[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During adaptation to environments, bacteria employ two-component signal transduction systems, which contain histidine kinases and response regulators, to sense and respond to exogenous and cellular stimuli in an accurate spatiotemporal manner. Although the protein phosphorylation process between histidine kinase and response regulator has been well documented, the molecular mechanism finetuning phosphorylation levels of response regulators is comparatively less studied. Here we combined genetic and biochemical approaches to reveal that a hybrid histidine kinase, SreS, is involved in the SreK-SreR phosphotransfer process to control salt stress response in the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris. The N-terminal receiver domain of SreS acts as a phosphate sink by competing with the response regulator SreR to accept the phosphoryl group from the latter's cognate histidine kinase SreK. This regulatory process is critical for bacterial survival because the dephosphorylated SreR protein participates in activating one of the tandem promoters (P2) at the 5' end of the sreK-sreR-sreS-hppK operon, and then modulates a transcriptional surge of the stress responsive gene hppK, which is required for folic acid synthesis. Therefore, our study dissects the biochemical process of a positive feedback loop in which a "three-component" signaling system finetunes expression kinetics of downstream genes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RNA silencing provides protection against RNA viruses by targeting both the helper virus and its satellite RNA (satRNA). Virus-derived small interfering RNAs (vsiRNAs) bound with Argonaute (AGO) proteins are presumed participants in the silencing process. Here, we show that a vsiRNA targeted to virus RNAs triggers the host RNA-dependent RNA polymerase 6 (RDR6)-mediated degradation of viral RNAs. We confirmed that satRNA-derived small interfering RNAs (satsiRNAs) could be associated with different AGO proteins in planta. The most frequently cloned satsiRNA, satsiR-12, was predicted to imperfectly match to Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) RNAs in the upstream area of the 3' untranslated region (3' UTR). Moreover, an artificial satsiR-12 (asatsiR-12) mediated cleavage of a green fluorescent protein (GFP) sensor construct harboring the satsiR-12 target site. asatsiR-12 also mediated reduction of viral RNAs in 2b-deficient CMV (CMVΔ2b)-infected Nicotiana benthamiana. The reduction was not observed in CMVΔ2b-infected RDR6i plants, in which RDR6 was silenced. Following infection with 2b-containing CMV, the reduction in viral RNAs was not observed in plants of either genotype, indicating that the asatsiR-12-mediated reduction of viral RNAs in the presence of RDR6 was inhibited by the 2b protein. Our results suggest that satsiR-12 targeting the 3' UTR of CMV RNAs triggered RDR6-dependent antiviral silencing. Competition experiments with wild-type CMV RNAs and anti-satsiR-12 mutant RNA1 in the presence of 2b and satRNA demonstrate the inhibitory effect of the 2b protein on the satsiR-12-related degradation of CMV RNAs, revealing a substantial suppressor function of the 2b protein in native CMV infection. Our data provide evidence for the important biological functions of satsiRNAs in homeostatic interactions among the host, virus, and satRNA in the final outcome of viral infection.
