ResearchPad - Biotechnology Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Enhancing flavonoid production by promiscuous activity of prenyltransferase, BrPT2 from Boesenbergia rotunda]]>

Flavonoids and prenylated flavonoids are active components in medicinal plant extracts which exhibit beneficial effects on human health. Prenylated flavonoids consist of a flavonoid core with a prenyl group attached to it. This prenylation process is catalyzed by prenyltranferases (PTs). At present, only a few flavonoid-related PT genes have been identified. In this study, we aimed to investigate the roles of PT in flavonoid production. We isolated a putative PT gene (designated as BrPT2) from a medicinal ginger, Boesenbergia rotunda. The deduced protein sequence shared highest gene sequence homology (81%) with the predicted homogentisate phytyltransferase 2 chloroplastic isoform X1 from Musa acuminata subsp. Malaccensis. We then cloned the BrPT2 into pRI vector and expressed in B. rotunda cell suspension cultures via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. The BrPT2-expressing cells were fed with substrate, pinostrobin chalcone, and their products were analyzed by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. We found that the amount of flavonoids, namely alpinetin, pinostrobin, naringenin and pinocembrin, in BrPT2-expressing cells was higher than those obtained from the wild type cells. However, we were unable to detect any targeted prenylated flavonoids. Further in-vitro assay revealed that the reaction containing the BrPT2 protein produced the highest accumulation of pinostrobin from the substrate pinostrobin chalcone compared to the reaction without BrPT2 protein, suggesting that BrPT2 was able to accelerate the enzymatic reaction. The finding of this study implied that the isolated BrPT2 may not be involved in the prenylation of pinostrobin chalcone but resulted in high yield and production of other flavonoids, which is likely related to enzyme promiscuous activities.

<![CDATA[Transient expression and purification of β-caryophyllene synthase in Nicotiana benthamiana to produce β-caryophyllene in vitro]]>

The sesquiterpene β-caryophyllene is an ubiquitous component in many plants that has commercially been used as an aroma in cosmetics and perfumes. Recent studies have shown its potential use as a therapeutic agent and biofuel. Currently, β-caryophyllene is isolated from large amounts of plant material. Molecular farming based on the Nicotiana benthamiana transient expression system may be used for a more sustainable production of β-caryophyllene. In this study, a full-length cDNA of a new duplicated β-caryophyllene synthase from Artemisia annua (AaCPS1) was isolated and functionally characterized. In order to produce β-caryophyllene in vitro, the AaCPS1 was cloned into a plant viral-based vector pEAQ-HT. Subsequently, the plasmid was transferred into the Agrobacterium and agroinfiltrated into N. benthamiana leaves. The AaCPS1 expression was analyzed by quantitative PCR at different time points after agroinfiltration. The highest level of transcripts was observed at 9 days post infiltration (dpi). The AaCPS1 protein was extracted from the leaves at 9 dpi and purified by cobalt–nitrilotriacetate (Co-NTA) affinity chromatography using histidine tag with a yield of 89 mg kg−1 fresh weight of leaves. The protein expression of AaCPS1 was also confirmed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and western blot analyses. AaCPS1 protein uses farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) as a substrate to produce β-caryophyllene. Product identification and determination of the activity of purified AaCPS1 were done by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS). GC–MS results revealed that the AaCPS1 produced maximum 26.5 ± 1 mg of β-caryophyllene per kilogram fresh weight of leaves after assaying with FPP for 6 h. Using AaCPS1 as a proof of concept, we demonstrate that N. benthamiana can be considered as an expression system for production of plant proteins that catalyze the formation of valuable chemicals for industrial applications.

<![CDATA[Impact of Phellinus gilvus mycelia on growth, immunity and fecal microbiota in weaned piglets]]>


Antibiotics are the most commonly used growth-promoting additives in pig feed especially for weaned piglets. But in recent years their use has been restricted because of bacterial resistance. Phellinus, a genus of medicinal fungi, is widely used in Asia to treat gastroenteric dysfunction, hemrrhage, and tumors. Phellinus is reported to improve body weight on mice with colitis. Therefore, we hypothesize that it could benefit the health and growth of piglets, and could be used as an alternative to antibiotic. Here, the effect of Phellinus gilvus mycelia (SH) and antibiotic growth promoter (ATB) were investigated on weaned piglets.


