Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Genetics and Molecular Biology]]> vol. 33 num. 4 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Mucopolysaccharidosis I, II, and VI</b>: <b>brief review and guidelines for treatment</b>]]> Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are rare genetic diseases caused by the deficiency of one of the lysosomal enzymes involved in the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) breakdown pathway. This metabolic block leads to the accumulation of GAG in various organs and tissues of the affected patients, resulting in a multisystemic clinical picture, sometimes including cognitive impairment. Until the beginning of the XXI century, treatment was mainly supportive. Bone marrow transplantation improved the natural course of the disease in some types of MPS, but the morbidity and mortality restricted its use to selected cases. The identification of the genes involved, the new molecular biology tools and the availability of animal models made it possible to develop specific enzyme replacement therapies (ERT) for these diseases. At present, a great number of Brazilian medical centers from all regions of the country have experience with ERT for MPS I, II, and VI, acquired not only through patient treatment but also in clinical trials. Taking the three types of MPS together, over 200 patients have been treated with ERT in our country. This document summarizes the experience of the professionals involved, along with the data available in the international literature, bringing together and harmonizing the information available on the management of these severe and progressive diseases, thus disclosing new prospects for Brazilian patients affected by these conditions. <![CDATA[<b>Short-tandem repeat analysis in seven Chinese regional populations</b>]]> In the present study, we investigated the application of 13 short tandem repeat (STR) loci (D13S317, D7S820, TH01, D16S539, CSFIPO, VWA, D8S1179, TPOX, FGA, D3S1358, D21S11, D18S51 and D5S818) routinely used in forensic analysis, for delineating population relationships among seven human populations representing the two major geographic groups, namely the southern and northern Chinese. The resulting single topology revealed pronounced geographic and population partitioning, consistent with the differences in geographic location, languages and eating habits. These findings suggest that forensic STR loci might be particularly powerful tools in providing the necessary fine resolution for reconstructing recent human evolutionary history. <![CDATA[<b>The insulin polymorphism -23Hph increases the risk for type 1 diabetes mellitus in the Romanian population</b>]]> The insulin -23Hph and IGF2 Apa polymorphisms were genotyped in Romanian patients with T1DM (n = 204), T2DM (n = 215) or obesity (n = 200) and normoponderal healthy subjects (n = 750). The genotypes of both polymorphisms were distributed in concordance with Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in all groups. The -23Hph AA genotype increased the risk for T1DM (OR: 3.22, 95%CI: 2.09-4.98, p < 0,0001), especially in patients without macroalbuminuria (OR: 4.32, 95%CI: 2.54-7.45, p < 0,0001). No other significant association between the alleles or genotypes of insulin -23Hph and IGF2 Apa and diabetes or obesity was identified. <![CDATA[<b>Polymorphisms in promoter sequences of <i>MDM2</i>, <i>p53</i>, and <i>p16<sup>INK4a</sup></i> genes in normal Japanese individuals</b>]]> Research has been conducted to identify sequence polymorphisms of gene promoter regions in patients and control subjects, including normal individuals, and to determine the influence of these polymorphisms on transcriptional regulation in cells that express wild-type or mutant p53. In this study we isolated genomic DNA from whole blood of healthy Japanese individuals and sequenced the promoter regions of the MDM2, p53, and p16INK4a genes. We identified polymorphisms comprising 3 nucleotide substitutions at exon 1 and intron 1 regions of the MDM2 gene and 1 nucleotide insertion at a poly(C) nucleotide position in the p53 gene. The Japanese individuals also exhibited p16INK4a polymorphisms at several positions, including position -191. Reporter gene analysis by using luciferase revealed that the polymorphisms of MDM2, p53, and p16INK4a differentially altered luciferase activities in several cell lines, including the Colo320DM, U251, and T98G cell lines expressing mutant p53. Our results indicate that the promoter sequences of these genes differ among normal Japanese individuals and that polymorphisms can alter gene transcription activity. <![CDATA[<b>Interactions of polymorphisms in different clock genes associated with circadian phenotypes in humans</b>]]> Several studies have shown that mutations and polymorphisms in clock genes are associated with abnormal circadian parameters in humans and also with more subtle non-pathological phenotypes like chronotypes. However, there have been conflicting results, and none of these studies analyzed the combined effects of more than one clock gene. Up to date, association studies in humans have focused on the analysis of only one clock gene per study. Since these genes encode proteins that physically interact with each other, combinations of polymorphisms in different clock genes could have a synergistic or an inhibitory effect upon circadian phenotypes. In the present