Journal of Virology 12/2011; 85(24):13384-97. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To better understand the response of rice to nutrient stress, we have taken a systematic approach to identify rice genes that respond to deficiency of macronutrients and affect rice growth. We report here the expression and biological functions of a previously uncharacterized rice gene that we have named NRR (nutrition response and root growth). NRR is alternatively spliced, producing two 5'-coterminal transcripts, NRRa and NRRb, encoding two proteins of 308 and 223 aa, respectively. Compared to NRRb, NRRa possesses an additional CCT domain at the C-terminus. Expression of NRR in rice seedling roots was significantly influenced by deficiency of macronutrients. Knock-down of expression of NRRa or NRRb by RNA interference resulted in enhanced rice root growth. By contrast, overexpression of NRRa in rice exhibited significantly retarded root growth. These results revealed that both NRRa and NRRb played negative regulatory roles in rice root growth. Our findings suggest that NRRa and NRRb, acting as the key components, modulate the rice root architecture with the availability of macronutrients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Satellite RNAs (satRNAs) depend on cognate helper viruses for replication, encapsidation, movement and transmission. Many satRNAs with different symptom modulation effects have been reported. The pathogenicity of satRNAs is thought to be the result of a direct interaction among the satRNA, helper viruses and host factors by unknown mechanisms. To understand the effect of satRNA of Cucumber mosaic virus (a severe field ShanDong strain, SD-CMV) on pathogenicity, and the possible involvement of host RNA silencing pathways in pathogenicity, we constructed biologically active CMV cDNA clones and a CMV-Δ2b mutant lacking the open reading frame of 2b, a silencing suppressor protein, in order to infect Nicotiana benthamiana and Arabidopsis with or without SD-satRNA. We found that SD-satRNA reduced the accumulation of the 2b protein and its coding RNA4A and attenuated the yellowing caused by SD-CMV infection. Small RNA analysis indicated that the 2b protein interfered with RNA silencing, specifically in the synthesis of CMV RNA3-derived small interfering RNAs (R3-siRNAs). The accumulation of R3-siRNAs in CMV-Δ2b infection was reduced in the presence of satRNA, for which greater accumulation of satRNA-derived siRNAs (satsiRNAs) was detected. Our results suggest that abundant SD-satRNA serving as target for RNA silencing may play a role in protecting helper CMV RNA, especially, subgenomic RNA4, from being targeted by RNA silencing. This compensates for the increase in RNA silencing resulting from the reduction in expression of the 2b suppressor in the presence of satRNA. Our data provide evidence that a plant silencing mechanism is involved in the pathogenicity of satRNA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined the relationship between the recurrent flowering character and the expression patterns of TERMINAL FLOWER 1 (TFL1) homologs in roses, using flower buds of Rosa multiflora, R. rugosa, R. chinensis, and six other rose species and nine rose cultivars. RTFL1 (Rosa TFL1) genes were amplified from rose genomic DNA using a combination of degenerate and gene-specific primers by thermal asymmetric interlaced-PCR and normal PCR, respectively. Their copy numbers in different species were determined by Southern blots. We used real-time PCR to analyze the expression patterns of RTFL1 genes at four developmental stages (pre-sprouting, young, mid-aged, and mature flower buds). Our results show that there are at least three RTFL1 homologs in roses; RTFL1a, RTFL1b, and RTFL1c. The sequences of the homologs were more similar among the same homolog in different species than among the different homologs in the same species. For RTFL1a, we detected two copies in R. multiflora, two copies in R. rugosa, and one copy in R. chinensis. For RTFL1c, we detected one copy in R. multiflora, two copies in R. rugosa, and three copies in R. chinensis. We detected only one copy of RTFL1b in R. chinensis. RTFL1c was expressed at high levels at all four flowering stages in R. multiflora and R. rugosa, which are non-recurrent flowering species, whereas it was barely detected in R. chinensis (a recurrent flowering species) at any stage. These results were further verified in six other non-recurrent flowering species and nine recurrent flowering cultivars. These results suggest that the recurrent flowering habit in roses results from lower expression of RTFL1c, which may be related to recurrent flowering character in roses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A series of HSP70 promoter deletion constructs was established. Analysis of beta-glucuronidase activities from the promoter deletion constructs in transient expression assays identified a cis-element, located from -493 to -308 bp upstream of the ATG start site. This element was designated as HS185 and has a crucial role in HSP70 promoter activity. HS185 has some characteristics of a miniature inverted-repeat transposable element (MITE), such as terminal inverted repeats (TIRs) (GGTCCCACA) and a putative target site duplication. There are 362 copies of homologous sequences of HS185 in the rice genome, which are preferentially distributed to non-coding regions. Based on these sequence features, we propose that HS185 is an uncharacterized rice MITE, possibly derived from the rice transposon Mutator-like element VIII family. Further transient expression assays showed that HS185 inhibited the enhancer activity of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter. These results demonstrate that not only is HS185 necessary for HSP70 promoter activity, but it also has a functional role as an insulator. This study explored new regulatory functions of non-coding repeat sequences in rice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) are regarded as important regulators in prokaryotes and play essential roles in diverse cellular processes. Xanthomonas oryzae pathovar oryzae (Xoo) is an important plant pathogenic bacterium which causes serious bacterial blight of rice. However, little is known about the number, genomic distribution and biological functions of sRNAs in Xoo.
