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Sample records for directed molecular evolution

  1. Exploiting models of molecular evolution to efficiently direct protein engineering.

    PubMed

    Cole, Megan F; Gaucher, Eric A

    2011-02-01

    Directed evolution and protein engineering approaches used to generate novel or enhanced biomolecular function often use the evolutionary sequence diversity of protein homologs to rationally guide library design. To fully capture this sequence diversity, however, libraries containing millions of variants are often necessary. Screening libraries of this size is often undesirable due to inaccuracies of high-throughput assays, costs, and time constraints. The ability to effectively cull sequence diversity while still generating the functional diversity within a library thus holds considerable value. This is particularly relevant when high-throughput assays are not amenable to select/screen for certain biomolecular properties. Here, we summarize our recent attempts to develop an evolution-guided approach, Reconstructing Evolutionary Adaptive Paths (REAP), for directed evolution and protein engineering that exploits phylogenetic and sequence analyses to identify amino acid substitutions that are likely to alter or enhance function of a protein. To demonstrate the utility of this technique, we highlight our previous work with DNA polymerases in which a REAP-designed small library was used to identify a DNA polymerase capable of accepting non-standard nucleosides. We anticipate that the REAP approach will be used in the future to facilitate the engineering of biopolymers with expanded functions and will thus have a significant impact on the developing field of 'evolutionary synthetic biology'. PMID:21132281

  2. Modification of pancreatic lipase properties by directed molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Colin, Damien Yann; Deprez-Beauclair, Paule; Silva, Noella; Infantes, Lourdes; Kerfelec, Brigitte

    2010-05-01

    Cystic fibrosis is associated with pancreatic insufficiency and acidic intraluminal conditions that limit the action of pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy, especially that of lipase. Directed evolution combined with rational design was used in the aim of improving the performances of the human pancreatic lipase at acidic pH. We set up a method for screening thousands of lipase variants for activity at low pH. A single round of random mutagenesis yielded one lipase variant with an activity at acidic pH enhanced by approximately 50% on medium- and long-chain triglycerides. Sequence analysis revealed two substitutions (E179G/N406S) located in specific regions, the hydrophobic groove accommodating the sn-1 chain of the triglyceride (E179G) and the surface loop that is likely to mediate lipase/colipase interaction in the presence of lipids (N406S). Interestingly, these two substitutions shifted the chain-length specificity of lipase toward medium- and long-chain triglycerides. Combination of those two mutations with a promising one at the entrance of the catalytic cavity (K80E) negatively affected the lipase activity at neutral pH but not that at acidic pH. Our results provide a basis for the design of improved lipase at acidic pH and identify for the first time key residues associated with chain-length specificity. PMID:20150178

  3. Mistakes and Molecular Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Trevors, J. T.

    1998-01-01

    Examines the role mistakes play in the molecular evolution of bacteria. Discusses the interacting physical, chemical, and biological factors that cause changes in DNA and play a role in prokaryotic evolution. (DDR)

  4. Workshop on Molecular Evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cummings, Michael P.

    2004-01-01

    Molecular evolution has become the nexus of many areas of biological research. It both brings together and enriches such areas as biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, population genetics, systematics, developmental biology, genomics, bioinformatics, in vitro evolution, and molecular ecology. The Workshop provides an important contribution to these fields in that it promotes interdisciplinary research and interaction, and thus provides a glue that sticks together disparate fields. Due to the wide range of fields addressed by the study of molecular evolution, it is difficult to offer a comprehensive course in a university setting. It is rare for a single institution to maintain expertise in all necessary areas. In contrast, the Workshop is uniquely able to provide necessary breadth and depth by utilizing a large number of faculty with appropriate expertise. Furthermore, the flexible nature of the Workshop allows for rapid adaptation to changes in the dynamic field of molecular evolution. For example, the 2003 Workshop included recently emergent research areas of molecular evolution of development and genomics.

  5. Directed Evolution of Fungal Laccases

    PubMed Central

    Maté, Diana; García-Ruiz, Eva; Camarero, Susana; Alcalde, Miguel

    2011-01-01

    Fungal laccases are generalists biocatalysts with potential applications that range from bioremediation to novel green processes. Fuelled by molecular oxygen, these enzymes can act on dozens of molecules of different chemical nature, and with the help of redox mediators, their spectrum of oxidizable substrates is further pushed towards xenobiotic compounds (pesticides, industrial dyes, PAHs), biopolymers (lignin, starch, cellulose) and other complex molecules. In recent years, extraordinary efforts have been made to engineer fungal laccases by directed evolution and semi-rational approaches to improve their functional expression or stability. All these studies have taken advantage of Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a heterologous host, not only to secrete the enzyme but also, to emulate the introduction of genetic diversity through in vivo DNA recombination. Here, we discuss all these endeavours to convert fungal laccases into valuable biomolecular platforms on which new functions can be tailored by directed evolution. PMID:21966249

  6. Evolution of molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sevenster, M.

    1993-01-01

    The evolution of interstellar molecular hydrogen was studied, with a special interest for the formation and evolution of molecular clouds and star formation within them, by a two-dimensional hydrodynamical simulation performed on a rectangular grid of physical sizes on the order of 100 pc. It is filled with an initial density of approx. 1 cm(exp -3), except for one cell (approx. 1 pc(exp 2)) at the center of the grid where an accretion core of 1-10(exp 3) solar masses is placed. The grid is co-moving with the gridcenter that is on a circular orbit around the Galactic center and that also is the guiding center of epicyclic approximation of orbits of the matter surrounding it. The initial radial velocity is zero; to account for differential rotation the initial tangential velocity (i.e. the movement around the galactic center) is proportional to the radial distance to the grid center. The rate is comparable to the rotation rate at the Local Standard of Rest. The influence of galactic rotation is noticed by spiral or elliptical forms, but on much longer time scales than self gravitation and cooling processes. Density and temperature are kept constant at the boundaries and no inflow is allowed along the tangential boundaries.

  7. Directed evolution and in silico analysis of reaction centre proteins reveal molecular signatures of photosynthesis adaptation to radiation pressure.

    PubMed

    Rea, Giuseppina; Lambreva, Maya; Polticelli, Fabio; Bertalan, Ivo; Antonacci, Amina; Pastorelli, Sandro; Damasso, Mario; Johanningmeier, Udo; Giardi, Maria Teresa

    2011-01-01

    Evolutionary mechanisms adopted by the photosynthetic apparatus to modifications in the Earth's atmosphere on a geological time-scale remain a focus of intense research. The photosynthetic machinery has had to cope with continuously changing environmental conditions and particularly with the complex ionizing radiation emitted by solar flares. The photosynthetic D1 protein, being the site of electron tunneling-mediated charge separation and solar energy transduction, is a hot spot for the generation of radiation-induced radical injuries. We explored the possibility to produce D1 variants tolerant to ionizing radiation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and clarified the effect of radiation-induced oxidative damage on the photosynthetic proteins evolution. In vitro directed evolution strategies targeted at the D1 protein were adopted to create libraries of chlamydomonas random mutants, subsequently selected by exposures to radical-generating proton or neutron sources. The common trend observed in the D1 aminoacidic substitutions was the replacement of less polar by more polar amino acids. The applied selection pressure forced replacement of residues more sensitive to oxidative damage with less sensitive ones, suggesting that ionizing radiation may have been one of the driving forces in the evolution of the eukaryotic photosynthetic apparatus. A set of the identified aminoacidic substitutions, close to the secondary plastoquinone binding niche and oxygen evolving complex, were introduced by site-directed mutagenesis in un-transformed strains, and their sensitivity to free radicals attack analyzed. Mutants displayed reduced electron transport efficiency in physiological conditions, and increased photosynthetic performance stability and oxygen evolution capacity in stressful high-light conditions. Finally, comparative in silico analyses of D1 aminoacidic sequences of organisms differently located in the evolution chain, revealed a higher ratio of residues more sensitive to

  8. Directed Evolution and In Silico Analysis of Reaction Centre Proteins Reveal Molecular Signatures of Photosynthesis Adaptation to Radiation Pressure

    PubMed Central

    Rea, Giuseppina; Lambreva, Maya; Polticelli, Fabio; Bertalan, Ivo; Antonacci, Amina; Pastorelli, Sandro; Damasso, Mario; Johanningmeier, Udo; Giardi, Maria Teresa

    2011-01-01

    Evolutionary mechanisms adopted by the photosynthetic apparatus to modifications in the Earth's atmosphere on a geological time-scale remain a focus of intense research. The photosynthetic machinery has had to cope with continuously changing environmental conditions and particularly with the complex ionizing radiation emitted by solar flares. The photosynthetic D1 protein, being the site of electron tunneling-mediated charge separation and solar energy transduction, is a hot spot for the generation of radiation-induced radical injuries. We explored the possibility to produce D1 variants tolerant to ionizing radiation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and clarified the effect of radiation-induced oxidative damage on the photosynthetic proteins evolution. In vitro directed evolution strategies targeted at the D1 protein were adopted to create libraries of chlamydomonas random mutants, subsequently selected by exposures to radical-generating proton or neutron sources. The common trend observed in the D1 aminoacidic substitutions was the replacement of less polar by more polar amino acids. The applied selection pressure forced replacement of residues more sensitive to oxidative damage with less sensitive ones, suggesting that ionizing radiation may have been one of the driving forces in the evolution of the eukaryotic photosynthetic apparatus. A set of the identified aminoacidic substitutions, close to the secondary plastoquinone binding niche and oxygen evolving complex, were introduced by site-directed mutagenesis in un-transformed strains, and their sensitivity to free radicals attack analyzed. Mutants displayed reduced electron transport efficiency in physiological conditions, and increased photosynthetic performance stability and oxygen evolution capacity in stressful high-light conditions. Finally, comparative in silico analyses of D1 aminoacidic sequences of organisms differently located in the evolution chain, revealed a higher ratio of residues more sensitive to

  9. The Molecular Basis of Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wilson, Allan C.

    1985-01-01

    Discovery that mutations accumulate at steady rates over time in the genes of all lineages of plants and animals has led to new insights into evolution at the molecular and organismal levels. Discusses molecular evolution, examining deoxyribonuclei acid (DNA) sequences, morphological distances, and codon rate of change. (DH)

  10. Molecular simulation of AG nanoparticle nucleation from solution: redox-reactions direct the evolution of shape and structure.

    PubMed

    Milek, Theodor; Zahn, Dirk

    2014-08-13

    The association of Ag(+) ions and the early stage of Ag nanoparticle nucleation are investigated from molecular dynamics simulations. Combining special techniques for tackling crystal nucleation from solution with efficient approaches to model redox-reactions, we unravel the structural evolution of forming silver nanoparticles as a function of the redox-potential in the solution. Within a range of only 1 eV, the redox-potential is demonstrated to have a drastic effect on both the inner structure and the overall shape of the forming particles. On the basis of our simulations we identify surface charge and its distribution as an atomic scale mechanism that accounts for creating/avoiding 5-fold coordination polyhedra and thus the degree of (multiple)-twinning in silver nanoparticles. PMID:25078975

  11. Surface morphology evolution of m-plane (1100) GaN during molecular beam epitaxy growth: Impact of Ga/N ratio, miscut direction, and growth temperature

    SciTech Connect

    Shao Jiayi; Tang Liang; Malis, Oana; Edmunds, Colin; Gardner, Geoff; Manfra, Michael

    2013-07-14

    We present a systematic study of morphology evolution of [1100] m-plane GaN grown by plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy on free-standing m-plane substrates with small miscut angles towards the -c [0001] and +c [0001] directions under various gallium to nitrogen (Ga/N) ratios at substrate temperatures T = 720 Degree-Sign C and T = 740 Degree-Sign C. The miscut direction, Ga/N ratio, and growth temperature are all shown to have a dramatic impact on morphology. The observed dependence on miscut direction supports the notion of strong anisotropy in the gallium adatom diffusion barrier and growth kinetics. We demonstrate that precise control of Ga/N ratio and substrate temperature yields atomically smooth morphology on substrates oriented towards +c [0001] as well as the more commonly studied -c [0001] miscut substrates.

  12. Chemical evolution of molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prasad, Sheo S.; Tarafdar, Sankar P.; Villere, Karen R.; Huntress, Wesley T., Jr.

    1987-01-01

    The principles behind the coupled chemical-dynamical evolution of molecular clouds are described. Particular attention is given to current problems involving the simplest species (i.e., C. CO, O2, and H2) in quiescent clouds. The results of a comparison made between the molecular abundances in the Orion ridge and the hot core (Blake, 1986) are presented.

  13. Molecular imprint of dust evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Akimkin, Vitaly; Zhukovska, Svitlana; Wiebe, Dmitri; Semenov, Dmitry; Pavlyuchenkov, Yaroslav; Vasyunin, Anton; Birnstiel, Til; Henning, Thomas

    2013-07-01

    Evolution of sub-micron grains is an essential process during early stages of planet formation. The dust growth and sedimentation to the midplane affect a spectral energy distribution. At the same time dust evolution can alter significantly the distribution of gas that is a factor of 100 more massive than dust and can be traced with molecular line observations. We present simulations of protoplanetary disk structure with grain evolution using the ANDES code ("AccretioN disk with Dust Evolution and Sedimentation"). ANDES comprises (1) a 1+1D frequency-dependent continuum radiative transfer module, (2) a module to calculate the chemical evolution using an extended gas-grain chemical network with UV/X-ray-driven processes and surface reactions, (3) a module to calculate the gas thermal energy balance, and (4) a 1+1D module that simulates dust grain evolution. Such a set of physical processes allows us to assess the impact of dust evolution on the gas component, which is primarily related to radiation field and total available surface for chemical reactions. Considering cases of (i) evolved dust (2 Myr of grain coagulation, fragmentation and sedimentation) and (ii) pristine dust (well- mixed 0.1 micron grains), we found a sufficient changes in disk physical and chemical structure caused by the dust evolution. Due to higher transparency of the evolved disk model UV-shielded molecular layer is shifted closer to the midplane. The presence of big grains in the disk midplane delays the freeze-out of volatile gas-phase species such as CO, while the depletion is still effective in adjacent upper layers. Molecular concentrations of many species are enhanced in the disk model with dust evolution (CO2, NH2CN, HNO, H2O, HCOOH, HCN, CO) which provides an opportunity to use these molecules as tracers of dust evolution.

  14. Biocatalyst development by directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Wang, Meng; Si, Tong; Zhao, Huimin

    2012-07-01

    Biocatalysis has emerged as a great addition to traditional chemical processes for production of bulk chemicals and pharmaceuticals. To overcome the limitations of naturally occurring enzymes, directed evolution has become the most important tool for improving critical traits of biocatalysts such as thermostability, activity, selectivity, and tolerance towards organic solvents for industrial applications. Recent advances in mutant library creation and high-throughput screening have greatly facilitated the engineering of novel and improved biocatalysts. This review provides an update of the recent developments in the use of directed evolution to engineer biocatalysts for practical applications. PMID:22310212

  15. Biocatalyst Development by Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Meng; Si, Tong; Zhao, Huimin

    2012-01-01

    Biocatalysis has emerged as a great addition to traditional chemical processes for production of bulk chemicals and pharmaceuticals. To overcome the limitations of naturally occurring enzymes, directed evolution has become the most important tool for improving critical traits of biocatalysts such as thermostability, activity, selectivity, and tolerance towards organic solvents for industrial applications. Recent advances in mutant library creation and high-throughput screening have greatly facilitated the engineering of novel and improved biocatalysts. This review provides an update of the recent developments in the use of directed evolution to engineer biocatalysts for practical applications. PMID:22310212

  16. In Vivo Continuous Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Badran, Ahmed H.; Liu, David R.

    2014-01-01

    The development and application of methods for the laboratory evolution of biomolecules has rapidly progressed over the last few decades. Advancements in continuous microbe culturing and selection design have facilitated the development of new technologies that enable the continuous directed evolution of proteins and nucleic acids. These technologies have the potential to support the extremely rapid evolution of biomolecules with tailor-made functional properties. Continuous evolution methods must support all of the key steps of laboratory evolution—translation of genes into gene products, selection or screening, replication of genes encoding the most fit gene products, and mutation of surviving genes—in a self-sustaining manner that requires little or no researcher intervention. Continuous laboratory evolution has been historically used to study problems including antibiotic resistance, organismal adaptation, phylogenetic reconstruction, and host-pathogen interactions, with more recent applications focusing on the rapid generation of proteins and nucleic acids with useful, tailor-made properties. The advent of increasingly general methods for continuous directed evolution should enable researchers to address increasingly complex questions and to access biomolecules with more novel or even unprecedented properties. PMID:25461718

  17. Laboratory-Directed Protein Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Yuan, Ling; Kurek, Itzhak; English, James; Keenan, Robert

    2005-01-01

    Systematic approaches to directed evolution of proteins have been documented since the 1970s. The ability to recruit new protein functions arises from the considerable substrate ambiguity of many proteins. The substrate ambiguity of a protein can be interpreted as the evolutionary potential that allows a protein to acquire new specificities through mutation or to regain function via mutations that differ from the original protein sequence. All organisms have evolutionarily exploited this substrate ambiguity. When exploited in a laboratory under controlled mutagenesis and selection, it enables a protein to “evolve” in desired directions. One of the most effective strategies in directed protein evolution is to gradually accumulate mutations, either sequentially or by recombination, while applying selective pressure. This is typically achieved by the generation of libraries of mutants followed by efficient screening of these libraries for targeted functions and subsequent repetition of the process using improved mutants from the previous screening. Here we review some of the successful strategies in creating protein diversity and the more recent progress in directed protein evolution in a wide range of scientific disciplines and its impacts in chemical, pharmaceutical, and agricultural sciences. PMID:16148303

  18. Thermal Solutions for Molecular Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mast, Christof B.; Osterman, Natan; Braun, Dieter

    2012-12-01

    The key requirement to solve the origin of life puzzle are disequilibrium conditions. Early molecular evolution cannot be explained by initial high concentrations of energetic chemicals since they would just react towards their chemical equilibrium allowing no further development. We argue here that persistent disequilibria are needed to increase complexity during molecular evolution. We propose thermal gradients as the disequilibrium setting which drove Darwinian molecular evolution. On the one hand the thermal gradient gives rise to laminar thermal convection flow with highly regular temperature oscillations that allow melting and replication of DNA. On the other hand molecules move along the thermal gradient, a mechanism termed Soret effect or thermophoresis. Inside a long chamber a combination of the convection flow and thermophoresis leads to a very efficient accumulation of molecules. Short DNA is concentrated thousand-fold, whereas longer DNA is exponentially better accumulated. We demonstrated both scenarios in the same micrometer-sized setting. Forthcoming experiments will reveal how replication and accumulation of DNA in a system, driven only by a thermal gradient, could create a Darwinian process of replication and selection.

  19. Outrunning Nature: Directed Evolution of Superior Biocatalysts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Woodyer, Ryan; Chen, Wilfred; Zhao, Huimin

    2004-01-01

    The development of enzymes as biocatalysts for industrial use and the emergence of directed evolution in the invention of advanced biocatalysts are discussed and illustrated. Thus, directed evolution has bridged the functional gap between natural and specially designed biocatalysts.

  20. Adaptive evolution of molecular phenotypes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Held, Torsten; Nourmohammad, Armita; Lässig, Michael

    2014-09-01

    Molecular phenotypes link genomic information with organismic functions, fitness, and evolution. Quantitative traits are complex phenotypes that depend on multiple genomic loci. In this paper, we study the adaptive evolution of a quantitative trait under time-dependent selection, which arises from environmental changes or through fitness interactions with other co-evolving phenotypes. We analyze a model of trait evolution under mutations and genetic drift in a single-peak fitness seascape. The fitness peak performs a constrained random walk in the trait amplitude, which determines the time-dependent trait optimum in a given population. We derive analytical expressions for the distribution of the time-dependent trait divergence between populations and of the trait diversity within populations. Based on this solution, we develop a method to infer adaptive evolution of quantitative traits. Specifically, we show that the ratio of the average trait divergence and the diversity is a universal function of evolutionary time, which predicts the stabilizing strength and the driving rate of the fitness seascape. From an information-theoretic point of view, this function measures the macro-evolutionary entropy in a population ensemble, which determines the predictability of the evolutionary process. Our solution also quantifies two key characteristics of adapting populations: the cumulative fitness flux, which measures the total amount of adaptation, and the adaptive load, which is the fitness cost due to a population's lag behind the fitness peak.

  1. Can evolution be directional without being teleological?

    PubMed

    McGhee, George R

    2016-08-01

    Convergent evolution reveals to us that the number of possibilities available for contingent events is limited, that historically contingent evolution is constrained to occur within a finite number of limited pathways, and that contingent evolution is thus probabilistic and predictable. That is, the phenomenon of convergence proves that truly contingent evolutionary processes can repeatedly produce the same, or very similar, organic designs in nature and that evolution is directional in these cases. For this reason it is argued in this paper that evolution can be directional without being teleological, and that the dichotomy that evolution must either be directionless and unpredictable or directional and predetermined (teleological) is false. PMID:26754619

  2. Bringing Molecules Back into Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Wilke, Claus O.

    2012-01-01

    Much molecular-evolution research is concerned with sequence analysis. Yet these sequences represent real, three-dimensional molecules with complex structure and function. Here I highlight a growing trend in the field to incorporate molecular structure and function into computational molecular-evolution work. I consider three focus areas: reconstruction and analysis of past evolutionary events, such as phylogenetic inference or methods to infer selection pressures; development of toy models and simulations to identify fundamental principles of molecular evolution; and atom-level, highly realistic computational modeling of molecular structure and function aimed at making predictions about possible future evolutionary events. PMID:22761562

  3. Advances in the directed evolution of proteins

    PubMed Central

    Lane, Michael D.; Seelig, Burckhard

    2014-01-01

    Natural evolution has produced a great diversity of proteins that can be harnessed for numerous applications in biotechnology and pharmaceutical science. Commonly, specific applications require proteins to be tailored by protein engineering. Directed evolution is a type of protein engineering that yields proteins with the desired properties under well-defined conditions and in a practical time frame. While directed evolution has been employed for decades, recent creative developments enable the generation of proteins with previously inaccessible properties. Novel selection strategies, faster techniques, the inclusion of unnatural amino acids or modifications, and the symbiosis of rational design approaches and directed evolution continue to advance protein engineering. PMID:25309990

  4. Molecular evolution of hydrogen peroxide degrading enzymes.

    PubMed

    Zámocký, Marcel; Gasselhuber, Bernhard; Furtmüller, Paul G; Obinger, Christian

    2012-09-15

    For efficient removal of intra- and/or extracellular hydrogen peroxide by dismutation to harmless dioxygen and water (2H(2)O(2) → O(2) + 2H(2)O), nature designed three metalloenzyme families that differ in oligomeric organization, monomer architecture as well as active site geometry and catalytic residues. Here we report on the updated reconstruction of the molecular phylogeny of these three gene families. Ubiquitous typical (monofunctional) heme catalases are found in all domains of life showing a high structural conservation. Their evolution was directed from large subunit towards small subunit proteins and further to fused proteins where the catalase fold was retained but lost its original functionality. Bifunctional catalase-peroxidases were at the origin of one of the two main heme peroxidase superfamilies (i.e. peroxidase-catalase superfamily) and constitute a protein family predominantly present among eubacteria and archaea, but two evolutionary branches are also found in the eukaryotic world. Non-heme manganese catalases are a relatively small protein family with very old roots only present among bacteria and archaea. Phylogenetic analyses of the three protein families reveal features typical (i) for the evolution of whole genomes as well as (ii) for specific evolutionary events including horizontal gene transfer, paralog formation and gene fusion. As catalases have reached a striking diversity among prokaryotic and eukaryotic pathogens, understanding their phylogenetic and molecular relationship and function will contribute to drug design for prevention of diseases of humans, animals and plants. PMID:22330759

  5. Outrunning Nature: Directed Evolution of Superior Biocatalysts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woodyer, Ryan; Chen, Wilfred; Zhao, Huimin

    2004-01-01

    Driven by recent technical advances in genetic engineering and new societal needs, the use of enzymes and microorganisms as catalysts to synthesize chemicals and materials is rapidly expanding. One of the key technical drivers is the development of various directed evolution methods for biocatalyst discovery and optimization. Although it essentially replicates the Darwinian evolutionary processes in a test tube, directed evolution can create biocatalysts with better catalytic performance than Nature's own products within weeks or months rather than eons. In this article, both the technologies and applications of directed evolution in biocatalysis are discussed.

  6. The Molecular Evolution of Actin

    PubMed Central

    Hightower, Robin C.; Meagher, Richard B.

    1986-01-01

    We have investigated the molecular evolution of plant and nonplant actin genes comparing nucleotide and amino acid sequences of 20 actin genes. Nucleotide changes resulting in amino acid substitutions (replacement substitutions) ranged from 3–7% for all pairwise comparisons of animal actin genes with the following exceptions. Comparisons between higher animal muscle actin gene sequences and comparisons between higher animal cytoplasmic actin gene sequences indicated <3% divergence. Comparisons between plant and nonplant actin genes revealed, with two exceptions, 11–15% replacement substitution. In the analysis of plant actins, replacement substitution between soybean actin genes SAc1, SAc3, SAc4 and maize actin gene MAc1 ranged from 8–10%, whereas these members within the soybean actin gene family ranged from 6–9% replacement substitution. The rate of sequence divergence of plant actin sequences appears to be similar to that observed for animal actins. Furthermore, these and other data suggest that the plant actin gene family is ancient and that the families of soybean and maize actin genes have diverged from a single common ancestral plant actin gene that originated long before the divergence of monocots and dicots. The soybean actin multigene family encodes at least three classes of actin. These classes each contain a pair of actin genes that have been designated kappa (SAc1, SAc6), lambda (SAc2, SAc4) and mu (SAc3, SAc7). The three classes of soybean actin are more divergent in nucleotide sequence from one another than higher animal cytoplasmic actin is divergent from muscle actin. The location and distribution of amino acid changes were compared between actin proteins from all sources. A comparison of the hydropathy of all actin sequences, except from Oxytricha, indicated a strong similarity in hydropathic character between all plant and nonplant actins despite the greater number of replacement substitutions in plant actins. These protein sequence

  7. Molecular evolution and thermal adaptation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Peiqiu

    2011-12-01

    In this thesis, we address problems in molecular evolution, thermal adaptation, and the kinetics of adaptation of bacteria and viruses to elevated environmental temperatures. We use a nearly neutral fitness model where the replication speed of an organism is proportional to the copy number of folded proteins. Our model reproduces the distribution of stabilities of natural proteins in excellent agreement with experiment. We find that species with high mutation rates tend to have less stable proteins compared to species with low mutation rate. We found that a broad distribution of protein stabilities observed in the model and in experiment is the key determinant of thermal response for viruses and bacteria. Our results explain most of the earlier experimental observations: striking asymmetry of thermal response curves, the absence of evolutionary trade-off which was expected but not found in experiments, correlation between denaturation temperature for several protein families and the Optimal Growth Temperature (OGT) of their carrier organisms, and proximity of bacterial or viral OGTs to their evolutionary temperatures. Our theory quantitatively and with high accuracy described thermal response curves for 35 bacterial species. The model also addresses the key to adaptation is in weak-link genes (WLG), which encode least thermodynamically stable essential proteins in the proteome. We observe, as in experiment, a two-stage adaptation process. The first stage is a Luria-Delbruck type of selection, whereby rare WLG alleles, whose proteins are more stable than WLG proteins of the majority of the population (either due to standing genetic variation or due to an early acquired mutation), rapidly rise to fixation. The second stage constitutes subsequent slow accumulation of mutations in an adapted population. As adaptation progresses, selection regime changes from positive to neutral: Selection coefficient of beneficial mutations scales as a negative power of number of

  8. Statistical limitations on molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Perlovsky, Leonid I

    2002-06-01

    Complexity of functions evolving in an evolution process are expected to be limited by the time length of an evolution process among other factors. This paper outlines a general method of deriving function-complexity limitations based on mathematical statistics and independent from details of a biological or genetic mechanism of the evolution of the function. Limitations on the emergence of life are derived, these limitations indicate a possibility of a very fast evolution and are consistent with "RNA world" hypothesis. The discussed method is general and can be used to characterize evolution of more specific biological organism functions and relate functions to genetic structures. The derived general limitations indicate that a co-evolution of multiple functions and species could be a slow process, whereas an evolution of a specific function might proceed very fast, so that no trace of intermediate forms (species) is preserved in fossil records of phenotype or DNA structure; this is consistent with a picture of "punctuated equilibrium". PMID:12023805

  9. Surface morphology evolution of m-plane (11xAF00) GaN during molecular beam epitaxy growth: Impact of Ga/N ratio, miscut direction, and growth temperature

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shao, Jiayi; Tang, Liang; Edmunds, Colin; Gardner, Geoff; Malis, Oana; Manfra, Michael

    2013-07-01

    We present a systematic study of morphology evolution of [11¯00] m-plane GaN grown by plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy on free-standing m-plane substrates with small miscut angles towards the -c [0001¯] and +c [0001] directions under various gallium to nitrogen (Ga/N) ratios at substrate temperatures T = 720 °C and T = 740 °C. The miscut direction, Ga/N ratio, and growth temperature are all shown to have a dramatic impact on morphology. The observed dependence on miscut direction supports the notion of strong anisotropy in the gallium adatom diffusion barrier and growth kinetics. We demonstrate that precise control of Ga/N ratio and substrate temperature yields atomically smooth morphology on substrates oriented towards +c [0001] as well as the more commonly studied -c [0001¯] miscut substrates.

  10. Molecular recordings by directed CRISPR spacer acquisition.

    PubMed

    Shipman, Seth L; Nivala, Jeff; Macklis, Jeffrey D; Church, George M

    2016-07-29

    The ability to write a stable record of identified molecular events into a specific genomic locus would enable the examination of long cellular histories and have many applications, ranging from developmental biology to synthetic devices. We show that the type I-E CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)-Cas system of Escherichia coli can mediate acquisition of defined pieces of synthetic DNA. We harnessed this feature to generate records of specific DNA sequences into a population of bacterial genomes. We then applied directed evolution so as to alter the recognition of a protospacer adjacent motif by the Cas1-Cas2 complex, which enabled recording in two modes simultaneously. We used this system to reveal aspects of spacer acquisition, fundamental to the CRISPR-Cas adaptation process. These results lay the foundations of a multimodal intracellular recording device. PMID:27284167

  11. Directed Evolution of Enzymes for Industrial Biocatalysis.

    PubMed

    Porter, Joanne L; Rusli, Rukhairul A; Ollis, David L

    2016-02-01

    Enzymes have the potential to catalyse a wide variety of chemical reactions. They are increasingly being sought as environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternatives to conventional catalysts used in industries ranging from bioremediation to applications in medicine and pharmaceutics. Despite the benefits, they are not without their limitations. Many naturally occurring enzymes are not suitable for use outside of their native cellular environments. However, protein engineering can be used to generate enzymes tailored for specific industrial applications. Directed evolution is particularly useful and can be employed even when lack of structural information impedes the use of rational design. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of current industrial applications of enzyme technology and to show how directed evolution can be used to modify and to enhance enzyme properties. This includes a brief discussion on library generation and a more detailed focus on library screening methods, which are critical to any directed evolution experiment. PMID:26661585

  12. Molecular evolution tracks macroevolutionary transitions in Cetacea.

    PubMed

    McGowen, Michael R; Gatesy, John; Wildman, Derek E

    2014-06-01

    Cetacea (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) is a model group for investigating the molecular signature of macroevolutionary transitions. Recent research has begun to reveal the molecular underpinnings of the remarkable anatomical and behavioral transformation in this clade. This shift from terrestrial to aquatic environments is arguably the best-understood major morphological transition in vertebrate evolution. The ancestral body plan and physiology were extensively modified and, in many cases, these crucial changes are recorded in cetacean genomes. Recent studies have highlighted cetaceans as central to understanding adaptive molecular convergence and pseudogene formation. Here, we review current research in cetacean molecular evolution and the potential of Cetacea as a model for the study of other macroevolutionary transitions from a genomic perspective. PMID:24794916

  13. Molecular Evolution of Puumala Hantavirus

    PubMed Central

    Sironen, Tarja; Vaheri, Antti; Plyusnin, Alexander

    2001-01-01

    Puumala virus (PUUV) is a negative-stranded RNA virus in the genus Hantavirus, family Bunyaviridae. In this study, detailed phylogenetic analysis was performed on 42 complete S segment sequences of PUUV originated from several European countries, Russia, and Japan, the largest set available thus far for hantaviruses. The results show that PUUV sequences form seven distinct and well-supported genetic lineages; within these lineages, geographical clustering of genetic variants is observed. The overall phylogeny of PUUV is star-like, suggesting an early split of genetic lineages. The individual PUUV lineages appear to be independent, with the only exception to this being the Finnish and the Russian lineages that are closely connected to each other. Two strains of PUUV-like virus from Japan form the most ancestral lineage diverging from PUUV. Recombination points within the S segment were searched for and evidence for intralineage recombination events was seen in the Finnish, Russian, Danish, and Belgian lineages of PUUV. Molecular clock analysis showed that PUUV is a stable virus, evolving slowly at a rate of 0.7 × 10−7 to 2.2 × 10−6 nt substitutions per site per year. PMID:11689661

  14. Molecular evolution of the vertebrate mechanosensory cell and ear

    PubMed Central

    Fritzsch, Bernd; Beisel, Kirk W.; Pauley, Sarah; Soukup, Garrett

    2014-01-01

    The molecular basis of mechanosensation, mechanosensory cell development and mechanosensory organ development is reviewed with an emphasis on its evolution. In contrast to eye evolution and development, which apparently modified a genetic program through intercalation of genes between the master control genes on the top (Pax6, Eya1, Six1) of the hierarchy and the structural genes (rhodopsin) at the bottom, the as yet molecularly unknown mechanosensory channel precludes such a firm conclusion for mechanosensors. However, recent years have seen the identification of several structural genes which are involved in mechanosensory tethering and several transcription factors controlling mechanosensory cell and organ development; these warrant the interpretation of available data in very much the same fashion as for eye evolution: molecular homology combined with potential morphological parallelism. This assertion of molecular homology is strongly supported by recent findings of a highly conserved set of microRNAs that appear to be associated with mechanosensory cell development across phyla. The conservation of transcription factors and their regulators fits very well to the known or presumed mechanosensory specializations which can be mostly grouped as variations of a common cellular theme. Given the widespread distribution of the molecular ability to form mechanosensory cells, it comes as no surprise that structurally different mechanosensory organs evolved in different phyla, presenting a variation of a common theme specified by a conserved set of transcription factors in their cellular development. Within vertebrates and arthropods, some mechanosensory organs evolved into auditory organs, greatly increasing sensitivity to sound through modifications of accessory structures to direct sound to the specific sensory epithelia. However, while great attention has been paid to the evolution of these accessory structures in vertebrate fossils, comparatively less attention has

  15. Directed Evolution of Stereoselective Hybrid Catalysts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reetz, Manfred T.

    Whereas the directed evolution of stereoselective enzymes provides a useful tool in asymmetric catalysis, generality cannot be claimed because enzymes as catalysts are restricted to a limited set of reaction types. Therefore, a new concept has been proposed, namely directed evolution of hybrid catalysts in which proteins serve as hosts for anchoring ligand/transition metal entities. Accordingly, appropriate genetic mutagenesis methods are applied to the gene of a given protein host, providing after expression a library of mutant proteins. These are purified and a ligand/transition metal anchored site-specifically. Following en masse ee-screening, the best hit is identified, and the corresponding mutant gene is used as a template for another round of mutagenesis, expression, purification, bioconjugation, and screening. This allows for a Darwinian optimization of transition metal catalysts.

  16. Computationally optimizing the directed evolution of proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Voigt, Christopher Ashby

    Directed evolution has proven a successful strategy for protein engineering. To accelerate the discovery process, we have developed several computational methods to optimize the mutant libraries by targeting specific residues for mutagenesis, and subunits for recombination. In achieving this goal, a statistical model was first used to study the dynamics of directed evolution as a search algorithm. These simulations improved our understanding of the relationship between parameters describing the search space (e.g., interactions between amino acids) and experimental search parameters (e.g., mutation rate and library size). Based on these simulations, a more detailed model was used to calculate the structural tolerance of each residue to amino acid substitutions. Further, a computational model was developed to optimize recombination experiments, based on the three-dimensional structure. Together, these computational techniques represent a major step towards information-driven combinatorial protein design.

  17. Evolution of molecular phenotypes under stabilizing selection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nourmohammad, Armita; Schiffels, Stephan; Lässig, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Molecular phenotypes are important links between genomic information and organismic functions, fitness, and evolution. Complex phenotypes, which are also called quantitative traits, often depend on multiple genomic loci. Their evolution builds on genome evolution in a complicated way, which involves selection, genetic drift, mutations and recombination. Here we develop a coarse-grained evolutionary statistics for phenotypes, which decouples from details of the underlying genotypes. We derive approximate evolution equations for the distribution of phenotype values within and across populations. This dynamics covers evolutionary processes at high and low recombination rates, that is, it applies to sexual and asexual populations. In a fitness landscape with a single optimal phenotype value, the phenotypic diversity within populations and the divergence between populations reach evolutionary equilibria, which describe stabilizing selection. We compute the equilibrium distributions of both quantities analytically and we show that the ratio of mean divergence and diversity depends on the strength of selection in a universal way: it is largely independent of the phenotype’s genomic encoding and of the recombination rate. This establishes a new method for the inference of selection on molecular phenotypes beyond the genome level. We discuss the implications of our findings for the predictability of evolutionary processes.

  18. Molecular musings in microbial ecology and evolution

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    A few major discoveries have influenced how ecologists and evolutionists study microbes. Here, in the format of an interview, we answer questions that directly relate to how these discoveries are perceived in these two branches of microbiology, and how they have impacted on both scientific thinking and methodology. The first question is "What has been the influence of the 'Universal Tree of Life' based on molecular markers?" For evolutionists, the tree was a tool to understand the past of known (cultured) organisms, mapping the invention of various physiologies on the evolutionary history of microbes. For ecologists the tree was a guide to discover the current diversity of unknown (uncultured) organisms, without much knowledge of their physiology. The second question we ask is "What was the impact of discovering frequent lateral gene transfer among microbes?" In evolutionary microbiology, frequent lateral gene transfer (LGT) made a simple description of relationships between organisms impossible, and for microbial ecologists, functions could not be easily linked to specific genotypes. Both fields initially resisted LGT, but methods or topics of inquiry were eventually changed in one to incorporate LGT in its theoretical models (evolution) and in the other to achieve its goals despite that phenomenon (ecology). The third and last question we ask is "What are the implications of the unexpected extent of diversity?" The variation in the extent of diversity between organisms invalidated the universality of species definitions based on molecular criteria, a major obstacle to the adaptation of models developed for the study of macroscopic eukaryotes to evolutionary microbiology. This issue has not overtly affected microbial ecology, as it had already abandoned species in favor of the more flexible operational taxonomic units. This field is nonetheless moving away from traditional methods to measure diversity, as they do not provide enough resolution to uncover what lies

  19. Molecular evolution of prolactin in primates.

    PubMed

    Wallis, O Caryl; Mac-Kwashie, Akofa O; Makri, Georgia; Wallis, Michael

    2005-05-01

    Pituitary prolactin, like growth hormone (GH) and several other protein hormones, shows an episodic pattern of molecular evolution in which sustained bursts of rapid change contrast with long periods of slow evolution. A period of rapid change occurred in the evolution of prolactin in primates, leading to marked sequence differences between human prolactin and that of nonprimate mammals. We have defined this burst more precisely by sequencing the coding regions of prolactin genes for a prosimian, the slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus), and a New World monkey, the marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). Slow loris prolactin is very similar in sequence to pig prolactin, so the episode of rapid change occurred during primate evolution, after the separation of lines leading to prosimians and higher primates. Marmoset prolactin is similar in sequence to human prolactin, so the accelerated evolution occurred before divergence of New World monkeys and Old World monkeys/apes. The burst of change was confined largely to coding sequence (nonsynonymous sites) for mature prolactin and is not marked in other components of the gene sequence. This and the observations that (1) there was no apparent loss of function during the episode of rapid evolution, (2) the rate of evolution slowed toward the basal rate after this burst, and (3) the distribution of substitutions in the prolactin molecule is very uneven support the idea that this episode of rapid change was due to positive adaptive selection. In the slow loris and marmoset there is no evidence for duplication of the prolactin gene, and evidence from another New World monkey (Cebus albifrons) and from the chimpanzee and human genome sequences, suggests that this is the general position in primates, contrasting with the situation for GH genes. The chimpanzee prolactin sequence differs from that of human at two residues and comparison of human and chimpanzee prolactin gene sequences suggests that noncoding regions associated with regulating

  20. Beyond the outer limits of nature by directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Molina-Espeja, Patricia; Viña-Gonzalez, Javier; Gomez-Fernandez, Bernardo J; Martin-Diaz, Javier; Garcia-Ruiz, Eva; Alcalde, Miguel

    2016-01-01

    For more than thirty years, biotechnology has borne witness to the power of directed evolution in designing molecules of industrial relevance. While scientists all over the world discuss the future of molecular evolution, dozens of laboratory-designed products are being released with improved characteristics in terms of turnover rates, substrate scope, catalytic promiscuity or stability. In this review we aim to present the most recent advances in this fascinating research field that are allowing us to surpass the limits of nature and apply newly gained attributes to a range of applications, from gene therapy to novel green processes. The use of directed evolution in non-natural environments, the generation of catalytic promiscuity for non-natural reactions, the insertion of unnatural amino acids into proteins or the creation of unnatural DNA, is described comprehensively, together with the potential applications in bioremediation, biomedicine and in the generation of new bionanomaterials. These successful case studies show us that the limits of directed evolution will be defined by our own imagination, and in some cases, stretching beyond that. PMID:27064127

  1. Selectionism and Neutralism in Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Nei, Masatoshi

    2006-01-01

    Charles Darwin proposed that evolution occurs primarily by natural selection, but this view has been controversial from the beginning. Two of the major opposing views have been mutationism and neutralism. Early molecular studies suggested that most amino acid substitutions in proteins are neutral or nearly neutral and the functional change of proteins occurs by a few key amino acid substitutions. This suggestion generated an intense controversy over selectionism and neutralism. This controversy is partially caused by Kimura's definition of neutrality, which was too strict (|2Ns| ≤ 1). If we define neutral mutations as the mutations that do not change the function of gene products appreciably, many controversies disappear because slightly deleterious and slightly advantageous mutations are engulfed by neutral mutations. The ratio of the rate of nonsynonymous nucleotide substitution to that of synonymous substitution is a useful quantity to study positive Darwinian selection operating at highly variable genetic loci, but it does not necessarily detect adaptively important codons. Previously, multigene families were thought to evolve following the model of concerted evolution, but new evidence indicates that most of them evolve by a birth-and-death process of duplicate genes. It is now clear that most phenotypic characters or genetic systems such as the adaptive immune system in vertebrates are controlled by the interaction of a number of multigene families, which are often evolutionarily related and are subject to birth-and-death evolution. Therefore, it is important to study the mechanisms of gene family interaction for understanding phenotypic evolution. Because gene duplication occurs more or less at random, phenotypic evolution contains some fortuitous elements, though the environmental factors also play an important role. The randomness of phenotypic evolution is qualitatively different from allele frequency changes by random genetic drift. However, there is

  2. Development of chimeric laccases by directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Pardo, Isabel; Vicente, Ana Isabel; Mate, Diana M; Alcalde, Miguel; Camarero, Susana

    2012-12-01

    DNA recombination methods are useful tools to generate diversity in directed evolution protein engineering studies. We have designed an array of chimeric laccases with high-redox potential by in vitro and in vivo DNA recombination of two fungal laccases (from Pycnoporus cinnabarinus and PM1 basidiomycete), which were previously tailored by laboratory evolution for functional expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The laccase fusion genes (including the evolved α-factor prepro-leaders for secretion in yeast) were subjected to a round of family shuffling to construct chimeric libraries and the best laccase hybrids were identified in dual high-throughput screening (HTS) assays. Using this approach, we identified chimeras with up to six crossover events in the whole sequence, and we obtained active hybrid laccases with combined characteristics in terms of pH activity and thermostability. PMID:22729887

  3. A Nonstationary Markov Model Detects Directional Evolution in Hymenopteran Morphology

    PubMed Central

    Klopfstein, Seraina; Vilhelmsen, Lars; Ronquist, Fredrik

    2015-01-01

    Directional evolution has played an important role in shaping the morphological, ecological, and molecular diversity of life. However, standard substitution models assume stationarity of the evolutionary process over the time scale examined, thus impeding the study of directionality. Here we explore a simple, nonstationary model of evolution for discrete data, which assumes that the state frequencies at the root differ from the equilibrium frequencies of the homogeneous evolutionary process along the rest of the tree (i.e., the process is nonstationary, nonreversible, but homogeneous). Within this framework, we develop a Bayesian approach for testing directional versus stationary evolution using a reversible-jump algorithm. Simulations show that when only data from extant taxa are available, the success in inferring directionality is strongly dependent on the evolutionary rate, the shape of the tree, the relative branch lengths, and the number of taxa. Given suitable evolutionary rates (0.1–0.5 expected substitutions between root and tips), accounting for directionality improves tree inference and often allows correct rooting of the tree without the use of an outgroup. As an empirical test, we apply our method to study directional evolution in hymenopteran morphology. We focus on three character systems: wing veins, muscles, and sclerites. We find strong support for a trend toward loss of wing veins and muscles, while stationarity cannot be ruled out for sclerites. Adding fossil and time information in a total-evidence dating approach, we show that accounting for directionality results in more precise estimates not only of the ancestral state at the root of the tree, but also of the divergence times. Our model relaxes the assumption of stationarity and reversibility by adding a minimum of additional parameters, and is thus well suited to studying the nature of the evolutionary process in data sets of limited size, such as morphology and ecology. PMID:26272507

  4. A Nonstationary Markov Model Detects Directional Evolution in Hymenopteran Morphology.

    PubMed

    Klopfstein, Seraina; Vilhelmsen, Lars; Ronquist, Fredrik

    2015-11-01

    Directional evolution has played an important role in shaping the morphological, ecological, and molecular diversity of life. However, standard substitution models assume stationarity of the evolutionary process over the time scale examined, thus impeding the study of directionality. Here we explore a simple, nonstationary model of evolution for discrete data, which assumes that the state frequencies at the root differ from the equilibrium frequencies of the homogeneous evolutionary process along the rest of the tree (i.e., the process is nonstationary, nonreversible, but homogeneous). Within this framework, we develop a Bayesian approach for testing directional versus stationary evolution using a reversible-jump algorithm. Simulations show that when only data from extant taxa are available, the success in inferring directionality is strongly dependent on the evolutionary rate, the shape of the tree, the relative branch lengths, and the number of taxa. Given suitable evolutionary rates (0.1-0.5 expected substitutions between root and tips), accounting for directionality improves tree inference and often allows correct rooting of the tree without the use of an outgroup. As an empirical test, we apply our method to study directional evolution in hymenopteran morphology. We focus on three character systems: wing veins, muscles, and sclerites. We find strong support for a trend toward loss of wing veins and muscles, while stationarity cannot be ruled out for sclerites. Adding fossil and time information in a total-evidence dating approach, we show that accounting for directionality results in more precise estimates not only of the ancestral state at the root of the tree, but also of the divergence times. Our model relaxes the assumption of stationarity and reversibility by adding a minimum of additional parameters, and is thus well suited to studying the nature of the evolutionary process in data sets of limited size, such as morphology and ecology. PMID:26272507

  5. Improved Precursor Directed Biosynthesis in E. coli via Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Ho Young; Harvey, Colin J.B.; Cane, David E.; Khosla, Chaitan

    2010-01-01

    Erythromycin and related macrolide antibiotics are widely used polyketide natural products. We have evolved an engineered biosynthetic pathway in Escherichia coli that yields erythromycin analogs from simple synthetic precursors. Multiple rounds of mutagenesis and screening led to the identification of new mutant strains with improved efficiency for precursor directed biosynthesis. Genetic and biochemical analysis suggested that the phenotypically relevant alterations in these mutant strains were localized exclusively to the host-vector system, and not to the polyketide synthase. We also demonstrate the utility of this improved system through engineered biosynthesis of a novel alkynyl erythromycin derivative with comparable antibacterial activity to its natural counterpart. In addition to reinforcing the power of directed evolution for engineering macrolide biosynthesis, our studies have identified a new lead substance for investigating structure-function relationships in the bacterial ribosome. PMID:21081955

  6. Trends in substitution models of molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Arenas, Miguel

    2015-01-01

    Substitution models of evolution describe the process of genetic variation through fixed mutations and constitute the basis of the evolutionary analysis at the molecular level. Almost 40 years after the development of first substitution models, highly sophisticated, and data-specific substitution models continue emerging with the aim of better mimicking real evolutionary processes. Here I describe current trends in substitution models of DNA, codon and amino acid sequence evolution, including advantages and pitfalls of the most popular models. The perspective concludes that despite the large number of currently available substitution models, further research is required for more realistic modeling, especially for DNA coding and amino acid data. Additionally, the development of more accurate complex models should be coupled with new implementations and improvements of methods and frameworks for substitution model selection and downstream evolutionary analysis. PMID:26579193

  7. Trends in substitution models of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Arenas, Miguel

    2015-01-01

    Substitution models of evolution describe the process of genetic variation through fixed mutations and constitute the basis of the evolutionary analysis at the molecular level. Almost 40 years after the development of first substitution models, highly sophisticated, and data-specific substitution models continue emerging with the aim of better mimicking real evolutionary processes. Here I describe current trends in substitution models of DNA, codon and amino acid sequence evolution, including advantages and pitfalls of the most popular models. The perspective concludes that despite the large number of currently available substitution models, further research is required for more realistic modeling, especially for DNA coding and amino acid data. Additionally, the development of more accurate complex models should be coupled with new implementations and improvements of methods and frameworks for substitution model selection and downstream evolutionary analysis. PMID:26579193

  8. Molecular Cancer Prevention: Current Status & Future Directions

    PubMed Central

    Maresso, Karen Colbert; Tsai, Kenneth Y.; Brown, Powel H.; Szabo, Eva; Lippman, Scott; Hawk, Ernest

    2016-01-01

    The heterogeneity and complexity of advanced cancers strongly supports the rationale for an enhanced focus on molecular prevention as a priority strategy to reduce the burden of cancer. Molecular prevention encompasses traditional chemopreventive agents as well as vaccinations and therapeutic approaches to cancer-predisposing conditions. Despite challenges to the field, we now have refined insights into cancer etiology and early pathogenesis; successful risk assessment and new risk models; agents with broad preventive efficacy (e.g., aspirin) in common chronic diseases, including cancer; and a successful track record of more than 10 agents approved by the FDA for the treatment of precancerous lesions or cancer risk reduction. The development of molecular preventive agents does not differ significantly from the development of therapies for advanced cancers, yet has unique challenges and special considerations given that it most often involves healthy or asymptomatic individuals. Agents, biomarkers, cohorts, overall design, and endpoints are key determinants of molecular preventive trials, as with therapeutic trials, although distinctions exist for each within the preventive setting. Progress in the development and evolution of molecular preventive agents has been steadier in some organ systems, such as breast and skin, than in others. In order for molecular prevention to be fully realized as an effective strategy, a number of challenges to the field must be addressed. Here we provide a brief overview of the context for and special considerations of molecular prevention along with a discussion of the results of major randomized controlled trials. PMID:26284997

  9. Social parasitism and the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution.

    PubMed

    Cini, Alessandro; Patalano, Solenn; Segonds-Pichon, Anne; Busby, George B J; Cervo, Rita; Sumner, Seirian

    2015-01-01

    Contrasting phenotypes arise from similar genomes through a combination of losses, gains, co-option and modifications of inherited genomic material. Understanding the molecular basis of this phenotypic diversity is a fundamental challenge in modern evolutionary biology. Comparisons of the genes and their expression patterns underlying traits in closely related species offer an unrivaled opportunity to evaluate the extent to which genomic material is reorganized to produce novel traits. Advances in molecular methods now allow us to dissect the molecular machinery underlying phenotypic diversity in almost any organism, from single-celled entities to the most complex vertebrates. Here we discuss how comparisons of social parasites and their free-living hosts may provide unique insights into the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution. Social parasites evolve from a eusocial ancestor and are specialized to exploit the socially acquired resources of their closely-related eusocial host. Molecular comparisons of such species pairs can reveal how genomic material is re-organized in the loss of ancestral traits (i.e., of free-living traits in the parasites) and the gain of new ones (i.e., specialist traits required for a parasitic lifestyle). We define hypotheses on the molecular basis of phenotypes in the evolution of social parasitism and discuss their wider application in our understanding of the molecular basis of phenotypic diversity within the theoretical framework of phenotypic plasticity and shifting reaction norms. Currently there are no data available to test these hypotheses, and so we also provide some proof of concept data using the paper wasp social parasite/host system (Polistes sulcifer-Polistes dominula). This conceptual framework and first empirical data provide a spring-board for directing future genomic analyses on exploiting social parasites as a route to understanding the evolution of phenotypic specialization. PMID:25741361

  10. Social parasitism and the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution

    PubMed Central

    Cini, Alessandro; Patalano, Solenn; Segonds-Pichon, Anne; Busby, George B. J.; Cervo, Rita; Sumner, Seirian

    2015-01-01

    Contrasting phenotypes arise from similar genomes through a combination of losses, gains, co-option and modifications of inherited genomic material. Understanding the molecular basis of this phenotypic diversity is a fundamental challenge in modern evolutionary biology. Comparisons of the genes and their expression patterns underlying traits in closely related species offer an unrivaled opportunity to evaluate the extent to which genomic material is reorganized to produce novel traits. Advances in molecular methods now allow us to dissect the molecular machinery underlying phenotypic diversity in almost any organism, from single-celled entities to the most complex vertebrates. Here we discuss how comparisons of social parasites and their free-living hosts may provide unique insights into the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution. Social parasites evolve from a eusocial ancestor and are specialized to exploit the socially acquired resources of their closely-related eusocial host. Molecular comparisons of such species pairs can reveal how genomic material is re-organized in the loss of ancestral traits (i.e., of free-living traits in the parasites) and the gain of new ones (i.e., specialist traits required for a parasitic lifestyle). We define hypotheses on the molecular basis of phenotypes in the evolution of social parasitism and discuss their wider application in our understanding of the molecular basis of phenotypic diversity within the theoretical framework of phenotypic plasticity and shifting reaction norms. Currently there are no data available to test these hypotheses, and so we also provide some proof of concept data using the paper wasp social parasite/host system (Polistes sulcifer—Polistes dominula). This conceptual framework and first empirical data provide a spring-board for directing future genomic analyses on exploiting social parasites as a route to understanding the evolution of phenotypic specialization. PMID:25741361

  11. Molecular epidemiology, phylogeny and evolution of Legionella.

    PubMed

    Khodr, A; Kay, E; Gomez-Valero, L; Ginevra, C; Doublet, P; Buchrieser, C; Jarraud, S

    2016-09-01

    Legionella are opportunistic pathogens that develop in aquatic environments where they multiply in protozoa. When infected aerosols reach the human respiratory tract they may accidentally infect the alveolar macrophages leading to a severe pneumonia called Legionnaires' disease (LD). The ability of Legionella to survive within host-cells is strictly dependent on the Dot/Icm Type 4 Secretion System that translocates a large repertoire of effectors into the host cell cytosol. Although Legionella is a large genus comprising nearly 60 species that are worldwide distributed, only about half of them have been involved in LD cases. Strikingly, the species Legionella pneumophila alone is responsible for 90% of all LD cases. The present review summarizes the molecular approaches that are used for L. pneumophila genotyping with a major focus on the contribution of whole genome sequencing (WGS) to the investigation of local L. pneumophila outbreaks and global epidemiology studies. We report the newest knowledge regarding the phylogeny and the evolution of Legionella and then focus on virulence evolution of those Legionella species that are known to have the capacity to infect humans. Finally, we discuss the evolutionary forces and adaptation mechanisms acting on the Dot/Icm system itself as well as the role of mobile genetic elements (MGE) encoding T4ASSs and of gene duplications in the evolution of Legionella and its adaptation to different hosts and lifestyles. PMID:27180896

  12. Integrating influenza antigenic dynamics with molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Bedford, Trevor; Suchard, Marc A; Lemey, Philippe; Dudas, Gytis; Gregory, Victoria; Hay, Alan J; McCauley, John W; Russell, Colin A; Smith, Derek J; Rambaut, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    Influenza viruses undergo continual antigenic evolution allowing mutant viruses to evade host immunity acquired to previous virus strains. Antigenic phenotype is often assessed through pairwise measurement of cross-reactivity between influenza strains using the hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay. Here, we extend previous approaches to antigenic cartography, and simultaneously characterize antigenic and genetic evolution by modeling the diffusion of antigenic phenotype over a shared virus phylogeny. Using HI data from influenza lineages A/H3N2, A/H1N1, B/Victoria and B/Yamagata, we determine patterns of antigenic drift across viral lineages, showing that A/H3N2 evolves faster and in a more punctuated fashion than other influenza lineages. We also show that year-to-year antigenic drift appears to drive incidence patterns within each influenza lineage. This work makes possible substantial future advances in investigating the dynamics of influenza and other antigenically-variable pathogens by providing a model that intimately combines molecular and antigenic evolution. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01914.001 PMID:24497547

  13. Directed evolution and solid phase enzyme screening

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bylina, Edward J.; Grek, Christina L.; Coleman, William J.; Youvan, Douglas C.

    2000-03-01

    A new digital imaging spectrophotometer and a series of colorimetric solid phase arrays have been developed to screen bacterial libraries expressing mutagenized enzymes undergoing directed evolution. This high-throughput solid- phase array system (known as `Kcat Technology') can detect less than a 20% difference in enzyme rates within microcolonies grown at a nearly confluent density of 500 colonies per cm2 on an assay disk. Each microcolony is analyzed simultaneously at single-pixel resolution (1.5 megapixels; 75 micron/pixel), requiring less than 100 nanoliters of substrate per measurement, a 1000-fold reduction over conventional liquid phase assays. Here we report the successful identification of variants of Agrobacterium (beta) -glucosidase--a glycosidase with broad substrate specificity that favors cleavage of glucosides over galactosides--by simultaneously assaying two different substrates tagged with spectrally distinct chromogenic reporters.

  14. Blood tolerant laccase by directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Mate, Diana M; Gonzalez-Perez, David; Falk, Magnus; Kittl, Roman; Pita, Marcos; De Lacey, Antonio L; Ludwig, Roland; Shleev, Sergey; Alcalde, Miguel

    2013-02-21

    High-redox potential laccases are powerful biocatalysts with a wide range of applications in biotechnology. We have converted a thermostable laccase from a white-rot fungus into a blood tolerant laccase. Adapting the fitness of this laccase to the specific composition of human blood (above neutral pH, high chloride concentration) required several generations of directed evolution in a surrogate complex blood medium. Our evolved laccase was tested in both human plasma and blood, displaying catalytic activity while retaining a high redox potential at the T1 copper site. Mutations introduced in the second coordination sphere of the T1 site shifted the pH activity profile and drastically reduced the inhibitory effect of chloride. This proof of concept that laccases can be adapted to function in extreme conditions opens an array of opportunities for implantable nanobiodevices, chemical syntheses, and detoxification. PMID:23438751

  15. The chemical evolution of molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Iglesias, E.

    1977-01-01

    The nonequilibrium chemistry of dense molecular clouds (10,000 to 1 million hydrogen molecules per cu cm) is studied in the framework of a model that includes the latest published chemical data and most of the recent theoretical advances. In this model the only important external source of ionization is assumed to be high-energy cosmic-ray bombardment; standard charge-transfer reactions are taken into account as well as reactions that transfer charge from molecular ions to trace-metal atoms. Schemes are proposed for the synthesis of such species as NCO, HNCO, and CN. The role played by adsorption and condensation of molecules on the surface of dust grains is investigated, and effects on the chemical evolution of a dense molecular cloud are considered which result from varying the total density or the elemental abundances and from assuming negligible or severe condensation of gaseous species on dust grains. It is shown that the chemical-equilibrium time scale is given approximately by the depletion times of oxygen and nitrogen when the condensation efficiency is negligible; that this time scale is probably in the range from 1 to 4 million years, depending on the elemental composition and initial conditions in the cloud; and that this time scale is insensitive to variations in the total density.

  16. Molecular epidemiology and evolution of fish Novirhabdoviruses

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kurath, Gael

    2014-01-01

    The genus Novirhabdoviridae contains several of the important rhabdoviruses that infect fish hosts. There are four established virus species: Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV), Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV), Hirame rhabdovirus(HIRRV), and Snakehead rhabdovirus (SHRV). Viruses of these species vary in host and geographic range, and they have all been studied at the molecular and genomic level. As globally significant pathogens of cultured fish, IHNV and VHSV have been particularly well studied in terms of molecular epidemiology and evolution. Phylogenic analyses of hundreds of field isolates have defined five major genogroups of IHNV and four major genotypes of VHSV worldwide. These phylogenies are informed by the known histories of IHNV and VHSV, each involving a series of viral emergence events that are sometimes associated with host switches, most often into cultured rainbow trout. In general, IHNV has relatively low genetic diversity and a narrow host range, and has been spread from its endemic source in North American to Europe and Asia due to aquaculture activities. In contrast, VHSV has broad host range and high genetic diversity, and the source of emergence events is virus in widespread marine fish reservoirs in the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Common mechanisms of emergence and host switch events include use of raw feed, proximity to wild fish reservoirs of virus, and geographic translocations of virus or naive fish hosts associated with aquaculture.

  17. Increasing protein production by directed vector backbone evolution

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Recombinant protein production in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms was a key enabling technology for the rapid development of industrial and molecular biotechnology. However, despite all progress the improvement of protein production is an ongoing challenge and of high importance for cost-effective enzyme production. With the epMEGAWHOP mutagenesis protocol for vector backbone optimization we report a novel directed evolution based approach to increase protein production levels by randomly introducing mutations in the vector backbone. In the current study we validate the epMEGAWHOP mutagenesis protocol for three different expression systems. The latter demonstrated the general applicability of the epMEGAWHOP method. Cellulase and lipase production was doubled in one round of directed evolution by random mutagenesis of pET28a(+) and pET22b(+) vector backbones. Protease production using the vector pHY300PLK was increased ~4-times with an average of ~1.25 mutations per kb vector backbone. The epMEGAWHOP does not require any rational understanding of the expression machinery and can generally be applied to enzymes, expression vectors and related hosts. epMEGAWHOP is therefore from our point of view a robust, rapid and straight forward alternative for increasing protein production in general and for biotechnological applications. PMID:23890095

  18. Molecular epidemiology and evolution of porcine parvoviruses.

    PubMed

    Streck, André Felipe; Canal, Cláudio Wageck; Truyen, Uwe

    2015-12-01

    Porcine parvovirus (PPV), recently named Ungulate protoparvovirus 1, is considered to be one of the most important causes of reproductive failure in swine. Fetal death, mummification, stillbirths and delayed return to estrus are predominant clinical signs commonly associated with PPV infection in a herd. It has recently been shown that certain parvoviruses exhibit a nucleotide substitution rate close to that commonly determined for RNA viruses. However, the PPV vaccines broadly used in the last 30 years have most likely reduced the genetic diversity of the virus and led to the predominance of strains with a capsid profile distinct from that of the original vaccine-based strains. Furthermore, a number of novel porcine parvovirus species with yet-unknown veterinary relevance and characteristics have been described during the last decade. In this review, an overview of PPV molecular evolution is presented, highlighting characteristics of the various genetic elements, their evolutionary rate and the discovery of new capsid profiles driven by the currently used vaccines. PMID:26453771

  19. Molecular pathogenesis of CLL and its evolution.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez, David; Bretones, Gabriel; Arango, Javier R; Valdespino, Víctor; Campo, Elías; Quesada, Víctor; López-Otín, Carlos

    2015-03-01

    In spite of being the most prevalent adult leukemia in Western countries, the molecular mechanisms driving the establishment and progression of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) remain largely unknown. In recent years, the use of next-generation sequencing techniques has uncovered new and, in some cases, unexpected driver genes with prognostic and therapeutic value. The mutational landscape of CLL is characterized by high-genetic and epigenetic heterogeneity, low mutation recurrence and a long tail of cases with undefined driver genes. On the other hand, the use of deep sequencing has also revealed high intra-tumor heterogeneity and provided a detailed picture of clonal evolution processes. This phenomenon, in which aberrant DNA methylation can also participate, appears to be tightly associated to poor outcomes and chemo-refractoriness, thus providing a new subject for therapeutic intervention. Hence, and having in mind the limitations derived from the CLL complexity thus described, the application of massively parallel sequencing studies has unveiled a wealth of information that is expected to substantially improve patient staging schemes and CLL clinical management. PMID:25630433

  20. High rates of molecular evolution in hantaviruses.

    PubMed

    Ramsden, Cadhla; Melo, Fernando L; Figueiredo, Luiz M; Holmes, Edward C; Zanotto, Paolo M A

    2008-07-01

    Hantaviruses are rodent-borne Bunyaviruses that infect the Arvicolinae, Murinae, and Sigmodontinae subfamilies of Muridae. The rate of molecular evolution in the hantaviruses has been previously estimated at approximately 10(-7) nucleotide substitutions per site, per year (substitutions/site/year), based on the assumption of codivergence and hence shared divergence times with their rodent hosts. If substantiated, this would make the hantaviruses among the slowest evolving of all RNA viruses. However, as hantaviruses replicate with an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, with error rates in the region of one mutation per genome replication, this low rate of nucleotide substitution is anomalous. Here, we use a Bayesian coalescent approach to estimate the rate of nucleotide substitution from serially sampled gene sequence data for hantaviruses known to infect each of the 3 rodent subfamilies: Araraquara virus (Sigmodontinae), Dobrava virus (Murinae), Puumala virus (Arvicolinae), and Tula virus (Arvicolinae). Our results reveal that hantaviruses exhibit short-term substitution rates of 10(-2) to 10(-4) substitutions/site/year and so are within the range exhibited by other RNA viruses. The disparity between this substitution rate and that estimated assuming rodent-hantavirus codivergence suggests that the codivergence hypothesis may need to be reevaluated. PMID:18417484

  1. Patterns of molecular evolution of RNAi genes in social and socially parasitic bumblebees.

    PubMed

    Helbing, Sophie; Lattorff, H Michael G

    2016-08-01

    The high frequency of interactions amongst closely related individuals in social insect colonies enhances pathogen transmission. Group-mediated behavior supporting immune defenses tends to decrease selection acting on immune genes. Along with low effective population sizes this might result in relaxed constraint and rapid evolution of immune system genes. Here, we show that antiviral siRNA genes show high rates of molecular evolution with argonaute 2, armitage and maelstrom evolving faster in social bumblebees compared to their socially parasitic cuckoo bumblebees that lack a worker caste. RNAi genes show frequent positive selection at the codon level additionally supported by the occurrence of parallel evolution. Their evolutionary rate is linked to their pathway specific position with genes directly interacting with viruses showing the highest rates of molecular evolution. We suggest that higher pathogen load in social insects indeed drives the molecular evolution of immune genes including antiviral siRNA, if not compensated by behavior. PMID:27117935

  2. Polishing the craft of genetic diversity creation in directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Tee, Kang Lan; Wong, Tuck Seng

    2013-12-01

    Genetic diversity creation is a core technology in directed evolution where a high quality mutant library is crucial to its success. Owing to its importance, the technology in genetic diversity creation has seen rapid development over the years and its application has diversified into other fields of scientific research. The advances in molecular cloning and mutagenesis since 2008 were reviewed. Specifically, new cloning techniques were classified based on their principles of complementary overhangs, homologous sequences, overlapping PCR and megaprimers and the advantages, drawbacks and performances of these methods were highlighted. New mutagenesis methods developed for random mutagenesis, focused mutagenesis and DNA recombination were surveyed. The technical requirements of these methods and the mutational spectra were compared and discussed with references to commonly used techniques. The trends of mutant library preparation were summarised. Challenges in genetic diversity creation were discussed with emphases on creating "smart" libraries, controlling the mutagenesis spectrum and specific challenges in each group of mutagenesis methods. An outline of the wider applications of genetic diversity creation includes genome engineering, viral evolution, metagenomics and a study of protein functions. The review ends with an outlook for genetic diversity creation and the prospective developments that can have future impact in this field. PMID:24012599

  3. Rhodopsin Molecular Evolution in Mammals Inhabiting Low Light Environments

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Huabin; Ru, Binghua; Teeling, Emma C.; Faulkes, Christopher G.; Zhang, Shuyi; Rossiter, Stephen J.

    2009-01-01

    The ecological radiation of mammals to inhabit a variety of light environments is largely attributed to adaptive changes in their visual systems. Visual capabilities are conferred by anatomical features of the eyes as well as the combination and properties of their constituent light sensitive pigments. To test whether evolutionary switches to different niches characterized by dim-light conditions coincided with molecular adaptation of the rod pigment rhodopsin, we sequenced the rhodopsin gene in twenty-two mammals including several bats and subterranean mole-rats. We compared these to thirty-seven published mammal rhodopsin sequences, from species with divergent visual ecologies, including nocturnal, diurnal and aquatic groups. All taxa possessed an intact functional rhodopsin; however, phylogenetic tree reconstruction recovered a gene tree in which rodents were not monophyletic, and also in which echolocating bats formed a monophyletic group. These conflicts with the species tree appear to stem from accelerated evolution in these groups, both of which inhabit low light environments. Selection tests confirmed divergent selection pressures in the clades of subterranean rodents and bats, as well as in marine mammals that live in turbid conditions. We also found evidence of divergent selection pressures among groups of bats with different sensory modalities based on vision and echolocation. Sliding window analyses suggest most changes occur in transmembrane domains, particularly obvious within the pinnipeds; however, we found no obvious pattern between photopic niche and predicted spectral sensitivity based on known critical amino acids. This study indicates that the independent evolution of rhodopsin vision in ecologically specialised groups of mammals has involved molecular evolution at the sequence level, though such changes might not mediate spectral sensitivity directly. PMID:20016835

  4. Diversifying Carotenoid Biosynthetic Pathways by Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Umeno, Daisuke; Tobias, Alexander V.; Arnold, Frances H.

