Biodiesel, defined as the mono-alkyl esters of vegetable oils or animal fats, is an environmentally attractive alternative to conventional petroleum diesel fuel (petrodiesel). Produced by transesterification with a monohydric alcohol, usually methanol, biodiesel has many important technical advantages over petrodiesel, such as inherent lubricity, low toxicity, derivation from a renewable and domestic feedstock, superior flash point and biodegradability, negligible sulfur content, and lower exhaust emissions. Important disadvantages of biodiesel include high feedstock cost, inferior storage and oxidative stability, lower volumetric energy content, inferior low-temperature operability, and in some cases, higher exhaust emissions. This review covers the process by which biodiesel is prepared, the types of catalysts that may be used for the production of biodiesel, the influence of free fatty acids on biodiesel production, the use of different monohydric alcohols in the preparation of biodiesel, the influence of biodiesel composition on fuel properties, the influence of blending biodiesel with other fuels on fuel properties, alternative uses for biodiesel, and value-added uses of glycerol, a co-product of biodiesel production. A particular emphasis is placed on alternative feedstocks for biodiesel production. Lastly, future challenges and outlook for biodiesel are discussed.
In vitro techniques are very useful for conserving plant biodiversity, including (a) genetic resources of recalcitrant seed and vegetatively propagated species, (b) rare and endangered plant species and (c) biotechnology products such as elite genotypes and genetically engineered material. Explants from recalcitrant seed and vegetatively propagated species can be efficiently collected under field conditions using in vitro techniques. In vitro culture techniques ensure the production and rapid multiplication of disease-free material. Medium-term conservation is achieved by reducing growth of plant material, thus increasing intervals between subcultures. For long-term conservation, cryopreservation (liquid nitrogen, -196°C) allows storing plant material without modification or alteration for extended periods, protected from contaminations and with limited maintenance. Slow growth storage protocols are routinely employed for a large number of species, including numerous endangered plants, from temperate and tropical origin. Cryopreservation is well advanced for vegetatively propagated species, and techniques are ready for large-scale experimentation in an increasing number of cases. Research is much less advanced for recalcitrant species due to their seed characteristics, viz., very high sensitivity to desiccation, structural complexity and heterogeneity in terms of developmental stage and water content at maturity. However, various technical approaches should be explored to develop cryopreservation techniques for a larger number of recalcitrant seed species. A range of analytical techniques are available, which allow understanding physical and biological processes taking place in explants during cryopreservation. These techniques are extremely useful to assist in the development of cryopreservation protocols. In comparison with crop species, only limited research has been performed on cryopreservation of rare and endangered species. Even though routine use of cryopreservation is still limited, an increasing number of examples where cryopreservation is used on a large scale can be found both in genebanks for crops and in botanical gardens for endangered species.
Abstract Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a major obstacle in cancer therapy. It results from different mechanisms; among them is P-glycoprotein (P-gp)–mediated drug efflux out of cells. The mechanism of action remains elusive. The membrane lipid surrounding of P-gp, especially cholesterol, has been postulated to play an important role. To determine the effect of cholesterol depletion on P-gp, Madin Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells, transfected with the mdr1 gene (MDR1-MDCK cells), were treated with methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD). The localization and function of P-gp were analyzed using confocal laser scanning microscopy. Treatment with 100 mM MβCD did not affect viability but altered the structural appearance of the cells and abolished efflux of rhodamine 123, a P-gp substrate. The MβCD treatment released P-gp from intact cells into the supernatant and reduced the amount of P-gp in total membrane preparations. The P-gp was shifted from the raft fractions (1% Triton X-100, 4° C) to higher density fractions in...