Here, we performed a systematic screen to identify sRNAs in the Xoo strain PXO99. A total of 850 putative non-coding RNA sequences originated from intergenic and gene antisense regions were identified by cloning, of which 63 were also identified as sRNA candidates by computational prediction, thus were considered as Xoo sRNA candidates. Northern blot hybridization confirmed the size and expression of 6 sRNA candidates and other 2 cloned small RNA sequences, which were then added to the sRNA candidate list. We further examined the expression profiles of the eight sRNAs in an hfq deletion mutant and found that two of them showed drastically decreased expression levels, and another exhibited an Hfq-dependent transcript processing pattern. Deletion mutants were obtained for seven of the Northern confirmed sRNAs, but none of them exhibited obvious phenotypes. Comparison of the proteomic differences between three of the ΔsRNA mutants and the wild-type strain by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) analysis showed that these sRNAs are involved in multiple physiological and biochemical processes.
We experimentally verified eight sRNAs in a genome-wide screen and uncovered three Hfq-dependent sRNAs in Xoo. Proteomics analysis revealed Xoo sRNAs may take part in various metabolic processes. Taken together, this work represents the first comprehensive screen and functional analysis of sRNAs in rice pathogenic bacteria and facilitates future studies on sRNA-mediated regulatory networks in this important phytopathogen.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As one of the largest gene families, F-box domain proteins have important roles in regulating various developmental processes and stress responses. In this study, we have investigated a rice F-box domain gene, MAIF1. The MAIF1 protein is mainly localized in the plasma membrane and nucleus. MAIF1 expression is induced rapidly and strongly by abscisic acid (ABA) and abiotic stresses. MAIF1 expression is also induced in root tips by sucrose, independent of its hydrolytic hexose products, glucose and fructose, and the plant hormones auxin and cytokinin. Overexpression of MAIF1 reduces rice ABA sensitivity and abiotic stress tolerance and promotes rice root growth. These results suggest that MAIF1 is involved in multiple signaling pathways in regulating root growth. Growth restraint in plants is an acclimatization strategy against abiotic stress. Our results also suggest that MAIF1 plays the negative role in response to abiotic stress possibly by regulating root growth.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endogenous eukaryotic RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RDRs) produce double-stranded RNA intermediates in diverse processes of small RNA synthesis in RNA silencing pathways. RDR6 is required in plants for posttranscriptional gene silencing induced by sense transgenes (S-PTGS) and has an important role in amplification of antiviral silencing. Whereas RDR1 is also involved in antiviral defense in plants, this does not necessarily proceed through triggering silencing. In this study, we show that Nicotiana benthamiana transformed with RDR1 from Nicotiana tabacum (Nt-RDR1 plants) exhibits hypersusceptibility to Plum pox potyvirus and other viruses, resembling RDR6-silenced (RDR6i) N. benthamiana. Analysis of transient induction of RNA silencing in N. benthamiana Nt-RDR1 and RDR6i plants revealed that Nt-RDR1 possesses silencing suppression activity. We found that Nt-RDR1 does not interfere with RDR6-dependent siRNA accumulation but turns out to suppress RDR6-dependent S-PTGS. Our results, together with previously published data, suggest that RDR1 might have a dual role, contributing, on one hand, to salicylic acid-mediated antiviral defense, and suppressing, on the other hand, the RDR6-mediated antiviral RNA silencing. We propose a scenario in which the natural loss-of-function variant of RDR1 in N. benthamiana may be the outcome of selective pressure to maintain a high RDR6-dependent antiviral defense, which would be required to face the hypersensitivity of this plant to a large number of viruses.
