GM2-synthase gene is regulated epigenetically at the level of transcription in renal cell carcinoma.
GM2-synthase produces sialic acid-containing glycosphingolipids called gangliosides, and its mRNA overexpression and the gangliosides it generates are linked to tumor progression, migration, and suppression of tumor-specific host immune responses. However, the mechanism underlying GM2-synthase de-repression in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that higher GM2-synthase mRNA expression levels in various cancer cells and in human RCC tumors correlate with higher histone acetylation levels (H3K9, H3K14, or both) at region +38/+187 relative to the transcription start site (TSS) of the GM2-synthase gene than in normal kidney epithelial (NKE) cells or healthy adjacent tissues. An increase in GM2-synthase mRNA expression in cells treated with a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor was accompanied by increased histone acetylation levels at this promoter region. DNA methylation around the TSS was absent in both RCC cell lines and NKE cells. Of note, both the transcription factor Sp1 and corepressor HDAC1 associated with the +38/+187 region when the GM2-synthase gene was repressed in NKE and tumor-adjacent tissues, indicating plausible site-specific repressive roles of HDAC1 and Sp1 in GM2-synthase mRNA expression. Site-directed mutagenesis of the Sp1-binding site within the +38/+187 region relieved repressed luciferase activity of this region by limiting HDAC1 recruitment. Moreover, Sp1 or HDAC1 knockdown increased GM2-synthase transcription, and butyrate-mediated activation of GM2-synthase mRNA expression in SK-RC-45 cells was accompanied by Sp1 and HDAC1 loss from the +37/+187 region. Taken together, an epigenetic mechanism for the de-repression of the GM2-synthase gene in RCC has been identified.
Banerjee, A. et al., Elevated histone H3 acetylation and loss of the Sp1–HDAC1 complex de-repress the GM2-synthase gene in renal cell carcinoma. J. Biol. Chem., accepted for publication, Nov 2018.

Month Year : November - 2018
Stability study of GEM detector measuring anode current
Triple Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) detector prototype is built and tested with Argon and Carbon di-oxide gas mixture. The long-term stability study of this detector is performed using Fe55 X-ray source. The gain is measured and normalized for the T/p effect. In this measurement only a fluctuation about the mean value of 1.003 in the normalized gain is observed after T/p correction. No ageing is observed till an accumulation of charge per unit area greater than 12.0 mC per sq. mm. From these results it can be concluded that triple GEM detector can safely be used in high-energy physics experiments where a long-term stability of the detector is an essential criterion.
Adak R P et al, Long-term stability test of a triple GEM detector. Journal of Instrumentation, 11, T10001

Month Year : October - 2016
Measurement of angular variation of cosmic ray intensity with plastic scintillator detector
A new and simple technique has been developed using plastic scintillator detectors for the study of angular variation of cosmic ray intensity near the sea level. A systematic study of the characteristics of the plastic scintillator paddle detector has been carried out. The yield uniformity study of the paddle detector has been carried out. The angular variation of cosmic ray intensity is measured, in Kolkata, India during the beginning of 2017, with the coincidence technique and it is observed that the cosmic ray intensity decreases from ∼ 7 × 10^−3 to 3 × 10^−3 s^−1cm^−2sr^−1 corresponding to an increasing zenith angle of 0◦ to 70◦ respectively.
Roy S et al, Measurement of angular variation of cosmic ray intensity with plastic scintillator detector. Advanced Detectors for Nuclear, High Energy and Astroparticle Physics, Proceedings of ADNHEAP 2017, Springer Proceedings in Physics 201, 199-204, doi.org/10.1007/978 − 981 − 10 − 7665 − 7 20, ISBN 978-981-10-7664-0

Month Year : January - 2017
Some aspects of characterization of GEM detector
Basic Characterization of a triple-GEM detector has been carried out. Variation of gain over the active area of the detector has been checked, and the result shows a variation of ∼ 11.7 % over the area of 10 × 10 sq-cm. Tests have been done to check the dependance of gain on ambient relative humidity, and the results show that gain does not show any correlation with relative humidity.
Nag D et al, Some aspects of characterization of GEM detector. Advanced Detectors for Nuclear, High Energy and Astroparticle Physics, Proceedings of ADNHEAP 2017, Springer Proceedings in Physics 201, 205-210 (2017) doi.org/10.1007/978 − 981 − 10 − 7665 − 7 21, ISBN 978-981-10-7664-0