A total of 72 crossbred piglets were randomly assigned to three dietary treatment groups (n = 4 pens per treatment group with six piglets per pen). The control group was fed basal diet; the SH treatment group was fed basal diet containing 5 g/kg SH; the ATB treatment group was feed basal diet containing 75 mg/kg aureomycin and 20 mg/kg kitasamycin. The experiment period was 28 days. Average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), and feed intake to gain ratio were calculated. The concentrations of immunoglobulin G (IgG), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and myeloperoxidase (MPO) in serum were assessed. Viable plate counts of Escherichia coli in feces were measured. Fecal microbiota was analyzed via the 16S rRNA gene sequencing method.


The ADG (1–28 day) of piglets was significantly higher in SH and ATB treatment groups (P < 0.05) compared to the control, and the ADG did not show significant difference between SH and ATB treatment groups (P > 0.05). Both SH and ATB treatments increased the MPO, IL-1β, and TNF-α levels in serum compared to the control (P < 0.05), but the levels in SH group were all significantly higher than in the ATB group (P < 0.05). Fecal microbiological analysis showed that viable E. coli counts were dramatically decreased by SH and ATB. The 16S rRNA gene sequencing analysis showed that ATB shifted the microbiota structure drastically, and significantly increased the relative abundance of Prevotella, Megasphaera, and Faecalibacterium genera. But SH slightly influenced the microbiota structure, and only increased the relative abundance of Alloprevotella genus.


Our work demonstrated that though SH slightly influenced the microbiota structure, it markedly reduced the fecal E. coli population, and improved growth and innate immunity in piglets. Our finding suggested that SH could be an alternative to ATB in piglet feed.

<![CDATA[Uricase-deficient rat is generated with CRISPR/Cas9 technique]]>

Urate oxidase (uricase, Uox) is a big obstacle for scientists to establish stable animal models for studying hyperuricemia and associated disorders. Due to the low survival rate of uricase-deficient mice, we generated a Uox-knockout model animal from Sprague Dawley (SD) rats using the CRISPR/Cas9 technique by deleting exons 2 to 4 of the Uox gene. The uricase-deficient rats were named “Kunming-DY rats”, and were apparently healthy with more than a 95% survival up to one year. The male rats’ serum uric acid (SUA) increased to 48.3  ± 19.1 µg/ml, significantly higher than those of wild-type rats. Some indexes of the blood fat like total triglyceride, low density lipoprotein, and renal function indexes including blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine were significantly different from those of wild-type rats, however, all the indexes were close to or in normal ranges. Histological renal changes including mild glomerular/tubular lesions were observed in these uricase-deficient rats. Thus, “Kunming-DY rats” with stable uricase-deficiency were successfully established and are an alternative model animal to study hyperuricemia and associated diseases mimicking human conditions.

<![CDATA[The Great Five—an artificial bacterial consortium with antagonistic activity towards Pectobacterium spp. and Dickeya spp.: formulation, shelf life, and the ability to prevent soft rot of potato in storage]]>


“The Great Five” (GF) is an artificial bacterial consortium developed to protect potato tubers from soft rot caused by Pectobacterium spp. and Dickeya spp. To investigate the commercialization potential of the GF, we developed liquid and powder formulations of the consortium and of each of the comprising strains (Serratia plymuthica strain A294, Enterobacter amnigenus strain A167, Rahnella aquatilis strain H145, Serratia rubidaea strain H440, and S. rubidaea strain H469). To form powders, the cells were lyophilized using a newly developed lyoprotectant: Reagent PS. The shelf life of the formulations stored at 8 and 22 °C was monitored for a period of 12 months. The longest shelf life was obtained for formulations stored at 8 °C; however, the viability of all formulations was negatively affected at 22 °C. For the consortium, a 2.5 log10 cfu (colony forming units) drop in cell number was recorded for the liquid formulation after 6 months, while in case of powders, the drop remained below 1 log10 cfu following 12 months. The ability of the powder formulations to preserve biocontrol activity of the consortium was tested on potato tubers treated with the formulations and a mixture of the soft rot pathogens. The inoculated tubers were stored for 6 months at 8 °C to mimic commercial storage conditions. Soft rot severity and incidence on potato tubers treated with formulations were significantly reduced (62–75% and 48–61%, respectively) in comparison to positive control with pathogens alone. The potential use of the newly developed formulations of “The Great Five” for the biocontrol of soft rot is discussed.