The Plant Cell 04/2010; 22(4):1358-72. · 9.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alignment of Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) 2b protein sequences from two CMV subgroups revealed two highly variable regions. To examine contributions of variable sequence domains to the suppressor activity, we performed a comparative study between 2b proteins of a subgroup I strain (SD-CMV) and a subgroup II strain (Q-CMV). Here we show that the suppressor activity of SD2b is stronger than that of Q2b and that a domain existent in SD2b but absent in Q2b is a major determinant of the suppressor activity of SD2b. We further show that the same domain is responsible for inhibition of Nicotiana benthamiana AGO4-1 transcription. Our results implicate AGO4 as a mediator for CMV 2b to suppress systemic silencing and DNA methylation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Short-hairpin RNAs based on microRNA (miRNA) precursors to express the artificial miRNAs (amiRNAs) can specifically induce gene silencing and confer virus resistance in plants. The efficacy of RNA silencing depends not only on the nature of amiRNAs but also on the local structures of the target mRNAs. However, the lack of tools to accurately and reliably predict secondary structures within long RNAs makes it very hard to predict the secondary structures of a viral genome RNA in the natural infection conditions in vivo. In this study, we used an experimental approach to dissect how the endogenous silencing machinery acts on the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of the Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) genome. Transiently expressed 3'UTR RNAs were degraded by site-specific cleavage. By comparing the natural cleavage hotspots within the 3'UTR of the CMV-infected wild-type Arabidopsis to those of the triple dcl2/3/4 mutant, we acquired true small RNA programmed RNA-induced silencing complex (siRISC)-mediated cleavage sites to design valid amiRNAs. We showed that the tRNA-like structure within the 3'UTR impeded target site access and restricted amiRNA-RISC-mediated cleavage of the target viral RNA. Moreover, target recognition in the less-structured area also influenced siRISC catalysis, thereby conferring different degrees of resistance to CMV infection. Transgenic plants expressing the designed amiRNAs that target the putative RISC accessible target sites conferred high resistance to the CMV challenge from both CMV subgroup strains. Our work suggests that the experimental approach is credible for studying the course of RISC target recognition to engineer effective gene silencing and virus resistance in plants by amiRNAs.
Journal of Virology 10/2008; 82(22):11084-95. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been reported that plant virus-derived small interfering RNAs (vsiRNAs) originated predominantly from structured single-stranded viral RNA of a positive single-stranded RNA virus replicating in the cytoplasm and from the nuclear stem-loop 35S leader RNA of a double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) virus. Increasing lines of evidence have also shown that hierarchical actions of plant Dicer-like (DCL) proteins are required in the biogenesis process of small RNAs, and DCL4 is the primary producer of vsiRNAs. However, the structures of such single-stranded viral RNA that can be recognized by DCLs remain unknown. In an attempt to determine these structures, we have cloned siRNAs derived from the satellite RNA (satRNA) of Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV-satRNA) and studied the relationship between satRNA-derived siRNAs (satsiRNAs) and satRNA secondary structure. satsiRNAs were confirmed to be derived from single-stranded satRNA and are primarily 21 (64.7%) or 22 (22%) nucleotides (nt) in length. The most frequently cloned positive-strand satsiRNAs were found to derive from novel hairpins that differ from the structure of known DCL substrates, miRNA and siRNA precursors, which are prevalent stem-loop-shaped or dsRNAs. DCL4 was shown to be the primary producer of satsiRNAs. In the absence of DCL4, only 22-nt satsiRNAs were detected. Our results suggest that DCL4 is capable of accessing flexibly structured single-stranded RNA substrates (preferably T-shaped hairpins) to produce satsiRNAs. This result reveals that viral RNA of diverse structures may stimulate antiviral DCL activities in plant cells.
