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October 2010

Changes to water repellence of soil caused by the growth of white-rot fungi: studies using a novel microcosm system.

A microcosm system is described which permits assessment of the progressive growth of filamentous fungi through soil. We report on its application to measure the effects of Coriolus versicolor and Phanerochaete chrysosporium upon the sorptivity and water repellence of a mineral soil, measured using a miniature infiltration device. Both fungal species caused moderate sub-critical repellence. Since the pore structure was unaffected, the repellence was probably due to hydrophobic substances of fungal origin. This is the first report of changes in soil repellence caused by the growth of potential xenobiotic bioremediating fungi. The potential consequences are discussed.[…]

The use of mushroom glucans and proteoglycans in cancer treatment.

Immunoceuticals can be considered as substances having immunotherapeutic efficacy when taken orally. More than 50 mushroom species have yielded potential immunoceuticals that exhibit anticancer activity in vitro or in animal models and of these, six have been investigated in human cancers. All are non-toxic and very well tolerated. Lentinan and schizophyllan have little oral activity. Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) is poorly defined but has shown early clinical promise. Maitake D-Fraction has limited proof of clinical efficacy to date, but controlled research is underway. Two proteoglycans from Coriolus versicolor – PSK (Polysaccharide-K) and PSP (Polysaccharide-Peptide – have demonstrated the most promise. In Japanese trials since 1970, PSK significantly extended survival at five years or beyond in cancers of the stomach, colon-rectum, esophagus, nasopharynx, and lung (non-small cell types), and in a HLA B40-positive breast cancer subset. PSP was subjected to Phase II and Phase III trials in China. In double-blind trials, PSP significantly extended five-year survival in esophageal cancer. PSP significantly improved quality of life, provided substantial pain relief, and enhanced immune status in 70-97 percent of patients with cancers of the stomach, esophagus, lung, ovary, and cervix. PSK and PSP boosted immune cell production, ameliorated chemotherapy symptoms, and enhanced tumor infiltration by dendritic and cytotoxic T-cells. Their extremely high tolerability, proven benefits to survival and quality of life, and compatibility with chemotherapy and radiation therapy makes them well suited for cancer management regimens.[…]

Immunomodulation and anti-cancer activity of polysaccharide-protein complexes.

In the last three decades, numerous polysaccharides and polysaccharide-protein complexes have been isolated from mushrooms and used as a source of therapeutic agents. The most promising biopharmacological activities of these biopolymers are their immunomodulation and anti-cancer effects. They are mainly present as glucans with different types of glycosidic linkages such as (1–>3), (1–>6)-beta-glucans and (1–>3)-alpha-glucans, and as true herteroglycans, while others mostly bind to protein residues as polysaccharide-protein complexes. Three antitumor mushroom polysaccharides, i.e. lentinan, schizophyllan and protein-bound polysaccharide (PSK, Krestin), isolated respectively, from Lentinus edodes, Schizophyllum commune and Coriolus versicolor, have become large market items in Japan. Lentinan and schizophyllan are pure beta-glucans, whereas PSK is a protein-bound beta-glucan. A polysaccharide peptide (PSP), isolated from a strain of Coriolus versicolor in China, has also been widely used as an anti-cancer and immunomodulatory agent. Although the mechansim of their antitumor action is still not completely clear, these polysaccharides and polysaccharide-protein complexes are suggested to enhance cell-mediated immune responses in vivo and in vitro and act as biological response modifiers. Potentiation of the host defense system may result in the activation of many kinds of immune cells that are vitally important for the maintenance of homeostasis. Polysaccharides or polysaccharide-protein complexes are considered as multi-cytokine inducers that are able to induce gene expression of vaious immunomodulatory cytokines and cytokine receptors. Some interesting studies focus on investigation of the relationship between their structure and antitumor activity, elucidation of their antitumor mechanism at the molecular level, and improvement of their various biological activities by chemical modifications.[…]

Dr. Mark Flannery Joins inLife LLC’s Board as Medical Advisor

inLife, LLC today announced Dr. Mark Flannery joins inLife’s Board as Medical Advisor. Dr. Flannery joins inLife to bring awareness and enlightenment to the public of inLife’s new immunological nutritional supplement, inForce Immune Builder.[…]

Hydroxyl radical generation by an extracellular low-molecular-weight substance and phenol oxidase activity during wood degradation by the white-rot basidiomycete Trametes versicolor.

