The need for automated identification of a disease makes the issue of medical biometrics very current in our society. Not all biometric tools available provide real-time feedback. We introduce gas discharge visualization (GDV) technique as one of the biometric tools that have the potential to identify deviations from the normal functional state at early stages and in real time. GDV is a nonintrusive technique to capture the physiological and psychoemotional status of a person and the functional status of different organs and organ systems through the electrophotonic emissions of fingertips placed on the surface of an impulse analyzer. This paper first introduces biometrics and its different types and then specifically focuses on medical biometrics and the potential applications of GDV in medical biometrics. We also present our previous experience with GDV in the research regarding autism and the potential use of GDV in combination with computer science for the potential development of biological pattern/biomarker for different kinds of health abnormalities including cancer and mental diseases.
Improper localization of water channel proteins called aquaporins (AQP) induce mucosal injury which is implicated in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The amino acid sequences of AQP3 and AQP10 are 79% similar and belong to the mammalian aquaglyceroporin subfamily. AQP10 is localized on the apical compartment of the intestinal epithelium called the glycocalyx while AQP3 is selectively targeted to the basolateral membrane. Despite the high sequence similarity and evolutionary relatedness, the molecular mechanism involved in the polarity, selective targeting and function of AQP3 and AQP10 in the intestine is largely unknown. Our hypothesis is that the differential polarity and selective targeting of AQP3 and AQP10 in the intestinal epithelial cells is influenced by amino acid signal motifs. We performed sequence and structural alignments to determine differences in signals for localization and post-translational glycosylation. The basolateral sorting motif “YRLL” is present in AQP3 but absent in AQP10; while N-glycosylation signals are present in AQP10 but absent in AQP3. Furthermore, the C-terminal region of AQP3 is longer compared to AQP10. The sequence and structural differences between AQP3 and AQP10 provide insights into the differential compartmentalization and function of these two aquaporins commonly expressed in human intestines.
Aquaporin; colitis; compartmentalization; protein sorting; sequence analysis; water channel proteins
Improper localization of water channel proteins called aquaporins (AQP) induce mucosal injury which is implicated in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The amino acid sequences of AQP3 and AQP10 are 79% similar and belong to the mammalian aquaglyceroporin subfamily. AQP10 is localized on the apical compartment of the intestinal epithelium called the glycocalyx while AQP3 is selectively targeted to the basolateral membrane. Despite the high sequence similarity and evolutionary relatedness, the molecular mechanism involved in the polarity, selective targeting and function of AQP3 and AQP10 in the intestine is largely unknown. Our hypothesis is that the differential polarity and selective targeting of AQP3 and AQP10 in the intestinal epithelial cells is influenced by amino acid signal motifs. We performed sequence and structural alignments to determine differences in signals for localization and post-translational glycosylation. The basolateral sorting motif “YRLL” is present in AQP3 but absent in AQP10; while N-glycosylation signals are present in AQP10 but absent in AQP3. Furthermore, the C-terminal region of AQP3 is longer compared to AQP10. The sequence and structural differences between AQP3 and AQP10 provide insights into the differential compartmentalization and function of these two aquaporins commonly expressed in human intestines.
Aquaporin; colitis; compartmentalization; protein sorting; sequence analysis; water channel proteins
We investigated the changes in the properties of water when exposed to sunlight for 40 days. We hypothesize and prove that solar irradiation to water entraps electromagnetic radiation as potential energy, which becomes kinetic energy in various systems. It is postulated that photochemically-induced energy transfers, associated with individual spectral emission of visible spectrum of solar light, exert diverse influences on biological systems. Bottles of distilled water, individually wrapped in spectral-colored cellophane were exposed to sunlight and compared to an unwrapped bottle to determine chemical and physical changes as well as modifications of biological properties. Each bottle of water was named according to the color of cellophane paper with letter E (stands for exposed) as a prefix with (E-violet, E-indigo, E-blue, E-green, E-yellow, E-orange, and Ered). E-control (without wrap) was exposed to polychromatic sunlight. This study addresses two main issues viz., the chemical and physical changes in E-water and its effect on biological activities. Chemical and physical composition analysis using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry; physical conductance by a Wheatstone Bridge type conductivity meter; osmolarity by a vapor pressure osmometer; and, salt solubility profile of 10% sodium bicarbonate were determined. Furthermore, testing the effect of E-waters on human lymphocyte proliferation, mosquito larvae hatching and seed germination determined the functional role of solar radiation through specific spectrum/s of visible light on various biological processes. We found that water exposed to visible spectral emissions of sunlight had an altered elemental composition, electrical conductance, osmolarity and salt-solubility, as well as differences in bio-modulatory effects. A gradual increase in leaching of Boron from E-violet to E-red was noted. E-indigo showed maximal increase in electrical conductance and maximal salt solubility of sodium bicarbonate. E-blue inhibited phyto-hemagglutinin-induced immune cell proliferation and mosquito larvae hatching. E-orange stimulated root elongation in seed germination. We conclude that 40-day exposure of water to specific solar spectrum changes chemical and physical properties and influences on biological activity.