Journal of Virology 09/2007; 81(17):9142-51. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The commonly used plant constitutive expression vector pBI121 was modified by insertion of two directly orientated lox sites each at one end of the selectable marker gene NPTII and by replacing the GUS gene with a sequence composed of multiple cloning sites (MCS). The resulting plant expression vector pBI121-lox-MCS is widely usable to accommodate various target genes through the MCS, and more importantly to allow the NPTII gene removed from transformed plants upon the action of the Cre recombinase. In addition, the CaMV 35S promoter located upstream of the MCS can be substituted with any other promoters to form plant vectors with expression features specified by the introduced promoters. Provided in this paper is an example that an enhanced phloem-specific promoter of the pumpkin PP2 gene (named dENP) was used to construct an NPTII-removable phloem-specific expression vector pBdENP-lox-MCS. Moreover, to facilitate screening of selectable marker-removed gene and the composite sequence is flanked by lox sites. Thus the selectable marker-free plants can be visually identified by loss of GFP fluorescence. The above newly created plant expression vectors can be used to develop selectable marker-removable transgenic plants for a variety of purposes.
Sheng wu gong cheng xue bao = Chinese journal of biotechnology 02/2007; 23(1):157-60.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Cre/loxP system derived from bacteriophage P1 is widely used to carry out complex manipulations of DNA molecules both in vitro and in vivo. In order to further characterize and modify the Cre/loxP system, a convenient method for assaying the recombination efficiency is needed. A simple and visible assay is described, in which two incompatible plasmids, separately carrying the cre gene and loxP-flanked gfp gene, were co-transferred into E. coli. The cre gene was inserted into a kanamycin-resistant bacterial expression vector, designated pET30a-Cre. The gfp gene, flanked by directly repeated loxP sites, was cloned into an ampicillin-resistant expression vector to generate pET23b-loxGFP. E. coli BL21 (DE3) was cotransformed with pET30a-Cre and pET23b-loxGFP, and cultured in the presence of both ampicillin and kanamycin. Under UV illumination, the Cre-mediated recombination events can be easily detected. The fidelity of recombination was verified by SDS-PAGE analysis and restriction analysis followed by DNA sequencing. Thus, this cotransformation method provides a straightforward assay that can be used to modify the Cre/loxP system.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rice yellow stunt rhabdovirus (RYSV) encodes seven genes in its negative-sense RNA genome in the order 3'-N-P-3-M-G-6-L-5'. The existence of gene 3 in the RYSV genome and an analogous gene(s) of other plant rhabdoviruses positioned between the P and M genes constitutes a unique feature for plant rhabdoviruses that is distinct from animal-infecting rhabdoviruses in which the P and M genes are directly linked. However, little is known about the function of these extra plant rhabdovirus genes. Here we provide evidence showing that the protein product encoded by gene 3 of RYSV, P3, possesses several properties related to a viral cell-to-cell movement protein (MP). Analyses of the primary and secondary protein structures suggested that RYSV P3 is a member of the "30K" superfamily of viral MPs. Biolistic bombardment transcomplementation experiments demonstrated that RYSV P3 can support the intercellular movement of a movement-deficient potexvirus mutant in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. In addition, Northwestern blot analysis indicated that the RYSV P3 protein can bind single-stranded RNA in vitro, a common feature of viral MPs. Finally, glutathione S- transferase pull-down assays revealed a specific interaction between the RYSV P3 protein and the N protein which is a main component of the ribonucleocapsid, a subviral structure believed to be involved in the intercellular movement of plant rhabdoviruses. Together, these data suggest that RYSV P3 is likely a MP of RYSV, thus representing the first example of characterized MPs for plant rhabdoviruses.