study, we analyzed the combined effects of four polymorphisms in four clock genes (Per2, Per3, Clock and Bmal1) in people with extreme diurnal preferences (morning or evening). We found that a specific combination of polymorphisms in these genes is more frequent in people who have a morning preference for activity and there is a different combination in individuals with an evening preference for activity. Taken together, these results show that it is possible to detect clock gene interactions associated with human circadian phenotypes and bring an innovative idea of building a clock gene variation map that may be applied to human circadian biology. <![CDATA[<b><i>In silico</i></b><b> analysis of alpha1-antitrypsin variants</b>: <b>the effects of a novel mutation</b>]]> Alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) is a highly polymorphic protein with more than 120 variants that are classified as normal (normal protein secretion), deficient (reduced circulating AAT level caused by defective secretion) or null (no protein secretion). Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency, one of the most common genetic disorders, predisposes adults to pulmonary emphysema and, to a lesser extent, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. In this report, we provide additional sequence data for alpha1-antitrypsin based on the characterization of a novel variant detected in a 53-year-old heterozygous patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The mutation occurred on a PI*M2 base allele and was characterized by a T → C transition at nt 97 in exon II that led to the replacement of phenylalanine by leucine (F33L). Since the mutation was found in the heterozygous state with the expression of a normally secreted variant (PI*M1) it was not possible to assess the pattern of F33L secretion. However, computational analyses based on evolutionary, structural and functional information indicated a reduction of 23 ų in the side chain volume and the creation of a cavity in the protein hydrophobic core that likely disturbed the tridimensional structure and folding of AAT. The accuracy of the in silico prediction was confirmed by testing known mutations. <![CDATA[<b>DNA repair genes <i>XRCC1</i> and <i>XRCC3</i> polymorphisms and their relationship with the level of micronuclei in breast cancer patients</b>]]> Breast cancer (BC) is the most prevalent type worldwide, besides being one of the most common causes of death among women. It has been suggested that sporadic BC is most likely caused by low-penetrance genes, including those involved in DNA repair mechanisms. Furthermore, the accumulation of DNA damage may contribute to breast carcinogenesis. In the present study, the relationship between two DNA repair genes, viz., XRCC1 (Arg399Gln) and XRCC3 (Thr241Met) polymorphisms, and the levels of chromosome damage detected in 65 untreated BC women and 85 healthy controls, was investigated. Chromosome damage was evaluated through micronucleus assaying, and genotypes determined by PCR-RFLP methodology. The results showed no alteration in the risk of BC and DNA damage brought about by either XRCC1 (Arg399Gln) or XRCC3 (Thr241Met) action in either of the two groups. Nevertheless, on evaluating BC risk in women presenting levels of chromosome damage above the mean, the XRCC3 Thr241Met polymorphism was found to be more frequent in the BC group than in the control, thereby leading to the conclusion that there is a slight association between XRCC3 (241 C/T) genotypes and BC risk in the subgroups with higher levels of chromosome damage. <![CDATA[<b>Prevalence of common</b> <b>α</b><b>-thalassemia determinants in south Brazil</b>: <b>importance for the diagnosis of microcytic anemia</b>]]> Alpha thalassemia has not been systematically investigated in Brazil. In this study, 493 unrelated individuals from the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul were screened for deletional forms of α-thalassemia. One hundred and one individuals had microcytic anemia (MCV < 80 fL) and a normal hemoglobin pattern (Hb A2 < 3.5% and Hb F < 1%). The subjects were screened for -α3.7,-α4.2,-α20.5, -SEA and -MED deletions but only the -α3.7 allele was detected. The -α3.7 allele frequency in Brazilians of European and African ancestry was 0.02 and 0.12, respectively, whereas in individuals with microcytosis the frequency was 0.20. The prevalence of α-thalassemia was significantly higher in individuals with microcytosis than in healthy individuals (p = 0.001), regardless of their ethnic origin. There were also significant differences in the hematological parameters of individuals with -α3.7/αα, -α3.7/α3.7 and β-thalassemia trait compared to healthy subjects. These data suggest that α-thalassemia is an important cause of microcytosis and mild anemia in Brazilians. <![CDATA[<b>Relationship of an <i>hRAD54</i> gene polymorphism (2290 C/T) in an Ecuadorian population with chronic myelogenous leukemia</b>]]> The hRAD54 gene is a key member of the RAD52 epistasis group involved in repair of double-strand breaks (DSB) by homologous recombination (HR). Thus, alterations of the normal function of these genes could generate genetic instability, shifting the normal process of the cell cycle, leading the cells to develop into cancer. In this work we analyzed exon 18 of the hRAD54 gene, which has been previously reported by our group to carry a silent polymorphism, 2290 C/T (Ala730Ala), associated to meningiomas. We performed a PCR-SSCP method to detect the polymorphism in 239 samples including leukemia and normal control population. The results revealed that the 2290 C/T polymorphism has frequencies of 0.1 for the leukemia and 0.1 for the control group. These frequencies show no statistical differences. Additionally, we dissected the leukemia group in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) to evaluate the polymorphism. The frequencies found in these subgroups were 0.14 for CML and 0.05 for ALL. We found statistically significant differences between CML patients and the control group (p < 0.05) but we did not find significant differences between ALL and the control group (p &gt; 0.05). These results suggest a possible link between the 2290 C/T polymorphism of the hRAD54 gene and CML. <![CDATA[<b>Molecular characterization and genetic structure of the Nero Siciliano pig breed</b>]]> Nero Siciliano is an autochthonous pig breed that is reared mainly in semi-extensive systems in northeastern Sicily. Despite its economic importance and well-appreciated meat products, this breed is currently endangered. Consequently, an analysis of intra-breed variability is a fundamental step in preserving this genetic resource and its breeding system. In this work, we used 25 microsatellite markers to examine the genetic composition of 147 unrelated Nero Siciliano pigs. The total number of alleles detected (249, 9.96 per locus) and the expected heterozygosity (0.708) indicated that this breed had a high level of genetic variability. Bayesian cluster analysis showed that the most likely number of groups into which the sample could be partitioned was nine. Based on the proportion of each individuals genome derived from ancestry, pigs with at least 70% of their genome belonging to one cluster were assigned to that cluster. The cluster size ranged from 7 to 17 (n = 108). Genetic variability in this sub-population was slightly lower than in the whole sample, genetic differentiation among clusters was moderate (F ST 0.125) and the F IS value was 0.011. NeighborNet and correspondence analysis revealed two clusters as the most divergent. Molecular coancestry analysis confirmed the good within-breed variability and highlighted the clusters that retained the highest genetic diversity. <![CDATA[<b>Change in genetic size of small-closed populations</b>: <b>lessons from a domestic mammal population</b>]]> The aim of this study was to monitor changes in genetic size of a small-closed population of Iranian Zandi sheep, by using pedigree information from animals born between 1991 and 2005. The genetic size was assessed by using measures based on the probability of identity-by-descend of genes (coancestry, f, and effective population size, Ne), as well as measures based on probability of gene origin (effective number of founders, f e, effective number of founder genomes, f g, and effective number of non-founder genomes, f ne). Average coancestry, or the degree of genetic similarity of individuals, increased from 0.81% to 1.44% during the period 1993 to 2005, at the same time that Ne decreased from 263 to 93. The observed trend for f e was irregular throughout the experiment in a way that f e was 68, 87, 77, 92, and 80 in 1993, 1996, 1999, 2002, and 2005, respectively. Simultaneously, f g, the most informative effective number, decreased from 61 to 35. The index of genetic diversity (GD) which was obtained from estimates of f g,decreased about 2% throughout the period studied. In addition, a noticeable reduction was observed in the estimates of f ne from 595 in 1993 to 61 in 2005. The higher than 1 ratio of f e to f g indicated the presence of bottlenecks and genetic drift in the development of this population of Zandi sheep. From 1993 to 1999, f ne was much higher than f e, thereby indicating that with respect to loss of genetic diversity, the unequal contribution of founders was more important than the random genetic drift in non-founder generations. Subsequently, random genetic drift in non-founder generations was the major reason for f e> f ne. The minimization of average coancestry in new reproductive individuals was recommended as a means of preserving the population against a further loss in genetic diversity. <![CDATA[<b>Chromosomes of Theridiidae spiders (Entelegynae)</b>: <b>interspecific karyotype diversity in <i>Argyrodes</i> and diploid number intraspecific variability in <i>Nesticodes rufipes</i></b>]]> Theridiidae is a derived family within the Araneoidea clade. In contrast to closely related groups, the 2n(male) = 20+X1X2 with acro/telocentric chromosomes is the most widespread karyotype among the theridiid spiders. In this work, the cytogenetic analysis of Argyrodes elevatus revealed original chromosome features different from those previously registered for Theridiidae, including the presence of 2n(male) = 20+X with meta/submetacentric chromosomes. Most individuals of Nesticodes rufipes showed family conserved karyotype characteristics. However, one individual had a 2n(male) = 24 due to the presence of an extra chromosome pair, which exhibited regular behavior and reductional segregation during meiosis. After silver staining, mitotic cells exhibited NORs localized on the terminal regions of the short arms of pairs 2, 3, and 4 of A. elevatus and on the terminal regions of long arms of pair 4 of N. rufipes. The comparative analysis