Cardiac hypertrophy is a major risk factor for heart failure and associated patient morbidity and mortality. Research investigating the aberrant molecular processes that occur during cardiac hypertrophy uses primary cardiomyocytes from neonatal rat hearts as the standard experimental in vitro system. In addition, some studies make use of the H9C2 rat cardiomyoblast cell line, which has the advantage of being an animal-free alternative; however, the extent to which H9C2 cells can accurately mimic the hypertrophic responses of primary cardiac myocytes has not yet been fully established. To address this limitation, we have directly compared the hypertrophic responses of H9C2 cells with those of primary rat neonatal cardiomyocytes following stimulation with hypertrophic factors. Primary rat neonatal cardiomyocytes and H9C2 cells were cultured in vitro and treated with angiotensin II and endothelin-1 to promote hypertrophic responses. An increase in cellular footprint combined with rearrangement of cytoskeleton and induction of foetal heart genes were directly compared in both cell types using microscopy and real-time rtPCR. H9C2 cells showed almost identical hypertrophic responses to those observed in primary cardiomyocytes. This finding validates the importance of H9C2 cells as a model for in vitro studies of cardiac hypertrophy and supports current work with human cardiomyocyte cell lines for prospective molecular studies in heart development and disease.
There are many reports of defined culture systems for the propagation of human embryonic stem cells in the absence of feeder cell support, but no previous study has undertaken a multi-laboratory comparison of these diverse methodologies. In this study, five separate laboratories, each with experience in human embryonic stem cell culture, used a panel of ten embryonic stem cell lines (including WA09 as an index cell line common to all laboratories) to assess eight cell culture methods, with propagation in the presence of Knockout Serum Replacer, FGF-2, and mouse embryonic fibroblast feeder cell layers serving as a positive control. The cultures were assessed for up to ten passages for attachment, death, and differentiated morphology by phase contrast microscopy, for growth by serial cell counts, and for maintenance of stem cell surface marker expression by flow cytometry. Of the eight culture systems, only the control and those based on two commercial media, mTeSRl and STEMPRO, supported maintenance of most cell lines for ten passages. Cultures grown in the remaining media failed before this point due to lack of attachment, cell death, or overt cell differentiation. Possible explanations for relative success of the commercial formulations in this study, and the lack of success with other formulations from academic groups compared to previously published results, include: the complex combination of growth factors present in the commercial preparations; improved development, manufacture, and quality control in the commercial products; differences in epigenetic adaptation to culture in vitro between different ES cell lines grown in different laboratories.
The ability to create DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) at specified genomic locations, which then stimulate the cell's naturally occurring DNA repair processes, has introduced intriguing possibilities for genetic modification. Zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) are designed restriction enzymes consisting of a nonspecific cleavage domain fused to sequence-specific DNA binding domains. ZFN-mediated DSB formation at endogenous genomic loci followed by error-prone non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) repair can result in gene-specific mutations via nucleotide base pair insertions or deletions. Similarly, specific DNA sequence modifications can be made by providing donor DNA templates homologous to sequences flanking the cleavage site via homology-directed repair (HDR). Targeted deletions of intervening DNA sequence can be obtained by ZFNs used to create concurrent DSBs. Site-specific transgene integration into ZFN-induced DSBs is possible via either NHEJ or HDR. Genome editing can be used to enhance our basic understanding of plant gene function as well as modify and improve crop plants. As with conventional plant transformation technology, the efficiency of genome editing is absolutely dependent on the ability to initiate, maintain, and regenerate plant cell and tissue cultures.
The aim of this work study was to evaluate the cytophysiological activity of equine adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) cultured under conditions of static magnetic field. Investigated cells were exposed to a static magnetic field (MF) with the intensity of 0.5 T. In order to investigate the effects of magnetic field on stem cell signaling, the localization and density and content of microvesicles (MVs) as well as morphology, ultrastructure, and proliferation rate of equine ASCs were evaluated. Results showed that potential of equine adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells was accelerated when magnetic field was applied. Resazurin-based assay indicated that the cells cultured in the magnetic field reached the population doubling time earlier and colony-forming potential of equine ASCs was higher when cells were cultured under magnetic field conditions. Morphological and ultrastructural examination of equine ASCs showed that the exposure to magnetic field did not cause any significant changes in cell morphology whereas the polarity of the cells was observed under the magnetic field conditions in ultrastructural examinations. Exposition to MF resulted in a considerable increase in the number of secreted MVs—we have clearly observed the differences between the numbers of MVs shed from the cells cultured under MF in comparison to the control culture and were rich in growth factors. Microvesicles derived from ASCs cultured in the MF condition might be utilized in the stem cell-based treatment of equine musculoskeletal disorders and tendon injuries.