boron; conductance; germination; mosquito larva hatching; osmolarity; salt solubility; solar energy; T cell proliferation; water
In Eastern cultures, such as India, it is traditionally recommended that women but not men cover their heads while working in the scorching sun. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine whether there was any scientific basis for this cultural tradition. We examined the differential cytotoxic effects of ultraviolet A light (UVA) on an established T cell line treated with female and male sex hormones. CD4+ Jurkat T cells were plated in 96 well plates at 2 × 106 cells/ml and treated with 17β-estradiol (EST) or testosterone (TE). These cells were irradiated by UVA light with an irradiance of 170 J/cm2 for 15min at a distance of 6 cm from the surface of the 96-well plate. Controls included cells not treated with hormones or UVA. The effects of EST and TE were investigated between 1 and 20 ng/mL. Cytotoxicity by fluorescein-diacetate staining and COMET assay generating single strand DNA cleavage, tail length and tail moment measurements were examined. The effect of estrogen (5ng/mL) on apoptosis and its mediators was further studied using DNA laddering and western blotting for bcl-2 and p53. We found that EST alone, without UVA, enhanced Jurkat T cell survival. However, EST exhibited a dose-related cytotoxicity in the presence of UVA; up to 28% at 20 ng/ml. TE did not alter UVA-induced cytotoxicity. Since TE did not alter cell viability in the presence of UVA further damaging studies were not performed. COMET assay demonstrated the harmful effects of EST in the presence of UVA while EST without UVA had no significant effect on the nuclear damage. Apoptosis was not present as indicated by the absence of DNA laddering on agarose gel electrophoresis at 5ng/ml EST or TE ± UVA. Western blot showed that estrogen down regulated bcl-2 independently of UVA radiation while p53 was down regulated in the presence of UVA treatment. EST and TE have differential effects on UVA-induced cytotoxicity in Jurkat T-lymphocyte which suggested that women may be more susceptible to the harmful effects of solar irradiation than men.
apoptosis; bcl-2; comet assay; cytotoxicity assay; estrogen; Jurkat T cells; p53; testosterone; ultraviolet light A
Foodborne illnesses caused by microbial and chemical contaminants in food are a substantial health burden worldwide. In 2007, human vibriosis (non-cholera Vibrio infections) became a notifiable disease in the United States. In addition, Vibrio species are among the 31 major known pathogens transmitted through food in the United States. Diverse surveillance systems for foodborne pathogens also track outbreaks, illnesses, hospitalization and deaths due to non-cholera vibrios. Considering the recognition of vibriosis as a notifiable disease in the United States and the availability of diverse surveillance systems, there is a need for the development of easily deployed visualization and analysis approaches that can combine diverse data sources in an interactive manner. Current efforts to address this need are still limited. Visual analytics is an iterative process conducted via visual interfaces that involves collecting information, data preprocessing, knowledge representation, interaction, and decision making. We have utilized public domain outbreak and surveillance data sources covering 1973 to 2010, as well as visual analytics software to demonstrate integrated and interactive visualizations of data on foodborne outbreaks and surveillance of Vibrio species. Through the data visualization, we were able to identify unique patterns and/or novel relationships within and across datasets regarding (i) causative agent; (ii) foodborne outbreaks and illness per state; (iii) location of infection; (iv) vehicle (food) of infection; (v) anatomical site of isolation of Vibrio species; (vi) patients and complications of vibriosis; (vii) incidence of laboratory-confirmed vibriosis and V. parahaemolyticus outbreaks. The additional use of emerging visual analytics approaches for interaction with data on vibriosis, including non-foodborne related disease, can guide disease control and prevention as well as ongoing outbreak investigations.