with data from phylogenetically related species allowed the clarification of the origin of the interspecific and intraspecific chromosome variability observed in Argyrodes and in N. rufipes, respectively. <![CDATA[<b>Sociogenetic structure of <i>Polistes</i> (<i>Aphanilopterus</i>) <i>versicolor</i> Olivier, 1791 colonies (Hymenoptera, Vespidae, Polistini)</b>]]> The observation of two distinct, well-defined oviposition areas in nests of the primitively eusocial wasp Polistes versicolor suggests the presence of multiple egg-layers and territorial behaviors. Electrophoretic analysis of enzyme loci in pupae from 35 colonies revealed an average observed heterozygosity of 0.10 and the existence of private polymorphisms, thereby indicating a low dispersion in this species. No evidence of diploid males was found. Phenotypic segregation analysis revealed the presence of more than one egg-laying female in 15 out of 35 colonies, as well as spatially preferential oviposition in 2 out of 13 nests, with distinct oviposition areas. Genetic relatedness estimates for brood were lower than expected for haplodiploid species under monogynous conditions (r = 0.75 for female broods and r = 0.5 for male) in 4 of those 13 nests, thereby inferring complex sociogenetic structuring in Polistes versicolor colonies. <![CDATA[<b>Isolation and characterization of genes functionally involved in ovarian development of the giant tiger shrimp <i>Penaeus monodon</i> by suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH)</b>]]> Suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) libraries between cDNA in stages I (previtellogenic) and III (cortical rod) ovaries of the giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) were established. In all, 452 ESTs were unidirectionally sequenced. Sequence assembly generated 28 contigs and 201 singletons, 109 of which (48.0%) corresponding to known sequences previously deposited in GenBank. Several reproduction-related transcripts were identified. The full-length cDNA of anaphase promoting complex subunit 11 (PmAPC11; 600 bp with an ORF of 255 bp corresponding to a polypeptide of 84 amino acids) and selenoprotein M precursor (PmSePM; 904 bp with an ORF of 396 bp corresponding to a polypeptide of 131 amino acids) were characterized and reported for the first time in penaeid shrimp. Semiquantitative RT-PCR revealed that the expression levels of PmSePM and keratinocyte-associated protein 2 significantly diminished throughout ovarian development, whereas Ser/Thr checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1), DNA replication licensing factor mcm2 and egalitarian were down-regulated in mature ovaries of wild P. monodon (p < 0.05). Accordingly, the expression profiles of PmSePM and keratinocyte-associated protein 2 could be used as biomarkers for evaluating the degree of reproductive maturation in domesticated P. monodon. <![CDATA[<b>Cloning and endogenous expression of a <i>Eucalyptus grandis</i> UDP-glucose dehydrogenase cDNA</b>]]> UDP-glucose dehydrogenase (UGDH) catalyzes the oxidation of UDP-glucose (UDP-Glc) to UDP-glucuronate (UDP-GlcA), a key sugar nucleotide involved in the biosynthesis of plant cell wall polysaccharides. A full-length cDNA fragment coding for UGDH was cloned from the cambial region of 6-month-old E. grandis saplings by RT-PCR. The 1443-bp-ORF encodes a protein of 480 amino acids with a predicted molecular weight of 53 kDa. The recombinant protein expressed in Escherichia coli catalyzed the conversion of UDP-Glc to UDP-GlcA, confirming that the cloned cDNA encodes UGDH. The deduced amino acid sequence of the cDNA showed a high degree of identity with UGDH from several plant species. The Southern blot assay indicated that more than one copy of UGDH is present in Eucalyptus. These results were also confirmed by the proteomic analysis of the cambial region of 3- and 22-year-old E. grandis trees by 2-DE and LC-MS/MS, showing that at least two isoforms are present. The cloned gene is mainly expressed in roots, stem and bark of 6-month-old saplings, with a lower expression in leaves. High expression levels were also observed in the cambial region of 3- and 22-year-old trees. The results described in this paper provide a further view of the hemicellulose biosynthesis during wood formation in E. grandis. <![CDATA[<b>Population structures of Brazilian Tall coconut (<i>Cocos nucifera</i> L.) by microsatellite markers</b>]]> Coconut palms of the Tall group were introduced to Brazil from the Cape Verde Islands in 1553. The present study sought to evaluate the genetic diversity among and within Brazilian Tall coconut populations. Samples were collected of 195 trees from 10 populations. Genetic diversity was accessed by investigating 13 simple sequence repeats (SSR) loci. This provided a total of 68 alleles, ranging from 2 to 13 alleles per locus, with an average of 5.23. The mean values of gene diversity (He) and observed heterozygosity (Ho) were 0.459 and 0.443, respectively. The genetic differentiation among populations was estimated at θ = 0.1600 and the estimated apparent outcrossing rate was t a = 0.92. Estimates of genetic distances between the populations varied from 0.034 to 0.390. Genetic distance and the corresponding clustering analysis indicate the formation of two groups. The first consists of the Baía Formosa, Georgino Avelino, and São José do Mipibu populations and the second consists of the Japoatã, Pacatuba, and Praia do Forte populations. The correlation matrix between genetic and geographic distances was positive and significant at a 1% probability. Taken together, our results suggest a spatial structuring of the genetic variability among the populations. Geographically closer populations exhibited greater similarities. <![CDATA[<b><i>In silicio</i></b><b> expression analysis of <i>PKS</i> genes isolated from <i>Cannabis sativa</i> L.