In vitro embryogenesis is an asexual reproduction process by which embryos are produced from either gametophytic (androecium/gynoecium) or sporophytic (somatic) tissues. Regardless of the type of explant used, the hallmark of this process is that the explant cells undergo dedifferentiation and acquire meristematic identity. The developmental program of such meristematic cells can then be redirected to form somatic embryos, depending on the imposed culture environment. Analysis of proteomes and transcriptomes has led to the molecular identification and functional characterization of many genes involved in the initiation and development of somatic embryos. These genes can be classified into three categories: embryonic induction, embryonic, and maturation. So far, few genes involved in early somatic embryogenesis have been characterized because isolation of early pure embryonic tissue is very difficult. This review focuses on genes regulating the induction process. Furthermore, we employed bioinformatic tools and pathway databases to identify genes that may play roles in regulating early somatic embryogenesis. A total of 51 proteins were identified that may function in early somatic embryogenesis. These proteins are predicted to be involved in hormone signal transduction, chromatin remodeling, cell cycle regulation, cellulose biosynthetic and metabolic activity, GTPase signal transduction, transcription regulation, meristem formation and maintenance, and/or apoptosis and microtubule organization. This review will help advance knowledge and promote research on molecular regulation of early somatic embryogenesis.
The primary issues regarding the lack of protocol reproducibility among laboratories are environmental factors. Light (quantity and particularly quality), is one of those main factors, and studies seldom present the spectral quality of the light sources used. With the advent of light-emitting diode (LED) technology, impressive progress has been made in environmental controls and morphogenetic responses, as directed by the light used in the culture shelves. A wide array of LED lights with different spectra are currently available and light is important in large-scale propagation, especially liquid bioreactor systems. LED technology continues to evolve rapidly and has created additional possibilities. This laboratory has dedicated extensive efforts to implement photoautotrophic propagation, and light is a key component of the system. This review presents relevant topics on the influence of light in various plant tissue culture-based techniques.
Constitutive expression of the Zea mays L. (maize) morphogenic transcription factors Baby Boom (Bbm) and Wuschel2 (Wus2) in maize can not only greatly increase transformation efficiency but can also induce phenotypic abnormalities and sterility. In an effort to alleviate the pleiotropic effects of constitutive expression, a genome wide search was undertaken to find suitable maize promoters to drive tissue and timing-specific expression of the transformation enhancing genes Bbm and Wus2. A promoter from a maize phospholipid transferase protein gene (Zm-PLTP pro ) was identified based on its expression in leaves, embryos, and callus while being downregulated in roots, meristems, and reproductive tissues. When Zm-PLTP pro driving Bbm was transformed into immature maize embryos along with a Wus2 expression cassette driven by the nopaline synthase promoter (Nos pro ::Wus2) abundant somatic embryos rapidly formed on the scutella. These embryos were individual and uniformly transformed and could be directly germinated into plants without a callus phase. Transformed plants could be sent to the greenhouse in as little as 1 mo and regenerated plants matched the seed-derived phenotype for the inbred and were fertile. However, T1 seed from these plants had poor germination. Replacing Nos pro with a maize auxin-inducible promoter (Zm-Axig1 pro ) in combination with Zm-PLTP pro ::Bbm, allowed healthy, fertile plants to be regenerated. Single-copy T1 seed germinated normally and had a predominantly wild-type inbred phenotype. For maize, this callus-free transformation process has worked in all inbred lines tested.
