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1.  Deletion of the gene encoding the reductase component of 3-ketosteroid 9α-hydroxylase in Rhodococcus equi USA-18 disrupts sterol catabolism, leading to the accumulation of 3-oxo-23,24-bisnorchola-1,4-dien-22-oic acid and 1,4-androstadiene-3,17-dione 
Microbial Cell Factories  2014;13(1):130.
The gene encoding the putative reductase component (KshB) of 3-ketosteroid 9α-hydroxylase was cloned from Rhodococcus equi USA-18, a cholesterol oxidase-producing strain formerly named Arthrobacter simplex USA-18, by PCR according to consensus amino acid motifs of several bacterial KshB subunits. Deletion of the gene in R. equi USA-18 by a PCR-targeted gene disruption method resulted in a mutant strain that could accumulate up to 0.58 mg/ml 1,4-androstadiene-3,17-dione (ADD) in the culture medium when 0.2% cholesterol was used as the carbon source, indicating the involvement of the deleted enzyme in 9α-hydroxylation of steroids. In addition, this mutant also accumulated 3-oxo-23,24-bisnorchola-1,4-dien-22-oic acid (Δ1,4-BNC). Because both ADD and Δ1,4-BNC are important intermediates for the synthesis of steroid drugs, this mutant derived from R. equi USA-18 may deserve further investigation for its application potential.
doi:10.1186/s12934-014-0130-3
PMCID: PMC4176589  PMID: 25201011
2.  Properties of the newly isolated extracellular thermo-alkali-stable laccase from thermophilic actinomycetes, Thermobifida fusca and its application in dye intermediates oxidation 
AMB Express  2013;3:49.
Laccases are diphenol oxidases that have numerous applications to biotechnological processes. In this study, the laccase was produced from the thermophilic actinomycetes, Thermobifida fusca BCRC 19214. After 36 h of fermentation in a 5-liter fermentor, the culture broth accumulated 4.96 U/ml laccase activity. The laccase was purified 4.64-fold as measured by specific activity from crude culture filtrate by ultrafiltration concentration, Q-Sepharose FF and Sephacryl™ S-200 column chromatography. The overall yield of the purified enzyme was 7.49%. The molecular mass of purified enzyme as estimated by SDS-PAGE and by gel filtration on Sephacryl™ S-200 was found to be 73.3 kDa and 24.7 kDa, respectively, indicating that the laccase from T. fusca BCRC 19214 is a trimer. The internal amino acid sequences of the purified laccase, as determined by LC-MS/MS, had high homology with a superoxide dismutase from T. fusca YX. Approximately 95% of the original activity remained after treatment at 50°C for 3 h. and approximately 75% of the original activity remained after treatment at pH 10.0 for 24 h. This laccase could oxidize dye intermediates, especially 2,6-dimethylphenylalanine and p-aminophenol, to produce coloring. This is the first report on laccase properties from thermophilic actinomycetes. These properties suggest that this newly isolated laccase has potential for specific industrial applications.
doi:10.1186/2191-0855-3-49
PMCID: PMC3846457  PMID: 23985268
Laccase; Dye intermediate; Thermophilic; Thermobifida fusca; LC-MS/MS
3.  Real-Time Electrocardiogram Transmission from Mount Everest during Continued Ascent 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66579.
The feasibility of a real-time electrocardiogram (ECG) transmission via satellite phone from Mount Everest to determine a climber’s suitability for continued ascent was examined. Four Taiwanese climbers were enrolled in the 2009 Mount Everest summit program. Physiological measurements were taken at base camp (5300 m), camp 2 (6400 m), camp 3 (7100 m), and camp 4 (7950 m) 1 hour after arrival and following a 10 minute rest period. A total of 3 out of 4 climbers were able to summit Mount Everest successfully. Overall, ECG and global positioning system (GPS) coordinates of climbers were transmitted in real-time via satellite phone successfully from base camp, camp 2, camp 3, and camp 4. At each camp, Resting Heart Rate (RHR) was transmitted and recorded: base camp (54–113 bpm), camp 2 (94–130 bpm), camp 3 (98–115 bpm), and camp 4 (93–111 bpm). Real-time ECG and GPS coordinate transmission via satellite phone is feasible for climbers on Mount Everest. Real-time RHR data can be used to evaluate a climber’s physiological capacity to continue an ascent and to summit.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066579
PMCID: PMC3688558  PMID: 23818945
4.  Extracellular polysaccharides produced by Ganoderma formosanum stimulate macrophage activation via multiple pattern-recognition receptors 
Background
The fungus of Ganoderma is a traditional medicine in Asia with a variety of pharmacological functions including anti-cancer activities. We have purified an extracellular heteropolysaccharide fraction, PS-F2, from the submerged mycelia culture of G. formosanum and shown that PS-F2 exhibits immunostimulatory activities. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms of immunostimulation by PS-F2.
Results
PS-F2-stimulated TNF-α production in macrophages was significantly reduced in the presence of blocking antibodies for Dectin-1 and complement receptor 3 (CR3), laminarin, or piceatannol (a spleen tyrosine kinase inhibitor), suggesting that PS-F2 recognition by macrophages is mediated by Dectin-1 and CR3 receptors. In addition, the stimulatory effect of PS-F2 was attenuated in the bone marrow-derived macrophages from C3H/HeJ mice which lack functional Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). PS-F2 stimulation triggered the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases JNK, p38, and ERK, as well as the nuclear translocation of NF-κB, which all played essential roles in activating TNF-α expression.
Conclusions
Our results indicate that the extracellular polysaccharides produced by G. formosanum stimulate macrophages via the engagement of multiple pattern-recognition receptors including Dectin-1, CR3 and TLR4, resulting in the activation of Syk, JNK, p38, ERK, and NK-κB and the production of TNF-α.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-119
PMCID: PMC3495220  PMID: 22883599
Ganoderma formosanum; Polysaccharide; Immunostimulatory; Macrophage; Pattern-recognition receptor

Results 1-4 (4)