Month Year : January - 2017
Cosmic Ray Air Shower array in Darjeeling
An air shower array of seven plastic scintillation detectors has been built and commissioned at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level in the Eastern Himalayas (Darjeeling). Continuous measurement of shower rate using this array is going on since the end of January, 2018.Six detectors are kept at the vertices of a hexagon and one at the center of it. The distance between any two consecutive detectors is kept to be 8 m. Each detector element consists of four plastic scintillators of dimension 50 cm × 50 cm ×1 cm making the total active area of 1 m × 1 m. ll four scintillators of a detector are coupled with a single Photo Multiplier Tube (PMT) using a bundle of 48 wavelength shifting (WLS) fibers spread over the active area of the detector. The detector system is continuously measuring the number of cosmic ray showers. From this array it has been found that at an altitude of about 2200 m the average air shower rate is ∼1. 65Hz with an RMS of 0.24 and the 7-fold coincidence rate has been found to be ∼0.04 Hz with an RMS of 0.02.
Roy et al. Plastic scintillator detector array for detection of cosmic ray air shower, NIM A (in press)

Month Year : September - 2018
Low-Altitude rainfall occurred over Eastern Antarctica as a signature of global warming
Antarctica is known for the pristine polar continental area containing largest single-mass ice-sheet, which is very sensitive to recent climate change processes. The polar ice-sheet is a result of melting and formation of glaciers due to variation in snowfall. Our climate change study group of Environmental Sciences Section, Bose Institute led by Dr. Sanat Kumar Das, is investigating the effects of climate change processes over Antarctica. The group participated in the 36th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica (36th ISEA) for this study. One of our objectives is to investigate the south polar precipitation over eastern Antarctica from ground-based observations at the Indian national permanent station for scientific research, Bharati. Micro-rain Radar and Optical Rain Gauge (ORG) were installed in campaign mode at Bharati. One of our major findings from this scientific expedition is a first of its kind observation of rain coming from very low altitudes, near 1 km, during summer, which is a clear indication of melting of snowfall and effect of global warming over eastern Antarctica. The figures show the temporal variation of rain-rate profiles observed by the ground-based radar and the surface raindrop sizes (Dm) with rainrate using ORG, both with 1-min cadence. Simulation studies are going on to investigate the cause of such low-altitude rainfall over Antarctica.

Month Year :
Poor Air quality leading to high health risk in the Himalayan urban regions due to road-side garbage/biomass burning
Pollutants are scaled from ‘Good’ to ‘Severe’ in a scale (0-500) of air quality index (AQI) as per their toxicity and amount of loading into the atmosphere and the corresponding stress generated in different sensitive organs like heart and brain of the human body after breathing such polluted air, which leads to high health risks. Himalayan urban regions are highly polluted by particulate matter within 2.5-micron sizes (PM2.5), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Nitrogen-di-Oxide (NO2) due to significant amount of emissions from various types of combustion processes. A winter-time road-campaign was carried out with very low-cost light-weight Arduino sensors installed on a mobile laboratory to investigate the air quality index over the eastern Himalayas in the surroundings of our Himalayan observatory at Darjeeling campus, Bose Institute (BI). Our mobile observatory covered the area within a radius of about 30 km surrounding the urban region of Darjeeling including tea gardens over hilly slopes (TG), and orange valley (OV) regions. This Himalayan urban region is situated about 2 km above mean sea level (amsl), and the lowest height of the valley included in this campaign is about 1 km amsl. High concentrations of toxic gases like CO and NO2 were observed that are produced from various types of local road-side combustions near Darjeeling and could not disperse easily due to low temperature and humid atmosphere. PM2.5 was also very high over the Himalayan urban region. The PM2.5 aerosols are mainly forming from toxic gases through gas-to-particle conversion, and primary particles like Black Carbon are directly injected into the atmosphere from biomass burning. The Himalayan air-quality, indicating ‘Very Poor’ on an average and ‘Severe’ at some places on the air quality index scale, is worsening for breathing, particularly for chronical respiratory patients, and leading to increased heath risks in winter over the Himalayas.

Month Year :
Transfer reactions with 7Be to study the cosmological Lithium problem
First approved project from India at HIE-ISOLDE, CERN. Experiment carried out successfully during November 16 - 21, 2018.