</b>]]> Cannabinoids, flavonoids, and stilbenoids have been identified in the annual dioecious plant Cannabis sativa L. Of these, the cannabinoids are the best known group of this plant's natural products. Polyketide synthases (PKSs) are responsible for the biosynthesis of diverse secondary metabolites, including flavonoids and stilbenoids. Biosynthetically, the cannabinoids are polyketide substituted with terpenoid moiety. Using an RT-PCR homology search, PKS cDNAs were isolated from cannabis plants. The deduced amino acid sequences showed 51%-73% identity to other CHS/STS type sequences of the PKS family. Further, phylogenetic analysis revealed that these PKS cDNAs grouped with other non-chalcone-producing PKSs. Homology modeling analysis of these cannabis PKSs predicts a 3D overall fold, similar to alfalfa CHS2, with small steric differences on the residues that shape the active site of the cannabis PKSs. <![CDATA[<b>Genome re-assignment of <i>Arachis trinitensis</i> (Sect. <i>Arachis</i>, Leguminosae) and its implications for the genetic origin of cultivated peanut</b>]]> The karyotype structure of Arachis trinitensis was studied by conventional Feulgen staining, CMA/DAPI banding and rDNA loci detection by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in order to establish its genome status and test the hypothesis that this species is a genome donor of cultivated peanut. Conventional staining revealed that the karyotype lacked the small "A chromosomes" characteristic of the A genome. In agreement with this, chromosomal banding showed that none of the chromosomes had the large centromeric bands expected for A chromosomes. FISH revealed one pair each of 5S and 45S rDNA loci, located in different medium-sized metacentric chromosomes. Collectively, these results suggest that A. trinitensis should be removed from the A genome and be considered as a B or non-A genome species. The pattern of heterochromatic bands and rDNA loci of A. trinitensis differ markedly from any of the complements of A. hypogaea, suggesting that the former species is unlikely to be one of the wild diploid progenitors of the latter. <![CDATA[<b>Exploiting a wheat EST database to assess genetic diversity</b>]]> Expressed sequence tag (EST) markers have been used to assess variety and genetic diversity in wheat (Triticum aestivum). In this study, 1549 ESTs from wheat infested with yellow rust were used to examine the genetic diversity of six susceptible and resistant wheat cultivars. The aim of using these cultivars was to improve the competitiveness of public wheat breeding programs through the intensive use of modern, particularly marker-assisted, selection technologies. The F2 individuals derived from cultivar crosses were screened for resistance to yellow rust at the seedling stage in greenhouses and adult stage in the field to identify DNA markers genetically linked to resistance. Five hundred and sixty ESTs were assembled into 136 contigs and 989 singletons. BlastX search results showed that 39 (29%) contigs and 96 (10%) singletons were homologous to wheat genes. The database-matched contigs and singletons were assigned to eight functional groups related to protein synthesis, photosynthesis, metabolism and energy, stress proteins, transporter proteins, protein breakdown and recycling, cell growth and division and reactive oxygen scavengers. PCR analyses with primers based on the contigs and singletons showed that the most polymorphic functional categories were photosynthesis (contigs) and metabolism and energy (singletons). EST analysis revealed considerable genetic variability among the Turkish wheat cultivars resistant and susceptible to yellow rust disease and allowed calculation of the mean genetic distance between cultivars, with the greatest similarity (0.725) being between Harmankaya99 and Sönmez2001, and the lowest (0.622) between Aytin98 and Izgi01. <![CDATA[<b>Karyotype differentiation <i>in three</i> species of <i>Tripogandra</i> Raf. (Commelinaceae) with different ploidy levels</b>]]> Most species of the genus Tripogandra (Commelinaceae) are taxonomically poorly circumscribed, in spite of having a relatively stable basic number x = 8. Aiming to estimate the cytological variation among Tripogandra species carrying this base number, several structural karyotypic characters were investigated in the diploid T. glandulosa, the hexaploid T. serrulata, and the octoploid T. diuretica. A careful evaluation of chromosome size and morphology did not reveal clear chromosome homeologies among karyotypes. The mean chromosome size was strongly reduced in the octoploid species, but not in the hexaploid species. They also differed largely in the CMA+ banding pattern and in the number of 5S and 45S rDNA sites per monoploid chromosome complement. All three species showed proximal DAPI+ heterochromatin, although in T. serrulata this kind of heterochromatin was only visible after FISH. Further, the meiosis in T. serrulata was highly