    2005-01-01

    Microorganisms and plants synthesize a diverse array of natural products, many of which have proven indispensable to human health and well-being. Although many thousands of these have been characterized, the space of possible natural products—those that could be made biosynthetically—remains largely unexplored. For decades, this space has largely been the domain of chemists, who have synthesized scores of natural product analogs and have found many with improved or novel functions. New natural products have also been made in recombinant organisms, via engineered biosynthetic pathways. Recently, methods inspired by natural evolution have begun to be applied to the search for new natural products. These methods force pathways to evolve in convenient laboratory organisms, where the products of new pathways can be identified and characterized in high-throughput screening programs. Carotenoid biosynthetic pathways have served as a convenient experimental system with which to demonstrate these ideas. Researchers have mixed, matched, and mutated carotenoid biosynthetic enzymes and screened libraries of these “evolved” pathways for the emergence of new carotenoid products. This has led to dozens of new pathway products not previously known to be made by the assembled enzymes. These new products include whole families of carotenoids built from backbones not found in nature. This review details the strategies and specific methods that have been employed to generate new carotenoid biosynthetic pathways in the laboratory. The potential application of laboratory evolution to other biosynthetic pathways is also discussed. PMID:15755953

  5. Directed evolution of an RNA enzyme

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Beaudry, Amber A.; Joyce, Gerald F.

    1992-01-01

    An in vitro evolution procedures was used to obtain RNA enzymes with a particular catalytic function. A population of 10 exp 13 variants of the Tetrahymena ribozyme, a group I ribozyme that catalyzes sequence-specific cleavage of RNA via a phosphoester transfer mechanism, was generated. This enzyme has a limited ability to cleave DNA under conditions of high temperature or high MgCl2 concentration, or both. A selection constraint was imposed on the population of ribozyme variants such that only those individuals that carried out DNA cleavage under physiologic conditions were amplified to produce 'progeny' ribozymes. Mutations were introduced during amplification to maintain heterogeneity in the population. This process was repeated for ten successive generations, resulting in enhanced (100 times) DNA cleavage activity.

  6. Automatic Evolution of Molecular Nanotechnology Designs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Globus, Al; Lawton, John; Wipke, Todd; Saini, Subhash (Technical Monitor)

    1998-01-01

    This paper describes strategies for automatically generating designs for analog circuits at the molecular level. Software maps out the edges and vertices of potential nanotechnology systems on graphs, then selects appropriate ones through evolutionary or genetic paradigms.

  7. Molecular clouds. [significance in stellar evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thaddeus, P.

    1977-01-01

    An attempt is made to understand star formation in the context of the dense interstellar molecular gas from which stars are made. Attention is given to how molecular observations (e.g., UV spectroscopy and radio 21-cm and recombination line observations) provide data on the physical state of the dense interstellar gas; observations of H II regions, stellar associations, and dark nebulae are discussed. CO clouds are studied with reference to radial velocity, temperature, density, ionization, magnetic field.

  8. Law of genome evolution direction: Coding information quantity grows

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luo, Liao-Fu

    2009-06-01

    The problem of the directionality of genome evolution is studied. Based on the analysis of C-value paradox and the evolution of genome size, we propose that the function-coding information quantity of a genome always grows in the course of evolution through sequence duplication, expansion of code, and gene transfer from outside. The function-coding information quantity of a genome consists of two parts, p-coding information quantity that encodes functional protein and n-coding information quantity that encodes other functional elements. The evidences on the law of the evolutionary directionality are indicated. The needs of function are the motive force for the expansion of coding information quantity, and the information quantity expansion is the way to make functional innovation and extension for a species. Therefore, the increase of coding information quantity of a genome is a measure of the acquired new function, and it determines the directionality of genome evolution.

  9. Animal Foraging and the Evolution of Goal-Directed Cognition

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hills, Thomas T.

    2006-01-01

    Foraging-and feeding-related behaviors across eumetazoans share similar molecular mechanisms, suggesting the early evolution of an optimal foraging behavior called area-restricted search (ARS), involving mechanisms of dopamine and glutamate in the modulation of behavioral focus. Similar mechanisms in the vertebrate basal ganglia control motor…

  10. Polyspecific pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetases from directed evolution

    PubMed Central

    Guo, Li-Tao; Wang, Yane-Shih; Nakamura, Akiyoshi; Eiler, Daniel; Kavran, Jennifer M.; Wong, Margaret; Kiessling, Laura L.; Steitz, Thomas A.; O’Donoghue, Patrick; Söll, Dieter

    2014-01-01

    Pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (PylRS) and its cognate tRNAPyl have emerged as ideal translation components for genetic code innovation. Variants of the enzyme facilitate the incorporation >100 noncanonical amino acids (ncAAs) into proteins. PylRS variants were previously selected to acylate Nε-acetyl-Lys (AcK) onto tRNAPyl. Here, we examine an Nε-acetyl-lysyl-tRNA synthetase (AcKRS), which is polyspecific (i.e., active with a broad range of ncAAs) and 30-fold more efficient with Phe derivatives than it is with AcK. Structural and biochemical data reveal the molecular basis of polyspecificity in AcKRS and in a PylRS variant [iodo-phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase (IFRS)] that displays both enhanced activity and substrate promiscuity over a chemical library of 313 ncAAs. IFRS, a product of directed evolution, has distinct binding modes for different ncAAs. These data indicate that in vivo selections do not produce optimally specific tRNA synthetases and suggest that translation fidelity will become an increasingly dominant factor in expanding the genetic code far beyond 20 amino acids. PMID:25385624

  11. Polyspecific pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetases from directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Guo, Li-Tao; Wang, Yane-Shih; Nakamura, Akiyoshi; Eiler, Daniel; Kavran, Jennifer M; Wong, Margaret; Kiessling, Laura L; Steitz, Thomas A; O'Donoghue, Patrick; Söll, Dieter

    2014-11-25

    Pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (PylRS) and its cognate tRNA(Pyl) have emerged as ideal translation components for genetic code innovation. Variants of the enzyme facilitate the incorporation >100 noncanonical amino acids (ncAAs) into proteins. PylRS variants were previously selected to acylate N(ε)-acetyl-Lys (AcK) onto tRNA(Pyl). Here, we examine an N(ε)-acetyl-lysyl-tRNA synthetase (AcKRS), which is polyspecific (i.e., active with a broad range of ncAAs) and 30-fold more efficient with Phe derivatives than it is with AcK. Structural and biochemical data reveal the molecular basis of polyspecificity in AcKRS and in a PylRS variant [iodo-phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase (IFRS)] that displays both enhanced activity and substrate promiscuity over a chemical library of 313 ncAAs. IFRS, a product of directed evolution, has distinct binding modes for different ncAAs. These data indicate that in vivo selections do not produce optimally specific tRNA synthetases and suggest that translation fidelity will become an increasingly dominant factor in expanding the genetic code far beyond 20 amino acids. PMID:25385624

  12. Laccase engineering: from rational design to directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Mate, Diana M; Alcalde, Miguel

    2015-01-01

    Laccases are multicopper oxidoreductases considered by many in the biotechonology field as the ultimate "green catalysts". This is mainly due to their broad substrate specificity and relative autonomy (they use molecular oxygen from air as an electron acceptor and they only produce water as by-product), making them suitable for a wide array of applications: biofuel production, bioremediation, organic synthesis, pulp biobleaching, textiles, the beverage and food industries, biosensor and biofuel cell development. Since the beginning of the 21st century, specific features of bacterial and fungal laccases have been exhaustively adapted in order to reach the industrial demands for high catalytic activity and stability in conjunction with reduced production cost. Among the goals established for laccase engineering, heterologous functional expression, improved activity and thermostability, tolerance to non-natural media (organic solvents, ionic liquids, physiological fluids) and resistance to different types of inhibitors are all challenges that have been met, while obtaining a more comprehensive understanding of laccase structure-function relationships. In this review we examine the most significant advances in this exciting research area in which rational, semi-rational and directed evolution approaches have been employed to ultimately convert laccases into high value-added biocatalysts. PMID:25545886

  13. Molecular evolution in food allergy diagnosis.

    PubMed

    Barocci, Fiorella; DE Amici, Mara; Marseglia, Gian L

    2016-10-01

    Traditional allergological diagnostics often provide laboratory data that seem to correspond with similar positive results in different patients. However, with technological developments and the introduction of molecular diagnostics, it is possible to extract and highlight the differences in the serological laboratory data, to obtain detailed specificity on the various allergen components in different clinical settings. Allergological diagnostics prove to be increasingly useful in accurately distinguishing "cross-reactivity" and "cosensitization". This aspect is very important especially in patients who are, with a traditional diagnosis, polysensitized. Molecular diagnosis in allergology has expanded its range of applications thanks to the ability to IgE dose specific (in addition to classic total IgE serum) not only to allergens, food and inhalants, but also to the individual protein components which make up the allergenic source. It is essential to establish a correct diagnosis in order to determine the appropriate therapy. Therefore it is crucial to discern whether a patient is truly allergic because he presents specific IgE for molecules of a species or if the positivity is given from the structural homology between the different proteins. Molecular diagnostics emerges as a valuable tool for the discrimination of allergic patients and to differentiate between "true allergies" and "cross-reactivity". Molecular diagnostics should be used in a targeted manner for an accurate assessment and diagnosis, which would also reduce the use of oral challenges, to predict severe reactions and allergy persistence. PMID:26091488

  14. Direct Observations of the Evolution of Polar Cap Ionization Patches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Q.; Zhang, B.; Lockwood, M. M.; Hu, H.; Moen, J. I.; Ruohoniemi, J.; Thomas, E. G.; Zhang, S.; Yang, H.; Liu, R.; McWilliams, K. A.; Baker, J. B.

    2013-12-01

    Patches of ionization are common in the polar ionosphere where their motion and associated density gradients give variable disturbances to High Frequency (HF) radio communications, over-the-horizon radar location errors, and disruption and errors to satellite navigation and communication. Their formation and evolution are poorly understood, particularly under disturbed space weather conditions. We report direct observations of the full evolution of patches during a geomagnetic storm, including formation, polar cap entry, transpolar evolution, polar cap exit, and sunward return flow. Our observations show that modulation of nightside reconnection in the substorm cycle of the magnetosphere helps form the gaps between patches where steady convection would give a 'tongue' of ionization (TOI).

  15. Slow rate of molecular evolution in high-elevation hummingbirds.

    PubMed

    Bleiweiss, R

    1998-01-20

    Estimates of relative rates of molecular evolution from a DNA-hybridization phylogeny for 26 hummingbird species provide evidence for a negative association between elevation and rate of single-copy genome evolution. This effect of elevation on rate remains significant even after taking into account a significant negative association between body mass and molecular rate. Population-level processes do not appear to account for these patterns because (i) all hummingbirds breed within their first year and (ii) the more extensive subdivision and speciation of bird populations living at high elevations predicts a positive association between elevation and rate. The negative association between body mass and molecular rate in other organisms has been attributed to higher mutation rates in forms with higher oxidative metabolism. As ambient oxygen tensions and temperature decrease with elevation, the slow rate of molecular evolution in high-elevation hummingbirds also may have a metabolic basis. A slower rate of single-copy DNA change at higher elevations suggests that the dynamics of molecular evolution cannot be separated from the environmental context. PMID:9435240

  16. Directed evolution and synthetic biology applications to microbial systems.

    PubMed

    Bassalo, Marcelo C; Liu, Rongming; Gill, Ryan T

    2016-06-01

    Biotechnology applications require engineering complex multi-genic traits. The lack of knowledge on the genetic basis of complex phenotypes restricts our ability to rationally engineer them. However, complex phenotypes can be engineered at the systems level, utilizing directed evolution strategies that drive whole biological systems toward desired phenotypes without requiring prior knowledge of the genetic basis of the targeted trait. Recent developments in the synthetic biology field accelerates the directed evolution cycle, facilitating engineering of increasingly complex traits in biological systems. In this review, we summarize some of the most recent advances in directed evolution and synthetic biology that allows engineering of complex traits in microbial systems. Then, we discuss applications that can be achieved through engineering at the systems level. PMID:27054950

  17. Directed Evolution as a Powerful Synthetic Biology Tool

    PubMed Central

    Cobb, Ryan E.; Sun, Ning; Zhao, Huimin

    2012-01-01

    At the heart of synthetic biology lies the goal of rationally engineering a complete biological system to achieve a specific objective, such as bioremediation and synthesis of a valuable drug, chemical, or biofuel molecule. However, the inherent complexity of natural biological systems has heretofore precluded generalized application of this approach. Directed evolution, a process which mimics Darwinian selection on a laboratory scale, has allowed significant strides to be made in the field of synthetic biology by allowing rapid identification of desired properties from large libraries of variants. Improvement in biocatalyst activity and stability, engineering of biosynthetic pathways, tuning of functional regulatory systems and logic circuits, and development of desired complex phenotypes in industrial host organisms have all been achieved by way of directed evolution. Here, we review recent contributions of directed evolution to synthetic biology at the protein, pathway, network, and whole cell levels. PMID:22465795

  18. A half-century after the molecular clock: new dimensions of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Koonin, Eugene V

    2012-08-01

    The EMBO workshop on 'Evolution in the Time of Genomics' took place in May 2012 in the magnificent sixteenth century Palazzo Franchetti near Ponte dell'Accademia in Venice. The meeting focused on phenomena that are not part of the traditional narrative of molecular evolution and which might signal a paradigm shift in the field. PMID:22791022

  19. Environmental Epigenetics and a Unified Theory of the Molecular Aspects of Evolution: A Neo-Lamarckian Concept that Facilitates Neo-Darwinian Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Skinner, Michael K.

    2015-01-01

    Environment has a critical role in the natural selection process for Darwinian evolution. The primary molecular component currently considered for neo-Darwinian evolution involves genetic alterations and random mutations that generate the phenotypic variation required for natural selection to act. The vast majority of environmental factors cannot directly alter DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms directly regulate genetic processes and can be dramatically altered by environmental factors. Therefore, environmental epigenetics provides a molecular mechanism to directly alter phenotypic variation generationally. Lamarck proposed in 1802 the concept that environment can directly alter phenotype in a heritable manner. Environmental epigenetics and epigenetic transgenerational inheritance provide molecular mechanisms for this process. Therefore, environment can on a molecular level influence the phenotypic variation directly. The ability of environmental epigenetics to alter phenotypic and genotypic variation directly can significantly impact natural selection. Neo-Lamarckian concept can facilitate neo-Darwinian evolution. A unified theory of evolution is presented to describe the integration of environmental epigenetic and genetic aspects of evolution. PMID:25917417

  20. Molecular evolution of GPCRs: Ghrelin/ghrelin receptors.

    PubMed

    Kaiya, Hiroyuki; Kangawa, Kenji; Miyazato, Mikiya

    2014-06-01

    After the discovery in 1996 of the GH secretagogue-receptor type-1a (GHS-R1a) as an orphan G-protein coupled receptor, many research groups attempted to identify the endogenous ligand. Finally, Kojima and colleagues successfully isolated the peptide ligand from rat stomach extracts, determined its structure, and named it ghrelin. The GHS-R1a is now accepted to be the ghrelin receptor. The existence of the ghrelin system has been demonstrated in many animal classes through biochemical and molecular biological strategies as well as through genome projects. Our work, focused on identifying the ghrelin receptor and its ligand ghrelin in laboratory animals, particularly nonmammalian vertebrates, has provided new insights into the molecular evolution of the ghrelin receptor. In mammals, it is assumed that the ghrelin receptor evolution is in line with the plate tectonics theory. In contrast, the evolution of the ghrelin receptor in nonmammalian vertebrates differs from that of mammals: multiplicity of the ghrelin receptor isoforms is observed in nonmammalian vertebrates only. This multiplicity is due to genome duplication and polyploidization events that particularly occurred in Teleostei. Furthermore, it is likely that the evolution of the ghrelin receptor is distinct from that of its ligand, ghrelin, because only one ghrelin isoform has been detected in all species examined so far. In this review, we summarize current knowledge related to the molecular evolution of the ghrelin receptor in mammalian and nonmammalian vertebrates. PMID:24353285

  1. The Jukes-Cantor Model of Molecular Evolution

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Erickson, Keith

    2010-01-01

    The material in this module introduces students to some of the mathematical tools used to examine molecular evolution. This topic is standard fare in many mathematical biology or bioinformatics classes, but could also be suitable for classes in linear algebra or probability. While coursework in matrix algebra, Markov processes, Monte Carlo…

  2. Molecular clocks and the early evolution of metazoan nervous systems.

    PubMed

    Wray, Gregory A

    2015-12-19

    The timing of early animal evolution remains poorly resolved, yet remains critical for understanding nervous system evolution. Methods for estimating divergence times from sequence data have improved considerably, providing a more refined understanding of key divergences. The best molecular estimates point to the origin of metazoans and bilaterians tens to hundreds of millions of years earlier than their first appearances in the fossil record. Both the molecular and fossil records are compatible, however, with the possibility of tiny, unskeletonized, low energy budget animals during the Proterozoic that had planktonic, benthic, or meiofaunal lifestyles. Such animals would likely have had relatively simple nervous systems equipped primarily to detect food, avoid inhospitable environments and locate mates. The appearance of the first macropredators during the Cambrian would have changed the selective landscape dramatically, likely driving the evolution of complex sense organs, sophisticated sensory processing systems, and diverse effector systems involved in capturing prey and avoiding predation. PMID:26554040

  3. Witnessing Phenotypic and Molecular Evolution in the Fruit Fly.

    PubMed

    Heil, Caiti S S; Hunter, Mika J; Noor, Juliet Kf; Miglia, Kathleen; Manzano-Winkler, Brenda; McDermott, Shannon R; Noor, Mohamed Af

    2012-12-01

    This multi-day exercise is designed for a college Genetics and Evolution laboratory to demonstrate concepts of inheritance and phenotypic and molecular evolution using a live model organism, Drosophila simulans. Students set up an experimental fruit fly population consisting of ten white eyed flies and one red eyed fly. Having red eyes is advantageous compared to having white eyes, allowing students to track the spread of this advantageous trait over several generations. Ultimately, the students perform PCR and gel electrophoresis at two neutral markers, one located in close proximity to the eye-color locus, and one located at the other end of the chromosome. Students observe that most flies have red eyes, and these red-eyed flies have lost variation at the near marker, but maintained variation at the far marker, hence observing a "selective sweep" and the "hitchhiking" of a nearby neutral variant. Students literally observe phenotypic and molecular evolution in their classroom! PMID:23459154

  4. Molecular pathways for defect annihilation in directed self-assembly.

    PubMed

    Hur, Su-Mi; Thapar, Vikram; Ramírez-Hernández, Abelardo; Khaira, Gurdaman; Segal-Peretz, Tamar; Rincon-Delgadillo, Paulina A; Li, Weihua; Müller, Marcus; Nealey, Paul F; de Pablo, Juan J

    2015-11-17

    Over the last few years, the directed self-assembly of block copolymers by surface patterns has transitioned from academic curiosity to viable contender for commercial fabrication of next-generation nanocircuits by lithography. Recently, it has become apparent that kinetics, and not only thermodynamics, plays a key role for the ability of a polymeric material to self-assemble into a perfect, defect-free ordered state. Perfection, in this context, implies not more than one defect, with characteristic dimensions on the order of 5 nm, over a sample area as large as 100 cm(2). In this work, we identify the key pathways and the corresponding free energy barriers for eliminating defects, and we demonstrate that an extraordinarily large thermodynamic driving force is not necessarily sufficient for their removal. By adopting a concerted computational and experimental approach, we explain the molecular origins of these barriers and how they depend on material characteristics, and we propose strategies designed to overcome them. The validity of our conclusions for industrially relevant patterning processes is established by relying on instruments and assembly lines that are only available at state-of-the-art fabrication facilities, and, through this confluence of fundamental and applied research, we are able to discern the evolution of morphology at the smallest relevant length scales-a handful of nanometers-and present a view of defect annihilation in directed self-assembly at an unprecedented level of detail. PMID:26515095

  5. Molecular pathways for defect annihilation in directed self-assembly

    PubMed Central

    Hur, Su-Mi; Thapar, Vikram; Ramírez-Hernández, Abelardo; Khaira, Gurdaman; Segal-Peretz, Tamar; Rincon-Delgadillo, Paulina A.; Li, Weihua; Müller, Marcus; Nealey, Paul F.; de Pablo, Juan J.

    2015-01-01

    Over the last few years, the directed self-assembly of block copolymers by surface patterns has transitioned from academic curiosity to viable contender for commercial fabrication of next-generation nanocircuits by lithography. Recently, it has become apparent that kinetics, and not only thermodynamics, plays a key role for the ability of a polymeric material to self-assemble into a perfect, defect-free ordered state. Perfection, in this context, implies not more than one defect, with characteristic dimensions on the order of 5 nm, over a sample area as large as 100 cm2. In this work, we identify the key pathways and the corresponding free energy barriers for eliminating defects, and we demonstrate that an extraordinarily large thermodynamic driving force is not necessarily sufficient for their removal. By adopting a concerted computational and experimental approach, we explain the molecular origins of these barriers and how they depend on material characteristics, and we propose strategies designed to overcome them. The validity of our conclusions for industrially relevant patterning processes is established by relying on instruments and assembly lines that are only available at state-of-the-art fabrication facilities, and, through this confluence of fundamental and applied research, we are able to discern the evolution of morphology at the smallest relevant length scales—a handful of nanometers—and present a view of defect annihilation in directed self-assembly at an unprecedented level of detail. PMID:26515095

  6. Molecular pathways for defect annihilation in directed self-assembly.

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Hur, Su-Mi; Thapar, Vikram; Ramirez-Hernandez, Abelardo; Khaira, Gurdaman S.; Segal-Peretz, Tamar; Rincon-Delgadillo, Paulina A.; Li, Weihua; Muller, Marcus; Nealey, Paul F.; de Pablo, Juan J.

    2015-11-17

    Over the last few years, the directed self-assembly of block copolymers by surface patterns has transitioned from academic curiosity to viable contender for commercial fabrication of next-generation nanocircuits by lithography. Recently, it has become apparent that kinetics, and not only thermodynamics, plays a key role for the ability of a polymeric material to self-assemble into a perfect, defect-free ordered state. Perfection, in this context, implies not more than one defect, with characteristic dimensions on the order of 5 nm, over a sample area as large as 100 cm2. In this work, we identify the key pathways and the corresponding free-energymore » barriers for eliminating defects, and we demonstrate that an extraordinarily large thermodynamic driving force is not necessarily sufficient for their removal. By adopting a concerted computational and experimental approach, we explain the molecular origins of these barriers, how they depend on material characteristics, and we propose strategies designed to over-come them. The validity of our conclusions for industrially-relevant patterning processes is established by relying on instruments and assembly lines that are only available at state-of-the-art fabrication facilities and, through this confluence of fundamental and applied research, we are able to discern the evolution of morphology at the smallest relevant length scales - a handful of nanometers -, and present a view of defect annihilation in directed self-assembly at an unprecedented level of detail.« less

  7. Molecular pathways for defect annihilation in directed self-assembly.

    SciTech Connect

    Hur, Su-Mi; Thapar, Vikram; Ramirez-Hernandez, Abelardo; Khaira, Gurdaman S.; Segal-Peretz, Tamar; Rincon-Delgadillo, Paulina A.; Li, Weihua; Muller, Marcus; Nealey, Paul F.; de Pablo, Juan J.

    2015-11-17

    Over the last few years, the directed self-assembly of block copolymers by surface patterns has transitioned from academic curiosity to viable contender for commercial fabrication of next-generation nanocircuits by lithography. Recently, it has become apparent that kinetics, and not only thermodynamics, plays a key role for the ability of a polymeric material to self-assemble into a perfect, defect-free ordered state. Perfection, in this context, implies not more than one defect, with characteristic dimensions on the order of 5 nm, over a sample area as large as 100 cm2. In this work, we identify the key pathways and the corresponding free-energy barriers for eliminating defects, and we demonstrate that an extraordinarily large thermodynamic driving force is not necessarily sufficient for their removal. By adopting a concerted computational and experimental approach, we explain the molecular origins of these barriers, how they depend on material characteristics, and we propose strategies designed to over-come them. The validity of our conclusions for industrially-relevant patterning processes is established by relying on instruments and assembly lines that are only available at state-of-the-art fabrication facilities and, through this confluence of fundamental and applied research, we are able to discern the evolution of morphology at the smallest relevant length scales - a handful of nanometers -, and present a view of defect annihilation in directed self-assembly at an unprecedented level of detail.

  8. Evolution of the atomic and molecular gas content of galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Popping, Gergö; Somerville, Rachel S.; Trager, Scott C.

    2014-08-01

    We study the evolution of atomic and molecular gas in galaxies in semi-analytic models of galaxy formation that include new modelling of the partitioning of cold gas in galactic discs into atomic, molecular, and ionized phases. We adopt two scenarios for the formation of molecules: one pressure based and one metallicity based. We find that both recipes successfully reproduce the gas fractions and gas-to-stellar mass ratios of H I and H2 in local galaxies, as well as the H I and H2 disc sizes up to z ≤ 2. We reach good agreement with the locally observed H I and H2 mass function, although both recipes slightly overpredict the low-mass end of the H I mass function. Both of our models predict that the high-mass end of the H I mass function remains nearly constant at redshifts z < 2.0. The metallicity-based recipe yields a higher cosmic density of cold gas and much lower cosmic H2 fraction over the entire redshift range probed than the pressure-based recipe. These strong differences in H I mass function and cosmic density between the two recipes are driven by low-mass galaxies (log (M*/M⊙) ≤ 7) residing in low-mass haloes (log (Mvir/M⊙) ≤ 10). Both recipes predict that galaxy gas fractions remain high from z ˜ 6to3 and drop rapidly at lower redshift. The galaxy H2 fractions show a similar trend, but drop even more rapidly. We provide predictions for the CO J = 1-0 luminosity of galaxies, which will be directly comparable with observations with sub-mm and radio instruments.

  9. Directed evolution of bacteriorhodopsin for applications in bioelectronics

    PubMed Central

    Wagner, Nicole L.; Greco, Jordan A.; Ranaghan, Matthew J.; Birge, Robert R.

    2013-01-01

    In nature, biological systems gradually evolve through complex, algorithmic processes involving mutation and differential selection. Evolution has optimized biological macromolecules for a variety of functions to provide a comparative advantage. However, nature does not optimize molecules for use in human-made devices, as it would gain no survival advantage in such cooperation. Recent advancements in genetic engineering, most notably directed evolution, have allowed for the stepwise manipulation of the properties of living organisms, promoting the expansion of protein-based devices in nanotechnology. In this review, we highlight the use of directed evolution to optimize photoactive proteins, with an emphasis on bacteriorhodopsin (BR), for device applications. BR, a highly stable light-activated proton pump, has shown great promise in three-dimensional optical memories, real-time holographic processors and artificial retinas. PMID:23676894

  10. The Molecular Evolution of the Qo Motif

    PubMed Central

    Kao, Wei-Chun; Hunte, Carola

    2014-01-01

    Quinol oxidation in the catalytic quinol oxidation site (Qo site) of cytochrome (cyt) bc1 complexes is the key step of the Q cycle mechanism, which laid the ground for Mitchell’s chemiosmotic theory of energy conversion. Bifurcated electron transfer upon quinol oxidation enables proton uptake and release on opposite membrane sides, thus generating a proton gradient that fuels ATP synthesis in cellular respiration and photosynthesis. The Qo site architecture formed by cyt b and Rieske iron–sulfur protein (ISP) impedes harmful bypass reactions. Catalytic importance is assigned to four residues of cyt b formerly described as PEWY motif in the context of mitochondrial complexes, which we now denominate Qo motif as comprehensive evolutionary sequence analysis of cyt b shows substantial natural variance of the motif with phylogenetically specific patterns. In particular, the Qo motif is identified as PEWY in mitochondria, α- and ε-Proteobacteria, Aquificae, Chlorobi, Cyanobacteria, and chloroplasts. PDWY is present in Gram-positive bacteria, Deinococcus–Thermus and haloarchaea, and PVWY in β- and γ-Proteobacteria. PPWF only exists in Archaea. Distinct patterns for acidophilic organisms indicate environment-specific adaptations. Importantly, the presence of PDWY and PEWY is correlated with the redox potential of Rieske ISP and quinone species. We propose that during evolution from low to high potential electron-transfer systems in the emerging oxygenic atmosphere, cyt bc1 complexes with PEWY as Qo motif prevailed to efficiently use high potential ubiquinone as substrate, whereas cyt b with PDWY operate best with low potential Rieske ISP and menaquinone, with the latter being the likely composition of the ancestral cyt bc1 complex. PMID:25115012

  11. Collection Directions: The Evolution of Library Collections and Collecting

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dempsey, Lorcan; Malpas, Constance; Lavoie, Brian

    2014-01-01

    This article takes a broad view of the evolution of collecting behaviors in a network environment and suggests some future directions based on various simple models. The authors look at the changing dynamics of print collections, at the greater engagement with research and learning behaviors, and at trends in scholarly communication. The goal is…

  12. Models for the directed evolution of bacterial allelopathy: bacteriophage lysins.

    PubMed

    Bull, James J; Crandall, Cameron; Rodriguez, Anna; Krone, Stephen M

    2015-01-01

    Microbes produce a variety of compounds that are used to kill or suppress other species. Traditional antibiotics have their origins in these natural products, as do many types of compounds being pursued today in the quest for new antibacterial drugs. When a potential toxin can be encoded by and exported from a species that is not harmed, the opportunity exists to use directed evolution to improve the toxin's ability to kill other species-allelopathy. In contrast to the typical application of directed evolution, this case requires the co-culture of at least two species or strains, a host that is unharmed by the toxin plus the intended target of the toxin. We develop mathematical and computational models of this directed evolution process. Two contexts are considered, one with the toxin encoded on a plasmid and the other with the toxin encoded in a phage. The plasmid system appears to be more promising than the phage system. Crucial to both designs is the ability to co-culture two species/strains (host and target) such that the host is greatly outgrown by the target species except when the target species is killed. The results suggest that, if these initial conditions can be satisfied, directed evolution is feasible for the plasmid-based system. Screening with a plasmid-based system may also enable rapid improvement of a toxin. PMID:25870772

  13. Models for the directed evolution of bacterial allelopathy: bacteriophage lysins

    PubMed Central

    Bull, James J.; Crandall, Cameron; Rodriguez, Anna

    2015-01-01

    Microbes produce a variety of compounds that are used to kill or suppress other species. Traditional antibiotics have their origins in these natural products, as do many types of compounds being pursued today in the quest for new antibacterial drugs. When a potential toxin can be encoded by and exported from a species that is not harmed, the opportunity exists to use directed evolution to improve the toxin’s ability to kill other species—allelopathy. In contrast to the typical application of directed evolution, this case requires the co-culture of at least two species or strains, a host that is unharmed by the toxin plus the intended target of the toxin. We develop mathematical and computational models of this directed evolution process. Two contexts are considered, one with the toxin encoded on a plasmid and the other with the toxin encoded in a phage. The plasmid system appears to be more promising than the phage system. Crucial to both designs is the ability to co-culture two species/strains (host and target) such that the host is greatly outgrown by the target species except when the target species is killed. The results suggest that, if these initial conditions can be satisfied, directed evolution is feasible for the plasmid-based system. Screening with a plasmid-based system may also enable rapid improvement of a toxin. PMID:25870772

  14. Giant Molecular Cloud Structure and Evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hollenbach, David (Technical Monitor); Bodenheimer, P. H.

    2003-01-01

    Bodenheimer and Burkert extended earlier calculations of cloud core models to study collapse and fragmentation. The initial condition for an SPH collapse calculation is the density distribution of a Bonnor-Ebert sphere, with near balance between turbulent plus thermal energy and gravitational energy. The main parameter is the turbulent Mach number. For each Mach number several runs are made, each with a different random realization of the initial turbulent velocity field. The turbulence decays on a dynamical time scale, leading the cloud into collapse. The collapse proceeds isothermally until the density has increased to about 10(exp 13) g cm(exp -3). Then heating is included in the dense regions. The nature of the fragmentation is investigated. About 15 different runs have been performed with Mach numbers ranging from 0.3 to 3.5 (the typical value observed in molecular cloud cores is 0.7). The results show a definite trend of increasing multiplicity with increasing Mach number (M), with the number of fragments approximately proportional to (1 + M). In general, this result agrees with that of Fisher, Klein, and McKee who published three cases with an AMR grid code. However our results show that there is a large spread about this curve. For example, for M=0.3 one case resulted in no fragmentation while a second produced three fragments. Thus it is not only the value of M but also the details of the superposition of the various velocity modes that play a critical role in the formation of binaries. Also, the simulations produce a wide range of separations (10-1000 AU) for the multiple systems, in rough agreement with observations. These results are discussed in two conference proceedings.

  15. Molecular evolution of nitrate reductase genes.

    PubMed

    Zhou, J; Kleinhofs, A

    1996-04-01

    To understand the evolutionary mechanisms and relationships of nitrate reductases (NRs), the nucleotide sequences encoding 19 nitrate reductase (NR) genes from 16 species of fungi, algae, and higher plants were analyzed. The NR genes examined show substantial sequence similarity, particularly within functional domains, and large variations in GC content at the third codon position and intron number. The intron positions were different between the fungi and plants, but conserved within these groups. The overall and nonsynonymous substitution rates among fungi, algae, and higher plants were estimated to be 4.33 x 10(-10) and 3.29 x 10(-10) substitutions per site per year. The three functional domains of NR genes evolved at about one-third of the rate of the N-terminal and the two hinge regions connecting the functional domains. Relative rate tests suggested that the nonsynonymous substitution rates were constant among different lineages, while the overall nucleotide substitution rates varied between some lineages. The phylogenetic trees based on NR genes correspond well with the phylogeny of the organisms determined from systematics and other molecular studies. Based on the nonsynonymous substitution rate, the divergence time of monocots and dicots was estimated to be about 340 Myr when the fungi-plant or algae-higher plant divergence times were used as reference points and 191 Myr when the rice-barley divergence time was used as a reference point. These two estimates are consistent with other estimates of divergence times based on these reference points. The lack of consistency between these two values appears to be due to the uncertainty of the reference times. PMID:8642612

  16. HIV-1 evolution: frustrating therapies, but disclosing molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Das, Atze T.; Berkhout, Ben

    2010-01-01

    Replication of HIV-1 under selective pressure frequently results in the evolution of virus variants that replicate more efficiently under the applied conditions. For example, in patients on antiretroviral therapy, such evolution can result in variants that are resistant to the HIV-1 inhibitors, thus frustrating the therapy. On the other hand, virus evolution can help us to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie HIV-1 replication. For example, evolution of a defective virus mutant can result in variants that overcome the introduced defect by restoration of the original sequence or by the introduction of additional mutations in the viral genome. Analysis of the evolution pathway can reveal the requirements of the element under study and help to understand its function. Analysis of the escape routes may generate new insight in the viral life cycle and result in the identification of unexpected biological mechanisms. We have developed in vitro HIV-1 evolution into a systematic research tool that allows the study of different aspects of the viral replication cycle. We will briefly review this method of forced virus evolution and provide several examples that illustrate the power of this approach. PMID:20478891

  17. Directing the evolution of Rubisco and Rubisco activase: first impressions of a new tool for photosynthesis research.

    PubMed

    Mueller-Cajar, Oliver; Whitney, Spencer M

    2008-01-01

    During the last decade the practice of laboratory-directed protein evolution has become firmly established as a versatile tool in biochemical research by enabling molecular evolution toward desirable phenotypes or detection of novel structure-function interactions. Applications of this technique in the field of photosynthesis research are still in their infancy, but recently first steps have been reported in the directed evolution of the CO(2)-fixing enzyme Rubisco and its helper protein Rubisco activase. Here we summarize directed protein evolution strategies and review the progressive advances that have been made to develop and apply suitable selection systems for screening mutant forms of these enzymes that improve the fitness of the host organism. The goal of increasing photosynthetic efficiency of plants by improving the kinetics of Rubisco has been a long-term goal scoring modest successes. We discuss how directed evolution methodologies may one day be able to circumvent the problems encountered during this venture. PMID:18626786

  18. MOLECULAR CLOUD EVOLUTION. III. ACCRETION VERSUS STELLAR FEEDBACK

    SciTech Connect

    Vazquez-Semadeni, Enrique; ColIn, Pedro; Gomez, Gilberto C.; Ballesteros-Paredes, Javier; Watson, Alan W. E-mail: p.colin@crya.unam.m E-mail: alan@astro.unam.m

    2010-06-01

    We numerically investigate the effect of feedback from the ionization heating from massive stars on the evolution of giant molecular clouds (GMCs) and their star formation efficiency (SFE), which we treat as an instantaneous, time-dependent quantity. We follow the GMCs' evolution from their formation to advanced star-forming stages. After an initial period of contraction, the collapsing clouds begin forming stars, whose feedback evaporates part of the clouds' mass, opposing the continuing accretion from the infalling gas. Our results are as follows: (1) in the presence of feedback, the clouds attain levels of the SFE that are consistent at all times with observational determinations for regions of comparable star formation rates. (2) However, the dense gas mass is larger in general in the presence of feedback, while the total mass (dense gas + stars) is nearly insensitive to the presence of feedback, suggesting that it is determined mainly by the accretion, while the feedback inhibits mainly the conversion of dense gas to stars, because it acts directly to reheat and disperse the gas that is directly on its way to forming stars. (3) The factor by which the SFE is reduced upon the inclusion of feedback is a decreasing function of the cloud's mass, for clouds of size {approx}10 pc. This naturally explains the larger observed SFEs of massive-star-forming regions. (4) The clouds may attain a pseudo-virialized state, with a value of the virial mass very similar to the actual cloud mass. However, this state differs from true virialization in that the clouds, rather than being equilibrium entities, are the centers of a larger-scale collapse, in which accretion replenishes the mass consumed by star formation. (5) The higher-density regions within the clouds are in a similar situation, accreting gas infalling from the less-dense, more extended regions of the clouds. (6) The density probability density functions of the regions containing the clouds in general exhibit a shape

  19. Directed evolution of polymerase function by compartmentalized self-replication.

    PubMed

    Ghadessy, F J; Ong, J L; Holliger, P

    2001-04-10

    We describe compartmentalized self-replication (CSR), a strategy for the directed evolution of enzymes, especially polymerases. CSR is based on a simple feedback loop consisting of a polymerase that replicates only its own encoding gene. Compartmentalization serves to isolate individual self-replication reactions from each other. In such a system, adaptive gains directly (and proportionally) translate into genetic amplification of the encoding gene. CSR has applications in the evolution of polymerases with novel and useful properties. By using three cycles of CSR, we obtained variants of Taq DNA polymerase with 11-fold higher thermostability than the wild-type enzyme or with a >130-fold increased resistance to the potent inhibitor heparin. Insertion of an extra stage into the CSR cycle before the polymerase reaction allows its application to enzymes other than polymerases. We show that nucleoside diphosphate kinase and Taq polymerase can form such a cooperative CSR cycle based on reciprocal catalysis, whereby nucleoside diphosphate kinase produces the substrates required for the replication of its own gene. We also find that in CSR the polymerase genes themselves evolve toward more efficient replication. Thus, polymerase genes and their encoded polypeptides cooperate to maximize postselection copy number. CSR should prove useful for the directed evolution of enzymes, particularly DNA or RNA polymerases, as well as for the design and study of in vitro self-replicating systems mimicking prebiotic evolution and viral replication. PMID:11274352

  20. Directed evolution of polymerase function by compartmentalized self-replication

    PubMed Central

    Ghadessy, Farid J.; Ong, Jennifer L.; Holliger, Philipp

    2001-01-01

    We describe compartmentalized self-replication (CSR), a strategy for the directed evolution of enzymes, especially polymerases. CSR is based on a simple feedback loop consisting of a polymerase that replicates only its own encoding gene. Compartmentalization serves to isolate individual self-replication reactions from each other. In such a system, adaptive gains directly (and proportionally) translate into genetic amplification of the encoding gene. CSR has applications in the evolution of polymerases with novel and useful properties. By using three cycles of CSR, we obtained variants of Taq DNA polymerase with 11-fold higher thermostability than the wild-type enzyme or with a >130-fold increased resistance to the potent inhibitor heparin. Insertion of an extra stage into the CSR cycle before the polymerase reaction allows its application to enzymes other than polymerases. We show that nucleoside diphosphate kinase and Taq polymerase can form such a cooperative CSR cycle based on reciprocal catalysis, whereby nucleoside diphosphate kinase produces the substrates required for the replication of its own gene. We also find that in CSR the polymerase genes themselves evolve toward more efficient replication. Thus, polymerase genes and their encoded polypeptides cooperate to maximize postselection copy number. CSR should prove useful for the directed evolution of enzymes, particularly DNA or RNA polymerases, as well as for the design and study of in vitro self-replicating systems mimicking prebiotic evolution and viral replication. PMID:11274352

  1. A molecular description of the evolution of resistance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ordoukhanian, P.; Joyce, G. F.

    1999-01-01

    BACKGROUND: In vitro evolution has been used to obtain nucleic acid molecules with interesting functional properties. The evolution process usually is carried out in a stepwise manner, involving successive rounds of selection, amplification and mutation. Recently, a continuous in vitro evolution system was devised for RNAs that catalyze the ligation of oligonucleotide substrates, allowing the evolution of catalytic function to be studied in real time. RESULTS: Continuous in vitro evolution of an RNA ligase ribozyme was carried out in the presence of a DNA enzyme that was capable of cleaving, and thereby inactivating, the ribozyme. The DNA concentration was increased steadily over 33.5 hours of evolution, reaching a final concentration that would have been sufficient to inactivate the starting population in one second. The evolved population of ribozymes developed resistance to the DNA enzyme, reducing their vulnerability to cleavage by 2000-fold but retaining their own catalytic function. Based on sequencing and kinetic analysis of the ribozymes, two mechanisms are proposed for this resistance. One involves three nucleotide substitutions, together with two compensatory mutations, that alter the site at which the DNA enzyme binds the ribozyme. The other involves enhancement of the ribozyme's ability to bind its own substrate in a way that protects it from cleavage by the DNA enzyme. CONCLUSIONS: The ability to direct the evolution of an enzyme's biochemical properties in response to the behavior of another macromolecule provides insight into the evolution of resistance and may be useful in developing enzymes with novel or enhanced function.

  2. Widespread convergence in toxin resistance by predictable molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Ujvari, Beata; Casewell, Nicholas R.; Sunagar, Kartik; Arbuckle, Kevin; Wüster, Wolfgang; Lo, Nathan; O’Meally, Denis; Beckmann, Christa; King, Glenn F.; Deplazes, Evelyne; Madsen, Thomas

    2015-01-01

    The question about whether evolution is unpredictable and stochastic or intermittently constrained along predictable pathways is the subject of a fundamental debate in biology, in which understanding convergent evolution plays a central role. At the molecular level, documented examples of convergence are rare and limited to occurring within specific taxonomic groups. Here we provide evidence of constrained convergent molecular evolution across the metazoan tree of life. We show that resistance to toxic cardiac glycosides produced by plants and bufonid toads is mediated by similar molecular changes to the sodium-potassium-pump (Na+/K+-ATPase) in insects, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. In toad-feeding reptiles, resistance is conferred by two point mutations that have evolved convergently on four occasions, whereas evidence of a molecular reversal back to the susceptible state in varanid lizards migrating to toad-free areas suggests that toxin resistance is maladaptive in the absence of selection. Importantly, resistance in all taxa is mediated by replacements of 2 of the 12 amino acids comprising the Na+/K+-ATPase H1–H2 extracellular domain that constitutes a core part of the cardiac glycoside binding site. We provide mechanistic insight into the basis of resistance by showing that these alterations perturb the interaction between the cardiac glycoside bufalin and the Na+/K+-ATPase. Thus, similar selection pressures have resulted in convergent evolution of the same molecular solution across the breadth of the animal kingdom, demonstrating how a scarcity of possible solutions to a selective challenge can lead to highly predictable evolutionary responses. PMID:26372961

  3. Direct observations of the evolution of polar cap ionization patches.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Qing-He; Zhang, Bei-Chen; Lockwood, Michael; Hu, Hong-Qiao; Moen, Jøran; Ruohoniemi, J Michael; Thomas, Evan G; Zhang, Shun-Rong; Yang, Hui-Gen; Liu, Rui-Yuan; McWilliams, Kathryn A; Baker, Joseph B H

    2013-03-29

    Patches of ionization are common in the polar ionosphere, where their motion and associated density gradients give variable disturbances to high-frequency (HF) radio communications, over-the-horizon radar location errors, and disruption and errors to satellite navigation and communication. Their formation and evolution are poorly understood, particularly under disturbed space weather conditions. We report direct observations of the full evolution of patches during a geomagnetic storm, including formation, polar cap entry, transpolar evolution, polar cap exit, and sunward return flow. Our observations show that modulation of nightside reconnection in the substorm cycle of the magnetosphere helps form the gaps between patches where steady convection would give a "tongue" of ionization (TOI). PMID:23539601

  4. [The genotyping and molecular evolution of varicella-zoster virus].

    PubMed

    Jiang, Long-Feng; Gan, Lin; Chen, Jing-Xian; Wang, Ming-Li

    2012-09-01

    Varicella-zoster virus (VZV, Human herpesvirus 3) is a member of the family Herpesviridae, and is classified as alpha-subfamily along with HSV-1 and HSV-2. VZV is the causative agent of chicken pox (varicella) mostly in children, after which it establishes latency in the sensory ganglia with the potential to reactivate at a later time to cause shingles (zoster). Increasing molecular epidemiological studies in recent years have been performed to monitor the mutations in VZV genome, discriminate vaccine virus from wild type virus, study the phylogeny of VZV strains throughout the world, and understand the evolution of the different clades of VZV. The progress has great impact on the fields of epidemiology, virology and bioinformatics. In this review, the currently available data concerning the geographic distribution and molecular evolution of VZV clades are discussed. PMID:23233938

  5. An epistatic ratchet constrains the direction of glucocorticoid receptor evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Bridgham, Jamie T.; Ortlund, Eric A.; Thornton, Joseph W.

    2010-10-28

    The extent to which evolution is reversible has long fascinated biologists. Most previous work on the reversibility of morphological and life-history evolution has been indecisive, because of uncertainty and bias in the methods used to infer ancestral states for such characters. Further, despite theoretical work on the factors that could contribute to irreversibility, there is little empirical evidence on its causes, because sufficient understanding of the mechanistic basis for the evolution of new or ancestral phenotypes is seldom available. By studying the reversibility of evolutionary changes in protein structure and function, these limitations can be overcome. Here we show, using the evolution of hormone specificity in the vertebrate glucocorticoid receptor as a case-study, that the evolutionary path by which this protein acquired its new function soon became inaccessible to reverse exploration. Using ancestral gene reconstruction, protein engineering and X-ray crystallography, we demonstrate that five subsequent 'restrictive' mutations, which optimized the new specificity of the glucocorticoid receptor, also destabilized elements of the protein structure that were required to support the ancestral conformation. Unless these ratchet-like epistatic substitutions are restored to their ancestral states, reversing the key function-switching mutations yields a non-functional protein. Reversing the restrictive substitutions first, however, does nothing to enhance the ancestral function. Our findings indicate that even if selection for the ancestral function were imposed, direct reversal would be extremely unlikely, suggesting an important role for historical contingency in protein evolution.

  6. Two-photon directed evolution of green fluorescent proteins

    PubMed Central

    Stoltzfus, Caleb R.; Barnett, Lauren M.; Drobizhev, Mikhail; Wicks, Geoffrey; Mikhaylov, Alexander; Hughes, Thomas E.; Rebane, Aleksander

    2015-01-01

    Directed evolution has been used extensively to improve the properties of a variety of fluorescent proteins (FPs). Evolutionary strategies, however, have not yet been used to improve the two-photon absorption (2PA) properties of a fluorescent protein, properties that are important for two-photon imaging in living tissues, including the brain. Here we demonstrate a technique for quantitatively screening the two-photon excited fluorescence (2PEF) efficiency and 2PA cross section of tens of thousands of mutant FPs expressed in E. coli colonies. We use this procedure to move EGFP through three rounds of two-photon directed evolution leading to new variants showing up to a 50% enhancement in peak 2PA cross section and brightness within the near-IR tissue transparency wavelength range. PMID:26145791

  7. Two-photon directed evolution of green fluorescent proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stoltzfus, Caleb R.; Barnett, Lauren M.; Drobizhev, Mikhail; Wicks, Geoffrey; Mikhaylov, Alexander; Hughes, Thomas E.; Rebane, Aleksander

    2015-07-01

    Directed evolution has been used extensively to improve the properties of a variety of fluorescent proteins (FPs). Evolutionary strategies, however, have not yet been used to improve the two-photon absorption (2PA) properties of a fluorescent protein, properties that are important for two-photon imaging in living tissues, including the brain. Here we demonstrate a technique for quantitatively screening the two-photon excited fluorescence (2PEF) efficiency and 2PA cross section of tens of thousands of mutant FPs expressed in E. coli colonies. We use this procedure to move EGFP through three rounds of two-photon directed evolution leading to new variants showing up to a 50% enhancement in peak 2PA cross section and brightness within the near-IR tissue transparency wavelength range.

  8. Beyond directed evolution - semi-rational protein engineering and design

    PubMed Central

    Lutz, Stefan

    2010-01-01

    Over the last two decades, directed evolution has transformed the field of protein engineering. The advances in understanding protein structure and function, in no insignificant part a result of directed evolution studies, are increasingly empowering scientists and engineers to device more effective methods for manipulating and tailoring biocatalysts. Abandoning large combinatorial libraries, the focus has shifted to small, functionally-rich libraries and rational design. A critical component to the success of these emerging engineering strategies are computational tools for the evaluation of protein sequence datasets and the analysis of conformational variations of amino acids in proteins. Highlighting the opportunities and limitations of such approaches, this review focuses on recent engineering and design examples that require screening or selection of small libraries. PMID:20869867

  9. Site-directed deep electronic tunneling through a molecular network

    SciTech Connect

    Caspary, Maytal; Peskin, Uri

    2005-10-15

    Electronic tunneling in a complex molecular network of N(>2) donor/acceptor sites, connected by molecular bridges, is analyzed. The 'deep' tunneling dynamics is formulated using a recursive perturbation expansion, yielding a McConnell-type reduced N-level model Hamiltonian. Applications to models of molecular junctions demonstrate that the donor-bridge contact parameters can be tuned in order to control the tunneling dynamics and particularly to direct the tunneling pathway to either one of the various acceptors.

  10. [The molecular evolution of rice stress-related genes].

    PubMed

    Song, Xiaojun; Xie, Kaibin; Zhang, Yanping; Jin, Ping

    2014-10-01

    In the processes of evolution, plants have formed a perfect regulation system to tolerate adverse environmental conditions. However, there has not been any report about the molecular evolution of rice stress-related genes. We derived a family of 22 stress-related genes in rice from Plant Stress Gene Database, and analyzed it by bioinformatics and comparative genome method. The results showed that these genes are relatively conservative in low organisms, and their copy numbers increase along with the environmental changes and the evolution. We also found four conserved sequence motifs and three other specific motifs. We propose that these motifs are closely associated with the function of rice stress-related genes. The analysis of selection pressure showed that about 50% rice stress-related genes have positive selection sites, although they were subject to a strong purifying selection. Positive selection sites might be very significant for plants to adapt to environmental changes. PMID:25406251

  11. High Throughput Screening and Selection Methods for Directed Enzyme Evolution

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Successful evolutionary enzyme engineering requires a high throughput screening or selection method, which considerably increases the chance of obtaining desired properties and reduces the time and cost. In this review, a series of high throughput screening and selection methods are illustrated with significant and recent examples. These high throughput strategies are also discussed with an emphasis on compatibility with phenotypic analysis during directed enzyme evolution. Lastly, certain limitations of current methods, as well as future developments, are briefly summarized. PMID:26074668

  12. Reconstructing phylogenies and phenotypes: a molecular view of human evolution.

    PubMed

    Bradley, Brenda J

    2008-04-01

    This review broadly summarizes how molecular biology has contributed to our understanding of human evolution. Molecular anthropology began in the 1960s with immunological comparisons indicating that African apes and humans were closely related and, indeed, shared a common ancestor as recently as 5 million years ago. Although initially dismissed, this finding has proven robust and numerous lines of molecular evidence now firmly place the human-ape divergence at 4-8 Ma. Resolving the trichotomy among humans, chimpanzees and gorillas took a few more decades. Despite the readily apparent physical similarities shared by African apes to the exclusion of modern humans (body hair, knuckle-walking, thin tooth enamel), the molecular support for a human-chimpanzee clade is now overwhelming. More recently, whole genome sequencing and gene mapping have shifted the focus of molecular anthropology from phylogenetic analyses to phenotypic reconstruction and functional genomics. We are starting to identify the genetic basis of the morphological, physiological and behavioural traits that distinguish modern humans from apes and apes from other primates. Most notably, recent comparative genomic analyses strongly indicate that the marked differences between modern humans and chimpanzees are likely due more to changes in gene regulation than to modifications of the genes themselves, an idea first proposed over 30 years ago. Almost weekly, press releases describe newly identified genes and regulatory elements that seem to have undergone strong positive selection along the human lineage. Loci involved in speech (e.g. FOXP2), brain development (e.g. ASPM), and skull musculature (e.g. MYH16) have been of particular interest, but some surprising candidate loci (e.g. those involved in auditory capabilities) have emerged as well. Exciting new research avenues, such as the Neanderthal Genome Project, promise that molecular analyses will continue to provide novel insights about our evolution

  13. Are Molecular Alphabets Universal Enabling Factors for the Evolution of Complex Life?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunn, Ian S.

    2013-12-01

    Terrestrial biosystems depend on macromolecules, and this feature is often considered as a likely universal aspect of life. While opinions differ regarding the importance of small-molecule systems in abiogenesis, escalating biological functional demands are linked with increasing complexity in key molecules participating in biosystem operations, and many such requirements cannot be efficiently mediated by relatively small compounds. It has long been recognized that known life is associated with the evolution of two distinct molecular alphabets (nucleic acid and protein), specific sequence combinations of which serve as informational and functional polymers. In contrast, much less detailed focus has been directed towards the potential universal need for molecular alphabets in constituting complex chemically-based life, and the implications of such a requirement. To analyze this, emphasis here is placed on the generalizable replicative and functional characteristics of molecular alphabets and their concatenates. A primary replicative alphabet based on the simplest possible molecular complementarity can potentially enable evolutionary processes to occur, including the encoding of secondarily functional alphabets. Very large uniquely specified (`non-alphabetic') molecules cannot feasibly underlie systems capable of the replicative and evolutionary properties which characterize complex biosystems. Transitions in the molecular evolution of alphabets can be related to progressive bridging of barriers which enable higher levels of biosystem organization. It is thus highly probable that molecular alphabets are an obligatory requirement for complex chemically-based life anywhere in the universe. In turn, reference to molecular alphabets should be usefully applied in current definitions of life.

  14. Are molecular alphabets universal enabling factors for the evolution of complex life?

    PubMed

    Dunn, Ian S

    2013-12-01

    Terrestrial biosystems depend on macromolecules, and this feature is often considered as a likely universal aspect of life. While opinions differ regarding the importance of small-molecule systems in abiogenesis, escalating biological functional demands are linked with increasing complexity in key molecules participating in biosystem operations, and many such requirements cannot be efficiently mediated by relatively small compounds. It has long been recognized that known life is associated with the evolution of two distinct molecular alphabets (nucleic acid and protein), specific sequence combinations of which serve as informational and functional polymers. In contrast, much less detailed focus has been directed towards the potential universal need for molecular alphabets in constituting complex chemically-based life, and the implications of such a requirement. To analyze this, emphasis here is placed on the generalizable replicative and functional characteristics of molecular alphabets and their concatenates. A primary replicative alphabet based on the simplest possible molecular complementarity can potentially enable evolutionary processes to occur, including the encoding of secondarily functional alphabets. Very large uniquely specified ('non-alphabetic') molecules cannot feasibly underlie systems capable of the replicative and evolutionary properties which characterize complex biosystems. Transitions in the molecular evolution of alphabets can be related to progressive bridging of barriers which enable higher levels of biosystem organization. It is thus highly probable that molecular alphabets are an obligatory requirement for complex chemically-based life anywhere in the universe. In turn, reference to molecular alphabets should be usefully applied in current definitions of life. PMID:24510462

  15. Molecular Ultrasound Imaging: Current Status and Future Directions

    PubMed Central

    Deshpande, Nirupama; Needles, Andrew; Willmann, Jürgen K.

    2011-01-01

    Targeted contrast-enhanced ultrasound (molecular ultrasound) is an emerging imaging strategy that combines ultrasound technology with novel molecularly-targeted ultrasound contrast agents for assessing biological processes at the molecular level. Molecular ultrasound contrast agents are nano- or micro-sized particles that are targeted to specific molecular markers by adding high-affinity binding ligands onto the surface of the particles. Following intravenous administration, these targeted ultrasound contrast agents accumulate at tissue sites overexpressing specific molecular markers, thereby enhancing the ultrasound imaging signal. High spatial and temporal resolution, real-time imaging, non-invasiveness, relatively low costs, lack of ionizing irradiation and wide availability of ultrasound systems are advantages compared to other molecular imaging modalities. In this article we review current concepts and future directions of molecular ultrasound imaging, including different classes of molecular ultrasound contrast agents, ongoing technical developments of preclinical and clinical ultrasound systems , the potential of molecular ultrasound for imaging different diseases at the molecular level, and the translation of molecular ultrasound into the clinic. PMID:20541656

  16. Directed Chemical Evolution with an Outsized Genetic Code.

    PubMed

    Krusemark, Casey J; Tilmans, Nicolas P; Brown, Patrick O; Harbury, Pehr B

    2016-01-01

    The first demonstration that macromolecules could be evolved in a test tube was reported twenty-five years ago. That breakthrough meant that billions of years of chance discovery and refinement could be compressed into a few weeks, and provided a powerful tool that now dominates all aspects of protein engineering. A challenge has been to extend this scientific advance into synthetic chemical space: to enable the directed evolution of abiotic molecules. The problem has been tackled in many ways. These include expanding the natural genetic code to include unnatural amino acids, engineering polyketide and polypeptide synthases to produce novel products, and tagging combinatorial chemistry libraries with DNA. Importantly, there is still no small-molecule analog of directed protein evolution, i.e. a substantiated approach for optimizing complex (≥ 10^9 diversity) populations of synthetic small molecules over successive generations. We present a key advance towards this goal: a tool for genetically-programmed synthesis of small-molecule libraries from large chemical alphabets. The approach accommodates alphabets that are one to two orders of magnitude larger than any in Nature, and facilitates evolution within the chemical spaces they create. This is critical for small molecules, which are built up from numerous and highly varied chemical fragments. We report a proof-of-concept chemical evolution experiment utilizing an outsized genetic code, and demonstrate that fitness traits can be passed from an initial small-molecule population through to the great-grandchildren of that population. The results establish the practical feasibility of engineering synthetic small molecules through accelerated evolution. PMID:27508294

  17. Directed Chemical Evolution with an Outsized Genetic Code

    PubMed Central

    Krusemark, Casey J.; Tilmans, Nicolas P.; Brown, Patrick O.; Harbury, Pehr B.

    2016-01-01

    The first demonstration that macromolecules could be evolved in a test tube was reported twenty-five years ago. That breakthrough meant that billions of years of chance discovery and refinement could be compressed into a few weeks, and provided a powerful tool that now dominates all aspects of protein engineering. A challenge has been to extend this scientific advance into synthetic chemical space: to enable the directed evolution of abiotic molecules. The problem has been tackled in many ways. These include expanding the natural genetic code to include unnatural amino acids, engineering polyketide and polypeptide synthases to produce novel products, and tagging combinatorial chemistry libraries with DNA. Importantly, there is still no small-molecule analog of directed protein evolution, i.e. a substantiated approach for optimizing complex (≥ 10^9 diversity) populations of synthetic small molecules over successive generations. We present a key advance towards this goal: a tool for genetically-programmed synthesis of small-molecule libraries from large chemical alphabets. The approach accommodates alphabets that are one to two orders of magnitude larger than any in Nature, and facilitates evolution within the chemical spaces they create. This is critical for small molecules, which are built up from numerous and highly varied chemical fragments. We report a proof-of-concept chemical evolution experiment utilizing an outsized genetic code, and demonstrate that fitness traits can be passed from an initial small-molecule population through to the great-grandchildren of that population. The results establish the practical feasibility of engineering synthetic small molecules through accelerated evolution. PMID:27508294

  18. Flight loss linked to faster molecular evolution in insects

    PubMed Central

    Mitterboeck, T. Fatima; Adamowicz, Sarah J.

    2013-01-01

    The loss of flight ability has occurred thousands of times independently during insect evolution. Flight loss may be linked to higher molecular evolutionary rates because of reductions in effective population sizes (Ne) and relaxed selective constraints. Reduced dispersal ability increases population subdivision, may decrease geographical range size and increases (sub)population extinction risk, thus leading to an expected reduction in Ne. Additionally, flight loss in birds has been linked to higher molecular rates of energy-related genes, probably owing to relaxed selective constraints on energy metabolism. We tested for an association between insect flight loss and molecular rates through comparative analysis in 49 phylogenetically independent transitions spanning multiple taxa, including moths, flies, beetles, mayflies, stick insects, stoneflies, scorpionflies and caddisflies, using available nuclear and mitochondrial protein-coding DNA sequences. We estimated the rate of molecular evolution of flightless (FL) and related flight-capable lineages by ratios of non-synonymous-to-synonymous substitutions (dN/dS) and overall substitution rates (OSRs). Across multiple instances of flight loss, we show a significant pattern of higher dN/dS ratios and OSRs in FL lineages in mitochondrial but not nuclear genes. These patterns may be explained by relaxed selective constraints in FL ectotherms relating to energy metabolism, possibly in combination with reduced Ne. PMID:23884090

  19. Molecular ecology of aquatic communities: Reflections and future directions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zehr, J.P.; Voytek, M.A.

    1999-01-01

    During the 1980s, many new molecular biology techniques were developed, providing new capabilities for studying the genetics and activities of organisms. Biologists and ecologists saw the promise that these techniques held for studying different aspects of organisms, both in culture and in the natural environment. In less than a decade, these techniques were adopted by a large number of researchers studying many types of organisms in diverse environments. Much of the molecular-level information acquired has been used to address questions of evolution, biogeography, population structure and biodiversity. At this juncture, molecular ecologists are poised to contribute to the study of the fundamental characteristics underlying aquatic community structure. The goal of this overview is to assess where we have been, where we are now and what the future holds for revealing the basis of community structure and function with molecular-level information.

  20. The direction of evolution: the rise of cooperative organization.

    PubMed

    Stewart, John E

    2014-09-01

    Two great trends are evident in the evolution of life on Earth: towards increasing diversification and towards increasing integration. Diversification has spread living processes across the planet, progressively increasing the range of environments and free energy sources exploited by life. Integration has proceeded through a stepwise process in which living entities at one level are integrated into cooperative groups that become larger-scale entities at the next level, and so on, producing cooperative organizations of increasing scale (for example, cooperative groups of simple cells gave rise to the more complex eukaryote cells, groups of these gave rise to multi-cellular organisms, and cooperative groups of these organisms produced animal societies). The trend towards increasing integration has continued during human evolution with the progressive increase in the scale of human groups and societies. The trends towards increasing diversification and integration are both driven by selection. An understanding of the trajectory and causal drivers of the trends suggests that they are likely to culminate in the emergence of a global entity. This entity would emerge from the integration of the living processes, matter, energy and technology of the planet into a global cooperative organization. Such an integration of the results of previous diversifications would enable the global entity to exploit the widest possible range of resources across the varied circumstances of the planet. This paper demonstrates that it's case for directionality meets the tests and criticisms that have proven fatal to previous claims for directionality in evolution. PMID:24887200

  1. Selection platforms for directed evolution in synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Tizei, Pedro A G; Csibra, Eszter; Torres, Leticia; Pinheiro, Vitor B

    2016-08-15

    Life on Earth is incredibly diverse. Yet, underneath that diversity, there are a number of constants and highly conserved processes: all life is based on DNA and RNA; the genetic code is universal; biology is limited to a small subset of potential chemistries. A vast amount of knowledge has been accrued through describing and characterizing enzymes, biological processes and organisms. Nevertheless, much remains to be understood about the natural world. One of the goals in Synthetic Biology is to recapitulate biological complexity from simple systems made from biological molecules-gaining a deeper understanding of life in the process. Directed evolution is a powerful tool in Synthetic Biology, able to bypass gaps in knowledge and capable of engineering even the most highly conserved biological processes. It encompasses a range of methodologies to create variation in a population and to select individual variants with the desired function-be it a ligand, enzyme, pathway or even whole organisms. Here, we present some of the basic frameworks that underpin all evolution platforms and review some of the recent contributions from directed evolution to synthetic biology, in particular methods that have been used to engineer the Central Dogma and the genetic code. PMID:27528765

  2. Engineering Platforms for Directed Evolution of Laccase from Pycnoporus cinnabarinus

    PubMed Central

    Camarero, S.; Pardo, I.; Cañas, A. I.; Molina, P.; Record, E.; Martínez, A. T.; Martínez, M. J.

    2012-01-01

    While the Pycnoporus cinnabarinus laccase (PcL) is one of the most promising high-redox-potential enzymes for environmental biocatalysis, its practical use has to date remained limited due to the lack of directed evolution platforms with which to improve its features. Here, we describe the construction of a PcL fusion gene and the optimization of conditions to induce its functional expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, facilitating its directed evolution and semirational engineering. The native PcL signal peptide was replaced by the α-factor preproleader, and this construct was subjected to six rounds of evolution coupled to a multiscreening assay based on the oxidation of natural and synthetic redox mediators at more neutral pHs. The laccase total activity was enhanced 8,000-fold: the evolved α-factor preproleader improved secretion levels 40-fold, and several mutations in mature laccase provided a 13.7-fold increase in kcat. While the pH activity profile was shifted to more neutral values, the thermostability and the broad substrate specificity of PcL were retained. Evolved variants were highly secreted by Aspergillus niger (∼23 mg/liter), which addresses the potential use of this combined-expression system for protein engineering. The mapping of mutations onto the PcL crystal structure shed new light on the oxidation of phenolic and nonphenolic substrates. Furthermore, some mutations arising in the evolved preproleader highlighted its potential for heterologous expression of fungal laccases in yeast (S. cerevisiae). PMID:22210206

  3. Selection platforms for directed evolution in synthetic biology

    PubMed Central

    Tizei, Pedro A.G.; Csibra, Eszter; Torres, Leticia; Pinheiro, Vitor B.

