Helen O L Mok

City University of Hong Kong, Chiu-lung, Kowloon City, Hong Kong

Are you Helen O L Mok?

Claim your profile

Publications (10)26.14 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study aims to investigate the effects of UV-C irradiation on photosynthetic processes of Microcystis aeruginosa to unravel the mechanism(s) involved in how and in what ways UV-C mediates growth suppression and cellular recovery. Changes in the concentration of photosynthetic pigments, photochemical efficiency, PS II core protein (D1) content, and the coding genes expressions were measured. The results indicate that UV-C doses at 20-200mJcm(-2) lead to rapid reduction in gene expression of both psbA (for D1) and cpc (for phycocyanin), but the suppression was short term and recoverable within 3 d of post-UV incubation. Conversely, UV-C doses at ⩾50mJcm(-2) could induce marked decline in photochemical efficiency (represented by the optimal PS II quantum yield, FV/FM, and the effective PS II quantum yield, Y) as well as decreases in D1 content and water soluble pigments (phycoerythrins, phycocyanins, allophycocyanins) in M. aeruginosa during the post UV-C incubation period. The results suggest that interruption of both the light energy harvesting apparatus (especially the water soluble pigments) and the photochemical process mainly accounted for the growth suppression effect in UV-C irradiated M. aeruginosa.
    Chemosphere 07/2013; · 3.14 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The sensitivities of using hepatic and intestinal ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) activities and hepatic accumulation of secondary/tertiary (2 degrees/3 degrees) lysosomes to detect xenobiotic exposures were assessed in the rabbitfish Siganus oramin in a metropolitan harbour, subtropical Hong Kong, over a complete seasonal cycle of one year. Additional information on the body-burden pollutants and physiological indices in S. oramin, and seasonal variables in seawater quality, were extracted from published data and re-analyzed. Under the influences of pollutant cocktail and seasonal factors, neither the hepatic nor intestinal EROD activity was indicative of total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (Sigma PAH), total polychlorinated biphenyls, condition factor and hepatosomatic index (HSI) in S. oramin. However, the relative ratio of hepatic to intestinal EROD activities provided an indication to differentiate the xenobiotic intake route in the fish through diffusion via gills/skin or consumption of contaminated food. In addition, the elevated hepatic accumulation of 2 degrees/3 degrees lysosomes was closely associated with the dominant temporal trends of zinc and Sigma PAH, as well as reduced HSI, in S. oramin. Being minimally influenced by any investigated seasonal factors, the hepatic 2 degrees/3 degrees lysosomes in S. oramin was recommended as an effective biomarker of xenobiotic exposures and toxic effects for use in coastal pollution monitoring programmes.
    Science of The Total Environment 09/2010; 408(20):4833-40. · 3.26 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Marine pollution bulletin 07/2009; 58(8):1229-35. · 2.63 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A good understanding of telomeres and telomerase biology is crucial for unraveling mechanisms related to aging and cancer. However, in vivo vertebrate studies of telomere biogenesis and telomerase function have been limited by the development of appropriate animal model systems. The present study aims to demonstrate evolutionary conservation of telomerase in vertebrate species, supporting the potential application of fish as vertebrate model for studying telomeres and telomerase function. Comparison of genomic and protein information among vertebrate TERTs (TElomerase Reverse Transcriptase), the Japanese medaka Oryzias latipes shares the highest similarity to that of the human than the other small size fish species studied (including pufferfish and zebrafish). The ubiquitous expression of TERT mRNA, the high constitutive level of telomerase activity, and the humanized telomere lengths further substantiate that Japanese medaka is an ideal vertebrate model for the study of telomere and telomerase-related mechanisms in vivo. Moreover, medaka exhibits fast, invariable growth and is able to provide a variety of useful developmental and reproductive endpoints for lifelong and multi-generational experiments. Our earlier and present findings support the use of medaka for studying organismal aging, tissue regeneration and carcinogenesis.
    Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C Toxicology & Pharmacology 09/2008; 149(2):161-7. · 2.71 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A protocol for fixation and processing of whole adult marine medaka (Oryzias melastigma) was developed in parallel with in situ hybridization (ISH) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) for molecular analysis of in vivo gene and protein responses in fish. Over 200 serial sagittal sections (5microm) can be produced from a single adult medaka to facilitate simultaneous localization and quantification of gene-specific mRNAs and proteins in different tissues and subcellular compartments of a single fish. Stereological analysis (as measured by volume density, V(v)) was used to quantify ISH and IHC signals on tissue sections. Using the telomerase reverse transcriptase (omTERT) gene, omTERT and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) proteins as examples, we demonstrated that it is possible to localize, quantify and correlate their tissue expression profiles in a whole fish system. Using chronic hypoxia (1.8+/-0.2 mgO(2)L(-1) for 3 months) as an environmental stressor, we were able to identify significant alterations in levels of omTERT mRNA, omTERT protein, PCNA (cell proliferation marker) and TUNEL (apoptosis) in livers of hypoxic O. melastigma (p<0.05). Overall, the results suggest that O. melastigma can serve as a model marine fish for assessing multiple in vivo molecular responses to stresses in the marine environment.