Purpose-grown trees will be part of the bioenergy solution in the United States, especially in the Southeast where plantation forestry is prevalent and economically important. Trees provide a "living biomass inventory" with existing end-use markets and associated infrastructure, unlike other biomass species such as perennial grasses. The economic feasibility of utilizing tree biomass is improved by increasing productivity through alternative silvicultural systems, improved breeding and biotechnology. Traditional breeding and selection, as well as the introduction of genes for improved growth and stress tolerance, have enabled high growth rates and improved site adaptability in trees grown for industrial applications. An example is the biotechnology-aided improvement of a highly productive tropical Eucalyptus hybrid, Eucalyptus grandis × Eucalyptus urophylla. This tree has acquired freeze tolerance by the introduction of a plant transcription factor that up-regulates the cold-response pathways and makes possible commercial plantings in the Southeastern United States. Transgenic trees with reduced lignin, modified lignin, or increased cellulose and hemicellulose will improve the efficiency of feedstock conversion into biofuels. Reduced lignin trees have been shown to improve efficiency in the pre-treatment step utilized in fermentation systems for biofuels production from lignocellulosics. For systems in which thermochemical or gasification approaches are utilized, increased density will be an important trait, while increased lignin might be a desired trait for direct firing or co-firing of wood for energy. Trees developed through biotechnology, like all transgenic plants, need to go through the regulatory process, which involves biosafety and risk assessment analyses prior to commercialization.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic skin disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Keratinocytes and macrophages are two cells types that play a pivotal role in the development of AD. These cells produced different chemokines and cytokines, especially thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC/CCL17) and macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC/CCL22), as well as nitric oxide (NO) through inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and COX2 in response to stimulation by TNF-α/IFN-γ and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) respectively. These mediators are thought to be crucial regulators of the pathogenesis of AD. Although several natural compounds to treat AD have been studied, the effect of Rg5:Rk1 from Panax ginseng (P. ginseng) on AD has not yet been investigated. In this study, we evaluated the inhibitory effect of Rg5:Rk1 on TNF-α/IFN-γ stimulated keratinocytes (HaCaT cells) and LPS-stimulated macrophages (RAW 264.7 cells). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) data showed that pretreatment of HaCaT cells with Rg5:Rk1 significantly reduced the TNF-α/IFN-γ-induced increase in TARC/CCL17 expression in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, Rg5:Rk1 decreased LPS-mediated nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in RAW 264.7 cells. A considerable reduction in messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of the aforementioned AD mediators was also observed. Pretreatment with Rg5:Rk1 attenuated the TNF-α/IFN-γ-induced phosphorylation of p38 MAPK, STAT1, and NF-κB/IKKβ in HaCaT cells. Together, these findings suggest that ginsenoside Rg5:Rk1 may have a potential anti-AD effect by suppressing NF-κB/p38 MAPK/STAT1 signaling.
Several techniques have been devised for the dissociation of tissues for primary culture. These techniques can affect the quantity and quality of the isolated cells. The aim of our study was to develop the most appropriate method for the isolation of human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal (hUCM) cells. In the present study, we compared four methods for the isolation of hUCM cells: three enzymatic methods; collagenase/hyaluronidase/trypsin (CHT), collagenase/trypsin (CT) and trypsin (Trp), and an expiant culture (Exp) method. The trypan blue dye exclusion test, the water-soluble tetrazolium salt-1 (WST-1) assay, flow cytometry, alkaline phosphatase activity and histochemical staining were used to evaluate the results of the different methods. The hUCM cells were successfully isolated by all methods but the isolation method used profoundly altered the cell number and proliferation capacity of the isolated cells. The cells were successfully differentiated into adipogenic and osteogenic lineages and alkaline phosphatase activity was detected in the hUCM cell colonies of all groups. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that CD44, CD73, CD90 and CD 105 were expressed in all groups, while CD34 and CD45 were not expressed. The expression of C-kit in the enzymatic groups was higher than in the expiant group, while the expression of Oct-4 was higher in the CT group compared to the other groups. We concluded that the collagenase/trypsin method of cell isolation yields a higher cell density than the others. These cells expressed a higher rate of pluripotent cell markers such as C-kit and Oct-4, while the expiant method of cell isolation resulted in a higher cell proliferation rate and activity compared to the other methods.