    2016-01-01

    Life on Earth is incredibly diverse. Yet, underneath that diversity, there are a number of constants and highly conserved processes: all life is based on DNA and RNA; the genetic code is universal; biology is limited to a small subset of potential chemistries. A vast amount of knowledge has been accrued through describing and characterizing enzymes, biological processes and organisms. Nevertheless, much remains to be understood about the natural world. One of the goals in Synthetic Biology is to recapitulate biological complexity from simple systems made from biological molecules–gaining a deeper understanding of life in the process. Directed evolution is a powerful tool in Synthetic Biology, able to bypass gaps in knowledge and capable of engineering even the most highly conserved biological processes. It encompasses a range of methodologies to create variation in a population and to select individual variants with the desired function–be it a ligand, enzyme, pathway or even whole organisms. Here, we present some of the basic frameworks that underpin all evolution platforms and review some of the recent contributions from directed evolution to synthetic biology, in particular methods that have been used to engineer the Central Dogma and the genetic code. PMID:27528765

  4. Molecular evolution of haemagglutinin (H) gene in measles virus.

    PubMed

    Kimura, Hirokazu; Saitoh, Mika; Kobayashi, Miho; Ishii, Haruyuki; Saraya, Takeshi; Kurai, Daisuke; Tsukagoshi, Hiroyuki; Shirabe, Komei; Nishina, Atsuyoshi; Kozawa, Kunihisa; Kuroda, Makoto; Takeuchi, Fumihiko; Sekizuka, Tsuyoshi; Minakami, Hisanori; Ryo, Akihide; Takeda, Makoto

    2015-01-01

    We studied the molecular evolution of the haemagglutinin (H) gene (full length) in all genotypes (24 genotypes, 297 strains) of measles virus (MeV). The gene's evolutionary timescale was estimated by the Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. We also analysed positive selection sites. The MCMC tree indicated that the MeV H gene diverged from the rinderpest virus (same genus) about 250 years ago and that 24 MeV genotypes formed 3 lineages dating back to a 1915 ancestor (95% highest posterior density [HPD] 1882-1941) with relatively rapid evolution (mean rate: 9.02 × 10(-4) substitutions/site/year). The 3 lineages diverged in 1915 (lineage 1, 95% HPD 1882-1941), 1954 (lineage 2, 95% HPD 1937-1969), and 1940 (lineage 3, 95% HPD 1927-1952). These 24 genotypes may have diverged and emerged between the 1940s and 1990 s. Selective pressure analysis identified many negative selection sites on the H protein but only a few positive selection sites, suggesting strongly operated structural and/or functional constraint of changes on the H protein. Based on the molecular evolution of H gene, an ancestor MeV of the 24 genotypes emerged about 100 years ago and the structure of H protein has been well conserved. PMID:26130388

  5. Molecular evolution of the lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase (LPAAT) gene family.

    PubMed

    Körbes, Ana Paula; Kulcheski, Franceli Rodrigues; Margis, Rogério; Margis-Pinheiro, Márcia; Turchetto-Zolet, Andreia Carina

    2016-03-01

    Lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferases (LPAATs) perform an essential cellular function by controlling the production of phosphatidic acid (PA), a key intermediate in the synthesis of membrane, signaling and storage lipids. Although LPAATs have been extensively explored by functional and biotechnological studies, little is known about their molecular evolution and diversification. We performed a genome-wide analysis using data from several plants and animals, as well as other eukaryotic and prokaryotic species, to identify LPAAT genes and analyze their evolutionary history. We used phylogenetic and molecular evolution analysis to test the hypothesis of distinct origins for these genes. The reconstructed phylogeny supported the ancient origin of some isoforms (plant LPAAT1 and LPAATB; animal AGPAAT1/2), while others emerged more recently (plant LPAAT2/3/4/5; AGPAAT3/4/5/8). Additionally, the hypothesis of endosymbiotic origin of the plastidic isoform LPAAT1 was confirmed. LPAAT genes from plants and animals mainly experienced strong purifying selection pressures with limited functional divergence after the species-specific duplications. Gene expression analyses of LPAAT isoforms in model plants demonstrated distinct LPAAT expression patterns in these organisms. The results showed that distinct origins followed by diversification of the LPAAT genes shaped the evolution of TAG biosynthesis. The expression pattern of individual genes may be responsible for adaptation into multiple ecological niches. PMID:26721558

  6. Molecular hyperdiversity and evolution in very large populations

    PubMed Central

    Cutter, Asher D.; Jovelin, Richard; Dey, Alivia

    2014-01-01

    The genomic density of sequence polymorphisms critically affects the sensitivity of inferences about ongoing sequence evolution, function, and demographic history. Most animal and plant genomes have relatively low densities of polymorphisms, but some species are hyperdiverse with neutral nucleotide heterozygosity exceeding 5%. Eukaryotes with extremely large populations, mimicking bacterial and viral populations, present novel opportunities for studying molecular evolution in sexually-reproducing taxa with complex development. In particular, hyperdiverse species can help answer controversial questions about the evolution of genome complexity, the limits of natural selection, modes of adaptation, and subtleties of the mutation process. However, such systems have some inherent complications and here we identify topics in need of theoretical developments. Close relatives of the model organisms Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster provide known examples of hyperdiverse eukaryotes, encouraging functional dissection of resulting molecular evolutionary patterns. We recommend how best to exploit hyperdiverse populations for analysis, for example, in quantifying the impact of non-crossover recombination in genomes and for determining the identity and micro-evolutionary selective pressures on non-coding regulatory elements. PMID:23506466

  7. Molecular cancer prevention: Current status and future directions.

    PubMed

    Maresso, Karen Colbert; Tsai, Kenneth Y; Brown, Powel H; Szabo, Eva; Lippman, Scott; Hawk, Ernest T

    2015-01-01

    The heterogeneity and complexity of advanced cancers strongly support the rationale for an enhanced focus on molecular prevention as a priority strategy to reduce the burden of cancer. Molecular prevention encompasses traditional chemopreventive agents as well as vaccinations and therapeutic approaches to cancer-predisposing conditions. Despite challenges to the field, we now have refined insights into cancer etiology and early pathogenesis; successful risk assessment and new risk models; agents with broad preventive efficacy (eg, aspirin) in common chronic diseases, including cancer; and a successful track record of more than 10 agents approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of precancerous lesions or cancer risk reduction. The development of molecular preventive agents does not differ significantly from the development of therapies for advanced cancers, yet it has unique challenges and special considerations given that it most often involves healthy or asymptomatic individuals. Agents, biomarkers, cohorts, overall design, and endpoints are key determinants of molecular preventive trials, as with therapeutic trials, although distinctions exist for each within the preventive setting. Progress in the development and evolution of molecular preventive agents has been steadier in some organ systems, such as breast and skin, than in others. In order for molecular prevention to be fully realized as an effective strategy, several challenges to the field must be addressed. Here, the authors provide a brief overview of the context for and special considerations of molecular prevention along with a discussion of the results from major randomized controlled trials. PMID:26284997

  8. Molecular evolution of WDR62, a gene that regulates neocorticogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Pervaiz, Nashaiman; Abbasi, Amir Ali

    2016-01-01

    Human brain evolution is characterized by dramatic expansion in cerebral cortex size. WDR62 (WD repeat domain 62) is one of the important gene in controlling human cortical development. Mutations in WDR62 lead to primary microcephaly, a neurodevelopmental disease characterized by three to four fold reduction in cerebral cortex size of affected individuals. This study analyzes comparative protein evolutionary rate to provide a useful insight into the molecular evolution of WDR62 and hence pinpointed human specific amino acid replacements. Comparative analysis of human WDR62 with two archaic humans (Neanderthals and Denisovans) and modern human populations revealed that five hominin specific amino acid residues (human specific amino acids shared with two archaic humans) might have been accumulated in the common ancestor of extinct archaic humans and modern humans about 550,000–765,000 years ago. Collectively, the data demonstrates an acceleration of WDR62 sequence evolution in hominin lineage and suggests that the ability of WDR62 protein to mediate the neurogenesis has been altered in the course of hominin evolution. PMID:27114917

  9. Molecular evolution of WDR62, a gene that regulates neocorticogenesis.

    PubMed

    Pervaiz, Nashaiman; Abbasi, Amir Ali

    2016-09-01

    Human brain evolution is characterized by dramatic expansion in cerebral cortex size. WDR62 (WD repeat domain 62) is one of the important gene in controlling human cortical development. Mutations in WDR62 lead to primary microcephaly, a neurodevelopmental disease characterized by three to four fold reduction in cerebral cortex size of affected individuals. This study analyzes comparative protein evolutionary rate to provide a useful insight into the molecular evolution of WDR62 and hence pinpointed human specific amino acid replacements. Comparative analysis of human WDR62 with two archaic humans (Neanderthals and Denisovans) and modern human populations revealed that five hominin specific amino acid residues (human specific amino acids shared with two archaic humans) might have been accumulated in the common ancestor of extinct archaic humans and modern humans about 550,000-765,000 years ago. Collectively, the data demonstrates an acceleration of WDR62 sequence evolution in hominin lineage and suggests that the ability of WDR62 protein to mediate the neurogenesis has been altered in the course of hominin evolution. PMID:27114917

  10. Directed Evolution of Unspecific Peroxygenase from Agrocybe aegerita

    PubMed Central

    Molina-Espeja, Patricia; Garcia-Ruiz, Eva; Gonzalez-Perez, David; Ullrich, René; Hofrichter, Martin

    2014-01-01

    Unspecific peroxygenase (UPO) represents a new type of heme-thiolate enzyme with self-sufficient mono(per)oxygenase activity and many potential applications in organic synthesis. With a view to taking advantage of these properties, we subjected the Agrocybe aegerita UPO1-encoding gene to directed evolution in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To promote functional expression, several different signal peptides were fused to the mature protein, and the resulting products were tested. Over 9,000 clones were screened using an ad hoc dual-colorimetric assay that assessed both peroxidative and oxygen transfer activities. After 5 generations of directed evolution combined with hybrid approaches, 9 mutations were introduced that resulted in a 3,250-fold total activity improvement with no alteration in protein stability. A breakdown between secretion and catalytic activity was performed by replacing the native signal peptide of the original parental type with that of the evolved mutant; the evolved leader increased functional expression 27-fold, whereas an 18-fold improvement in the kcat/Km value for oxygen transfer activity was obtained. The evolved UPO1 was active and highly stable in the presence of organic cosolvents. Mutations in the hydrophobic core of the signal peptide contributed to enhance functional expression up to 8 mg/liter, while catalytic efficiencies for peroxidative and oxygen transfer reactions were increased by several mutations in the vicinity of the heme access channel. Overall, the directed-evolution platform described is a valuable point of departure for the development of customized UPOs with improved features and for the study of structure-function relationships. PMID:24682297

  11. Protein engineering of conger eel galectins by tracing of molecular evolution using probable ancestral mutants

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Conger eel galectins, congerin I (ConI) and congerin II (ConII), show the different molecular characteristics resulting from accelerating evolution. We recently reconstructed a probable ancestral form of congerins, Con-anc. It showed properties similar to those of ConII in terms of thermostability and carbohydrate recognition specificity, although it shares a higher sequence similarity with ConI than ConII. Results In this study, we have focused on the different amino acid residues between Con-anc and ConI, and have performed the protein engineering of Con-anc through site-directed mutagenesis, followed by the molecular evolution analysis of the mutants. This approach revealed the functional importance of loop structures of congerins: (1) N- and C-terminal and loop 5 regions that are involved in conferring a high thermostability to ConI; (2) loops 3, 5, and 6 that are responsible for stronger binding of ConI to most sugars; and (3) loops 5 and 6, and Thr38 residue in loop 3 contribute the specificity of ConI toward lacto-N-fucopentaose-containing sugars. Conclusions Thus, this methodology, with tracing of the molecular evolution using ancestral mutants, is a powerful tool for the analysis of not only the molecular evolutionary process, but also the structural elements of a protein responsible for its various functions. PMID:20152053

  12. Altering Tropism of rAAV by Directed Evolution.

    PubMed

    Marsic, Damien; Zolotukhin, Sergei

    2016-01-01

    Directed evolution represents an attractive approach to derive AAV capsid variants capable of selectively infect specific tissue or cell targets. It involves the generation of an initial library of high complexity followed by cycles of selection during which the library is progressively enriched for target-specific variants. Each selection cycle consists of the following: reconstitution of complete AAV genomes within plasmid molecules; production of virions for which each particular capsid variant is matched with the particular capsid gene encoding it; recovery of capsid gene sequences from target tissue after systemic administration. Prevalent variants are then analyzed and evaluated. PMID:26611585

  13. Parasitic plants have increased rates of molecular evolution across all three genomes

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Theoretical models and experimental evidence suggest that rates of molecular evolution could be raised in parasitic organisms compared to non-parasitic taxa. Parasitic plants provide an ideal test for these predictions, as there are at least a dozen independent origins of the parasitic lifestyle in angiosperms. Studies of a number of parasitic plant lineages have suggested faster rates of molecular evolution, but the results of some studies have been mixed. Comparative analysis of all parasitic plant lineages, including sequences from all three genomes, is needed to examine the generality of the relationship between rates of molecular evolution and parasitism in plants. Results We analysed DNA sequence data from the mitochondrial, nuclear and chloroplast genomes for 12 independent evolutionary origins of parasitism in angiosperms. We demonstrated that parasitic lineages have a faster rate of molecular evolution than their non-parasitic relatives in sequences for all three genomes, for both synonymous and nonsynonymous substitutions. Conclusions Our results prove that raised rates of molecular evolution are a general feature of parasitic plants, not confined to a few taxa or specific genes. We discuss possible causes for this relationship, including increased positive selection associated with host-parasite arms races, relaxed selection, reduced population size or repeated bottlenecks, increased mutation rates, and indirect causal links with generation time and body size. We find no evidence that faster rates are due to smaller effective populations sizes or changes in selection pressure. Instead, our results suggest that parasitic plants have a higher mutation rate than their close non-parasitic relatives. This may be due to a direct connection, where some aspect of the parasitic lifestyle drives the evolution of raised mutation rates. Alternatively, this pattern may be driven by an indirect connection between rates and parasitism: for example, parasitic

  14. [Evolution and systematics of nematodes based on molecular investigation].

    PubMed

    Okulewicz, Anna; Perec, Agnieszka

    2004-01-01

    Evolution and systematics of nematodes based on molecular investigation. The use of molecular phylogenetics to examine the interrelationships between animal parasites, free-living nematodes, and plant parasites versus traditional classification based on morphological-ecological characters was discussed and reviewed. Distinct differences were observed between parasitic nematodes and free-living ones. Within the former group, animal parasites turned out to be distinctly different from plant parasites. Using small subunit of ribosomal RNA gene sequence from a wide range of nematodes, there is a possibility to compare animal-parasitic, plant-parasitic and free-living taxa. Nowadays the parasitic nematodes expressed sequence tag (EST) project is currently generating sequence information to provide a new source of data to examine the evolutionary history of this taxonomic group. PMID:16859012

  15. Evolution of molecular crystal optical phonons near structural phase transitions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michki, Nigel; Niessen, Katherine; Xu, Mengyang; Markelz, Andrea

    Molecular crystals are increasingly important photonic and electronic materials. For example organic semiconductors are lightweight compared to inorganic semiconductors and have inexpensive scale up processing with roll to roll printing. However their implementation is limited by their environmental sensitivity, in part arising from the weak intermolecular interactions of the crystal. These weak interactions result in optical phonons in the terahertz frequency range. We examine the evolution of intermolecular interactions near structural phase transitions by measuring the optical phonons as a function of temperature and crystal orientation using terahertz time-domain spectroscopy. The measured orientation dependence of the resonances provides an additional constraint for comparison of the observed spectra with the density functional calculations, enabling us to follow specific phonon modes. We observe crystal reorganization near 350 K for oxalic acid as it transforms from dihydrate to anhydrous form. We also report the first THz spectra for the molecular crystal fructose through its melting point.

  16. A Tale of Two Crocoducks: Creationist Misuses of Molecular Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hofmann, James R.

    2014-10-01

    Although some creationist objections to evolutionary biology are simplistic and thus are easily refuted, when more technical arguments become widespread it is important for science educators to explain the relevant science in a straightforward manner. An interesting case study is provided by misguided allegations about how cytochrome c data pertain to molecular evolution. The most common of these misrepresentations bears a striking similarity to a particularly glaring misunderstanding of what should be expected of a transitional form in a fossil sequence. Although evangelist Kirk Cameron's ridiculous injunction of a hypothetical `crocoduck' as an example of a potential transitional form is frequently invoked to illustrate the ignorance of many critics of evolutionary science, a strikingly analogous argument was applied to cytochrome c data by biochemist Michael Denton in 1985. The details of this analogy are worth exploring to clarify the fallacy of the widely circulated molecular argument.

  17. Simulation of gene evolution under directional mutational pressure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dudkiewicz, Małgorzata; Mackiewicz, Paweł; Kowalczuk, Maria; Mackiewicz, Dorota; Nowicka, Aleksandra; Polak, Natalia; Smolarczyk, Kamila; Banaszak, Joanna; R. Dudek, Mirosław; Cebrat, Stanisław

    2004-05-01

    The two main mechanisms generating the genetic diversity, mutation and recombination, have random character but they are biased which has an effect on the generation of asymmetry in the bacterial chromosome structure and in the protein coding sequences. Thus, like in a case of two chiral molecules-the two possible orientations of a gene in relation to the topology of a chromosome are not equivalent. Assuming that the sequence of a gene may oscillate only between certain limits of its structural composition means that the gene could be forced out of these limits by the directional mutation pressure, in the course of evolution. The probability of the event depends on the time the gene stays under the same mutation pressure. Inversion of the gene changes the directional mutational pressure to the reciprocal one and hence it changes the distance of the gene to its lower and upper bound of the structural tolerance. Using Monte Carlo methods we were able to simulate the evolution of genes under experimentally found mutational pressure, assuming simple mechanisms of selection. We found that the mutation and recombination should work in accordance to lower their negative effects on the function of the products of coding sequences.

  18. Rapid Modeling and Analysis Tools: Evolution, Status, Needs and Directions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knight, Norman F., Jr.; Stone, Thomas J.; Ransom, Jonathan B. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Advanced aerospace systems are becoming increasingly more complex, and customers are demanding lower cost, higher performance, and high reliability. Increased demands are placed on the design engineers to collaborate and integrate design needs and objectives early in the design process to minimize risks that may occur later in the design development stage. High performance systems require better understanding of system sensitivities much earlier in the design process to meet these goals. The knowledge, skills, intuition, and experience of an individual design engineer will need to be extended significantly for the next generation of aerospace system designs. Then a collaborative effort involving the designer, rapid and reliable analysis tools and virtual experts will result in advanced aerospace systems that are safe, reliable, and efficient. This paper discusses the evolution, status, needs and directions for rapid modeling and analysis tools for structural analysis. First, the evolution of computerized design and analysis tools is briefly described. Next, the status of representative design and analysis tools is described along with a brief statement on their functionality. Then technology advancements to achieve rapid modeling and analysis are identified. Finally, potential future directions including possible prototype configurations are proposed.

  19. GeneGenie: optimized oligomer design for directed evolution

    PubMed Central

    Swainston, Neil; Currin, Andrew; Day, Philip J.; Kell, Douglas B.

    2014-01-01

    GeneGenie, a new online tool available at http://www.gene-genie.org, is introduced to support the design and self-assembly of synthetic genes and constructs. GeneGenie allows for the design of oligonucleotide cohorts encoding the gene sequence optimized for expression in any suitable host through an intuitive, easy-to-use web interface. The tool ensures consistent oligomer overlapping melting temperatures, minimizes the likelihood of misannealing, optimizes codon usage for expression in a selected host, allows for specification of forward and reverse cloning sequences (for downstream ligation) and also provides support for mutagenesis or directed evolution studies. Directed evolution studies are enabled through the construction of variant libraries via the optional specification of ‘variant codons’, containing mixtures of bases, at any position. For example, specifying the variant codon TNT (where N is any nucleotide) will generate an equimolar mixture of the codons TAT, TCT, TGT and TTT at that position, encoding a mixture of the amino acids Tyr, Ser, Cys and Phe. This facility is demonstrated through the use of GeneGenie to develop and synthesize a library of enhanced green fluorescent protein variants. PMID:24782527

  20. High-activity barley alpha-amylase by directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Wong, Dominic W S; Batt, Sarah B; Lee, Charles C; Robertson, George H

    2004-10-01

    Barley alpha-amylase isozyme 2 was cloned into and constitutively secreted by Saccharomyces cervisiae. The gene coding for the wild-type enzyme was subjected to directed evolution. Libraries of mutants were screened by halo formation on starch agar plates, followed by high-throughput liquid assay using dye-labeled starch as the substrate. The concentration of recombinant enzyme in the culture supernatant was determined by immunodetection, and used for the calculation of specific activity. After three rounds of directed evolution, one mutant (Mu322) showed 1000 times the total activity and 20 times the specific activity of the wild-type enzyme produced by the same yeast expression system. Comparison of the amino acid sequence of this mutant with the wild type revealed five substitutions: Q44H, R303K and F325Y in domain A, and T94A and R128Q in domain B. Two of these mutations. Q44H and R303K, result in amino acids highly conserved in cereal alpha-amylases. R303K and F325Y are located in the raw starch-binding fragment of the enzyme molecule. PMID:15635937

  1. A comparison of directed evolution approaches using the beta-glucuronidase model system.

    PubMed

    Rowe, Lori A; Geddie, Melissa L; Alexander, Omar B; Matsumura, Ichiro

    2003-09-26

    Protein engineers can alter the properties of enzymes by directing their evolution in vitro. Many methods to generate molecular diversity and to identify improved clones have been developed, but experimental evolution remains as much an art as a science. We previously used DNA shuffling (sexual recombination) and a histochemical screen to direct the evolution of Escherichia coli beta-glucuronidase (GUS) variants with improved beta-galactosidase (BGAL) activity. Here, we employ the same model evolutionary system to test the efficiencies of several other techniques: recursive random mutagenesis (asexual), combinatorial cassette mutagenesis (high-frequency recombination) and a versatile high-throughput microplate screen. GUS variants with altered specificity evolved in each trial, but different combinations of mutagenesis and screening techniques effected the fixation of different beneficial mutations. The new microplate screen identified a broader set of mutations than the previously employed X-gal colony screen. Recursive random mutagenesis produced essentially asexual populations, within which beneficial mutations drove each other into extinction (clonal interference); DNA shuffling and combinatorial cassette mutagenesis led instead to the accumulation of beneficial mutations within a single allele. These results explain why recombinational approaches generally increase the efficiency of laboratory evolution. PMID:12972256

  2. The interface of protein structure, protein biophysics, and molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Liberles, David A; Teichmann, Sarah A; Bahar, Ivet; Bastolla, Ugo; Bloom, Jesse; Bornberg-Bauer, Erich; Colwell, Lucy J; de Koning, A P Jason; Dokholyan, Nikolay V; Echave, Julian; Elofsson, Arne; Gerloff, Dietlind L; Goldstein, Richard A; Grahnen, Johan A; Holder, Mark T; Lakner, Clemens; Lartillot, Nicholas; Lovell, Simon C; Naylor, Gavin; Perica, Tina; Pollock, David D; Pupko, Tal; Regan, Lynne; Roger, Andrew; Rubinstein, Nimrod; Shakhnovich, Eugene; Sjölander, Kimmen; Sunyaev, Shamil; Teufel, Ashley I; Thorne, Jeffrey L; Thornton, Joseph W; Weinreich, Daniel M; Whelan, Simon

    2012-01-01

    Abstract The interface of protein structural biology, protein biophysics, molecular evolution, and molecular population genetics forms the foundations for a mechanistic understanding of many aspects of protein biochemistry. Current efforts in interdisciplinary protein modeling are in their infancy and the state-of-the art of such models is described. Beyond the relationship between amino acid substitution and static protein structure, protein function, and corresponding organismal fitness, other considerations are also discussed. More complex mutational processes such as insertion and deletion and domain rearrangements and even circular permutations should be evaluated. The role of intrinsically disordered proteins is still controversial, but may be increasingly important to consider. Protein geometry and protein dynamics as a deviation from static considerations of protein structure are also important. Protein expression level is known to be a major determinant of evolutionary rate and several considerations including selection at the mRNA level and the role of interaction specificity are discussed. Lastly, the relationship between modeling and needed high-throughput experimental data as well as experimental examination of protein evolution using ancestral sequence resurrection and in vitro biochemistry are presented, towards an aim of ultimately generating better models for biological inference and prediction. PMID:22528593

  3. The evolution of human populations: a molecular perspective.

    PubMed

    Ayala, F J; Escalante, A A

    1996-02-01

    Human evolution exhibits repeated speciations and conspicuous morphological change: from Australopithecus to Homo habilis, H. erectus, and H. sapiens; and from their hominoid ancestor to orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans. Theories of founder-event speciation propose that speciation often occurs as a consequence of population bottlenecks, down to one or very few individual pairs. Proponents of punctuated equilibrium claim in addition that founder-event speciation results in rapid morphological change. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) consists of several very polymorphic gene loci. The genealogy of 19 human alleles of the DQB1 locus coalesces more than 30 million years ago, before the divergence of apes and Old World monkeys. Many human alleles are more closely related to pongid and cercopithecoid alleles than to other human alleles. Using the theory of gene coalescence, we estimate that these polymorphisms require human populations of the order of N = 100,000 individuals for the last several million years. This conclusion is confirmed by computer simulations showing the rate of decay of the polymorphisms over time. Computer simulations indicate, in addition, that in human evolution no bottlenecks have occurred with fewer than several thousand individuals. We evaluate studies of mtDNA, Y-chromosome, and microsatellite autosomal polymorphisms and conclude that they are consistent with the MHC result that no narrow population bottlenecks have occurred in human evolution. The available molecular information favors a recent African origin of modern humans, who spread out of Africa approximately 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. PMID:8673287

  4. Statistical mechanics of quasispecies theories of molecular evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Munoz Tavera, Enrique

    This thesis presents a statistical mechanical analysis of different formulations of quasispecies theory of molecular evolution. These theories, characterized by two different families of models, the Crow-Kimura and the Eigen model, constitute a microscopie description of evolution. These models are most often used for RNA viruses, where a phase transition is predicted, in agreement with experiments, between an organized or quasispecies phase, and a disordered non-selective phase when the mutation rate exceeds a critical value. The methods of statistical mechanics, in particular field-theoretic methods, are employed to obtain analytic solutions to four problems relevant to biological interest. The first chapter presents the study of evolution under a multiple-peak fitness landscape, with biological applications in the study of the proliferation of viruses or cancer under the control of drugs or the immune system. The second chapter studies the effect of incorporating different forms of horizontal gene transfer and two-parent recombination to the classical formulation of quasispecies models. As an example, we study the effect of the sign of epistasis of the fitness landscape on the advantage or disadvantage of recombination for the mean fitness. The third chapter considers the relaxation of the purine/pyrimidine assumption in the classical formulation of the models, by formulating and solving the parallel and Eigen models in the context of a four-letter alphabet. The fourth and final chapter studies finite population effects, both in the presence and in the absence of horizontal gene transfer.

  5. Modelling biological evolution: recent progress, current challenges and future direction

    PubMed Central

    Morozov, Andrew

    2013-01-01

    Mathematical modelling is widely recognized as a powerful and convenient theoretical tool for investigating various aspects of biological evolution and explaining the existing genetic complexity of the real world. It is increasingly apparent that understanding the key mechanisms involved in the processes of species biodiversity, natural selection and inheritance, patterns of animal behaviour and coevolution of species in complex ecological systems is simply impossible by means of laboratory experiments and field observations alone. Mathematical models are so important because they provide wide-ranging exploration of the problem without a need for experiments with biological systems—which are usually expensive, often require long time and can be potentially dangerous. However, as the number of theoretical works on modelling biological evolution is constantly accelerating each year as different mathematical frameworks and various aspects of evolutionary problems are considered, it is often hard to avoid getting lost in such an immense flux of publications. The aim of this issue of Interface Focus is to provide a useful guide to important recent findings in some key areas in modelling biological evolution, to refine the existing challenges and to outline possible future directions. In particular, the following topics are addressed here by world-leading experts in the modelling of evolution: (i) the origins of biodiversity observed in ecosystems and communities; (ii) evolution of decision-making by animals and the optimal strategy of populations; (iii) links between evolutionary and ecological processes across different time scales; (iv) quantification of biological information in evolutionary models; and (v) linking theoretical models with empirical data. Most of the works presented here are in fact contributed papers from the international conference ‘Modelling Biological Evolution’ (MBE 2013), which took place in Leicester, UK, in May 2013 and brought together

  6. Supernova Feedback in Molecular Clouds: Global Evolution and Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Körtgen, Bastian; Seifried, Daniel; Banerjee, Robi; Vázquez-Semadeni, Enrique; Zamora-Avilés, Manuel

    2016-04-01

    We use magnetohydrodynamical simulations of converging warm neutral medium flows to analyse the formation and global evolution of magnetised and turbulent molecular clouds subject to supernova feedback from massive stars. We show that supernova feedback alone fails to disrupt entire, gravitationally bound, molecular clouds, but is able to disperse small-sized (˜10 pc) regions on timescales of less than 1 Myr. Efficient radiative cooling of the supernova remnant as well as strong compression of the surrounding gas result in non-persistent energy and momentum input from the supernovae. However, if the time between subsequent supernovae is short and they are clustered, large hot bubbles form that disperse larger regions of the parental cloud. On longer timescales, supernova feedback increases the amount of gas with moderate temperatures (T ≈ 300 - 3000 K). Despite its inability to disrupt molecular clouds, supernova feedback leaves a strong imprint on the star formation process. We find an overall reduction of the star formation efficiency by a factor of 2 and of the star formation rate by roughly factors of 2-4.

  7. Supernova feedback in molecular clouds: global evolution and dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Körtgen, Bastian; Seifried, Daniel; Banerjee, Robi; Vázquez-Semadeni, Enrique; Zamora-Avilés, Manuel

    2016-07-01

    We use magnetohydrodynamical simulations of converging warm neutral medium flows to analyse the formation and global evolution of magnetized and turbulent molecular clouds subject to supernova feedback from massive stars. We show that supernova feedback alone fails to disrupt entire, gravitationally bound, molecular clouds, but is able to disperse small-sized (˜10 pc) regions on time-scales of less than 1 Myr. Efficient radiative cooling of the supernova remnant as well as strong compression of the surrounding gas result in non-persistent energy and momentum input from the supernovae. However, if the time between subsequent supernovae is short and they are clustered, large hot bubbles form that disperse larger regions of the parental cloud. On longer time-scales, supernova feedback increases the amount of gas with moderate temperatures (T ≈ 300-3000 K). Despite its inability to disrupt molecular clouds, supernova feedback leaves a strong imprint on the star formation process. We find an overall reduction of the star formation efficiency by a factor of 2 and of the star formation rate by roughly factors of 2-4.

  8. MOLECULAR GAS EVOLUTION ACROSS A SPIRAL ARM IN M51

    SciTech Connect

    Egusa, Fumi; Scoville, Nick; Koda, Jin

    2011-01-10

    We present sensitive and high angular resolution CO(1-0) data obtained by the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy observations toward the nearby grand-design spiral galaxy M51. The angular resolution of 0.''7 corresponds to 30 pc, which is similar to the typical size of giant molecular clouds (GMCs), and the sensitivity is also high enough to detect typical GMCs. Within the 1' field of view centered on a spiral arm, a number of GMC-scale structures are detected as clumps. However, only a few clumps are found to be associated with each giant molecular association (GMA) and more than 90% of the total flux is resolved out in our data. Considering the high sensitivity and resolution of our data, these results indicate that GMAs are not mere confusion with GMCs but plausibly smooth structures. In addition, we have found that the most massive clumps are located downstream of the spiral arm, which suggests that they are at a later stage of molecular cloud evolution across the arm and plausibly are cores of GMAs. By comparing with H{alpha} and Pa{alpha} images, most of these cores are found to have nearby star-forming regions. We thus propose an evolutionary scenario for the interstellar medium, in which smaller molecular clouds collide to form smooth GMAs at spiral arm regions and then star formation is triggered in the GMA cores. Our new CO data have revealed the internal structure of GMAs at GMC scales, finding the most massive substructures on the downstream side of the arm in close association with the brightest H II regions.

  9. Electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution in acidic water with molecular cobalt tetraazamacrocycles.

    PubMed

    McCrory, Charles C L; Uyeda, Christopher; Peters, Jonas C

    2012-02-15

    A series of water-soluble molecular cobalt complexes of tetraazamacrocyclic ligands are reported for the electrocatalytic production of H(2) from pH 2.2 aqueous solutions. The comparative data reported for this family of complexes shed light on their relative efficiencies for hydrogen evolution in water. Rotating disk electrode voltammetry data are presented for each of the complexes discussed, as are data concerning their respective pH-dependent electrocatalytic activity. In particular, two diimine-dioxime complexes were identified as exhibiting catalytic onset at comparatively low overpotentials relative to other reported homogeneous cobalt and nickel electrocatalysts in aqueous solution. These complexes are stable at pH 2.2 and produce hydrogen with high Faradaic efficiency in bulk electrolysis experiments over time intervals ranging from 2 to 24 h. PMID:22280515

  10. Spatiotemporal evolution of plasma molecular emission following laser ablation of explosive analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Merten, Jonathan; Jones, Matthew; Sheppard, Cheyenne; Parigger, Christian; Allen, Susan

    2013-05-01

    The spatial and temporal evolution of the CN molecular emission following laser ablation of a TNT analog (3- nitrobenzoic acid) has been studied along with ablation of targets that contain neither nitro groups nor C-N bonds. At a fluence of ~104 J/cm2, behavior indicative of the ablation of native CN bonds has been observed in samples containing no native CN bonds. The recorded data show significant plasma background emissions that pose difficulties for direct spectral imaging. Spatially resolved images suggest that some of the observed phenomena are simply the result of the interaction of the plasma and the observation volume of the collection optics.

  11. Directed evolution of FLS2 towards novel flagellin peptide recognition

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Helft, Laura; Thompson, Mikayla; Bent, Andrew F.

    2016-06-06

    Microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) are molecules, or domains within molecules, that are conserved across microbial taxa and can be recognized by a plant or animal immune system. Although MAMP receptors have evolved to recognize conserved epitopes, the MAMPs in some microbial species or strains have diverged sufficiently to render them unrecognizable by some host immune systems. In this study, we carried out in vitro evolution of the Arabidopsis thaliana flagellin receptor FLAGELLIN-SENSING 2 (FLS2) to isolate derivatives that recognize one or more flagellin peptides from bacteria for which the wild type Arabidopsis FLS2 confers little or no response. A targetedmore » approach generated amino acid variation at FLS2 residues in a region previously implicated in flagellin recognition. The primary screen tested for elevated response to the canonical flagellin peptide from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, flg22. From this pool, we then identified five alleles of FLS2 that confer modest (quantitatively partial) recognition of an Erwinia amylovora flagellin peptide. Use of this Erwinia-based flagellin peptide to stimulate Arabidopsis plants expressing the resulting FLS2 alleles did not lead to a detectable reduction of virulent P. syringae pv. tomato growth. However, combination of two identified mutations into a single allele further increased FLS2-mediated responses to the E. amylovora flagellin peptide. As a result, these studies demonstrate the potential to raise the sensitivity of MAMP receptors toward particular targets.« less

  12. Directed Evolution of FLS2 towards Novel Flagellin Peptide Recognition.

    PubMed

    Helft, Laura; Thompson, Mikayla; Bent, Andrew F

    2016-01-01

    Microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) are molecules, or domains within molecules, that are conserved across microbial taxa and can be recognized by a plant or animal immune system. Although MAMP receptors have evolved to recognize conserved epitopes, the MAMPs in some microbial species or strains have diverged sufficiently to render them unrecognizable by some host immune systems. In this study, we carried out in vitro evolution of the Arabidopsis thaliana flagellin receptor FLAGELLIN-SENSING 2 (FLS2) to isolate derivatives that recognize one or more flagellin peptides from bacteria for which the wild-type Arabidopsis FLS2 confers little or no response. A targeted approach generated amino acid variation at FLS2 residues in a region previously implicated in flagellin recognition. The primary screen tested for elevated response to the canonical flagellin peptide from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, flg22. From this pool, we then identified five alleles of FLS2 that confer modest (quantitatively partial) recognition of an Erwinia amylovora flagellin peptide. Use of this Erwinia-based flagellin peptide to stimulate Arabidopsis plants expressing the resulting FLS2 alleles did not lead to a detectable reduction of virulent P. syringae pv. tomato growth. However, combination of two identified mutations into a single allele further increased FLS2-mediated responses to the E. amylovora flagellin peptide. These studies demonstrate the potential to raise the sensitivity of MAMP receptors toward particular targets. PMID:27270917

  13. Directed Evolution of FLS2 towards Novel Flagellin Peptide Recognition

    PubMed Central

    Helft, Laura; Thompson, Mikayla

    2016-01-01

    Microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) are molecules, or domains within molecules, that are conserved across microbial taxa and can be recognized by a plant or animal immune system. Although MAMP receptors have evolved to recognize conserved epitopes, the MAMPs in some microbial species or strains have diverged sufficiently to render them unrecognizable by some host immune systems. In this study, we carried out in vitro evolution of the Arabidopsis thaliana flagellin receptor FLAGELLIN-SENSING 2 (FLS2) to isolate derivatives that recognize one or more flagellin peptides from bacteria for which the wild-type Arabidopsis FLS2 confers little or no response. A targeted approach generated amino acid variation at FLS2 residues in a region previously implicated in flagellin recognition. The primary screen tested for elevated response to the canonical flagellin peptide from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, flg22. From this pool, we then identified five alleles of FLS2 that confer modest (quantitatively partial) recognition of an Erwinia amylovora flagellin peptide. Use of this Erwinia-based flagellin peptide to stimulate Arabidopsis plants expressing the resulting FLS2 alleles did not lead to a detectable reduction of virulent P. syringae pv. tomato growth. However, combination of two identified mutations into a single allele further increased FLS2-mediated responses to the E. amylovora flagellin peptide. These studies demonstrate the potential to raise the sensitivity of MAMP receptors toward particular targets. PMID:27270917

  14. Molecular Evolution of the Capsid Gene in Norovirus Genogroup I.

    PubMed

    Kobayashi, Miho; Yoshizumi, Shima; Kogawa, Sayaka; Takahashi, Tomoko; Ueki, Yo; Shinohara, Michiyo; Mizukoshi, Fuminori; Tsukagoshi, Hiroyuki; Sasaki, Yoshiko; Suzuki, Rieko; Shimizu, Hideaki; Iwakiri, Akira; Okabe, Nobuhiko; Shirabe, Komei; Shinomiya, Hiroto; Kozawa, Kunihisa; Kusunoki, Hideki; Ryo, Akihide; Kuroda, Makoto; Katayama, Kazuhiko; Kimura, Hirokazu

    2015-01-01

    We studied the molecular evolution of the capsid gene in all genotypes (genotypes 1-9) of human norovirus (NoV) genogroup I. The evolutionary time scale and rate were estimated by the Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. We also performed selective pressure analysis and B-cell linear epitope prediction in the deduced NoV GI capsid protein. Furthermore, we analysed the effective population size of the virus using Bayesian skyline plot (BSP) analysis. A phylogenetic tree by MCMC showed that NoV GI diverged from the common ancestor of NoV GII, GIII, and GIV approximately 2,800 years ago with rapid evolution (about 10(-3) substitutions/site/year). Some positive selection sites and over 400 negative selection sites were estimated in the deduced capsid protein. Many epitopes were estimated in the deduced virus capsid proteins. An epitope of GI.1 may be associated with histo-blood group antigen binding sites (Ser377, Pro378, and Ser380). Moreover, BSP suggested that the adaptation of NoV GI strains to humans was affected by natural selection. The results suggested that NoV GI strains evolved rapidly and date back to many years ago. Additionally, the virus may have undergone locally affected natural selection in the host resulting in its adaptation to humans. PMID:26338545

  15. Molecular Evolution and Structural Features of IRAK Family Members

    PubMed Central

    Gosu, Vijayakumar; Basith, Shaherin; Durai, Prasannavenkatesh; Choi, Sangdun

    2012-01-01

    The interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase (IRAK) family comprises critical signaling mediators of the TLR/IL-1R signaling pathways. IRAKs are Ser/Thr kinases. There are 4 members in the vertebrate genome (IRAK1, IRAK2, IRAKM, and IRAK4) and an IRAK homolog, Pelle, in insects. IRAK family members are highly conserved in vertebrates, but the evolutionary relationship between IRAKs in vertebrates and insects is not clear. To investigate the evolutionary history and functional divergence of IRAK members, we performed extensive bioinformatics analysis. The phylogenetic relationship between IRAK sequences suggests that gene duplication events occurred in the evolutionary lineage, leading to early vertebrates. A comparative phylogenetic analysis with insect homologs of IRAKs suggests that the Tube protein is a homolog of IRAK4, unlike the anticipated protein, Pelle. Furthermore, the analysis supports that an IRAK4-like kinase is an ancestral protein in the metazoan lineage of the IRAK family. Through functional analysis, several potentially diverged sites were identified in the common death domain and kinase domain. These sites have been constrained during evolution by strong purifying selection, suggesting their functional importance within IRAKs. In summary, our study highlighted the molecular evolution of the IRAK family, predicted the amino acids that contributed to functional divergence, and identified structural variations among the IRAK paralogs that may provide a starting point for further experimental investigations. PMID:23166766

  16. Sex speeds adaptation by altering the dynamics of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    McDonald, Michael J; Rice, Daniel P; Desai, Michael M

    2016-03-10

    Sex and recombination are pervasive throughout nature despite their substantial costs. Understanding the evolutionary forces that maintain these phenomena is a central challenge in biology. One longstanding hypothesis argues that sex is beneficial because recombination speeds adaptation. Theory has proposed several distinct population genetic mechanisms that could underlie this advantage. For example, sex can promote the fixation of beneficial mutations either by alleviating interference competition (the Fisher-Muller effect) or by separating them from deleterious load (the ruby in the rubbish effect). Previous experiments confirm that sex can increase the rate of adaptation, but these studies did not observe the evolutionary dynamics that drive this effect at the genomic level. Here we present the first, to our knowledge, comparison between the sequence-level dynamics of adaptation in experimental sexual and asexual Saccharomyces cerevisiae populations, which allows us to identify the specific mechanisms by which sex speeds adaptation. We find that sex alters the molecular signatures of evolution by changing the spectrum of mutations that fix, and confirm theoretical predictions that it does so by alleviating clonal interference. We also show that substantially deleterious mutations hitchhike to fixation in adapting asexual populations. In contrast, recombination prevents such mutations from fixing. Our results demonstrate that sex both speeds adaptation and alters its molecular signature by allowing natural selection to more efficiently sort beneficial from deleterious mutations. PMID:26909573

  17. Evolution of Molecular Clouds in a Hot Plasma

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vieser, Wolfgang; Hensler, Gerhard

    We are performing 2D hydrodynamic simulations to examine the evaporation and condensation of molecular clouds in the hot phase of the interstellar medium due to heat conduction. Heat conduction is a process that may not be neglected for clouds which are embedded in a hot gas, High-Velocity-Clouds falling through the hot galactic halo or clouds in a galactic chimney. The evolution of cold and dense clouds with different masses and radii is calculated in the subsonic streaming of a hot rarefied plasma. Our code includes self-gravity, heating and cooling effects and heat conduction by electrons. Simulations with and without heat conduction show significant differences. Heat conduction provides a possibility to stabilize clouds agains hydrodynamic instabilities. Molecular clouds become able to survive significantly longer in a violent stream of hot gas. Additionally, this hot gas condensates onto the cloud's surface and is mixed very efficiently with the cloud material. Therefore, heat conduction is an important process, which has to be considered in order to explain the existence and metallicity of clouds in a stream of hot gas.

  18. Evolution of Molecular Alignment in a Background Plasma

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pearson, Andrew; Antonsen, Thomas

    2008-11-01

    We study numerically the behavior of rotational revivals in a molecular gas when subject to the fluctuating electric field of a background plasma. We model a molecule as a rigid rotor and couple it to an electric field using permanent and induced multipole interactions. The evolution of the density matrix for the molecule is calculated for a short, intense laser pulse, followed by a fluctuating electric field. A broad superposition of angular momentum eigenstates of a molecule is created by the laser field, and the result is a set of recurring peaks in the probability density for observing a particular orientation -- the so-called 'rotational revivals.' Experimentally, this effect is manifest as a variation in the refractive index of the gas [1]. The fluctuating field is created using the dressed particle method, and the result is a loss of coherence between the phases of the basis states of the molecule, which causes a decreasing amplitude for subsequent alignment peaks. Modern short-pulse lasers operate with sufficient intensity to make this effect relevant to experiments in molecular alignment. This work was supported by the Department of Energy.[1] Y.-H. Chen et. al., Optics Express Vol. 15, No. 18, 11341 (2007)

  19. Molecular evolution of Dmrt1 accompanies change of sex-determining mechanisms in reptilia

    PubMed Central

    Janes, Daniel E.; Organ, Christopher L.; Stiglec, Rami; O'Meally, Denis; Sarre, Stephen D.; Georges, Arthur; Graves, Jennifer A. M.; Valenzuela, Nicole; Literman, Robert A.; Rutherford, Kim; Gemmell, Neil; Iverson, John B.; Tamplin, Jeffrey W.; Edwards, Scott V.; Ezaz, Tariq

    2014-01-01

    In reptiles, sex-determining mechanisms have evolved repeatedly and reversibly between genotypic and temperature-dependent sex determination. The gene Dmrt1 directs male determination in chicken (and presumably other birds), and regulates sex differentiation in animals as distantly related as fruit flies, nematodes and humans. Here, we show a consistent molecular difference in Dmrt1 between reptiles with genotypic and temperature-dependent sex determination. Among 34 non-avian reptiles, a convergently evolved pair of amino acids encoded by sequence within exon 2 near the DM-binding domain of Dmrt1 distinguishes species with either type of sex determination. We suggest that this amino acid shift accompanied the evolution of genotypic sex determination from an ancestral condition of temperature-dependent sex determination at least three times among reptiles, as evident in turtles, birds and squamates. This novel hypothesis describes the evolution of sex-determining mechanisms as turnover events accompanied by one or two small mutations. PMID:25540158

  20. The first molecular phylogeny of Strepsiptera (Insecta) reveals an early burst of molecular evolution correlated with the transition to endoparasitism.

    PubMed

    McMahon, Dino P; Hayward, Alexander; Kathirithamby, Jeyaraney

    2011-01-01

    A comprehensive model of evolution requires an understanding of the relationship between selection at the molecular and phenotypic level. We investigate this in Strepsiptera, an order of endoparasitic insects whose evolutionary biology is poorly studied. We present the first molecular phylogeny of Strepsiptera, and use this as a framework to investigate the association between parasitism and molecular evolution. We find evidence of a significant burst in the rate of molecular evolution in the early history of Strepsiptera. The evolution of morphological traits linked to parasitism is significantly correlated with the pattern in molecular rate. The correlated burst in genotypic-phenotypic evolution precedes the main phase of strepsipteran diversification, which is characterised by the return to a low and even molecular rate, and a period of relative morphological stability. These findings suggest that the transition to endoparasitism led to relaxation of selective constraint in the strepsipteran genome. Our results indicate that a parasitic lifestyle can affect the rate of molecular evolution, although other causal life-history traits correlated with parasitism may also play an important role. PMID:21738621

  1. Directed molecular evolution to design advanced red fluorescent proteins

    PubMed Central

    Subach, Fedor V; Piatkevich, Kiryl D; Verkhusha, Vladislav V

    2015-01-01

    Fluorescent proteins have become indispensable imaging tools for biomedical research. continuing progress in fluorescence imaging, however, requires probes with additional colors and properties optimized for emerging techniques. Here we summarize strategies for development of red-shifted fluorescent proteins. We discuss possibilities for knowledge-based rational design based on the photochemistry of fluorescent proteins and the position of the chromophore in protein structure. We consider advances in library design by mutagenesis, protein expression systems and instrumentation for high-throughput screening that should yield improved fluorescent proteins for advanced imaging applications. PMID:22127219

  2. Directed Evolution and Structural Characterization of a Simvastatin Synthase

    SciTech Connect

    Gao, Xue; Xie, Xinkai; Pashkov, Inna; Sawaya, Michael R.; Laidman, Janel; Zhang, Wenjun; Cacho, Ralph; Yeates, Todd O.; Tang, Yi; UCLA

    2010-02-02

    Enzymes from natural product biosynthetic pathways are attractive candidates for creating tailored biocatalysts to produce semisynthetic pharmaceutical compounds. LovD is an acyltransferase that converts the inactive monacolin J acid (MJA) into the cholesterol-lowering lovastatin. LovD can also synthesize the blockbuster drug simvastatin using MJA and a synthetic {alpha}-dimethylbutyryl thioester, albeit with suboptimal properties as a biocatalyst. Here we used directed evolution to improve the properties of LovD toward semisynthesis of simvastatin. Mutants with improved catalytic efficiency, solubility, and thermal stability were obtained, with the best mutant displaying an {approx}11-fold increase in an Escherichia coli-based biocatalytic platform. To understand the structural basis of LovD enzymology, seven X-ray crystal structures were determined, including the parent LovD, an improved mutant G5, and G5 cocrystallized with ligands. Comparisons between the structures reveal that beneficial mutations stabilize the structure of G5 in a more compact conformation that is favorable for catalysis.

  3. Evolution of grain structures during directional solidification of silicon wafers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, H. K.; Wu, M. C.; Chen, C. C.; Lan, C. W.

    2016-04-01

    The evolution of grain structures, especially the types of grain boundaries (GBs), during directional solidification is crucial to the electrical properties of multicrystalline silicon used for solar cells. To study this, the electric molten zone crystallization (EMZC) of silicon wafers at different drift speeds from 2 to 6 mm/min was considered. It was found that <111> orientation was dominant at the lower drift velocity, while <112> orientation at the higher drift velocity. Most of the non-∑GBs tended to align with the thermal gradient, but some tilted toward the unfavorable grains having higher interfacial energies. On the other hand, the tilted ∑3GBs tended to decrease during grain competition, except at the higher speed, where the twin nucleation became frequent. The competition of grains separated by ∑GBs could be viewed as the interactions of GBs that two coherent ∑3n GBs turned into one ∑3nGB following certain relations as reported before. On the other hand, when ∑ GBs met non-∑ GBs, the non-∑ GBs remained which explained the decrease of ∑ GBs at the lower speed.

  4. New approaches to enzymatic glycoside synthesis through directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Kittl, Roman; Withers, Stephen G

    2010-07-01

    The expanding field of glycobiology requires tools for the synthesis of structurally defined oligosaccharides and glycoconjugates, while any potential therapeutic applications of sugar-based derivates would require access to substantial quantities of such compounds. Classical chemical approaches are not well suited for such large-scale syntheses, thus enzymatic approaches are sought. Traditional routes to the enzymatic assembly of oligosaccharides have involved the use of either Nature's own biosynthetic enzymes, the glycosyl transferases, or glycosidases run in transglycosylation mode. However, each approach has drawbacks that have limited its application. Glycosynthases are mutant glycosidases in which the catalytic nucleophile has been replaced by mutation, inactivating them as hydrolases. When used in conjunction with glycosyl fluorides of the opposite anomeric configuration to that of the substrate, these enzymes function as highly efficient transferases, frequently giving stoichiometric yields of products. Further improvements can be obtained through directed evolution of the gene encoding the enzyme in question, but this requires the ability to screen very large libraries of catalysts. In this review we survey new screening methods for the formation of glycosidic linkages using high-throughput techniques, such as FACS, chemical complementation, and robot-assisted ELISA assays. Enzymes were evolved to have higher catalytic activity with their natural substrates, to show altered substrate specificities or to be promiscuous for efficient application in oligosaccharide, glycolipid, and glycoprotein synthesis. PMID:20427037

  5. ScaffoldSeq: Software for characterization of directed evolution populations.

    PubMed

    Woldring, Daniel R; Holec, Patrick V; Hackel, Benjamin J

    2016-07-01

    ScaffoldSeq is software designed for the numerous applications-including directed evolution analysis-in which a user generates a population of DNA sequences encoding for partially diverse proteins with related functions and would like to characterize the single site and pairwise amino acid frequencies across the population. A common scenario for enzyme maturation, antibody screening, and alternative scaffold engineering involves naïve and evolved populations that contain diversified regions, varying in both sequence and length, within a conserved framework. Analyzing the diversified regions of such populations is facilitated by high-throughput sequencing platforms; however, length variability within these regions (e.g., antibody CDRs) encumbers the alignment process. To overcome this challenge, the ScaffoldSeq algorithm takes advantage of conserved framework sequences to quickly identify diverse regions. Beyond this, unintended biases in sequence frequency are generated throughout the experimental workflow required to evolve and isolate clones of interest prior to DNA sequencing. ScaffoldSeq software uniquely handles this issue by providing tools to quantify and remove background sequences, cluster similar protein families, and dampen the impact of dominant clones. The software produces graphical and tabular summaries for each region of interest, allowing users to evaluate diversity in a site-specific manner as well as identify epistatic pairwise interactions. The code and detailed information are freely available at http://research.cems.umn.edu/hackel. Proteins 2016; 84:869-874. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27018773

  6. Direct formic acid microfluidic fuel cell design and performance evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moreno-Zuria, A.; Dector, A.; Cuevas-Muñiz, F. M.; Esquivel, J. P.; Sabaté, N.; Ledesma-García, J.; Arriaga, L. G.; Chávez-Ramírez, A. U.

    2014-12-01

    This work reports the evolution of design, fabrication and testing of direct formic acid microfluidic fuel cells (DFAμFFC), the architecture and channel dimensions are miniaturized from a thousand to few cents of micrometers. Three generations of DFAμFFCs are presented, from the initial Y-shape configuration made by a hot pressing technique; evolving into a novel miniaturized fuel cell based on microfabrication technology using SU-8 photoresist as core material; to the last air-breathing μFFC with enhanced performance and built with low cost materials and processes. The three devices were evaluated in acidic media in the presence of formic acid as fuel and oxygen/air as oxidant. Commercial Pt/C (30 wt. % E-TEK) and Pd/C XC-72 (20 wt. %, E-TEK) were used as cathode and anode electrodes respectively. The air-breathing μFFC generation, delivered up to 27.3 mW cm-2 for at least 30 min, which is a competitive power density value at the lowest fuel flow of 200 μL min-1 reported to date.

  7. Directed Evolution of Ionizing Radiation Resistance in Escherichia coli▿ †

    PubMed Central

    Harris, Dennis R.; Pollock, Steve V.; Wood, Elizabeth A.; Goiffon, Reece J.; Klingele, Audrey J.; Cabot, Eric L.; Schackwitz, Wendy; Martin, Joel; Eggington, Julie; Durfee, Timothy J.; Middle, Christina M.; Norton, Jason E.; Popelars, Michael C.; Li, Hao; Klugman, Sarit A.; Hamilton, Lindsay L.; Bane, Lukas B.; Pennacchio, Len A.; Albert, Thomas J.; Perna, Nicole T.; Cox, Michael M.; Battista, John R.

    2009-01-01

    We have generated extreme ionizing radiation resistance in a relatively sensitive bacterial species, Escherichia coli, by directed evolution. Four populations of Escherichia coli K-12 were derived independently from strain MG1655, with each specifically adapted to survive exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation. D37 values for strains isolated from two of the populations approached that exhibited by Deinococcus radiodurans. Complete genomic sequencing was carried out on nine purified strains derived from these populations. Clear mutational patterns were observed that both pointed to key underlying mechanisms and guided further characterization of the strains. In these evolved populations, passive genomic protection is not in evidence. Instead, enhanced recombinational DNA repair makes a prominent but probably not exclusive contribution to genome reconstitution. Multiple genes, multiple alleles of some genes, multiple mechanisms, and multiple evolutionary pathways all play a role in the evolutionary acquisition of extreme radiation resistance. Several mutations in the recA gene and a deletion of the e14 prophage both demonstrably contribute to and partially explain the new phenotype. Mutations in additional components of the bacterial recombinational repair system and the replication restart primosome are also prominent, as are mutations in genes involved in cell division, protein turnover, and glutamate transport. At least some evolutionary pathways to extreme radiation resistance are constrained by the temporally ordered appearance of specific alleles. PMID:19502398

  8. Hepatitis C virus molecular evolution: Transmission, disease progression and antiviral therapy

    PubMed Central

    Preciado, Maria Victoria; Valva, Pamela; Escobar-Gutierrez, Alejandro; Rahal, Paula; Ruiz-Tovar, Karina; Yamasaki, Lilian; Vazquez-Chacon, Carlos; Martinez-Guarneros, Armando; Carpio-Pedroza, Juan Carlos; Fonseca-Coronado, Salvador; Cruz-Rivera, Mayra

    2014-01-01

    Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection represents an important public health problem worldwide. Reduction of HCV morbidity and mortality is a current challenge owned to several viral and host factors. Virus molecular evolution plays an important role in HCV transmission, disease progression and therapy outcome. The high degree of genetic heterogeneity characteristic of HCV is a key element for the rapid adaptation of the intrahost viral population to different selection pressures (e.g., host immune responses and antiviral therapy). HCV molecular evolution is shaped by different mechanisms including a high mutation rate, genetic bottlenecks, genetic drift, recombination, temporal variations and compartmentalization. These evolutionary processes constantly rearrange the composition of the HCV intrahost population in a staging manner. Remarkable advances in the understanding of the molecular mechanism controlling HCV replication have facilitated the development of a plethora of direct-acting antiviral agents against HCV. As a result, superior sustained viral responses have been attained. The rapidly evolving field of anti-HCV therapy is expected to broad its landscape even further with newer, more potent antivirals, bringing us one step closer to the interferon-free era. PMID:25473152

  9. The Coevolution of Phycobilisomes: Molecular Structure Adapting to Functional Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Shi, Fei; Qin, Song; Wang, Yin-Chu

    2011-01-01

    Phycobilisome is the major light-harvesting complex in cyanobacteria and red alga. It consists of phycobiliproteins and their associated linker peptides which play key role in absorption and unidirectional transfer of light energy and the stability of the whole complex system, respectively. Former researches on the evolution among PBPs and linker peptides had mainly focused on the phylogenetic analysis and selective evolution. Coevolution is the change that the conformation of one residue is interrupted by mutation and a compensatory change selected for in its interacting partner. Here, coevolutionary analysis of allophycocyanin, phycocyanin, and phycoerythrin and covariation analysis of linker peptides were performed. Coevolution analyses reveal that these sites are significantly correlated, showing strong evidence of the functional and structural importance of interactions among these residues. According to interprotein coevolution analysis, less interaction was found between PBPs and linker peptides. Our results also revealed the correlations between the coevolution and adaptive selection in PBS were not directly related, but probably demonstrated by the sites coupled under physical-chemical interactions. PMID:21904470

  10. Molecular evolution of the MAGUK family in metazoan genomes

    PubMed Central

    te Velthuis, Aartjan JW; Admiraal, Jeroen F; Bagowski, Christoph P

    2007-01-01

    Background Development, differentiation and physiology of metazoans all depend on cell to cell communication and subsequent intracellular signal transduction. Often, these processes are orchestrated via sites of specialized cell-cell contact and involve receptors, adhesion molecules and scaffolding proteins. Several of these scaffolding proteins important for synaptic and cellular junctions belong to the large family of membrane-associated guanylate kinases (MAGUK). In order to elucidate the origin and the evolutionary history of the MAGUKs we investigated full-length cDNA, EST and genomic sequences of species in major phyla. Results Our results indicate that at least four of the seven MAGUK subfamilies were present in early metazoan lineages, such as Porifera. We employed domain sequence and structure based methods to infer a model for the evolutionary history of the MAGUKs. Notably, the phylogenetic trees for the guanylate kinase (GK)-, the PDZ- and the SH3-domains all suggested a matching evolutionary model which was further supported by molecular modeling of the 3D structures of different GK domains. We found no MAGUK in plants, fungi or other unicellular organisms, which suggests that the MAGUK core structure originated early in metazoan history. Conclusion In summary, we have characterized here the molecular and structural evolution of the large MAGUK family. Using the MAGUKs as an example, our results show that it is possible to derive a highly supported evolutionary model for important multidomain families by analyzing encoded protein domains. It further suggests that larger superfamilies encoded in the different genomes can be analyzed in a similar manner. PMID:17678554

  11. Chemical evolution of giant molecular clouds in simulations of galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richings, Alexander J.; Schaye, Joop

    2016-08-01

    We present an analysis of giant molecular clouds (GMCs) within hydrodynamic simulations of isolated, low-mass (M* ˜ 109 M⊙) disc galaxies. We study the evolution of molecular abundances and the implications for CO emission and the XCO conversion factor in individual clouds. We define clouds either as regions above a density threshold n_{H, min} = 10 {cm}^{-3}, or using an observationally motivated CO intensity threshold of 0.25 {K} {km} {s}^{-1}. Our simulations include a non-equilibrium chemical model with 157 species, including 20 molecules. We also investigate the effects of resolution and pressure floors (i.e. Jeans limiters). We find cloud lifetimes up to ≈ 40 Myr, with a median of 13 Myr, in agreement with observations. At one-tenth solar metallicity, young clouds ( ≲ 10-15 Myr) are underabundant in H2 and CO compared to chemical equilibrium, by factors of ≈3 and one to two orders of magnitude, respectively. At solar metallicity, GMCs reach chemical equilibrium faster (within ≈ 1 Myr). We also compute CO emission from individual clouds. The mean CO intensity, ICO, is strongly suppressed at low dust extinction, Av, and possibly saturates towards high Av, in agreement with observations. The ICO-Av relation shifts towards higher Av for higher metallicities and, to a lesser extent, for stronger UV radiation. At one-tenth solar metallicity, CO emission is weaker in young clouds ( ≲ 10-15 Myr), consistent with the underabundance of CO. Consequently, XCO decreases by an order of magnitude from 0 to 15 Myr, albeit with a large scatter.

  12. Chemical evolution of giant molecular clouds in simulations of galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richings, Alexander J.; Schaye, Joop

    2016-08-01

    We present an analysis of Giant Molecular Clouds (GMCs) within hydrodynamic simulations of isolated, low-mass (M* ~ 10^9 M_sol) disc galaxies. We study the evolution of molecular abundances and the implications for CO emission and the X_CO conversion factor in individual clouds. We define clouds either as regions above a density threshold n_H,min = 10 cm^-3, or using an observationally motivated CO intensity threshold of 0.25 K km s^-1. Our simulations include a non-equilibrium chemical model with 157 species, including 20 molecules. We also investigate the effects of resolution and pressure floors (i.e. Jeans limiters). We find cloud lifetimes up to ~40 Myr, with a median of 13 Myr, in agreement with observations. At one tenth solar metallicity, young clouds (<10-15 Myr) are underabundant in H2 and CO compared to chemical equilibrium, by factors of ~3 and 1-2 orders of magnitude, respectively. At solar metallicity, GMCs reach chemical equilibrium faster (within ~1 Myr). We also compute CO emission from individual clouds. The mean CO intensity, I_CO, is strongly suppressed at low dust extinction, A_v, and possibly saturates towards high A_v, in agreement with observations. The I_CO - A_v relation shifts towards higher A_v for higher metallicities and, to a lesser extent, for stronger UV radiation. At one tenth solar metallicity, CO emission is weaker in young clouds (<10-15 Myr), consistent with the underabundance of CO. Consequently, X_CO decreases by an order of magnitude from 0 to 15 Myr, albeit with a large scatter.

  13. Optimizing legacy molecular dynamics software with directive-based offload

    SciTech Connect

    Michael Brown, W.; Carrillo, Jan-Michael Y.; Gavhane, Nitin; Thakkar, Foram M.; Plimpton, Steven J.

    2015-05-14

    The directive-based programming models are one solution for exploiting many-core coprocessors to increase simulation rates in molecular dynamics. They offer the potential to reduce code complexity with offload models that can selectively target computations to run on the CPU, the coprocessor, or both. In our paper, we describe modifications to the LAMMPS molecular dynamics code to enable concurrent calculations on a CPU and coprocessor. We also demonstrate that standard molecular dynamics algorithms can run efficiently on both the CPU and an x86-based coprocessor using the same subroutines. As a consequence, we demonstrate that code optimizations for the coprocessor also result in speedups on the CPU; in extreme cases up to 4.7X. We provide results for LAMMAS benchmarks and for production molecular dynamics simulations using the Stampede hybrid supercomputer with both Intel (R) Xeon Phi (TM) coprocessors and NVIDIA GPUs: The optimizations presented have increased simulation rates by over 2X for organic molecules and over 7X for liquid crystals on Stampede. The optimizations are available as part of the "Intel package" supplied with LAMMPS. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  14. Optimizing legacy molecular dynamics software with directive-based offload

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Michael Brown, W.; Carrillo, Jan-Michael Y.; Gavhane, Nitin; Thakkar, Foram M.; Plimpton, Steven J.

    2015-05-14

    The directive-based programming models are one solution for exploiting many-core coprocessors to increase simulation rates in molecular dynamics. They offer the potential to reduce code complexity with offload models that can selectively target computations to run on the CPU, the coprocessor, or both. In our paper, we describe modifications to the LAMMPS molecular dynamics code to enable concurrent calculations on a CPU and coprocessor. We also demonstrate that standard molecular dynamics algorithms can run efficiently on both the CPU and an x86-based coprocessor using the same subroutines. As a consequence, we demonstrate that code optimizations for the coprocessor also resultmore » in speedups on the CPU; in extreme cases up to 4.7X. We provide results for LAMMAS benchmarks and for production molecular dynamics simulations using the Stampede hybrid supercomputer with both Intel (R) Xeon Phi (TM) coprocessors and NVIDIA GPUs: The optimizations presented have increased simulation rates by over 2X for organic molecules and over 7X for liquid crystals on Stampede. The optimizations are available as part of the "Intel package" supplied with LAMMPS. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.« less

  15. Optimizing legacy molecular dynamics software with directive-based offload

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michael Brown, W.; Carrillo, Jan-Michael Y.; Gavhane, Nitin; Thakkar, Foram M.; Plimpton, Steven J.

    2015-10-01

    Directive-based programming models are one solution for exploiting many-core coprocessors to increase simulation rates in molecular dynamics. They offer the potential to reduce code complexity with offload models that can selectively target computations to run on the CPU, the coprocessor, or both. In this paper, we describe modifications to the LAMMPS molecular dynamics code to enable concurrent calculations on a CPU and coprocessor. We demonstrate that standard molecular dynamics algorithms can run efficiently on both the CPU and an x86-based coprocessor using the same subroutines. As a consequence, we demonstrate that code optimizations for the coprocessor also result in speedups on the CPU; in extreme cases up to 4.7X. We provide results for LAMMPS benchmarks and for production molecular dynamics simulations using the Stampede hybrid supercomputer with both Intel®  Xeon Phi™ coprocessors and NVIDIA GPUs. The optimizations presented have increased simulation rates by over 2X for organic molecules and over 7X for liquid crystals on Stampede. The optimizations are available as part of the "Intel package" supplied with LAMMPS.

  16. The Structure and Evolution of Self-Gravitating Molecular Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holliman, John Herbert, II

    1995-01-01

    We present a theoretical formalism to evaluate the structure of molecular clouds and to determine precollapse conditions in star-forming regions. Models consist of pressure-bounded, self-gravitating spheres of a single -fluid ideal gas. We treat the case without rotation. The analysis is generalized to consider states in hydrostatic equilibrium maintained by multiple pressure components. Individual pressures vary with density as P_i(r) ~ rho^{gamma {rm p},i}(r), where gamma_{rm p},i is the polytropic index. Evolution depends additionally on whether conduction occurs on a dynamical time scale and on the adiabatic index gammai of each component, which is modified to account for the effects of any thermal coupling to the environment of the cloud. Special attention is given to properly representing the major contributors to dynamical support in molecular clouds: the pressures due to static magnetic fields, Alfven waves, and thermal motions. Straightforward adjustments to the model allow us to treat the intrinsically anisotropic support provided by the static fields. We derive structure equations, as well as perturbation equations for performing a linear stability analysis. The analysis provides insight on the nature of dynamical motions due to collapse from an equilibrium state and estimates the mass of condensed objects that form in such a process. After presenting a set of general results, we describe models of star-forming regions that include the major pressure components. We parameterize the extent of ambipolar diffusion. The analysis contributes to the physical understanding of several key results from observations of these regions. Commonly observed quantities are explicitly cross-referenced with model results. We theoretically determine density and linewidth profiles on scales ranging from that of molecular cloud cores to that of giant molecular clouds (GMCs). The model offers an explanation of the mean pressures in GMCs, which are observed to be high relative

  17. Regulatory punctuated equilibrium and convergence in the evolution of developmental pathways in direct-developing sea urchins.

    PubMed

    Raff, Elizabeth C; Popodi, Ellen M; Kauffman, Jeffery S; Sly, Belinda J; Turner, F Rudolf; Morris, Valerie B; Raff, Rudolf A

    2003-01-01

    We made hybrid crosses between closely and distantly related sea urchin species to test two hypotheses about the evolution of gene regulatory systems in the evolution of ontogenetic pathways and larval form. The first hypothesis is that gene regulatory systems governing development evolve in a punctuational manner during periods of rapid morphological evolution but are relatively stable over long periods of slow morphological evolution. We compared hybrids between direct and indirect developers from closely and distantly related families. Hybrids between eggs of the direct developer Heliocidaris erythrogramma and sperm of the 4-million year distant species H. tuberculata, an indirect developer, restored feeding larval structures and paternal gene expression that were lost in the evolution of the direct-developing maternal parent. Hybrids resulting from the cross between eggs of H. erythrogramma and sperm of the 40-million year distant indirect-developer Pseudoboletia maculata are strikingly similar to hybrids between the congeneric hybrids. The marked similarities in ontogenetic trajectory and morphological outcome in crosses of involving either closely or distantly related indirect developing species indicates that their regulatory mechanisms interact with those of H. erythrogramma in the same way, supporting remarkable conservation of molecular control pathways among indirect developers. Second, we tested the hypothesis that convergent developmental pathways in independently evolved direct developers reflect convergence of the underlying regulatory systems. Crosses between two independently evolved direct-developing species from two 70-million year distant families, H. erythrogramma and Holopneustes purpurescens, produced harmoniously developing hybrid larvae that maintained the direct mode of development and did not exhibit any obvious restoration of indirect-developing features. These results are consistent with parallel evolution of direct-developing features

  18. Molecular mechanisms of cobalt-catalyzed hydrogen evolution

    PubMed Central

    Marinescu, Smaranda C.; Winkler, Jay R.; Gray, Harry B.

    2012-01-01

    Several cobalt complexes catalyze the evolution of hydrogen from acidic solutions, both homogeneously and at electrodes. The detailed molecular mechanisms of these transformations remain unresolved, largely owing to the fact that key reactive intermediates have eluded detection. One method of stabilizing reactive intermediates involves minimizing the overall reaction free-energy change. Here, we report a new cobalt(I) complex that reacts with tosylic acid to evolve hydrogen with a driving force of just 30 meV/Co. Protonation of CoI produces a transient CoIII-H complex that was characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The CoIII-H intermediate decays by second-order kinetics with an inverse dependence on acid concentration. Analysis of the kinetics suggests that CoIII-H produces hydrogen by two competing pathways: a slower homolytic route involving two CoIII-H species and a dominant heterolytic channel in which a highly reactive CoII-H transient is generated by CoI reduction of CoIII-H. PMID:22949704

  19. Dynamical Evolution of Supernova Remnants Breaking Through Molecular Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cho, Wankee; Kim, Jongsoo; Koo, Bon-Chul

    2015-04-01

    We carry out three-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations of the supernova remnants (SNRs) produced inside molecular clouds (MCs) near their surface using the HLL code tep{har83}. We explore the dynamical evolution and the X-ray morphology of SNRs after breaking through the MC surface for ranges of the explosion depths below the surface and the density ratios of the clouds to the intercloud media (ICM). We find that if an SNR breaks out through an MC surface in its Sedov stage, the outermost dense shell of the remnant is divided into several layers. The divided layers are subject to the Rayleigh-Taylor instability and fragmented. On the other hand, if an SNR breaks through an MC after the remnant enters the snowplow phase, the radiative shell is not divided to layers. We also compare the predictions of previous analytic solutions for the expansion of SNRs in stratified media with our one-dimensional simulations. Moreover, we produce synthetic X-ray surface brightness in order to research the center-bright X-ray morphology shown in thermal composite SNRs. In the late stages, a breakout SNR shows the center-bright X-ray morphology inside an MC in our results. We apply our model to the observational results of the X-ray morphology of the thermal composite SNR 3C 391.

  20. Molecular evolution of SRP cycle components: functional implications.

    PubMed Central

    Althoff, S; Selinger, D; Wise, J A

    1994-01-01

    Signal recognition particle (SRP) is a cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein that targets a subset of nascent presecretory proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. We have considered the SRP cycle from the perspective of molecular evolution, using recently determined sequences of genes or cDNAs encoding homologs of SRP (7SL) RNA, the Srp54 protein (Srp54p), and the alpha subunit of the SRP receptor (SR alpha) from a broad spectrum of organisms, together with the remaining five polypeptides of mammalian SRP. Our analysis provides insight into the significance of structural variation in SRP RNA and identifies novel conserved motifs in protein components of this pathway. The lack of congruence between an established phylogenetic tree and size variation in 7SL homologs implies the occurrence of several independent events that eliminated more than half the sequence content of this RNA during bacterial evolution. The apparently non-essential structures are domain I, a tRNA-like element that is constant in archaea, varies in size among eucaryotes, and is generally missing in bacteria, and domain III, a tightly base-paired hairpin that is present in all eucaryotic and archeal SRP RNAs but is invariably absent in bacteria. Based on both structural and functional considerations, we propose that the conserved core of SRP consists minimally of the 54 kDa signal sequence-binding protein complexed with the loosely base-paired domain IV helix of SRP RNA, and is also likely to contain a homolog of the Srp68 protein. Comparative sequence analysis of the methionine-rich M domains from a diverse array of Srp54p homologs reveals an extended region of amino acid identity that resembles a recently identified RNA recognition motif. Multiple sequence alignment of the G domains of Srp54p and SR alpha homologs indicates that these two polypeptides exhibit significant similarity even outside the four GTPase consensus motifs, including a block of nine contiguous amino acids in a location

  1. Characterizing Microbe-Environment Interactions Through Experimental Evolution: The Autonomous Adaptive Directed Evolution Chamber

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ibanez, C. R.; Blaich, J.; Owyang, S.; Storrs, A.; Moffet, A.; Wong, N.; Zhou, J.; Gentry, D.