bioinformatics; data visualization; foodborne diseases; human-computer interaction; surveillance; Vibrio species; visual analytics
Rhodopseudomonas palustris, a nonsulphur purple photosynthetic bacteria, has been extensively investigated for its metabolic versatility including ability to produce hydrogen gas from sunlight and biomass. The availability of the finished genome sequences of six R. palustris strains (BisA53, BisB18, BisB5, CGA009, HaA2 and TIE-1) combined with online bioinformatics software for integrated analysis presents new opportunities to determine the genomic basis of metabolic versatility and ecological lifestyles of the bacteria species. The purpose of this investigation was to compare the functional annotations available for multiple R. palustris genomes to identify annotations that can be further investigated for strain-specific or uniquely shared phenotypic characteristics. A total of 2,355 protein family Pfam domain annotations were clustered based on presence or absence in the six genomes. The clustering process identified groups of functional annotations including those that could be verified as strain-specific or uniquely shared phenotypes. For example, genes encoding water/glycerol transport were present in the genome sequences of strains CGA009 and BisB5, but absent in strains BisA53, BisB18, HaA2 and TIE-1. Protein structural homology modeling predicted that the two orthologous 240 aa R. palustris aquaporins have water-specific transport function. Based on observations in other microbes, the presence of aquaporin in R. palustris strains may improve freeze tolerance in natural conditions of rapid freezing such as nitrogen fixation at low temperatures where access to liquid water is a limiting factor for nitrogenase activation. In the case of adaptive loss of aquaporin genes, strains may be better adapted to survive in conditions of high-sugar content such as fermentation of biomass for biohydrogen production. Finally, web-based resources were developed to allow for interactive, user-defined selection of the relationship between protein family annotations and the R. palustris genomes.
aquaporins; biohydrogen production; comparative genomics; functional annotation; fermentation; Pfam domains; Rhodopseudomonas palustris; strain-specific genes; uniquely shared genes; visual analytics
Inorganic arsenic is a known environmental toxicant and carcinogen of global public health concern. Arsenic is genotoxic and cytotoxic to human keratinocytes. However, the biological pathways perturbed in keratinocytes by low chronic dose inorganic arsenic are not completely understood. The objective of the investigation was to discover the mechanism of arsenic carcinogenicity in human epidermal keratinocytes. We hypothesize that a combined strategy of DNA microarray, qRT-PCR and gene function annotation will identify aberrantly expressed genes in HaCaT keratinocyte cell line after chronic treatment with arsenic trioxide. Microarray data analysis identified 14 up-regulated genes and 21 down-regulated genes in response to arsenic trioxide. The expression of 4 up-regulated genes and 1 down-regulated gene were confirmed by qRT-PCR. The up-regulated genes were AKR1C3 (Aldo-Keto Reductase family 1, member C3), IGFL1 (Insulin Growth Factor-Like family member 1), IL1R2 (Interleukin 1 Receptor, type 2), and TNFSF18 (Tumor Necrosis Factor [ligand] SuperFamily, member 18) and down-regulated gene was RGS2 (Regulator of G-protein Signaling 2). The observed over expression of TNFSF18 (167 fold) coupled with moderate expression of IGFL1 (3.1 fold), IL1R2 (5.9 fold) and AKR1C3 (9.2 fold) with a decreased RGS2 (2.0 fold) suggests that chronic arsenic exposure could produce sustained levels of TNF with modulation by an IL-1 analogue resulting in chronic immunologic insult. A concomitant decrease in growth inhibiting gene (RGS2) and increase in AKR1C3 may contribute to chronic inflammation leading to metaplasia, which may eventually lead to carcinogenicity in the skin keratinocytes. Also, increased expression of IGFL1 may trigger cancer development and progression in HaCaT keratinocytes.
