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Biofortifying food crops with essential minerals would help to alleviate mineral deficiencies in humans. Detection of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for mineral nutrient contents in rice was conducted using backcross inbred lines derived from an interspecific cross of Oryza sativa × O. rufipogon. The population was grown in Hangzhou and Lingshui, with the contents of Mg, Zn, Fe, Mn, Cu and Se in brown rice measured in both trials and that in milled rice tested in Hangzhou only. A total of 24 QTLs for mineral element contents were identified, including two for both the brown and milled rice, 17 for brown rice only, and five for milled rice only. All the seven QTLs detected for the mineral contents in milled rice and 13 of the 19 QTLs for the contents in brown rice had the enhancing alleles derived from O. rufipogon. Fifteen QTLs were clustered in seven chromosomal regions, indicating that common genetic-physiological mechanisms were involved for different mineral nutrients and the beneficial alleles could be utilized to improve grain nutritional quality by markerassisted selection.

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The most abundant seed storage proteins of wheat are gliadins and glutenins. Gliadins, including α/β, γ and ω types, are normally monomeric proteins and account for about 50% of the gluten proteins. In this study, 55 sequences of γ -gliadin genes were obtained from species of Sitopsis section, the deduced B genome donors of wheat. Despite the high sequence similarities to the known γ -gliadin genes, extensive variations were also found. Using the extensive sequence information deposited in database and obtained in this study, a comprehensive classification of the γ -gliadin multigene families were performed based on the primary structures and phylogenic analysis. All the γ -gliadin genes analyzed could be divided into 2 types, which contain 8 and 9 cysteines, respectively. Type I (with 8 cysteines) and type II (with 9 cysteines) are further classified to 7 and 4 groups, respectively, and several subgroups are also identified. The genes derived from A, B and D genomes of common wheat were clustered distinctly, indicating that there was apparent genomic specificity in γ -gliadins genes. Besides the high homology between γ -gliadin genes from Sitopsis species and B genome of wheat, some unique groups or subgroups were also identified in Sitopsis section, suggesting that it could be considered as a valuable source of γ -gliadin genes. The comparison of deduced primary structures of each group and/or subgroup was conducted, from which their evolution and quality properties were also speculated.

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Polysaccharides from litchi (Litchi chinensis) seeds were isolated and purified using ion exchange column chromatography. Molecular weight distribution of polysaccharides and monosaccharides were detected. Preliminary structural characterisation of polysaccharides was conducted using infrared, nuclear magnetic, and other spectroscopy techniques in combination with methylation analysis. In vitro cell culture experiments were designed to detect the effects of polysaccharides on cell growth and cellular glucose consumption. We extracted and analysed three polysaccharides from litchi seed. Monosaccharide composition and infrared spectroscopy detection showed that the skeleton structure of polysaccharides consisted of glucose and mannose. Polysaccharides 1 and 2 are similar and have relatively high glucose content (around 70%); polysaccharide 3 has 39.17% glucose only but is rich in arabinose (about 21.03%). In a certain range of use (50~1000 μg ml–1), polysaccharides 1 and 2 have no significant impacts on cell growth, while polysaccharide 3 can promote proliferation to some extent. All three polysaccharides can promote in vitro cellular glucose consumption, especially polysaccharide 3, which shows the strongest promotion, a significant dose effect, and synergistic effect with insulin. The above results highlight important roles of litchi seed polysaccharides in promoting cell growth and validate litchi seed polysaccharides as potential drugs for hypoglycaemia.

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High-yield common buckwheat ‘cv. Fengtian 1’ (FT1) and tartary buckwheat ‘cv. Jingqiao 2’ (JQ2) were selected to investigate the characteristics of the grain-filling process and starch accumulation of high-yield buckwheat. FT1 had an average yield that was 43.0% higher than that of the control ‘cv. Tongliaobendixiaoli’ (TLBDXL) in two growing seasons, while JQ2 had an average yield that was 27.3% higher than that of the control ‘cv. Chuanqiao 2’ (CQ2). The Richards equation was utilized to evaluate the grain-filling process of buckwheat. Both FT1 and JQ2 showed higher values of initial growth power and final grain weight and longer linear increase phase, compared with respective control. These values suggest that the higher initial increasing rate and the longer active growth period during grain filling play important roles to increase buckwheat yield. Similar patterns of starch, amylose and amylopectin accumulation were detected in common buckwheat, leading to similar concentration of each constituent at maturity in FT1 and TLBDXL. Tartary buckwheat showed an increasing accumulation pattern of amylose in developing seeds, which differed from that of starch and amylopectin. This pattern led to a significant difference of the concentrations of amylose and amylopectin at maturity between JQ2 and CQ2, the mechanisms of which remained unclear. Nevertheless, both FT1 and JQ2 showed increased starch, amylose, and amylopectin accumulation during the physiological maturity of grains. The results suggest that prolonging the active grain-filling period to increase carbohydrate partitioning from source to seed sink can be an effective strategy to improve buckwheat yield.

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Chemokine a nd antibody response profiles were investigated in children and adults with severe or uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria; the aim was to reveal which profiles are associated with severe disease, as often seen in nonimmune children, or with mild and uncomplicated disease, as seen in semi-immune adults. Blood samples were obtained from children under 5 years of age as well as adults with falciparum malaria. Classification of malaria was performed according to parasite densities and hemoglobin concentrations. Plasma levels of chemokines (IL-8, IP-10, MCP-4, TARC, PARC, MIP-1δ, eotaxins) were quantified, and antibody responses (IgE, IgG1, and IgG4) to P. falciparum, Entamoeba histolytica-specific antigen, and mite allergen extracts were determined. In children with severe malaria proinflammatory, IL-8, IP10, MIP-1δ, and LARC were at highly elevated levels, suggesting an association with severe disease. In contrast, the Th2-type chemokines TARC, PARC, and eotaxin-2 attained in children the same levels as in adults suggesting the evolution of immune regulatory components. In children with severe malaria, an elevated IgG1 and IgE reactivity to mite allergens and intestinal protozoan parasites was observed. In conclusion, exacerbated proinflammatory chemokines together with IgE responses to mite allergens or E. histolytica-specific antigen extract were observed in children with severe falciparum malaria.

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Cereal Research Communications
Authors: D. Huang, H. Zhang, M. Tar, Y. Zhang, F. Ni, J. Ren, D. Fu, L. Purnhauser, and J. Wu

Stripe or yellow rust (Yr), caused by Puccinia striiformis Westend. (Pst), is one of the most important wheat diseases worldwide. New aggressive Pst races can spread quickly, even between countries and continents. To identify and exploit stripe rust resistance genes, breeders must characterize first the Pst resistance and genotypes of their cultivars. To find new sources of resistances it is important to study how wheat varieties respond to Pst races that predominate in other continents. In this study we evaluated stripe rust resistance in 53 Hungarian winter wheat cultivars in China. Twenty-four cultivars (45.3%) had all stage resistance (ASR) and 1 (1.9%) had adult-plant resistance (APR), based on seedling tests in growth chambers and adult-plant tests in fields. We molecularly genotyped six Yr resistance genes: Yr5, Yr10, Yr15, Yr17, Yr18, and Yr36. Yr18, an APR gene, was present alone in five cultivars, and in ‘GK Kapos’, that also had seedling resistance. The other five Yr genes were absent in all cultivars tested.

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