    2015-12-01

    We are developing a laboratory system for studying micro- to meso-scale interactions between microorganisms and their physicochemical environments. The Autonomous Adaptive Directed Evolution Chamber (AADEC) cultures microorganisms in controlled,small-scale geochemical environments. It observes corresponding microbial interactions to these environments and has the ability to adjust thermal, chemical, and other parameters in real time in response to these interactions. In addition to the sensed data, the system allows the generation of time-resolved ecological, genomic, etc. samples on the order of microbial generations. The AADEC currently houses cultures in liquid media and controls UVC radiation, heat exposure, and nutrient supply. In a proof-of-concept experimental evolution application, it can increase UVC radiation resistance of Escherichia coli cultures by iteratively exposing them to UVC and allowing the surviving cells to regrow. A baseline characterization generated a million fold resistance increase. This demonstration uses a single-well growth chamber prototype, but it was limited by scalability. We have expanded upon this system by implementing a microwell plate compatible fluidics system and sensor housing. This microwell plate system increases the diversity of microbial interactions seen in response to the geochemical environments generated by the system, allowing greater control over individual cultures' environments and detection of rarer events. The custom microfluidic card matches the footprint of a standard microwell plate. This card enables controllable fluid flow between wells and introduces multiple separate exposure and sensor chambers, increasing the variety of sensors compatible with the system. This gives the device control over scale and the interconnectedness of environments within the system. The increased controllability of the multiwell system provides a platform for implementing machine learning algorithms that will autonomously

  2. Evolution of Molecular and Atomic Gas Phases in the Milky Way

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koda, Jin; Scoville, Nick; Heyer, Mark

    2016-06-01

    We analyze radial and azimuthal variations of the phase balance between the molecular and atomic interstellar medium (ISM) in the Milky Way (MW) using archival CO(J = 1-0) and HI 21 cm data. In particular, the azimuthal variations—between the spiral arm and interarm regions—are analyzed without any explicit definition of the spiral arm locations. We show that the molecular gas mass fraction, i.e., {f}{{mol}}={{{Σ }}}{{{H}}2}/({{{Σ }}}{HI}+{{{Σ }}}{{{H}}2}), varies predominantly in the radial direction: starting from ˜ 100% at the center, remaining ≳ 50% to R˜ 6 {{kpc}} and decreasing to ˜10%–20% at R=8.5 {{kpc}} when averaged over the whole disk thickness (from ˜100% to ≳60%, then to ˜50% in the midplane). Azimuthal, arm-interarm variations are secondary: only ˜ 20% in the globally molecule-dominated inner MW, but becoming larger, ˜40%–50%, in the atom-dominated outskirts. This suggests that in the inner MW the gas remains highly molecular ({f}{{mol}}\\gt 50%) as it moves from an interarm region into a spiral arm and back into the next interarm region. Stellar feedback does not dissociate molecules much, and the coagulation and fragmentation of molecular clouds dominate the evolution of the ISM at these radii. The trend differs in the outskirts where the gas phase is globally atomic ({f}{{mol}}\\lt 50%). The HI and H2 phases cycle through spiral arm passage there. These different regimes of ISM evolution are also seen in external galaxies (e.g., the LMC, M33, and M51). We explain the radial gradient of {f}{{mol}} using a simple flow continuity model. The effects of spiral arms on this analysis are illustrated in the Appendix.

  3. Evolution of Molecular and Atomic Gas Phases in the Milky Way

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koda, Jin; Scoville, Nick; Heyer, Mark

    2016-06-01

    We analyze radial and azimuthal variations of the phase balance between the molecular and atomic interstellar medium (ISM) in the Milky Way (MW) using archival CO(J = 1-0) and HI 21 cm data. In particular, the azimuthal variations—between the spiral arm and interarm regions—are analyzed without any explicit definition of the spiral arm locations. We show that the molecular gas mass fraction, i.e., {f}{{mol}}={{{Σ }}}{{{H}}2}/({{{Σ }}}{HI}+{{{Σ }}}{{{H}}2}), varies predominantly in the radial direction: starting from ∼ 100% at the center, remaining ≳ 50% to R∼ 6 {{kpc}} and decreasing to ∼10%–20% at R=8.5 {{kpc}} when averaged over the whole disk thickness (from ∼100% to ≳60%, then to ∼50% in the midplane). Azimuthal, arm-interarm variations are secondary: only ∼ 20% in the globally molecule-dominated inner MW, but becoming larger, ∼40%–50%, in the atom-dominated outskirts. This suggests that in the inner MW the gas remains highly molecular ({f}{{mol}}\\gt 50%) as it moves from an interarm region into a spiral arm and back into the next interarm region. Stellar feedback does not dissociate molecules much, and the coagulation and fragmentation of molecular clouds dominate the evolution of the ISM at these radii. The trend differs in the outskirts where the gas phase is globally atomic ({f}{{mol}}\\lt 50%). The HI and H2 phases cycle through spiral arm passage there. These different regimes of ISM evolution are also seen in external galaxies (e.g., the LMC, M33, and M51). We explain the radial gradient of {f}{{mol}} using a simple flow continuity model. The effects of spiral arms on this analysis are illustrated in the Appendix.

  4. Directed evolution as an approach to the design of efficient biocatalysts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zagrebelny, Stanislav N.

    2005-03-01

    Methodical approaches to the modification of the catalytic properties of enzymes by various means of directed evolution are summarised. A number of particular examples of the design of enzymes with new and enhanced properties, including higher thermal stability, solubility, substrate specificity, stereoselectivity, etc., are considered. The prospects for further development of the directed evolution strategy for enzymes and proteins with other functions are discussed.

  5. In-situ Mass Spectrometric Determination of Molecular Structural Evolution at the Solid Electrolyte Interphase in Lithium-Ion Batteries

    SciTech Connect

    Zhu, Zihua; Zhou, Yufan; Yan, Pengfei; Vemuri, Venkata Rama Ses; Xu, Wu; Zhao, Rui; Wang, Xuelin; Thevuthasan, Suntharampillai; Baer, Donald R.; Wang, Chong M.

    2015-08-19

    Dynamic molecular evolution at solid/liquid electrolyte interface is always a mystery for a rechargeable battery due to the challenge to directly probe/observe the solid/liquid interface under reaction conditions, which in essence appears to be similarly true for all the fields involving solid/liquid phases, such as electrocatalysis, electrodeposition, biofuel conversion, biofilm, and biomineralization, We use in-situ liquid secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) for the first time to directly observe the molecular structural evolution at the solid electrode/liquid electrolyte interface for a lithium (Li)-ion battery under dynamic operating conditions. We have discovered that the deposition of Li metal on copper electrode leads to the condensation of solvent molecules around the electrode. Chemically, this layer of solvent condensate tends to deplete the salt anion and with low concentration of Li+ ions, which essentially leads to the formation of a lean electrolyte layer adjacent to the electrode and therefore contributes to the overpotential of the cell. This unprecedented molecular level dynamic observation at the solid electrode/liquid electrolyte interface provides vital chemical information that is needed for designing of better battery chemistry for enhanced performance, and ultimately opens new avenues for using liquid SIMS to probe molecular evolution at solid/liquid interface in general.

  6. Molecular evolution and in vitro characterization of Botryllus histocompatibility factor.

    PubMed

    Taketa, Daryl A; Nydam, Marie L; Langenbacher, Adam D; Rodriguez, Delany; Sanders, Erin; De Tomaso, Anthony W

    2015-10-01

    Botryllus schlosseri is a colonial ascidian with a natural ability to anastomose with another colony to form a vascular and hematopoietic chimera. In order to fuse, two individuals must share at least one allele at the highly polymorphic fuhc locus. Otherwise, a blood-based inflammatory response will occur resulting in a melanin scar at the sites of interaction. The single-locus genetic control of allorecognition makes B. schlosseri an attractive model to study the underlying molecular mechanisms. Over the past decade, several candidate genes involved in allorecognition have been identified, but how they ultimately contribute to allorecognition outcome remains poorly understood. Here, we report our initial molecular characterization of a recently identified candidate allodeterminant called Botryllus histocompatibility factor (bhf). bhf, both on a DNA and protein level, is the least polymorphic protein in the fuhc locus studied so far and, unlike other known allorecognition determinants, does not appear to be under any form of balancing or directional selection. Additionally, we identified a second isoform through mRNA-Seq and an EST assembly library which is missing exon 3, resulting in a C-terminally truncated form. We report via whole-mount fluorescent in situ hybridization that a subset of cells co-express bhf and cfuhc(sec). Finally, we observed BHF's localization in HEK293T at the cytoplasmic side of the plasma membrane in addition to the nucleus via a nuclear localization signal. Given the localization data thus far, we hypothesize that BHF may function as a scaffolding protein in a complex with other Botryllus proteins, rather than functioning as an allorecognition determinant. PMID:26359175

  7. Choosing the right molecular genetic markers for studying biodiversity: from molecular evolution to practical aspects.

    PubMed

    Chenuil, Anne; Anne, Chenuil

    2006-05-01

    The use of molecular genetic markers (MGMs) has become widespread among evolutionary biologists, and the methods of analysis of genetic data improve rapidly, yet an organized framework in which scientists can work is lacking. Elements of molecular evolution are summarized to explain the origin of variation at the DNA level, its measures, and the relationships linking genetic variability to the biological parameters of the studied organisms. MGM are defined by two components: the DNA region(s) screened, and the technique used to reveal its variation. Criteria of choice belong to three categories: (1) the level of variability, (2) the nature of the information (e.g. dominance vs. codominance, ploidy, ... ) which must be determined according to the biological question and (3) some practical criteria which mainly depend on the equipment of the laboratory and experience of the scientist. A three-step procedure is proposed for drawing up MGMs suitable to answer given biological questions, and compiled data are organized to guide the choice at each step: (1) choice, determined by the biological question, of the level of variability and of the criteria of the nature of information, (2) choice of the DNA region and (3) choice of the technique. PMID:16850217

  8. Improving Glyphosate Oxidation Activity of Glycine Oxidase from Bacillus cereus by Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Zhan, Tao; Zhang, Kai; Chen, Yangyan; Lin, Yongjun; Wu, Gaobing; Zhang, Lili; Yao, Pei; Shao, Zongze; Liu, Ziduo

    2013-01-01

    Glyphosate, a broad spectrum herbicide widely used in agriculture all over the world, inhibits 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase in the shikimate pathway, and glycine oxidase (GO) has been reported to be able to catalyze the oxidative deamination of various amines and cleave the C-N bond in glyphosate. Here, in an effort to improve the catalytic activity of the glycine oxidase that was cloned from a glyphosate-degrading marine strain of Bacillus cereus (BceGO), we used a bacteriophage T7 lysis-based method for high-throughput screening of oxidase activity and engineered the gene encoding BceGO by directed evolution. Six mutants exhibiting enhanced activity toward glyphosate were screened from two rounds of error-prone PCR combined with site directed mutagenesis, and the beneficial mutations of the six evolved variants were recombined by DNA shuffling. Four recombinants were generated and, when compared with the wild-type BceGO, the most active mutant B3S1 showed the highest activity, exhibiting a 160-fold increase in substrate affinity, a 326-fold enhancement in catalytic efficiency against glyphosate, with little difference between their pH and temperature stabilities. The role of these mutations was explored through structure modeling and molecular docking, revealing that the Arg51 mutation is near the active site and could be an important residue contributing to the stabilization of glyphosate binding, while the role of the remaining mutations is unclear. These results provide insight into the application of directed evolution in optimizing glycine oxidase function and have laid a foundation for the development of glyphosate-tolerant crops. PMID:24223901

  9. Molecular phylogenetics of the Anolis onca series: a case history in retrograde evolution revisited.

    PubMed

    Nicholson, Kirsten E; Mijares-Urrutia, Abraham; Larson, Allan

    2006-09-15

    Anoles of the Anolis onca series represent a dramatic case of retrograde evolution, exhibiting great reduction (A. annectens) and loss (A. onca) of the subdigital pads considered a key innovation for the evolutionary radiation of anoles in arboreal environments. We present a molecular phylogenetic analysis of these anoles and their closest known relatives (A. auratus, A. lineatus, A. meridionalis, and A. nitens) using new mitochondrial DNA sequence data from the ND2 gene, five tRNA genes (tRNA(Trp), tRNA(Ala), tRNA(Asn), tRNA(Cys), tRNA(Tyr)), the origin of light-strand replication, and a portion of the CO1 gene (1,446 aligned base positions, 612 parsimony informative). Our results confirm monophyly of the A. onca series and suggest an evolutionary separation of approximately 10 million years between A. annectens and A. onca. Evolution of subdigital structure in this series illustrates ectopic expression of developmental programs that replace flexible subdigital lamellae of the toepad with rigid, keeled scales resembling dorsal digital scales. Our phylogenetic results indicate that narrowing of the toepad in A. auratus evolved separately from toepad reduction in the A. onca series. Expansion of the subdigital lamellae along the phalanges in A. auratus appears to compensate constriction of lamellae by digital narrowing, maintaining greater climbing capability in this species. Toepad evolution in the lineage ancestral to A. auratus features changes of the same developmental modules as the A. onca series but in the opposite direction. Large molecular distances between geographic populations of A. auratus indicate that its derived toepad structure is at least 9 million years old. PMID:16506231

  10. Molecular diversity and functional evolution of scorpion potassium channel toxins.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Shunyi; Peigneur, Steve; Gao, Bin; Luo, Lan; Jin, Di; Zhao, Yong; Tytgat, Jan

    2011-02-01

    Scorpion toxins affecting K(+) channels (KTxs) represent important pharmacological tools and potential drug candidates. Here, we report molecular characterization of seven new KTxs in the scorpion Mesobuthus eupeus by cDNA cloning combined with biochemical approaches. Comparative modeling supports that all these KTxs share a conserved cysteine-stabilized α-helix/β-sheet structural motif despite the differences in protein sequence and size. We investigated functional diversification of two orthologous α-KTxs (MeuTXKα1 from M. eupeus and BmP01 from Mesobuthus martensii) by comparing their K(+) channel-blocking activities. Pharmacologically, MeuTXKα1 selectively blocked Kv1.3 channel with nanomolar affinity (IC(50), 2.36 ± 0.9 nM), whereas only 35% of Kv1.1 currents were inhibited at 3 μM concentration, showing more than 1271-fold selectivity for Kv1.3 over Kv1.1. This peptide displayed a weak effect on Drosophila Shaker channel and no activity on Kv1.2, Kv1.4, Kv1.5, Kv1.6, and human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) K(+) channels. Although BmB01 and MeuTXKα1 have a similar channel spectrum, their affinity and selectivity for these channels largely varies. In comparison with MeuTXKα1, BmP01 only exhibits a submicromolar affinity (IC(50), 133.72 ± 10.98 nM) for Kv1.3, showing 57-fold less activity than MeuTXKα1. Moreover, it lacks the ability to distinguish between Kv1.1 and Kv1.3. We also found that MeuTXKα1 inhibited the proliferation of activated T cells induced by phorbol myristate acetate and ionomycin at micromolar concentrations. Our results demonstrate that accelerated evolution drives affinity variations of orthologous α-KTxs on Kv channels and indicate that MeuTXKα1 is a promising candidate to develop an immune modulation agent for human autoimmune diseases. PMID:20889474

  11. Phylemon: a suite of web tools for molecular evolution, phylogenetics and phylogenomics

    PubMed Central

    Tárraga, Joaquín; Medina, Ignacio; Arbiza, Leonardo; Huerta-Cepas, Jaime; Gabaldón, Toni; Dopazo, Joaquín; Dopazo, Hernán

    2007-01-01

    Phylemon is an online platform for phylogenetic and evolutionary analyses of molecular sequence data. It has been developed as a web server that integrates a suite of different tools selected among the most popular stand-alone programs in phylogenetic and evolutionary analysis. It has been conceived as a natural response to the increasing demand of data analysis of many experimental scientists wishing to add a molecular evolution and phylogenetics insight into their research. Tools included in Phylemon cover a wide yet selected range of programs: from the most basic for multiple sequence alignment to elaborate statistical methods of phylogenetic reconstruction including methods for evolutionary rates analyses and molecular adaptation. Phylemon has several features that differentiates it from other resources: (i) It offers an integrated environment that enables the direct concatenation of evolutionary analyses, the storage of results and handles required data format conversions, (ii) Once an outfile is produced, Phylemon suggests the next possible analyses, thus guiding the user and facilitating the integration of multi-step analyses, and (iii) users can define and save complete pipelines for specific phylogenetic analysis to be automatically used on many genes in subsequent sessions or multiple genes in a single session (phylogenomics). The Phylemon web server is available at http://phylemon.bioinfo.cipf.es. PMID:17452346

  12. Engineering and Evolution of Molecular Chaperones and Protein Disaggregases with Enhanced Activity

    PubMed Central

    Mack, Korrie L.; Shorter, James

    2016-01-01

    Cells have evolved a sophisticated proteostasis network to ensure that proteins acquire and retain their native structure and function. Critical components of this network include molecular chaperones and protein disaggregases, which function to prevent and reverse deleterious protein misfolding. Nevertheless, proteostasis networks have limits, which when exceeded can have fatal consequences as in various neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. A promising strategy is to engineer proteostasis networks to counter challenges presented by specific diseases or specific proteins. Here, we review efforts to enhance the activity of individual molecular chaperones or protein disaggregases via engineering and directed evolution. Remarkably, enhanced global activity or altered substrate specificity of various molecular chaperones, including GroEL, Hsp70, ClpX, and Spy, can be achieved by minor changes in primary sequence and often a single missense mutation. Likewise, small changes in the primary sequence of Hsp104 yield potentiated protein disaggregases that reverse the aggregation and buffer toxicity of various neurodegenerative disease proteins, including α-synuclein, TDP-43, and FUS. Collectively, these advances have revealed key mechanistic and functional insights into chaperone and disaggregase biology. They also suggest that enhanced chaperones and disaggregases could have important applications in treating human disease as well as in the purification of valuable proteins in the pharmaceutical sector. PMID:27014702

  13. Engineering and Evolution of Molecular Chaperones and Protein Disaggregases with Enhanced Activity.

    PubMed

    Mack, Korrie L; Shorter, James

    2016-01-01

    Cells have evolved a sophisticated proteostasis network to ensure that proteins acquire and retain their native structure and function. Critical components of this network include molecular chaperones and protein disaggregases, which function to prevent and reverse deleterious protein misfolding. Nevertheless, proteostasis networks have limits, which when exceeded can have fatal consequences as in various neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. A promising strategy is to engineer proteostasis networks to counter challenges presented by specific diseases or specific proteins. Here, we review efforts to enhance the activity of individual molecular chaperones or protein disaggregases via engineering and directed evolution. Remarkably, enhanced global activity or altered substrate specificity of various molecular chaperones, including GroEL, Hsp70, ClpX, and Spy, can be achieved by minor changes in primary sequence and often a single missense mutation. Likewise, small changes in the primary sequence of Hsp104 yield potentiated protein disaggregases that reverse the aggregation and buffer toxicity of various neurodegenerative disease proteins, including α-synuclein, TDP-43, and FUS. Collectively, these advances have revealed key mechanistic and functional insights into chaperone and disaggregase biology. They also suggest that enhanced chaperones and disaggregases could have important applications in treating human disease as well as in the purification of valuable proteins in the pharmaceutical sector. PMID:27014702

  14. Directed evolution of a magnetic resonance imaging contrast agent for noninvasive imaging of dopamine

    PubMed Central

    Shapiro, Mikhail G; Westmeyer, Gil G; Romero, Philip A; Szablowski, Jerzy O; Küster, Benedict; Shah, Ameer; Otey, Christopher R; Langer, Robert; Arnold, Frances H; Jasanoff, Alan

    2011-01-01

    The development of molecular probes that allow in vivo imaging of neural signaling processes with high temporal and spatial resolution remains challenging. Here we applied directed evolution techniques to create magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents sensitive to the neurotransmitter dopamine. The sensors were derived from the heme domain of the bacterial cytochrome P450-BM3 (BM3h). Ligand binding to a site near BM3h’s paramagnetic heme iron led to a drop in MRI signal enhancement and a shift in optical absorbance. Using an absorbance-based screen, we evolved the specificity of BM3h away from its natural ligand and toward dopamine, producing sensors with dissociation constants for dopamine of 3.3–8.9 μM. These molecules were used to image depolarization-triggered neurotransmitter release from PC12 cells and in the brains of live animals. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of molecular-level functional MRI using neural activity–dependent sensors, and our protein engineering approach can be generalized to create probes for other targets. PMID:20190737

  15. Magnetoelectric directional nonreciprocity in gas-phase molecular nitrogen.

    PubMed

    Pelle, B; Bitard, H; Bailly, G; Robilliard, C

    2011-05-13

    We report the direct observation of the nonreciprocity of the velocity of light, induced by electric and magnetic fields. This bilinear magneto-electro-optical effect appears in crossed electric and magnetic fields perpendicular to the light wave vector, as a refractive index difference between two counterpropagating directions. Using a high finesse ring cavity, we have measured this magnetoelectric nonreciprocity in molecular nitrogen at ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure; for light polarized parallel to the magnetic field it is 2η(∥exp)(N2) = (4.7±1)×10(-23)  m  V(-1)  T(-1) for λ = 1064  nm, in agreement with the expected order of magnitude. Our measurement opens the way to a deeper insight into light-matter interaction beyond the electric dipole approximation. We were able to measure a nonreciprocity as small as Δn =(5±2)×10(-18), which makes its observation in quantum vacuum a conceivable challenge. PMID:21668149

  16. Temporal Evolution of Directly Driven Hydrodynamic Jets Relevant to Astrophysics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sublett, S.

    2005-10-01

    A hydrodynamic jet is formed when a strong laser shock drives material from a metal plug in a dense, high-Z washer through its hole into a low-density, foam ambient medium. The jet is about ten times as dense as the medium, a ratio important for scaling to astrophysical phenomena. The plug material and backlighter x-ray energy are varied to radiograph either the jet's core or its interaction with the ambient medium. Temporal evolution of the lateral expansion of the bowshock, contact discontinuity, and Mach disk is also tracked at several times during the evolution. The mass of the jet is determined. Quantitative comparisons with simulations are presented. This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Inertial Confinement Fusion under Cooperative Agreement No. DE-FC52-92SF19460.

  17. Iterative key-residues interrogation of a phytase with thermostability increasing substitutions identified in directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Shivange, Amol V; Roccatano, Danilo; Schwaneberg, Ulrich

    2016-01-01

    Bacterial phytases have attracted industrial interest as animal feed supplement due to their high activity and sufficient thermostability (required for feed pelleting). We devised an approach named KeySIDE,  an iterative Key-residues interrogation of the wild type with Substitutions Identified in Directed Evolution for improving Yersinia mollaretii phytase (Ymphytase) thermostability by combining key beneficial substitutions and elucidating their individual roles. Directed evolution yielded in a discovery of nine positions in Ymphytase and combined iteratively to identify key positions. The "best" combination (M6: T77K, Q154H, G187S, and K289Q) resulted in significantly improved thermal resistance; the residual activity improved from 35 % (wild type) to 89 % (M6) at 58 °C and 20-min incubation. Melting temperature increased by 3 °C in M6 without a loss of specific activity. Molecular dynamics simulation studies revealed reduced flexibility in the loops located next to helices (B, F, and K) which possess substitutions (Helix-B: T77K, Helix-F: G187S, and Helix-K: K289E/Q). Reduced flexibility in the loops might be caused by strengthened hydrogen bonding network (e.g., G187S and K289E/K289Q) and a salt bridge (T77K). Our results demonstrate a promising approach to design phytases in food research, and we hope that the KeySIDE might become an attractive approach for understanding of structure-function relationships of enzymes. PMID:26403922

  18. The Eyes Have It: A Problem-Based Learning Exercise in Molecular Evolution

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    White, Harold B.

    2007-01-01

    Molecular evolution provides an interesting context in which to use problem-based learning because it integrates a variety of topics in biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. This three-stage problem for advanced students deals with the structure, multiple functions, and properties of lactate dehydrogenase isozymes, and the related…

  19. Directed evolution of APEX2 for electron microscopy and proteomics

    PubMed Central

    Lam, Stephanie S.; Martell, Jeffrey D.; Kamer, Kimberli J.; Deerinck, Thomas J.; Ellisman, Mark H.; Mootha, Vamsi K.; Ting, Alice Y.

    2014-01-01

    APEX is an engineered peroxidase that functions both as an electron microscopy tag, and as a promiscuous labeling enzyme for live-cell proteomics. Because the limited sensitivity of APEX precludes applications requiring low APEX expression, we used yeast display evolution to improve its catalytic efficiency. Our evolved APEX2 is far more active in cells, enabling the superior enrichment of endogenous mitochondrial and endoplasmic reticulum membrane proteins and the use of electron microscopy to resolve the sub-mitochondrial localization of calcium uptake regulatory protein MICU1. PMID:25419960

  20. Molecular Evolution of Aminoacyl tRNA Synthetase Proteins in the Early History of Life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fournier, Gregory P.; Andam, Cheryl P.; Alm, Eric J.; Gogarten, J. Peter

    2011-12-01

    Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRS) consist of several families of functionally conserved proteins essential for translation and protein synthesis. Like nearly all components of the translation machinery, most aaRS families are universally distributed across cellular life, being inherited from the time of the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA). However, unlike the rest of the translation machinery, aaRS have undergone numerous ancient horizontal gene transfers, with several independent events detected between domains, and some possibly involving lineages diverging before the time of LUCA. These transfers reveal the complexity of molecular evolution at this early time, and the chimeric nature of genomes within cells that gave rise to the major domains. Additionally, given the role of these protein families in defining the amino acids used for protein synthesis, sequence reconstruction of their pre-LUCA ancestors can reveal the evolutionary processes at work in the origin of the genetic code. In particular, sequence reconstructions of the paralog ancestors of isoleucyl- and valyl- RS provide strong empirical evidence that at least for this divergence, the genetic code did not co-evolve with the aaRSs; rather, both amino acids were already part of the genetic code before their cognate aaRSs diverged from their common ancestor. The implications of this observation for the early evolution of RNA-directed protein biosynthesis are discussed.

  1. Cosmic Structure and Galaxy Evolution through Intensity Mapping of Molecular Gas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bower, Geoffrey C.; Keating, Garrett K.; Marrone, Daniel P.; YT Lee Array Team, SZA Team

    2016-01-01

    The origin and evolution of structure in the Universe is one of the major challenges of observational astronomy. How does baryonic structure trace the underlying dark matter? How have galaxies evolved to produce the present day Universe? A multi-wavelength, multi-tool approach is necessary to provide the complete story of the evolution of structure in the Universe. Intensity mapping, which relies on the ability to detect many objects at once through their integrated emission rather than direct detection of individual objects, is a critical part of this mosaic. In particular, our understanding of the molecular gas component of massive galaxies is being revolutionized by ALMA and EVLA but the population of smaller, star-forming galaxies, which provide the bulk of star formation cannot be individually probed by these instruments.In this talk, I will summarize two intensity mapping experiments to detect molecular gas through the carbon monoxide (CO) rotational transition. We have completed sensitive observations with the Sunyaev-Zel'dovic Array (SZA) telescope at a wavelength of 1 cm that are sensitive to emission at redshifts 2.3 to 3.3. The SZA experiments sets strong limits on models for the CO emission and demonstrates the ability to reject foregrounds and telescope systematics in very deep integrations. I also describe the development of an intensity mapping capability for the Y.T. Lee Array, a 13-element interferometer located on Mauna Loa. In its first phase, this project focuses on detection of CO at redshifts 2.4 - 3.0 with detection via power spectrum and cross-correlation with other surveys. The project includes a major technical upgrade, a new digital correlator and IF electronics component to be deployed in 2015/2016. The Y.T. Lee Array observations will be more sensitive and extend to larger angular scales than the SZA observations.

  2. "Eve" in Africa: Human Evolution Meets Molecular Biology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Seager, Robert D.

    1990-01-01

    Presented is a discussion of recent evidence on the evolution of human forms on earth gathered and evaluated using mitochondrial DNA techniques. Theories regarding the possibility that a common female ancestor existed in Africa about 200,000 years ago are discussed. A list of teaching aids is provided. (CW)

  3. MOLECULAR PHYLOGENY AND EVOLUTION OF MOSQUITO PARASTIC MICROSPORIDIA (MICROSPORIDIA: AMBLYOSPORIDAE)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Amblyospora and related species were isolated from mosquitoes, black flies and copepods and the small subunit ribosomal DNA gene was sequenced. The comparative phylogenetic analysis for this study shows co-evolution agreement between the mosquito host genera and Amblyospora parasite species with a ...

  4. On the Stability and Evolution of Isolated Molecular Clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Langer, W.; Nelson, R.

    1998-01-01

    We present the results of three dimensional hydrodynamic models of evolving, isolated, low mass, quiescent clouds and Bok gobules, where the interstellar radiation field plays an important role in the thermal and chemical evolution, and thermal pressure provides dominant support against gravitational collapse.

  5. Processing of meteoritic organic materials as a possible analog of early molecular evolution in planetary environments

    PubMed Central

    Pizzarello, Sandra; Davidowski, Stephen K.; Holland, Gregory P.; Williams, Lynda B.

    2013-01-01

    The composition of the Sutter’s Mill meteorite insoluble organic material was studied both in toto by solid-state NMR spectroscopy of the powders and by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analyses of compounds released upon their hydrothermal treatment. Results were compared with those obtained for other meteorites of diverse classifications (Murray, GRA 95229, Murchison, Orgueil, and Tagish Lake) and found to be so far unique in regard to the molecular species released. These include, in addition to O-containing aromatic compounds, complex polyether- and ester-containing alkyl molecules of prebiotic appeal and never detected in meteorites before. The Sutter’s Mill fragments we analyzed had likely been altered by heat, and the hydrothermal conditions of the experiments realistically mimic early Earth settings, such as near volcanic activity or impact craters. On this basis, the data suggest a far larger availability of meteoritic organic materials for planetary environments than previously assumed and that molecular evolution on the early Earth could have benefited from accretion of carbonaceous meteorites both directly with soluble compounds and, for a more protracted time, through alteration, processing, and release from their insoluble organic materials. PMID:24019471

  6. Molecular Evolution and Functional Characterization of a Bifunctional Decarboxylase Involved in Lycopodium Alkaloid Biosynthesis1[OPEN

    PubMed Central

    Bunsupa, Somnuk; Hanada, Kousuke; Maruyama, Akira; Aoyagi, Kaori; Komatsu, Kana; Ueno, Hideki; Yamashita, Madoka; Sasaki, Ryosuke; Oikawa, Akira; Yamazaki, Mami

    2016-01-01

    Lycopodium alkaloids (LAs) are derived from lysine (Lys) and are found mainly in Huperziaceae and Lycopodiaceae. LAs are potentially useful against Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and myasthenia gravis. Here, we cloned the bifunctional lysine/ornithine decarboxylase (L/ODC), the first gene involved in LA biosynthesis, from the LA-producing plants Lycopodium clavatum and Huperzia serrata. We describe the in vitro and in vivo functional characterization of the L. clavatum L/ODC (LcL/ODC). The recombinant LcL/ODC preferentially catalyzed the decarboxylation of l-Lys over l-ornithine (l-Orn) by about 5 times. Transient expression of LcL/ODC fused with the amino or carboxyl terminus of green fluorescent protein, in onion (Allium cepa) epidermal cells and Nicotiana benthamiana leaves, showed LcL/ODC localization in the cytosol. Transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) hairy roots and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants expressing LcL/ODC enhanced the production of a Lys-derived alkaloid, anabasine, and cadaverine, respectively, thus, confirming the function of LcL/ODC in plants. In addition, we present an example of the convergent evolution of plant Lys decarboxylase that resulted in the production of Lys-derived alkaloids in Leguminosae (legumes) and Lycopodiaceae (clubmosses). This convergent evolution event probably occurred via the promiscuous functions of the ancestral Orn decarboxylase, which is an enzyme involved in the primary metabolism of polyamine. The positive selection sites were detected by statistical analyses using phylogenetic trees and were confirmed by site-directed mutagenesis, suggesting the importance of those sites in granting the promiscuous function to Lys decarboxylase while retaining the ancestral Orn decarboxylase function. This study contributes to a better understanding of LA biosynthesis and the molecular evolution of plant Lys decarboxylase. PMID:27303024

  7. Molecular Evolution and Functional Characterization of a Bifunctional Decarboxylase Involved in Lycopodium Alkaloid Biosynthesis.

    PubMed

    Bunsupa, Somnuk; Hanada, Kousuke; Maruyama, Akira; Aoyagi, Kaori; Komatsu, Kana; Ueno, Hideki; Yamashita, Madoka; Sasaki, Ryosuke; Oikawa, Akira; Saito, Kazuki; Yamazaki, Mami

    2016-08-01

    Lycopodium alkaloids (LAs) are derived from lysine (Lys) and are found mainly in Huperziaceae and Lycopodiaceae. LAs are potentially useful against Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and myasthenia gravis. Here, we cloned the bifunctional lysine/ornithine decarboxylase (L/ODC), the first gene involved in LA biosynthesis, from the LA-producing plants Lycopodium clavatum and Huperzia serrata We describe the in vitro and in vivo functional characterization of the L. clavatum L/ODC (LcL/ODC). The recombinant LcL/ODC preferentially catalyzed the decarboxylation of l-Lys over l-ornithine (l-Orn) by about 5 times. Transient expression of LcL/ODC fused with the amino or carboxyl terminus of green fluorescent protein, in onion (Allium cepa) epidermal cells and Nicotiana benthamiana leaves, showed LcL/ODC localization in the cytosol. Transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) hairy roots and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants expressing LcL/ODC enhanced the production of a Lys-derived alkaloid, anabasine, and cadaverine, respectively, thus, confirming the function of LcL/ODC in plants. In addition, we present an example of the convergent evolution of plant Lys decarboxylase that resulted in the production of Lys-derived alkaloids in Leguminosae (legumes) and Lycopodiaceae (clubmosses). This convergent evolution event probably occurred via the promiscuous functions of the ancestral Orn decarboxylase, which is an enzyme involved in the primary metabolism of polyamine. The positive selection sites were detected by statistical analyses using phylogenetic trees and were confirmed by site-directed mutagenesis, suggesting the importance of those sites in granting the promiscuous function to Lys decarboxylase while retaining the ancestral Orn decarboxylase function. This study contributes to a better understanding of LA biosynthesis and the molecular evolution of plant Lys decarboxylase. PMID:27303024

  8. Temporal scaling of molecular evolution in primates and other mammals.

    PubMed

    Gingerich, P D

    1986-05-01

    Molecular clocks are routinely tested for linearity using a relative rate test and routinely calibrated against the geological time scale using a single or average paleontologically determined time of divergence between living taxa. The relative rate test is a test of parallel rate equality, not a test of rate constancy. Temporal scaling provides a test of rates, where scaling coefficients of 1.0 (isochrony) represent stochastic rate constancy. The fossil record of primates and other mammals is now known in sufficient detail to provide several independent divergence times for major taxonomic groups. Molecular difference should scale negatively or isochronically (scaling coefficients less than 1.0) with divergence time: where two or more divergence times are available, molecular difference appears to scale positively (scaling coefficient greater than 1.0). A minimum of four divergence times are required for adequate statistical power in testing the linear model: scaling is significantly nonlinear and positive in six of 11 published investigations meeting this criterion. All groups studied show some slowdown in rates of molecular change over Cenozoic time. The break from constant or increasing rates during the Mesozoic to decreasing rates during the Cenozoic appears to coincide with extraordinary diversification of placental mammals at the beginning of this era. High rates of selectively neutral molecular change may be concentrated in such discrete events of evolutionary diversification. PMID:3444400

  9. Extracellular Matrix Molecular Remodeling in Human Liver Fibrosis Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Baiocchini, Andrea; Montaldo, Claudia; Conigliaro, Alice; Grimaldi, Alessio; Correani, Virginia; Mura, Francesco; Ciccosanti, Fabiola; Rotiroti, Nicolina; Brenna, Alessia; Montalbano, Marzia; D’Offizi, Gianpiero; Capobianchi, Maria Rosaria; Alessandro, Riccardo; Piacentini, Mauro; Schininà, Maria Eugenia; Maras, Bruno; Del Nonno, Franca; Tripodi, Marco; Mancone, Carmine

    2016-01-01

    Chronic liver damage leads to pathological accumulation of ECM proteins (liver fibrosis). Comprehensive characterization of the human ECM molecular composition is essential for gaining insights into the mechanisms of liver disease. To date, studies of ECM remodeling in human liver diseases have been hampered by the unavailability of purified ECM. Here, we developed a decellularization method to purify ECM scaffolds from human liver tissues. Histological and electron microscopy analyses demonstrated that the ECM scaffolds, devoid of plasma and cellular components, preserved the three-dimensional ECM structure and zonal distribution of ECM components. This method has been then applied on 57 liver biopsies of HCV-infected patients at different stages of liver fibrosis according to METAVIR classification. Label-free nLC-MS/MS proteomics and computation biology were performed to analyze the ECM molecular composition in liver fibrosis progression, thus unveiling protein expression signatures specific for the HCV-related liver fibrotic stages. In particular, the ECM molecular composition of liver fibrosis was found to involve dynamic changes in matrix stiffness, flexibility and density related to the dysregulation of predominant collagen, elastic fibers and minor components with both structural and signaling properties. This study contributes to the understanding of the molecular bases underlying ECM remodeling in liver fibrosis and suggests new molecular targets for fibrolytic strategies. PMID:26998606

  10. Evolution and Molecular Control of Hybrid Incompatibility in Plants.

    PubMed

    Chen, Chen; E, Zhiguo; Lin, Hong-Xuan

    2016-01-01

    Postzygotic reproductive isolation (RI) plays an important role in speciation. According to the stage at which it functions and the symptoms it displays, postzygotic RI can be called hybrid inviability, hybrid weakness or necrosis, hybrid sterility, or hybrid breakdown. In this review, we summarized new findings about hybrid incompatibilities in plants, most of which are from studies on Arabidopsis and rice. Recent progress suggests that hybrid incompatibility is a by-product of co-evolution either with "parasitic" selfish elements in the genome or with invasive microbes in the natural environment. We discuss the environmental influences on the expression of hybrid incompatibility and the possible effects of environment-dependent hybrid incompatibility on sympatric speciation. We also discuss the role of domestication on the evolution of hybrid incompatibilities. PMID:27563306

  11. Evolution and Molecular Control of Hybrid Incompatibility in Plants

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Chen; E, Zhiguo; Lin, Hong-Xuan

    2016-01-01

    Postzygotic reproductive isolation (RI) plays an important role in speciation. According to the stage at which it functions and the symptoms it displays, postzygotic RI can be called hybrid inviability, hybrid weakness or necrosis, hybrid sterility, or hybrid breakdown. In this review, we summarized new findings about hybrid incompatibilities in plants, most of which are from studies on Arabidopsis and rice. Recent progress suggests that hybrid incompatibility is a by-product of co-evolution either with “parasitic” selfish elements in the genome or with invasive microbes in the natural environment. We discuss the environmental influences on the expression of hybrid incompatibility and the possible effects of environment-dependent hybrid incompatibility on sympatric speciation. We also discuss the role of domestication on the evolution of hybrid incompatibilities. PMID:27563306

  12. Structural limits for evolutive capacities in complex molecular systems.

    PubMed

    Bergareche, A M; Ostolaza, J F

    1990-01-01

    The possibilities of evolution for a system with and without a code of translation from nucleic acids into proteins are evaluated. Our interest is mainly centred on the enzymatic RNA case since this molecule has, at the same time, reproductive and functional properties. After scanning the evolutive capacities of the enzymatic RNAs, including the possibility to play the role of "synthetase" which would match nucleic acids with amino acids as a transition step towards a code, we will try to show that due to their own functional limitative factors, the matching system (code) is necessary. This would be the only way to transform the formal complexity--complexity which has not entered into action before the translation process--into functional information to drive the instructive self-reproductive process. Once this stage is reached, the system could evolve without a limit. PMID:1707552

  13. Genetic Diversity and Molecular Evolution of Chinese Waxy Maize Germplasm

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Hongjian; Wang, Hui; Yang, Hua; Wu, Jinhong; Shi, Biao; Cai, Run; Xu, Yunbi; Wu, Aizhong; Luo, Lijun

    2013-01-01

    Waxy maize (Zea mays L. var. certaina Kulesh), with many excellent characters in terms of starch composition and economic value, has grown in China for a long history and its production has increased dramatically in recent decades. However, the evolution and origin of waxy maize still remains unclear. We studied the genetic diversity of Chinese waxy maize including typical landraces and inbred lines by SSR analysis and the results showed a wide genetic diversity in the Chinese waxy maize germplasm. We analyzed the origin and evolution of waxy maize by sequencing 108 samples, and downloading 52 sequences from GenBank for the waxy locus in a number of accessions from genus Zea. A sharp reduction of nucleotide diversity and significant neutrality tests (Tajima’s D and Fu and Li’s F*) were observed at the waxy locus in Chinese waxy maize but not in nonglutinous maize. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that Chinese waxy maize originated from the cultivated flint maize and most of the modern waxy maize inbred lines showed a distinct independent origin and evolution process compared with the germplasm from Southwest China. The results indicated that an agronomic trait can be quickly improved to meet production demand by selection. PMID:23818949

  14. Direct handling of sharp interfacial energy for microstructural evolution

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Hernández–Rivera, Efraín; Tikare, Veena; Noirot, Laurence; Wang, Lumin

    2014-08-24

    In this study, we introduce a simplification to the previously demonstrated hybrid Potts–phase field (hPPF), which relates interfacial energies to microstructural sharp interfaces. The model defines interfacial energy by a Potts-like discrete interface approach of counting unlike neighbors, which we use to compute local curvature. The model is compared to the hPPF by studying interfacial characteristics and grain growth behavior. The models give virtually identical results, while the new model allows the simulator more direct control of interfacial energy.

  15. Evolution of posttraumatic stress disorder and future directions.

    PubMed

    Ray, Susan L

    2008-08-01

    The knowledge that trauma can cause long-term physiological and psychological problems has been recognized for centuries. Today, such suffering would be classified as the characteristic symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Nurses in all practice settings are increasingly caring for individuals suffering from military trauma, natural disasters, and interpersonal violence such as childhood sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, intimate partner violence, and collective violence. This article discusses how the diagnosis of PTSD evolved over the course of history, limitations of the PTSD diagnostic category, and additional diagnostic categories for trauma. Implications for nursing practice and future directions for research are explored. PMID:18640541

  16. Molecular Evolution of the Plant SLT Protein Family

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The products of the sodium/lithium tolerance (Slt) genes are proteins that have molecular chaperone activity in vitro. The results from extensive database analyses indicate that SLT-orthologous proteins are present only in seed plants (Spermatopsida). Herein we describe the sequence analysis of th...

  17. Evolution & Phylogenetic Analysis: Classroom Activities for Investigating Molecular & Morphological Concepts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Franklin, Wilfred A.

    2010-01-01

    In a flexible multisession laboratory, students investigate concepts of phylogenetic analysis at both the molecular and the morphological level. Students finish by conducting their own analysis on a collection of skeletons representing the major phyla of vertebrates, a collection of primate skulls, or a collection of hominid skulls.

  18. Designer Gene Delivery Vectors: Molecular Engineering and Evolution of Adeno-Associated Viral Vectors for Enhanced Gene Transfer

    PubMed Central

    Kwon, Inchan

    2007-01-01

    Gene delivery vectors based on adeno-associated virus (AAV) are highly promising due to several desirable features of this parent virus, including a lack of pathogenicity, efficient infection of dividing and non-dividing cells, and sustained maintenance of the viral genome. However, several problems should be addressed to enhance the utility of AAV vectors, particularly those based on AAV2, the best characterized AAV serotype. First, altering viral tropism would be advantageous for broadening its utility in various tissue or cell types. In response to this need, vector pseudotyping, mosaic capsids, and targeting ligand insertion into the capsid have shown promise for altering AAV specificity. In addition, library selection and directed evolution have recently emerged as promising approaches to modulate AAV tropism despite limited knowledge of viral structure–function relationships. Second, pre-existing immunity to AAV must be addressed for successful clinical application of AAV vectors. “Shielding” polymers, site-directed mutagenesis, and alternative AAV serotypes have shown success in avoiding immune neutralization. Furthermore, directed evolution of the AAV capsid is a high throughput approach that has yielded vectors with substantial resistance to neutralizing antibodies. Molecular engineering and directed evolution of AAV vectors therefore offer promise for generating ‘designer’ gene delivery vectors with enhanced properties. PMID:17763830

  19. Tracking the molecular evolution of calcium permeability in a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.

    PubMed

    Lipovsek, Marcela; Fierro, Angélica; Pérez, Edwin G; Boffi, Juan C; Millar, Neil S; Fuchs, Paul A; Katz, Eleonora; Elgoyhen, Ana Belén

    2014-12-01

    Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are a family of ligand-gated nonselective cationic channels that participate in fundamental physiological processes at both the central and the peripheral nervous system. The extent of calcium entry through ligand-gated ion channels defines their distinct functions. The α9α10 nicotinic cholinergic receptor, expressed in cochlear hair cells, is a peculiar member of the family as it shows differences in the extent of calcium permeability across species. In particular, mammalian α9α10 receptors are among the ligand-gated ion channels which exhibit the highest calcium selectivity. This acquired differential property provides the unique opportunity of studying how protein function was shaped along evolutionary history, by tracking its evolutionary record and experimentally defining the amino acid changes involved. We have applied a molecular evolution approach of ancestral sequence reconstruction, together with molecular dynamics simulations and an evolutionary-based mutagenesis strategy, in order to trace the molecular events that yielded a high calcium permeable nicotinic α9α10 mammalian receptor. Only three specific amino acid substitutions in the α9 subunit were directly involved. These are located at the extracellular vestibule and at the exit of the channel pore and not at the transmembrane region 2 of the protein as previously thought. Moreover, we show that these three critical substitutions only increase calcium permeability in the context of the mammalian but not the avian receptor, stressing the relevance of overall protein structure on defining functional properties. These results highlight the importance of tracking evolutionarily acquired changes in protein sequence underlying fundamental functional properties of ligand-gated ion channels. PMID:25193338

  20. Tracking the Molecular Evolution of Calcium Permeability in a Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor

    PubMed Central

    Lipovsek, Marcela; Fierro, Angélica; Pérez, Edwin G.; Boffi, Juan C.; Millar, Neil S.; Fuchs, Paul A.; Katz, Eleonora; Elgoyhen, Ana Belén

    2014-01-01

    Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are a family of ligand-gated nonselective cationic channels that participate in fundamental physiological processes at both the central and the peripheral nervous system. The extent of calcium entry through ligand-gated ion channels defines their distinct functions. The α9α10 nicotinic cholinergic receptor, expressed in cochlear hair cells, is a peculiar member of the family as it shows differences in the extent of calcium permeability across species. In particular, mammalian α9α10 receptors are among the ligand-gated ion channels which exhibit the highest calcium selectivity. This acquired differential property provides the unique opportunity of studying how protein function was shaped along evolutionary history, by tracking its evolutionary record and experimentally defining the amino acid changes involved. We have applied a molecular evolution approach of ancestral sequence reconstruction, together with molecular dynamics simulations and an evolutionary-based mutagenesis strategy, in order to trace the molecular events that yielded a high calcium permeable nicotinic α9α10 mammalian receptor. Only three specific amino acid substitutions in the α9 subunit were directly involved. These are located at the extracellular vestibule and at the exit of the channel pore and not at the transmembrane region 2 of the protein as previously thought. Moreover, we show that these three critical substitutions only increase calcium permeability in the context of the mammalian but not the avian receptor, stressing the relevance of overall protein structure on defining functional properties. These results highlight the importance of tracking evolutionarily acquired changes in protein sequence underlying fundamental functional properties of ligand-gated ion channels. PMID:25193338

  1. Directed Evolution and Mutant Characterization of Nitrilase from Rhodococcus rhodochrous tg1-A6.

    PubMed

    Luo, Hui; Ma, Jinwei; Chang, Yanhong; Yu, Huimin; Shen, Zhongyao

    2016-04-01

    In this paper, a molecularly directed evolution-based approach was applied to modify the nitrilase from Rhodococcus rhodochrous tg1-A6 for improving properties in catalyzing nitriles. In the process of error-prone polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with the wild-type nitrilase gene acting as the template, a library of the randomly mutated nitrilase gene was constructed. Since the pH value of catalyzing solution decreased when glycolonitrile was used as the substrate of nitrilase, a high-throughput strategy based on the color change of a pH-sensitive indicator was established for rapid screening of the mutated nitrilase. After three rounds of random mutation and screening about 5000 clones, a variant (Mut3) with 5.3-fold activity of the wild-type counterpart was obtained. Five amino acid substitutions (D27E, N97K, L246F, D108E, and S111R) were found in the variant Mut3. The properties of three mutated enzymes obtained in the three-round mutation were investigated. In the conversion of glycolonitrile, the variant (Mut2) accumulated the highest concentration of glycolic acid at 10.6 g l(-1), a much higher value than the wild type (3.2 g l(-1)). PMID:26712248

  2. Moving in the Right Direction: Evolution of Protein Structural Vibrations with Functional State and Mutation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Niessen, Katherine; Xu, Mengyang; Snell, Edward; Markelz, Andrea

    Long-range intramolecular vibrations may enable efficient access to functionally important conformations. We examine how these motions change with inhibitor binding and mutation using terahertz anisotropic absorption and molecular modeling. The measured anisotropic absorption dramatically changes with 3NAG inhibitor binding for wild type (WT) free chicken egg white lysozyme (CEWL). We examine the evolution of internal motions with binding using normal mode analysis to calculate an ensemble averaged vibrational density of states (VDOS) and isotropic and anisotropic absorptions for both WT and a two residue (R14 and H15) deletion mutant which has a 1.4 higher activity rate. While the VDOS and isotropic response are largely unchanged with inhibitor binding, the anisotropic response changes dramatically with binding. However, for the mutant the calculated unbound anisotropic absorption more closely resembles its bound spectrum, and it has increased calculated mean squared fluctuations in regions overlapping those in its bound state. These results indicate that the mutant's enhanced activity may be due to a shift in the direction of vibrations toward those of the bound state, increasing the sampling rate of the bound conformation.

  3. Linking the functions of unrelated proteins using a novel directed evolution domain insertion method

    PubMed Central

    Edwards, Wayne R.; Busse, Kathy; Allemann, Rudolf K.; Jones, D. Dafydd

    2008-01-01

    We have successfully developed a new directed evolution method for generating integral protein fusions comprising of one domain inserted within another. Creating two connections between the insert and accepting parent domain can result in the inter-dependence of the separate protein activities, thus providing a general strategy for constructing molecular switches. Using an engineered transposon termed MuDel, contiguous trinucleotide sequences were removed at random positions from the bla gene encoding TEM-1 β-lactamase. The deleted trinucleotide sequence was then replaced by a DNA cassette encoding cytochrome b562 with differing linking sequences at each terminus and sampling all three reading frames. The result was a variety of chimeric genes encoding novel integral fusion proteins that retained TEM-1 activity. While most of the tolerated insertions were observed in loops, several also occurred close to the termini of α-helices and β-strands. Several variants conferred a switching phenotype on Escherichia coli, with bacterial tolerance to ampicillin being dependent on the presence of haem in the growth medium. The magnitude of the switching phenotype ranged from 4- to 128-fold depending on the insertion position within TEM-1 and the linker sequences that join the two domains. PMID:18559359

  4. Converting a {beta}-glycosidase into a {beta}-transglycosidase by directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Feng, Hui-Yong; Drone, Jullien; Hoffmann, Lionel; Tran, Vinh; Tellier, Charles; Rabiller, Claude; Dion, Michel

    2005-11-01

    Directed evolution was applied to the beta-glycosidase of Thermus thermophilus in order to increase its ability to synthesize oligosaccharide by transglycosylation. Wild-type enzyme was able to transfer the glycosyl residue with a yield of 50% by self-condensation and of about 8% by transglycosylation on disaccharides without nitrophenyl at their reducing end. By using a simple screening procedure, we could produce mutant enzymes possessing a high transferase activity. In one step of random mutagenesis and in vitro recombination, the hydrolysis of substrates and of transglycosylation products was considerably reduced. For certain mutants, synthesis by self-condensation of nitrophenyl glycosides became nearly quantitative, whereas synthesis by transglycosylation on maltose and on cellobiose could reach 60 and 75%, respectively. Because the most efficient mutations, F401S and N282T, were located just in front of the subsite (-1), molecular modeling techniques were used to explain their effects on the synthesis reaction; we can suggest that repositioning of the glycone in the (-1) subsite together with a better fit of the acceptor in the (+1) subsite might favor the attack of a glycosyl acceptor in the mutant at the expense of water. Thus these new transglycosidases constitute an interesting alternative for the synthesis of oligosaccharides by using stable and accessible donor substrates. PMID:16085651

  5. Directed evolution can rapidly improve the activity of chimeric assembly-line enzymes

    PubMed Central

    Fischbach, Michael A.; Lai, Jonathan R.; Roche, Eric D.; Walsh, Christopher T.; Liu, David R.

    2007-01-01

    Nonribosomal peptides (NRPs) are produced by NRP synthetase (NRPS) enzymes that function as molecular assembly lines. The modular architecture of NRPSs suggests that a domain responsible for activating a building block could be replaced with a domain from a foreign NRPS to create a chimeric assembly line that produces a new variant of a natural NRP. However, such chimeric NRPS modules are often heavily impaired, impeding efforts to create novel NRP variants by swapping domains from different modules or organisms. Here we show that impaired chimeric NRPSs can be functionally restored by directed evolution. Using rounds of mutagenesis coupled with in vivo screens for NRP production, we rapidly isolated variants of two different chimeric NRPSs with ≈10-fold improvements in enzyme activity and product yield, including one that produces new derivatives of the potent NRP/polyketide antibiotic andrimid. Because functional restoration in these examples required only modest library sizes (103 to 104 clones) and three or fewer rounds of screening, our approach may be widely applicable even for NRPSs from genetically challenging hosts. PMID:17620609

  6. The molecular evolution of four anti-malarial immune genes in the Anopheles gambiae species complex

    PubMed Central

    2008-01-01

    Background If the insect innate immune system is to be used as a potential blocking step in transmission of malaria, then it will require targeting one or a few genes with highest relevance and ease of manipulation. The problem is to identify and manipulate those of most importance to malaria infection without the risk of decreasing the mosquito's ability to stave off infections by microbes in general. Molecular evolution methodologies and concepts can help identify such genes. Within the setting of a comparative molecular population genetic and phylogenetic framework, involving six species of the Anopheles gambiae complex, we investigated whether a set of four pre-selected immunity genes (gambicin, NOS, Rel2 and FBN9) might have evolved under selection pressure imposed by the malaria parasite. Results We document varying levels of polymorphism within and divergence between the species, in all four genes. Introgression and the sharing of ancestral polymorphisms, two processes that have been documented in the past, were verified in this study in all four studied genes. These processes appear to affect each gene in different ways and to different degrees. However, there is no evidence of positive selection acting on these genes. Conclusion Considering the results presented here in concert with previous studies, genes that interact directly with the Plasmodium parasite, and play little or no role in defense against other microbes, are probably the most likely candidates for a specific adaptive response against P. falciparum. Furthermore, since it is hard to establish direct evidence linking the adaptation of any candidate gene to P. falciparum infection, a comparative framework allowing at least an indirect link should be provided. Such a framework could be achieved, if a similar approach like the one involved here, was applied to all other anopheline complexes that transmit P. falciparum malaria. PMID:18325105

  7. Evolution and ecology of directed aerial descent in arboreal ants.

    PubMed

    Yanoviak, Stephen P; Munk, Yonatan; Dudley, Robert

    2011-12-01

    Directed aerial descent (DAD) is used by a variety of arboreal animals to escape predators, to remain in the canopy, and to access resources. Here, we build upon the discovery of DAD in ants of tropical canopies by summarizing its known phylogenetic distribution among ant genera, and within both the subfamily Pseudomyrmecinae and the genus Cephalotes. DAD has multiple evolutionary origins in ants, occurring independently in numerous genera in the subfamilies Myrmicinae, Formicinae, and Pseudomyrmecinae. Ablation experiments and video recordings of ants in a vertical wind tunnel showed that DAD in Cephalotes atratus is achieved via postural changes, specifically orientation of the legs and gaster. The occurrence of DAD in Formicinae indicates that the presence of a postpetiole is not essential for the behavior. Evidence to date indicates that gliding behavior is accomplished by visual targeting mediated by the compound eyes, and is restricted to diurnally active ants that nest in trees. Occlusion of ocelli in Pseudomyrmex gracilis workers had no effect on their success or performance in gliding. Experimental assessment of the fate of ants that fall to the understory showed that ants landing in water are 15 times more likely to suffer lethal attacks than are ants landing in leaf litter. Variation in both the aerodynamic mechanisms and selective advantages of DAD merits further study given the broad taxonomic diversity of arboreal ants that engage in this intriguing form of flight. PMID:21562023

  8. Molecular phylogeny, biogeography, and habitat preference evolution of marsupials.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Kieren J; Pratt, Renae C; Watson, Laura N; Gibb, Gillian C; Llamas, Bastien; Kasper, Marta; Edson, Janette; Hopwood, Blair; Male, Dean; Armstrong, Kyle N; Meyer, Matthias; Hofreiter, Michael; Austin, Jeremy; Donnellan, Stephen C; Lee, Michael S Y; Phillips, Matthew J; Cooper, Alan

    2014-09-01

    Marsupials exhibit great diversity in ecology and morphology. However, compared with their sister group, the placental mammals, our understanding of many aspects of marsupial evolution remains limited. We use 101 mitochondrial genomes and data from 26 nuclear loci to reconstruct a dated phylogeny including 97% of extant genera and 58% of modern marsupial species. This tree allows us to analyze the evolution of habitat preference and geographic distributions of marsupial species through time. We found a pattern of mesic-adapted lineages evolving to use more arid and open habitats, which is broadly consistent with regional climate and environmental change. However, contrary to the general trend, several lineages subsequently appear to have reverted from drier to more mesic habitats. Biogeographic reconstructions suggest that current views on the connectivity between Australia and New Guinea/Wallacea during the Miocene and Pliocene need to be revised. The antiquity of several endemic New Guinean clades strongly suggests a substantially older period of connection stretching back to the Middle Miocene and implies that New Guinea was colonized by multiple clades almost immediately after its principal formation. PMID:24881050

  9. Molecular cytogenetic dissection of human chromosomes 3 and 21 evolution

    PubMed Central

    Müller, S.; Stanyon, R.; Finelli, P.; Archidiacono, N.; Wienberg, J.

    2000-01-01

    Chromosome painting in placental mammalians illustrates that genome evolution is marked by chromosomal synteny conservation and that the association of chromosomes 3 and 21 may be the largest widely conserved syntenic block known for mammals. We studied intrachromosomal rearrangements of the syntenic block 3/21 by using probes derived from chromosomal subregions with a resolution of up to 10–15 Mbp. We demonstrate that the rearrangements visualized by chromosome painting, mostly translocations, are only a fraction of the actual chromosomal changes that have occurred during evolution. The ancestral segment order for both primates and carnivores is still found in some species in both orders. From the ancestral primate/carnivore condition an inversion is needed to derive the pig homolog, and a fission of chromosome 21 and a pericentric inversion is needed to derive the Bornean orangutan condition. Two overlapping inversions in the chromosome 3 homolog then would lead to the chromosome form found in humans and African apes. This reconstruction of the origin of human chromosome 3 contrasts with the generally accepted scenario derived from chromosome banding in which it was proposed that only one pericentric inversion was needed. From the ancestral form for Old World primates (now found in the Bornean orangutan) a pericentric inversion and centromere shift leads to the chromosome ancestral for all Old World monkeys. Intrachromosomal rearrangements, as shown here, make up a set of potentially plentiful and informative markers that can be used for phylogenetic reconstruction and a more refined comparative mapping of the genome. PMID:10618396

  10. Molecular Evolution of the TET Gene Family in Mammals

    PubMed Central

    Akahori, Hiromichi; Guindon, Stéphane; Yoshizaki, Sumio; Muto, Yoshinori

    2015-01-01

    Ten-eleven translocation (TET) proteins, a family of Fe2+- and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases, are involved in DNA demethylation. They also help regulate various cellular functions. Three TET paralogs have been identified (TET1, TET2, and TET3) in humans. This study focuses on the evolution of mammalian TET genes. Distinct patterns in TET1 and TET2 vs. TET3 were revealed by codon-based tests of positive selection. Results indicate that TET1 and TET2 genes have experienced positive selection more frequently than TET3 gene, and that the majority of codon sites evolved under strong negative selection. These findings imply that the selective pressure on TET3 may have been relaxed in several lineages during the course of evolution. Our analysis of convergent amino acid substitutions also supports the different evolutionary dynamics among TET gene subfamily members. All of the five amino acid sites that are inferred to have evolved under positive selection in the catalytic domain of TET2 are localized at the protein’s outer surface. The adaptive changes of these positively selected amino acid sites could be associated with dynamic interactions between other TET-interacting proteins, and positive selection thus appears to shift the regulatory scheme of TET enzyme function. PMID:26633372

  11. 'Molecules and monkeys': George Gaylord Simpson and the challenge of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Aronson, Jay D

    2002-01-01

    In this paper, I analyze George Gaylord Simpson's response to the molecularization of evolutionary biology from his unique perspective as a paleontologist. I do so by exploring his views on early attempts to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships among primates using molecular data. Particular attention is paid to Simpson's role in the evolutionary synthesis of the 1930s and 1940s, as well as his concerns about the rise of molecular biology as a powerful discipline and world-view in the 1960s. I argue that Simpson's belief in the supremacy of natural selection as the primary driving force of evolution, as well as his view that biology was a historical science that seeks ultimate causes and highlights contingency, prevented him from acknowledging that the study of molecular evolution was an inherently valuable part of the life sciences. PMID:15045833

  12. Molecular phylogeny analysis of fiddler crabs: test of the hypothesis of increasing behavioral complexity in evolution.

    PubMed Central

    Sturmbauer, C; Levinton, J S; Christy, J

    1996-01-01

    The current phylogenetic hypothesis for the evolution and biogeography of fiddler crabs relies on the assumption that complex behavioral traits are assumed to also be evolutionary derived. Indo-west Pacific fiddler crabs have simpler reproductive social behavior and are more marine and were thought to be ancestral to the more behaviorally complex and more terrestrial American species. It was also hypothesized that the evolution of more complex social and reproductive behavior was associated with the colonization of the higher intertidal zones. Our phylogenetic analysis, based upon a set of independent molecular characters, however, demonstrates how widely entrenched ideas about evolution and biogeography led to a reasonable, but apparently incorrect, conclusion about the evolutionary trends within this pantropical group of crustaceans. Species bearing the set of "derived traits" are phylogenetically ancestral, suggesting an alternative evolutionary scenario: the evolution of reproductive behavioral complexity in fiddler crabs may have arisen multiple times during their evolution. The evolution of behavioral complexity may have arisen by coopting of a series of other adaptations for high intertidal living and antipredator escape. A calibration of rates of molecular evolution from populations on either side of the Isthmus of Panama suggest a sequence divergence rate for 16S rRNA of 0.9% per million years. The divergence between the ancestral clade and derived forms is estimated to be approximately 22 million years ago, whereas the divergence between the American and Indo-west Pacific is estimated to be approximately 17 million years ago. Images Fig. 1 PMID:11607711

  13. Molecular Imaging and Contrast Agent Database (MICAD): Evolution and Progress

    PubMed Central

    Chopra, Arvind; Shan, Liang; Eckelman, W. C.; Leung, Kam; Latterner, Martin; Bryant, Stephen H.; Menkens, Anne

    2011-01-01

    The purpose of writing this review is to showcase the Molecular Imaging and Contrast Agent Database (MICAD; www.micad.nlm.nih.gov) to students, researchers and clinical investigators interested in the different aspects of molecular imaging. This database provides freely accessible, current, online scientific information regarding molecular imaging (MI) probes and contrast agents (CA) used for positron emission tomography, single-photon emission computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, x-ray/computed tomography, optical imaging and ultrasound imaging. Detailed information on >1000 agents in MICAD is provided in a chapter format and can be accessed through PubMed. Lists containing >4250 unique MI probes and CAs published in peer-reviewed journals and agents approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as a CSV file summarizing all chapters in the database can be downloaded from the MICAD homepage. Users can search for agents in MICAD on the basis of imaging modality, source of signal/contrast, agent or target category, preclinical or clinical studies, and text words. Chapters in MICAD describe the chemical characteristics (structures linked to PubChem), the in vitro and in vivo activities and other relevant information regarding an imaging agent. All references in the chapters have links to PubMed. A Supplemental Information Section in each chapter is available to share unpublished information regarding an agent. A Guest Author Program is available to facilitate rapid expansion of the database. Members of the imaging community registered with MICAD periodically receive an e-mail announcement (eAnnouncement) that lists new chapters uploaded to the database. Users of MICAD are encouraged to provide feedback, comments or suggestions for further improvement of the database by writing to the editors at: micad@nlm.nih.gov PMID:21989943

  14. The Question of Absolute Space and Time Directions in Relation to Molecular Chirality, Parity Violation, and Biomolecular Homochirality

    SciTech Connect

    Quack, Martin

    2001-03-21

    The questions of the absolute directions of space and time or the “observability” of absolute time direction as well as absolute handedness-left or right- are related to the fundamental symmetries of physics C, P, T as well as their combinations, in particular CPT, and their violations, such as parity violation. At the same time there is a relation to certain still open questions in chemistry concerning the fundamental physical- chemical principles of molecular chirality and in biochemistry concerning the selection of homochirality in evolution. In the lecture we shall introduce the concepts and then report new theoretical results from our work on parity violation in chiral molecules, showing order of magnitude increases with respect to previously accepted values. We discus as well our current experimental efforts. We shall briefly mention the construction of an absolute molecular clock.

  15. The Question of Absolute Space and Time Directions in Relation to Molecular Chirality, Parity Violation, and Biomolecular Homochirality

    SciTech Connect

    Quack, Martin

    2001-03-21

    The questions of the absolute directions of space and time or the 'observability' of absolute time direction as well as absolute handedness - left or right - are related to the fundamental symmetries of physics C, P, T as well as their combinations, in particular CPT, and their violations, such as parity violation. At the same time there is a relation to certain still open questions in chemistry concerning the fundamental physical-chemical principles of molecular chirality and in biochemistry concerning the selection of homochirality in evolution. In the lecture we shall introduce the concepts and then report new theoretical results from our work on parity violation in chiral molecules, showing order of magnitude increases with respect to previously accepted values. We discuss as well our current experimental efforts. We shall briefly mention the construction of an absolute molecular clock.

  16. Molecular genetics and the evolution of ultraviolet vision in vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Shi, Yongsheng; Radlwimmer, F. Bernhard; Yokoyama, Shozo

    2001-01-01

    Despite the biological importance of UV vision, its molecular bases are not well understood. Here, we present evidence that UV vision in vertebrates is determined by eight specific amino acids in the UV pigments. Amino acid sequence analyses show that contemporary UV pigments inherited their UV sensitivities from the vertebrate ancestor by retaining most of these eight amino acids. In the avian lineage, the ancestral pigment lost UV sensitivity, but some descendants regained it by one amino acid change. Our results also strongly support the hypothesis that UV pigments have an unprotonated Schiff base-linked chromophore. PMID:11573008

  17. Molecular networks and the evolution of human cognitive specializations

    PubMed Central

    Fontenot, Miles; Konopka, Genevieve

    2014-01-01

    Inroads into elucidating the origins of human cognitive specializations have taken many forms, including genetic, genomic, anatomical, and behavioral assays that typically compare humans to non-human primates. While the integration of all of these approaches is essential for ultimately understanding human cognition, here, we review the usefulness of coexpression network analysis for specifically addressing this question. An increasing number of studies have incorporated coexpression networks into brain expression studies comparing species, disease versus control tissue, brain regions, or developmental time periods. A clearer picture has emerged of the key genes driving brain evolution, as well as the developmental and regional contributions of gene expression patterns important for normal brain development and those misregulated in cognitive diseases. PMID:25212263

  18. Molecular evolution of peste des petits ruminants virus.

    PubMed

    Muniraju, Murali; Munir, Muhammad; Parthiban, AravindhBabu R; Banyard, Ashley C; Bao, Jingyue; Wang, Zhiliang; Ayebazibwe, Chrisostom; Ayelet, Gelagay; El Harrak, Mehdi; Mahapatra, Mana; Libeau, Geneviève; Batten, Carrie; Parida, Satya

    2014-12-01

    Despite safe and efficacious vaccines against peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV), this virus has emerged as the cause of a highly contagious disease with serious economic consequences for small ruminant agriculture across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. We used complete and partial genome sequences of all 4 lineages of the virus to investigate evolutionary and epidemiologic dynamics of PPRV. A Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of all PPRV lineages mapped the time to most recent common ancestor and initial divergence of PPRV to a lineage III isolate at the beginning of 20th century. A phylogeographic approach estimated the probability for root location of an ancestral PPRV and individual lineages as being Nigeria for PPRV, Senegal for lineage I, Nigeria/Ghana for lineage II, Sudan for lineage III, and India for lineage IV. Substitution rates are critical parameters for understanding virus evolution because restrictions in genetic variation can lead to lower adaptability and pathogenicity. PMID:25418782

  19. Gibberellin Receptor GID1: Gibberellin Recognition and Molecular Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kato, Hiroaki; Sato, Tomomi; Ueguchi-Tanaka, Miyako

    Gibberellins (GAs) are phytohormones essential for many developmental processes in plants. We analyzed the crystal structure of a nuclear GA receptor, GIBBERELLIN INSENSITIVE DWARF 1 (GID1) from Oryza sativa. As it was proposed from the sequence similarity, the overall structure of GID1 shows an α/β-hydrolase fold similar to that of the hormone-sensitive lipases (HSLs) except for an amino-terminal lid. The GA-binding site corresponds to the substrate-binding site of HSLs. Almost residues assigned for GA binding showed very little or no activity when they were replaced with Ala. The substitution of the residues corresponding to those of the lycophyte GID1s caused an increase in the binding affinity for GA34, a 2β-hydroxylated GA4. These findings indicate that GID1 originated from HSL and was tinkered to have the specificity for bioactive GAs in the course of plant evolution.