One-electron oxidation activity, as measured by ethylene generation from 2-keto-4-thiomethylbutyric acid, phenol oxidase activity, and the generation of hydroxyl radical were examined in cultures of the lignin-degrading white-rot basidiomycete fungus, Trametes (Coriolus) versicolor. The activity levels of specific lignin-degrading enzymes and cellulases, as well as the rate of wood degradation, also were examined. The fungus secreted a low-molecular-weight substance (M(r) 1000-5000) that catalyzed a redox reaction between molecular oxygen and an electron donor, to produce the hydroxyl radical via hydrogen peroxide. During wood decay, T. versicolor also produced significant amounts of laccase and lignin peroxidase, carboxymethyl cellulase, and Avicelase. The roles of the hydroxyl radical, phenol oxidases, and cellulases in wood degradation by white-rot fungi are discussed. That the hydroxyl radical produced by the low-molecular-weight substance secreted by T. versicolor results in new phenolic substructures on the lignin polymer, making it susceptible to attack by laccase or manganese peroxidase is suggested.[…]

Reactions of pentachlorophenol with laccase from Coriolus versicolor.

Laccase, purified from Coriolus versicolor, removed pentachlorophenol (PCP) from solution at pH 5, depending on initial PCP concentration and amount of laccase. With 100 units of laccase, 100% of 25 microg ml(-1) PCP and 60% of 200 microg ml(-1) PCP were removed respectively over 72 h. No free chloride was released in the reaction. In reaction with 100 microg PCP, products were primarily polymers (about 80,000 MW) with only 2-3 pg of o- and p-chloranils formed. Polymers were stable to acid hydrolysis and no release of PCP, or other low-molecular-weight products, was detected over several weeks. Laccase has a potential use in the biotreatment of aqueous effluents containing PCP, with polymerised products being removed from solution due to their high molecular weight.[…]

Effect of environmental conditions on biological decolorization of textile dyestuff by C. versicolor.

Effects of environmental conditions such as pH, media composition, carbon and nitrogen sources, TOC/N ratio, and dyestuff concentrations on decolorization of reactive phytalocyanin type textile dyestuff Everzol Turquoise Blue G by white rot fungi, Coriolus versicolor 20) or low nitrogen concentration was essential for effective decolorization of the dyestuff. Dyestuff concentration should be lower than 500 mg/l for complete decolorization. Only partial decolorization was observed for dyestuff concentrations above 500 mg/l. Adsorption of the dyestuff on surfaces of the fungi was insignificant (<20%).[…]

Generation of nuclear hybrids overcoming the natural barrier of incompatibility: transfer of nuclei from Lentinula edodes into protoplasts of Coriolus versicolor.

Heterokaryotic nuclear hybrids overcoming the natural barriers of incompatibility have been studied in basidiomycetes. To produce these nuclear hybrids between incompatible mushrooms, which have several potent pharmacological effects, nuclear transfer was performed between Lentinula edodes and Coriolus versicolor. Nuclei from serine auxotrophs of Lentinula edodes, LE207 (Ser-) were transferred into the protoplasts of arginine auxotrophs of Coriolus versicolor, CV17 (Arg-), using 30% polyethylene glycol 4000 in 10 mM CaCl2-glycine solution (pH 8.0). Nuclear transfer progenies were selected by nutritional complementation on minimal media supplemented with 0.6 M sucrose. The progenies were classified based on colony morphology to L. edodes-like, C. versicolor-like and non-parental type. Most of the progenies grew slower than either parent. The number of nuclei per cell was similar but the DNA content varied between progenies. The isozyme patterns of nuclear hybrids resembled either of the parent profiles or showed a mixed profile.[…]

Effect of ethanol on enzymatic activity of fungal laccases.

Blue laccase from Coriolus versicolor and blue and yellow laccases from Panus tigrinus were isolated, purified and studied in acetate buffer solutions, with and without addition of various amounts of ethanol, using syringaldazine and 2,6-dimethoxyphenol as substrates. Effect of ethanol on blue laccases could be successfully described using the mixed inhibition model, over the range of 0-2.5 M ethanol concentrations. Yellow laccase from P. tigrinus behaves differently, which may be explained by the presence of some extra molecules in its structure, which possibly stabilize the enzyme and might be exchanged in ethanol solutions.[…]

Susceptibility of natural killer (NK) cells to reactive oxygen species (ROS) and their restoration by the mimics of superoxide dismutase (SOD).

Natural killer (NK) cells are susceptible to reactive oxygen species (ROS), and lose the activity by the effects of ROS. Cancer bearing hosts usually suffer from oxidative stress (OS), and the NK-activity decreases to a significantly lower level than normal controls. Superoxide dismutase (SOD)-mimicking substances, such as protein-bound polysaccharide of Coriolus versicolor (Fr) QUEL (PSK) and iron-chelating chlorine e6-Na (FeCNa), can restore the NK-activity of cancer bearing hosts, when collaborating with catalase. Incorporation of 3H-thymidine by ROS-treated NK-cells is not affected, indicating that these cells are still active in the nucleic acid metabolism. Intraperitoneal administration of anti-Asialo GM1 antibody extinguished the NK-activity. NK-cells affected by ROS lost the adherence to target cancer cells in both in vitro and in vivo. ROS may change the surface charge of NK-cells to anionic, resulting in an inability of adhesion to target cancer cells which usually show the negative surface charge.[…]