Key Points

An innovative reagent to protect bacterial cells during lyophilization was developed.

Powder formulations of “The Great Five” prolonged its shelf life.

The powder-formulated “The Great Five” was active against soft rot bacteria on potato tubers.

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (10.1007/s00253-020-10550-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

<![CDATA[Tissue Engineering Using Vascular Organoids From Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived Mural Cell Phenotypes]]>

Diffusion is a limiting factor in regenerating large tissues (100–200 μm) due to reduced nutrient supply and waste removal leading to low viability of the regenerating cells as neovascularization of the implant by the host is a slow process. Thus, generating prevascularized tissue engineered constructs, in which endothelial (ECs) and mural (MCs) cells, such as smooth muscle cells (SMCs), and pericytes (PCs), are preassembled into functional in vitro vessels capable of rapidly connecting to the host vasculature could overcome this obstacle. Toward this purpose, using feeder-free and low serum conditions, we developed a simple, efficient and rapid in vitro approach to induce the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells-hPSCs (human embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells) to defined SMC populations (contractile and synthetic hPSC-SMCs) by extensively characterizing the cellular phenotype (expression of CD44, CD73, CD105, NG2, PDGFRβ, and contractile proteins) and function of hPSC-SMCs. The latter were phenotypically and functionally stable for at least 8 passages, and could stabilize vessel formation and inhibit vessel network regression, when co-cultured with ECs in vitro. Subsequently, using a methylcellulose-based hydrogel system, we generated spheroids consisting of EC/hPSC-SMC (vascular organoids), which were extensively phenotypically characterized. Moreover, the vascular organoids served as focal starting points for the sprouting of capillary-like structures in vitro, whereas their delivery in vivo led to rapid generation of a complex functional vascular network. Finally, we investigated the vascularization potential of these vascular organoids, when embedded in hydrogels composed of defined extracellular components (collagen/fibrinogen/fibronectin) that can be used as scaffolds in tissue engineering applications. In summary, we developed a robust method for the generation of defined SMC phenotypes from hPSCs. Fabrication of vascularized tissue constructs using hPSC-SMC/EC vascular organoids embedded in chemically defined matrices is a significant step forward in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

<![CDATA[Therapeutic Potential of Extracellular Vesicles in Degenerative Diseases of the Intervertebral Disc]]>

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are lipid membrane particles carrying proteins, lipids, DNA, and various types of RNA that are involved in intercellular communication. EVs derived from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been investigated extensively in many different fields due to their crucial role as regeneration drivers, but research for their use in degenerative diseases of the intervertebral disc (IVD) has only started recently. MSC-derived EVs not only promote extracellular matrix synthesis and proliferation in IVD cells, but also reduce apoptosis and inflammation, hence having multifunctional beneficial effects that seem to be mediated by specific miRNAs (such as miR-233 and miR-21) within the EVs. Aside from MSC-derived EVs, IVD-derived EVs (e.g., stemming from notochordal cells) also have important functions in IVD health and disease. This article will summarize the current knowledge on MSC-derived and IVD-derived EVs and will highlight areas of future research, including the isolation and analysis of EV subpopulations or exposure of MSCs to cues that may enhance the therapeutic potential of released EVs.

<![CDATA[Gene Editing Regulation and Innovation Economics]]>

Argentina was the first country that enacted regulatory criteria to assess if organisms resulting from new breeding techniques (NBTs) are to be regarded as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or not. The country has now accumulated 4 year of experience applying such criteria, reaching a considerable number of cases, composed mostly of gene-edited plants, animals, and microorganisms of agricultural use. This article explores the effects on economic innovation of such regulatory experience. This is done by comparing the cases of products derived from gene editing and other NBTs that have been presented to the regulatory system, against the cases of GMOs that have been deregulated in the country. Albeit preliminary, this analysis suggests that products from gene editing will have different profiles and market release rates compared with the first wave of products from the so called “modern biotechnology.” Gene editing products seems to follow a much faster development rate from bench to market. Such development is driven by a more diverse group of developers, and led mostly by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and public research institutions. In addition, product profiles are also more diversified in terms of traits and organisms. The inferences of these findings for the agricultural and biotechnology sectors, particularly in developing countries, are discussed.