  20. Glutamine synthetase gene evolution: a good molecular clock.

    PubMed Central

    Pesole, G; Bozzetti, M P; Lanave, C; Preparata, G; Saccone, C

    1991-01-01

    Glutamine synthetase (EC 6.3.1.2) gene evolution in various animals, plants, and bacteria was evaluated by a general stationary Markov model. The evolutionary process proved to be unexpectedly regular even for a time span as long as that between the divergence of prokaryotes from eukaryotes. This enabled us to draw phylogenetic trees for species whose phylogeny cannot be easily reconstructed from the fossil record. Our calculation of the times of divergence of the various organelle-specific enzymes led us to hypothesize that the pea and bean chloroplast genes for these enzymes originated from the duplication of nuclear genes as a result of the different metabolic needs of the various species. Our data indicate that the duplication of plastid glutamine synthetase genes occurred long after the endosymbiotic events that produced the organelles themselves. PMID:1671172

  1. [Molecular Mechanism and Malignant Clonal Evolution of Multiple Myeloma].

    PubMed

    Ding, Fei; Zhu, Ping; Wu, Xue-Qiang

    2015-10-01

    Almost all patients with multiple myeloma (MM) have chromosomal translocation which can result in genetic variation. There are mainly five types of chromosomal translocations, involving the IGH gene translocation to 11q13 (CCND1), 4p16 (FGFR/MMSET), 16q23 (MAF), 6p21 (CCND3) and 20q11 (MAFB). It is possible that all IGH translocations converge on a common cell cycle signal pathway. Some MM develops through a multistep transformation from monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) to smoldering MM (SMM) and eventually to MM and plasma cell leukemia (PCL). Similarly to what Darwin proposed in the mid-19th century-random genetic variation and natural selection in the context of limited resources, MM clonal evolution follow branching and nonlinear mode. The failure of MM treatment is usually related with the minimal subclone which is hardly found at newlydiagnosed. PMID:26524068

  2. Molecular evolution and phylogeny of dengue-4 viruses.

    PubMed

    Lanciotti, R S; Gubler, D J; Trent, D W

    1997-09-01

    Nucleotide sequences of the envelope protein genes of 19 geographically and temporally distinct dengue (DEN)-4 viruses were determined. Nucleic acid sequence comparison revealed that the identity among the DEN-4 viruses was greater than 92%. Similarity among deduced amino acids was between 96 and 100%; in most cases identical amino acid substitutions occurred among viruses from similar geographical regions. Alignment of nucleic acid sequences followed by parsimony analysis generated phylogenetic trees, which indicated that geographically independent evolution of DEN-4 viruses had occurred. DEN-4 viruses were separated into two genetically distinct subtypes (genotypes). Genotype-1 contains viruses from the Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka; genotype-2 consists of viruses from Indonesia, Tahiti, the Caribbean Islands (Puerto Rico, Dominica) and Central and South America. PMID:9292015

  3. The molecular evolution of the vertebrate behavioural repertoire.

    PubMed

    Grant, Seth G N

    2016-01-01

    How the sophisticated vertebrate behavioural repertoire evolved remains a major question in biology. The behavioural repertoire encompasses the set of individual behavioural components that an organism uses when adapting and responding to changes in its external world. Although unicellular organisms, invertebrates and vertebrates share simple reflex responses, the fundamental mechanisms that resulted in the complexity and sophistication that is characteristic of vertebrate behaviours have only recently been examined. A series of behavioural genetic experiments in mice and humans support a theory that posited the importance of synapse proteome expansion in generating complexity in the behavioural repertoire. Genome duplication events, approximately 550 Ma, produced expansion in the synapse proteome that resulted in increased complexity in synapse signalling mechanisms that regulate components of the behavioural repertoire. The experiments demonstrate the importance to behaviour of the gene duplication events, the diversification of paralogues and sequence constraint. They also confirm the significance of comparative proteomic and genomic studies that identified the molecular origins of synapses in unicellular eukaryotes and the vertebrate expansion in proteome complexity. These molecular mechanisms have general importance for understanding the repertoire of behaviours in different species and for human behavioural disorders arising from synapse gene mutations. PMID:26598730

  4. Structure, molecular evolution, and hydrolytic specificities of largemouth bass pepsins.

    PubMed

    Miura, Yoko; Suzuki-Matsubara, Mieko; Kageyama, Takashi; Moriyama, Akihiko

    2016-02-01

    The nucleotide sequences of largemouth bass pepsinogens (PG1, 2 and 3) were determined after molecular cloning of the respective cDNAs. Encoded PG1, 2 and 3 were classified as fish pepsinogens A1, A2 and C, respectively. Molecular evolutionary analyses show that vertebrate pepsinogens are classified into seven monophyletic groups, i.e. pepsinogens A, F, Y (prochymosins), C, B, and fish pepsinogens A and C. Regarding the primary structures, extensive deletion was obvious in S'1 loop residues in fish pepsin A as well as tetrapod pepsin Y. This deletion resulted in a decrease in hydrophobic residues in the S'1 site. Hydrolytic specificities of bass pepsins A1 and A2 were investigated with a pepsin substrate and its variants. Bass pepsins preferred both hydrophobic/aromatic residues and charged residues at the P'1 sites of substrates, showing the dual character of S'1 sites. Thermodynamic analyses of bass pepsin A2 showed that its activation Gibbs energy change (∆G(‡)) was lower than that of porcine pepsin A. Several sites of bass pepsin A2 moiety were found to be under positive selection, and most of them are located on the surface of the molecule, where they are involved in conformational flexibility. The broad S'1 specificity and flexible structure of bass pepsin A2 are thought to cause its high proteolytic activity. PMID:26627128

  5. Multiple cellular origins and molecular evolution of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.

    PubMed

    Wei, Miaoyan; Lü, Lisheng; Lin, Peiyi; Chen, Zhisheng; Quan, Zhiwei; Tang, Zhaohui

    2016-09-01

    Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) is an aggressive malignancy associated with unfavorable prognosis and for which no effective treatments are available. Its molecular pathogenesis is poorly understood. Genome-wide sequencing and high-throughput technologies have provided critical insights into the molecular basis of ICC while sparking a heated debate on the cellular origin. Cancer exhibits variabilities in origin, progression and cell biology. Recent evidence suggests that ICC has multiple cellular origins, including differentiated hepatocytes; intrahepatic biliary epithelial cells (IBECs)/cholangiocytes; pluripotent stem cells, such as hepatic stem/progenitor cells (HPCs) and biliary tree stem/progenitor cells (BTSCs); and peribiliary gland (PBG). However, both somatic mutagenesis and epigenomic features are highly cell type-specific. Multiple cellular origins may have profoundly different genomic landscapes and key signaling pathways, driving phenotypic variation and thereby posing significant challenges to personalized medicine in terms of achieving the optimal drug response and patient outcome. Considering this information, we have summarized the latest experimental evidence and relevant literature to provide an up-to-date view of the cellular origin of ICC, which will contribute to establishment of a hierarchical model of carcinogenesis and allow for improvement of the anatomical-based classification of ICC. These new insights have important implications for both the diagnosis and treatment of ICC patients. PMID:26940139

  6. The molecular evolution of the vertebrate behavioural repertoire

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    How the sophisticated vertebrate behavioural repertoire evolved remains a major question in biology. The behavioural repertoire encompasses the set of individual behavioural components that an organism uses when adapting and responding to changes in its external world. Although unicellular organisms, invertebrates and vertebrates share simple reflex responses, the fundamental mechanisms that resulted in the complexity and sophistication that is characteristic of vertebrate behaviours have only recently been examined. A series of behavioural genetic experiments in mice and humans support a theory that posited the importance of synapse proteome expansion in generating complexity in the behavioural repertoire. Genome duplication events, approximately 550 Ma, produced expansion in the synapse proteome that resulted in increased complexity in synapse signalling mechanisms that regulate components of the behavioural repertoire. The experiments demonstrate the importance to behaviour of the gene duplication events, the diversification of paralogues and sequence constraint. They also confirm the significance of comparative proteomic and genomic studies that identified the molecular origins of synapses in unicellular eukaryotes and the vertebrate expansion in proteome complexity. These molecular mechanisms have general importance for understanding the repertoire of behaviours in different species and for human behavioural disorders arising from synapse gene mutations. PMID:26598730

  7. Molecular tools in understanding the evolution of Vibrio cholerae

    PubMed Central

    Rahaman, Md. Habibur; Islam, Tarequl; Colwell, Rita R.; Alam, Munirul

    2015-01-01

    Vibrio cholerae, the etiological agent of cholera, has been a scourge for centuries. Cholera remains a serious health threat for developing countries and has been responsible for millions of deaths globally over the past 200 years. Identification of V. cholerae has been accomplished using a variety of methods, ranging from phenotypic strategies to DNA based molecular typing and currently whole genomic approaches. This array of methods has been adopted in epidemiological investigations, either singly or in the aggregate, and more recently for evolutionary analyses of V. cholerae. Because the new technologies have been developed at an ever increasing pace, this review of the range of fingerprinting strategies, their relative advantages and limitations, and cholera case studies was undertaken. The task was challenging, considering the vast amount of the information available. To assist the study, key references representative of several areas of research are provided with the intent to provide readers with a comprehensive view of recent advances in the molecular epidemiology of V. cholerae. Suggestions for ways to obviate many of the current limitations of typing techniques are also provided. In summary, a comparative report has been prepared that includes the range from traditional typing to whole genomic strategies. PMID:26500613

  8. Trends in the sand: Directional evolution in the shell shape of recessing scallops (Bivalvia: Pectinidae).

    PubMed

    Sherratt, Emma; Alejandrino, Alvin; Kraemer, Andrew C; Serb, Jeanne M; Adams, Dean C

    2016-09-01

    Directional evolution is one of the most compelling evolutionary patterns observed in macroevolution. Yet, despite its importance, detecting such trends in multivariate data remains a challenge. In this study, we evaluate multivariate evolution of shell shape in 93 bivalved scallop species, combining geometric morphometrics and phylogenetic comparative methods. Phylomorphospace visualization described the history of morphological diversification in the group; revealing that taxa with a recessing life habit were the most distinctive in shell shape, and appeared to display a directional trend. To evaluate this hypothesis empirically, we extended existing methods by characterizing the mean directional evolution in phylomorphospace for recessing scallops. We then compared this pattern to what was expected under several alternative evolutionary scenarios using phylogenetic simulations. The observed pattern did not fall within the distribution obtained under multivariate Brownian motion, enabling us to reject this evolutionary scenario. By contrast, the observed pattern was more similar to, and fell within, the distribution obtained from simulations using Brownian motion combined with a directional trend. Thus, the observed data are consistent with a pattern of directional evolution for this lineage of recessing scallops. We discuss this putative directional evolutionary trend in terms of its potential adaptive role in exploiting novel habitats. PMID:27375214

  9. Engineering Biosynthesis of Non-ribosomal Peptides and Polyketides by Directed Evolution.

    PubMed

    Rui, Zhe; Zhang, Wenjun

    2016-01-01

    Non-ribosomal peptides (NRPs) and polyketides (PKs) play key roles in pharmaceutical industry due to their promising biological activities. The structural complexity of NRPs and PKs, however, creates significant synthetic challenges for producing these natural products and their analogues by purely chemical means. Alternatively, difficult syntheses can be achieved by using biosynthetic enzymes with improved efficiency and altered selectivity that are acquired from directed evolution. Key to the successful directed evolution is the methodology of screening/selection. This review summarizes the screening/selection strategies that have been employed to improve or modify the functions of non-ribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) and polyketide synthases (PKSs), in the hope of triggering the wide adoption of the directed evolution approaches in the engineered biosynthesis of NRPs and PKs for drug discovery. PMID:26456467

  10. Synthesis of one-dimensional metal-containing insulated molecular wire with versatile properties directed toward molecular electronics materials.

    PubMed

    Masai, Hiroshi; Terao, Jun; Seki, Shu; Nakashima, Shigeto; Kiguchi, Manabu; Okoshi, Kento; Fujihara, Tetsuaki; Tsuji, Yasushi

    2014-02-01

    We report, herein, the design, synthesis, and properties of new materials directed toward molecular electronics. A transition metal-containing insulated molecular wire was synthesized through the coordination polymerization of a Ru(II) porphyrin with an insulated bridging ligand of well-defined structure. The wire displayed not only high linearity and rigidity, but also high intramolecular charge mobility. Owing to the unique properties of the coordination bond, the interconversion between the monomer and polymer states was realized under a carbon monoxide atmosphere or UV irradiation. The results demonstrated a high potential of the metal-containing insulated molecular wire for applications in molecular electronics. PMID:24428791

  11. Molecular therapy of colorectal cancer: progress and future directions.

    PubMed

    Weng, Wenhao; Feng, Junlan; Qin, Huanlong; Ma, Yanlei

    2015-02-01

    Colorectal cancer (CRC) remains one of the most common types of cancer and leading causes of cancer death worldwide. Although the introduction of cytotoxic drugs such as oxaliplatin, irinotecan and fluorouracil has improved the treatment of advanced CRC, the individual response to chemoradiotherapy varies tremendously from one patient to another. However, recent progress in CRC molecular therapies may provide new insight into the treatment of this disease. Currently, components of the EGFR, VEGF, Wnt and NF-kB pathways are the most important targets for CRC therapy. This review chronicles the development of molecular CRC therapies over the past few decades. We also provide an update on the current progress of research concerning the molecular pathways leading to CRC and discuss the possible implications for CRC therapy. PMID:24420815

  12. Molecular Evolution of the Oxygen-Binding Hemerythrin Domain

    PubMed Central

    Alvarez-Carreño, Claudia; Becerra, Arturo; Lazcano, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    Background The evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis during Precambrian times entailed the diversification of strategies minimizing reactive oxygen species-associated damage. Four families of oxygen-carrier proteins (hemoglobin, hemerythrin and the two non-homologous families of arthropodan and molluscan hemocyanins) are known to have evolved independently the capacity to bind oxygen reversibly, providing cells with strategies to cope with the evolutionary pressure of oxygen accumulation. Oxygen-binding hemerythrin was first studied in marine invertebrates but further research has made it clear that it is present in the three domains of life, strongly suggesting that its origin predated the emergence of eukaryotes. Results Oxygen-binding hemerythrins are a monophyletic sub-group of the hemerythrin/HHE (histidine, histidine, glutamic acid) cation-binding domain. Oxygen-binding hemerythrin homologs were unambiguously identified in 367/2236 bacterial, 21/150 archaeal and 4/135 eukaryotic genomes. Overall, oxygen-binding hemerythrin homologues were found in the same proportion as single-domain and as long protein sequences. The associated functions of protein domains in long hemerythrin sequences can be classified in three major groups: signal transduction, phosphorelay response regulation, and protein binding. This suggests that in many organisms the reversible oxygen-binding capacity was incorporated in signaling pathways. A maximum-likelihood tree of oxygen-binding hemerythrin homologues revealed a complex evolutionary history in which lateral gene transfer, duplications and gene losses appear to have played an important role. Conclusions Hemerythrin is an ancient protein domain with a complex evolutionary history. The distinctive iron-binding coordination site of oxygen-binding hemerythrins evolved first in prokaryotes, very likely prior to the divergence of Firmicutes and Proteobacteria, and spread into many bacterial, archaeal and eukaryotic species. The later

  13. Decoding the molecular evolution of human cognition using comparative genomics

    PubMed Central

    Usui, Noriyoshi; Co, Marissa; Konopka, Genevieve

    2014-01-01

    Identification of genetic and molecular factors responsible for the specialized cognitive abilities of humans is expected to provide important insights into the mechanisms responsible for disorders of cognition such as autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Here, we discuss the use of comparative genomics for identifying salient genes and gene networks that may underlie cognition. We focus on the comparison of human and non-human primate brain gene expression and the utility of building gene co-expression networks for prioritizing hundreds of genes that differ in expression among the species queried. We also discuss the importance and methods for functional studies of individual genes identified. Together, this integration of comparative genomics with cellular and animal models should provide improved systems for developing effective therapeutics for disorders of cognition. PMID:25247723

  14. Vibration-mediated Kondo transport in molecular junctions: conductance evolution during mechanical stretching

    PubMed Central

    Rakhmilevitch, David

    2015-01-01

    Summary The vibration-mediated Kondo effect attracted considerable theoretical interest during the last decade. However, due to lack of extensive experimental demonstrations, the fine details of the phenomenon were not addressed. Here, we analyze the evolution of vibration-mediated Kondo effect in molecular junctions during mechanical stretching. The described analysis reveals the different contributions of Kondo and inelastic transport. PMID:26734532

  15. Epistasis and the Dynamics of Reversion in Molecular Evolution.

    PubMed

    McCandlish, David M; Shah, Premal; Plotkin, Joshua B

    2016-07-01

    Recent studies of protein evolution contend that the longer an amino acid substitution is present at a site, the less likely it is to revert to the amino acid previously occupying that site. Here we study this phenomenon of decreasing reversion rates rigorously and in a much more general context. We show that, under weak mutation and for arbitrary fitness landscapes, reversion rates decrease with time for any site that is involved in at least one epistatic interaction. Specifically, we prove that, at stationarity, the hazard function of the distribution of waiting times until reversion is strictly decreasing for any such site. Thus, in the presence of epistasis, the longer a particular character has been absent from a site, the less likely the site will revert to its prior state. We also explore several examples of this general result, which share a common pattern whereby the probability of having reverted increases rapidly at short times to some substantial value before becoming almost flat after a few substitutions at other sites. This pattern indicates a characteristic tendency for reversion to occur either almost immediately after the initial substitution or only after a very long time. PMID:27194749

  16. Phylogeography and molecular evolution of potato virus Y.

    PubMed

    Cuevas, José M; Delaunay, Agnès; Visser, Johan C; Bellstedt, Dirk U; Jacquot, Emmanuel; Elena, Santiago F

    2012-01-01

    Potato virus Y (PVY) is an important plant pathogen, whose host range includes economically important crops such as potato, tobacco, tomato, and pepper. PVY presents three main strains (PVY(O), PVY(N) and PVY(C)) and several recombinant forms. PVY has a worldwide distribution, yet the mechanisms that promote and maintain its population structure and genetic diversity are still unclear. In this study, we used a pool of 77 complete PVY genomes from isolates collected worldwide. After removing the effect of recombination in our data set, we used bayesian techniques to study the influence of geography and host species in both PVY population structure and dynamics. We have also performed selection and covariation analyses to identify evolutionarily relevant amino acid residues. Our results show that both geographic and host-driven adaptations explain PVY diversification. Furthermore, purifying selection is the main force driving PVY evolution, although some indications of positive selection accounted for the diversification of the different strains. Interestingly, the analysis of P3N-PIPO, a recently described gene in potyviruses, seems to show a variable length among the isolates analyzed, and this variability is explained, in part, by host-driven adaptation. PMID:22655074

  17. Molecular complexes that direct rhodopsin transport to primary cilia

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Jing; Deretic, Dusanka

    2013-01-01

    Rhodopsin is a key molecular constituent of photoreceptor cells, yet understanding of how it regulates photoreceptor membrane trafficking and biogenesis of light-sensing organelles, the rod outer segments (ROS) is only beginning to emerge. Recently identified sequence of well-orchestrated molecular interactions of rhodopsin with the functional networks of Arf and Rab GTPases at multiple stages of intracellular targeting fits well into the complex framework of the biogenesis and maintenance of primary cilia, of which the ROS is one example. This review will discuss the latest progress in dissecting the molecular complexes that coordinate rhodopsin incorporation into ciliary-targeted carriers with the recruitment and activation of membrane tethering complexes and regulators of fusion with the periciliary plasma membrane. In addition to revealing the fundamental principals of ciliary membrane renewal, recent advances also provide molecular insight into the ways by which disruptions of the exquisitely orchestrated interactions lead to cilia dysfunction and result in human retinal dystrophies and syndromic diseases that affect multiple organs, including the eyes. PMID:24135424

  18. Molecular evolution of the capsid gene in human norovirus genogroup II

    PubMed Central

    Kobayashi, Miho; Matsushima, Yuki; Motoya, Takumi; Sakon, Naomi; Shigemoto, Naoki; Okamoto-Nakagawa, Reiko; Nishimura, Koichi; Yamashita, Yasutaka; Kuroda, Makoto; Saruki, Nobuhiro; Ryo, Akihide; Saraya, Takeshi; Morita, Yukio; Shirabe, Komei; Ishikawa, Mariko; Takahashi, Tomoko; Shinomiya, Hiroto; Okabe, Nobuhiko; Nagasawa, Koo; Suzuki, Yoshiyuki; Katayama, Kazuhiko; Kimura, Hirokazu

    2016-01-01

    Capsid protein of norovirus genogroup II (GII) plays crucial roles in host infection. Although studies on capsid gene evolution have been conducted for a few genotypes of norovirus, the molecular evolution of norovirus GII is not well understood. Here we report the molecular evolution of all GII genotypes, using various bioinformatics techniques. The time-scaled phylogenetic tree showed that the present GII strains diverged from GIV around 1630CE at a high evolutionary rate (around 10−3 substitutions/site/year), resulting in three lineages. The GII capsid gene had large pairwise distances (maximum > 0.39). The effective population sizes of the present GII strains were large (>102) for about 400 years. Positive (20) and negative (over 450) selection sites were estimated. Moreover, some linear and conformational B-cell epitopes were found in the deduced GII capsid protein. These results suggested that norovirus GII strains rapidly evolved with high divergence and adaptation to humans. PMID:27384324

  19. Karyotypic evolution in the Galliformes: an examination of the process of karyotypic evolution by comparison of the molecular cytogenetic findings with the molecular phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Shibusawa, M; Nishibori, M; Nishida-Umehara, C; Tsudzuki, M; Masabanda, J; Griffin, D K; Matsuda, Y

    2004-01-01

    To define the process of karyotypic evolution in the Galliformes on a molecular basis, we conducted genome-wide comparative chromosome painting for eight species, i.e. silver pheasant (Lophura nycthemera), Lady Amherst's pheasant (Chrysolophus amherstiae), ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), Western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), Chinese bamboo-partridge (Bambusicola thoracica) and common peafowl (Pavo cristatus) of the Phasianidae, and plain chachalaca (Ortalis vetula) of the Cracidae, with chicken DNA probes of chromosomes 1-9 and Z. Including our previous data from five other species, chicken (Gallus gallus), Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) and blue-breasted quail (Coturnix chinensis) of the Phasianidae, guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) of the Numididae and California quail (Callipepla californica) of the Odontophoridae, we represented the evolutionary changes of karyotypes in the 13 species of the Galliformes. In addition, we compared the cytogenetic data with the molecular phylogeny of the 13 species constructed with the nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene, and discussed the process of karyotypic evolution in the Galliformes. Comparative chromosome painting confirmed the previous data on chromosome rearrangements obtained by G-banding analysis, and identified several novel chromosome rearrangements. The process of the evolutionary changes of macrochromosomes in the 13 species was in good accordance with the molecular phylogeny, and the ancestral karyotype of the Galliformes is represented. PMID:15218250

  20. Homogeneous nucleation and microstructure evolution in million-atom molecular dynamics simulation

    PubMed Central

    Shibuta, Yasushi; Oguchi, Kanae; Takaki, Tomohiro; Ohno, Munekazu

    2015-01-01

    Homogeneous nucleation from an undercooled iron melt is investigated by the statistical sampling of million-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations performed on a graphics processing unit (GPU). Fifty independent instances of isothermal MD calculations with one million atoms in a quasi-two-dimensional cell over a nanosecond reveal that the nucleation rate and the incubation time of nucleation as functions of temperature have characteristic shapes with a nose at the critical temperature. This indicates that thermally activated homogeneous nucleation occurs spontaneously in MD simulations without any inducing factor, whereas most previous studies have employed factors such as pressure, surface effect, and continuous cooling to induce nucleation. Moreover, further calculations over ten nanoseconds capture the microstructure evolution on the order of tens of nanometers from the atomistic viewpoint and the grain growth exponent is directly estimated. Our novel approach based on the concept of “melting pots in a supercomputer” is opening a new phase in computational metallurgy with the aid of rapid advances in computational environments. PMID:26311304

  1. Homogeneous nucleation and microstructure evolution in million-atom molecular dynamics simulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shibuta, Yasushi; Oguchi, Kanae; Takaki, Tomohiro; Ohno, Munekazu

    2015-08-01

    Homogeneous nucleation from an undercooled iron melt is investigated by the statistical sampling of million-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations performed on a graphics processing unit (GPU). Fifty independent instances of isothermal MD calculations with one million atoms in a quasi-two-dimensional cell over a nanosecond reveal that the nucleation rate and the incubation time of nucleation as functions of temperature have characteristic shapes with a nose at the critical temperature. This indicates that thermally activated homogeneous nucleation occurs spontaneously in MD simulations without any inducing factor, whereas most previous studies have employed factors such as pressure, surface effect, and continuous cooling to induce nucleation. Moreover, further calculations over ten nanoseconds capture the microstructure evolution on the order of tens of nanometers from the atomistic viewpoint and the grain growth exponent is directly estimated. Our novel approach based on the concept of “melting pots in a supercomputer” is opening a new phase in computational metallurgy with the aid of rapid advances in computational environments.

  2. Entropy and charge in molecular evolution--the case of phosphate

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Arrhenius, G.; Sales, B.; Mojzsis, S.; Lee, T.; Bada, J. L. (Principal Investigator)

    1997-01-01

    Biopoesis, the creation of life, implies molecular evolution from simple components, randomly distributed and in a dilute state, to form highly organized, concentrated systems capable of metabolism, replication and mutation. This chain of events must involve environmental processes that can locally lower entropy in several steps; by specific selection from an indiscriminate mixture, by concentration from dilute solution, and in the case of the mineral-induced processes, by particular effectiveness in ordering and selective reaction, directed toward formation of functional biomolecules. Numerous circumstances provide support for the notion that negatively charged molecules were functionally required and geochemically available for biopoesis. Sulfite ion may have been important in bisulfite complex formation with simple aldehydes, facilitating the initial concentration by sorption of aldehydes in positively charged surface active minerals. Borate ion may have played a similar, albeit less investigated role in forming charged sugar complexes. Among anionic species, oligophosphate ions and charged phosphate esters are likely to have been of even more wide ranging importance, reflected in the continued need for phosphate in a proposed RNA world, and extending its central role to evolved biochemistry. Phosphorylation is shown to result in selective concentration by surface sorption of compounds, otherwise too dilute to support condensation reactions. It provides protection against rapid hydrolysis of sugars and, by selective concentration, induces the oligomerization of aldehydes. As a manifestation of life arisen, phosphate already appears in an organic context in the oldest preserved sedimentary record.

  3. INTERACTING BINARIES WITH ECCENTRIC ORBITS. III. ORBITAL EVOLUTION DUE TO DIRECT IMPACT AND SELF-ACCRETION

    SciTech Connect

    Sepinsky, J. F.; Willems, B.; Kalogera, V.; Rasio, F. A. E-mail: b-willems@northwestern.ed E-mail: rasio@northwestern.ed

    2010-11-20

    The rapid circularization and synchronization of the stellar components in an eccentric binary system at the onset of Roche lobe overflow is a fundamental assumption common to all binary stellar evolution and population synthesis codes, even though the validity of this assumption is questionable both theoretically and observationally. Here we calculate the evolution of the orbital elements of an eccentric binary through the direct three-body integration of a massive particle ejected through the inner Lagrangian point of the donor star at periastron. The trajectory of this particle leads to three possible outcomes: direct accretion onto the companion star within a single orbit, self-accretion back onto the donor star within a single orbit, or a quasi-periodic orbit around the companion star, possibly leading to the formation of a disk. We calculate the secular evolution of the binary orbit in the first two cases and conclude that direct impact accretion can increase as well as decrease the orbital semimajor axis and eccentricity, while self-accretion always decreases the orbital semimajor axis and eccentricity. In cases where mass overflow contributes to circularizing the orbit, circularization can set in on timescales as short as a few percent of the mass-transfer timescale. In cases where mass overflow increases the eccentricity, the orbital evolution is governed by competition between mass overflow and tidal torques. In the absence of tidal torques, mass overflow results in direct impact can lead to substantially subsynchronously rotating donor stars. Contrary to assumptions common in the literature, direct impact accretion furthermore does not always provide a strong sink of orbital angular momentum in close mass-transferring binaries; in fact, we instead find that a significant part can be returned to the orbit during the particle orbit. The formulation presented in this paper together with our previous work can be combined with stellar and binary evolution

  4. Distribution and molecular evolution of bacillus anthracis genotypes in Namibia.

    PubMed

    Beyer, Wolfgang; Bellan, Steve; Eberle, Gisela; Ganz, Holly H; Getz, Wayne M; Haumacher, Renate; Hilss, Karen A; Kilian, Werner; Lazak, Judith; Turner, Wendy C; Turnbull, Peter C B

    2012-01-01

    The recent development of genetic markers for Bacillus anthracis has made it possible to monitor the spread and distribution of this pathogen during and between anthrax outbreaks. In Namibia, anthrax outbreaks occur annually in the Etosha National Park (ENP) and on private game and livestock farms. We genotyped 384 B. anthracis isolates collected between 1983-2010 to identify the possible epidemiological correlations of anthrax outbreaks within and outside the ENP and to analyze genetic relationships between isolates from domestic and wild animals. The isolates came from 20 animal species and from the environment and were genotyped using a 31-marker multi-locus-VNTR-analysis (MLVA) and, in part, by twelve single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and four single nucleotide repeat (SNR) markers. A total of 37 genotypes (GT) were identified by MLVA, belonging to four SNP-groups. All GTs belonged to the A-branch in the cluster- and SNP-analyses. Thirteen GTs were found only outside the ENP, 18 only within the ENP and 6 both inside and outside. Genetic distances between isolates increased with increasing time between isolations. However, genetic distance between isolates at the beginning and end of the study period was relatively small, indicating that while the majority of GTs were only found sporadically, three genetically close GTs, accounting for more than four fifths of all the ENP isolates, appeared dominant throughout the study period. Genetic distances among isolates were significantly greater for isolates from different host species, but this effect was small, suggesting that while species-specific ecological factors may affect exposure processes, transmission cycles in different host species are still highly interrelated. The MLVA data were further used to establish a model of the probable evolution of GTs within the endemic region of the ENP. SNR-analysis was helpful in correlating an isolate with its source but did not elucidate epidemiological

  5. Molecular evolution of GPCRs: Melanocortin/melanocortin receptors.

    PubMed

    Dores, Robert M; Londraville, Richard L; Prokop, Jeremy; Davis, Perry; Dewey, Nathan; Lesinski, Natalie

    2014-06-01

    The melanocortin receptors (MCRs) are a family of G protein-coupled receptors that are activated by melanocortin ligands derived from the proprotein, proopiomelanocortin (POMC). During the radiation of the gnathostomes, the five receptors have become functionally segregated (i.e. melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), pigmentation regulation; MC2R, glucocorticoid synthesis; MC3R and MC4R, energy homeostasis; and MC5R, exocrine gland physiology). A focus of this review is the role that ligand selectivity plays in the hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenal-interrenal (HPA-I) axis of teleosts and tetrapods as a result of the exclusive ligand selectivity of MC2R for the ligand ACTH. A second focal point of this review is the roles that the accessory proteins melanocortin 2 receptor accessory protein 1 (MRAP1) and MRAP2 are playing in, respectively, the HPA-I axis (MC2R) and the regulation of energy homeostasis by neurons in the hypothalamus (MC4R) of teleosts and tetrapods. In addition, observations are presented on trends in the ligand selectivity parameters of cartilaginous fish, teleost, and tetrapod MC1R, MC3R, MC4R, and MC5R paralogs, and the modeling of the HFRW motif of ACTH(1-24) when compared with α-MSH. The radiation of the MCRs during the evolution of the gnathostomes provides examples of how the physiology of endocrine and neuronal circuits can be shaped by ligand selectivity, the intersession of reverse agonists (agouti-related peptides (AGRPs)), and interactions with accessory proteins (MRAPs). PMID:24868105

  6. Direct experimental determination of spectral densities of molecular complexes

    SciTech Connect

    Pachón, Leonardo A.; Brumer, Paul

    2014-11-07

    Determining the spectral density of a molecular system immersed in a proteomic scaffold and in contact to a solvent is a fundamental challenge in the coarse-grained description of, e.g., electron and energy transfer dynamics. Once the spectral density is characterized, all the time scales are captured and no artificial separation between fast and slow processes need to be invoked. Based on the fluorescence Stokes shift function, we utilize a simple and robust strategy to extract the spectral density of a number of molecular complexes from available experimental data. Specifically, we show that experimental data for dye molecules in several solvents, amino acid proteins in water, and some photochemical systems (e.g., rhodopsin and green fluorescence proteins), are well described by a three-parameter family of sub-Ohmic spectral densities that are characterized by a fast initial Gaussian-like decay followed by a slow algebraic-like decay rate at long times.

  7. Direct experimental determination of spectral densities of molecular complexes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pachón, Leonardo A.; Brumer, Paul

    2014-11-01

    Determining the spectral density of a molecular system immersed in a proteomic scaffold and in contact to a solvent is a fundamental challenge in the coarse-grained description of, e.g., electron and energy transfer dynamics. Once the spectral density is characterized, all the time scales are captured and no artificial separation between fast and slow processes need to be invoked. Based on the fluorescence Stokes shift function, we utilize a simple and robust strategy to extract the spectral density of a number of molecular complexes from available experimental data. Specifically, we show that experimental data for dye molecules in several solvents, amino acid proteins in water, and some photochemical systems (e.g., rhodopsin and green fluorescence proteins), are well described by a three-parameter family of sub-Ohmic spectral densities that are characterized by a fast initial Gaussian-like decay followed by a slow algebraic-like decay rate at long times.

  8. Molecular imaging of breast cancer: present and future directions

    PubMed Central

    Alcantara, David; Leal, Manuel Pernia; García-Bocanegra, Irene; García-Martín, Maria L.

    2014-01-01

    Medical imaging technologies have undergone explosive growth over the past few decades and now play a central role in clinical oncology. But the truly transformative power of imaging in the clinical management of cancer patients lies ahead. Today, imaging is at a crossroads, with molecularly targeted imaging agents expected to broadly expand the capabilities of conventional anatomical imaging methods. Molecular imaging will allow clinicians to not only see where a tumor is located in the body, but also to visualize the expression and activity of specific molecules (e.g., proteases and protein kinases) and biological processes (e.g., apoptosis, angiogenesis, and metastasis) that influence tumor behavior and/or response to therapy. Breast cancer, the most common cancer among women and a research area where our group is actively involved, is a very heterogeneous disease with diverse patterns of development and response to treatment. Hence, molecular imaging is expected to have a major impact on this type of cancer, leading to important improvements in diagnosis, individualized treatment, and drug development, as well as our understanding of how breast cancer arises. PMID:25566530

  9. Molecular Imaging of Breast Cancer: Present and future directions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alcantara, David; Pernia Leal, Manuel; Garcia, Irene; Garcia-Martin, Maria Luisa

    2014-12-01

    Medical imaging technologies have undergone explosive growth over the past few decades and now play a central role in clinical oncology. But the truly transformative power of imaging in the clinical management of cancer patients lies ahead. Today, imaging is at a crossroads, with molecularly targeted imaging agents expected to broadly expand the capabilities of conventional anatomical imaging methods. Molecular imaging will allow clinicians to not only see where a tumour is located in the body, but also to visualize the expression and activity of specific molecules (e.g. proteases and protein kinases) and biological processes (e.g. apoptosis, angiogenesis, and metastasis) that influence tumour behavior and/or response to therapy. Breast cancer, the most common cancer among women and a research area where our group is actively involved, is a very heterogeneous disease with diverse patterns of development and response to treatment. Hence, molecular imaging is expected to have a major impact on this type of cancer, leading to important improvements in diagnosis, individualized treatment, and drug development, as well as our understanding of how breast cancer arises.

  10. In Situ Mass Spectrometric Determination of Molecular Structural Evolution at the Solid Electrolyte Interphase in Lithium-Ion Batteries.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Zihua; Zhou, Yufan; Yan, Pengfei; Vemuri, Rama Sesha; Xu, Wu; Zhao, Rui; Wang, Xuelin; Thevuthasan, Suntharampillai; Baer, Donald R; Wang, Chong-Min

    2015-09-01

    Dynamic structural and chemical evolution at solid-liquid electrolyte interface is always a mystery for a rechargeable battery due to the challenge to directly probe a solid-liquid interface under reaction conditions. We describe the creation and usage of in situ liquid secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) for the first time to directly observe the molecular structural evolution at the solid-liquid electrolyte interface for a lithium (Li)-ion battery under dynamic operating conditions. We have discovered that the deposition of Li metal on copper electrode leads to the condensation of solvent molecules around the electrode. Chemically, this layer of solvent condensate tends to be depleted of the salt anions and with reduced concentration of Li(+) ions, essentially leading to the formation of a lean electrolyte layer adjacent to the electrode and therefore contributing to the overpotential of the cell. This observation provides unprecedented molecular level dynamic information on the initial formation of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) layer. The present work also ultimately opens new avenues for implanting the in situ liquid SIMS concept to probe the chemical reaction process that intimately involves solid-liquid interface, such as electrocatalysis, electrodeposition, biofuel conversion, biofilm, and biomineralization. PMID:26287361

  11. Molecular evolution of HR, a gene that regulates the postnatal cycle of the hair follicle

    PubMed Central

    Abbasi, Amir Ali

    2011-01-01

    Hair is a unique mammalian trait that is absent in all other animal forms. Hairlessness is rare in mammals and humans are exceptional among primates in lacking dense layer of hair covering. HR was the first gene identified to be implicated in hair-cycle regulation. Point mutations in HR lead to congenital human hair loss, which results in the complete loss of body and scalp hairs. HR functions are indispensable for initiation of postnatal hair follicular cycling. This study investigates the phylogenetic history and analyzes the protein evolutionary rate to provide useful insight into the molecular evolution of HR. The data demonstrates an acceleration of HR sequence evolution in human branch and suggests that the ability of HR protein to mediate postnatal hair-cycling has been altered in the course of human evolution. In particular those residues were pinpointed which should be regarded as target of positive Darwinian selection during human evolution. PMID:22355551

  12. Molecular activities, biosynthesis and evolution of triterpenoid saponins.

    PubMed

    Augustin, Jörg M; Kuzina, Vera; Andersen, Sven B; Bak, Søren

    2011-04-01

    Saponins are bioactive compounds generally considered to be produced by plants to counteract pathogens and herbivores. Besides their role in plant defense, saponins are of growing interest for drug research as they are active constituents of several folk medicines and provide valuable pharmacological properties. Accordingly, much effort has been put into unraveling the modes of action of saponins, as well as in exploration of their potential for industrial processes and pharmacology. However, the exploitation of saponins for bioengineering crop plants with improved resistances against pests as well as circumvention of laborious and uneconomical extraction procedures for industrial production from plants is hampered by the lack of knowledge and availability of genes in saponin biosynthesis. Although the ability to produce saponins is rather widespread among plants, a complete synthetic pathway has not been elucidated in any single species. Current conceptions consider saponins to be derived from intermediates of the phytosterol pathway, and predominantly enzymes belonging to the multigene families of oxidosqualene cyclases (OSCs), cytochromes P450 (P450s) and family 1 UDP-glycosyltransferases (UGTs) are thought to be involved in their biosynthesis. Formation of unique structural features involves additional biosynthetical enzymes of diverse phylogenetic background. As an example of this, a serine carboxypeptidase-like acyltransferase (SCPL) was recently found to be involved in synthesis of triterpenoid saponins in oats. However, the total number of identified genes in saponin biosynthesis remains low as the complexity and diversity of these multigene families impede gene discovery based on sequence analysis and phylogeny. This review summarizes current knowledge of triterpenoid saponin biosynthesis in plants, molecular activities, evolutionary aspects and perspectives for further gene discovery. PMID:21333312

  13. Molecular systematics and evolution of the Cyanocorax jays.

    PubMed

    Bonaccorso, Elisa; Peterson, A Townsend; Navarro-Sigüenza, Adolfo G; Fleischer, Robert C

    2010-03-01

    Phylogenetic relationships were studied in the genus Cyanocorax (Aves: Corvidae) and related genera, Psilorhinus and Calocitta, a diverse group of New World jays distributed from the southern United States south to Argentina. Although the ecology and behavior of some species in the group have been studied extensively, lack of a molecular phylogeny has precluded rigorous interpretations in an evolutionary framework. Given the diverse combinations of plumage coloration, size, and morphology, the taxonomy of the group has been inconsistent and understanding of biogeographic patterns problematic. Moreover, plumage similarity between two geographically disjuct species, the Tufted jay (Cyanocorax dickeyi) from western Mexico and the White-tailed jay (C. mystacalis) from western Ecuador and Peru, has puzzled ornithologists for decades. Here, a phylogeny of all species in the three genera is presented, based on study of two mitochondrial and three nuclear genes. Phylogenetic trees revealed the non-monophyly of Cyanocorax, and the division of the whole assemblage in two groups: "Clade A" containing Psilorhinus morio, both species in Calocitta,Cyanocorax violaceus, C. caeruleus, C. cristatellus, and C. cyanomelas, and "Clade B" consisting of the remaining species in Cyanocorax. Relationships among species in Clade A were ambiguous and, in general, not well resolved. Within Clade B, analyses revealed the monophyly of the "Cissilopha" jays and showed no evidence for a sister relationship between C. mystacalis and C. dickeyi. The phylogenetic complexity of lineages in the group suggests several complications for the understanding biogeographic patterns, as well as for proposing a taxonomy that is consistent with morphological variation. Although multiple taxonomic arrangements are possible, recommendations are for recognizing only one genus, Cyanocorax, with Psilorhinus and Calocitta as synonyms. PMID:19931623

  14. Reconstructing web evolution and spider diversification in the molecular era

    PubMed Central

    Blackledge, Todd A.; Scharff, Nikolaj; Coddington, Jonathan A.; Szüts, Tamas; Wenzel, John W.; Hayashi, Cheryl Y.; Agnarsson, Ingi

    2009-01-01

    The evolutionary diversification of spiders is attributed to spectacular innovations in silk. Spiders are unique in synthesizing many different kinds of silk, and using silk for a variety of ecological functions throughout their lives, particularly to make prey-catching webs. Here, we construct a broad higher-level phylogeny of spiders combining molecular data with traditional morphological and behavioral characters. We use this phylogeny to test the hypothesis that the spider orb web evolved only once. We then examine spider diversification in relation to different web architectures and silk use. We find strong support for a single origin of orb webs, implying a major shift in the spinning of capture silk and repeated loss or transformation of orb webs. We show that abandonment of costly cribellate capture silk correlates with the 2 major diversification events in spiders (1). Replacement of cribellate silk by aqueous silk glue may explain the greater diversity of modern orb-weaving spiders (Araneoidea) compared with cribellate orb-weaving spiders (Deinopoidea) (2). Within the “RTA clade,” which is the sister group to orb-weaving spiders and contains half of all spider diversity, >90% of species richness is associated with repeated loss of cribellate silk and abandonment of prey capture webs. Accompanying cribellum loss in both groups is a release from substrate-constrained webs, whether by aerially suspended webs, or by abandoning webs altogether. These behavioral shifts in silk and web production by spiders thus likely played a key role in the dramatic evolutionary success and ecological dominance of spiders as predators of insects. PMID:19289848

  15. DNA polymerases engineered by directed evolution to incorporate non-standard nucleotides

    PubMed Central

    Laos, Roberto; Thomson, J. Michael; Benner, Steven A.

    2014-01-01

    DNA polymerases have evolved for billions of years to accept natural nucleoside triphosphate substrates with high fidelity and to exclude closely related structures, such as the analogous ribonucleoside triphosphates. However, polymerases that can accept unnatural nucleoside triphosphates are desired for many applications in biotechnology. The focus of this review is on non-standard nucleotides that expand the genetic “alphabet.” This review focuses on experiments that, by directed evolution, have created variants of DNA polymerases that are better able to accept unnatural nucleotides. In many cases, an analysis of past evolution of these polymerases (as inferred by examining multiple sequence alignments) can help explain some of the mutations delivered by directed evolution. PMID:25400626

  16. Footprints of Directional Selection in Wild Atlantic Salmon Populations: Evidence for Parasite-Driven Evolution?

    PubMed Central

    Zueva, Ksenia J.; Lumme, Jaakko; Veselov, Alexey E.; Kent, Matthew P.; Lien, Sigbjørn; Primmer, Craig R.

    2014-01-01

    Mechanisms of host-parasite co-adaptation have long been of interest in evolutionary biology; however, determining the genetic basis of parasite resistance has been challenging. Current advances in genome technologies provide new opportunities for obtaining a genome-scale view of the action of parasite-driven natural selection in wild populations and thus facilitate the search for specific genomic regions underlying inter-population differences in pathogen response. European populations of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) exhibit natural variance in susceptibility levels to the ectoparasite Gyrodactylus salaris Malmberg 1957, ranging from resistance to extreme susceptibility, and are therefore a good model for studying the evolution of virulence and resistance. However, distinguishing the molecular signatures of genetic drift and environment-associated selection in small populations such as land-locked Atlantic salmon populations presents a challenge, specifically in the search for pathogen-driven selection. We used a novel genome-scan analysis approach that enabled us to i) identify signals of selection in salmon populations affected by varying levels of genetic drift and ii) separate potentially selected loci into the categories of pathogen (G. salaris)-driven selection and selection acting upon other environmental characteristics. A total of 4631 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were screened in Atlantic salmon from 12 different northern European populations. We identified three genomic regions potentially affected by parasite-driven selection, as well as three regions presumably affected by salinity-driven directional selection. Functional annotation of candidate SNPs is consistent with the role of the detected genomic regions in immune defence and, implicitly, in osmoregulation. These results provide new insights into the genetic basis of pathogen susceptibility in Atlantic salmon and will enable future searches for the specific genes involved. PMID

  17. BIOINSPIRED DESIGN AND DIRECTED EVOLUTION OF IRON CONTAINING ENZYMES FOR GREENSYNTHETIC PROCESSES AND BIOREMEDIATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    SU833912
    Title: Bioinspired Design and Directed Evolution of Iron Containing Enzymes for Green Synthetic Processes and BioremediationEdward I. Solomon, Shaun D. Wong, Lei Liu, Caleb B. Bell, IIICynthia Nolt-Helms
    Project Period: August 15, 2008 - August 14,...

  18. Molecular evolution of Bov-B LINEs in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Kordis, D; Gubensek, F

    1999-09-30

    Since their discovery in family Bovidae (bovids), Bov-B LINEs, believed to be order-specific SINEs, have been found in all ruminants and recently also in Viperidae snakes. The distribution and the evolutionary relationships of Bov-B LINEs provide an indication of their origin and evolutionary dynamics in different species. The evolutionary origin of Bov-B LINE elements has been shown unequivocally to be in Squamata (squamates). The horizontal transfer of Bov-B LINE elements in vertebrates has been confirmed by their discontinuous phylogenetic distribution in Squamata (Serpentes and two lizard infra-orders) as well as in Ruminantia, by the high level of nucleotide identity, and by their phylogenetic relationships. The direction of horizontal transfer from Squamata to the ancestor of Ruminantia is evident from the genetic distances and discontinuous phylogenetic distribution of Bov-B LINE elements. The ancestor of Colubroidea snakes has been recognized as a possible donor of Bov-B LINE elements to Ruminantia. The timing of horizontal transfer has been estimated from the distribution of Bov-B LINE elements in Ruminantia and the fossil data of Ruminantia to be 40-50 My ago. The phylogenetic relationships of Bov-B LINE elements from the various Squamata species agrees with that of the species phylogeny, suggesting that Bov-B LINE elements have been stably maintained by vertical transmission since the origin of Squamata in the Mesozoic era. PMID:10570995

  19. Effect of colliding plasmas dynamics, evolution, and stagnation on carbon molecular formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Al-Shboul, Khaled F.

    The major theme of this dissertation is to investigate the dynamics of expanding laser ablation plumes generated in vacuum as well as in the presence of an ambient gas with a special emphasis on the fascinating field of colliding laser plasmas. In order to understand the physical nature of the mechanisms taking place during laser produced plasmas (LPP) evolution like recombination, collisional excitation, and plasma-laser interaction, time-space resolved studies offered the most logical approach. The thesis is divided into eight chapters and a brief description of each chapter is given below. Chapter 1 provides a brief introduction of LPP, its properties, and applications. The chapter also discusses the fundamental theories describing laser-materials interaction and provides a literature survey on colliding plasma. In Chapter 2, the description of experimental methods used for the present work is given. Details of the experimental set up used for the visible emission spectroscopy and optical time of flight, studies are also discussed. Chapter 3 gives a numerical model for estimating basic laser-mater interaction and plasma parameters such as surface temperature, ablation rate, laser absorption by the generated plasma and its temperature and density. Chapter 4 contains a study on the ambient gas effects on nanosecond laser-produced graphite plasma molecular dynamics formation. The results showed weak C 2 emission zone limited to very close distance to the target surface in vacuum conditions. In contrast, C2 formation in the plasma plume was profoundly enhanced in the presence of ambient gas pressure where C 2 intensity oscillations were observed in both axial and radial directions with increasing ambient gas pressure. By studying these oscillations it was concluded that recombination is the major mechanism for C2 formation. In chapter 5, spatio-temporal mappings of ionic, neutral, and molecular species were generated under varied ambient gas pressures conditions for

  20. A Simple, General Result for the Variance of Substitution Number in Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Houchmandzadeh, Bahram; Vallade, Marcel

    2016-01-01

    The number of substitutions (of nucleotides, amino acids, etc.) that take place during the evolution of a sequence is a stochastic variable of fundamental importance in the field of molecular evolution. Although the mean number of substitutions during molecular evolution of a sequence can be estimated for a given substitution model, no simple solution exists for the variance of this random variable. We show in this article that the computation of the variance is as simple as that of the mean number of substitutions for both short and long times. Apart from its fundamental importance, this result can be used to investigate the dispersion index R, that is, the ratio of the variance to the mean substitution number, which is of prime importance in the neutral theory of molecular evolution. By investigating large classes of substitution models, we demonstrate that although R≥1, to obtain R significantly larger than unity necessitates in general additional hypotheses on the structure of the substitution model. PMID:27189545

  1. DNA Re-EvolutioN: a game for learning molecular genetics and evolution.

    PubMed

    Miralles, Laura; Moran, Paloma; Dopico, Eduardo; Garcia-Vazquez, Eva

    2013-01-01

    Evolution is a main concept in biology, but not many students understand how it works. In this article we introduce the game DNA Re-EvolutioN as an active learning tool that uses genetic concepts (DNA structure, transcription and translation, mutations, natural selection, etc.) as playing rules. Students will learn about molecular evolution while playing a game that mixes up theory and entertainment. The game can be easily adapted to different educational levels. The main goal of this play is to arrive at the end of the game with the longest protein. Students play with pawns and dices, a board containing hypothetical events (mutations, selection) that happen to molecules, "Evolution cards" with indications for DNA mutations, prototypes of a DNA and a mRNA chain with colored "nucleotides" (plasticine balls), and small pieces simulating t-RNA with aminoacids that will serve to construct a "protein" based on the DNA chain. Students will understand how changes in DNA affect the final protein product and may be subjected to positive or negative selection, using a didactic tool funnier than classical theory lectures and easier than molecular laboratory experiments: a flexible and feasible game to learn and enjoy molecular evolution at no-cost. The game was tested by majors and non-majors in genetics from 13 different countries and evaluated with pre- and post-tests obtaining very positive results. PMID:24259334

  2. Modelling the chemical evolution of molecular clouds as a function of metallicity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Penteado, E. M.; Cuppen, H. M.; Rocha-Pinto, H. J.

    2014-04-01

    The Galaxy is in continuous elemental evolution. Since new elements produced by dying stars are delivered to the interstellar medium, the formation of new generations of stars and planetary systems is influenced by this metal enrichment. We aim to study the role of the metallicity on the gas phase chemistry of the interstellar medium. Using a system of coupled ordinary differential equations to model the chemical reactions, we simulate the evolution of the abundance of molecules in the gas phase for different initial interstellar elemental compositions. These varying initial elemental compositions consider the change in the `elemental abundances' predicted by a self-consistent model of the elemental evolution of the Galaxy. As far as we are aware, this is the first attempt to combine elemental evolution of the Galaxy and chemical evolution of molecular clouds. The metallicity was found to have a strong effect on the overall gas phase composition. With decreasing metallicity, the number of long carbon chains was found to increase, the time-scale on which small molecular species are increases, and the main form of oxygen changed from O and CO to O2. These effects were found to be mainly due to the change in electron, H_3^+, and atomic oxygen abundance.

  3. Spectral evolution of weakly nonlinear random waves: kinetic description vs direct numerical simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Annenkov, Sergei; Shrira, Victor

    2016-04-01

    We study numerically the long-term evolution of water wave spectra without wind forcing, using three different models, aiming at understanding the role of different sets of assumptions. The first model is the classical Hasselmann kinetic equation (KE). We employ the WRT code kindly provided by G. van Vledder. Two other models are new. As the second model, we use the generalised kinetic equation (gKE), derived without the assumption of quasi-stationarity. Thus, unlike the KE, the gKE is valid in the cases when a wave spectrum is changing rapidly (e.g. at the initial stage of evolution of a narrow spectrum). However, the gKE employs the same statistical closure as the KE. The third model is based on the Zakharov integrodifferential equation for water waves and does not depend on any statistical assumptions. Since the Zakharov equation plays the role of the primitive equation of the theory of wave turbulence, we refer to this model as direct numerical simulation of spectral evolution (DNS-ZE). For initial conditions, we choose two narrow-banded spectra with the same frequency distribution (a JONSWAP spectrum with high peakedness γ = 6) and different degrees of directionality. These spectra are from the set of observations collected in a directional wave tank by Onorato et al (2009). Spectrum A is very narrow in angle (corresponding to N = 840 in the cosN directional model). Spectrum B is initially wider in angle (corresponds to N = 24). Short-term evolution of both spectra (O(102) wave periods) has been studied numerically by Xiao et al (2013) using two other approaches (broad-band modified nonlinear Schrödinger equation and direct numerical simulation based on the high-order spectral method). We use these results to verify the initial stage of our DNS-ZE simulations. However, the advantage of the DNS-ZE method is that it allows to study long-term spectral evolution (up to O(104) periods), which was previously possible only with the KE. In the short-term evolution

  4. A molecular time-scale for eukaryote evolution recalibrated with the continuous microfossil record

    PubMed Central

    Berney, Cédric; Pawlowski, Jan

    2006-01-01

    Recent attempts to establish a molecular time-scale of eukaryote evolution failed to provide a congruent view on the timing of the origin and early diversification of eukaryotes. The major discrepancies in molecular time estimates are related to questions concerning the calibration of the tree. To limit these uncertainties, we used here as a source of calibration points the rich and continuous microfossil record of dinoflagellates, diatoms and coccolithophorids. We calibrated a small-subunit ribosomal RNA tree of eukaryotes with four maximum and 22 minimum time constraints. Using these multiple calibration points in a Bayesian relaxed molecular clock framework, we inferred that the early radiation of eukaryotes occurred near the Mesoproterozoic–Neoproterozoic boundary, about 1100 million years ago. Our results indicate that most Proterozoic fossils of possible eukaryotic origin cannot be confidently assigned to extant lineages and should therefore not be used as calibration points in molecular dating. PMID:16822745

  5. Structure-Directed Exciton Dynamics in Templated Molecular Nanorings

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Conjugated polymers with cyclic structures are interesting because their symmetry leads to unique electronic properties. Recent advances in Vernier templating now allow large shape-persistent fully conjugated porphyrin nanorings to be synthesized, exhibiting unique electronic properties. We examine the impact of different conformations on exciton delocalization and emission depolarization in a range of different porphyrin nanoring topologies with comparable spatial extent. Low photoluminescence anisotropy values are found to occur within the first few hundred femtoseconds after pulsed excitation, suggesting ultrafast delocalization of excitons across the nanoring structures. Molecular dynamics simulations show that further polarization memory loss is caused by out-of-plane distortions associated with twisting and bending of the templated nanoring topologies. PMID:25960822

  6. Direct evidence of the molecular basis for biological silicon transport

    PubMed Central

    Knight, Michael J.; Senior, Laura; Nancolas, Bethany; Ratcliffe, Sarah; Curnow, Paul

    2016-01-01

    Diatoms are an important group of eukaryotic algae with a curious evolutionary innovation: they sheath themselves in a cell wall made largely of silica. The cellular machinery responsible for silicification includes a family of membrane permeases that recognize and actively transport the soluble precursor of biosilica, silicic acid. However, the molecular basis of silicic acid transport remains obscure. Here, we identify experimentally tractable diatom silicic acid transporter (SIT) homologues and study their structure and function in vitro, enabled by the development of a new fluorescence method for studying substrate transport kinetics. We show that recombinant SITs are Na+/silicic acid symporters with a 1:1 protein: substrate stoichiometry and KM for silicic acid of 20 μM. Protein mutagenesis supports the long-standing hypothesis that four conserved GXQ amino acid motifs are important in SIT function. This marks a step towards a detailed understanding of silicon transport with implications for biogeochemistry and bioinspired materials. PMID:27305972

  7. Direct evidence of the molecular basis for biological silicon transport.

    PubMed

    Knight, Michael J; Senior, Laura; Nancolas, Bethany; Ratcliffe, Sarah; Curnow, Paul

    2016-01-01

    Diatoms are an important group of eukaryotic algae with a curious evolutionary innovation: they sheath themselves in a cell wall made largely of silica. The cellular machinery responsible for silicification includes a family of membrane permeases that recognize and actively transport the soluble precursor of biosilica, silicic acid. However, the molecular basis of silicic acid transport remains obscure. Here, we identify experimentally tractable diatom silicic acid transporter (SIT) homologues and study their structure and function in vitro, enabled by the development of a new fluorescence method for studying substrate transport kinetics. We show that recombinant SITs are Na(+)/silicic acid symporters with a 1:1 protein: substrate stoichiometry and KM for silicic acid of 20 μM. Protein mutagenesis supports the long-standing hypothesis that four conserved GXQ amino acid motifs are important in SIT function. This marks a step towards a detailed understanding of silicon transport with implications for biogeochemistry and bioinspired materials. PMID:27305972

  8. Direct molecular simulation of nitrogen dissociation based on an ab initio potential energy surface

    SciTech Connect

    Valentini, Paolo Schwartzentruber, Thomas E. Bender, Jason D. Nompelis, Ioannis Candler, Graham V.

    2015-08-15

    The direct molecular simulation (DMS) approach is used to predict the internal energy relaxation and dissociation dynamics of high-temperature nitrogen. An ab initio potential energy surface (PES) is used to calculate the dynamics of two interacting nitrogen molecules by providing forces between the four atoms. In the near-equilibrium limit, it is shown that DMS reproduces the results obtained from well-established quasiclassical trajectory (QCT) analysis, verifying the validity of the approach. DMS is used to predict the vibrational relaxation time constant for N{sub 2}–N{sub 2} collisions and its temperature dependence, which are in close agreement with existing experiments and theory. Using both QCT and DMS with the same PES, we find that dissociation significantly depletes the upper vibrational energy levels. As a result, across a wide temperature range, the dissociation rate is found to be approximately 4–5 times lower compared to the rates computed using QCT with Boltzmann energy distributions. DMS calculations predict a quasi-steady-state distribution of rotational and vibrational energies in which the rate of depletion of high-energy states due to dissociation is balanced by their rate of repopulation due to collisional processes. The DMS approach simulates the evolution of internal energy distributions and their coupling to dissociation without the need to precompute rates or cross sections for all possible energy transitions. These benchmark results could be used to develop new computational fluid dynamics models for high-enthalpy flow applications.

  9. Origin of the Directed Movement of Protocells in the Early Stages of the Evolution of Life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Melkikh, Alexey V.; Chesnokova, Oksana I.

    2012-08-01

    The origin of the directed motion of protocells during the early stages of evolution was discussed. The expenditures for movement, space orientation, and reception of information about the environment were taken into consideration, and it was shown that directed movement is evolutionarily advantageous in the following cases: when opposite gradients of different resources (for example, matter and energy) are great enough and when there is a rapid change in environmental parameters. It was also shown that the advantage of directed movement strategies depends greatly on how information about the environment is obtained by a protocell.

  10. Origin of the directed movement of protocells in the early stages of the evolution of life.

    PubMed

    Melkikh, Alexey V; Chesnokova, Oksana I

    2012-08-01

    The origin of the directed motion of protocells during the early stages of evolution was discussed. The expenditures for movement, space orientation, and reception of information about the environment were taken into consideration, and it was shown that directed movement is evolutionarily advantageous in the following cases: when opposite gradients of different resources (for example, matter and energy) are great enough and when there is a rapid change in environmental parameters. It was also shown that the advantage of directed movement strategies depends greatly on how information about the environment is obtained by a protocell. PMID:22772806

  11. Directed evolution of phenylacetone monooxygenase as an active catalyst for the Baeyer-Villiger conversion of cyclohexanone to caprolactone.

    PubMed

    Parra, Loreto P; Acevedo, Juan P; Reetz, Manfred T

    2015-07-01

    Phenylacetone monooxygenase (PAMO) is an exceptionally robust Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenase, which makes it ideal for potential industrial applications. However, its substrate scope is limited, unreactive cyclohexanone being a prominent example. Such a limitation is unfortunate, because this particular transformation in an ecologically viable manner would be highly desirable, the lactone and the respective lactam being of considerable interest as monomers in polymer science. We have applied directed evolution in search of an active mutant for this valuable C-C activating reaction. Using iterative saturation mutagenesis (ISM), several active mutants were evolved, with only a minimal trade-off in terms of stability. The best mutants allow for quantitative conversion of 2 mM cyclohexanone within 1 h reaction time. In order to circumvent the NADP(+) regeneration problem, whole E. coli resting cells were successfully applied. Molecular dynamics simulations and induced fit docking throw light on the origin of enhanced PAMO activity. The PAMO mutants constitute ideal starting points for future directed evolution optimization necessary for an industrial process. PMID:25675885

  12. Morphological and Molecular Evolution Are Not Linked in Lamellodiscus (Plathyhelminthes, Monogenea)

    PubMed Central

    Poisot, Timothée; Verneau, Olivier; Desdevises, Yves

    2011-01-01

    Lamellodiscus Johnston & Tiegs 1922 (Monogenea, Diplectanidae) is a genus of common parasites on the gills of sparid fishes. Here we show that this genus is probably undergoing a fast molecular diversification, as reflected by the important genetic variability observed within three molecular markers (partial nuclear 18S rDNA, Internal Transcribed Spacer 1, and mitonchondrial Cytochrome Oxidase I). Using an updated phylogeny of this genus, we show that molecular and morphological evolution are weakly correlated, and that most of the morphologically defined taxonomical units are not consistent with the molecular data. We suggest that Lamellodiscus morphology is probably constrained by strong environmental (host-induced) pressure, and discuss why this result can apply to other taxa. Genetic variability within nuclear 18S and mitochondrial COI genes are compared for several monogenean genera, as this measure may reflect the level of diversification within a genus. Overall our results suggest that cryptic speciation events may occur within Lamellodiscus, and discuss the links between morphological and molecular evolution. PMID:22022582

  13. The pattern of mammalian evolution and the relative rate of molecular evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Easteal, S. )

    1990-01-01

    The rates of nucleotide substitution at four genes in four orders of eutherian mammals are compared in relative rate tests using marsupial orthologs for reference. There is no evidence of systematic variation in evolutionary rate among the orders. The sequences are used to reconstruct the phylogeny of the orders using maximum likelihood, parsimony and compatibility methods. A branching order of rodent then ungulate then primate and lagomorph is overwhelmingly indicated. The nodes of the nucleotide based cladograms are widely separated in relation to the total lengths of the branches. The assumption of a star phylogeny that underlies Kimura's test for molecular evolutionary rate variation is shown to be invalid for eutherian mammals. Excess variance in nucleotide or amino acid differences between mammalian orders, above that predicted by neutral theory is explained better by variation in divergence time than by variation in evolutionary rate.

  14. Directed evolution of a sphingomyelin flippase reveals mechanism of substrate backbone discrimination by a P4-ATPase.

    PubMed

    Roland, Bartholomew P; Graham, Todd R

    2016-08-01

    Phospholipid flippases in the type IV P-type ATPase (P4-ATPases) family establish membrane asymmetry and play critical roles in vesicular transport, cell polarity, signal transduction, and neurologic development. All characterized P4-ATPases flip glycerophospholipids across the bilayer to the cytosolic leaflet of the membrane, but how these enzymes distinguish glycerophospholipids from sphingolipids is not known. We used a directed evolution approach to examine the molecular mechanisms through which P4-ATPases discriminate substrate backbone. A mutagenesis screen in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has identified several gain-of-function mutations in the P4-ATPase Dnf1 that facilitate the transport of a novel lipid substrate, sphingomyelin. We found that a highly conserved asparagine (N220) in the first transmembrane segment is a key enforcer of glycerophospholipid selection, and specific substitutions at this site allow transport of sphingomyelin. PMID:27432949

  15. Directed evolution of G protein-coupled receptors in yeast for higher functional production in eukaryotic expression hosts

    PubMed Central

    Schütz, Marco; Schöppe, Jendrik; Sedlák, Erik; Hillenbrand, Matthias; Nagy-Davidescu, Gabriela; Ehrenmann, Janosch; Klenk, Christoph; Egloff, Pascal; Kummer, Lutz; Plückthun, Andreas

    2016-01-01

    Despite recent successes, many G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) remained refractory to detailed molecular studies due to insufficient production yields, even in the most sophisticated eukaryotic expression systems. Here we introduce a robust method employing directed evolution of GPCRs in yeast that allows fast and efficient generation of receptor variants which show strongly increased functional production levels in eukaryotic expression hosts. Shown by evolving three different receptors in this study, the method is widely applicable, even for GPCRs which are very difficult to express. The evolved variants showed up to a 26-fold increase of functional production in insect cells compared to the wild-type receptors. Next to the increased production, the obtained variants exhibited improved biophysical properties, while functional properties remained largely unaffected. Thus, the presented method broadens the portfolio of GPCRs accessible for detailed investigations. Interestingly, the functional production of GPCRs in yeast can be further increased by induced host adaptation. PMID:26911446

  16. Directed evolution of G protein-coupled receptors in yeast for higher functional production in eukaryotic expression hosts.

    PubMed

    Schütz, Marco; Schöppe, Jendrik; Sedlák, Erik; Hillenbrand, Matthias; Nagy-Davidescu, Gabriela; Ehrenmann, Janosch; Klenk, Christoph; Egloff, Pascal; Kummer, Lutz; Plückthun, Andreas

    2016-01-01

    Despite recent successes, many G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) remained refractory to detailed molecular studies due to insufficient production yields, even in the most sophisticated eukaryotic expression systems. Here we introduce a robust method employing directed evolution of GPCRs in yeast that allows fast and efficient generation of receptor variants which show strongly increased functional production levels in eukaryotic expression hosts. Shown by evolving three different receptors in this study, the method is widely applicable, even for GPCRs which are very difficult to express. The evolved variants showed up to a 26-fold increase of functional production in insect cells compared to the wild-type receptors. Next to the increased production, the obtained variants exhibited improved biophysical properties, while functional properties remained largely unaffected. Thus, the presented method broadens the portfolio of GPCRs accessible for detailed investigations. Interestingly, the functional production of GPCRs in yeast can be further increased by induced host adaptation. PMID:26911446

  17. Directed Evolution of Proteins through In Vitro Protein Synthesis in Liposomes

    PubMed Central

    Nishikawa, Takehiro; Sunami, Takeshi; Matsuura, Tomoaki; Yomo, Tetsuya

    2012-01-01

    Directed evolution of proteins is a technique used to modify protein functions through “Darwinian selection.” In vitro compartmentalization (IVC) is an in vitro gene screening system for directed evolution of proteins. IVC establishes the link between genetic information (genotype) and the protein translated from the information (phenotype), which is essential for all directed evolution methods, by encapsulating both in a nonliving microcompartment. Herein, we introduce a new liposome-based IVC system consisting of a liposome, the protein synthesis using recombinant elements (PURE) system and a fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS) used as a microcompartment, in vitro protein synthesis system, and high-throughput screen, respectively. Liposome-based IVC is characterized by in vitro protein synthesis from a single copy of a gene in a cell-sized unilamellar liposome and quantitative functional evaluation of the synthesized proteins. Examples of liposome-based IVC for screening proteins such as GFP and β-glucuronidase are described. We discuss the future directions for this method and its applications. PMID:22957209

  18. Molecular dynamics study of nanoparticle evolution in a background gas under laser ablation conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gouriet, K.; Zhigilei, L. V.; Itina, T. E.

    2009-03-01

    Long-time evolution of nanoparticles produced by short laser interactions is investigated for different materials. To better understand the mechanisms of the nanoparticle formation at a microscopic level, we use molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to analyse the evolution of a cluster in the presence of a background gas with different parameters (density and temperature). In particular, we compare the simulation results obtained for materials with different interaction potentials (Morse, Lennard-Jones, and Embedded Atom Model). Attention is focused on the evaporation and condensation processes of a cluster with different size and initial temperature. As a result of the MD calculations, we determinate the influence of both cluster properties and background gas parameters on the nanoparticle evolution. The role of the interaction potential is discussed based on the results of the simulations.

  19. Synthetic biology for the directed evolution of protein biocatalysts: navigating sequence space intelligently

    PubMed Central

    Currin, Andrew; Swainston, Neil; Day, Philip J.