irregular, suggesting that this species has a hybrid origin. The data indicate that, in spite of the conservation of the base number, these species are karyologically quite different from each other. <![CDATA[<b>Molecular cloning and expression of key gene encoding hypothetical DNA polymerase from <i>B. mori</i> parvo-like virus</b>]]> BmPLV-Z is the abbreviation for Bombyx mori parvo-like virus (China isolate). This is a novel virus with two single-stranded linear DNA molecules, viz., VD1 (6543 bp) and VD2 (6022 bp), which are encapsidated respectively into separate virions. Analysis of the deduced amino acid sequence of VD1-ORF4 indicated the existence of a putative DNA-polymerase with exonuclease activity, possibly involved in the replication of BmPLV-Z. In the present study, a recombinant baculovirus was constructed to express the full length of the protein encoded by the VD1-ORF4 gene (3318 bp). In addition, a 2163-bp fragment amplified from the very same gene was cloned into prokaryotic expression vector pET-30a and expressed in E.coli Rosetta 2 (DE3) pLysS. The expressed fusion protein was employed to immunize New Zealand white rabbits for the production of an antiserum, afterwards used for examining the expression of the protein encoded by VD1-ORF4 gene in Sf-9 cells infected with recombinant baculovirus. Western blot analysis of extracts from thus cells infected revealed a specific band of about 120 kDa, thereby indicating that the full length protein encoded by the VD1-ORF4 gene had been successfully and stably expressed in Sf-9 cells. <![CDATA[<b>Phylogenetic position of an uncharacterized Brazilian strain of bovine papillomavirus in the genus <i>Xipapillomavirus</i> based on sequencing of the L1 open reading frame</b>]]> The use of PCR assays with degenerate primers has suggested the existence of numerous as yet uncharacterized bovine papillomaviruses (BPV). Despite the endemic nature of BPV infections, the identification of BPV types in Brazilian cattle is still only sporadic. However, in a recent analysis of a partial segment of the L1 gene, we observed notable diversity among the BPV types detected. The aim of this study was to determine the phylogenetic position of the previously identified wild strain BPV/BR-UEL2 detected in the state of Paraná in Brazil. Since previous analysis of the partial L1 sequence had shown that this strain was most closely related to BPV type 4, genus-specific primers were designed. Phylogenetic analysis using complete L1 ORF sequences revealed that BPV/BR-UEL2 was related to BPV types classified in the genus Xipapillomavirus and shared the highest L1 nucleotide sequence similarity with BPV type 4 (78%). This finding suggests that BPV/BR-UEL2 should be classified as a potential new type of BPV in the genus Xipapillomavirus. <![CDATA[<b>Toxicity and genotoxicity in <i>Astyanax bimaculatus</i> (Characidae) induced by microcystins from a bloom of <i>Microcystis</i> spp</b>]]> Studies of genotoxicity in fish caused by cyanobacterial microcystins can be useful both in determining the sensitivity of native species, as well as comparing exposure routes. The genotoxicity caused by the microcystins LR and LA from a bloom collected in a eutrophic lake, was revealed in the fish Astyanax bimaculatus, a native species from South America. LC50 (72 h) was determined as 242.81 µg L-1 and LD50 (72 h) as 49.19 µg kg-1 bw. There was a significant increase of DNA damage in peripheral erythrocytes, following intraperitoneal injection (ip) with tested concentrations of 24.58 µg kg-1 bw and 36.88 µg kg-1 bw, as well as through body exposure to a concentration of 103.72 µg L-1. Micronucleus (MN) induction was observed after ip injections of 24.58 µg kg-1 bw and 36.88 µg kg-1 bw for 72 h, as well as following body exposure for 72 at 103.72 µg L-1. Thus, both exposure routes resulted in MN induction and DNA damage. Apoptosis-necrosis testing was carried out only by ip injection with concentrations of 24.58 µg -1 bw and 36.88 µg kg-1 bw. Exposure to microcystins at lower concentrations induced more apoptosis than necrosis in peripheral erythrocytes, whereas exposure at higher concentrations gave rise to both conditions. Thus, Astyanax bimaculatus can be considered as a species sensitive to the genotoxic effects caused by microcystins. <![CDATA[<b>Micronuclei induced by reverse transcriptase inhibitors in mononucleated and binucleated cells as assessed by the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay</b>]]> This study evaluated the clastogenic and/or aneugenic potential of three nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (zidovudine - AZT, lamivudine - 3TC and stavudine - d4T) using the cytokinesis-block micronucleus (CBMN) assay in human lymphocyte cultures. All three inhibitors produced a positive response when tested in binucleated cells. The genotoxicity of AZT and 3TC was restricted to binucleated cells since there was no significant increase in the frequency of micronuclei in mononucleated cells. This finding indicated that AZT and 3TC caused chromosomal breakage and that their genotoxicity was related to a clastogenic action. In addition to the positive response observed with d4T in binucleated cells, this drug also increased the frequency of micronuclei in mononucleated cells, indicating clastogenic and aneugenic actions. Since the structural differences between AZT and 3TC and AZT and d4T involve the 3' position in the 2'-deoxyribonucleoside and in an unsaturated 2',3',dideoxyribose, respectively, we suggest that an unsaturated 2', 3', dideoxyribose is responsible for the clastogenic and aneugenic actions of d4T. <![CDATA[<b>A comparison of the effects of physical and chemical mutagens in sesame (<i>Sesamum indicum</i> L.)