Month Year : November - 2018
Resonance states of weakly bound and unbound nuclei using supersymmetric quantum mechanics
The study of resonances in unstable/unbound nuclei are extremely important in connections with nuclear-astrophysics problems. With the increasing availability of exotic rare isotope beams at state of the art accelerators, researchers are encouraged to carry out studies on structure of such nuclei. To complement experimental findings about unstable/unbound nuclei, robust theoretical frameworks are lacking as there are substantial ambiguities in the results of theoretical calculations relevant to experimental findings. We decided to work on a theory which would be suitable particularly for unstable/unbound nuclei. We adopted the theoretical procedure of supersymmetric quantum mechanics for the first time to generate the resonance states and their wave functions for unstable/unbound nuclei with excellent results. Resonance state wave functions of 15Be using supersymmetric quantum mechanics S. K. Dutta, D. Gupta, Swapan K. Saha Phys. Lett. B 776, 464 (2018) Study of resonance states of 11Be with isospectral bound state microscopic potential S. K. Dutta, D. Gupta, D. Das and Swapan K. Saha Jour. Phys. G: Nucl. Part. Phys. 41, 095104 (2014)

Month Year : January - 2018
Diversity and Distribution of Antibiotic resistance Bacteria (ARBs) in the Sundarban Mangrove Ecosystem
Ever since the beginning of the antibiotic era in the early 1940s, the rapid increase in both the manufacture and excessive use of antibiotics have resulted in the uncontrolled release of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) into different human and natural environmental settings. With the turn of the century, the ARGs are being increasingly observed in not only clinical settings like hospitals but also in the natural environment, especially in those regions that are under the influence of man-made pollutions. Surprisingly, recent studies have also revealed that the rise of ARGs in natural environments is also influenced by the prevalence of heavy metals and polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contaminations of the said environment. As a result, regions that are highly populated harbor more of such natural environments that are prevalent in ARGs. Globally, a number of studies have been performed till date that look into the prevalence of such ARGs in different polluted natural environmental settings. However, even though being a highly populated country ourselves, such studies in India have been very few. Dr. Abhrajyoti Ghosh's laboratory is involved in the understanding of the microbial diversity of the Sundarban mangrove ecosystem. They have recently performed a study for the first time in India to assess the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant microbes and the distribution of antibiotic-resistance genes in the mangrove ecosystem. Their results clearly indicate that anthropogenic influence shapes the distribution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) in the sediment of Sundarban estuary.
Bhattacharyya A et al, Anthropogenic influence shapes the distribution of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) in the sediment of Sundarban estuary in India. Science of The Total Environ Environment (Elsevier), 647: 1626-1639 (2019)

Month Year : January - 2019
The oligomeric plasticity of Hsp20 of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius protects environment-induced protein aggregation and membrane destabilization
Small heat shock proteins (sHsps) are a ubiquitous family of molecular chaperones that rescue misfolded proteins from irreversible aggregation during cellular stress. Many such sHsps exist as large polydisperse species in solution, and a rapid dynamic subunit exchange between oligomeric and dissociated forms modulates their function under a variety of stress conditions. Dr. Abhrajyoti Ghosh's laboratory investigated the structural and functional properties of Hsp20 from thermoacidophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius. To provide a framework for investigating the structure-function relationship of Hsp20 and understanding its dynamic nature, they employed several biophysical and biochemical techniques. Ghosh's laboratory has shown the existence of a ~24-mer of Hsp20 at room temperature (25 °C) and a higher oligomeric form at higher temperature (50 °C–70 °C) and lower pH (3.0–5.0). They also identified a dimeric form of protein as the functional conformation in the presence of aggregating substrate proteins. The hydrophobic microenvironment mainly regulates the oligomeric plasticity of Hsp20, and it plays a key role in the protection of stress-induced protein aggregation. In Sulfolobus sp., Hsp20, despite being a non-secreted protein, has been reported to be present in secretory vesicles and it is still unclear whether it stabilizes substrate proteins or membrane lipids within the secreted vesicles. To address such an issue, they tested the ability of Hsp20 to interact with membrane lipids along with its ability to modulate membrane fluidity. Their data revealed that Hsp20 interacts with membrane lipids via a hydrophobic interaction and it lowers the propensity of in vitro phase transition of bacterial and archaeal lipids.
Roy M et al, The oligomeric plasticity of Hsp20 of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius protects environment-induced protein aggregation and membrane destabilization. BBA-Biomembranes (Elsevier) 1860(12): 2549-2565 (2018)

Month Year : December - 2018
miRTPred:A supervised ensemble approach for sensitive microRNA target prediction
miRTPred model is built by using experimentally validated miRNA-mRNA interactions from CLIP and CLASH. Thereafter, context features of the target binding site are generated from which the enriched features are selected. Finally several ensemble and non ensemble based models are trained, to select the optimal blended ensemble based predictor model with maximum predictive performance. It is available at http://bicresources.jcbose.ac.in/zhumur/mirtpred/
Maji RK et al, IEEE/ACM Trans Comput Biol Bioinform,doi: 10.1109/TCBB.2018.2858252(2018).