    2015-01-01

    The amino acid sequence of a protein affects both its structure and its function. Thus, the ability to modify the sequence, and hence the structure and activity, of individual proteins in a systematic way, opens up many opportunities, both scientifically and (as we focus on here) for exploitation in biocatalysis. Modern methods of synthetic biology, whereby increasingly large sequences of DNA can be synthesised de novo, allow an unprecedented ability to engineer proteins with novel functions. However, the number of possible proteins is far too large to test individually, so we need means for navigating the ‘search space’ of possible protein sequences efficiently and reliably in order to find desirable activities and other properties. Enzymologists distinguish binding (K d) and catalytic (k cat) steps. In a similar way, judicious strategies have blended design (for binding, specificity and active site modelling) with the more empirical methods of classical directed evolution (DE) for improving k cat (where natural evolution rarely seeks the highest values), especially with regard to residues distant from the active site and where the functional linkages underpinning enzyme dynamics are both unknown and hard to predict. Epistasis (where the ‘best’ amino acid at one site depends on that or those at others) is a notable feature of directed evolution. The aim of this review is to highlight some of the approaches that are being developed to allow us to use directed evolution to improve enzyme properties, often dramatically. We note that directed evolution differs in a number of ways from natural evolution, including in particular the available mechanisms and the likely selection pressures. Thus, we stress the opportunities afforded by techniques that enable one to map sequence to (structure and) activity in silico, as an effective means of modelling and exploring protein landscapes. Because known landscapes may be assessed and reasoned about as a whole

  20. A new model for biological effects of radiation and the driven force of molecular evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wada, Takahiro; Manabe, Yuichiro; Nakajima, Hiroo; Tsunoyama, Yuichi; Bando, Masako

    We proposed a new mathematical model to estimate biological effects of radiation, which we call Whack-A-Mole (WAM) model. A special feature of WAM model is that it involves the dose rate of radiation as a key ingredient. We succeeded to reproduce the experimental data of various species concerning the radiation induced mutation frequencies. From the analysis of the mega-mouse experiments, we obtained the mutation rate per base-pair per year for mice which is consistent with the so-called molecular clock in evolution genetics, 10-9 mutation/base-pair/year. Another important quantity is the equivalent dose rate for the whole spontaneous mutation, deff. The value of deff for mice is 1.1*10-3 Gy/hour which is much larger than the dose rate of natural radiation (10- (6 - 7) Gy/hour) by several orders of magnitude. We also analyzed Drosophila data and obtained essentially the same numbers. This clearly indicates that the natural radiation is not the dominant driving force of the molecular evolution, but we should look for other factors, such as miscopy of DNA in duplication process. We believe this is the first quantitative proof of the small contribution of the natural radiation in the molecular evolution.

  1. Molecular evolution of H9N2 avian influenza viruses in Israel.

    PubMed

    Davidson, Irit; Fusaro, Alice; Heidari, Alireza; Monne, Isabella; Cattoli, Giovanni

    2014-06-01

    While the previous phylogenetic analyses of AIV H9N2 in Israel had mainly focused on phylogenetics and on describing different virus introductions into the country, for the first time, the H9N2-HA gene evolutionary history has been examined taking into account its origin, evolution and phylodynamics. The present study reveals the Israeli H9N2 molecular evolution rate, the virus molecular clock and skyline plot. The molecular skyline plot showed two major increments in population diversity sizes, the first which had occurred in 2003, the second between the end of 2007 and the first half of 2008. Between 2004 and 2007 the population size had proved to be constant. The two peaks correspond to the appearance of the 3rd and 4th major genetic groups, as well as to the introduction of two H9N2 vaccines. The mean evolution rate was 6.123 E-3 substitutions/site/year, typical of avian influenza viruses. The time interval from the most recent common ancestor was 12.3 years, corresponding to the year 2000, when H9N2 was first isolated in Israel. PMID:24469467

  2. Molecular Evolution of the Substrate Specificity of Chloroplastic Aldolases/Rubisco Lysine Methyltransferases in Plants.

    PubMed

    Ma, Sheng; Martin-Laffon, Jacqueline; Mininno, Morgane; Gigarel, Océane; Brugière, Sabine; Bastien, Olivier; Tardif, Marianne; Ravanel, Stéphane; Alban, Claude

    2016-04-01

    Rubisco and fructose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolases (FBAs) are involved in CO2 fixation in chloroplasts. Both enzymes are trimethylated at a specific lysine residue by the chloroplastic protein methyltransferase LSMT. Genes coding LSMT are present in all plant genomes but the methylation status of the substrates varies in a species-specific manner. For example, chloroplastic FBAs are naturally trimethylated in both Pisum sativum and Arabidopsis thaliana, whereas the Rubisco large subunit is trimethylated only in the former species. The in vivo methylation status of aldolases and Rubisco matches the catalytic properties of AtLSMT and PsLSMT, which are able to trimethylate FBAs or FBAs and Rubisco, respectively. Here, we created chimera and site-directed mutants of monofunctional AtLSMT and bifunctional PsLSMT to identify the molecular determinants responsible for substrate specificity. Our results indicate that the His-Ala/Pro-Trp triad located in the central part of LSMT enzymes is the key motif to confer the capacity to trimethylate Rubisco. Two of the critical residues are located on a surface loop outside the methyltransferase catalytic site. We observed a strict correlation between the presence of the triad motif and the in vivo methylation status of Rubisco. The distribution of the motif into a phylogenetic tree further suggests that the ancestral function of LSMT was FBA trimethylation. In a recent event during higher plant evolution, this function evolved in ancestors of Fabaceae, Cucurbitaceae, and Rosaceae to include Rubisco as an additional substrate to the archetypal enzyme. Our study provides insight into mechanisms by which SET-domain protein methyltransferases evolve new substrate specificity. PMID:26785049

  3. Molecular Hydrogen in the Direction of ζ Orionis A

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jenkins, Edward B.; Peimbert, Antonio

    1997-03-01

    A spectrum of ζ Ori A over the wavelength interval 950-1150 Å recorded by the Interstellar Medium Absorption Profile Spectrograph (IMAPS) on the ORFEUS-SPAS I mission shows Lyman and Werner band absorption features from molecular hydrogen in rotational levels J = 0, 1, 2, 3, and 5. Most of the molecules are found in two distinct velocity components. One is at a heliocentric radial velocity of about -1 km s-1 with log N(H2) = 14.5 and a rotational temperature Trot = 950 K, while the other is at +25 km s-1 with log N(H2) = 15.9 and Trot = 320 K. Some extra H2 exists in a much weaker component [log N(H2) = 14.0] between the two main peaks. The H2 component at -1 km s-1 exhibits profile shapes that become broader and show small displacements toward more negative velocities as J increases. These changes are inconsistent with a simple interpretation that UV optical pumping in an optically thin, uniform medium creates the H2 in excited rotational levels. Differential shielding of the UV radiation at certain velocities does not appear to be a satisfactory explanation for the effect. Evidence from atomic features at other velocities may offer some insight into the origin of this unusual behavior exhibited by the H2 profiles. Absorption features from moderately ionized atoms at -94 km s-1 and more highly ionized species at about -36 km s-1 suggest that along the line of sight to ζ Ori A, there may be a standing bow shock with an initial compression ratio of 2.6. This shock is probably created when a negative-velocity gas flow collides with an obstruction, in this case a neutral cloud at 0 km s-1. If this interpretation is correct, the H2 with the changing profiles may represent molecules forming in the postshock gas that is undergoing further compression as it recombines and cools. We suggest that molecules can form initially by associative detachment of H- in a moving, warm, partly ionized medium behind the front. The H2 in this area is most conspicuous in the higher J

  4. Light-powered autonomous and directional molecular motion of a dissipative self-assembling system.

    PubMed

    Ragazzon, Giulio; Baroncini, Massimo; Silvi, Serena; Venturi, Margherita; Credi, Alberto

    2015-01-01

    Biomolecular motors convert energy into directed motion and operate away from thermal equilibrium. The development of dynamic chemical systems that exploit dissipative (non-equilibrium) processes is a challenge in supramolecular chemistry and a premise for the realization of artificial nanoscale motors. Here, we report the relative unidirectional transit of a non-symmetric molecular axle through a macrocycle powered solely by light. The molecular machine rectifies Brownian fluctuations by energy and information ratchet mechanisms and can repeat its working cycle under photostationary conditions. The system epitomizes the conceptual and practical elements forming the basis of autonomous light-powered directed motion with a minimalist molecular design. PMID:25420035

  5. Expanding the Nucleotide and Sugar 1-Phosphate Promiscuity of Nucleotidyltransferase RmlA via Directed Evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Moretti, Rocco; Chang, Aram; Peltier-Pain, Pauline; Bingman, Craig A.; Phillips, Jr., George N.; Thorson, Jon S.

    2012-03-15

    Directed evolution is a valuable technique to improve enzyme activity in the absence of a priori structural knowledge, which can be typically enhanced via structure-guided strategies. In this study, a combination of both whole-gene error-prone polymerase chain reaction and site-saturation mutagenesis enabled the rapid identification of mutations that improved RmlA activity toward non-native substrates. These mutations have been shown to improve activities over 10-fold for several targeted substrates, including non-native pyrimidine- and purine-based NTPs as well as non-native d- and l-sugars (both a- and b-isomers). This study highlights the first broadly applicable high throughput sugar-1-phosphate nucleotidyltransferase screen and the first proof of concept for the directed evolution of this enzyme class toward the identification of uniquely permissive RmlA variants.

  6. Enzymes useful for chiral compound synthesis: structural biology, directed evolution, and protein engineering for industrial use.

    PubMed

    Kataoka, Michihiko; Miyakawa, Takuya; Shimizu, Sakayu; Tanokura, Masaru

    2016-07-01

    Biocatalysts (enzymes) have many advantages as catalysts for the production of useful compounds as compared to chemical catalysts. The stereoselectivity of the enzymes is one advantage, and thus the stereoselective production of chiral compounds using enzymes is a promising approach. Importantly, industrial application of the enzymes for chiral compound production requires the discovery of a novel useful enzyme or enzyme function; furthermore, improving the enzyme properties through protein engineering and directed evolution approaches is significant. In this review, the significance of several enzymes showing stereoselectivity (quinuclidinone reductase, aminoalcohol dehydrogenase, old yellow enzyme, and threonine aldolase) in chiral compound production is described, and the improvement of these enzymes using protein engineering and directed evolution approaches for further usability is discussed. Currently, enzymes are widely used as catalysts for the production of chiral compounds; however, for further use of enzymes in chiral compound production, improvement of enzymes should be more essential, as well as discovery of novel enzymes and enzyme functions. PMID:27188776

  7. High Capsid–Genome Correlation Facilitates Creation of AAV Libraries for Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Nonnenmacher, Mathieu; van Bakel, Harm; Hajjar, Roger J; Weber, Thomas

    2015-01-01

    Directed evolution of adeno-associated virus (AAV) through successive rounds of phenotypic selection is a powerful method to isolate variants with improved properties from large libraries of capsid mutants. Importantly, AAV libraries used for directed evolution are based on the “natural” AAV genome organization where the capsid proteins are encoded in cis from replicating genomes. This is necessary to allow the recovery of the capsid DNA after each step of phenotypic selection. For directed evolution to be used successfully, it is essential to minimize the random mixing of capsomers and the encapsidation of nonmatching viral genomes during the production of the viral libraries. Here, we demonstrate that multiple AAV capsid variants expressed from Rep/Cap containing viral genomes result in near-homogeneous capsids that display an unexpectedly high capsid–DNA correlation. Next-generation sequencing of AAV progeny generated by bulk transfection of a semi-random peptide library showed a strong counter-selection of capsid variants encoding premature stop codons, which further supports a strong capsid–genome identity correlation. Overall, our observations demonstrate that production of “natural” AAVs results in low capsid mosaicism and high capsid–genome correlation. These unique properties allow the production of highly diverse AAV libraries in a one-step procedure with a minimal loss in phenotype–genotype correlation. PMID:25586687

  8. Evolution of egoism on semi-directed and undirected Barabási-Albert networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lima, F. W. S.

    2015-05-01

    Through Monte Carlo simulations, we study the evolution of the four strategies: Ethnocentric, altruistic, egoistic and cosmopolitan in one community of individuals. Interactions and reproduction among computational agents are simulated on undirected and semi-directed Barabási-Albert (BA) networks. We study the Hammond-Axelrod (HA) model on undirected and semi-directed BA networks for the asexual reproduction case. With a small modification in the traditional HA model, our simulations showed that egoism wins, differently from other results found in the literature where ethnocentric strategy is common. Here, mechanisms such as reciprocity are absent.

  9. An Overview of the Evolution of Direct Cholangioscopy Techniques for Diagnosis and Therapy

    PubMed Central

    Voaklander, Rebecca; Kim, Eileen; Brown, William H.; Kasmin, Franklin E.

    2016-01-01

    Direct examination of the biliary tree with endoscopes has been a challenge since endoscopists began performing endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) in the late 1960s. Previously, surgeons had used rigid instruments intraoperatively, which made examination difficult. The first direct cholangioscopy performed by an endoscopist was likely unintentionally done in a patient with postsurgical anatomy. Indirect imaging, ERCP, and percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography are helpful modalities for examining the biliary tree, but they are limited procedures, particularly with regard to the evaluation and treatment of strictures and bile duct stones. This article reviews the history and evolution of direct cholangioscopy since the advent of flexible endoscopes. Additionally, the article describes a new single-operator cholan-gioscopy technique for direct visualization of the biliary tree for diagnosis and intervention. There remains opportunity for innovation as endoscopists strive for safe and less-invasive methods for the identification and treatment of biliary pathology. PMID:27489525

  10. Nuclear Architecture and Patterns of Molecular Evolution Are Correlated in the Ciliate Chilodonella uncinata.

    PubMed

    Maurer-Alcalá, Xyrus X; Katz, Laura A

    2016-01-01

    The relationship between nuclear architecture and patterns of molecular evolution in lineages across the eukaryotic tree of life is not well understood, partly because molecular evolution is traditionally explored as changes in base pairs along a linear sequence without considering the context of nuclear position of chromosomes. The ciliate Chilodonella uncinata is an ideal system to address the relationship between nuclear architecture and patterns of molecular evolution as the somatic macronucleus of this ciliate is composed of a peripheral DNA-rich area (orthomere) and a DNA-poor central region (paramere) to form a "heteromeric" macronucleus. Moreover, because the somatic chromosomes of C. uncinata are highly processed into "gene-sized" chromosomes (i.e., nanochromosomes), we can assess fine-scale relationships between location and sequence evolution. By combining fluorescence microscopy and analyses of transcriptome data from C. uncinata, we find that highly expressed genes have the greatest codon usage bias and are enriched in DNA-poor regions. In contrast, genes with less biased sequences tend to be concentrated in DNA abundant areas, at least during vegetative growth. Our analyses are consistent with recent work in plants and animals where nuclear architecture plays a role in gene expression. At the same time, the unusual localization of nanochromosomes suggests that the highly structured nucleus in C. uncinata may create a "gene bank" that facilitates rapid changes in expression of genes required only in specific life history stages. By using "nonmodel" organisms like C. uncinata, we can explore the universality of eukaryotic features while also providing examples of novel properties (i.e., the presence of a gene bank) that build from these features. PMID:27189988

  11. From the ultrasonic to the infrared: molecular evolution and the sensory biology of bats.

    PubMed

    Jones, Gareth; Teeling, Emma C; Rossiter, Stephen J

    2013-01-01

    Great advances have been made recently in understanding the genetic basis of the sensory biology of bats. Research has focused on the molecular evolution of candidate sensory genes, genes with known functions [e.g., olfactory receptor (OR) genes] and genes identified from mutations associated with sensory deficits (e.g., blindness and deafness). For example, the FoxP2 gene, underpinning vocal behavior and sensorimotor coordination, has undergone diversification in bats, while several genes associated with audition show parallel amino acid substitutions in unrelated lineages of echolocating bats and, in some cases, in echolocating dolphins, representing a classic case of convergent molecular evolution. Vision genes encoding the photopigments rhodopsin and the long-wave sensitive opsin are functional in bats, while that encoding the short-wave sensitive opsin has lost functionality in rhinolophoid bats using high-duty cycle laryngeal echolocation, suggesting a sensory trade-off between investment in vision and echolocation. In terms of olfaction, bats appear to have a distinctive OR repertoire compared with other mammals, and a gene involved in signal transduction in the vomeronasal system has become non-functional in most bat species. Bitter taste receptors appear to have undergone a "birth-and death" evolution involving extensive gene duplication and loss, unlike genes coding for sweet and umami tastes that show conservation across most lineages but loss in vampire bats. Common vampire bats have also undergone adaptations for thermoperception, via alternative splicing resulting in the evolution of a novel heat-sensitive channel. The future for understanding the molecular basis of sensory biology is promising, with great potential for comparative genomic analyses, studies on gene regulation and expression, exploration of the role of alternative splicing in the generation of proteomic diversity, and linking genetic mechanisms to behavioral consequences. PMID:23755015

  12. From the ultrasonic to the infrared: molecular evolution and the sensory biology of bats

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Gareth; Teeling, Emma C.; Rossiter, Stephen J.

    2013-01-01

    Great advances have been made recently in understanding the genetic basis of the sensory biology of bats. Research has focused on the molecular evolution of candidate sensory genes, genes with known functions [e.g., olfactory receptor (OR) genes] and genes identified from mutations associated with sensory deficits (e.g., blindness and deafness). For example, the FoxP2 gene, underpinning vocal behavior and sensorimotor coordination, has undergone diversification in bats, while several genes associated with audition show parallel amino acid substitutions in unrelated lineages of echolocating bats and, in some cases, in echolocating dolphins, representing a classic case of convergent molecular evolution. Vision genes encoding the photopigments rhodopsin and the long-wave sensitive opsin are functional in bats, while that encoding the short-wave sensitive opsin has lost functionality in rhinolophoid bats using high-duty cycle laryngeal echolocation, suggesting a sensory trade-off between investment in vision and echolocation. In terms of olfaction, bats appear to have a distinctive OR repertoire compared with other mammals, and a gene involved in signal transduction in the vomeronasal system has become non-functional in most bat species. Bitter taste receptors appear to have undergone a “birth-and death” evolution involving extensive gene duplication and loss, unlike genes coding for sweet and umami tastes that show conservation across most lineages but loss in vampire bats. Common vampire bats have also undergone adaptations for thermoperception, via alternative splicing resulting in the evolution of a novel heat-sensitive channel. The future for understanding the molecular basis of sensory biology is promising, with great potential for comparative genomic analyses, studies on gene regulation and expression, exploration of the role of alternative splicing in the generation of proteomic diversity, and linking genetic mechanisms to behavioral consequences. PMID

  13. Nuclear Architecture and Patterns of Molecular Evolution Are Correlated in the Ciliate Chilodonella uncinata

    PubMed Central

    Maurer-Alcalá, Xyrus X.; Katz, Laura A.

    2016-01-01

    The relationship between nuclear architecture and patterns of molecular evolution in lineages across the eukaryotic tree of life is not well understood, partly because molecular evolution is traditionally explored as changes in base pairs along a linear sequence without considering the context of nuclear position of chromosomes. The ciliate Chilodonella uncinata is an ideal system to address the relationship between nuclear architecture and patterns of molecular evolution as the somatic macronucleus of this ciliate is composed of a peripheral DNA-rich area (orthomere) and a DNA-poor central region (paramere) to form a “heteromeric” macronucleus. Moreover, because the somatic chromosomes of C. uncinata are highly processed into “gene-sized” chromosomes (i.e., nanochromosomes), we can assess fine-scale relationships between location and sequence evolution. By combining fluorescence microscopy and analyses of transcriptome data from C. uncinata, we find that highly expressed genes have the greatest codon usage bias and are enriched in DNA-poor regions. In contrast, genes with less biased sequences tend to be concentrated in DNA abundant areas, at least during vegetative growth. Our analyses are consistent with recent work in plants and animals where nuclear architecture plays a role in gene expression. At the same time, the unusual localization of nanochromosomes suggests that the highly structured nucleus in C. uncinata may create a “gene bank” that facilitates rapid changes in expression of genes required only in specific life history stages. By using “nonmodel” organisms like C. uncinata, we can explore the universality of eukaryotic features while also providing examples of novel properties (i.e., the presence of a gene bank) that build from these features. PMID:27189988

  14. Reversing the direction in a light-driven rotary molecular motor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruangsupapichat, Nopporn; Pollard, Michael M.; Harutyunyan, Syuzanna R.; Feringa, Ben L.

    2011-01-01

    Biological rotary motors can alter their mechanical function by changing the direction of rotary motion. Achieving a similar reversal of direction of rotation in artificial molecular motors presents a fundamental stereochemical challenge: how to change from clockwise to anticlockwise motion without compromising the autonomous unidirectional rotary behaviour of the system. A new molecular motor with multilevel control of rotary motion is reported here, in which the direction of light-powered rotation can be reversed by base-catalysed epimerization. The key steps are deprotonation and reprotonation of the photochemically generated less-stable isomers during the 360° unidirectional rotary cycle, with complete inversion of the configuration at the stereogenic centre. The ability to change directionality is an essential step towards mechanical molecular systems with adaptive functional behaviour.

  15. Molecular representation of molar domain (volume), evolution equations, and linear constitutive relations for volume transport.

    PubMed

    Eu, Byung Chan

    2008-09-01

    In the traditional theories of irreversible thermodynamics and fluid mechanics, the specific volume and molar volume have been interchangeably used for pure fluids, but in this work we show that they should be distinguished from each other and given distinctive statistical mechanical representations. In this paper, we present a general formula for the statistical mechanical representation of molecular domain (volume or space) by using the Voronoi volume and its mean value that may be regarded as molar domain (volume) and also the statistical mechanical representation of volume flux. By using their statistical mechanical formulas, the evolution equations of volume transport are derived from the generalized Boltzmann equation of fluids. Approximate solutions of the evolution equations of volume transport provides kinetic theory formulas for the molecular domain, the constitutive equations for molar domain (volume) and volume flux, and the dissipation of energy associated with volume transport. Together with the constitutive equation for the mean velocity of the fluid obtained in a previous paper, the evolution equations for volume transport not only shed a fresh light on, and insight into, irreversible phenomena in fluids but also can be applied to study fluid flow problems in a manner hitherto unavailable in fluid dynamics and irreversible thermodynamics. Their roles in the generalized hydrodynamics will be considered in the sequel. PMID:19044872

  16. Molecular evolution of the capsid gene in human norovirus genogroup II.

    PubMed

    Kobayashi, Miho; Matsushima, Yuki; Motoya, Takumi; Sakon, Naomi; Shigemoto, Naoki; Okamoto-Nakagawa, Reiko; Nishimura, Koichi; Yamashita, Yasutaka; Kuroda, Makoto; Saruki, Nobuhiro; Ryo, Akihide; Saraya, Takeshi; Morita, Yukio; Shirabe, Komei; Ishikawa, Mariko; Takahashi, Tomoko; Shinomiya, Hiroto; Okabe, Nobuhiko; Nagasawa, Koo; Suzuki, Yoshiyuki; Katayama, Kazuhiko; Kimura, Hirokazu

    2016-01-01

    Capsid protein of norovirus genogroup II (GII) plays crucial roles in host infection. Although studies on capsid gene evolution have been conducted for a few genotypes of norovirus, the molecular evolution of norovirus GII is not well understood. Here we report the molecular evolution of all GII genotypes, using various bioinformatics techniques. The time-scaled phylogenetic tree showed that the present GII strains diverged from GIV around 1630CE at a high evolutionary rate (around 10(-3) substitutions/site/year), resulting in three lineages. The GII capsid gene had large pairwise distances (maximum > 0.39). The effective population sizes of the present GII strains were large (>10(2)) for about 400 years. Positive (20) and negative (over 450) selection sites were estimated. Moreover, some linear and conformational B-cell epitopes were found in the deduced GII capsid protein. These results suggested that norovirus GII strains rapidly evolved with high divergence and adaptation to humans. PMID:27384324

  17. Compartmentalized self-replication: a novel method for the directed evolution of polymerases and other enzymes.

    PubMed

    Ghadessy, Farid J; Holliger, Philipp

    2007-01-01

    Compartmentalized self-replication (CSR) is a novel method for the directed evolution of enzymes and, in particular, polymerases. In its simplest form, CSR consists of a simple feedback loop involving a polymerase that replicates only its own encoding gene (self-replication). Self-replication occurs in discrete, spatially separate, noncommunicating compartments formed by a heat-stable water-in-oil emulsion. Compartmentalization ensures the linkage of phenotype and genotype (i.e., it ensures that each polymerase replicates only its own encoding gene to the exclusion of those in the other compartments). As a result, adaptive gains by the polymerase directly (and proportionally) translate into genetic amplification of the encoding polymerase gene. CSR has proven to be a useful strategy for the directed evolution of polymerases directly from diverse repertoires of polymerase genes. In this chapter, we describe some of the CSR protocols used successfully to evolve variants of T. aquaticus Pol I (Taq) polymerase with novel and useful properties, such as increased thermostability or resistance to the potent inhibitor, heparin, from a repertoire of randomly mutated Taq polymerase genes. PMID:17041269

  18. Evolution in response to direct and indirect ecological effects in pitcher plant inquiline communities.

    PubMed

    terHorst, Casey P

    2010-12-01

    Ecologists have long recognized the importance of indirect ecological effects on species abundances, coexistence, and diversity. However, the evolutionary consequences of indirect interactions are rarely considered. Here I conduct selection experiments and examine the evolutionary response of Colpoda sp., a ciliated protozoan, to other members of the inquiline community of purple pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea). I measured the evolution of six traits in response to (1) predation by mosquito larvae, (2) competition from other ciliated protozoans, and (3) simultaneous predation and competition. The latter treatment incorporated both direct effects and indirect effects due to interactions between predators and competitors. Population growth rate and cell size evolved in response to direct effects of predators and competitors. However, trait values in the multispecies treatment were similar to those in the monoculture treatment, indicating that direct effects were offset by strong indirect effects on the evolution of traits. For most of the traits measured, indirect effects were opposed to, and often stronger than, direct effects. These indirect effects occurred as a result of behavioral changes of the predator in the presence of competitors and as a result of reduced densities of competitors in the presence of predators. Incorporating indirect effects provides a more realistic description of how species evolve in complex natural communities. PMID:20955011

  19. Texture Evolution of a Non-oriented Electrical Steel Cold Rolled at Directions Different from the Hot Rolling Direction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, Youliang; Hilinski, Erik; Li, Jian

    2015-11-01

    With the objective of optimizing the crystallographic texture of non-oriented electrical steel, i.e., reducing the <111>//ND and <110>//RD fibers and promoting the <001>//ND texture, a new rolling scheme was proposed and tested, in which the cold rolling direction (CRD) was intentionally inclined at an angle to the hot rolling direction (HRD) in order to change the orientation flow paths during cold rolling and alter the final texture of the annealed sheets. A non-oriented electrical steel containing 0.88 wt pct Si was hot rolled using conventional routes and annealed, and a number of rectangular plates were cut from the hot band with the longitudinal directions inclined at various angles, i.e., 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90 deg, to the HRD. These plates were then cold rolled along the longitudinal directions with a thickness reduction of 72 pct. The cold-rolled samples were annealed, temper rolled and annealed again (final annealing). The texture evolution during hot rolling, hot band annealing, cold rolling, and final annealing was characterized by electron backscatter diffraction and X-ray diffraction techniques. By changing the CRD with respect to the HRD, the initial texture and the orientation flow paths were altered, which resulted in apparent differences in the textures as compared to conventional cold rolling. After temper rolling and final annealing, the recrystallization textures consisted of mainly a <001>//ND fiber and there was almost no <111>//ND fiber. The sample cold rolled at an angle of 60 deg to the HRD had the strongest texture (intensity almost 2× of conventional rolling) with a maximum at the cube {001}<100> orientation—a magnetically favorable orientation for non-oriented electrical steels.

  20. Molecular evolution and adaptation of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene in the subgenus Martes.

    PubMed

    Li, B; Malyarchuk, B; He, X B; Derenko, M

    2013-01-01

    Martes species represent a typical example of rapid evolutionary radiation and a recent speciation event. To identify regions of the genome that experienced adaptive evolution, which might provide clues to their functional importance and may be informative about the features that make each species unique, we sought evidence of molecular adaptation in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cytochrome b gene in the subgenus Martes. Complete sequences of the cytochrome b gene were obtained from 87 samples, including 49 sables, 28 pine martens, and 10 stone martens, and were combined with mtDNA sequences of other true martens, such as M. melampus and M. americana. Analysis of the cytochrome b gene variation in true martens has shown that the evolution of this gene is under negative selection. In contrast, positive selection on the cytochrome b protein has been detected by means of the software TreeSAAP using a phylogenetic reconstruction of Martes taxa. Signatures of adaptive variation in cytochrome b were restricted to the transmembrane domains, which likely function as proton pumps. We compared results of different methods for testing selection and molecular adaptation, and we supposed that the radical changes of the cytochrome b amino acid residues in the subgenus Martes may be the result of molecular adaptation to specific environmental conditions coupled with species dispersals. PMID:24085456

  1. The Molecular Clock of Neutral Evolution Can Be Accelerated or Slowed by Asymmetric Spatial Structure

    PubMed Central

    Allen, Benjamin; Sample, Christine; Dementieva, Yulia; Medeiros, Ruben C.; Paoletti, Christopher; Nowak, Martin A.

    2015-01-01

    Over time, a population acquires neutral genetic substitutions as a consequence of random drift. A famous result in population genetics asserts that the rate, K, at which these substitutions accumulate in the population coincides with the mutation rate, u, at which they arise in individuals: K = u. This identity enables genetic sequence data to be used as a “molecular clock” to estimate the timing of evolutionary events. While the molecular clock is known to be perturbed by selection, it is thought that K = u holds very generally for neutral evolution. Here we show that asymmetric spatial population structure can alter the molecular clock rate for neutral mutations, leading to either Ku. Our results apply to a general class of haploid, asexually reproducing, spatially structured populations. Deviations from K = u occur because mutations arise unequally at different sites and have different probabilities of fixation depending on where they arise. If birth rates are uniform across sites, then K ≤ u. In general, K can take any value between 0 and Nu. Our model can be applied to a variety of population structures. In one example, we investigate the accumulation of genetic mutations in the small intestine. In another application, we analyze over 900 Twitter networks to study the effect of network topology on the fixation of neutral innovations in social evolution. PMID:25719560

  2. Thermally Induced Structural Evolution and Performance of Mesoporous Block Copolymer-Directed Alumina Perovskite Solar Cells

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Structure control in solution-processed hybrid perovskites is crucial to design and fabricate highly efficient solar cells. Here, we utilize in situ grazing incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering and scanning electron microscopy to investigate the structural evolution and film morphologies of methylammonium lead tri-iodide/chloride (CH3NH3PbI3–xClx) in mesoporous block copolymer derived alumina superstructures during thermal annealing. We show the CH3NH3PbI3–xClx material evolution to be characterized by three distinct structures: a crystalline precursor structure not described previously, a 3D perovskite structure, and a mixture of compounds resulting from degradation. Finally, we demonstrate how understanding the processing parameters provides the foundation needed for optimal perovskite film morphology and coverage, leading to enhanced block copolymer-directed perovskite solar cell performance. PMID:24684494

  3. Plant hemoglobins: a molecular fossil record for the evolution of oxygen transport.

    PubMed

    Hoy, Julie A; Robinson, Howard; Trent, James T; Kakar, Smita; Smagghe, Benoit J; Hargrove, Mark S

    2007-08-01

    The evolution of oxygen transport hemoglobins occurred on at least two independent occasions. The earliest event led to myoglobin and red blood cell hemoglobin in animals. In plants, oxygen transport "leghemoglobins" evolved much more recently. In both events, pentacoordinate heme sites capable of inert oxygen transfer evolved from hexacoordinate hemoglobins that have unrelated functions. High sequence homology between hexacoordinate and pentacoordinate hemoglobins in plants has poised them for potential structural analysis leading to a molecular understanding of this important evolutionary event. However, the lack of a plant hexacoordinate hemoglobin structure in the exogenously ligand-bound form has prevented such comparison. Here we report the crystal structure of the cyanide-bound hexacoordinate hemoglobin from barley. This presents the first opportunity to examine conformational changes in plant hexacoordinate hemoglobins upon exogenous ligand binding, and reveals structural mechanisms for stabilizing the high-energy pentacoordinate heme conformation critical to the evolution of reversible oxygen binding hemoglobins. PMID:17560601

  4. Molecular evolution and antigenic variation of European brown hare syndrome virus (EBHSV).

    PubMed

    Lopes, Ana M; Capucci, Lorenzo; Gavier-Widén, Dolores; Le Gall-Reculé, Ghislaine; Brocchi, Emiliana; Barbieri, Ilaria; Quéméner, Agnès; Le Pendu, Jacques; Geoghegan, Jemma L; Holmes, Edward C; Esteves, Pedro J; Abrantes, Joana

    2014-11-01

    European brown hare syndrome virus (EBHSV) is the aetiological agent of European brown hare syndrome (EBHS), a disease affecting Lepus europaeus and Lepus timidus first diagnosed in Sweden in 1980. To characterize EBHSV evolution we studied hare samples collected in Sweden between 1982 and 2008. Our molecular clock dating is compatible with EBHSV emergence in the 1970s. Phylogenetic analysis revealed two lineages: Group A persisted until 1989 when it apparently suffered extinction; Group B emerged in the mid-1980s and contains the most recent strains. Antigenic differences exist between groups, with loss of reactivity of some MAbs over time, which are associated with amino acid substitutions in recognized epitopes. A role for immune selection is also supported by the presence of positively selected codons in exposed regions of the capsid. Hence, EBHSV evolution is characterized by replacement of Group A by Group B viruses, suggesting that the latter possess a selective advantage. PMID:25155199

  5. PAL: an object-oriented programming library for molecular evolution and phylogenetics.

    PubMed

    Drummond, A; Strimmer, K

    2001-07-01

    Phylogenetic Analysis Library (PAL) is a collection of Java classes for use in molecular evolution and phylogenetics. PAL provides a modular environment for the rapid construction of both special-purpose and general analysis programs. PAL version 1.1 consists of 145 public classes or interfaces in 13 packages, including classes for models of character evolution, maximum-likelihood estimation, and the coalescent, with a total of more than 27000 lines of code. The PAL project is set up as a collaborative project to facilitate contributions from other researchers. AVAILIABILTY: The program is free and is available at http://www.pal-project.org. It requires Java 1.1 or later. PAL is licensed under the GNU General Public License. PMID:11448888

  6. Water oxidation catalysis upon evolution of molecular Co(III) cubanes in aqueous media.

    PubMed

    Genoni, Andrea; La Ganga, Giuseppina; Volpe, Andrea; Puntoriero, Fausto; Di Valentin, Marilena; Bonchio, Marcella; Natali, Mirco; Sartorel, Andrea

    2015-01-01

    The increasing global energy demand has stimulated great recent efforts in investigating new solutions for artificial photosynthesis, a potential source of clean and renewable solar fuel. In particular, according to the generally accepted modular approach aimed at optimising separately the different compartments of the entire process, many studies have focused on the development of catalytic systems for water oxidation to oxygen. While in recent years there have been many reports on new catalytic systems, the mechanism and the active intermediates operating the catalysis have been less investigated. Well-defined, molecular catalysts, constituted by transition metals stabilised by a suitable ligand pool, could help in solving this aspect. However, in some cases molecular species have been shown to evolve to active metal oxides that constitute the other side of this catalysis dichotomy. In this paper, we address the evolution of tetracobalt(III) cubanes, stabilised by a pyridine/acetate ligand pool, to active species that perform water oxidation to oxygen. Primary evolution of the cubane in aqueous solution is likely initiated by removal of an acetate bridge, opening the coordination sphere of the cobalt centres. This cobalt derivative, where the pristine ligands still impact on the reactivity, shows enhanced electron transfer rates to Ru(bpy)3(3+) (hole scavenging) within a photocatalytic cycle with Ru(bpy)3(2+) as the photosensitiser and S2O8(2-) as the electron sink. A more accentuated evolution occurs under continuous irradiation, where Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy reveals the formation of Co(ii) intermediates, likely contributing to the catalytic process that evolves oxygen. All together, these results confirm the relevant effect of molecular species, in particular in fostering the rate of the electron transfer processes involved in light activated cycles, pivotal in the design of a photoactive device. PMID:26400662

  7. Evolution of a single gene highlights the complexity underlying molecular descriptions of fitness

    PubMed Central

    Peña, Matthew I.; Van Itallie, Elizabeth; Bennett, Matthew R.; Shamoo, Yousif

    2010-01-01

    Evolution by natural selection is the driving force behind the endless variation we see in nature, yet our understanding of how changes at the molecular level give rise to different phenotypes and altered fitness at the population level remains inadequate. The reproductive fitness of an organism is the most basic metric that describes the chance that an organism will succeed or fail in its environment and it depends upon a complex network of inter- and intramolecular interactions. A deeper understanding of the quantitative relationships relating molecular evolution to adaptation, and consequently fitness, can guide our understanding of important issues in biomedicine such as drug resistance and the engineering of new organisms with applications to biotechnology. We have developed the “weak link” approach to determine how changes in molecular structure and function can relate to fitness and evolutionary outcomes. By replacing adenylate kinase (AK), an essential gene, in a thermophile with a homologous AK from a mesophile we have created a maladapted weak link that produces a temperature-sensitive phenotype. The recombinant strain adapts to nonpermissive temperatures through point mutations to the weak link that increase both stability and activity of the enzyme AK at higher temperatures. Here, we propose a fitness function relating enzyme activity to growth rate and use it to create a dynamic model of a population of bacterial cells. Using metabolic control analysis we show that the growth rate exhibits thresholdlike behavior, saturating at high enzyme activity as other reactions in the energy metabolism pathway become rate limiting. The dynamic model accurately recapitulates observed evolutionary outcomes. These findings suggest that in vitro enzyme kinetic data, in combination with metabolic network analysis, can be used to create fitness functions and dynamic models of evolution within simple metabolic systems. PMID:20590336

  8. Evolution of a single gene highlights the complexity underlying molecular descriptions of fitness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peña, Matthew I.; Van Itallie, Elizabeth; Bennett, Matthew R.; Shamoo, Yousif

    2010-06-01

    Evolution by natural selection is the driving force behind the endless variation we see in nature, yet our understanding of how changes at the molecular level give rise to different phenotypes and altered fitness at the population level remains inadequate. The reproductive fitness of an organism is the most basic metric that describes the chance that an organism will succeed or fail in its environment and it depends upon a complex network of inter- and intramolecular interactions. A deeper understanding of the quantitative relationships relating molecular evolution to adaptation, and consequently fitness, can guide our understanding of important issues in biomedicine such as drug resistance and the engineering of new organisms with applications to biotechnology. We have developed the "weak link" approach to determine how changes in molecular structure and function can relate to fitness and evolutionary outcomes. By replacing adenylate kinase (AK), an essential gene, in a thermophile with a homologous AK from a mesophile we have created a maladapted weak link that produces a temperature-sensitive phenotype. The recombinant strain adapts to nonpermissive temperatures through point mutations to the weak link that increase both stability and activity of the enzyme AK at higher temperatures. Here, we propose a fitness function relating enzyme activity to growth rate and use it to create a dynamic model of a population of bacterial cells. Using metabolic control analysis we show that the growth rate exhibits thresholdlike behavior, saturating at high enzyme activity as other reactions in the energy metabolism pathway become rate limiting. The dynamic model accurately recapitulates observed evolutionary outcomes. These findings suggest that in vitro enzyme kinetic data, in combination with metabolic network analysis, can be used to create fitness functions and dynamic models of evolution within simple metabolic systems.

  9. Non-unity molecular heritability demonstrated by continuous evolution in vitro

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmitt, T.; Lehman, N.

    1999-01-01

    INTRODUCTION: When catalytic RNA is evolved in vitro, the molecule's chemical reactivity is usually the desired selection target. Sometimes the phenotype of a particular RNA molecule cannot be unambiguously determined from its genotype, however. This can occur if a nucleotide sequence can adopt multiple folded states, an example of non-unity heritability (i.e. one genotype gives rise to more than one phenotype). In these cases, more rounds of selection are required to achieve a phenotypic shift. We tested the influence of non-unity heritability at the molecular level by selecting for variants of a ligase ribozyme via continuous evolution. RESULTS: During 20 bursts of continuous evolution of a 152-nucleotide ligase ribozyme in which the Mg2+ concentration was periodically lowered, a nine-error variant of the starting 'wild-type' molecule became dominant in the last eight bursts. This variant appears to be more active than the wild type. Kinetic analyses of the mutant suggest that it may not possess a higher first-order catalytic rate constant, however. Examination of the multiple RNA conformations present under the continuous evolution conditions suggests that the mutant is superior to the wild type because it is less likely to misfold into inactive conformers. CONCLUSIONS: The evolution of genotypes that are more likely to exhibit a particular phenotype is an epiphenomenon usually ascribed only to complex living systems. We show that this can occur at the molecular level, demonstrating that in vitro systems may have more life-like characteristics than previously thought, and providing additional support for an RNA world.

  10. Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mayr, Ernst

    1978-01-01

    Traces the history of evolution theory from Lamarck and Darwin to the present. Discusses natural selection in detail. Suggests that, besides biological evolution, there is also a cultural evolution which is more rapid than the former. (MA)

  11. Direct optical determination of interfacial transport barriers in molecular tunnel junctions.

    PubMed

    Fereiro, Jerry A; McCreery, Richard L; Bergren, Adam Johan

    2013-07-01

    Molecular electronics seeks to build circuitry using organic components with at least one dimension in the nanoscale domain. Progress in the field has been inhibited by the difficulty in determining the energy levels of molecules after being perturbed by interactions with the conducting contacts. We measured the photocurrent spectra for large-area aliphatic and aromatic molecular tunnel junctions with partially transparent copper top contacts. Where no molecular absorption takes place, the photocurrent is dominated by internal photoemission, which exhibits energy thresholds corresponding to interfacial transport barriers, enabling their direct measurement in a functioning junction. PMID:23782345

  12. Directed evolution of a 13-hydroperoxide lyase (CYP74B) for improved process performance.

    PubMed

    Brühlmann, Fredi; Bosijokovic, Bojan; Ullmann, Christophe; Auffray, Pascal; Fourage, Laurent; Wahler, Denis

    2013-02-10

    The performance of a 13-hydroperoxide lyase from guava, an enzyme of the CYP74 family, which is of interest for the industrial production of saturated and unsaturated C6-aldehydes and their derivatives, was improved by directed evolution. Four rounds of gene shuffling and random mutagenesis improved the functional expression in E. coli by offering a 15-fold higher product yield factor. The increased product yield factor relates to an improved total turnover number of the variant enzyme, which also showed higher solubility and increased heme content. Thermal stability was also dramatically improved even though there was no direct selection pressure applied for evolving this trait. A structure based sequence alignment with the recently solved allene oxide synthase of Arabidopsis thaliana showed that most amino acid alterations occurred on the surface of the protein, distant of the active site and often outside of secondary structures. These results demonstrate the power of directed evolution for improving a complex trait such as the total turnover number of a cytochrome P450, a critical parameter for process performance that is difficult to predict even with good structural information at hand. PMID:23183385

  13. Directed Evolution of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor for Improved Folding and Expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

    PubMed Central

    Burns, Michael L.; Malott, Thomas M.; Metcalf, Kevin J.; Hackel, Benjamin J.; Chan, Jonah R.

    2014-01-01

    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in nervous system function and has therapeutic potential. Microbial production of BDNF has resulted in a low-fidelity protein product, often in the form of large, insoluble aggregates incapable of binding to cognate TrkB or p75 receptors. In this study, employing Saccharomyces cerevisiae display and secretion systems, it was found that BDNF was poorly expressed and partially inactive on the yeast surface and that BDNF was secreted at low levels in the form of disulfide-bonded aggregates. Thus, for the purpose of increasing the compatibility of yeast as an expression host for BDNF, directed-evolution approaches were employed to improve BDNF folding and expression levels. Yeast surface display was combined with two rounds of directed evolution employing random mutagenesis and shuffling to identify BDNF mutants that had 5-fold improvements in expression, 4-fold increases in specific TrkB binding activity, and restored p75 binding activity, both as displayed proteins and as secreted proteins. Secreted BDNF mutants were found largely in the form of soluble homodimers that could stimulate TrkB phosphorylation in transfected PC12 cells. Site-directed mutagenesis studies indicated that a particularly important mutational class involved the introduction of cysteines proximal to the native cysteines that participate in the BDNF cysteine knot architecture. Taken together, these findings show that yeast is now a viable alternative for both the production and the engineering of BDNF. PMID:25015885

  14. Genetic diversity and molecular evolution of arabis mosaic virus based on the CP gene sequence.

    PubMed

    Gao, Fangluan; Lin, Wuzhen; Shen, Jianguo; Liao, Furong

    2016-04-01

    Arabis mosaic virus (ArMV) is a virus with a wide host range. In this study, the genetic diversity of ArMV and the molecular mechanisms underlying its evolution were investigated using the coat protein (CP) sequence. Of the 33 ArMV isolates studied, three were found to be recombinants. The other 30 recombination-free ArMV isolates could be separated into two major lineages with a significant F ST value (0.384) and tended to cluster according to their geographical origin. Different evolutionary constraints were detected for the two linages, pointing to a role of natural selection in the differentiation of ArMV. PMID:26758729

  15. Evolution of shear banding flows in metallic glasses characterized by molecular dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yao, Li; Luan, Yingwei

    2016-06-01

    To reveal the evolution of shear banding flows, one-dimensional nanostructure metallic glass composites have been studied with molecular dynamics. The inherent size determines the initial thickness of shear bands, and the subsequent broadening can be restricted to some extent. The vortex-like flows evoke the atomic motion perpendicular to the shear plane, which accelerates the interatomic diffusion. The reduction of local strain rate causes the flow softening for monolithic Cu-Zr glass, but the participation of Cu-atoms in the shear banding flow gradually leads to the shear hardening for the composites.

  16. Thiol-catalyzed formation of lactate and glycerate from glyceraldehyde. [significance in molecular evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Weber, A. L.

    1983-01-01

    The rate of lactate formation from glyceraldehyde, catalyzed by N-acetyl-cysteine at ambient temperature in aqueous sodium phosphate (pH 7.0), is more rapid at higher sodium phosphate concentrations and remains essentially the same in the presence and absence of oxygen. The dramatic increase in the rate of glycerate formation that is brought about by this thiol, N-acetylcysteine, is accompanied by commensurate decreases in the rates of glycolate and formate production. It is suggested that the thiol-dependent formation of lactate and glycerate occurs by way of their respective thioesters. Attention is given to the significance of these reactions in the context of molecular evolution.

  17. Molecular structure matching by simulated annealing. II. An exploration of the evolution of configuration landscape problems.

    PubMed

    Barakat, M T; Dean, P M

    1990-09-01

    This paper considers some of the landscape problems encountered in matching molecules by simulated annealing. Although the method is in theory ergodic, the global minimum in the objective function is not always encountered. Factors inherent in the molecular data that lead the trajectory of the minimization away from its optimal route are analysed. Segments comprised of the C alpha atoms of dihydrofolate reductase are used as test data. The evolution of a reverse ordering landscape problem is examined in detail. Where such patterns in the data could lead to incorrect matches, the problem can in part be circumvented by assigning an initial random ordering to the molecules. PMID:2280267

  18. [Molecular evolution of ciliates (Ciliophora) and some related groups of protozoans].

    PubMed

    Lukashenko, N P

    2009-08-01

    The review summarizes current evidence, including the findings related to molecular phylogeny of ciliates (type Ciliophora) and some related groups of protozoans. Based on comparison of the sequences of genes encoding various ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), the phylogenetic relationships in seven out of eight known classes of ciliates are discussed. The events related to early branching of the eukaryotic tree are briefly presented. The evolutionary history of amitochondrial protists ids considered with regard to reductionistic evolution and archeozoic hypothesis. The phylogenetic relationships among ciliates and sister groups of apicomplexans and dinoflagellates are considered. PMID:19769290

  19. Molecular basis for convergent evolution of glutamate recognition by pentameric ligand-gated ion channels

    PubMed Central

    Lynagh, Timothy; Beech, Robin N.; Lalande, Maryline J.; Keller, Kevin; Cromer, Brett A.; Wolstenholme, Adrian J.; Laube, Bodo

    2015-01-01

    Glutamate is an indispensable neurotransmitter, triggering postsynaptic signals upon recognition by postsynaptic receptors. We questioned the phylogenetic position and the molecular details of when and where glutamate recognition arose in the glutamate-gated chloride channels. Experiments revealed that glutamate recognition requires an arginine residue in the base of the binding site, which originated at least three distinct times according to phylogenetic analysis. Most remarkably, the arginine emerged on the principal face of the binding site in the Lophotrochozoan lineage, but 65 amino acids upstream, on the complementary face, in the Ecdysozoan lineage. This combined experimental and computational approach throws new light on the evolution of synaptic signalling. PMID:25708000

  20. Genetic diversity in Treponema pallidum: implications for pathogenesis, evolution and molecular diagnostics of syphilis and yaws

    PubMed Central

    Šmajs, David; Norris, Steven J.; Weinstock, George M.

    2013-01-01

    Pathogenic uncultivable treponemes, similar to syphilis-causing Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum, include T. pallidum ssp. pertenue, T. pallidum ssp. endemicum and Treponema carateum, which cause yaws, bejel and pinta, respectively. Genetic analyses of these pathogens revealed striking similarity among these bacteria and also a high degree of similarity to the rabbit pathogen, T. paraluiscuniculi, a treponeme not infectious to humans. Genome comparisons between pallidum and non-pallidum treponemes revealed genes with potential involvement in human infectivity, whereas comparisons between pallidum and pertenue treponemes identified genes possibly involved in the high invasivity of syphilis treponemes. Genetic variability within syphilis strains is considered as the basis of syphilis molecular epidemiology with potential to detect more virulent strains, whereas genetic variability within a single strain is related to its ability to elude the immune system of the host. Genome analyses also shed light on treponemal evolution and on chromosomal targets for molecular diagnostics of treponemal infections. PMID:22198325

  1. Molecular engineering of a cobalt-based electrocatalytic nanomaterial for H₂ evolution under fully aqueous conditions.

    PubMed

    Andreiadis, Eugen S; Jacques, Pierre-André; Tran, Phong D; Leyris, Adeline; Chavarot-Kerlidou, Murielle; Jousselme, Bruno; Matheron, Muriel; Pécaut, Jacques; Palacin, Serge; Fontecave, Marc; Artero, Vincent

    2013-01-01

    The viability of a hydrogen economy depends on the design of efficient catalytic systems based on earth-abundant elements. Innovative breakthroughs for hydrogen evolution based on molecular tetraimine cobalt compounds have appeared in the past decade. Here we show that such a diimine-dioxime cobalt catalyst can be grafted to the surface of a carbon nanotube electrode. The resulting electrocatalytic cathode material mediates H(2) generation (55,000 turnovers in seven hours) from fully aqueous solutions at low-to-medium overpotentials. This material is remarkably stable, which allows extensive cycling with preservation of the grafted molecular complex, as shown by electrochemical studies, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy. This clearly indicates that grafting provides an increased stability to these cobalt catalysts, and suggests the possible application of these materials in the development of technological devices. PMID:23247177

  2. Genetic diversity in Treponema pallidum: implications for pathogenesis, evolution and molecular diagnostics of syphilis and yaws.

    PubMed

    Smajs, David; Norris, Steven J; Weinstock, George M

    2012-03-01

    Pathogenic uncultivable treponemes, similar to syphilis-causing Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum, include T. pallidum ssp. pertenue, T. pallidum ssp. endemicum and Treponema carateum, which cause yaws, bejel and pinta, respectively. Genetic analyses of these pathogens revealed striking similarity among these bacteria and also a high degree of similarity to the rabbit pathogen, Treponema paraluiscuniculi, a treponeme not infectious to humans. Genome comparisons between pallidum and non-pallidum treponemes revealed genes with potential involvement in human infectivity, whereas comparisons between pallidum and pertenue treponemes identified genes possibly involved in the high invasivity of syphilis treponemes. Genetic variability within syphilis strains is considered as the basis of syphilis molecular epidemiology with potential to detect more virulent strains, whereas genetic variability within a single strain is related to its ability to elude the immune system of the host. Genome analyses also shed light on treponemal evolution and on chromosomal targets for molecular diagnostics of treponemal infections. PMID:22198325

  3. Construction of lycopene-overproducing Saccharomyces cerevisiae by combining directed evolution and metabolic engineering.

    PubMed

    Xie, Wenping; Lv, Xiaomei; Ye, Lidan; Zhou, Pingping; Yu, Hongwei

    2015-07-01

    Improved supply of farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) is often considered as a typical strategy for engineering Saccharomyces cerevisiae towards efficient terpenoid production. However, in the engineered strains with enhanced precursor supply, the production of the target metabolite is often impeded by insufficient capacity of the heterologous terpenoid pathways, which limits further conversion of FPP. Here, we tried to assemble an unimpeded biosynthesis pathway by combining directed evolution and metabolic engineering in S. cerevisiae for lycopene-overproduction. First, the catalytic ability of phytoene syntheses from different sources was investigated based on lycopene accumulation. Particularly, the lycopene cyclase function of the bifunctional enzyme CrtYB from Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous was inactivated by deletion of functional domain and directed evolution to obtain mutants with solely phytoene synthase function. Coexpression of the resulting CrtYB11M mutant along with the CrtE and CrtI genes from X. dendrorhous, and the tHMG1 gene from S. cerevisiae led to production of 4.47 mg/g DCW (Dry cell weight) of lycopene and 25.66 mg/g DCW of the by-product squalene. To further increase the FPP competitiveness of the lycopene synthesis pathway, we tried to enhance the catalytic performance of CrtE by directed evolution and created a series of pathway variants by varying the copy number of Crt genes. Finally, fed-batch fermentation was conducted for the diploid strain YXWPD-14 resulting in accumulation of 1.61 g/L (24.41 mg/g DCW) of lycopene, meanwhile, the by-production of squalene was reduced to below 1 mg/g DCW. PMID:25959020

  4. Directed evolution of an E. coli inner membrane transporter for improved efflux of biofuel molecules

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background The depletion of fossil fuels and the rising need to meet global energy demands have led to a growing interest in microbial biofuel synthesis, particularly in Escherichia coli, due to its tractable characteristics. Besides engineering more efficient metabolic pathways for synthesizing biofuels, efforts to improve production yield by engineering efflux systems to overcome toxicity problems is also crucial. This study aims to enhance hydrocarbon efflux capability in E. coli by engineering a native inner membrane transporter, AcrB, using the directed evolution approach. Results We developed a selection platform based on competitive growth using a toxic substrate surrogate, which allowed rapid selection of AcrB variants showing enhanced efflux of linear and cyclic fuel molecule candidates, n-octane and α-pinene. Two mutants exhibiting increased efflux efficiency for n-octane and α-pinene by up to 47% and 400%, respectively, were isolated. Single-site mutants based on the mutations found in the isolated variants were synthesized and the amino acid substitutions N189H, T678S, Q737L and M844L were identified to have conferred improvement in efflux efficiency. The locations of beneficial mutations in AcrB suggest their contributions in widening the substrate channel, altering the dynamics of substrate efflux and promoting the assembly of AcrB with the outer membrane channel protein TolC for more efficient substrate export. It is interesting to note that three of the four beneficial mutations were located relatively distant from the known substrate channels, thus exemplifying the advantage of directed evolution over rational design. Conclusions Using directed evolution, we have isolated AcrB mutants with improved efflux efficiency for n-octane and α-pinene. The utilization of such optimized native efflux pumps will increase productivity of biofuels synthesis and alleviate toxicity and difficulties in production scale-up in current microbial platforms. PMID

  5. Combined and Iterative Use of Computational Design and Directed Evolution for Protein-Ligand Binding Design.

    PubMed

    Wang, Meng; Zhao, Huimin

    2016-01-01

    The advantages of computational design and directed evolution are complementary, and only through combined and iterative use of both approaches, a daunting task such as protein-ligand interaction design, can be achieved efficiently. Here, we describe a systematic strategy to combine structure-guided computational design, iterative site saturation mutagenesis, and yeast two-hybrid system (Y2H)-based phenotypic screening to engineer novel and orthogonal interactions between synthetic ligands and human estrogen receptor α (hERα) for the development of novel gene switches. PMID:27094289

  6. Solvation dynamics and enzyme catalysis in a designed enzyme undergoing directed evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schreck, Carl; Head-Gordon, Teresa

    2014-03-01

    We explore whether catalysis of a de novo designed enzyme-substrate complex is correlated to necessary solvent fluctuations to induce a chemical reaction. By studying a designed KEMP Eliminase as it goes through rounds of directed evolution to improve it's catalytic activity, we have found that catalytic activity correlates with an increase in density and structure of water near the active site. This suggests fluctuations in the solvation water near the active site couple to fluctuations in KEMP Eliminase to facilitate the catalytic process. To flesh this idea out, we are studying the progression of vibrational properties and cooperative fluctuations of solvation water by simulating the terahertz observable.

  7. Highly oil-producing microalgae selected through directed-evolution on a microfludic chip

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mestler, Troy; Estevez-Torres, Andre; Lambert, Guillaume; Austin, Robert H.

    2009-03-01

    Some species of photosynthetic microalgae produce signi?cant amounts of oil which can be easily converted to diesel fuel. However, as it stands today, biodiesel is signi?cantly more expensive than fossil fuels. We wish to improve the oil yield and production rate of a single species of microalgae through directed evolution. We propose to utilize our microfabication technology to create microhabitats to control the nutrient environment of the species, monitor oil production through Raman Spectroscopy, and punish colonies of algae which have low oil yield. We believe this process will produce a mutant species with a high oil yield.

  8. Molecular Specificity, Convergence and Constraint Shape Adaptive Evolution in Nutrient-Poor Environments

    PubMed Central

    Hong, Jungeui; Gresham, David

    2014-01-01

    One of the central goals of evolutionary biology is to explain and predict the molecular basis of adaptive evolution. We studied the evolution of genetic networks in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast) populations propagated for more than 200 generations in different nitrogen-limiting conditions. We find that rapid adaptive evolution in nitrogen-poor environments is dominated by the de novo generation and selection of copy number variants (CNVs), a large fraction of which contain genes encoding specific nitrogen transporters including PUT4, DUR3 and DAL4. The large fitness increases associated with these alleles limits the genetic heterogeneity of adapting populations even in environments with multiple nitrogen sources. Complete identification of acquired point mutations, in individual lineages and entire populations, identified heterogeneity at the level of genetic loci but common themes at the level of functional modules, including genes controlling phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate metabolism and vacuole biogenesis. Adaptive strategies shared with other nutrient-limited environments point to selection of genetic variation in the TORC1 and Ras/PKA signaling pathways as a general mechanism underlying improved growth in nutrient-limited environments. Within a single population we observed the repeated independent selection of a multi-locus genotype, comprised of the functionally related genes GAT1, MEP2 and LST4. By studying the fitness of individual alleles, and their combination, as well as the evolutionary history of the evolving population, we find that the order in which these mutations are acquired is constrained by epistasis. The identification of repeatedly selected variation at functionally related loci that interact epistatically suggests that gene network polymorphisms (GNPs) may be a frequent outcome of adaptive evolution. Our results provide insight into the mechanistic basis by which cells adapt to nutrient-limited environments and suggest that

  9. Morphology Evolution of Molecular Weight Dependent P3HT: PCBM Solar Cells

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Feng; Chen, Dian; Briseno, Alejandro; Russell, Thomas

    2011-03-01

    Effective strategies to maximize the performance of bulk heterojunction (BHJ) photovoltaic devices have to be developed and understood to realize their full potential. In BHJ solar cells, the morphology of the active layer is a critical issue to improve device efficiency. In this work, we choose poly(3-hexyl-thiophene) (P3HT) and phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) system to study the morphology evolution. Different molecular weight P3HTs were synthesized by using Grignard Metathesis (GRIM)~method. In device optimization, polymer with a molecular weight between 20k-30k shows the highest efficiency. It was observed that the as-spun P3HT: PCBM (1:1) blends do not have high order by GISAXS. Within a few seconds of thermal annealing at 150& circ; the crystallinity of P3HT increaased substantially and the polymer chains adopted an edge-on orientation. An-bicontinous morphology was also developed within this short thermal treatment. The in situ GISAXS experiment showed that P3HT of high molecular weight was more easily crystallized from a slowly evaporated chlorobenzene solution and their edge-on orientation is much more obvious than for the lower molecular weight P3HTs. DSC was used to study the thermal properties of P3HTs and P3HT: PCBM blend. The χ of P3HT-PCBM was also calculated by using melting point depression method.

  10. Anticipatory dynamics of biological systems: from molecular quantum states to evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Igamberdiev, Abir U.

    2015-08-01

    Living systems possess anticipatory behaviour that is based on the flexibility of internal models generated by the system's embedded description. The idea was suggested by Aristotle and is explicitly introduced to theoretical biology by Rosen. The possibility of holding the embedded internal model is grounded in the principle of stable non-equilibrium (Bauer). From the quantum mechanical view, this principle aims to minimize energy dissipation in expense of long relaxation times. The ideas of stable non-equilibrium were developed by Liberman who viewed living systems as subdivided into the quantum regulator and the molecular computer supporting coherence of the regulator's internal quantum state. The computational power of the cell molecular computer is based on the possibility of molecular rearrangements according to molecular addresses. In evolution, the anticipatory strategies are realized both as a precession of phylogenesis by ontogenesis (Berg) and as the anticipatory search of genetic fixation of adaptive changes that incorporates them into the internal model of genetic system. We discuss how the fundamental ideas of anticipation can be introduced into the basic foundations of theoretical biology.

  11. Reaction ensemble molecular dynamics: Direct simulation of the dynamic equilibrium properties of chemically reacting mixtures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brennan, John K.; Lísal, Martin; Gubbins, Keith E.; Rice, Betsy M.

    2004-12-01

    A molecular simulation method to study the dynamics of chemically reacting mixtures is presented. The method uses a combination of stochastic and dynamic simulation steps, allowing for the simulation of both thermodynamic and transport properties. The method couples a molecular dynamics simulation cell (termed dynamic cell) to a reaction mixture simulation cell (termed control cell) that is formulated upon the reaction ensemble Monte Carlo (RxMC) method, hence the term reaction ensemble molecular dynamics. Thermodynamic and transport properties are calculated in the dynamic cell by using a constant-temperature molecular dynamics simulation method. RxMC forward and reverse reaction steps are performed in the control cell only, while molecular dynamics steps are performed in both the dynamic cell and the control cell. The control cell, which acts as a sink and source reservoir, is maintained at reaction equilibrium conditions via the RxMC algorithm. The reaction ensemble molecular dynamics method is analogous to the grand canonical ensemble molecular dynamics technique, while using some elements of the osmotic molecular dynamics method, and so simulates conditions that directly relate to real, open systems. The accuracy and stability of the method is assessed by considering the ammonia synthesis reaction N2+3H2⇔2NH3 . It is shown to be a viable method for predicting the effects of nonideal environments on the dynamic properties (particularly diffusion) as well as reaction equilibria for chemically reacting mixtures.

  12. Major Radiations in the Evolution of Caviid Rodents: Reconciling Fossils, Ghost Lineages, and Relaxed Molecular Clocks

    PubMed Central

    Pérez, María Encarnación; Pol, Diego

    2012-01-01

    Background Caviidae is a diverse group of caviomorph rodents that is broadly distributed in South America and is divided into three highly divergent extant lineages: Caviinae (cavies), Dolichotinae (maras), and Hydrochoerinae (capybaras). The fossil record of Caviidae is only abundant and diverse since the late Miocene. Caviids belongs to Cavioidea sensu stricto (Cavioidea s.s.) that also includes a diverse assemblage of extinct taxa recorded from the late Oligocene to the middle Miocene of South America (“eocardiids”). Results A phylogenetic analysis combining morphological and molecular data is presented here, evaluating the time of diversification of selected nodes based on the calibration of phylogenetic trees with fossil taxa and the use of relaxed molecular clocks. This analysis reveals three major phases of diversification in the evolutionary history of Cavioidea s.s. The first two phases involve two successive radiations of extinct lineages that occurred during the late Oligocene and the early Miocene. The third phase consists of the diversification of Caviidae. The initial split of caviids is dated as middle Miocene by the fossil record. This date falls within the 95% higher probability distribution estimated by the relaxed Bayesian molecular clock, although the mean age estimate ages are 3.5 to 7 Myr older. The initial split of caviids is followed by an obscure period of poor fossil record (refered here as the Mayoan gap) and then by the appearance of highly differentiated modern lineages of caviids, which evidentially occurred at the late Miocene as indicated by both the fossil record and molecular clock estimates. Conclusions The integrated approach used here allowed us identifying the agreements and discrepancies of the fossil record and molecular clock estimates on the timing of the major events in cavioid evolution, revealing evolutionary patterns that would not have been possible to gather using only molecular or paleontological data alone. PMID

  13. A model of compensatory molecular evolution involving multiple sites in RNA molecules.

    PubMed

    Kusumi, Junko; Ichinose, Motoshi; Takefu, Masasuke; Piskol, Robert; Stephan, Wolfgang; Iizuka, Masaru

    2016-01-01

    Consider two sites under compensatory fitness interaction, such as a Watson-Crick base pair in an RNA helix or two interacting residues in a protein. A mutation at any one of these two sites may reduce the fitness of an individual. However, fitness may be restored by the occurrence of a second mutation at the other site. Kimura modeled this process using a two-locus haploid fitness scheme with two alleles at each locus. He predicted that compensatory evolution following this model is very rare unless selection against the deleterious single mutations is weak and linkage between the interacting sites is tight. Here we investigate the question whether the rate of compensatory evolution increases if we take the context of the two directly interacting sites into account. By "context", we mean the effect of neighboring sites in an RNA helix. Interaction between the focal pair of sites under consideration and the context may lead to so-called indirect compensation. Thus, extending Kimura's classical model of compensatory evolution, we study the effects of both direct and indirect compensation on the rate of compensatory evolution. It is shown that the effects of indirect compensation are very strong. We find that recombination does not slow down the rate of compensatory evolution as predicted by the classical model. Instead, compensatory substitutions may be relatively frequent, even if linkage between the focal interacting sites is loose, selection against deleterious mutations is strong, and mutation rate is low. We compare our theoretical results with data on RNA secondary structures from vertebrate introns. PMID:26506471

  14. Synthesis of a specified, silica molecular sieve by using computationally predicted organic structure-directing agents.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Joel E; Deem, Michael W; Davis, Mark E

    2014-08-01

    Crystalline molecular sieves are used in numerous applications, where the properties exploited for each technology are the direct consequence of structural features. New materials are typically discovered by trial and error, and in many cases, organic structure-directing agents (OSDAs) are used to direct their formation. Here, we report the first successful synthesis of a specified molecular sieve through the use of an OSDA that was predicted from a recently developed computational method that constructs chemically synthesizable OSDAs. Pentamethylimidazolium is computationally predicted to have the largest stabilization energy in the STW framework, and is experimentally shown to strongly direct the synthesis of pure-silica STW. Other OSDAs with lower stabilization energies did not form STW. The general method demonstrated here to create STW may lead to new, simpler OSDAs for existing frameworks and provide a way to predict OSDAs for desired, theoretical frameworks. PMID:24961789

  15. Mutagenic Organized Recombination Process by Homologous In Vivo Grouping (MORPHING) for Directed Enzyme Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Gonzalez-Perez, David; Molina-Espeja, Patricia; Garcia-Ruiz, Eva; Alcalde, Miguel

    2014-01-01

    Approaches that depend on directed evolution require reliable methods to generate DNA diversity so that mutant libraries can focus on specific target regions. We took advantage of the high frequency of homologous DNA recombination in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to develop a strategy for domain mutagenesis aimed at introducing and in vivo recombining random mutations in defined segments of DNA. Mutagenic Organized Recombination Process by Homologous IN vivo Grouping (MORPHING) is a one-pot random mutagenic method for short protein regions that harnesses the in vivo recombination apparatus of yeast. Using this approach, libraries can be prepared with different mutational loads in DNA segments of less than 30 amino acids so that they can be assembled into the remaining unaltered DNA regions in vivo with high fidelity. As a proof of concept, we present two eukaryotic-ligninolytic enzyme case studies: i) the enhancement of the oxidative stability of a H2O2-sensitive versatile peroxidase by independent evolution of three distinct protein segments (Leu28-Gly57, Leu149-Ala174 and Ile199-Leu268); and ii) the heterologous functional expression of an unspecific peroxygenase by exclusive evolution of its native 43-residue signal sequence. PMID:24614282

  16. New molecularly targeted therapies against advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: From molecular pathogenesis to clinical trials and future directions.

    PubMed

    Chuma, Makoto; Terashita, Katsumi; Sakamoto, Naoya

    2015-10-01

    Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) can be lethal due to its aggressive course and lack of effective systemic therapies for advanced disease. Sorafenib is the only systemic therapy that has demonstrated an overall survival benefit in patients with advanced HCC, and new agents for treatment of advanced HCC are needed. The multiple pathways involved in HCC oncogenesis, proliferation and survival provide many opportunities for the development of molecularly targeted therapies. Molecular targets of interest have expanded from angiogenesis to cancer cell-directed oncogenic signaling pathways for treatment of advanced HCC. Agents targeting vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, epidermal growth factor receptor, fibroblast growth factor receptor, platelet-derived growth factor receptor, c-mesenchymal-epithelial transition factor-1 and mammalian target of rapamycin signaling have been actively explored. This article focuses on the evaluation of molecular agents targeting pathogenic HCC and provides a review of recently completed phase III drug studies (e.g. involving sorafenib, sunitinib, brivanib, linifanib, erlotinib, everolimus, ramucirumab or orantinib) and ongoing drug studies (e.g. involving lenvatinib, regorafenib, tivantinib or cabozantinib) of molecularly targeted agents in advanced HCC, including a brief description of the biologic rationale behind these agents. PMID:25472913

  17. Numerical investigation of the instability and nonlinear evolution of narrow-band directional ocean waves.

    PubMed

    Eliasson, Bengt; Shukla, P K

    2010-07-01

    The instability and nonlinear evolution of directional ocean waves is investigated numerically by means of simulations of the governing kinetic equation for narrow-band surface waves. Our simulation results reveal the onset of the modulational instability for long-crested wave trains, which agrees well with recent large-scale experiments in wave basins, where it was found that narrower directional spectra lead to self-focusing of ocean waves and an enhanced probability of extreme events. We find that the modulational instability is nonlinearly saturated by a broadening of the wave spectrum, which leads to the stabilization of the water-wave system. Applications of our results to other fields of physics, such as nonlinear optics and plasma physics, are discussed. PMID:20867450

  18. Evolution of ethnocentrism on undirected and directed Barabási-Albert networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lima, F. W. S.; Hadzibeganovic, Tarik; Stauffer, Dietrich

    2009-12-01

    Using Monte Carlo simulations, we study the evolution of contingent cooperation and ethnocentrism in the one-shot game. Interactions and reproduction among computational agents are simulated on undirected and directed Barabási-Albert (BA) networks. We first replicate the Hammond-Axelrod model of in-group favoritism on a square lattice and then generalize this model on undirected and directed BA networks for both asexual and sexual reproduction cases. Our simulations demonstrate that irrespective of the mode of reproduction, the ethnocentric strategy becomes common even though cooperation is individually costly and mechanisms such as reciprocity or conformity are absent. Moreover, our results indicate that the spread of favoritism towards similar others highly depends on the network topology and the associated heterogeneity of the studied population.

