News

WELCOME MS. AMRINA ROSYADA

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Centre for Chemical Biology (CCB USM) would like to wish a very warm welcome to our new Research Officer, Ms. Nur Amrina Rosyada Amran for joining CCB USM commencing from 3rd May 2016. Ms. Amrina will be responsible for all CCB services including Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), DNA sequencing, DNA extraction (16s Conventional Method), Qubit Quantification, Microbial Identification via Biolog and other new upcoming services. Feel free to contact her at amrina@ccbusm.edu.my for further enquiries regarding CCB services.

GENES ASSOCIATED WITH SECONDARY LATICIFER DIFFERENTIATION IN PARA RUBBER TREE

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Loh Swee Cheng, a PhD’s student from CCB together with Dr. Gincy Paily Thottathil and Prof. Dr. Sofiman Ahmad Othman, have published a research article entitled “Identification of differentially expressed genes and signalling pathways in bark of Hevea brasiliensis seedlings associated with secondary laticifer differentiation using gene expression microarray” in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry. This is the first report using the rubber draft genome (Rahman et al. 2013, BMC Genomics) as a template for the gene expression microarray design (27,195 gene models) to study secondary laticifer differentiation. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) involved in secondary laticifer differentiation was identified and classified. They are mainly categorised in the secondary metabolites metabolism [cytochrome (CYP) P450, ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter, and short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase (SDR), or cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) family]. Most rubber biosynthetic genes are found not differentially expressed in this study. The results presented here provide a guide for identifying key genes for molecular rubber breeding aimed to increase the number of secondary laticifer rings that in turn enhance rubber production. Currently, these DEGs are further validated in different Hevea clones.

SEMINAR BY MSc STUDENTS ON MANGROVE PROJECT

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Two MSc students, Priya and Dinesh, presented their works from the mangrove project during CCB's Synergy Talk Session. Priya compared the mangrove metagenomics between a tree-harvesting area and a pristine area from the best-managed mangrove forest in the world, Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve. Her results provided insights into the microbial diversity and metabolic potential of Malaysian mangrove soils, and helped explain the possible effects of tree harvesting on soil microbial communities. Dinesh, on the other hand, isolated three novel Mangrovimonas bacterial strains from these soil samples in an effort to establish a microbial biodiversity library, and performed a genomic comparison, identification and characterization study on them. Interestingly, these strains exhibit unique genotypic and phenotypic characteristics which distinguish them from each other and from their closest relative, Mangrovimonas yunxiaonensis from the family Flavobacteriaceae.

STRUCTURE OF A NEW SUBFAMILY α-AMYLASE

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In collaboration with UKM and UTM, Dr Teh Aik Hong has solved the 3D structure of an α-amylase from an Anoxybacillus species. α-Amylases are Ca2+ binding enzymes that digest carbohydrates to simple sugars, and are widely used in many industries. The Anoxybacillus α-amylase is a thermostable enzyme capable of producing high levels of maltose. In addition to the well conserved Ca2+ binding site, its crystal structure also reveals two novel Ca2+ binding sites. Another crystal structure in complex with maltose further provides an overview of the conformational changes accompanying maltose binding.