Month Year : July - 2018
Topologically inspired walks on randomly connected landscapes with correlated fitness
Strictly adaptive walks on uncorrelated and correlated fitness landscapes have been a subject of intense research. However, some experimental findings tend to advance the notion of non-adaptive evolution in terms of epistasis. To address such evolutionary paths, herein we introduce the concept of topologically inspired walks on connected and correlated landscapes with complex topologies. These walks are dictated solely by the topology of connections and are not explicitly dependent on the underlying fitness values. In the biologically significant regime of sparse randomness, these topologically inspired walks might carry a population to a local optimum even faster than strictly adaptive walks. This effect becomes more pronounced with increasing correlations in fitness.
Grewal RK et al, Topologically inspired walks on randomly connected landscapes with correlated fitness. Frontiers in Physics, 6, 138 (2018)

Month Year : December - 2018
We have developed a molecular marker in mulberry. The adoption of this marker-assisted selection technique will lead to predictive plant type of mulberry with tolerance to powdery mildew disease.
Chalcone synthase (CHS) is an essential enzyme in the phenylpropanoid pathway that catalyzes the first step in flavonoid biosynthesis in plants under diverse environmental stress. We have used CHS as a candidate gene in mulberry and developed Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) based co-dominant Cleaved Amplified Polymorphic Sequence (CAPS) marker associated with the CHS locus. The segregation pattern of the marker was studied in an F1 population derived from a hybridization program between two mulberry genotypes showing polymorphism for the CHS locus. Differential CHS activity of the recombinants has been correlated with the segregation pattern of the marker. Homology modelling and docking studies are performed for both the identified CHS alleles and correlated with respective CHS activity. Phenotyping of Powdery Mildew infected F1 population indicated a probable association with the CAPS marker.
Arora V et al, Allele specific CAPS marker development and characterization of chalcone synthase gene in Indian mulberry (Morus spp., family Moraceae). PLoS ONE 12(6): e0179189. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0179189

Month Year : June - 2017
We have established WUSCHEL, a transcription factor as an early marker for the onset of in vitro shoot morphogenesis. It will help for predictive plant transgenic development for the non-model plants.
We have studied the role of growth regulators behind in vitro shoot organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis in two plant systems, viz. tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L. var. Jayasri) and Beta palonga R.K. Basu & K.K. Mukh. We have also correlated the phenomena of de differentiation with the relative expression of WUS (WUSCHEL) gene in a time-dependent manner. The results indicated that early WUS gene expression is a definite marker for in vitro shoot organogenesis in tobacco and Beta both in direct and indirect modes of regeneration. Additionally, we have performed a comparative homology modeling and in silico structural analysis of WUSCHEL proteins of B. palonga, B. vulgaris, and Arabidopsis to find out the commonality of the ligand binding site. The amino acids of the binding sites were identical (Arginine, Tryptophan, Proline, Asparagine, and Tyrosine) in the three materials under study; except two additional amino acids (Isoleucine and Alanine) in B. vulgaris
Sultana M et al, Early expression of WUSCHEL is a marker for in vitro shoot morphogenesis in tobacco and Beta palonga. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture (PCTOC) (2018) 134:277–288 https://doi.org/10.1007/s11240-018-1421-x

Month Year : May - 2018
Expression of Interest invited from Pharma Companies for commercialization of anticancer agent (see Technology Transfer under Research)
Discovery of anti-metastatic drugs is of immense clinical significance as metastasis is responsible for 90% of all cancer deaths. Here we report the inhibitory effect of a bis schiff base (M2) on cancer cell migration and invasion in vitro and in vivo. Microarray studies identified a long non coding intergenic RNA (LINC00273), as a novel molecular target of M2. We report that this LINC harbors a unique parallel G-Quadruplex structure in its promoter, which is stabilized by M2 down-regulating its expression. DMS footprint and dual luciferase reporter assay unravels the folding of parallel stranded G-Quadruplex and its existence at LINC promoter respectively. Dose dependent M2 administration in C57/BL6 mice showed inhibition of cancer metastasis in lung, liver and kidney tissues. M2 has shown good solubility and permeability across the intestinal cell wall and hence can be classified as BCS (Biopharmaceutical classification system) class I. Absorption of M2 along the intestinal wall nullifies the role of efflux transporters present on the apical membrane. siRNA mediated knock down of this LINC, negatively regulates cancer cell migration but does not affect cell viability. Total four animal tumor model including Xenograft in Nude Mice model were used to understand the efficacy of the molecule. Both oral and intravenous forms of the agent were examined. The complete pharmacokinetics of the agent in in-vivo model (Swiss Albino mice) was performed. The data look very promising. The toxicity profile of the drug in in-vivo model was also performed. Furthermore, the real time expression of this LINC (the receptor of M2) in thirty seven human clinical samples (of varying types of cancer eg. breast, gastric, colon, uterus, prostrate, oral, cervical etc) found to be positively correlated with the histopathological staging of metastasis thereby validating the target as unique and universal.