  19. EDGA: A Population Evolution Direction-Guided Genetic Algorithm for Protein-Ligand Docking.

    PubMed

    Guan, Boxin; Zhang, Changsheng; Ning, Jiaxu

    2016-07-01

    Protein-ligand docking can be formulated as a search algorithm associated with an accurate scoring function. However, most current search algorithms cannot show good performance in docking problems, especially for highly flexible docking. To overcome this drawback, this article presents a novel and robust optimization algorithm (EDGA) based on the Lamarckian genetic algorithm (LGA) for solving flexible protein-ligand docking problems. This method applies a population evolution direction-guided model of genetics, in which search direction evolves to the optimum solution. The method is more efficient to find the lowest energy of protein-ligand docking. We consider four search methods-a tradition genetic algorithm, LGA, SODOCK, and EDGA-and compare their performance in docking of six protein-ligand docking problems. The results show that EDGA is the most stable, reliable, and successful. PMID:26895461

  20. Molecular evolution of sex-biased genes in the Drosophila ananassae subgroup

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Genes with sex-biased expression often show rapid molecular evolution between species. Previous population genetic and comparative genomic studies of Drosophila melanogaster and D. simulans revealed that male-biased genes have especially high rates of adaptive evolution. To test if this is also the case for other lineages within the melanogaster group, we investigated gene expression in D. ananassae, a species that occurs in structured populations in tropical and subtropical regions. We used custom-made microarrays and published microarray data to characterize the sex-biased expression of 129 D. ananassae genes whose D. melanogaster orthologs had been classified previously as male-biased, female-biased, or unbiased in their expression and had been studied extensively at the population-genetic level. For 43 of these genes we surveyed DNA sequence polymorphism in a natural population of D. ananassae and determined divergence to the sister species D. atripex and D. phaeopleura. Results Sex-biased expression is generally conserved between D. melanogaster and D. ananassae, with the majority of genes exhibiting the same bias in the two species. However, about one-third of the genes have either gained or lost sex-biased expression in one of the species and a small proportion of genes (~4%) have changed bias from one sex to the other. The male-biased genes of D. ananassae show evidence of positive selection acting at the protein level. However, the signal of adaptive protein evolution for male-biased genes is not as strong in D. ananassae as it is in D. melanogaster and is limited to genes with conserved male-biased expression in both species. Within D. ananassae, a significant signal of adaptive evolution is also detected for female-biased and unbiased genes. Conclusions Our findings extend previous observations of widespread adaptive protein evolution to an independent Drosophila lineage, the D. ananassae subgroup. However, the rate of adaptive evolution is

  1. Molecular evolution of the nuclear von Willebrand factor gene in mammals and the phylogeny of rodents.

    PubMed

    Huchon, D; Catzeflis, F M; Douzery, E J

    1999-05-01

    Nucleotide sequences of exon 28 of the von Willebrand Factor (vWF) were analyzed for a representative sampling of rodent families and eutherian orders, with one marsupial sequence as outgroup. The aim of this study was to test if inclusion of an increased taxonomic diversity in molecular analyses would shed light on three uncertainties concerning rodent phylogeny: (1) relationships between rodent families, (2) Rodentia monophyly, and (3) the sister group relationship of rodents and lagomorphs. The results did not give evidence of any particular rodent pattern of molecular evolution relative to a general eutherian pattern. Base compositions and rates of evolution of vWF sequences of rodents were in the range of placental variation. The 10 rodent families studied here cluster in five clades: Hystricognathi, Sciuridae and Aplodontidae (Sciuroidea), Muridae, Dipodidae, and Gliridae. Among hystricognaths, the following conclusions are drawn: a single colonization event in South America by Caviomorpha, a paraphyly of Old World and New World porcupines, and an African origin for Old World porcupines. Despite a broader taxonomic sampling diversity, we did not obtain a robust answer to the question of Rodentia monophyly, but in the absence of any other alternative, we cannot reject the hypothesis of a single origin of rodents. Moreover, the phylogenetic position of Lagomorpha remains totally unsettled. PMID:10335651

  2. Molecular Evolution of Aralkylamine N-Acetyltransferase in Fish: A Genomic Survey

    PubMed Central

    Li, Jia; You, Xinxin; Bian, Chao; Yu, Hui; Coon, Steven L.; Shi, Qiong

    2015-01-01

    All living organisms synchronize biological functions with environmental changes; melatonin plays a vital role in regulating daily and seasonal variations. Due to rhythmic activity of the timezyme aralkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT), the blood level of melatonin increases at night and decreases during daytime. Whereas other vertebrates have a single form of AANAT, bony fishes possess various isoforms of aanat genes, though the reasons are still unclear. Here, we have taken advantage of multiple unpublished teleost aanat sequences to explore and expand our understanding of the molecular evolution of aanat in fish. Our results confirm that two rounds of whole-genome duplication (WGD) led to the existence of three fish isoforms of aanat, i.e., aanat1a, aanat1b, and aanat2; in addition, gene loss led to the absence of some forms from certain special fish species. Furthermore, we suggest the different roles of two aanat1s in amphibious mudskippers, and speculate that the loss of aanat1a, may be related to terrestrial vision change. Several important sites of AANAT proteins and regulatory elements of aanat genes were analyzed for structural comparison and functional forecasting, respectively, which provides insights into the molecular evolution of the differences between AANAT1 and AANAT2. PMID:26729109

  3. Molecular evolution of fever, thrombocytopenia and leukocytopenia virus (FTLSV) based on whole-genome sequences.

    PubMed

    Liu, Licheng; Chen, Weijun; Yang, Yinhui; Jiang, Yongqiang

    2016-04-01

    FTLSV is a novel bunyavirus that was discovered in 2007 in the Henan province of China and has reported case fatality rates of up to 30%. Despite the high case fatality rate, knowledge of the evolution and molecular epidemiology of FTLSV is limited. In this study, detailed phylogenetic analyses were performed on whole-genome sequences to examine the virus's evolutionary rates, estimate dates of common ancestry, and determine the population dynamics and selection pressure for FTLSV. The evolutionary rates of FTLSV were estimated to be 2.28×10(-4), 2.42×10(-4) and 1.19×10(-4) nucleotide substitutions/site/year for the S, M and L segments, respectively. The most recent ancestor of the viruses existed approximately 182-294years ago. Evidence of RNA segment reassortment was found in FTLSV. A Bayesian skyline plot showed that after a period of genetic stability following high variability, the FTLSV population appeared to have contracted it. Selection pressures were estimated and revealed an abundance of negatively selected sites and sparse positively selected sites. These data will be valuable in understanding the evolution and molecular epidemiology of FTLSV, eventually helping to determine mechanisms of emergence and pathogenicity and the level of the virus's threat to public health. PMID:26748010

  4. Molecular Evolution of Aralkylamine N-Acetyltransferase in Fish: A Genomic Survey.

    PubMed

    Li, Jia; You, Xinxin; Bian, Chao; Yu, Hui; Coon, Steven L; Shi, Qiong

    2016-01-01

    All living organisms synchronize biological functions with environmental changes; melatonin plays a vital role in regulating daily and seasonal variations. Due to rhythmic activity of the timezyme aralkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT), the blood level of melatonin increases at night and decreases during daytime. Whereas other vertebrates have a single form of AANAT, bony fishes possess various isoforms of aanat genes, though the reasons are still unclear. Here, we have taken advantage of multiple unpublished teleost aanat sequences to explore and expand our understanding of the molecular evolution of aanat in fish. Our results confirm that two rounds of whole-genome duplication (WGD) led to the existence of three fish isoforms of aanat, i.e., aanat1a, aanat1b, and aanat2; in addition, gene loss led to the absence of some forms from certain special fish species. Furthermore, we suggest the different roles of two aanat1s in amphibious mudskippers, and speculate that the loss of aanat1a, may be related to terrestrial vision change. Several important sites of AANAT proteins and regulatory elements of aanat genes were analyzed for structural comparison and functional forecasting, respectively, which provides insights into the molecular evolution of the differences between AANAT1 and AANAT2. PMID:26729109

  5. Molecular heterochrony and the evolution of sociality in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris)

    PubMed Central

    Woodard, S. Hollis; Bloch, Guy M.; Band, Mark R.; Robinson, Gene E.

    2014-01-01

    Sibling care is a hallmark of social insects, but its evolution remains challenging to explain at the molecular level. The hypothesis that sibling care evolved from ancestral maternal care in primitively eusocial insects has been elaborated to involve heterochronic changes in gene expression. This elaboration leads to the prediction that workers in these species will show patterns of gene expression more similar to foundress queens, who express maternal care behaviour, than to established queens engaged solely in reproductive behaviour. We tested this idea in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) using a microarray platform with approximately 4500 genes. Unlike the wasp Polistes metricus, in which support for the above prediction has been obtained, we found that patterns of brain gene expression in foundress and queen bumblebees were more similar to each other than to workers. Comparisons of differentially expressed genes derived from this study and gene lists from microarray studies in Polistes and the honeybee Apis mellifera yielded a shared set of genes involved in the regulation of related social behaviours across independent eusocial lineages. Together, these results suggest that multiple independent evolutions of eusociality in the insects might have involved different evolutionary routes, but nevertheless involved some similarities at the molecular level. PMID:24552837

  6. The tempo and mode of molecular evolution of Mycobacterium tuberculosis at patient-to-patient scale.

    PubMed

    Schürch, Anita C; Kremer, Kristin; Kiers, Albert; Daviena, Olaf; Boeree, Martin J; Siezen, Roland J; Smith, Noel H; van Soolingen, Dick

    2010-01-01

    A total of six polymorphisms were identified by comparing the genomes of the first and the last isolate of a well-characterized transmission chain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis involving five patients over a 12 and a half year period. The six polymorphisms consisted of four single nucleotide changes (SNPs), a tandem repeat polymorphism (TRP) and a previously identified IS6110 transposition event. These polymorphic sites were surveyed in each of the isolates from the five patients in the transmission chain. Surprisingly, five of the six polymorphisms accumulated in a single patient in the transmission chain; this patient had been non-compliant to tuberculosis treatment. This first insight into the tempo and mode of molecular evolution in M. tuberculosis at the patient-to-patient level suggests that the molecular evolution of the pathogen in vivo is characterized by periods of relative genomic stability followed by bursts of mutation. Whatever the mechanism for the accumulation of mutations, this observation may have profound consequences for the application of vaccines and therapeutic drugs, the management and treatment of disease outbreaks of M. tuberculosis, the most important bacterial pathogen of humans. PMID:19835997

  7. Antisense RNA-based High-Throughput Screen System for Directed Evolution of Quorum Quenching Enzymes.

    PubMed

    Han, Sang-Soo; Park, Won-Ji; Kim, Hak-Sung; Kim, Geun-Joong

    2015-11-20

    Quorum quenching (QQ) enzymes, which disrupt the quorum sensing signaling process, have attracted considerable attention as new antimicrobial agents. However, their low catalytic efficiency for quorum sensing molecules remains a challenge. Herein, we present an antisense RNA-based high-throughput screen system for directed evolution of a quorum quenching enzyme. The screening system was constructed by incorporating an antisense RNA (RyhB) into a synthetic module to quantitatively regulate the expression of a reporter gene fused with a sense RNA (sodB). To control the expression of a reporter gene in response to the catalytic activity of a quorum quenching enzyme, the region of interaction and mode between a pair of antisense (RyhB) and sense (sodB) RNAs was designed and optimized through the prediction of the secondary structure of the RNA pair. The screening system constructed was shown to lead to a significant reduction in the false-positive rate (average 42%) in the screening of N-acyl-homoserine lactonase (AiiA) with increased catalytic activity, resulting in a true-positive frequency of up to 76%. The utility and efficiency of the screening system were demonstrated by selecting an AiiA with 31-fold higher catalytic efficiency than the wild-type in three rounds of directed evolution. The present approach can be widely used for the screening of quorum quenching enzymes with the desired catalytic property, as well as for a synthetic network for a stringent regulation of the gene expression. PMID:26366664

  8. Directed Evolution Method in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: Mutant Library Creation and Screening.

    PubMed

    Viña-Gonzalez, Javier; Gonzalez-Perez, David; Alcalde, Miguel

    2016-01-01

    Directed evolution in Saccharomyces cerevisiae offers many attractive advantages when designing enzymes for biotechnological applications, a process that involves the construction, cloning and expression of mutant libraries, coupled to high frequency homologous DNA recombination in vivo. Here, we present a protocol to create and screen mutant libraries in yeast based on the example of a fungal aryl-alcohol oxidase (AAO) to enhance its total activity. Two protein segments were subjected to focused-directed evolution by random mutagenesis and in vivo DNA recombination. Overhangs of ~50 bp flanking each segment allowed the correct reassembly of the AAO-fusion gene in a linearized vector giving rise to a full autonomously replicating plasmid. Mutant libraries enriched with functional AAO variants were screened in S. cerevisiae supernatants with a sensitive high-throughput assay based on the Fenton reaction. The general process of library construction in S. cerevisiae described here can be readily applied to evolve many other eukaryotic genes, avoiding extra PCR reactions, in vitro DNA recombination and ligation steps. PMID:27077451

  9. Directed evolution of xylose specific transporters to facilitate glucose-xylose co-utilization.

    PubMed

    Wang, Meng; Yu, Chenzhao; Zhao, Huimin

    2016-03-01

    A highly active xylose specific transporter without glucose inhibition is highly desirable in cost-effective production of biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass. However, currently available xylose specific transporters suffer from low overall activity and most are inhibited by glucose. In this study, we applied a directed evolution strategy to engineer the xylose specific transporter AN25 from Neurospora crassa with improved xylose transportation capacity. After four rounds of directed evolution using two different strategies, we obtained an AN25 mutant AN25-R4.18 with 43-fold improvement in terms of xylose transportation capacity while maintaining its high xylose specificity. In addition, glucose inhibition was almost completely eliminated in the final evolved mutant. We demonstrated that improved xylose transportation of AN25 mutants in the exponential growth phase led to significant improvement of xylose consumption in high cell-density fermentation. Finally, we showed that AN25 mutant AN25-R4.18 can enable relatively efficient glucose-xylose co-utilization in high concentrations of mixed sugars. PMID:26284760

  10. Characterization of the direct targets of FOXO transcription factors throughout evolution.

    PubMed

    Webb, Ashley E; Kundaje, Anshul; Brunet, Anne

    2016-08-01

    FOXO transcription factors (FOXOs) are central regulators of lifespan across species, yet they also have cell-specific functions, including adult stem cell homeostasis and immune function. Direct targets of FOXOs have been identified genome-wide in several species and cell types. However, whether FOXO targets are specific to cell types and species or conserved across cell types and throughout evolution remains uncharacterized. Here, we perform a meta-analysis of direct FOXO targets across tissues and organisms, using data from mammals as well as Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila. We show that FOXOs bind cell type-specific targets, which have functions related to that particular cell. Interestingly, FOXOs also share targets across different tissues in mammals, and the function and even the identity of these shared mammalian targets are conserved in invertebrates. Evolutionarily conserved targets show enrichment for growth factor signaling, metabolism, stress resistance, and proteostasis, suggesting an ancestral, conserved role in the regulation of these processes. We also identify candidate cofactors at conserved FOXO targets that change in expression with age, including CREB and ETS family factors. This meta-analysis provides insight into the evolution of the FOXO network and highlights downstream genes and cofactors that may be particularly important for FOXO's conserved function in adult homeostasis and longevity. PMID:27061590

  11. No evidence for directional evolution of body mass in herbivorous theropod dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Zanno, Lindsay E; Makovicky, Peter J

    2013-01-22

    The correlation between large body size and digestive efficiency has been hypothesized to have driven trends of increasing mass in herbivorous clades by means of directional selection. Yet, to date, few studies have investigated this relationship from a phylogenetic perspective, and none, to our knowledge, with regard to trophic shifts. Here, we reconstruct body mass in the three major subclades of non-avian theropod dinosaurs whose ecomorphology is correlated with extrinsic evidence of at least facultative herbivory in the fossil record--all of which also achieve relative gigantism (more than 3000 kg). Ordinary least-squares regressions on natural log-transformed mean mass recover significant correlations between increasing mass and geological time. However, tests for directional evolution in body mass find no support for a phylogenetic trend, instead favouring passive models of trait evolution. Cross-correlation of sympatric taxa from five localities in Asia reveals that environmental influences such as differential habitat sampling and/or taphonomic filtering affect the preserved record of dinosaurian body mass in the Cretaceous. Our results are congruent with studies documenting that behavioural and/or ecological factors may mitigate the benefit of increasing mass in extant taxa, and suggest that the hypothesis can be extrapolated to herbivorous lineages across geological time scales. PMID:23193135

  12. Directed evolution of adenylosuccinate synthetase from Bacillus subtilis and its application in metabolic engineering.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiaoyue; Wang, Guanglu; Li, Xinli; Fu, Jing; Chen, Tao; Wang, Zhiwen; Zhao, Xueming

    2016-08-10

    Adenylosuccinate synthetase (EC. 6.3.4.4) encoded by purA in Bacillus subtilis, catalyzing the first step of the conversion of IMP to AMP, plays an important role in flux distribution in the purine biosynthetic pathway. In this study, we described the use of site saturation mutagenesis to obtain a desired enzyme activity of adenylosuccinate synthetase and its application in flux regulation. Based on sequence alignment and structural modeling, a library of enzyme variants was created by a semi-rational evolution strategy in position Thr238 and Pro242. Other than purA deletion, the leaky mutation purA(P242N) partially reduced the flux towards AMP derived from IMP and increased the riboflavin synthesis precursor GTP, while also kept the requirement of ATP synthesis for cell growth. PurA(P242N) was introduced into an inosine-producing strain and resulted in an approximately 4.66-fold increase in inosine production, from 0.088±0.009g/L to 0.41±0.051g/L, in minimal medium without hypoxanthine accumulation. These results underline that the directed evolution of adenylosuccinate synthetase could tailor its activities and adjust metabolic flux. This mutation may provide a promising application in purine-based product accumulation, like inosine, guanosine and folate which are directly stemming from purine pathway in B. subtilis. PMID:27234879

  13. Dieselzymes: development of a stable and methanol tolerant lipase for biodiesel production by directed evolution

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Biodiesels are methyl esters of fatty acids that are usually produced by base catalyzed transesterification of triacylglyerol with methanol. Some lipase enzymes are effective catalysts for biodiesel synthesis and have many potential advantages over traditional base or acid catalyzed transesterification. Natural lipases are often rapidly inactivated by the high methanol concentrations used for biodiesel synthesis, however, limiting their practical use. The lipase from Proteus mirabilis is a particularly promising catalyst for biodiesel synthesis as it produces high yields of methyl esters even in the presence of large amounts of water and expresses very well in Escherichia coli. However, since the Proteus mirabilis lipase is only moderately stable and methanol tolerant, these properties need to be improved before the enzyme can be used industrially. Results We employed directed evolution, resulting in a Proteus mirabilis lipase variant with 13 mutations, which we call Dieselzyme 4. Dieselzyme 4 has greatly improved thermal stability, with a 30-fold increase in the half-inactivation time at 50°C relative to the wild-type enzyme. The evolved enzyme also has dramatically increased methanol tolerance, showing a 50-fold longer half-inactivation time in 50% aqueous methanol. The immobilized Dieselzyme 4 enzyme retains the ability to synthesize biodiesel and has improved longevity over wild-type or the industrially used Brukholderia cepacia lipase during many cycles of biodiesel synthesis. A crystal structure of Dieselzyme 4 reveals additional hydrogen bonds and salt bridges in Dieselzyme 4 compared to the wild-type enzyme, suggesting that polar interactions may become particularly stabilizing in the reduced dielectric environment of the oil and methanol mixture used for biodiesel synthesis. Conclusions Directed evolution was used to produce a stable lipase, Dieselzyme 4, which could be immobilized and re-used for biodiesel synthesis. Dieselzyme 4 outperforms

  14. Molecular tools and bumble bees: revealing hidden details of ecology and evolution in a model system.

    PubMed

    Woodard, S Hollis; Lozier, Jeffrey D; Goulson, David; Williams, Paul H; Strange, James P; Jha, Shalene

    2015-06-01

    Bumble bees are a longstanding model system for studies on behaviour, ecology and evolution, due to their well-studied social lifestyle, invaluable role as wild and managed pollinators, and ubiquity and diversity across temperate ecosystems. Yet despite their importance, many aspects of bumble bee biology have remained enigmatic until the rise of the genetic and, more recently, genomic eras. Here, we review and synthesize new insights into the ecology, evolution and behaviour of bumble bees that have been gained using modern genetic and genomic techniques. Special emphasis is placed on four areas of bumble bee biology: the evolution of eusociality in this group, population-level processes, large-scale evolutionary relationships and patterns, and immunity and resistance to pesticides. We close with a prospective on the future of bumble bee genomics research, as this rapidly advancing field has the potential to further revolutionize our understanding of bumble bees, particularly in regard to adaptation and resilience. Worldwide, many bumble bee populations are in decline. As such, throughout the review, connections are drawn between new molecular insights into bumble bees and our understanding of the causal factors involved in their decline. Ongoing and potential applications to bumble bee management and conservation are also included to demonstrate how genetics- and genomics-enabled research aids in the preservation of this threatened group. PMID:25865395

  15. Molecular Evolution of Drosophila Germline Stem Cell and Neural Stem Cell Regulating Genes

    PubMed Central

    Choi, Jae Young; Aquadro, Charles F.

    2015-01-01

    Here, we study the molecular evolution of a near complete set of genes that had functional evidence in the regulation of the Drosophila germline and neural stem cell. Some of these genes have previously been shown to be rapidly evolving by positive selection raising the possibility that stem cell genes as a group have elevated signatures of positive selection. Using recent Drosophila comparative genome sequences and population genomic sequences of Drosophila melanogaster, we have investigated both long- and short-term evolution occurring across these two different stem cell systems, and compared them with a carefully chosen random set of genes to represent the background rate of evolution. Our results showed an excess of genes with evidence of a recent selective sweep in both germline and neural stem cells in D. melanogaster. However compared with their control genes, both stem cell systems had no significant excess of genes with long-term recurrent positive selection in D. melanogaster, or across orthologous sequences from the melanogaster group. The evidence of long-term positive selection was limited to a subset of genes with specific functions in both the germline and neural stem cell system. PMID:26507797

  16. Near-Neutrality: the Leading Edge of the Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Hughes, Austin L.

    2009-01-01

    The nearly-neutral theory represents a development of Kimura’s Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution that makes testable predictions that go beyond a mere null model. Recent evidence has strongly supported several of these predictions, including the prediction that slightly deleterious variants will accumulate in a species that has undergone a severe bottleneck or in cases where recombination is reduced or absent. Because bottlenecks often occur in speciation and slightly deleterious mutations in coding regions will usually be nonsynonymous, we should expect that the ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous fixed differences between species should often exceed the ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous polymorphisms within species. Numerous data support this prediction, although they have often been wrongly interpreted as evidence for positive Darwinian selection. The use of conceptually flawed tests for positive selection has become widespread in recent years, seriously harming the quest for an understanding of genome evolution. When properly analyzed, many (probably most) claimed cases of positive selection will turn out to involve the fixation of slightly deleterious mutations by genetic drift in bottlenecked populations. Slightly deleterious variants are a transient feature of evolution in the long term, but they have had substantial impact on contemporary species, including our own. PMID:18559820

  17. Molecular evolution of the brain size regulator genes CDK5RAP2 and CENPJ.

    PubMed

    Evans, Patrick D; Vallender, Eric J; Lahn, Bruce T

    2006-06-21

    Primary microcephaly is a developmental defect of the brain characterized by severely reduced brain size but an absence of other overt abnormalities. Mutations in several loci have been linked to primary microcephaly. The underlying genes for two of these were recently identified as CDK5RAP2 and CENPJ. Here, we focus on CDK5RAP2 and show that the protein evolutionary rate of this gene is significantly higher in primates than rodents or carnivores. We further show that the evolutionary rate within primates is particularly high in the human and chimpanzee terminal branches. Thus, the pattern of molecular evolution seen in CDK5RAP2 appears to parallel, at least approximately, that seen in two other previously identified primary microcephaly genes, microcephalin and ASPM. We also briefly discuss CENPJ, which similarly exhibits higher rate of protein evolution in primates as compared to rodents and carnivores. Together, the evolutionary patterns of all four presently known primary microcephaly genes are consistent with the hypothesis that genes regulating brain size during development might also play a role in brain evolution in primates and especially humans. PMID:16631324

  18. Mid Infrared H2 lines- a new direct tracer for total molecular gas content in galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Togi, Aditya; Smith, John-David T.

    2016-01-01

    Robust knowledge of the molecular hydrogen (H2) gas distribution is necessary to understand star formation in galaxies. Since H2 is not readily observable in the cold interstellar medium (ISM), the molecular gas content has traditionally been inferred using indirect tracers like carbon-monoxide (CO), dust emission, gamma ray interactions, and star formation efficiency. Physical processes resulting in enhancement and reduction of these indirect tracers can result in misleading estimates of molecular gas masses. My dissertation work is based on devising a new temperature power law distribution model for warm H2, a direct tracer, to calculate the total molecular gas mass in galaxies. The model parameters are estimated using mid infrared (MIR) H2 rotational line fluxes, obtained from IRS- Spitzer (InfraRed Spectrograph- Spitzer) instrument, and the model can be extrapolated to a suitable lower temperature to recover the total molecular gas mass. The power law model is able to recover the dark molecular gas, undetected by CO, in low metallicity galaxies. Using the power law model in the coming era of James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) with the high sensitivity MIR Instrument (MIRI) spectrograph we will be able to understand the properties of molecular gas at low and high redshifts.

  19. The Morphological and Molecular Changes of Brain Cells Exposed to Direct Current Electric Field Stimulation

    PubMed Central

    Pelletier, Simon J.; Lagacé, Marie; St-Amour, Isabelle; Arsenault, Dany; Cisbani, Giulia; Chabrat, Audrey; Fecteau, Shirley; Lévesque, Martin

    2015-01-01

    Background: The application of low-intensity direct current electric fields has been experimentally used in the clinic to treat a number of brain disorders, predominantly using transcranial direct current stimulation approaches. However, the cellular and molecular changes induced by such treatment remain largely unknown. Methods: Here, we tested various intensities of direct current electric fields (0, 25, 50, and 100V/m) in a well-controlled in vitro environment in order to investigate the responses of neurons, microglia, and astrocytes to this type of stimulation. This included morphological assessments of the cells, viability, as well as shape and fiber outgrowth relative to the orientation of the direct current electric field. We also undertook enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and western immunoblotting to identify which molecular pathways were affected by direct current electric fields. Results: In response to direct current electric field, neurons developed an elongated cell body shape with neurite outgrowth that was associated with a significant increase in growth associated protein-43. Fetal midbrain dopaminergic explants grown in a collagen gel matrix also showed a reorientation of their neurites towards the cathode. BV2 microglial cells adopted distinct morphological changes with an increase in cyclooxygenase-2 expression, but these were dependent on whether they had already been activated with lipopolysaccharide. Finally, astrocytes displayed elongated cell bodies with cellular filopodia that were oriented perpendicularly to the direct current electric field. Conclusion: We show that cells of the central nervous system can respond to direct current electric fields both in terms of their morphological shape and molecular expression of certain proteins, and this in turn can help us to begin understand the mechanisms underlying the clinical benefits of direct current electric field. PMID:25522422

  20. Tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase Urzyme: a model to recapitulate molecular evolution and investigate intramolecular complementation.

    PubMed

    Pham, Yen; Kuhlman, Brian; Butterfoss, Glenn L; Hu, Hao; Weinreb, Violetta; Carter, Charles W

    2010-12-01

    We substantiate our preliminary description of the class I tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase minimal catalytic domain with details of its construction, structure, and steady-state kinetic parameters. Generating that active fragment involved deleting 65% of the contemporary enzyme, including the anticodon-binding domain and connecting peptide 1, CP1, a 74-residue internal segment from within the Rossmann fold. We used protein design (Rosetta), rather than phylogenetic sequence alignments, to identify mutations to compensate for the severe loss of modularity, thus restoring stability, as evidenced by renaturation described previously and by 70-ns molecular dynamics simulations. Sufficient solubility to enable biochemical studies was achieved by expressing the redesigned Urzyme as a maltose-binding protein fusion. Michaelis-Menten kinetic parameters from amino acid activation assays showed that, compared with the native full-length enzyme, TrpRS Urzyme binds ATP with similar affinity. This suggests that neither of the two deleted structural modules has a strong influence on ground-state ATP binding. However, tryptophan has 10(3) lower affinity, and the Urzyme has comparably reduced specificity relative to the related amino acid, tyrosine. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed how CP1 may contribute significantly to cognate amino acid specificity. As class Ia editing domains are nested within the CP1, this finding suggests that this module enhanced amino acid specificity continuously, throughout their evolution. We call this type of reconstructed protein catalyst an Urzyme (Ur prefix indicates original, primitive, or earliest). It establishes a model for recapitulating very early steps in molecular evolution in which fitness may have been enhanced by accumulating entire modules, rather than by discrete amino acid sequence changes. PMID:20864539

  1. DAMBE5: a comprehensive software package for data analysis in molecular biology and evolution.

    PubMed

    Xia, Xuhua

    2013-07-01

    Since its first release in 2001 as mainly a software package for phylogenetic analysis, data analysis for molecular biology and evolution (DAMBE) has gained many new functions that may be classified into six categories: 1) sequence retrieval, editing, manipulation, and conversion among more than 20 standard sequence formats including MEGA, NEXUS, PHYLIP, GenBank, and the new NeXML format for interoperability, 2) motif characterization and discovery functions such as position weight matrix and Gibbs sampler, 3) descriptive genomic analysis tools with improved versions of codon adaptation index, effective number of codons, protein isoelectric point profiling, RNA and protein secondary structure prediction and calculation of minimum folding energy, and genomic skew plots with optimized window size, 4) molecular phylogenetics including sequence alignment, testing substitution saturation, distance-based, maximum parsimony, and maximum-likelihood methods for tree reconstructions, testing the molecular clock hypothesis with either a phylogeny or with relative-rate tests, dating gene duplication and speciation events, choosing the best-fit substitution models, and estimating rate heterogeneity over sites, 5) phylogeny-based comparative methods for continuous and discrete variables, and 6) graphic functions including secondary structure display, optimized skew plot, hydrophobicity plot, and many other plots of amino acid properties along a protein sequence, tree display and drawing by dragging nodes to each other, and visual searching of the maximum parsimony tree. DAMBE features a graphic, user-friendly, and intuitive interface and is freely available from http://dambe.bio.uottawa.ca (last accessed April 16, 2013). PMID:23564938

  2. Molecular corridors and parameterizations of volatility in the evolution of organic aerosols

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Y.; Pöschl, U.; Shiraiwa, M.

    2015-10-01

    The formation and aging of organic aerosols (OA) proceed through multiple steps of chemical reaction and mass transport in the gas and particle phases, which is challenging for the interpretation of field measurements and laboratory experiments as well as accurate representation of OA evolution in atmospheric aerosol models. Based on data from over 30 000 compounds, we show that organic compounds with a wide variety of functional groups fall into molecular corridors, characterized by a tight inverse correlation between molar mass and volatility. We developed parameterizations to predict the volatility of organic compounds containing oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur from the elemental composition that can be measured by soft-ionization high-resolution mass spectrometry. Field measurement data from new particle formation events, biomass burning, cloud/fog processing, and indoor environments were mapped into molecular corridors to characterize the chemical nature of the observed OA components. We found that less oxidized indoor OA are constrained to a corridor of low molar mass and high volatility, whereas highly oxygenated compounds in atmospheric water extend to high molar mass and low volatility. Among the nitrogen- and sulfur-containing compounds identified in atmospheric aerosols, amines tend to exhibit low molar mass and high volatility, whereas organonitrates and organosulfates follow high O : C corridors extending to high molar mass and low volatility. We suggest that the consideration of molar mass and molecular corridors can help to constrain volatility and particle phase state in the modeling of OA particularly for nitrogen- and sulfur-containing compounds.

  3. Speeding up evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoff, Wouter

    Proteins and cells offer great opportunities for green chemistry and renewable energy. However, few of these possible applications have been put into practice because of details that turn out to be major barriers to cost-efficient implementation and that prove difficult to solve by genetic engineering. A better understanding of molecular evolution promises a novel approach to addressing these important challenges. While major advances have been made, major gaps remain in understanding the evolution of proteins. Different approaches to accelerating molecular evolution into targeted directions will be discussed, including recent progress on evolution in non-homogeneous environments.

  4. Direct calculation of ice homogeneous nucleation rate for a molecular model of water

    PubMed Central

    Haji-Akbari, Amir; Debenedetti, Pablo G.

    2015-01-01

    Ice formation is ubiquitous in nature, with important consequences in a variety of environments, including biological cells, soil, aircraft, transportation infrastructure, and atmospheric clouds. However, its intrinsic kinetics and microscopic mechanism are difficult to discern with current experiments. Molecular simulations of ice nucleation are also challenging, and direct rate calculations have only been performed for coarse-grained models of water. For molecular models, only indirect estimates have been obtained, e.g., by assuming the validity of classical nucleation theory. We use a path sampling approach to perform, to our knowledge, the first direct rate calculation of homogeneous nucleation of ice in a molecular model of water. We use TIP4P/Ice, the most accurate among existing molecular models for studying ice polymorphs. By using a novel topological approach to distinguish different polymorphs, we are able to identify a freezing mechanism that involves a competition between cubic and hexagonal ice in the early stages of nucleation. In this competition, the cubic polymorph takes over because the addition of new topological structural motifs consistent with cubic ice leads to the formation of more compact crystallites. This is not true for topological hexagonal motifs, which give rise to elongated crystallites that are not able to grow. This leads to transition states that are rich in cubic ice, and not the thermodynamically stable hexagonal polymorph. This mechanism provides a molecular explanation for the earlier experimental and computational observations of the preference for cubic ice in the literature. PMID:26240318

  5. Direct calculation of ice homogeneous nucleation rate for a molecular model of water.

    PubMed

    Haji-Akbari, Amir; Debenedetti, Pablo G

    2015-08-25

    Ice formation is ubiquitous in nature, with important consequences in a variety of environments, including biological cells, soil, aircraft, transportation infrastructure, and atmospheric clouds. However, its intrinsic kinetics and microscopic mechanism are difficult to discern with current experiments. Molecular simulations of ice nucleation are also challenging, and direct rate calculations have only been performed for coarse-grained models of water. For molecular models, only indirect estimates have been obtained, e.g., by assuming the validity of classical nucleation theory. We use a path sampling approach to perform, to our knowledge, the first direct rate calculation of homogeneous nucleation of ice in a molecular model of water. We use TIP4P/Ice, the most accurate among existing molecular models for studying ice polymorphs. By using a novel topological approach to distinguish different polymorphs, we are able to identify a freezing mechanism that involves a competition between cubic and hexagonal ice in the early stages of nucleation. In this competition, the cubic polymorph takes over because the addition of new topological structural motifs consistent with cubic ice leads to the formation of more compact crystallites. This is not true for topological hexagonal motifs, which give rise to elongated crystallites that are not able to grow. This leads to transition states that are rich in cubic ice, and not the thermodynamically stable hexagonal polymorph. This mechanism provides a molecular explanation for the earlier experimental and computational observations of the preference for cubic ice in the literature. PMID:26240318

  6. Molecular Corridor Based Approach for Description of Evolution of Secondary Organic Aerosols

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Y., Sr.; Poeschl, U.; Shiraiwa, M.

    2015-12-01

    Organic aerosol is ubiquitous in the atmosphere and its major component is secondary organic aerosol (SOA). Formation and evolution of SOA is a complex process involving coupled chemical reactions and mass transport in the gas and particle phases (Shiraiwa et al., 2014). Current air quality models do not embody the full spectrum of reaction and transport processes, nor do they identify the dominant rate-limiting steps in SOA formation, resulting in the significant underprediction of observed SOA concentrations, which precludes reliable quantitative predictions of aerosols and their environmental impacts. Recently, it has been suggested that the SOA chemical evolution can be represented well by "molecular corridor" with a tight inverse correlation between molar mass and volatility of SOA oxidation products (Shiraiwa et al., 2014). Here we further analyzed the structure, molar mass and volatility of 31,000 unique organic compounds. These compounds include oxygenated organic compounds as well as nitrogen- and sulfur-containing organics such as amines, organonitrates, and organosulfates. Results show that most of those compounds fall into this two-dimensional (2-D) space, which is constrained by two boundary lines corresponding to the volatility of n -alkanes CnH2n+2 and sugar alcohols CnH2n+2On. A method to predict the volatility of nitrogen- and sulfur- containing compounds is developed based on those 31,000 organic compounds. It is shown that the volatility can be well predicted as a function of chemical composition numbers, providing a way to apply this 2-D space to organic compounds observed in real atmosphere. A comprehensive set of observation data from laboratory experiments, field campaigns and indoor measurements is mapped to the molecular corridor. This 2-D space can successfully grasp the properties of organic compounds formed in different atmospheric conditions. The molecular corridor represents a new framework in which chemical and physical properties as

  7. PyEvolve: a toolkit for statistical modelling of molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Butterfield, Andrew; Vedagiri, Vivek; Lang, Edward; Lawrence, Cath; Wakefield, Matthew J; Isaev, Alexander; Huttley, Gavin A

    2004-01-01

    Background Examining the distribution of variation has proven an extremely profitable technique in the effort to identify sequences of biological significance. Most approaches in the field, however, evaluate only the conserved portions of sequences – ignoring the biological significance of sequence differences. A suite of sophisticated likelihood based statistical models from the field of molecular evolution provides the basis for extracting the information from the full distribution of sequence variation. The number of different problems to which phylogeny-based maximum likelihood calculations can be applied is extensive. Available software packages that can perform likelihood calculations suffer from a lack of flexibility and scalability, or employ error-prone approaches to model parameterisation. Results Here we describe the implementation of PyEvolve, a toolkit for the application of existing, and development of new, statistical methods for molecular evolution. We present the object architecture and design schema of PyEvolve, which includes an adaptable multi-level parallelisation schema. The approach for defining new methods is illustrated by implementing a novel dinucleotide model of substitution that includes a parameter for mutation of methylated CpG's, which required 8 lines of standard Python code to define. Benchmarking was performed using either a dinucleotide or codon substitution model applied to an alignment of BRCA1 sequences from 20 mammals, or a 10 species subset. Up to five-fold parallel performance gains over serial were recorded. Compared to leading alternative software, PyEvolve exhibited significantly better real world performance for parameter rich models with a large data set, reducing the time required for optimisation from ~10 days to ~6 hours. Conclusion PyEvolve provides flexible functionality that can be used either for statistical modelling of molecular evolution, or the development of new methods in the field. The toolkit can be

  8. Maternal Lipid Provisioning Mirrors Evolution of Reproductive Strategies in Direct-Developing Whelks.

    PubMed

    Carrasco, Sergio A; Phillips, Nicole E; Sewell, Mary A

    2016-06-01

    The energetic input that offspring receive from their mothers is a well-studied maternal effect that can influence the evolution of life histories. Using the offspring of three sympatric whelks: Cominella virgata (one embryo per capsule); Cominella maculosa (multiple embryos per capsule); and Haustrum scobina (multiple embryos per capsule and nurse-embryo consumption), we examined how contrasting reproductive strategies mediate inter- and intraspecific differences in hatchling provisioning. Total lipid content (as measured in μg hatchling(-1) ± SE) was unrelated to size among the 3 species; the hatchlings of H. scobina were the smallest but had the highest lipid content (33.8 ± 8.1 μg hatchling(-1)). In offspring of C. maculosa, lipid content was 6.6 ± 0.4 μg hatchling(-1), and in offspring of C. virgata, it was 21.7 ± 3.2 μg hatchling(-1) The multi-encapsulated hatchlings of C. maculosa and H. scobina were the only species that contained the energetic lipids, wax ester (WE) and methyl ester (ME). However, the overall composition of energetic lipid between hatchlings of the two Cominella species reflected strong affinities of taxonomy, suggesting a phylogenetic evolution of the non-adelphophagic development strategy. Inter- and intracapsular variability in sibling provisioning was highest in H. scobina, a finding that implies less control of allocation to individual hatchlings in this adelphophagic developer. We suggest that interspecific variability of lipids offers a useful approach to understanding the evolution of maternal provisioning in direct-developing species. PMID:27365414

  9. Directed evolution strategies for enantiocomplementary haloalkane dehalogenases: from chemical waste to enantiopure building blocks.

    PubMed

    van Leeuwen, Jan G E; Wijma, Hein J; Floor, Robert J; van der Laan, Jan-Metske; Janssen, Dick B

    2012-01-01

    We used directed evolution to obtain enantiocomplementary haloalkane dehalogenase variants that convert the toxic waste compound 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP) into highly enantioenriched (R)- or (S)-2,3-dichloropropan-1-ol, which can easily be converted into optically active epichlorohydrins-attractive intermediates for the synthesis of enantiopure fine chemicals. A dehalogenase with improved catalytic activity but very low enantioselectivity was used as the starting point. A strategy that made optimal use of the limited capacity of the screening assay, which was based on chiral gas chromatography, was developed. We used pair-wise site-saturation mutagenesis (SSM) of all 16 noncatalytic active-site residues during the initial two rounds of evolution. The resulting best R- and S-enantioselective variants were further improved in two rounds of site-restricted mutagenesis (SRM), with incorporation of carefully selected sets of amino acids at a larger number of positions, including sites that are more distant from the active site. Finally, the most promising mutations and positions were promoted to a combinatorial library by using a multi-site mutagenesis protocol with restricted codon sets. To guide the design of partly undefined (ambiguous) codon sets for these restricted libraries we employed structural information, the results of multiple sequence alignments, and knowledge from earlier rounds. After five rounds of evolution with screening of only 5500 clones, we obtained two strongly diverged haloalkane dehalogenase variants that give access to (R)-epichlorohydrin with 90 % ee and to (S)-epichlorohydrin with 97 % ee, containing 13 and 17 mutations, respectively, around their active sites. PMID:22109980

  10. Facile Construction of Random Gene Mutagenesis Library for Directed Evolution Without the Use of Restriction Enzyme in Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Kim, Jae-Eung; Huang, Rui; Chen, Hui; You, Chun; Zhang, Y-H Percival

    2016-09-01

    A foolproof protocol was developed for the construction of mutant DNA library for directed protein evolution. First, a library of linear mutant gene was generated by error-prone PCR or molecular shuffling, and a linear vector backbone was prepared by high-fidelity PCR. Second, the amplified insert and vector fragments were assembled by overlap-extension PCR with a pair of 5'-phosphorylated primers. Third, full-length linear plasmids with phosphorylated 5'-ends were self-ligated with T4 ligase, yielding circular plasmids encoding mutant variants suitable for high-efficiency transformation. Self-made competent Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) showed a transformation efficiency of 2.4 × 10(5) cfu/µg of the self-ligated circular plasmid. Using this method, three mutants of mCherry fluorescent protein were found to alter their colors and fluorescent intensities under visible and UV lights, respectively. Also, one mutant of 6-phosphorogluconate dehydrogenase from a thermophilic bacterium Moorella thermoacetica was found to show the 3.5-fold improved catalytic efficiency (kcat /Km ) on NAD(+) as compared to the wild-type. This protocol is DNA-sequence independent, and does not require restriction enzymes, special E. coli host, or labor-intensive optimization. In addition, this protocol can be used for subcloning the relatively long DNA sequences into any position of plasmids. PMID:27367290

  11. End-directed evolution and the emergence of energy-seeking behavior in a complex system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kondepudi, Dilip; Kay, Bruce; Dixon, James

    2015-05-01

    Self-organization in a voltage-driven nonequilibrium system, consisting of conducting beads immersed in a viscous medium, gives rise to a dynamic tree structure that exhibits wormlike motion. The complex motion of the beads driven by the applied field, the dipole-dipole interaction between the beads and the hydrodynamic flow of the viscous medium, results in a time evolution of the tree structure towards states of lower resistance or higher dissipation and thus higher rates of entropy production. Thus emerges a remarkably organismlike energy-seeking behavior. The dynamic tree structure draws the energy needed to form and maintain its structure, moves to positions at which it receives more energy, and avoids conditions that lower available energy. It also is able to restore its structure when damaged, i.e., it is self-healing. The emergence of energy-seeking behavior in a nonliving complex system that is extremely simple in its construct is unexpected. Along with the property of self-healing, this system, in a rudimentary way, exhibits properties that are analogous to those we observe in living organisms. Thermodynamically, the observed diverse behavior can be characterized as end-directed evolution to states of higher rates of entropy production.

  12. New Concepts for Increasing the Efficiency in Directed Evolution of Stereoselective Enzymes.

    PubMed

    Sun, Zhoutong; Wikmark, Ylva; Bäckvall, Jan-E; Reetz, Manfred T

    2016-04-01

    Directed evolution of stereo- and regioselective enzymes constitutes a prolific source of catalysts for asymmetric transformations in organic chemistry. In this endeavor (iterative) saturation mutagenesis at sites lining the binding pocket of enzymes has emerged as the method of choice, but uncertainties regarding the question of how to group many residues into randomization sites and how to choose optimal upward pathways persist. Two new approaches promise to beat the numbers problem effectively. One utilizes a single amino acid as building block for the randomization of a 10-residue site, the other also employs only one but possibly different amino acid at each position of a 9-residue site. The small but smart libraries provide highly enantioselective epoxide hydrolase or lipase mutants, respectively. PMID:26914401

  13. Synthesis of 1-Naphthol by a Natural Peroxygenase Engineered by Directed Evolution.

    PubMed

    Molina-Espeja, Patricia; Cañellas, Marina; Plou, Francisco J; Hofrichter, Martin; Lucas, Fatima; Guallar, Victor; Alcalde, Miguel

    2016-02-15

    There is an increasing interest in enzymes that catalyze the hydroxylation of naphthalene under mild conditions and with minimal requirements. To address this challenge, an extracellular fungal aromatic peroxygenase with mono(per)oxygenase activity was engineered to convert naphthalene selectively into 1-naphthol. Mutant libraries constructed by random mutagenesis and DNA recombination were screened for peroxygenase activity on naphthalene together with quenching of the undesired peroxidative activity on 1-naphthol (one-electron oxidation). The resulting double mutant (G241D-R257K) obtained from this process was characterized biochemically and computationally. The conformational changes produced by directed evolution improved the substrate's catalytic position. Powered exclusively by catalytic concentrations of H2 O2 , this soluble and stable biocatalyst has a total turnover number of 50 000, with high regioselectivity (97 %) and reduced peroxidative activity. PMID:26677801

  14. Directed evolution of AraC for improved compatibility of arabinose- and lactose-inducible promoters.

    PubMed

    Lee, Sung Kuk; Chou, Howard H; Pfleger, Brian F; Newman, Jack D; Yoshikuni, Yasuo; Keasling, Jay D

    2007-09-01

    Synthetic biological systems often require multiple, independently inducible promoters in order to control the expression levels of several genes; however, cross talk between the promoters limits this ability. Here, we demonstrate the directed evolution of AraC to construct an arabinose-inducible (P(BAD)) system that is more compatible with IPTG (isopropyl-beta-D-1-thiogalactopyranoside) induction of a lactose-inducible (P(lac)) system. The constructed system is 10 times more sensitive to arabinose and tolerates IPTG significantly better than the wild type. Detailed studies indicate that the AraC dimerization domain and C terminus are important for the increased sensitivity of AraC to arabinose. PMID:17644634

  15. Directed evolution of a G protein-coupled receptor for expression, stability, and binding selectivity

    PubMed Central

    Sarkar, Casim A.; Dodevski, Igor; Kenig, Manca; Dudli, Stefan; Mohr, Anja; Hermans, Emmanuel; Plückthun, Andreas

    2008-01-01

    We outline a powerful method for the directed evolution of integral membrane proteins in the inner membrane of Escherichia coli. For a mammalian G protein-coupled receptor, we arrived at a sequence with an order-of-magnitude increase in functional expression that still retains the biochemical properties of wild type. This mutant also shows enhanced heterologous expression in eukaryotes (12-fold in Pichia pastoris and 3-fold in HEK293T cells) and greater stability when solubilized and purified, indicating that the biophysical properties of the protein had been under the pressure of selection. These improvements arise from multiple small contributions, which would be difficult to assemble by rational design. In a second screen, we rapidly pinpointed a single amino acid substitution in wild type that abolishes antagonist binding while retaining agonist-binding affinity. These approaches may alleviate existing bottlenecks in structural studies of these targets by providing sufficient quantities of stable variants in defined conformational states. PMID:18812512

  16. Directed evolution of an ultrastable carbonic anhydrase for highly efficient carbon capture from flue gas

    PubMed Central

    Alvizo, Oscar; Nguyen, Luan J.; Savile, Christopher K.; Bresson, Jamie A.; Lakhapatri, Satish L.; Solis, Earl O. P.; Fox, Richard J.; Broering, James M.; Benoit, Michael R.; Zimmerman, Sabrina A.; Novick, Scott J.; Liang, Jack; Lalonde, James J.

    2014-01-01

    Carbonic anhydrase (CA) is one of nature’s fastest enzymes and can dramatically improve the economics of carbon capture under demanding environments such as coal-fired power plants. The use of CA to accelerate carbon capture is limited by the enzyme’s sensitivity to the harsh process conditions. Using directed evolution, the properties of a β-class CA from Desulfovibrio vulgaris were dramatically enhanced. Iterative rounds of library design, library generation, and high-throughput screening identified highly stable CA variants that tolerate temperatures of up to 107 °C in the presence of 4.2 M alkaline amine solvent at pH >10.0. This increase in thermostability and alkali tolerance translates to a 4,000,000-fold improvement over the natural enzyme. At pilot scale, the evolved catalyst enhanced the rate of CO2 absorption 25-fold compared with the noncatalyzed reaction. PMID:25368146

  17. Directed Evolution of RebH for Site Selective Halogenation of Large, Biologically Active Molecules**

    PubMed Central

    Payne, James T.; Poor, Catherine B.

    2015-01-01

    We recently characterized the substrate scope of wild-type RebH and evolved variants of this enzyme with improved stability for biocatalysis. The substrate scopes of both RebH and the stabilized variants, however, are limited primarily to compounds similar in size to tryptophan. We have now used a substrate walking approach to further evolve RebH variants with expanded substrate scope. Two particularly notable variants were identified: 3-SS, which provides high conversion of tricyclic tryptoline derivatives; and 4-V, which accepts a broad range of large indoles and carbazoles. This constitutes the first reported use of directed evolution to enable functionalization of substrates not accepted by wild-type RebH and demonstrates the utility of RebH variants for site-selective halogenation of biologically active compounds. PMID:25678465

  18. How the Microbial World Saved Evolution from the Scylla of Molecular Biology and the Charybdis of the Modern Synthesis

    PubMed Central

    Woese, Carl R.; Goldenfeld, Nigel

    2009-01-01

    Summary: In this commentary, we provide a personal overview of the conceptual history of microbiology and molecular biology over the course of the last hundred years, emphasizing the relationship of these fields to the problem of evolution. We argue that despite their apparent success, all three reached an impasse that arose from the influence of dogmatic or overly narrow perspectives. Finally, we describe how recent developments in microbiology are realizing Beijerinck's vision of a field that is fully integrated with molecular biology, microbial ecology, thereby challenging and extending current thinking in evolution. PMID:19258530

  19. Temporal dynamics of intrahost molecular evolution for a plant RNA virus.

    PubMed

    Cuevas, José M; Willemsen, Anouk; Hillung, Julia; Zwart, Mark P; Elena, Santiago F

    2015-05-01

    Populations of plant RNA viruses are highly polymorphic in infected plants, which may allow rapid within-host evolution. To understand tobacco etch potyvirus (TEV) evolution, longitudinal samples from experimentally evolved populations in the natural host tobacco and from the alternative host pepper were phenotypically characterized and genetically analyzed. Temporal and compartmental variabilities of TEV populations were quantified using high throughput Illumina sequencing and population genetic approaches. Of the two viral phenotypic traits measured, virulence increased in the novel host but decreased in the original one, and viral load decreased in both hosts, though to a lesser extent in the novel one. Dynamics of population genetic diversity were also markedly different among hosts. Population heterozygosity increased in the ancestral host, with a dominance of synonymous mutations fixed, whereas it did not change or even decreased in the new host, with an excess of nonsynonymous mutations. All together, these observations suggest that directional selection is the dominant evolutionary force in TEV populations evolving in a novel host whereas either diversifying selection or random genetic drift may play a fundamental role in the natural host. To better understand these evolutionary dynamics, we developed a computer simulation model that incorporates the effects of mutation, selection, and drift. Upon parameterization with empirical data from previous studies, model predictions matched the observed patterns, thus reinforcing our idea that the empirical patterns of mutation accumulation represent adaptive evolution. PMID:25660377

  20. Evolution of complex organic molecules in hot molecular cores. Synthetic spectra at (sub-)mm wavebands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choudhury, R.; Schilke, P.; Stéphan, G.; Bergin, E.; Möller, T.; Schmiedeke, A.; Zernickel, A.

    2015-03-01

    Context. Hot molecular cores (HMCs) are intermediate stages of high-mass star formation and are also known for their rich chemical reservoirs and emission line spectra at (sub-)mm wavebands. Complex organic molecules (COMs) such as methanol (CH3OH), ethanol (C2H5OH), dimethyl ether (CH3OCH3), and methyl formate (HCOOCH3) produce most of these observed lines. The observed spectral feature of HMCs such as total number of emission lines and associated line intensities are also found to vary with evolutionary stages. Aims: We aim to investigate the spectral evolution of these COMs to explore the initial evolutionary stages of high-mass star formation including HMCs. Methods: We developed various 3D models for HMCs guided by the evolutionary scenarios proposed by recent empirical and modeling studies. We then investigated the spatio-temporal variation of temperature and molecular abundances in HMCs by consistently coupling gas-grain chemical evolution with radiative transfer calculations. We explored the effects of varying physical conditions on molecular abundances including density distribution and luminosity evolution of the central protostar(s) among other parameters. Finally, we simulated the synthetic spectra for these models at different evolutionary timescales to compare with observations. Results: Temperature has a profound effect on the formation of COMs through the depletion and diffusion on grain surface to desorption and further gas-phase processing. The time-dependent temperature structure of the hot core models provides a realistic framework for investigating the spatial variation of ice mantle evaporation as a function of evolutionary timescales. We find that a slightly higher value (15 K) than the canonical dark cloud temperature (10 K) provides a more productive environment for COM formation on grain surface. With increasing protostellar luminosity, the water ice evaporation font (~100 K) expands and the spatial distribution of gas phase abundances of

  1. Evolution in the charge injection efficiency of evaporated Au contacts on a molecularly doped polymer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ioannidis, Andronique; Facci, John S.; Abkowitz, Martin A.

    1998-08-01

    Injection efficiency from evaporated Au contacts on a molecularly doped polymer (MDP) system has been previously observed to evolve from blocking to ohmic over time. In the present article this contact forming phenomenon is analyzed in detail. The initially blocking nature of the Au contact is in contrast with that expected from the relative workfunctions of Au and of the polymer which suggest Au should inject holes efficiently. It is also in apparent contrast to a differently prepared interface of the same materials. The phenomenon is not unique to this interface, having been confirmed also for evaporated Ag and mechanically made liquid Hg contacts on the same MDP. The MDP is a disordered solid state solution of electroactive triarylamine hole transporting TPD molecules in a polycarbonate matrix. The trap-free hole-transport MDP provides a model system for the study of metal/polymer interfaces by enabling the use of a recently developed technique that gives a quantitative measure of contact injection efficiency. The technique combines field-dependent steady state injection current measurements at a contact under test with time-of-flight (TOF) mobility measurements made on the same sample. In the present case, MDP films were prepared with two top vapor-deposited contacts, one of Au (test contact) and one of Al (for TOF), and a bottom carbon-loaded polymer electrode which is known to be ohmic for hole injection. The samples were aged at various temperatures below the glass transition of the MDP (85 °C) and the evolution of current versus field and capacitance versus frequency behaviors are followed in detail over time and analyzed. Control measurements ensure that the evolution of the electrical properties is due to the Au/polymer interface behavior and not the bulk. All evaporated Au contacts eventually achieved ohmic injection. The evaporated Au/MDP interface was also investigated by transmission electron microscopy as a function of time and showed no evidence of

  2. High sensitivity of diamond resonant microcantilevers for direct detection in liquids as probed by molecular electrostatic surface interactions.

    PubMed

    Bongrain, Alexandre; Agnès, Charles; Rousseau, Lionel; Scorsone, Emmanuel; Arnault, Jean-Charles; Ruffinatto, Sébastien; Omnès, Franck; Mailley, Pascal; Lissorgues, Gaëlle; Bergonzo, Philippe

    2011-10-01

    Resonant microcantilevers have demonstrated that they can play an important role in the detection of chemical and biological agents. Molecular interactions with target species on the mechanical microtransducers surface generally induce a change of the beam's bending stiffness, resulting in a shift of the resonance frequency. In most biochemical sensor applications, cantilevers must operate in liquid, even though damping deteriorates the vibrational performances of the transducers. Here we focus on diamond-based microcantilevers since their transducing properties surpass those of other materials. In fact, among a wide range of remarkable features, diamond possesses exceptional mechanical properties enabling the fabrication of cantilever beams with higher resonant frequencies and Q-factors than when made from other conventional materials. Therefore, they appear as one of the top-ranked materials for designing cantilevers operating in liquid media. In this study, we evaluate the resonator sensitivity performances of our diamond microcantilevers using grafted carboxylated alkyl chains as a tool to investigate the subtle changes of surface stiffness as induced by electrostatic interactions. Here, caproic acid was immobilized on the hydrogen-terminated surface of resonant polycrystalline diamond cantilevers using a novel one-step grafting technique that could be also adapted to several other functionalizations. By varying the pH of the solution one could tune the -COO(-)/-COOH ratio of carboxylic acid moieties immobilized on the surface, thus enabling fine variations of the surface stress. We were able to probe the cantilevers resonance frequency evolution and correlate it with the ratio of -COO(-)/-COOH terminations on the functionalized diamond surface and consequently the evolution of the electrostatic potential over the cantilever surface. The approach successfully enabled one to probe variations in cantilevers bending stiffness from several tens to hundreds of

  3. Molecular co-catalyst accelerating hole transfer for enhanced photocatalytic H2 evolution

    PubMed Central

    Bi, Wentuan; Li, Xiaogang; Zhang, Lei; Jin, Tao; Zhang, Lidong; Zhang, Qun; Luo, Yi; Wu, Changzheng; Xie, Yi

    2015-01-01

    In artificial photocatalysis, sluggish kinetics of hole transfer and the resulting high-charge recombination rate have been the Achilles' heel of photocatalytic conversion efficiency. Here we demonstrate water-soluble molecules as co-catalysts to accelerate hole transfer for improved photocatalytic H2 evolution activity. Trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), by virtue of its reversible redox couple TFA·/TFA−, serves as a homogeneous co-catalyst that not only maximizes the contact areas between co-catalysts and reactants but also greatly promotes hole transfer. Thus K4Nb6O17 nanosheet catalysts achieve drastically increased photocatalytic H2 production rate in the presence of TFA, up to 32 times with respect to the blank experiment. The molecular co-catalyst represents a new, simple and highly effective approach to suppress recombination of photogenerated charges, and has provided fertile new ground for creating high-efficiency photosynthesis systems, avoiding use of noble-metal co-catalysts. PMID:26486863

  4. Molecular co-catalyst accelerating hole transfer for enhanced photocatalytic H2 evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bi, Wentuan; Li, Xiaogang; Zhang, Lei; Jin, Tao; Zhang, Lidong; Zhang, Qun; Luo, Yi; Wu, Changzheng; Xie, Yi

    2015-10-01

    In artificial photocatalysis, sluggish kinetics of hole transfer and the resulting high-charge recombination rate have been the Achilles' heel of photocatalytic conversion efficiency. Here we demonstrate water-soluble molecules as co-catalysts to accelerate hole transfer for improved photocatalytic H2 evolution activity. Trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), by virtue of its reversible redox couple TFA./TFA-, serves as a homogeneous co-catalyst that not only maximizes the contact areas between co-catalysts and reactants but also greatly promotes hole transfer. Thus K4Nb6O17 nanosheet catalysts achieve drastically increased photocatalytic H2 production rate in the presence of TFA, up to 32 times with respect to the blank experiment. The molecular co-catalyst represents a new, simple and highly effective approach to suppress recombination of photogenerated charges, and has provided fertile new ground for creating high-efficiency photosynthesis systems, avoiding use of noble-metal co-catalysts.

  5. Adaptation or biased gene conversion? Extending the null hypothesis of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Galtier, Nicolas; Duret, Laurent

    2007-06-01

    The analysis of evolutionary rates is a popular approach to characterizing the effect of natural selection at the molecular level. Sequences contributing to species adaptation are expected to evolve faster than nonfunctional sequences because favourable mutations have a higher fixation probability than neutral ones. Such an accelerated rate of evolution might be due to factors other than natural selection, in particular GC-biased gene conversion. This is true of neutral sequences, but also of constrained sequences, which can be illustrated using the mouse Fxy gene. Several criteria can discriminate between the natural selection and biased gene conversion models. These criteria suggest that the recently reported human accelerated regions are most likely the result of biased gene conversion. We argue that these regions, far from contributing to human adaptation, might represent the Achilles' heel of our genome. PMID:17418442

  6. Oxygen evolution on a SrFeO3 anode - Mechanistic considerations from molecular orbital theory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mehandru, S. P.; Anderson, Alfred B.

    1989-01-01

    Various pathways proposed in the literature for the evolution of O2 in electrochemical oxidations are explored using the atom superposition and electron delocalization molecular orbital (ASED-MO) theory and the cluster models of the SrFeO3 surface as a prototype material. Calculations indicate that oxygen atoms can be easily formed on the (100) surface as well as on the edge cation sites of a SrFeO3 anode by the discharge of OH(-), followed by its deprotonation and electron transfer to the electrode. The O atoms can form O2 on the edge and corner sites, where the Fe(4+) is coordinated to four and three bulk oxygen anions, respectively. The calculations strongly disfavor mechanisms involving coupling of oxygen atoms adsorbed on different cations as well as a mechanism featuring an ozone intermediate.

  7. Dynamics of the Eigen and the Crow-Kimura models for molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Saakian, David B; Rozanova, Olga; Akmetzhanov, Andrei

    2008-10-01

    We introduce an alternative way to study molecular evolution within well-established Hamilton-Jacobi formalism, showing that for a broad class of fitness landscapes it is possible to derive dynamics analytically within the 1N accuracy, where N is the genome length. For a smooth and monotonic fitness function this approach gives two dynamical phases: smooth dynamics and discontinuous dynamics. The latter phase arises naturally with no explicite singular fitness function, counterintuitively. The Hamilton-Jacobi method yields straightforward analytical results for the models that utilize fitness as a function of Hamming distance from a reference genome sequence. We also show the way in which this method gives dynamical phase structure for multipeak fitness. PMID:18999456

  8. Compact structure and proteins of pasta retard in vitro digestive evolution of branched starch molecular structure.

    PubMed

    Zou, Wei; Sissons, Mike; Warren, Frederick J; Gidley, Michael J; Gilbert, Robert G

    2016-11-01

    The roles that the compact structure and proteins in pasta play in retarding evolution of starch molecular structure during in vitro digestion are explored, using four types of cooked samples: whole pasta, pasta powder, semolina (with proteins) and extracted starch without proteins. These were subjected to in vitro digestion with porcine α-amylase, collecting samples at different times and characterizing the weight distribution of branched starch molecules using size-exclusion chromatography. Measurement of α-amylase activity showed that a protein (or proteins) from semolina or pasta powder interacted with α-amylase, causing reduced enzymatic activity and retarding digestion of branched starch molecules with hydrodynamic radius (Rh)<100nm; this protein(s) was susceptible to proteolysis. Thus the compact structure of pasta protects the starch and proteins in the interior of the whole pasta, reducing the enzymatic degradation of starch molecules, especially for molecules with Rh>100nm. PMID:27516291

  9. Focused Directed Evolution of Aryl-Alcohol Oxidase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by Using Chimeric Signal Peptides.

    PubMed

    Viña-Gonzalez, Javier; Gonzalez-Perez, David; Ferreira, Patricia; Martinez, Angel T; Alcalde, Miguel

    2015-09-01

    Aryl-alcohol oxidase (AAO) is an extracellular flavoprotein that supplies ligninolytic peroxidases with H2O2 during natural wood decay. With a broad substrate specificity and highly stereoselective reaction mechanism, AAO is an attractive candidate for studies into organic synthesis and synthetic biology, and yet the lack of suitable heterologous expression systems has precluded its engineering by directed evolution. In this study, the native signal sequence of AAO from Pleurotus eryngii was replaced by those of the mating α-factor and the K1 killer toxin, as well as different chimeras of both prepro-leaders in order to drive secretion in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The secretion of these AAO constructs increased in the following order: preproα-AAO > preαproK-AAO > preKproα-AAO > preproK-AAO. The chimeric preαproK-AAO was subjected to focused-directed evolution with the aid of a dual screening assay based on the Fenton reaction. Random mutagenesis and DNA recombination was concentrated on two protein segments (Met[α1]-Val109 and Phe392-Gln566), and an array of improved variants was identified, among which the FX7 mutant (harboring the H91N mutation) showed a dramatic 96-fold improvement in total activity with secretion levels of 2 mg/liter. Analysis of the N-terminal sequence of the FX7 variant confirmed the correct processing of the preαproK hybrid peptide by the KEX2 protease. FX7 showed higher stability in terms of pH and temperature, whereas the pH activity profiles and the kinetic parameters were maintained. The Asn91 lies in the flavin attachment loop motif, and it is a highly conserved residue in all members of the GMC superfamily, except for P. eryngii and P. pulmonarius AAO. The in vitro involution of the enzyme by restoring the consensus ancestor Asn91 promoted AAO expression and stability. PMID:26162870

  10. Focused Directed Evolution of Aryl-Alcohol Oxidase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by Using Chimeric Signal Peptides

    PubMed Central

    Viña-Gonzalez, Javier; Gonzalez-Perez, David; Ferreira, Patricia; Martinez, Angel T.

    2015-01-01

    Aryl-alcohol oxidase (AAO) is an extracellular flavoprotein that supplies ligninolytic peroxidases with H2O2 during natural wood decay. With a broad substrate specificity and highly stereoselective reaction mechanism, AAO is an attractive candidate for studies into organic synthesis and synthetic biology, and yet the lack of suitable heterologous expression systems has precluded its engineering by directed evolution. In this study, the native signal sequence of AAO from Pleurotus eryngii was replaced by those of the mating α-factor and the K1 killer toxin, as well as different chimeras of both prepro-leaders in order to drive secretion in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The secretion of these AAO constructs increased in the following order: preproα-AAO > preαproK-AAO > preKproα-AAO > preproK-AAO. The chimeric preαproK-AAO was subjected to focused-directed evolution with the aid of a dual screening assay based on the Fenton reaction. Random mutagenesis and DNA recombination was concentrated on two protein segments (Met[α1]-Val109 and Phe392-Gln566), and an array of improved variants was identified, among which the FX7 mutant (harboring the H91N mutation) showed a dramatic 96-fold improvement in total activity with secretion levels of 2 mg/liter. Analysis of the N-terminal sequence of the FX7 variant confirmed the correct processing of the preαproK hybrid peptide by the KEX2 protease. FX7 showed higher stability in terms of pH and temperature, whereas the pH activity profiles and the kinetic parameters were maintained. The Asn91 lies in the flavin attachment loop motif, and it is a highly conserved residue in all members of the GMC superfamily, except for P. eryngii and P. pulmonarius AAO. The in vitro involution of the enzyme by restoring the consensus ancestor Asn91 promoted AAO expression and stability. PMID:26162870

  11. Molecular Evolution and Phylodynamics of Acute Hepatitis B Virus in Japan

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Serena Y. C.; Toyoda, Hidenori; Kumada, Takashi; Liu, Hsin-Fu

    2016-01-01

    Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is prevalent worldwide and causes liver diseases, including acute and chronic hepatitis. Ten HBV genotypes (A–J) with distinct geographic distributions have been reported. Cases of acute HBV infection with genotype A have increased in Japan nationwide since the 1990s, mainly through sexual transmission. To investigate the molecular evolution and phylodynamics of HBV genotypes, we collected acute HBV isolates acquired in Japan from 1992–2002. Full genomes were obtained for comprehensive phylogenetic and phylodynamic analysis, with other Japanese HBV sequences from GenBank that were isolated during 1991–2010. HBV genotypes were classified using the maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methods. The GMRF Bayesian Skyride was used to estimate the evolution and population dynamics of HBV. Four HBV genotypes (A, B, C, and H) were identified, of which C was the major genotype. The phylodynamic results indicated an exponential growth between the 1960s and early 1990s; this was followed by a population bottleneck after 1995, possibly linked with successful implementation of a nationwide vaccination program. However, HBV/A increased from 1990 to 2003–2004, and then started to decrease. The prevalence of genotype A has increased over the past 10 years. Phylodynamic inference clearly demonstrates a steady population growth compatible with an ongoing subepidemic; this might be due to the loss of immunity to HBV in adolescents and people being born before the vaccination program. This is the first phylodynamic study of HBV infection in Japan and will facilitate understanding the molecular epidemiology and long-term evolutionary dynamics of this virus in Japan. PMID:27280441

  12. Molecular Evolution and Functional Divergence of Trace Amine–Associated Receptors

    PubMed Central

    Eyun, Seong-il; Moriyama, Hideaki; Hoffmann, Federico G.; Moriyama, Etsuko N.

