shown by analyses of 16S rDNA, belonged to the genera Afipia (28%) and Sphingomonas (16%). The third method was a culture-independent direct amplification and sequencing of 165 subclones from community biofilm 16S rDNA. This method revealed 40 genera: the most common ones included Leptospira (20%), Sphingomonas (14%), Bacillus (7%), Escherichia (6%), Geobacter (5%), and Pseudomonas (5%). Some of these organisms may be opportunistic pathogens. Our results have demonstrated that a biofilm in a health care setting may harbor a vast diversity of organisms. The results also reflect the limitations of culture-based techniques to detect and identify bacteria. Although this is the greatest diversity reported in DUWS biofilms, other genera may have been missed. Using a technique based on jackknife subsampling, we projected that a 25-fold increase in the number of subclones sequenced would approximately double the number of genera observed, reflecting the richness and high diversity of microbial communities in these biofilms.
doi:10.1128/AEM.69.6.3412-3420.2003
PMCID: PMC161485  PMID: 12788744

Results 1-7 (7)