arsenic trioxide; chronic exposure; HaCaT cell; keratinocytes; anti-apoptosis; anti-differentiation
Genes encoding proteins that contain the universal stress protein (USP) domain are known to provide bacteria, archaea, fungi, protozoa, and plants with the ability to respond to a plethora of environmental stresses. Specifically in plants, drought tolerance is a desirable phenotype. However, limited focused and organized functional genomic datasets exist on drought-responsive plant USP genes to facilitate their characterization. The overall objective of the investigation was to identify diverse plant universal stress proteins and Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) responsive to water-deficit stress. We hypothesize that cross-database mining of functional annotations in protein and gene transcript bioinformatics resources would help identify candidate drought-responsive universal stress proteins and transcripts from multiple plant species. Our bioinformatics approach retrieved, mined and integrated comprehensive functional annotation data on 511 protein and 1561 ESTs sequences from 161 viridiplantae taxa. A total of 32 drought-responsive ESTs from 7 plant genera Glycine, Hordeum, Manihot, Medicago, Oryza, Pinus and Triticum were identified. Two Arabidopsis USP genes At3g62550 and At3g53990 that encode ATP-binding motif were up-regulated in a drought microarray dataset. Further, a dataset of 80 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) linked to 20 singletons and 47 transcript assembles was constructed. Integrating the datasets on SSRs and drought-responsive ESTs identified three drought-responsive ESTs from bread wheat (BE604157), soybean (BM887317) and maritime pine (BX682209). The SSR sequence types were CAG, ATA and AT respectively. The datasets from cross-database mining provide organized resources for the characterization of USP genes as useful targets for engineering plant varieties tolerant to unfavorable environmental conditions.
drought; expressed sequence tags; microsatellite; plants; Pfam; salinity; simple sequence repeats; Uniprot; universal stress protein domain; viridiplantae
Arsenic is a toxic metalloid that causes skin cancer and binds to cysteine residues—a property that could be used to infer arsenic responsiveness of a target protein. Non-synonymous Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (nsSNPs) result in amino acid substitutions and may alter arsenic binding with cysteine residues. Thus, the objective of this investigation was to identify and analyze nsSNPs that lead to substitutions to or from cysteine residues as an indication of increased or decreased arsenic responsiveness. We hypothesize that integration of data on molecular impacts of nsSNPs and arsenic-gene relationships will identify nsSNPs that could serve as arsenic responsiveness markers. We have analyzed functional and structural impacts data for 5,811 nsSNPs linked to 1,224 arsenic-annotated genes. In addition to the identified candidate nsSNPs for increased or reduced arsenic responsiveness, we observed i) a nsSNP that results in the breakage of a disulfide bond, as candidate marker for reduced arsenic responsiveness of KLK7, a secreted serine protease participate in normal shedding of the skin; and ii) 6 pairs of vicinal cysteines in KLK7 protein that could be binding sites for arsenic. In summary, our analysis identified non-synonymous SNPs that could be used to evaluate responsiveness of a protein target to arsenic. In particular, an epidermal expressed serine protease with crucial function in normal skin physiology was prioritized on the basis of abundance of vicinal cysteines for further research on arsenic-induced keratinocyte carcinogenesis.
arsenic; keratinocytes; non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms; toxicogenomics; skin cancer; vicinal cysteines
Arsenic is a naturally occurring toxic metal and its presence in food could be a potential risk to the health of both humans and animals. Prolonged ingestion of arsenic contaminated water may result in manifestations of toxicity in all systems of the body. Visual Analytics is a multidisciplinary field that is defined as the science of analytical reasoning facilitated by interactive visual interfaces. The concentrations of arsenic vary in foods making it impractical and impossible to provide regulatory limit for each food. This review article presents a case for the use of visual analytics approaches to provide comparative assessment of arsenic in various foods. The topics covered include (i) metabolism of arsenic in the human body; (ii) arsenic concentrations in various foods; (ii) factors affecting arsenic uptake in plants; (ii) introduction to visual analytics; and (iv) benefits of visual analytics for comparative assessment of arsenic concentration in foods. Visual analytics can provide an information superstructure of arsenic in various foods to permit insightful comparative risk assessment of the diverse and continually expanding data on arsenic in food groups in the context of country of study or origin, year of study, method of analysis and arsenic species.
arsenic; foods; risk assessment; toxicity; visual analytics
Use of Juvenile Hormone Analogues (JHA) in sericulture practices has been shown to boost good cocoon yield; their effect has been determined to be dose-dependent. We studied the impact of low doses of JHA compounds such as methoprene and fenoxycarb on selected key enzymatic activities of the silkworm Bombyx mori. Methoprene and fenoxycarb at doses of 1.0 μg and 3.0fg/larvae/48 hours showed enhancement of the 5th instar B. mori larval muscle and silkgland protease, aspartate aminotransaminase (AAT) and alanine aminotransaminase (ALAT), adenosine triphosphate synthase (ATPase) and cytochrome-c-oxidase (CCO) activity levels, indicating an upsurge in the overall oxidative metabolism of the B.mori larval tissues.
Juvenile hormone analogues; methoprene; fenoxycarb; silkworm bombyx mori (l); larva