Month Year : February - 2019
Old Science News


Related: Media / Press corner



Mathematical modelling and experiments demonstrate that mycobacteriophages can kill mycobacteria by non-lytic mechanisms. The information derived could lead to the development of new drugs for the treatment of TB




Mycobacteriophages infect and grow in mycobacterium species, several of which happen to be dangerous pathogens – the best known example being Mycobacterium tuberculosis that causes the deadly disease tuberculosis. Eliminating tuberculosis through prevailing antibiotic-based strategies has had restricted success, due to the rise of drug-resistant strains. Phage therapy for tuberculosis is an interesting possibility. Sujoy Das Gupta (Microbiology) and Soumen Roy (Physics) are currently investigating the mechanism by which these phages interact with their mycobacterial hosts, thereby killing them. Using D29, as a model mycobacteriophage, they have found that in addition to lysis, this phage can induce cell death through an alternative mechanism involving production of superoxide radicals. By obtaining more insight into this intriguing phenomenon, they eventually hope to unravel novel metabolic pathways that can be targeted for drug development against tuberculosis. This work was also selected by the editors of AEM spotlight

Reference: Samaddar S et al, Dynamics of mycobacteriophage-mycobacterial host interaction: Evidence for secondary mechanisms for host Lethality. Applied and Environmental Microbiology [ASM],  82, 124-133 (2016) 


A new approach towards information retrieval from dynamic multidimensional images using complex networks developed. The method can be used for non-invasive diagnosis of dry eye disease




Soumen Roy presented a fresh and broad yet simple method of information retrieval from videos by converting them to time series and thence to networks. His lab used thermal imaging videos collected by collaborators at Calcutta University from patients at Calcutta Medical College. The mean pixel intensities from every frame of the imaged videos were collated into time series, which were then converted into networks. Using network measures they could successfully distinguish between dry eye patients and healthy individuals. 

This approach is completely new in medical diagnostics, particularly in eye research. The findings are important because their technique is fast and non-invasive (requires no physical contact with affected organs). They also showed that their approach compares well to sophisticated image processing algorithms, which are much harder to implement at the level of real-time electronic devices. The technique can be applied to many other videos and might help in designing smart devices. A patent has also been filed by TIFAC (DST). 

Reference: Banerjee SJ et al, Using complex networks towards information retrieval and diagnostics in multidimensional imaging. Scientific Reports [Nature],  5, 17271 (2015) 


Mechanism of ganglioside GM2 mediated migration of tumor cells - a pivotal role of the integrin receptor




The definitive role of ganglioside GM2 in mediating tumor-induced growth and progression is still unknown. Kaushik Biswas recently reported a novel role of ganglioside GM2 in mediating tumor cell migration and uncovered its mechanism. They established the functional role of ganglioside GM2 by a multidirectional approach, using either silencing or over-expression of GM2-synthase, the key enzyme that controls GM2 biosynthesis. The mechanism of GM2-mediated tumor cell migration was elucidated using gene expression profiling as well as conventional biochemical techniques, which confirmed a role of integrin signaling and its downstream partners in the process. Finally, confocal microscopy suggested co-localization while co-immunoprecipitation and surface plasmon resonance confirmed direct interaction of membrane bound GM2 with the integrin receptor. Thus over-expression of select gangliosides (GM2) in tumors result in enhanced interaction with membrane bound integrin-1 causing activation of the downstream signaling leading to rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton resulting in enhanced migration in tumor cells.