<![CDATA[Synthetic Biology Tools for Genome and Transcriptome Engineering of Solventogenic Clostridium]]>

Strains of Clostridium genus are used for production of various value-added products including fuels and chemicals. Development of any commercially viable production process requires a combination of both strain and fermentation process development strategies. The strain development in Clostridium sp. could be achieved by random mutagenesis, and targeted gene alteration methods. However, strain improvement in Clostridium sp. by targeted gene alteration method was challenging due to the lack of efficient tools for genome and transcriptome engineering in this organism. Recently, various synthetic biology tools have been developed to facilitate the strain engineering of solventogenic Clostridium. In this review, we consolidated the recent advancements in toolbox development for genome and transcriptome engineering in solventogenic Clostridium. Here we reviewed the genome-engineering tools employing mobile group II intron, pyrE alleles exchange, and CRISPR/Cas9 with their application for strain development of Clostridium sp. Next, transcriptome engineering tools such as untranslated region (UTR) engineering and synthetic sRNA techniques were also discussed in context of Clostridium strain engineering. Application of any of these discussed techniques will facilitate the metabolic engineering of clostridia for development of improved strains with respect to requisite functional attributes. This might lead to the development of an economically viable butanol production process with improved titer, yield and productivity.

<![CDATA[Predicting Knee Joint Instability Using a Tibio-Femoral Statistical Shape Model]]>

Statistical shape models (SSMs) are a well established computational technique to represent the morphological variability spread in a set of matching surfaces by means of compact descriptive quantities, traditionally called “modes of variation” (MoVs). SSMs of bony surfaces have been proposed in biomechanics and orthopedic clinics to investigate the relation between bone shape and joint biomechanics. In this work, an SSM of the tibio-femoral joint has been developed to elucidate the relation between MoVs and bone angular deformities causing knee instability. The SSM was built using 99 bony shapes (distal femur and proximal tibia surfaces obtained from segmented CT scans) of osteoarthritic patients. Hip-knee-ankle (HKA) angle, femoral varus-valgus (FVV) angle, internal-external femoral rotation (IER), tibial varus-valgus (TVV) angles, and tibial slope (TS) were available across the patient set. Discriminant analysis (DA) and logistic regression (LR) classifiers were adopted to underline specific MoVs accounting for knee instability. First, it was found that thirty-four MoVs were enough to describe 95% of the shape variability in the dataset. The most relevant MoVs were the one encoding the height of the femoral and tibial shafts (MoV #2) and the one representing variations of the axial section of the femoral shaft and its bending in the frontal plane (MoV #5). Second, using quadratic DA, the sensitivity results of the classification were very accurate, being all >0.85 (HKA: 0.96, FVV: 0.99, IER: 0.88, TVV: 1, TS: 0.87). The results of the LR classifier were mostly in agreement with DA, confirming statistical significance for MoV #2 (p = 0.02) in correspondence to IER and MoV #5 in correspondence to HKA (p = 0.0001), FVV (p = 0.001), and TS (p = 0.02). We can argue that the SSM successfully identified specific MoVs encoding ranges of alignment variability between distal femur and proximal tibia. This discloses the opportunity to use the SSM to predict potential misalignment in the knee for a new patient by processing the bone shapes, removing the need for measuring clinical landmarks as the rotation centers and mechanical axes.

<![CDATA[Omics-Based Mechanistic Insight Into the Role of Bioengineered Nanoparticles for Biotic Stress Amelioration by Modulating Plant Metabolic Pathways]]>

Bioengineered silver nanoparticles can emerge as a facile approach to combat plant pathogen, reducing the use of pesticides in an eco-friendly manner. The plants’ response during tripartite interaction of plant, pathogen, and nanoparticles remains largely unknown. This study demonstrated the use of bioengineered silver nanoparticles in combating black spot disease caused by necrotrophic fungus Alternaria brassicicola in Arabidopsis thaliana via foliar spray. The particles reduced disease severity by 70–80% at 5 μg/ml without showing phytotoxicity. It elicited plant immunity by a significant reduction in reactive oxygen species (ROS), decreases in stress enzymes by 0.6–19.8-fold, and emergence of autophagy. Comparative plant proteomics revealed 599 proteins expressed during the interaction, where 117 differential proteins were identified. Among different categories, proteins involved in bioenergy and metabolism were most abundant (44%), followed by proteins involved in plant defense (20%). Metabolic profiling by gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy yielded 39 metabolite derivatives in non-polar fraction and 25 in the polar fraction of plant extracts. It was observed that proteins involved in protein biogenesis and early plant defense were overexpressed to produce abundant antimicrobial metabolites and minimize ROS production. Bioengineered silver nanoparticles performed dual functions to combat pathogen attack by killing plant pathogen and eliciting immunity by altering plant defense proteome and metabolome.