Considering that chemotherapy resistance is vital to the progression of cervical carcinoma, emerging researchers are focused on developing anti-tumor drugs to assist the treatment efficiency of chemotherapy. Melatonin has anti-tumor activity via several mechanisms including its anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects as well as its potent pro-oxidant action in tumor cells. Therefore, melatonin may be useful for the treatment of tumors in association with chemotherapy drugs. Here, we studied the effect and mechanism of melatonin on HeLa cells apoptosis under cisplatin (CIS) treatment, particularly focusing on the caspase-9-related apoptosis pathway and mitophagy-mediated anti-apoptotic mechanism. The result indicated that co-stimulation of HeLa cells with CIS in the presence of melatonin further increased cellular apoptosis. Furthermore, concomitant treatments with melatonin and CIS significantly enhanced the mitochondrial structure and function damage, substantially augmented the caspase-9-dependent mitochondrial apoptosis with evidenced by lower mitochondria membrane potential, higher mitochondria ROS, and more pro-apoptotic proteins compared to the treatment with CIS alone. Mechanistically, melatonin inactivated mitophagy via blockade of JNK/Parkin, leading to the inhibition of anti-apoptotic mitophagy. The mitophagy had the ability to clear and remove damaged mitochondria, impairing CIS-mediated mitochondrial apoptosis. Activation of JNK/Parkin could alleviate the lethal effect of melatonin on HeLa cells. In summary, this study confirmed that melatonin sensitizes human cervical cancer HeLa cells to CIS-induced apoptosis through inhibition of JNK/Parkin/mitophagy pathways.
Agrobacterium-mediated sorghum transformation frequency has been enhanced significantly via medium optimization using immature embryos from sorghum variety TX430 as the target tissue. The new transformation protocol includes the addition of elevated copper sulfate and 6-benzylaminopurine in the resting and selection media. Using Agrobacterium strain LBA4404, the transformation frequency reached over 10% using either of two different selection marker genes, moPAT or PMI, and any of three different vectors in large-scale transformation experiments. With Agrobacterium strain AGL1, the transformation frequencies were as high as 33%. Using quantitative PCR analyses of 1,182 T₀ transgenic plants representing 675 independent transgenic events, data was collected for T-DNA copy number, intact or truncated T-DNA integration, and vector backbone integration into the sorghum genome. A comparison of the transformation frequencies and molecular data characterizing T-DNA integration patterns in the transgenic plants derived from LBA4404 versus AGL1 transformation revealed that twice as many transgenic high-quality events were generated when AGL1 was used compared to LBA4404. This is the first report providing molecular data for T-DNA integration patterns in a large number of independent transgenic plants in sorghun.
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been reported to play important roles in male reproduction. In our previous research, we studied the expression profile of lncRNAs in mouse male germ cells including spermatogonial stem cell, type A spermatogonia, pachytene spermatocyte, and round spermatid by microarray method, which showed that testis-enriched lncRNA AK015322 is highly expressed in spermatogonial stem cell. In this study, we found that AK015322 promotes proliferation of mouse spermatogonial stem cell line C18-4 in vitro. Furthermore, bioinformatic analysis, real-time PCR, and luciferase assay validated that AK015322 serves as a decoy of microRNA-19b-3p (miR-19b-3p), antagonizes its function, and attenuates the repression of its endogenous target transcriptional factor Ets-variant 5 (ETV5) which was a pivotal gene for spermatogonial stem cell self-renewal. Taken together, our results suggest that a variety of lncRNAs may regulate male reproduction through serving as competing-endogenous RNAs to modulate the function of germ cells.