Journal of Virology 03/2005; 79(4):2108-14. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In genetic modification of plants, once the transformants are obtained, selection markers are no longer required in mature plants. At present, the Cre/lox site-specific recombination system is most widely used to eliminate the selectable marker genes from the transgenic plants. In this study, attempt was made to favour the selection of marker-free plants in the re-transformation method. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) can be directly visualized in living cells, tissues or organisms under UV illumination. This advantage of GFP is exploited in the development of a practical approach in which GFP is used as a visual marker to monitor the removal of the selectable marker gene from transgenic plants. For that purpose, the pGNG binary vector was constructed, in which the GFP gene (gfp) was linked to the expression cassette Nos P-nptII-NosT and the two units were cloned between two directly-orientated lox sites. The CaMV 35S promoter was placed before the first lox site and used to drive GFP expression. The beta-glucuronidase gene (gus) of Escherichia coli was cloned behind the second lox site without a promoter, thus would not be expressed in this position. Tobacco plants were first transformed with pGNG and selected on kanamycin (Kan)-containing media. Regenerated transgenic shoots were readily singled out by GFP fluorescence. The GFP-expressing plants were then re-transformed with pCambia1300-Cre containing hygromycin phosphotransferase gene (hpt) as a selectable marker gene. The Cre-mediated recombination resulted in the elimination of lox-flanked genes, herein gfp and nptII, from the plant genome and brought the GUS gene next to the 35S promoter. Our data demonstrated that transgenic plants free of nptII were easily selected by monitoring the loss of green fluorescence, and at the same time, GUS (here as a target protein) was expressed in the nptII-free plants. Finally, hpt and cre were removed from the progenies of the nptII-free plants by gene segregation.
Sheng wu gong cheng xue bao = Chinese journal of biotechnology 02/2004; 20(1):10-5.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genomic region encompassing the L protein gene and a small open reading frame (ORF 6) of Rice yellow stunt virus (RYSV) has been sequenced, thus completing the nucleotide sequence of the RYSV genome. The genome organization of RYSV is unique in the rhabdoviruses because it contains two additional genes when compared to the basic gene order of the family Rhabdoviridae: Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the amino acid sequence of the RYSV L protein is most closely related to that of the L protein of Sonchus yellows net virus, another nucleorhabdovirus. However, the RYSV L protein has a unique acidic N-terminal domain distinct from that of other rhabdoviruses. Moreover, the polypeptide encoded by the ORF 6 was detected by immunoblot analysis in purified RYSV virions. Thus RYSV provides the first example in the family Rhabdoviridae that a small ORF between the G and L genes encodes a virion protein.
Journal of General Virology 09/2003; 84(Pt 8):2259-64. · 3.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genomic sequence of a rice (Oryza sativa L.) glycine-rich protein (GRP) gene, designated Osgrp-2, has been previously determined (GenBank U40708). Primer extension analysis indicated that transcription starts 47 bp upstream of the translation start codon. To gain an insight into the transcriptional regulation of this gene, the 2,401-bp promoter sequence and a series of its 5' deletions were transcriptionally fused to the beta-glucuronidase (GUS) gene. GUS activity was subsequently assayed in a transient expression system of tobacco ( Nicotiana tabacum L.) protoplasts, which revealed the presence of a positive regulatory region (-2290 to -1406) and two negative regulatory regions (-2401 to -2291 and -1405 to -1022) in the Osgrp-2 promoter for the promoter activity. The positive regulatory region displayed an enhancer-like activity when fused to the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S minimal promoter (-89 to +6) to drive GUS expression and assayed on tobacco leaves by the Agrobacterium-mediated transient expression technique (agroinfiltration). Histochemical staining for GUS activity on transgenic tobacco plants has further indicated a preferential expression in vascular tissues of stems and leaves conferred by the positive regulatory region. A 1,023-bp fragment of the Osgrp-2 promoter (-1021 to +2) fused with GUS was transformed into tobacco and proved to be capable of conferring vascular-specific expression. Further 5' and 3' deletion analysis of the 1,023-bp promoter revealed that a 99-bp fragment located from -497 to -399 contained cis-elements responsible for vascular-specific expression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Agroinfiltration is a newly developed plant transient gene expression technique, which is simple, rapid and reproducible. It has been widely used in analyses of foreign gene expression, hypersensitive reaction, gene silencing, promoter activity and identification of new disease-resistance genes. In this paper, we describe the principle and the operation procedure of Agroinfiltration and its application in diverse aspects of plant molecular biology research. Our experiences in modification of the Agroinfiltration technique are also provided.
Sheng wu gong cheng xue bao = Chinese journal of biotechnology 08/2002; 18(4):411-4.