<![CDATA[Angiogenic Potential of Tissue Engineered Cartilage From Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Is Modulated by Indian Hedgehog and Serpin E1]]>

With rising demand for cartilage tissue repair and replacement, the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) into cartilage tissue forming cells provides a promising solution. Often, the BMSC-derived cartilage does not remain stable and continues maturing to bone through the process of endochondral ossification in vivo. Similar to the growth plate, invasion of blood vessels is an early hallmark of endochondral ossification and a necessary step for completion of ossification. This invasion originates from preexisting vessels that expand via angiogenesis, induced by secreted factors produced by the cartilage graft. In this study, we aimed to identify factors secreted by chondrogenically differentiated bone marrow-derived human BMSCs to modulate angiogenesis. The secretome of chondrogenic pellets at day 21 of the differentiation program was collected and tested for angiogenic capacity using in vitro endothelial migration and proliferation assays as well as the chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay. Taken together, these assays confirmed the pro-angiogenic potential of the secretome. Putative secreted angiogenic factors present in this medium were identified by comparative global transcriptome analysis between murine growth plate cartilage, human chondrogenic BMSC pellets and human neonatal articular cartilage. We then verified by PCR eight candidate angiogenesis modulating factors secreted by differentiated BMSCs. Among those, Serpin E1 and Indian Hedgehog (IHH) had a higher level of expression in BMSC-derived cartilage compared to articular chondrocyte derived cartilage. To understand the role of these factors in the pro-angiogenic secretome, we used neutralizing antibodies to functionally block them in the conditioned medium. Here, we observed a 1.4-fold increase of endothelial cell proliferation when blocking IHH and 1.5-fold by Serpin E1 blocking compared to unblocked control conditioned medium. Furthermore, endothelial migration was increased 1.9-fold by Serpin E1 blocking and 2.7-fold by IHH blocking. This suggests that the pro-angiogenic potential of chondrogenically differentiated BMSC secretome could be further augmented through inhibition of specific factors such as IHH and Serpin E1 identified as anti-angiogenic factors.

<![CDATA[Untangling Photofaradaic and Photocapacitive Effects in Organic Optoelectronic Stimulation Devices]]>

Light, as a versatile and non-invasive means to elicit a physiological response, offers solutions to problems in basic research as well as in biomedical technologies. The complexity and limitations of optogenetic methods motivate research and development of optoelectronic alternatives. A recently growing subset of approaches relies on organic semiconductors as the active light absorber. Organic semiconductors stand out due to their high optical absorbance coefficients, mechanical flexibility, ability to operate in a wet environment, and potential biocompatibility. They could enable ultrathin and minimally invasive form factors not accessible with traditional inorganic materials. Organic semiconductors, upon photoexcitation in an aqueous medium, can transduce light into (1) photothermal heating, (2) photochemical/photocatalytic redox reactions, (3) photocapacitive charging of electrolytic double layers, and (4) photofaradaic reactions. In realistic conditions, different effects may coexist, and understanding their role in observed physiological phenomena is an area of critical interest. This article serves to evaluate the emerging picture of photofaradaic vs. photocapacitive effects in the context of our group’s research efforts and that of others over the past few years. We present simple experiments which can be used to benchmark organic optoelectronic stimulation devices.