Reference: Kundu M et al, Mechanism of ganglioside GM2 mediated migration of tumor cells - a pivotal role of the integrin receptor. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Cell Research [Elsevier], 1863, 1472-89 (2016)


Key molecular regulators of early blight disease response in tomato have been revealed




In plants, for a steady, specific and sturdy response against an invading pathogen reprogramming in gene expression cascade is essential. This reprogramming initiates from transcriptional regulation of gene expression. However, the abundance of a transcript is also dependent on regulatory microRNAs that are targeting a specific mRNA. Thus, to gain insight into the response regulators in tomato plants infected with early blight disease pathogen Alternaria solani the whole transcriptome analysis was performed. The differentially expressed mRNAs, miRNAs,  and the miRNA-mRNA interacting pairs were identified and in-depth bioinformatic analyses suggested that genes of plant-pathogen interaction, plant hormone signal transduction pathways and secondary metabolite biosynthesis were mostly affected by the regulated miRNAs. These analyses in the lab of Pallob Kundu have uncovered key regulators of Alternaria-stress response in tomato and would help in designing strategies for imparting resistance against the economically important pathogen. 
Reference: Sarkar D et alIntegrated miRNA and mRNA expression profiling reveals the response regulators of a susceptible tomato cultivar to early blight disease. DNA Research [Oxford] dsx003 (2017) 

delta factor of Bacillus subtilis is not a subunit of RNAP, but functions as a transcriptional factor



delta, a small protein found in most Gram-positive bacteria was, for a long time, thought to be a subunit of RNA polymerase and was shown to be involved in recycling of RNA polymerase at the end of each round of transcription. However, how delta participates in both up-regulation and down-regulation of genes in vivo remains unclear. Jayanta Mukhopadhyay has shown that in addition to the recycling of RNAP, Bacillus subtilis delta functions as a transcriptional activator by binding to an A-rich sequence located immediately upstream of the -35 element, consequently facilitating the open complex formation. 
His group further showed that delta could also function as a transcriptional repressor in which the protein binds to an A-rich sequence located near the -35 element of the promoters and inhibits the open complex formation due to steric clash with sigma region 4.2. Thus, the results explain the mechanism of up-regulation and down-regulation of genes by the protein. 
Reference: Prajapati RK et al, Bacillus subtilis delta factor functions as a transcriptional regulator by facilitating the open complex formation.  Journal of  Biological Chemistry [ASBMB], 291, 1064-75 (2016)

Newly designed  mASAL, a lectin like Protein conferring sheath blight resistance in transgenic rice 



Allium sativum leaf agglutinin (ASAL), a dimeric mannose binding lectin has been established earlier as potent insecticidal protein. Using site directed mutagenesis,  a beta-turn was incorporated between 11th and 12th beta-strands of ASAL subunits, resulting in a stable monomeric variant,  mASAL. Instead of being insecticidal, mASAL exhibits significant antifungal activity against Rhizoctonial solani, causes devastating sheath blight disease in rice.  As per WHO/FAO recommendation, Pepsin digestion, thermal stability assay, targeted sera screening test and sensitization of Balb/c mice with mASAL established it as a biologically safe protein for biotechnological application. Transgenic indica rice expressing mASAL demonstrated significant tolerance to sheath blight. Studies conducted by Sampa Das’s group opens up the possibility of engineering important plants with mASAL for sustainable pathogen resistance.
Reference: Ghosh P et al, Monitoring the efficacy of mutated Allium sativum leaf lectin in transgenic rice against Rhizoctonial solani,  BMC  Biotechnology [BMC], 16, 24 (2016) 

Critical roles of Hsp90 in CRAF kinase stabilization and actin dependent translocation to the plasma membrane during MAPK signaling



RAF isoforms are commonly regulated by several molecular events and scaffold proteins. Being a strong chaperone client, CRAF is always assisted by Hsp90. In this paper, we provide the explanation for the stringent assemblage between CRAF and Hsp90 that differs for both newly made and folded CRAF kinase. Atin Mandal observed that Hsp90 promotes CRAF denovo maturation, essential for CRAF stability and activity. However, after folding the stability of CRAF does not depend on Hsp90 anymore, although the association between Hsp90 and CRAF still remains intact. The post-folding interaction between Hsp90 and CRAF regulates actin-dependent translocation of the kinase during MAPK signaling. Thus, Hsp90 keeps CRAF kinase maturation and its intracellular translocation in balance to sustain accurate cellular growth and proliferation.
Reference: Mitra S et al, Bipartite Role of Heat Shock Protein (Hsp90) Keeps CRAF Kinase Poised for Activation. Journal of Biological Chemistry [ABSMB], 291, 24579-24593 (2016)