</b>]]> Three sesame genotypes (Rama, SI 1666 and IC 21706) were treated with physical (γ-rays: 200 Gy, 400 Gy or 600 Gy) or chemical (ethyl methane sulphonate, EMS: 0.5%, 1.0%, 1.5% or 2.0%) mutagens and their mutagenic effectiveness and efficiency were estimated in the M2 generation. The M3 generation was used to identify the most effective mutagen and dose for induction of mutations. The average effectiveness of EMS was much higher than γ-rays. The lowest dose of γ-rays (200 Gy) and the lowest concentration of EMS (0.5%) showed the highest mutagenic efficiency in all genotypes. Analysis of the M3 generation data based on parameters such as the variance ratio and the difference in residual variances derived from the model of Montalván and Ando indicated that 0.5% concentration of EMS was the most effective treatment for inducing mutations. <![CDATA[<b>Scenario of the spread of the invasive species <i>Zaprionus indianus</i> Gupta, 1970 (Diptera, Drosophilidae) in Brazil</b>]]> Zaprionus indianus was first recorded in Brazil in 1999 and rapidly spread throughout the country. We have obtained data on esterase loci polymorphisms (Est2 and Est3), and analyzed them, using Landscape Shape Interpolation and the Monmonier Maximum Difference Algorithm to discover how regional invasion occurred. Hence, it was apparent that Z. indianus, after first arriving in São Paulo state, spread throughout the country, probably together with the transportation of commercial fruits by way of the two main Brazilian freeways, BR 153, to the south and the surrounding countryside, and the BR 116 along the coast and throughout the north-east. <![CDATA[<b>Genetic structure of red-handed howler monkey populations in the fragmented landscape of Eastern Brazilian Amazonia</b>]]> We genotyped 15 microsatellite loci in order to evaluate the effects of habitat fragmentation, caused by flooding of the Tucuruí reservoir, on the genetic structure of Alouatta belzebul in eastern Amazonia. The analysis included two populations sampled in 1984, representing both margins of the Tocantins river, and three populations sampled 18 years later. Minimal differences in the diversity levels between present-day (Ho = 0.62-0.69 and A R = 6.07-7.21) and pre-flooding (Ho = 0.60-0.62 and A R = 6.27-6.77) populations indicated there was no significant loss of genetic variability, possibly because of successful management strategies applied during the flooding. The changes observed were limited to shifts in the composition of alleles, which presumably reflect the admixture of subpopulations during flooding. Given this, there were significant differences in the Rst values (p = 0.05) in all but one between-site comparison. Both present-day and original populations showed a deficit of heterozygotes, which suggests that this may be typical of the species, at least at a local level, perhaps because of specific ecological characteristics. The relatively large number of private alleles recorded in all populations may be a consequence of the Wahlund effect resulting from population admixture or a process of expansion rather than the loss of rare alleles through genetic drift. Additionally, the levels of genetic variability observed in this study were higher than those reported for other species of Neotropical primates, suggesting good fitness levels in these A. belzebul populations. Regular genetic monitoring of remnant populations, especially on islands, should nevertheless be an integral component of long-term management strategies. <![CDATA[<b>Genetic variability in five populations of <i>Partamona helleri</i> (Hymenoptera, Apidae) from Minas Gerais State, Brazil</b>]]> Partamona is a Neotropical genus of stingless bees that comprises 33 species distributed from Mexico to southern Brazil. These bees are well-adapted to anthropic environments and build their nests in several substrates. In this study, 66 colonies of Partamona helleri from five localities in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais (São Miguel do Anta, Teixeiras, Porto Firme, Viçosa and Rio Vermelho) were analyzed using nine microsatellite loci in order to assess their genetic variability. Low levels of observed (Ho = 0.099-0.137) and expected (He = 0.128-0.145) heterozygosity were encountered and revealed discrete genetic differentiation among the populations (F ST =0.025). AMOVA further showed that most of the total genetic variation (94.24%) in P. helleri was explained by the variability within local populations. <![CDATA[<b>Testing the Rio Doce as a riverine barrier in shaping the Atlantic rainforest population divergence in the rodent <i>Akodon cursor</i></b>]]> Akodon cursor occurs in dense rainforest from northern (8º S) to southern (26º S) states along the Atlantic coast of Brazil. Previous karyological and molecular data revealed two major clades, one including northern (8-15º S) and the other southern (19-26º S) populations. The center of geographic distribution (15-20º S), which included the state of Espírito Santo, was identified as a potential vicariance region. Since river barriers are among the most discussed