<![CDATA[Significantly Enhanced Synthesis of Aromatic Esters of Arbutin Catalyzed by Immobilized Lipase in Co-solvent Systems]]>

Highly efficient and regioselective synthesis of pharmacologically interesting aromatic esters of arbutin catalyzed by immobilized lipase from Penicillium expansum in co-solvent systems was successfully carried out. As compared to tetrahydrofuran solvent, the initial rate and substrate conversion of arbutin vanilylation were markedly enhanced in tetrahydrofuran-isopropyl ether (20%, v/v). Moreover, the effects of three reaction parameters (enzyme amount, temperature and substrate molar ratio of vinyl vanillic acid to arbutin) on 6′-O-vanilloyl-arbutin synthesis were scrutinized and the key process parameters were optimized using response surface methodology (RSM). The experimental data were fitted well to a second order polynomial model by using multiple regression analysis. The best combination of variables was 50°C, 93 U/mL and 11 for the reaction temperature, the enzyme amount and mole ratio of arbutin to vinyl vanilic acid, respectively, and which the reaction rate, substrate conversion and regioselectivity were as high as 8.2 mM/h, 93 and 99%. It was worth noting that a variety of aromatic esters of arbutin were obtained with much higher conversion (93–99%) at these optimal conditions.

<![CDATA[Promoting Cardiac Regeneration and Repair Using Acellular Biomaterials]]>

Ischemic heart disease is a common cause of end-stage heart failure and has persisted as one of the main causes of end stage heart failure requiring transplantation. Maladaptive myocardial remodeling due to ischemic injury involves multiple cell types and physiologic mechanisms. Pathogenic post-infarct remodeling involves collagen deposition, chamber dilatation and ventricular dysfunction. There have been significant improvements in medication and revascularization strategies. However, despite medical optimization and opportunities to restore blood flow, physicians lack therapies that directly access and manipulate the heart to promote healthy post-infarct myocardial remodeling. Strategies are now arising that use bioactive materials to promote cardiac regeneration by promoting angiogenesis and inhibiting cardiac fibrosis; and many of these strategies leverage the unique advantage of cardiac surgery to directly visualize and manipulate the heart. Although cellular-based strategies are emerging, multiple barriers exist for clinical translation. Acellular materials have also demonstrated preclinical therapeutic potential to promote angiogenesis and attenuate fibrosis and may be able to surmount these translational barriers. Within this review we outline various acellular biomaterials and we define epicardial infarct repair and intramyocardial injection, which focus on administering bioactive materials to the cardiac epicardium and myocardium respectively to promote cardiac regeneration. In conjunction with optimized medical therapy and revascularization, these techniques show promise to upregulate pathways of cardiac regeneration to preserve heart function.

<![CDATA[Pulsed Electric Field Extraction of α and β-Acids From Pellets of Humulus lupulus (Hop)]]>

This paper investigates the process of extracting hop pellets (hops) utilizing the pulsed electric field (PEF) technique and the contrasting effects of the technique between two distinct hop varieties (one bitter and one aromatic). The effect of PEF on the extraction was evaluated by measuring the concentration of α-acids and β-acids (humulones and lupulones). Regarding the aromatic character, the hop’s volatile caryophyllene, humulene and β-myrcene were analyzed both with and without employing the PEF treatment. In order to analyze the acids and the volatile fraction, the analytical method of UV–vis spectrophotometry was applied followed by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. For the second technique, the extracts were previously purified through a Graphitized Carbon Black syringe for Solid Phase Extraction. The results revealed that PEF had a positive impact on the alpha acids of bitter hops by increasing the extraction rate of these acids by 20%, while the volatiles demonstrated an increase of 5.6 and 7.4% for humulene and caryophyllene, respectively. Concerning the aromatic variety of hops, the PEF treatment appeared to have no noteworthy effects.

<![CDATA[Nanoparticles as Versatile Tools for Mechanotransduction in Tissues and Organoids]]>

Organoids are 3D multicellular constructs that rely on self-organized cell differentiation, patterning and morphogenesis to recapitulate key features of the form and function of tissues and organs of interest. Dynamic changes in these systems are orchestrated by biochemical and mechanical microenvironments, which can be engineered and manipulated to probe their role in developmental and disease mechanisms. In particular, the in vitro investigation of mechanical cues has been the focus of recent research, where mechanical manipulations imparting local as well as large-scale mechanical stresses aim to mimic in vivo tissue deformations which occur through proliferation, folding, invagination, and elongation. However, current in vitro approaches largely impose homogeneous mechanical changes via a host matrix and lack the required positional and directional specificity to mimic the diversity of in vivo scenarios. Thus, while organoids exhibit limited aspects of in vivo morphogenetic events, how local forces are coordinated to enable large-scale changes in tissue architecture remains a difficult question to address using current techniques. Nanoparticles, through their efficient internalization by cells and dispersion through extracellular matrices, have the ability to provide local or global, as well as passive or active modulation of mechanical stresses on organoids and tissues. In this review, we explore how nanoparticles can be used to manipulate matrix and tissue mechanics, and highlight their potential as tools for fate regulation through mechanotransduction in multicellular model systems.