Grapevine (Vitis genus) is one of the economically most important fruits worldwide. Some species and cultivars are rare and have only a few vines, but represent national heritages with a strong need for preservation. Field collections are labor intensive, and expensive to maintain, and are exposed to natural disasters. In addition, infection with pathogens, especially viruses, is common in grapevine because of vegetative propagation, which is conventionally used for this genus. Cryopreservation provides an alternative and ideal means for the long-term preservation of Vitis germplasm, which can be used as a backup to field collections for important autochthonous cultivars or only as cryo-banks for rare, native cultivars that are worthy of preservation. Cryotherapy, based on cryopreservation protocols, provides an efficient method for the eradication of grapevine viruses. This review provides comprehensive and updated information on cryopreservation for long-term preservation of genetic resources and cryotherapy for virus eradication in Vitis. Additional research in grapevine cryopreservation and cryotherapy is needed.
The US Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) plant collections are a critical source of genetic diversity for breeding and selection of improved crops, including vegetatively propagated plants. Information on these collections is readily accessible to breeders and researchers on the internet from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). The clonal collections are at risk for loss due in part to their genetic diversity that makes growing them in one location a challenge, but also because it is difficult to have duplicate collections without incurring great expense. The development of cryopreservation techniques during the last two decades provides a low maintenance form of security backup for these collections. National plant collections for vegetatively propagated crop plants and their wild relatives are maintained by the USDA-ARS, NPGS at 15 sites across the country. These sites include various combinations of field, greenhouse, screenhouse, and in vitro collections. Cryopreserved backup collections in liquid nitrogen storage were instituted in the 1990s, increased greatly in the 2000s with the advent of new techniques, and are continuing today. Collections of dormant buds of temperate trees, shoot tips of in vitro cultures of many crops, and embryonic axes of some large seeded or recalcitrant seeded plants are all part of the clonal backup storage system.
Abnormal physiological responses of plant cultures such as shoot tip necrosis, callus, and hyperhydricity are some of the most difficult challenges in shoot micropropagation, and their causes are not well understood. Five Murashige and Skoog mineral salt factors, which influence the growth of pear shoot cultures, were tested in a five-dimensional surface response experimental design. Pyrus communis 'Old Home × Farmingdale 87,' 'Horner 51,' and 'Winter Nelis'; Pyrus dimorphophylla; and Pyrus ussuriensis 'Hang Pa Li' shoot cultures were grown on 43 computer-designed treatments to represent the design space of all possible treatment combinations. Analysis of shoot response to these treatments identified the factors that both contributed to physiological disorders and remedied them. Undesirable callus formation was common for pear shoots cultured on standard medium and decreased on formulations with increased NH₄NO₃, Fe, and mesos (CaCl₂, KH₂PO₄, and MgSO₄) for most genotypes. Shoot tip necrosis varied with the genotype, but low mesos or low nitrogen concentrations contributed to the necrosis. Hyperhydricity was more prominent with low mesos or low NH₄NO₃. Hooked and upwardly curled new leaves were seen in most genotypes and resulted from use of low mesos in P. communis and low nitrogen for 'Hang Pa Li' and P. dimorphophylla. Fasciation and hypertrophy were seen infrequently and resulted from wide imbalances in several nutrients simultaneously. In general, standard concentrations of Murashige and Skoog iron and micros combined with high mesos and moderate nitrogen compounds produced normal shoots without physiological disorders.
The importance of cassava as the fourth largest source of calories in the world requires that contributions of biotechnology to improving this crop, advances and current challenges, be periodically reviewed. Plant biotechnology offers a wide range of opportunities that can help cassava become a better crop for a constantly changing world. We therefore review the state of knowledge on the current use of biotechnology applied to cassava cultivars and its implications for breeding the crop into the future. The history of the development of the first transgenic cassava plant serves as the basis to explore molecular aspects of somatic embryogenesis and friable embryogenic callus production. We analyze complex plant-pathogen interactions to profit from such knowledge to help cassava fight bacterial diseases and look at candidate genes possibly involved in resistance to viruses and whiteflies—the two most important traits of cassava. The review also covers the analyses of main achievements in transgenic-mediated nutritional improvement and mass production of healthy plants by tissue culture and synthetic seeds. Finally, the perspectives of using genome editing and the challenges associated to climate change for further improving the crop are discussed. During the last 30 yr, great advances have been made in cassava using biotechnology, but they need to scale out of the proof of concept to the fields of cassava growers.