    Aquatic Toxicology 01/2008; 86(2):131-41. · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Current understanding on the relationships between hypoxia, hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) and telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) gene expression are largely based on in vitro studies in human cancer cells. Although several reports demonstrated HIF-1- mediated upregulation of the human TERT gene under hypoxia, conflicting findings have also been reported. Thus far, it remains uncertain whether these findings can be directly extrapolated to non-tumor tissues in other whole animal systems in vivo. While fish often encounter environmental hypoxia, the in vivo regulation of TERT by hypoxia in non-neoplastic tissues of fish remains virtually unknown. The adult marine medaka (Oryzias melastigma) was employed as a model fish in this study. We have cloned and characterized a 3261-bp full-length TERT cDNA, omTERT, which encodes a protein of 1086 amino acids. It contains all of the functional motifs that are conserved in other vertebrate TERTs. Motif E is the most highly conserved showing 90.9-100% overall identity among the fish TERTs and 63.6% overall identity among vertebrates. Analysis of the 5'-flanking sequence of the omTERT gene identified two HRE (hypoxia-responsive element; nt. - 283 and - 892) cores. Overexpression of the HIF-1alpha induced omTERT promoter activity as demonstrated using transient transfection assays. The omTERT gene is ubiquitously expressed in fish under normoxia, albeit at varying levels, where highest expression was observed in gonads and the lowest in liver. In vivo expression of omTERT was significantly upregulated in testis and liver in response to hypoxia (at 96 h and 48 h, respectively), where concomitant induction of the omHIF-1alpha and erythropoietin (omEpo) genes was also observed. In situ hybridization analysis showed that hypoxic induction of omTERT mRNA was clearly evident in hepatocytes in the caudal region of liver and in spermatogonia-containing cysts in testis. This study demonstrates for the first time, hypoxic regulation of TERT expression in vivo in a whole fish system. Our findings support the notion that hypoxia upregulates omTERT expression via omHIF-1 in non-neoplastic fish liver and testis in vivo. Overall, the structure and regulation of the TERT gene is highly conserved in vertebrates from fish to human.
    BMC Molecular Biology 02/2006; 7:27. · 2.80 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We have isolated a 1586-bp full-length CITED3 cDNA from grass carp which specifies for a cAMP-responsive element-binding protein/p300-interacting transactivator with glutamic acid (E)/aspartic acid (D)-rich C-terminal domain protein. The cDNA, designated as gcCITED3, has an open reading frame of 762 bp and encodes a protein of 253 amino acids with a predicted molecular mass of 28.3 kDa and pI of 6.4. Pairwise comparison showed that gcCITED3 shares high sequence identity with the CITED3 of zebrafish (94%), chicken (72%) and Xenopus (59%). Northern blot analysis indicated that gcCITED3 is most highly expressed and responsive to hypoxia in the carp kidney. Hypoxic induction was also observed in heart, albeit at a lower level. This is the first report on the isolation of a hypoxia-responsive CITED3 gene from fish.
    Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 11/2003; 136(2):163-72. · 2.07 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Glucose transporters (GLUTs) have been implicated in adaptive and survival responses to hypoxic stress in mammals. In fish, the expression and regulation of GLUT in relation to hypoxia remains unexplored. Here we describe the identification of a hypoxia-responsive glucose transporter gene (gcGLUT) and the corresponding full-length cDNA from the grass carp. The gene spans approximately 11 kb of genomic sequence and consists of 12 exons and 11 introns, and an open reading frame (ORF) of 1599 bp encoding a polypeptide of 533 amino acids, with a predicted molecular mass of approximately 57 kDa and a pI of 8.34. blastx analysis showed that the ORF shared high sequence identity with the GLUT1 (57-59%), GLUT3 (59-60%) and GLUT4 (55-59%) proteins from different vertebrates. Comparative analysis of GLUT genomic structures showed that the arrangement of exons and position of split codons are highly conserved amongst members of the class I GLUTs suggesting that these genes share a common ancestor. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that gcGLUT is most closely related to the GLUT3 proteins. Northern blot analysis showed that the 3.1-kb gcGLUT transcript was most abundantly expressed and responsive to hypoxia in kidney. Up-regulated expression by hypoxia was also evident in eye and gill, but differential patterns of expression were observed. Low expression levels detected in brain, heart, liver and muscle were not responsive to hypoxic stress.
    European Journal of Biochemistry 08/2003; 270(14):3010-7. · 3.58 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Here we report identification of a 2269-base pair full-length cDNA, CYP97E1, encoding a novel cytochrome P450 protein from the marine diatom Skeletonema costatum. The CYP97E1 protein contains 659 amino acids (Mr 74,200) and is the largest P450 isoform described to date. Our BLAST homology search and parsimony analysis showed that CYP97E1 shared high sequence identity (>40%) and genetic relatedness, respectively, with the CYP97B isoforms from different plant species. CYP97E1 was predicted by PSORT (a protein localization site prediction program) to be a cytosolic protein. Northern hybridization analysis indicated that CYP97E1 expression in S. costatum was not significantly affected by 2,4-dichlorophenol, suggesting that CYP97E1 may not be involved in 2,4-dichlorophenol detoxification in this diatom.
    Journal of Phycology 05/2003; 39(3):555 - 560. · 2.24 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We have isolated a 1586-bp full-length CITED3 cDNA from grass carp which specifies for a cAMP-responsive element-binding protein/p300-interacting transactivator with glutamic acid (E)/aspartic acid (D)-rich C-terminal domain protein. The cDNA, designated as gcCITED3, has an open reading frame of 762 bp and encodes a protein of 253 amino acids with a predicted molecular mass of 28.3 kDa and pI of 6.4. Pairwise comparison showed that gcCITED3 shares high sequence identity with the CITED3 of zebrafish (94%), chicken (72%) and Xenopus (59%). Northern blot analysis indicated that gcCITED3 is most highly expressed and responsive to hypoxia in the carp kidney. Hypoxic induction was also observed in heart, albeit at a lower level. This is the first report on the isolation of a hypoxia-responsive CITED3 gene from fish.
    Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology B-biochemistry & Molecular Biology - COMP BIOCHEM PHYSIOL PT B. 01/2003; 136(2):163-172.