<![CDATA[Proteomic analysis and interactions network in leaves of mycorrhizal and nonmycorrhizal sorghum plants under water deficit]]>

For understanding the water deficit stress mechanism in sorghum, we conducted a physiological and proteomic analysis in the leaves of Sorghum bicolor L. Moench (a drought tolerant crop model) of non-colonized and colonized plants with a consortium of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Physiological results indicate that mycorrhizal fungi association enhances growth and photosynthesis in plants, under normal and water deficit conditions. 2D-electrophoresis profiles revealed 51 differentially accumulated proteins in response to water deficit, of which HPLC/MS successfully identified 49. Bioinformatics analysis of protein–protein interactions revealed the participation of different metabolic pathways in nonmycorrhizal compared to mycorrhizal sorghum plants under water deficit. In noninoculated plants, the altered proteins are related to protein synthesis and folding (50S ribosomal protein L1, 30S ribosomal protein S10, Nascent polypeptide-associated complex subunit alpha), coupled with multiple signal transduction pathways, guanine nucleotide-binding beta subunit (Rack1) and peptidyl-prolyl-cis-trans isomerase (ROC4). In contrast, in mycorrhizal plants, proteins related to energy metabolism (ATP synthase-24kDa, ATP synthase β), carbon metabolism (malate dehydrogenase, triosephosphate isomerase, sucrose-phosphatase), oxidative phosphorylation (mitochondrial-processing peptidase) and sulfur metabolism (thiosulfate/3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase) were found. Our results provide a set of proteins of different metabolic pathways involved in water deficit produced by sorghum plants alone or associated with a consortium of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi isolated from the tropical rain forest Los Tuxtlas Veracruz, México.

<![CDATA[Production of cupcake-like dessert containing microbial biosurfactant as an emulsifier]]>

This work describes the application of the biosurfactant from Candida bombicola URM 3718 as a meal additive like cupcake. The biosurfactant was produced in a culture medium containing 5% sugar cane molasses, 5% residual soybean oil and 3% corn steep liquor. The surface and interfacial tension of the biosurfactant were 30.790 ± 0.04 mN/m and 0.730 ± 0.05 mN/m, respectively. The yield in isolated biosurfactant was 25 ± 1.02 g/L and the CMC was 0.5 g/L. The emulsions of the isolated biosurfactant with vegetable oils showed satisfactory results. The microphotographs of the emulsions showed that increasing the concentration of biosurfactant decreased the oil droplets, increasing the stability of the emulsions. The biosurfactant was incorporated into the cupcake dessert formulation, replacing 50%, 75% and 100% of the vegetable fat in the standard formulation. Thermal analysis showed that the biosurfactant is stable for cooking cupcakes (180 °C). The biosurfactant proved to be promising for application in foods low in antioxidants and did not show cytotoxic potential in the tested cell lines. Cupcakes with biosurfactant incorporated in their dough did not show significant differences in physical and physical–chemical properties after baking when compared to the standard formulation. In this way, the biosurfactant has potential for application in the food industry as an emulsifier for flour dessert.

<![CDATA[Comparative Transcriptome Analysis Reveals New lncRNAs Responding to Salt Stress in Sweet Sorghum]]>

Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) can enhance plant stress resistance by regulating the expression of functional genes. Sweet sorghum is a salt-tolerant energy crop. However, little is known about how lncRNAs in sweet sorghum respond to salt stress. In this study, we identified 126 and 133 differentially expressed lncRNAs in the salt-tolerant M-81E and the salt-sensitive Roma strains, respectively. Salt stress induced three new lncRNAs in M-81E and inhibited two new lncRNAs in Roma. These lncRNAs included lncRNA13472, lncRNA11310, lncRNA2846, lncRNA26929, and lncRNA14798, which potentially function as competitive endogenous RNAs (ceRNAs) that influence plant responses to salt stress by regulating the expression of target genes related to ion transport, protein modification, transcriptional regulation, and material synthesis and transport. Additionally, M-81E had a more complex ceRNA network than Roma. This study provides new information regarding lncRNAs and the complex regulatory network underlying salt-stress responses in sweet sorghum.