models in the study of Neotropical diversification, we examined whether the Rio Doce (19º S) plays an important role in shaping the population genetic divergence of A. cursor by including samples from Espírito Santo in the analysis. Our results showed that the northern-southern division region in Atlantic forest was no coincidence with the presence of the Rio Doce by refuting the hypothesis that this river is an effective barrier to gene flow between populations. Instead, we found evidence that isolation by geographical distance shaped the phylogeographical structure in the southern lineage. However, there is uncertainty about effectiveness of the processes involved and further studies based on wider sampling are needed. <![CDATA[<b>Expression of <i>DLK1</i> and <i>MEG3</i> genes in porcine tissues during postnatal development</b>]]> The Drosophila-like homolog 1 (DLK1), a transmembrane signal protein similar to other members of the Notch/Delta/Serrate family, regulates the differentiation process in many types of mammalian cells. Callipyge sheep and DLK1 knockout mice are excellent examples of a fundamental role of the gene encoding DLK1 in muscle growth and fat deposition. DLK1 is located within co-regulated imprinted clusters (the DLK1/DIO3 domain), along with other imprinted genes. Some of these, e.g. the RNA coding MEG3 gene, presumedly interfere with DLK1 transcription. The aim of our study was to analyze DLK1 and MEG3 gene expression in porcine tissues (muscle, liver, kidney, heart, brain stem) during postnatal development. The highest expression of both DLK1 and MEG3 variant 1 (MEG3 var.1) was observed in the brain-stem and muscles, whereas that of MEG3 variant 2 (MEG3 var.2) was the most abundant in muscles and the heart. During development (between 60 and 210 days of age) expression of analyzed genes was down-regulated in all the tissues. An exception was the brain-stem, where there was no significant change in MEG3 (both variants) mRNA level, and relatively little decline (2-fold) in that of DLK1 transcription. This may indicate a distinct function of the DLK1 gene in the brain-stem, when compared with other tissues. <![CDATA[<b><i>In silico</i></b><b> identification of coffee genome expressed sequences potentially associated with resistance to diseases</b>]]> Sequences potentially associated with coffee resistance to diseases were identified by in silico analyses using the database of the Brazilian Coffee Genome Project (BCGP). Keywords corresponding to plant resistance mechanisms to pathogens identified in the literature were used as baits for data mining. Expressed sequence tags (ESTs) related to each of these keywords were identified with tools available in the BCGP bioinformatics platform. A total of 11,300 ESTs were mined. These ESTs were clustered and formed 979 EST-contigs with similarities to chitinases, kinases, cytochrome P450 and nucleotide binding site-leucine rich repeat (NBS-LRR) proteins, as well as with proteins related to disease resistance, pathogenesis, hypersensitivity response (HR) and plant defense responses to diseases. The 140 EST-contigs identified through the keyword NBS-LRR were classified according to function. This classification allowed association of the predicted products of EST-contigs with biological processes, including host defense and apoptosis, and with molecular functions such as nucleotide binding and signal transducer activity. Fisher's exact test was used to examine the significance of differences in contig expression between libraries representing the responses to biotic stress challenges and other libraries from the BCGP. This analysis revealed seven contigs highly similar to catalase, chitinase, protein with a BURP domain and unknown proteins. The involvement of these coffee proteins in plant responses to disease is discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Errata</b>]]> Sequences potentially associated with coffee resistance to diseases were identified by in silico analyses using the database of the Brazilian Coffee Genome Project (BCGP). Keywords corresponding to plant resistance mechanisms to pathogens identified in the literature were used as baits for data mining. Expressed sequence tags (ESTs) related to each of these keywords were identified with tools available in the BCGP bioinformatics platform. A total of 11,300 ESTs were mined. These ESTs were clustered and formed 979 EST-contigs with similarities to chitinases, kinases, cytochrome P450 and nucleotide binding site-leucine rich repeat (NBS-LRR) proteins, as well as with proteins related to disease resistance, pathogenesis, hypersensitivity response (HR) and plant defense responses to diseases. The 140 EST-contigs identified through the keyword NBS-LRR were classified according to function. This classification allowed association of the predicted products of EST-contigs with biological processes, including host defense and apoptosis, and with molecular functions such as nucleotide binding and signal transducer activity. Fisher's exact test was used to examine the significance of differences in contig expression between libraries representing the responses to biotic stress challenges and other libraries from the BCGP. This analysis revealed seven contigs highly similar to catalase, chitinase, protein with a BURP domain and unknown proteins. The involvement of these coffee proteins in plant responses to disease is discussed.