    2016-01-01

    Trace amine-associated receptors (TAARs) are a member of the G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily and are known to be expressed in olfactory sensory neurons. A limited number of molecular evolutionary studies have been done for TAARs so far. To elucidate how lineage-specific evolution contributed to their functional divergence, we examined 30 metazoan genomes. In total, 493 TAAR gene candidates (including 84 pseudogenes) were identified from 26 vertebrate genomes. TAARs were not identified from non-vertebrate genomes. An ancestral-type TAAR-like gene appeared to have emerged in lamprey. We found four therian-specific TAAR subfamilies (one eutherian-specific and three metatherian-specific) in addition to previously known nine subfamilies. Many species-specific TAAR gene duplications and losses contributed to a large variation of TAAR gene numbers among mammals, ranging from 0 in dolphin to 26 in flying fox. TAARs are classified into two groups based on binding preferences for primary or tertiary amines as well as their sequence similarities. Primary amine-detecting TAARs (TAAR1-4) have emerged earlier, generally have single-copy orthologs (very few duplication or loss), and have evolved under strong functional constraints. In contrast, tertiary amine-detecting TAARs (TAAR5-9) have emerged more recently and the majority of them experienced higher rates of gene duplications. Protein members that belong to the tertiary amine-detecting TAAR group also showed the patterns of positive selection especially in the area surrounding the ligand-binding pocket, which could have affected ligand-binding activities and specificities. Expansions of the tertiary amine-detecting TAAR gene family may have played important roles in terrestrial adaptations of therian mammals. Molecular evolution of the TAAR gene family appears to be governed by a complex, species-specific, interplay between environmental and evolutionary factors. PMID:26963722

  13. Molecular Evolution and Functional Divergence of Trace Amine-Associated Receptors.

    PubMed

    Eyun, Seong-Il; Moriyama, Hideaki; Hoffmann, Federico G; Moriyama, Etsuko N

    2016-01-01

    Trace amine-associated receptors (TAARs) are a member of the G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily and are known to be expressed in olfactory sensory neurons. A limited number of molecular evolutionary studies have been done for TAARs so far. To elucidate how lineage-specific evolution contributed to their functional divergence, we examined 30 metazoan genomes. In total, 493 TAAR gene candidates (including 84 pseudogenes) were identified from 26 vertebrate genomes. TAARs were not identified from non-vertebrate genomes. An ancestral-type TAAR-like gene appeared to have emerged in lamprey. We found four therian-specific TAAR subfamilies (one eutherian-specific and three metatherian-specific) in addition to previously known nine subfamilies. Many species-specific TAAR gene duplications and losses contributed to a large variation of TAAR gene numbers among mammals, ranging from 0 in dolphin to 26 in flying fox. TAARs are classified into two groups based on binding preferences for primary or tertiary amines as well as their sequence similarities. Primary amine-detecting TAARs (TAAR1-4) have emerged earlier, generally have single-copy orthologs (very few duplication or loss), and have evolved under strong functional constraints. In contrast, tertiary amine-detecting TAARs (TAAR5-9) have emerged more recently and the majority of them experienced higher rates of gene duplications. Protein members that belong to the tertiary amine-detecting TAAR group also showed the patterns of positive selection especially in the area surrounding the ligand-binding pocket, which could have affected ligand-binding activities and specificities. Expansions of the tertiary amine-detecting TAAR gene family may have played important roles in terrestrial adaptations of therian mammals. Molecular evolution of the TAAR gene family appears to be governed by a complex, species-specific, interplay between environmental and evolutionary factors. PMID:26963722

  14. Molecular Evolution of Slow and Quick Anion Channels (SLACs and QUACs/ALMTs)

    PubMed Central

    Dreyer, Ingo; Gomez-Porras, Judith Lucia; Riaño-Pachón, Diego Mauricio; Hedrich, Rainer; Geiger, Dietmar

    2012-01-01

    Electrophysiological analyses conducted about 25 years ago detected two types of anion channels in the plasma membrane of guard cells. One type of channel responds slowly to changes in membrane voltage while the other responds quickly. Consequently, they were named SLAC, for SLow Anion Channel, and QUAC, for QUick Anion Channel. Recently, genes SLAC1 and QUAC1/ALMT12, underlying the two different anion current components, could be identified in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Expression of the gene products in Xenopus oocytes confirmed the quick and slow current kinetics. In this study we provide an overview on our current knowledge on slow and quick anion channels in plants and analyze the molecular evolution of ALMT/QUAC-like and SLAC-like channels. We discovered fingerprints that allow screening databases for these channel types and were able to identify 192 (177 non-redundant) SLAC-like and 422 (402 non-redundant) ALMT/QUAC-like proteins in the fully sequenced genomes of 32 plant species. Phylogenetic analyses provided new insights into the molecular evolution of these channel types. We also combined sequence alignment and clustering with predictions of protein features, leading to the identification of known conserved phosphorylation sites in SLAC1-like channels along with potential sites that have not been yet experimentally confirmed. Using a similar strategy to analyze the hydropathicity of ALMT/QUAC-like channels, we propose a modified topology with additional transmembrane regions that integrates structure and function of these membrane proteins. Our results suggest that cross-referencing phylogenetic analyses with position-specific protein properties and functional data could be a very powerful tool for genome research approaches in general. PMID:23226151

  15. Direct observation of collective modes coupled to molecular orbital-driven charge transfer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ishikawa, Tadahiko; Hayes, Stuart A.; Keskin, Sercan; Corthey, Gastón; Hada, Masaki; Pichugin, Kostyantyn; Marx, Alexander; Hirscht, Julian; Shionuma, Kenta; Onda, Ken; Okimoto, Yoichi; Koshihara, Shin-ya; Yamamoto, Takashi; Cui, Hengbo; Nomura, Mitsushiro; Oshima, Yugo; Abdel-Jawad, Majed; Kato, Reizo; Miller, R. J. Dwayne

    2015-12-01

    Correlated electron systems can undergo ultrafast photoinduced phase transitions involving concerted transformations of electronic and lattice structure. Understanding these phenomena requires identifying the key structural modes that couple to the electronic states. We report the ultrafast photoresponse of the molecular crystal Me4P[Pt(dmit)2]2, which exhibits a photoinduced charge transfer similar to transitions between thermally accessible states, and demonstrate how femtosecond electron diffraction can be applied to directly observe the associated molecular motions. Even for such a complex system, the key large-amplitude modes can be identified by eye and involve a dimer expansion and a librational mode. The dynamics are consistent with the time-resolved optical study, revealing how the electronic, molecular, and lattice structures together facilitate ultrafast switching of the state.

  16. Molecular evolution of colorectal cancer: from multistep carcinogenesis to the big bang.

    PubMed

    Amaro, Adriana; Chiara, Silvana; Pfeffer, Ulrich

    2016-03-01

    Colorectal cancer is characterized by exquisite genomic instability either in the form of microsatellite instability or chromosomal instability. Microsatellite instability is the result of mutation of mismatch repair genes or their silencing through promoter methylation as a consequence of the CpG island methylator phenotype. The molecular causes of chromosomal instability are less well characterized. Genomic instability and field cancerization lead to a high degree of intratumoral heterogeneity and determine the formation of cancer stem cells and epithelial-mesenchymal transition mediated by the TGF-β and APC pathways. Recent analyses using integrated genomics reveal different phases of colorectal cancer evolution. An initial phase of genomic instability that yields many clones with different mutations (big bang) is followed by an important, previously not detected phase of cancer evolution that consists in the stabilization of several clones and a relatively flat outgrowth. The big bang model can best explain the coexistence of several stable clones and is compatible with the fact that the analysis of the bulk of the primary tumor yields prognostic information. PMID:26947218

  17. Bioinspired Molecular Co-Catalysts Bonded to a Silicon Photocathode for Solar Hydrogen Evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Hou, Yidong

    2011-11-08

    The production of fuels from sunlight represents one of the main challenges in the development of a sustainable energy system. Hydrogen is the simplest fuel to produce and although platinum and other noble metals are efficient catalysts for photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution earth-abundant alternatives are needed for large-scale use. We show that bioinspired molecular clusters based on molybdenum and sulphur evolve hydrogen at rates comparable to that of platinum. The incomplete cubane-like clusters (Mo{sub 3}S{sub 4}) efficiently catalyse the evolution of hydrogen when coupled to a p-type Si semiconductor that harvests red photons in the solar spectrum. The current densities at the reversible potential match the requirement of a photoelectrochemical hydrogen production system with a solar-to-hydrogen efficiency in excess of 10% (ref. 16). The experimental observations are supported by density functional theory calculations of the Mo{sub 3}S{sub 4} clusters adsorbed on the hydrogen-terminated Si(100) surface, providing insights into the nature of the active site.

  18. Bioinspired molecular co-catalysts bonded to a silicon photocathode for solar hydrogen evolution.

    PubMed

    Hou, Yidong; Abrams, Billie L; Vesborg, Peter C K; Björketun, Mårten E; Herbst, Konrad; Bech, Lone; Setti, Alessandro M; Damsgaard, Christian D; Pedersen, Thomas; Hansen, Ole; Rossmeisl, Jan; Dahl, Søren; Nørskov, Jens K; Chorkendorff, Ib

    2011-06-01

    The production of fuels from sunlight represents one of the main challenges in the development of a sustainable energy system. Hydrogen is the simplest fuel to produce and although platinum and other noble metals are efficient catalysts for photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution, earth-abundant alternatives are needed for large-scale use. We show that bioinspired molecular clusters based on molybdenum and sulphur evolve hydrogen at rates comparable to that of platinum. The incomplete cubane-like clusters (Mo(3)S(4)) efficiently catalyse the evolution of hydrogen when coupled to a p-type Si semiconductor that harvests red photons in the solar spectrum. The current densities at the reversible potential match the requirement of a photoelectrochemical hydrogen production system with a solar-to-hydrogen efficiency in excess of 10%. The experimental observations are supported by density functional theory calculations of the Mo(3)S(4) clusters adsorbed on the hydrogen-terminated Si(100) surface, providing insights into the nature of the active site. PMID:21516095

  19. The Global Evolution of Giant Molecular Clouds. II. The Role of Accretion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goldbaum, Nathan J.; Krumholz, Mark R.; Matzner, Christopher D.; McKee, Christopher F.

    2011-09-01

    We present virial models for the global evolution of giant molecular clouds (GMCs). Focusing on the presence of an accretion flow and accounting for the amount of mass, momentum, and energy supplied by accretion and star formation feedback, we are able to follow the growth, evolution, and dispersal of individual GMCs. Our model clouds reproduce the scaling relations observed in both galactic and extragalactic clouds. We find that accretion and star formation contribute roughly equal amounts of turbulent kinetic energy over the lifetime of the cloud. Clouds attain virial equilibrium and grow in such a way as to maintain roughly constant surface densities, with typical surface densities of order 50-200 M sun pc-2, in good agreement with observations of GMCs in the Milky Way and nearby external galaxies. We find that as clouds grow, their velocity dispersion and radius must also increase, implying that the linewidth-size relation constitutes an age sequence. Lastly, we compare our models to observations of GMCs and associated young star clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud and find good agreement between our model clouds and the observed relationship between H II regions, young star clusters, and GMCs.

  20. Molecular metal-Nx centres in porous carbon for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liang, Hai-Wei; Brüller, Sebastian; Dong, Renhao; Zhang, Jian; Feng, Xinliang; Müllen, Klaus

    2015-08-01

    Replacement of precious platinum with efficient and low-cost catalysts for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution at low overpotentials holds tremendous promise for clean energy devices. Here we report a novel type of robust cobalt-nitrogen/carbon catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) that is prepared by the pyrolysis of cobalt-N4 macrocycles or cobalt/o-phenylenediamine composites and using silica colloids as a hard template. We identify the well-dispersed molecular CoNx sites on the carbon support as the active sites responsible for the HER. The CoNx/C catalyst exhibits extremely high turnover frequencies per cobalt site in acids, for example, 0.39 and 6.5 s-1 at an overpotential of 100 and 200 mV, respectively, which are higher than those reported for other scalable non-precious metal HER catalysts. Our results suggest the great promise of developing new families of non-precious metal HER catalysts based on the controlled conversion of homogeneous metal complexes into solid-state carbon catalysts via economically scalable protocols.

  1. Patterns of molecular evolution of an avian neo-sex chromosome.

    PubMed

    Pala, Irene; Hasselquist, Dennis; Bensch, Staffan; Hansson, Bengt

    2012-12-01

    Newer parts of sex chromosomes, neo-sex chromosomes, offer unique possibilities for studying gene degeneration and sequence evolution in response to loss of recombination and population size decrease. We have recently described a neo-sex chromosome system in Sylvioidea passerines that has resulted from a fusion between the first half (10 Mb) of chromosome 4a and the ancestral sex chromosomes. In this study, we report the results of molecular analyses of neo-Z and neo-W gametologs and intronic parts of neo-Z and autosomal genes on the second half of chromosome 4a in three species within different Sylvioidea lineages (Acrocephalidea, Timaliidae, and Alaudidae). In line with hypotheses of neo-sex chromosome evolution, we observe 1) lower genetic diversity of neo-Z genes compared with autosomal genes, 2) moderate synonymous and weak nonsynonymous sequence divergence between neo-Z and neo-W gametologs, and 3) lower GC content on neo-W than neo-Z gametologs. Phylogenetic reconstruction of eight neo-Z and neo-W gametologs suggests that recombination continued after the split of Alaudidae from the rest of the Sylvioidea lineages (i.e., after ~42.2 Ma) and with some exceptions also after the split of Acrocephalidea and Timaliidae (i.e., after ~39.4 Ma). The Sylvioidea neo-sex chromosome shares classical evolutionary features with the ancestral sex chromosomes but, as expected from its more recent origin, shows weaker divergence between gametologs. PMID:22826461

  2. The relation between recombination rate and patterns of molecular evolution and variation in Drosophila melanogaster.

    PubMed

    Campos, José L; Halligan, Daniel L; Haddrill, Penelope R; Charlesworth, Brian

    2014-04-01

    Genetic recombination associated with sexual reproduction increases the efficiency of natural selection by reducing the strength of Hill-Robertson interference. Such interference can be caused either by selective sweeps of positively selected alleles or by background selection (BGS) against deleterious mutations. Its consequences can be studied by comparing patterns of molecular evolution and variation in genomic regions with different rates of crossing over. We carried out a comprehensive study of the benefits of recombination in Drosophila melanogaster, both by contrasting five independent genomic regions that lack crossing over with the rest of the genome and by comparing regions with different rates of crossing over, using data on DNA sequence polymorphisms from an African population that is geographically close to the putatively ancestral population for the species, and on sequence divergence from a related species. We observed reductions in sequence diversity in noncrossover (NC) regions that are inconsistent with the effects of hard selective sweeps in the absence of recombination. Overall, the observed patterns suggest that the recombination rate experienced by a gene is positively related to an increase in the efficiency of both positive and purifying selection. The results are consistent with a BGS model with interference among selected sites in NC regions, and joint effects of BGS, selective sweeps, and a past population expansion on variability in regions of the genome that experience crossing over. In such crossover regions, the X chromosome exhibits a higher rate of adaptive protein sequence evolution than the autosomes, implying a Faster-X effect. PMID:24489114

  3. Molecular Evolution of the Yersinia Major Outer Membrane Protein C (OmpC).

    PubMed

    Stenkova, Anna M; Bystritskaya, Evgeniya P; Guzev, Konstantin V; Rakin, Alexander V; Isaeva, Marina P

    2016-01-01

    The genus Yersinia includes species with a wide range of eukaryotic hosts (from fish, insects, and plants to mammals and humans). One of the major outer membrane proteins, the porin OmpC, is preferentially expressed in the host gut, where osmotic pressure, temperature, and the concentrations of nutrients and toxic products are relatively high. We consider here the molecular evolution and phylogeny of Yersinia ompC. The maximum likelihood gene tree reflects the macroevolution processes occurring within the genus Yersinia. Positive selection and horizontal gene transfer are the key factors of ompC diversification, and intraspecies recombination was revealed in two Yersinia species. The impact of recombination on ompC evolution was different from that of another major porin gene, ompF, possibly due to the emergence of additional functions and conservation of the basic transport function. The predicted antigenic determinants of OmpC were located in rapidly evolving regions, which may indicate the evolutionary mechanisms of Yersinia adaptation to the host immune system. PMID:27578962

  4. Molecular Evolution of the Yersinia Major Outer Membrane Protein C (OmpC)

    PubMed Central

    Stenkova, Anna M.; Bystritskaya, Evgeniya P.; Guzev, Konstantin V.; Rakin, Alexander V.; Isaeva, Marina P.

    2016-01-01

    The genus Yersinia includes species with a wide range of eukaryotic hosts (from fish, insects, and plants to mammals and humans). One of the major outer membrane proteins, the porin OmpC, is preferentially expressed in the host gut, where osmotic pressure, temperature, and the concentrations of nutrients and toxic products are relatively high. We consider here the molecular evolution and phylogeny of Yersinia ompC. The maximum likelihood gene tree reflects the macroevolution processes occurring within the genus Yersinia. Positive selection and horizontal gene transfer are the key factors of ompC diversification, and intraspecies recombination was revealed in two Yersinia species. The impact of recombination on ompC evolution was different from that of another major porin gene, ompF, possibly due to the emergence of additional functions and conservation of the basic transport function. The predicted antigenic determinants of OmpC were located in rapidly evolving regions, which may indicate the evolutionary mechanisms of Yersinia adaptation to the host immune system. PMID:27578962

  5. Molecular metal–Nx centres in porous carbon for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution

    PubMed Central

    Liang, Hai-Wei; Brüller, Sebastian; Dong, Renhao; Zhang, Jian; Feng, Xinliang; Müllen, Klaus

    2015-01-01

    Replacement of precious platinum with efficient and low-cost catalysts for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution at low overpotentials holds tremendous promise for clean energy devices. Here we report a novel type of robust cobalt–nitrogen/carbon catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) that is prepared by the pyrolysis of cobalt–N4 macrocycles or cobalt/o-phenylenediamine composites and using silica colloids as a hard template. We identify the well-dispersed molecular CoNx sites on the carbon support as the active sites responsible for the HER. The CoNx/C catalyst exhibits extremely high turnover frequencies per cobalt site in acids, for example, 0.39 and 6.5 s−1 at an overpotential of 100 and 200 mV, respectively, which are higher than those reported for other scalable non-precious metal HER catalysts. Our results suggest the great promise of developing new families of non-precious metal HER catalysts based on the controlled conversion of homogeneous metal complexes into solid-state carbon catalysts via economically scalable protocols. PMID:26250525

  6. Five-vertex Archimedean surface tessellation by lanthanide-directed molecular self-assembly

    PubMed Central

    Écija, David; Urgel, José I.; Papageorgiou, Anthoula C.; Joshi, Sushobhan; Auwärter, Willi; Seitsonen, Ari P.; Klyatskaya, Svetlana; Ruben, Mario; Fischer, Sybille; Vijayaraghavan, Saranyan; Reichert, Joachim; Barth, Johannes V.

    2013-01-01

    The tessellation of the Euclidean plane by regular polygons has been contemplated since ancient times and presents intriguing aspects embracing mathematics, art, and crystallography. Significant efforts were devoted to engineer specific 2D interfacial tessellations at the molecular level, but periodic patterns with distinct five-vertex motifs remained elusive. Here, we report a direct scanning tunneling microscopy investigation on the cerium-directed assembly of linear polyphenyl molecular linkers with terminal carbonitrile groups on a smooth Ag(111) noble-metal surface. We demonstrate the spontaneous formation of fivefold Ce–ligand coordination motifs, which are planar and flexible, such that vertices connecting simultaneously trigonal and square polygons can be expressed. By tuning the concentration and the stoichiometric ratio of rare-earth metal centers to ligands, a hierarchic assembly with dodecameric units and a surface-confined metal–organic coordination network yielding the semiregular Archimedean snub square tiling could be fabricated. PMID:23576764

  7. Electronic transport properties of molecular junctions based on the direct binding of aromatic ring to electrodes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lan, Tran Nguyen

    2014-01-01

    We have used the non-equilibrium Green's function in combination with the density functional theory to investigate the quantum transport properties of the molecular junctions including a terminated benzene ring directly coupled to surface of metal electrodes (physisorption). The other side of molecule was connected to electrode via thiolate bond (chemisorption). Two different electrodes have been studied, namely Cu and Al. Rectification and negative differential resistance behavior have been observed. We found that the electron transport mechanism is affected by the nature of benzene-electrode coupling. In other words, the transport mechanism depends on the nature of metallic electrode. Changing from sp- to sd-metallic electrode, the molecular junction changes from the Schottky to p-n junction-like diode. The transmission spectra, projected density of state, molecular projected self-consistent Hamiltonian, transmission eigenchannel, and Muliken population have been analyzed for explanation of electronic transport properties. Understanding the transport mechanism in junction having direct coupling of π-conjugate to electrode will be useful to design the future molecular devices.

  8. Accelerated direct semiclassical molecular dynamics using a compact finite difference Hessian scheme.

    PubMed

    Ceotto, Michele; Zhuang, Yu; Hase, William L

    2013-02-01

    This paper shows how a compact finite difference Hessian approximation scheme can be proficiently implemented into semiclassical initial value representation molecular dynamics. Effects of the approximation on the monodromy matrix calculation are tested by propagating initial sampling distributions to determine power spectra for analytic potential energy surfaces and for "on the fly" carbon dioxide direct dynamics. With the approximation scheme the computational cost is significantly reduced, making ab initio direct semiclassical dynamics computationally more feasible and, at the same time, properly reproducing important quantum effects inherent in the monodromy matrix and the pre-exponential factor of the semiclassical propagator. PMID:23406107

  9. Directed evolution of the alpha-L-fucosidase from Thermotoga maritima into an alpha-L-transfucosidase.

    PubMed

    Osanjo, George; Dion, Michel; Drone, Jullien; Solleux, Claude; Tran, Vinh; Rabiller, Claude; Tellier, Charles

    2007-01-30

    The alpha-L-fucosidase from Thermotoga maritima (Tm alpha fuc) was converted into alpha-L-transfucosidase variants by directed evolution. The wild-type enzyme catalyzes oligosaccharide synthesis by transfer of a fucosyl residue from a pNP-fucoside donor to pNP-fucoside (self-condensation) with alpha-(1-->3) regioselectivity or pNP-galactoside (transglycosylation) with alpha-(1-->2) regioselectivity at low yields (7%). The wild-type enzyme was submitted to one cycle of mutagenesis, followed by rational recombination of the selected mutations, which allowed identification of variants with improved transferase activity. The transferase and hydrolytic kinetics of all the mutants were assessed by NMR methods and capillary electrophoresis. It was shown that the best mutant exhibited a dramatic 32-fold increase in the transferase/hydrolytic kinetic ratio, while keeping 60% of the overall wild-type enzyme activity. Accordingly, the maximum yield of a specific transglycosylation product [pNP-Gal-alpha-(1-->2)-Fuc] reached more than 60% compared to 7% with WT enzyme at equimolar and low concentrations of donor and acceptor (10 mM). Such an improvement was obtained with only three mutations (T264A, Y267F, L322P), which were all located in the second amino acid shell of the fucosidase active site. Molecular modeling suggested that some of these mutations (T264A, Y267F) cause a reorientation of the amino acids that are in direct contact with the substrates, resulting in a better docking energy. Such mutants with high transglycosidase activity may constitute novel enzymatic tools for the synthesis of fucooligosaccharides. PMID:17240986

  10. Dolphin genome provides evidence for adaptive evolution of nervous system genes and a molecular rate slowdown

    PubMed Central

    McGowen, Michael R.; Grossman, Lawrence I.; Wildman, Derek E.

    2012-01-01

    Cetaceans (dolphins and whales) have undergone a radical transformation from the original mammalian bodyplan. In addition, some cetaceans have evolved large brains and complex cognitive capacities. We compared approximately 10 000 protein-coding genes culled from the bottlenose dolphin genome with nine other genomes to reveal molecular correlates of the remarkable phenotypic features of these aquatic mammals. Evolutionary analyses demonstrated that the overall synonymous substitution rate in dolphins has slowed compared with other studied mammals, and is within the range of primates and elephants. We also discovered 228 genes potentially under positive selection (dN/dS > 1) in the dolphin lineage. Twenty-seven of these genes are associated with the nervous system, including those related to human intellectual disabilities, synaptic plasticity and sleep. In addition, genes expressed in the mitochondrion have a significantly higher mean dN/dS ratio in the dolphin lineage than others examined, indicating evolution in energy metabolism. We encountered selection in other genes potentially related to cetacean adaptations such as glucose and lipid metabolism, dermal and lung development, and the cardiovascular system. This study underlines the parallel molecular trajectory of cetaceans with other mammalian groups possessing large brains. PMID:22740643

  11. Evolution of the fruit endocarp: molecular mechanisms underlying adaptations in seed protection and dispersal strategies

    PubMed Central

    Dardick, Chris; Callahan, Ann M.

    2014-01-01

    Plant evolution is largely driven by adaptations in seed protection and dispersal strategies that allow diversification into new niches. This is evident by the tremendous variation in flowering and fruiting structures present both across and within different plant lineages. Within a single plant family a staggering variety of fruit types can be found such as fleshy fruits including berries, pomes, and drupes and dry fruit structures like achenes, capsules, and follicles. What are the evolutionary mechanisms that enable such dramatic shifts to occur in a relatively short period of time? This remains a fundamental question of plant biology today. On the surface it seems that these extreme differences in form and function must be the consequence of very different developmental programs that require unique sets of genes. Yet as we begin to decipher the molecular and genetic basis underlying fruit form it is becoming apparent that simple genetic changes in key developmental regulatory genes can have profound anatomical effects. In this review, we discuss recent advances in understanding the molecular mechanisms of fruit endocarp tissue differentiation that have contributed to species diversification within three plant lineages. PMID:25009543

  12. The Convergent Evolution of Blue Iris Pigmentation in Primates Took Distinct Molecular Paths

    PubMed Central

    Meyer, Wynn K; Zhang, Sidi; Hayakawa, Sachiko; Imai, Hiroo; Przeworski, Molly

    2013-01-01

    How many distinct molecular paths lead to the same phenotype? One approach to this question has been to examine the genetic basis of convergent traits, which likely evolved repeatedly under a shared selective pressure. We investigated the convergent phenotype of blue iris pigmentation, which has arisen independently in four primate lineages: humans, blue-eyed black lemurs, Japanese macaques, and spider monkeys. Characterizing the phenotype across these species, we found that the variation within the blue-eyed subsets of each species occupies strongly overlapping regions of CIE L*a*b* color space. Yet whereas Japanese macaques and humans display continuous variation, the phenotypes of blue-eyed black lemurs and their sister species (whose irises are brown) occupy more clustered subspaces. Variation in an enhancer of OCA2 is primarily responsible for the phenotypic difference between humans with blue and brown irises. In the orthologous region, we found no variant that distinguishes the two lemur species or associates with quantitative phenotypic variation in Japanese macaques. Given the high similarity between the blue iris phenotypes in these species and that in humans, this finding implies that evolution has used different molecular paths to reach the same end. Am J Phys Anthropol 151:398–407, 2013.© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:23640739

  13. Halogen-directed drug design for Alzheimer's disease: a combined density functional and molecular docking study.

    PubMed

    Rahman, Adhip; Ali, Mohammad Tuhin; Shawan, Mohammad Mahfuz Ali Khan; Sarwar, Mohammed Golam; Khan, Mohammad A K; Halim, Mohammad A

    2016-01-01

    A series of halogen-directed donepezil drugs has been designed to inhibit acetyl cholinesterase (AChE). Density Functional theory (DFT) has been employed to optimize the chair as well as boat conformers of the parent drug and modified ligands at B3LYP/MidiX and B3LYP/6-311G + (d,p) level of theories. Charge distribution, dipole moment, enthalpy, free energy and molecular orbitals of these ligands are also investigated to understand how the halogen-directed modifications impact the ligand structure and govern the non-bonding interactions with the receptors. Molecular docking calculation has been performed to understand the similarities and differences between the binding modes of unmodified and halogenated chair-formed ligands. Molecular docking indicated donepezil and modified ligands had non-covalent interactions with hydrophobic gorges and anionic subsites of AChE. The -CF3-directed ligand possessed the most negative binding affinity. Non-covalent interactions within the ligand-receptor systems were found to be mostly hydrophobic and π- stacking type. F, Cl and -CF3 containing ligands emerge as effective and selective AChE inhibitors, which can strongly interact with the two active sites of AChE. In addition, we have also investigated selected pharmacokinetic parameters of the parent and modified ligands. PMID:27588239

  14. Directed evolution improves the fibrinolytic activity of nattokinase from Bacillus natto.

    PubMed

    Yongjun, Cai; Wei, Bao; Shujun, Jiang; Meizhi, Weng; Yan, Jia; Yan, Yin; Zhongliang, Zheng; Goulin, Zou

    2011-12-01

    Nattokinase (subtilisin NAT, NK) is a relatively effective microbial fibrinolytic enzyme that has been identified and characterized from Bacillus natto. In the current report, DNA family shuffling was used to improve the fibrinolytic activity of nattokinase. Three homologous genes from B. natto AS 1.107, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens CICC 20164 and Bacillus licheniformis CICC 10092 were shuffled to generate a mutant library. A plate-based method was used to screen the mutant libraries for improved activity. After three rounds of DNA shuffling, one desirable mutant with 16 amino acid substitutions was obtained. The mutant enzyme was purified and characterized. The kinetic measurements showed that the catalytic efficiency of the mutant NK was approximately 2.3 times higher than that of the wild-type nattokinase. In addition, the molecular modeling analysis suggested that the mutations affect the enzymatic function by changing the surface conformation of the substrate-binding pocket. The current study shows that the evolution of nattokinase with improved fibrinolytic activity by DNA family shuffling is feasible and provides useful references to facilitate the application of nattokinase in thrombolytic therapy. PMID:22029857

  15. Characterization and directed evolution of BliGO, a novel glycine oxidase from Bacillus licheniformis.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Kai; Guo, Yiming; Yao, Pei; Lin, Yongjun; Kumar, Ashok; Liu, Ziduo; Wu, Gaobing; Zhang, Lili

    2016-04-01

    Glycine oxidase (GO) has great potential for use in biosensors, industrial catalysis and agricultural biotechnology. In this study, a novel GO (BliGO) from a marine bacteria Bacillus licheniformis was cloned and characterized. BliGO showed 62% similarity to the well-studied GO from Bacillus subtilis. The optimal activity of BliGO was observed at pH 8.5 and 40°C. Interestingly, BliGO retained 60% of the maximum activity at 0°C, suggesting it is a cold-adapted enzyme. The kinetic parameters on glyphosate (Km, kcat and k(cat)/K(m)) of BliGO were 11.22 mM, 0.08 s(-1), and 0.01 mM(-1) s(-1), respectively. To improve the catalytic activity to glyphosate, the BliGO was engineered by directed evolution. With error-prone PCR and two rounds of DNA shuffling, the most evolved mutant SCF-4 was obtained from 45,000 colonies, which showed 7.1- and 8-fold increase of affinity (1.58 mM) and catalytic efficiency (0.08 mM(-1) s(-1)) to glyphosate, respectively. In contrast, its activity to glycine (the natural substrate of GO) decreased by 113-fold. Structure modeling and site-directed mutation study indicated that Ser51 in SCF-4 involved in the binding of enzyme with glyphosate and played a crucial role in the improvement of catalytic efficiency. PMID:26920475

  16. Digital Direct-to-Consumer Advertising: A Perfect Storm of Rapid Evolution and Stagnant Regulation

    PubMed Central

    Mackey, Tim K.

    2016-01-01

    The adoption and use of digital forms of direct-to-consumer advertising (also known as "eDTCA") is on the rise. At the same time, the universe of eDTCA is expanding, as technology on Internet-based platforms continues to evolve, from static websites, to social media, and nearly ubiquitous use of mobile devices. However, little is known about how this unique form of pharmaceutical marketing impacts consumer behavior, public health, and overall healthcare utilization. The study by Kim analyzing US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notices of violations (NOVs) and warning letters regarding online promotional activities takes us in the right direction, but study results raise as many questions as it does answers. Chief among these are unanswered concerns about the unique regulatory challenges posed by the "disruptive" qualities of eDTCA, and whether regulators have sufficient resources and oversight powers to proactively address potential violations. Further, the globalization of eDTCA via borderless Internet-based technologies raises larger concerns about the potential global impact of this form of health marketing unique to only the United States and New Zealand. Collectively, these challenges make it unlikely that regulatory science will be able to keep apace with the continued rapid evolution of eDTCA unless more creative policy solutions are explored. PMID:27239871

  17. Molecular epidemiology, phylogeny and evolution of the filarial nematode Wuchereria bancrofti.

    PubMed

    Small, Scott T; Tisch, Daniel J; Zimmerman, Peter A

    2014-12-01

    Wuchereria bancrofti (Wb) is the most widely distributed of the three nematodes known to cause lymphatic filariasis (LF), the other two being Brugia malayi and Brugia timori. Current tools available to monitor LF are limited to diagnostic tests targeting DNA repeats, filarial antigens, and anti-filarial antibodies. While these tools are useful for detection and surveillance, elimination programs have yet to take full advantage of molecular typing for inferring infection history, strain fingerprinting, and evolution. To date, molecular typing approaches have included whole mitochondrial genomes, genotyping, targeted sequencing, and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPDs). These studies have revealed much about Wb biology. For example, in one study in Papua New Guinea researchers identified 5 major strains that were widespread and many minor strains some of which exhibit geographic stratification. Genome data, while rare, has been utilized to reconstruct evolutionary relationships among taxa of the Onchocercidae (the clade of filarial nematodes) and identify gene synteny. Their phylogeny reveals that speciation from the common ancestor of both B. malayi and Wb occurred around 5-6 millions years ago with shared ancestry to other filarial nematodes as recent as 15 million years ago. These discoveries hold promise for gene discovery and identifying drug targets in species that are more amenable to in vivo experiments. Continued technological developments in whole genome sequencing and data analysis will likely replace many other forms of molecular typing, multiplying the amount of data available on population structure, genetic diversity, and phylogenetics. Once widely available, the addition of population genetic data from genomic studies should hasten the elimination of LF parasites like Wb. Infectious disease control programs have benefited greatly from population genetics data and recently from population genomics data. However, while there is currently a surplus

  18. Autonomous Agents: The Origins and Co-Evolution of Reproducing Molecular Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kauffman, Stuart

    1999-01-01

    The central aim of this award concerned an investigation into, and adequate formulation of, the concept of an "autonomous agent." If we consider a bacterium swimming upstream in a glucose gradient, we are willing to say of the bacterium that it is going to get food. That is, we are willing, and do, describe the bacterium as acting on its own behalf in an environment. All free living cells are, in this sense, autonomous agents. But the bacterium is "just" a set of molecules. We define an autonomous agent as a physical system able to act on its own behalf in an environment, then ask, "What must a physical system be to be an autonomous agent?" The tentative definition for a molecular autonomous agent is that it must be self-reproducing and carry out at least one thermodynamic work cycle. The work carried out in this grant involved, among other features, the development of a detailed model of a molecular autonomous agent, and study of the kinetics of this system. In particular, a molecular autonomous agent must, by the above tentative definition, not only reproduce, but must carry out at least one work cycle. I took, as a simple example of a self-reproducing molecular system, the single-stranded DNA hexamer 3'CCGCGG5' which can line up and ligate its two complementary trimers, 5'CCG3' and 5'CGG3'. But the two ligated trimers constitute the same molecular sequence in the 3' to 5' direction as the initial hexamer, hence this system is autocatalytic. On the other hand the above system is not yet an autonomous agent. At the minimum, autonomous agents, as I have defined them, are a new class of chemical reaction network. At a maximum, they may constitute a proper definition of life itself.

  19. Molecular corridors and parameterizations of volatility in the chemical evolution of organic aerosols

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Ying; Pöschl, Ulrich; Shiraiwa, Manabu

    2016-03-01

    The formation and aging of organic aerosols (OA) proceed through multiple steps of chemical reaction and mass transport in the gas and particle phases, which is challenging for the interpretation of field measurements and laboratory experiments as well as accurate representation of OA evolution in atmospheric aerosol models. Based on data from over 30 000 compounds, we show that organic compounds with a wide variety of functional groups fall into molecular corridors, characterized by a tight inverse correlation between molar mass and volatility. We developed parameterizations to predict the saturation mass concentration of organic compounds containing oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur from the elemental composition that can be measured by soft-ionization high-resolution mass spectrometry. Field measurement data from new particle formation events, biomass burning, cloud/fog processing, and indoor environments were mapped into molecular corridors to characterize the chemical nature of the observed OA components. We found that less-oxidized indoor OA are constrained to a corridor of low molar mass and high volatility, whereas highly oxygenated compounds in atmospheric water extend to high molar mass and low volatility. Among the nitrogen- and sulfur-containing compounds identified in atmospheric aerosols, amines tend to exhibit low molar mass and high volatility, whereas organonitrates and organosulfates follow high O : C corridors extending to high molar mass and low volatility. We suggest that the consideration of molar mass and molecular corridors can help to constrain volatility and particle-phase state in the modeling of OA particularly for nitrogen- and sulfur-containing compounds.

  20. Molecular characterization of insulin from squamate reptiles reveals sequence diversity and possible adaptive evolution.

    PubMed

    Yamagishi, Genki; Yoshida, Ayaka; Kobayashi, Aya; Park, Min Kyun

    2016-01-01

    The Squamata are the most adaptive and prosperous group among ectothermic amniotes, reptiles, due to their species-richness and geographically wide habitat. Although the molecular mechanisms underlying their prosperity remain largely unknown, unique features have been reported from hormones that regulate energy metabolism. Insulin, a central anabolic hormone, is one such hormone, as its roles and effectiveness in regulation of blood glucose levels remain to be examined in squamates. In the present study, cDNAs coding for insulin were isolated from multiple species that represent various groups of squamates. The deduced amino acid sequences showed a high degree of divergence, with four lineages showing obviously higher number of amino acid substitutions than most of vertebrates, from teleosts to mammals. Among 18 sites presented to comprise the two receptor binding surfaces (one with 12 sites and the other with 6 sites), substitutions were observed in 13 sites. Among them was the substitution of HisB10, which results in the loss of the ability to hexamerize. Furthermore, three of these substitutions were reported to increase mitogenicity in human analogues. These substitutions were also reported from insulin of hystricomorph rodents and agnathan fishes, whose mitogenic potency have been shown to be increased. The estimated value of the non-synonymous-to-synonymous substitution ratio (ω) for the Squamata clade was larger than those of the other reptiles and aves. Even higher values were estimated for several lineages among squamates. These results, together with the regulatory mechanisms of digestion and nutrient assimilation in squamates, suggested a possible adaptive process through the molecular evolution of squamate INS. Further studies on the roles of insulin, in relation to the physiological and ecological traits of squamate species, will provide an insight into the molecular mechanisms that have led to the adaptivity and prosperity of squamates. PMID:26344944

  1. The role of macromolecular crowding in the evolution of lens crystallins with high molecular refractive index

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, Huaying; Magone, M. Teresa; Schuck, Peter

    2011-08-01

    Crystallins are present in the lens at extremely high concentrations in order to provide transparency and generate a high refractive power of the lens. The crystallin families prevalent in the highest density lens tissues are γ-crystallins in vertebrates and S-crystallins in cephalopods. As shown elsewhere, in parallel evolution, both have evolved molecular refractive index increments 5-10% above those of most proteins. Although this is a small increase, it is statistically very significant and can be achieved only by very unusual amino acid compositions. In contrast, such a molecular adaptation to aid in the refractive function of the lens did not occur in crystallins that are preferentially located in lower density lens tissues, such as vertebrate α-crystallin and taxon-specific crystallins. In the current work, we apply a model of non-interacting hard spheres to examine the thermodynamic contributions of volume exclusion at lenticular protein concentrations. We show that the small concentration decrease afforded by the higher molecular refractive index increment of crystallins can amplify nonlinearly to produce order of magnitude differences in chemical activities, and lead to reduced osmotic pressure and the reduced propensity for protein aggregation. Quantitatively, this amplification sets in only at protein concentrations as high as those found in hard lenses or the nucleus of soft lenses, in good correspondence to the observed crystallin properties in different tissues and different species. This suggests that volume exclusion effects provide the evolutionary driving force for the unusual refractive properties and the unusual amino acid compositions of γ-crystallins and S-crystallins.

  2. Molecular epidemiology, phylogeny and evolution of the filarial nematode Wuchereria bancrofti

    PubMed Central

    Small, Scott T.; Tisch, Daniel J.; Zimmerman, Peter A.

    2014-01-01

    Wuchereria bancrofti (Wb) is the most widely distributed of the three nematodes known to cause lymphatic filariasis (LF), the other two being Brugia malayi and B. timori. Current tools available to monitor LF are limited to diagnostic tests targeting DNA repeats, filarial antigens, and anti-filarial antibodies. While these tools are useful for detection and surveillance, elimination programs have yet to take full advantage of molecular typing for inferring infection history, strain fingerprinting, and evolution. To date, molecular typing approaches have included whole mitochondrial genomes, genotyping, targeted sequencing, and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPDs). These studies have revealed much about Wb biology. For example, in one study in Papua New Guinea researchers identified 5 major strains that were widespread and many minor strains some of which exhibit geographic stratification. Genome data, while rare, has been utilized to reconstruct evolutionary relationships among taxa of the Onchocercidae (the clade of filarial nematodes) and identify gene synteny. Their phylogeny reveals that speciation from the common ancestor of both B. malayi and Wb occurred around 5–6 millions years ago with shared ancestry to other filarial nematodes as recent as 15 million years ago. These discoveries hold promise for gene discovery and identifying drug targets in species that are more amenable to in vivo experiments. Continued technological developments in whole genome sequencing and data analysis will likely replace many other forms of molecular typing, multiplying the amount of data available on population structure, genetic diversity, and phylogenetics. Once widely available, the addition of population genetic data from genomic studies should hasten the elimination of LF parasites like Wb. PMID:25176600

  3. Deceptive Desmas: Molecular Phylogenetics Suggests a New Classification and Uncovers Convergent Evolution of Lithistid Demosponges

    PubMed Central

    Schuster, Astrid; Erpenbeck, Dirk; Pisera, Andrzej; Hooper, John; Bryce, Monika; Fromont, Jane; Wörheide, Gert

    2015-01-01

    Reconciling the fossil record with molecular phylogenies to enhance the understanding of animal evolution is a challenging task, especially for taxa with a mostly poor fossil record, such as sponges (Porifera). ‘Lithistida’, a polyphyletic group of recent and fossil sponges, are an exception as they provide the richest fossil record among demosponges. Lithistids, currently encompassing 13 families, 41 genera and >300 recent species, are defined by the common possession of peculiar siliceous spicules (desmas) that characteristically form rigid articulated skeletons. Their phylogenetic relationships are to a large extent unresolved and there has been no (taxonomically) comprehensive analysis to formally reallocate lithistid taxa to their closest relatives. This study, based on the most comprehensive molecular and morphological investigation of ‘lithistid’ demosponges to date, corroborates some previous weakly-supported hypotheses, and provides novel insights into the evolutionary relationships of the previous ‘order Lithistida’. Based on molecular data (partial mtDNA CO1 and 28S rDNA sequences), we show that 8 out of 13 ‘Lithistida’ families belong to the order Astrophorida, whereas Scleritodermidae and Siphonidiidae form a separate monophyletic clade within Tetractinellida. Most lithistid astrophorids are dispersed between different clades of the Astrophorida and we propose to formally reallocate them, respectively. Corallistidae, Theonellidae and Phymatellidae are monophyletic, whereas the families Pleromidae and Scleritodermidae are polyphyletic. Family Desmanthidae is polyphyletic and groups within Halichondriidae – we formally propose a reallocation. The sister group relationship of the family Vetulinidae to Spongillida is confirmed and we propose here for the first time to include Vetulina into a new Order Sphaerocladina. Megascleres and microscleres possibly evolved and/or were lost several times independently in different

  4. Characterization of small HSPs from Anemonia viridis reveals insights into molecular evolution of alpha crystallin genes among cnidarians.

    PubMed

    Nicosia, Aldo; Maggio, Teresa; Mazzola, Salvatore; Gianguzza, Fabrizio; Cuttitta, Angela; Costa, Salvatore

    2014-01-01

    Gene family encoding small Heat-Shock Proteins (sHSPs containing α-crystallin domain) are found both in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms; however, there is limited knowledge of their evolution. In this study, two small HSP genes termed AvHSP28.6 and AvHSP27, both organized in one intron and two exons, were characterised in the Mediterranean snakelocks anemone Anemonia viridis. The release of the genome sequence of Hydra magnipapillata and Nematostella vectensis enabled a comprehensive study of the molecular evolution of α-crystallin gene family among cnidarians. Most of the H. magnipapillata sHSP genes share the same gene organization described for AvHSP28.6 and AvHSP27, differing from the sHSP genes of N. vectensis which mainly show an intronless architecture. The different genomic organization of sHSPs, the phylogenetic analyses based on protein sequences, and the relationships among Cnidarians, suggest that the A.viridis sHSPs represent the common ancestor from which H. magnipapillata genes directly evolved through segmental genome duplication. Additionally retroposition events may be considered responsible for the divergence of sHSP genes of N. vectensis from A. viridis. Analyses of transcriptional expression profile showed that AvHSP28.6 was constitutively expressed among different tissues from both ectodermal and endodermal layers of the adult sea anemones, under normal physiological conditions and also under different stress condition. Specifically, we profiled the transcriptional activation of AvHSP28.6 after challenges with different abiotic/biotic stresses showing induction by extreme temperatures, heavy metals exposure and immune stimulation. Conversely, no AvHSP27 transcript was detected in such dissected tissues, in adult whole body cDNA library or under stress conditions. Hence, the involvement of AvHSP28.6 gene in the sea anemone defensome is strongly suggested. PMID:25251681

  5. Characterization of Small HSPs from Anemonia viridis Reveals Insights into Molecular Evolution of Alpha Crystallin Genes among Cnidarians

    PubMed Central

    Nicosia, Aldo; Maggio, Teresa; Mazzola, Salvatore; Gianguzza, Fabrizio; Cuttitta, Angela; Costa, Salvatore

    2014-01-01

    Gene family encoding small Heat-Shock Proteins (sHSPs containing α-crystallin domain) are found both in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms; however, there is limited knowledge of their evolution. In this study, two small HSP genes termed AvHSP28.6 and AvHSP27, both organized in one intron and two exons, were characterised in the Mediterranean snakelocks anemone Anemonia viridis. The release of the genome sequence of Hydra magnipapillata and Nematostella vectensis enabled a comprehensive study of the molecular evolution of α-crystallin gene family among cnidarians. Most of the H. magnipapillata sHSP genes share the same gene organization described for AvHSP28.6 and AvHSP27, differing from the sHSP genes of N. vectensis which mainly show an intronless architecture. The different genomic organization of sHSPs, the phylogenetic analyses based on protein sequences, and the relationships among Cnidarians, suggest that the A.viridis sHSPs represent the common ancestor from which H. magnipapillata genes directly evolved through segmental genome duplication. Additionally retroposition events may be considered responsible for the divergence of sHSP genes of N. vectensis from A. viridis. Analyses of transcriptional expression profile showed that AvHSP28.6 was constitutively expressed among different tissues from both ectodermal and endodermal layers of the adult sea anemones, under normal physiological conditions and also under different stress condition. Specifically, we profiled the transcriptional activation of AvHSP28.6 after challenges with different abiotic/biotic stresses showing induction by extreme temperatures, heavy metals exposure and immune stimulation. Conversely, no AvHSP27 transcript was detected in such dissected tissues, in adult whole body cDNA library or under stress conditions. Hence, the involvement of AvHSP28.6 gene in the sea anemone defensome is strongly suggested. PMID:25251681

  6. Molecular evolution of rbcL in three gymnosperm families: identifying adaptive and coevolutionary patterns

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    forward the conclusion that this evolutionary scenario has been possible through a complex interplay between adaptive mutations, often structurally destabilizing, and compensatory mutations. Our results unearth patterns of evolution that have likely optimized the Rubisco activity and uncover mutational dynamics useful in the molecular engineering of enzymatic activities. Reviewers This article was reviewed by Prof. Christian Blouin (nominated by Dr W Ford Doolittle), Dr Endre Barta (nominated by Dr Sandor Pongor), and Dr Nicolas Galtier. PMID:21639885

  7. Phylogenetic systematics of egg-brooding frogs (Anura: Hemiphractidae) and the evolution of direct development.

    PubMed

    Castroviejo-Fisher, Santiago; Padial, José M; De La Riva, Ignacio; Pombal, José P; Da Silva, Helio R; Rojas-Runjaic, Fernando J M; Medina-Méndez, Esteban; Frost, Darrel R

    2015-01-01

    Egg-brooding frogs (Hemiphractidae) are a group of 105 currently recognized Neotropical species, with a remarkable diversity of developmental modes, from direct development to free-living and exotrophic tadpoles. Females carry their eggs on the back and embryos have unique bell-shaped gills. We inferred the evolutionary relationships of these frogs and used the resulting phylogeny to review their taxonomy and test hypotheses on the evolution of developmental modes and bell-shaped gills. Our inferences relied on a total evidence parsimony analysis of DNA sequences of up to 20 mitochondrial and nuclear genes (analyzed under tree-alignment), and 51 phenotypic characters sampled for 83% of currently valid hemiphractid species. Our analyses rendered a well-resolved phylogeny, with both Hemiphractidae (sister of Athesphatanura) and its six recognized genera being monophyletic. We also inferred novel intergeneric relationships [((Cryptobatrachus, Flectonotus), (Stefania, (Fritziana, (Hemiphractus, Gastrotheca))))], the non-monophyly of all species groups previously proposed within Gastrotheca and Stefania, and the existence of several putative new species within Fritziana and Hemiphractus. Contrary to previous hypotheses, our results support the most recent common ancestor of hemiphractids as a direct-developer. Free-living aquatic tadpoles apparently evolved from direct-developing ancestors three to eight times. Embryos of the sister taxa Cryptobatrachus and Flectonotus share a pair of single gills derived from branchial arch I, while embryos of the clade including the other four genera have two pairs of gills derived from branchial arches I and II respectively. Furthermore, in Gastrotheca the fusion of the two pairs of gills is a putative synapomorphy. We propose a revised taxonomy concordant with our optimal topologies. PMID:26623754

  8. Computationally Efficient Numerical Model for the Evolution of Directional Ocean Surface Waves

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Malej, M.; Choi, W.; Goullet, A.

    2011-12-01

    The main focus of this work has been the asymptotic and numerical modeling of weakly nonlinear ocean surface wave fields. In particular, a development of an efficient numerical model for the evolution of nonlinear ocean waves, including extreme waves known as Rogue/Freak waves, is of direct interest. Due to their elusive and destructive nature, the media often portrays Rogue waves as unimaginatively huge and unpredictable monsters of the sea. To address some of these concerns, derivations of reduced phase-resolving numerical models, based on the small wave steepness assumption, are presented and their corresponding numerical simulations via Fourier pseudo-spectral methods are discussed. The simulations are initialized with a well-known JONSWAP wave spectrum and different angular distributions are employed. Both deterministic and Monte-Carlo ensemble average simulations were carried out. Furthermore, this work concerns the development of a new computationally efficient numerical model for the short term prediction of evolving weakly nonlinear ocean surface waves. The derivations are originally based on the work of West et al. (1987) and since the waves in the ocean tend to travel primarily in one direction, the aforementioned new numerical model is derived with an additional assumption of a weak transverse dependence. In turn, comparisons of the ensemble averaged randomly initialized spectra, as well as deterministic surface-to-surface correlations are presented. The new model is shown to behave well in various directional wave fields and can potentially be a candidate for computationally efficient prediction and propagation of extreme ocean surface waves - Rogue/Freak waves.

  9. Molecular evolution of the rice blast resistance gene Pi-ta in invasive weedy rice in the USA

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The Pi-ta gene has been effectively used to control rice blast disease caused by Magnaporthe oryzae in many rice growing regions in the world. A number of studies have characterized the molecular evolution of the Pi-ta gene in cultivated rice, O. sativa, and its wild ancestor O. rufipogon; however,...

  10. Supermassive black hole seed formation at high redshifts: long-term evolution of the direct collapse

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shlosman, Isaac; Choi, Jun-Hwan; Begelman, Mitchell C.; Nagamine, Kentaro

    2016-02-01

    We use cosmological adaptive mesh refinement code ENZO zoom-in simulations to study the long-term evolution of the collapsing gas within dark matter haloes at z. This direct collapse process is a leading candidate for rapid formation of supermassive black hole (SMBH) seeds. To circumvent the Courant condition at small radii, we apply the sink particle method, focusing on evolution on scales ˜0.01-10 pc. The collapse proceeds in two stages, with the secondary runaway happening within the central 10 pc. The sink particles form when the collapsing gas requires additional refinement of the grid size at the highest refinement level. Their growth is negligible with the sole exception of the central seed which grows dramatically to Mseed ˜ 2 × 106 M⊙ in ˜2 Myr, confirming the feasibility of this path to the SMBH. The variability of angular momentum in the accreted gas results in the formation of two misaligned discs. Both discs lie within the Roche limit of the central seed. While the inner disc is geometrically thin and weakly asymmetric, the outer disc flares due to turbulent motions as a result of the massive inflow along a pair of penetrating filaments. The filamentary inflow determines the dominant Fourier modes in this disc - these modes have a non-self-gravitational origin. We do not confirm that m = 1 is a dominant mode that drives the inflow in the presence of a central massive object. The overall configuration appears to be generic, and is expected to form when the central seed becomes sufficiently massive.

  11. Pleistocene Speciation in North American Lichenized Fungi and the Impact of Alternative Species Circumscriptions and Rates of Molecular Evolution on Divergence Estimates

    PubMed Central

    Leavitt, Steven D.; Lumbsch, H. Thorsten; Stenroos, Soili; Clair, Larry L. St.

    2013-01-01

    Pleistocene climatic fluctuations influenced patterns of genetic variation and promoted speciation across a wide range of species groups. Lichens are commonly found in habitats that were directly impacted by glacial cycles; however, the role of Pleistocene climate in driving speciation in most lichen symbionts remains unclear. This uncertainty is due in part to limitations in our ability to accurately recognize independently evolving lichen-forming fungal lineages and a lack of relevant fossil calibrations. Using a coalescent-based species tree approach, we estimated divergence times for two sister clades in the genus Xanthoparmelia (Parmeliaceae) restricted to western North America. We assessed the influence of two different species circumscription scenarios and various locus-specific rates of molecular evolution on divergence estimates. Species circumscriptions were validated using the program BP&P. although speciation was generally supported in both scenarios, divergence times differed between traditional species circumscriptions and those based on genetic data, with more recent estimates resulting from the former. Similarly, rates of evolution for different loci resulted in variable divergence time estimates. However, our results unambiguously indicate that diversification in the sampled Xanthoparmelia clades occurred during the Pleistocene. Our study highlights the potential impact of ambiguous species circumscriptions and uncertain rates of molecular evolution on estimating divergence times within a multilocus species tree framework. PMID:24386465

  12. From bistate molecular switches to self-directed track-walking nanomotors.

    PubMed

    Loh, Iong Ying; Cheng, Juan; Tee, Shern Ren; Efremov, Artem; Wang, Zhisong

    2014-10-28

    Track-walking nanomotors and larger systems integrating these motors are important for wide real-world applications of nanotechnology. However, inventing these nanomotors remains difficult, a sharp contrast to the widespread success of simpler switch-like nanodevices, even though the latter already encompasses basic elements of the former such as engine-like bistate contraction/extension or leg-like controllable binding. This conspicuous gap reflects an impeding bottleneck for the nanomotor development, namely, lack of a modularized construction by which spatially and functionally separable "engines" and "legs" are flexibly assembled into a self-directed motor. Indeed, all track-walking nanomotors reported to date combine the engine and leg functions in the same molecular part, which largely underpins the device-motor gap. Here we propose a general design principle allowing the modularized nanomotor construction from disentangled engine-like and leg-like motifs, and provide an experimental proof of concept by implementing a bipedal DNA nanomotor up to a best working regime of this versatile design principle. The motor uses a light-powered contraction-extension switch to drive a coordinated hand-over-hand directional walking on a DNA track. Systematic fluorescence experiments confirm the motor's directional motion and suggest that the motor possesses two directional biases, one for rear leg dissociation and one for forward leg binding. This study opens a viable route to develop track-walking nanomotors from numerous molecular switches and binding motifs available from nanodevice research and biology. PMID:25268955

  13. Oxygen Tolerance of a Molecular Engineered Cathode for Hydrogen Evolution Based on a Cobalt Diimine-Dioxime Catalyst.

    PubMed

    Kaeffer, Nicolas; Morozan, Adina; Artero, Vincent

    2015-10-29

    We report here that a bioinspired cobalt diimine-dioxime molecular catalyst for hydrogen evolution immobilized onto carbon nanotube electrodes proves tolerant toward oxygen. The cobalt complex catalyzes O2 reduction with an onset potential of +0.55 V vs RHE. In this process, a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide is produced in a 3:1 ratio. Our study evidences that such side-reductions have little impact on effectiveness of proton reduction by the grafted molecular catalyst which still displays good activity for H2 evolution in the presence of O2. The presence of O2 in the media is not detrimental toward H2 evolution under the conditions used, which simulate turn-on conditions of a water-splitting device. PMID:25993343

  14. Convergent Evolution of Hemoglobin Function in High-Altitude Andean Waterfowl Involves Limited Parallelism at the Molecular Sequence Level.

    PubMed

    Natarajan, Chandrasekhar; Projecto-Garcia, Joana; Moriyama, Hideaki; Weber, Roy E; Muñoz-Fuentes, Violeta; Green, Andy J; Kopuchian, Cecilia; Tubaro, Pablo L; Alza, Luis; Bulgarella, Mariana; Smith, Matthew M; Wilson, Robert E; Fago, Angela; McCracken, Kevin G; Storz, Jay F

    2015-12-01

    A fundamental question in evolutionary genetics concerns the extent to which adaptive phenotypic convergence is attributable to convergent or parallel changes at the molecular sequence level. Here we report a comparative analysis of hemoglobin (Hb) function in eight phylogenetically replicated pairs of high- and low-altitude waterfowl taxa to test for convergence in the oxygenation properties of Hb, and to assess the extent to which convergence in biochemical phenotype is attributable to repeated amino acid replacements. Functional experiments on native Hb variants and protein engineering experiments based on site-directed mutagenesis revealed the phenotypic effects of specific amino acid replacements that were responsible for convergent increases in Hb-O2 affinity in multiple high-altitude taxa. In six of the eight taxon pairs, high-altitude taxa evolved derived increases in Hb-O2 affinity that were caused by a combination of unique replacements, parallel replacements (involving identical-by-state variants with independent mutational origins in different lineages), and collateral replacements (involving shared, identical-by-descent variants derived via introgressive hybridization). In genome scans of nucleotide differentiation involving high- and low-altitude populations of three separate species, function-altering amino acid polymorphisms in the globin genes emerged as highly significant outliers, providing independent evidence for adaptive divergence in Hb function. The experimental results demonstrate that convergent changes in protein function can occur through multiple historical paths, and can involve multiple possible mutations. Most cases of convergence in Hb function did not involve parallel substitutions and most parallel substitutions did not affect Hb-O2 affinity, indicating that the repeatability of phenotypic evolution does not require parallelism at the molecular level. PMID:26637114

  15. Convergent Evolution of Hemoglobin Function in High-Altitude Andean Waterfowl Involves Limited Parallelism at the Molecular Sequence Level

    PubMed Central

    Natarajan, Chandrasekhar; Projecto-Garcia, Joana; Moriyama, Hideaki; Weber, Roy E.; Muñoz-Fuentes, Violeta; Green, Andy J.; Kopuchian, Cecilia; Tubaro, Pablo L.; Alza, Luis; Bulgarella, Mariana; Smith, Matthew M.; Wilson, Robert E.; Fago, Angela; McCracken, Kevin G.; Storz, Jay F.

    2015-01-01

    A fundamental question in evolutionary genetics concerns the extent to which adaptive phenotypic convergence is attributable to convergent or parallel changes at the molecular sequence level. Here we report a comparative analysis of hemoglobin (Hb) function in eight phylogenetically replicated pairs of high- and low-altitude waterfowl taxa to test for convergence in the oxygenation properties of Hb, and to assess the extent to which convergence in biochemical phenotype is attributable to repeated amino acid replacements. Functional experiments on native Hb variants and protein engineering experiments based on site-directed mutagenesis revealed the phenotypic effects of specific amino acid replacements that were responsible for convergent increases in Hb-O2 affinity in multiple high-altitude taxa. In six of the eight taxon pairs, high-altitude taxa evolved derived increases in Hb-O2 affinity that were caused by a combination of unique replacements, parallel replacements (involving identical-by-state variants with independent mutational origins in different lineages), and collateral replacements (involving shared, identical-by-descent variants derived via introgressive hybridization). In genome scans of nucleotide differentiation involving high- and low-altitude populations of three separate species, function-altering amino acid polymorphisms in the globin genes emerged as highly significant outliers, providing independent evidence for adaptive divergence in Hb function. The experimental results demonstrate that convergent changes in protein function can occur through multiple historical paths, and can involve multiple possible mutations. Most cases of convergence in Hb function did not involve parallel substitutions and most parallel substitutions did not affect Hb-O2 affinity, indicating that the repeatability of phenotypic evolution does not require parallelism at the molecular level. PMID:26637114

  16. Genetic diversity and molecular evolution of Naga King Chili inferred from internal transcribed spacer sequence of nuclear ribosomal DNA

    PubMed Central

    Kehie, Mechuselie; Kumaria, Suman; Devi, Khumuckcham Sangeeta; Tandon, Pramod

    2015-01-01

    Sequences of the Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) of nuclear ribosomal DNAs were explored to study the genetic diversity and molecular evolution of Naga King Chili. Our study indicated the occurrence of nucleotide polymorphism and haplotypic diversity in the ITS regions. The present study demonstrated that the variability of ITS1 with respect to nucleotide diversity and sequence polymorphism exceeded that of ITS2. Sequence analysis of 5.8S gene revealed a much conserved region in all the accessions of Naga King Chili. However, strong phylogenetic information of this species is the distinct 13 bp deletion in the 5.8S gene which discriminated Naga King Chili from the rest of the Capsicum sp. Neutrality test results implied a neutral variation, and population seems to be evolving at drift–mutation equilibrium and free from directed selection pressure. Furthermore, mismatch analysis showed multimodal curve indicating a demographic equilibrium. Phylogenetic relationships revealed by Median Joining Network (MJN) analysis denoted a clear discrimination of Naga King Chili from its closest sister species (Capsicumchinense and Capsicumfrutescens). The absence of star-like network of haplotypes suggested an ancient population expansion of this chili. PMID:26862481

  17. Genetic diversity and molecular evolution of Naga King Chili inferred from internal transcribed spacer sequence of nuclear ribosomal DNA.

    PubMed

    Kehie, Mechuselie; Kumaria, Suman; Devi, Khumuckcham Sangeeta; Tandon, Pramod

    2016-02-01

    Sequences of the Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) of nuclear ribosomal DNAs were explored to study the genetic diversity and molecular evolution of Naga King Chili. Our study indicated the occurrence of nucleotide polymorphism and haplotypic diversity in the ITS regions. The present study demonstrated that the variability of ITS1 with respect to nucleotide diversity and sequence polymorphism exceeded that of ITS2. Sequence analysis of 5.8S gene revealed a much conserved region in all the accessions of Naga King Chili. However, strong phylogenetic information of this species is the distinct 13 bp deletion in the 5.8S gene which discriminated Naga King Chili from the rest of the Capsicum sp. Neutrality test results implied a neutral variation, and population seems to be evolving at drift-mutation equilibrium and free from directed selection pressure. Furthermore, mismatch analysis showed multimodal curve indicating a demographic equilibrium. Phylogenetic relationships revealed by Median Joining Network (MJN) analysis denoted a clear discrimination of Naga King Chili from its closest sister species (Capsicum chinense and Capsicum frutescens). The absence of star-like network of haplotypes suggested an ancient population expansion of this chili. PMID:26862481

  18. Molecular dynamics study of radiation damage and microstructure evolution of zigzag single-walled carbon nanotubes under carbon ion incidence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Huan; Tang, Xiaobin; Chen, Feida; Huang, Hai; Liu, Jian; Chen, Da

    2016-07-01

    The radiation damage and microstructure evolution of different zigzag single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) were investigated under incident carbon ion by molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The radiation damage of SWCNTs under incident carbon ion with energy ranging from 25 eV to 1 keV at 300 K showed many differences at different incident sites, and the defect production increased to the maximum value with the increase in incident ion energy, and slightly decreased but stayed fairly stable within the majority of the energy range. The maximum damage of SWCNTs appeared when the incident ion energy reached 200 eV and the level of damage was directly proportional to incident ion fluence. The radiation damage was also studied at 100 K and 700 K and the defect production decreased distinctly with rising temperature because radiation-induced defects would anneal and recombine by saturating dangling bonds and reconstructing carbon network at the higher temperature. Furthermore, the stability of a large-diameter tube surpassed that of a thin one under the same radiation environments.

  19. Fine microstructure of processed chitosan nanofibril networks preserving directional packing and high molecular weight.

    PubMed

    Osorio-Madrazo, Anayancy; David, Laurent; Peniche-Covas, Carlos; Rochas, Cyrille; Putaux, Jean-Luc; Trombotto, Stéphane; Alcouffe, Pierre; Domard, Alain

    2015-10-20

    Crystalline chitosan nanofibril networks were prepared, preserving the native structural packing and the polymer high molecular weight. The fine microstructure of the nanomaterial, obtained by mild hydrolysis of chitosan (CHI), was characterized by using synchrotron small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS and WAXS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and electron diffraction. Hydrolysis of chitosan yielded a network of crystalline nanofibrils, containing both allomorphs of chitosan: hydrated and anhydrous. The comparison of WAXS data in transmission and reflection mode revealed the preferential orientation of the CHI crystals when subjected to mechanical compression constrains. The results are in agreement with the existence of a network nanostructure containing fiber-like crystals with the principal axis parallel to the polymer chain axis. The evolution of the CHI allomorphic composition with temperature was studied to further elucidate the mechanism of structural transitions occurring during CHI nanofibril network processing. PMID:26256153

  20. Directed Evolution of an LBP/CD14 Inhibitory Peptide and Its Anti-Endotoxin Activity

    PubMed Central

    Fang, Li; Xu, Zhi; Wang, Guan-song; Ji, Fu-yun; Mei, Chun-xia; Liu, Juan; Wu, Guo-ming

    2014-01-01

    Background LPS-binding protein (LBP) and its ligand CD14 are located upstream of the signaling pathway for LPS-induced inflammation. Blocking LBP and CD14 binding might prevent LPS-induced inflammation. In previous studies, we obtained a peptide analog (MP12) for the LBP/CD14 binding site and showed that this peptide analog had anti-endotoxin activity. In this study, we used in vitro directed evolution for this peptide analog to improve its in vivo and in vitro anti-endotoxin activity. Methods We used error-prone PCR (ep-PCR) and induced mutations in the C-terminus of LBP and attached the PCR products to T7 phages to establish a mutant phage display library. The positive clones that competed with LBP for CD14 binding was obtained by screening. We used both in vivo and in vitro experiments to compare the anti-endotoxin activities of a polypeptide designated P1 contained in a positive clone and MP12. Results 11 positive clones were obtained from among target phages. Sequencing showed that 9 positive clones had a threonine (T) to methionine (M) mutation in amino acid 287 of LBP. Compared to polypeptide MP12, polypeptide P1 significantly inhibited LPS-induced TNF-α expression and NF-κB activity in U937 cells (P<0.05). Compared to MP12, P1 significantly improved arterial oxygen pressure, an oxygenation index, and lung pathology scores in LPS-induced ARDS rats (P<0.05). Conclusion By in vitro directed evolution of peptide analogs for the LBP/CD14 binding site, we established a new polypeptide (P1) with a threonine (T)-to-methionine (M) mutation in amino acid 287 of LBP. This polypeptide had high anti-endotoxin activity in vitro and in vivo, which suggested that amino acid 287 in the C-terminus of LBP may play an important role in LBP binding with CD14. PMID:25025695

  1. Directional Molecular Transportation Based on a Catalytic Stopper-Leaving Rotaxane System.

    PubMed

    Meng, Zheng; Xiang, Jun-Feng; Chen, Chuan-Feng

    2016-05-01

    Ratchet mechanism has proved to be a key principle in designing molecular motors and machines that exploit random thermal fluctuations for directional motion with energy input. To integrate ratchet mechanism into artificial systems, precise molecular design is a prerequisite to control the pathway of relative motion between their subcomponents, which is still a formidable challenge. Herein, we report a straightforward method to control the transportation barrier of a macrocycle by selectively detaching one of the two stoppers using a novel DBU-catalyzed stopper-leaving reaction in a rotaxane system. The macrocycle was first allowed to thread onto a semidumbbell axle from the open end and subsequently thermodynamically captured into a nonsymmetrical rotaxane. Then, it was driven energetically uphill until it reached a kinetically trapped state by destroying its interaction with ammonium site, and was finally quantitatively released from the other end when the corresponding stopper barrier was removed. Although the directional transportation at the present system was achieved by discrete chemical reactions for the sake of higher transportation efficiency, it represents a new molecular transportation model by the strategy of using stopper-leavable rotaxane. PMID:27078221

  2. Template-directed molecular assembly on silicon carbide nanomesh: comparison between CuPc and pentacene.

    PubMed

    Shi, Chen; Wei, Chen; Han, Huang; Xingyu, Gao; Dongchen, Qi; Yuzhan, Wang; Wee, Andrew T S

    2010-02-23

    The template-directed assembly of two planar molecules (copper phthalocyanine (CuPc) and pentacene) on SiC nanomesh has been studied by scanning tunneling microscopy and photoelectron spectroscopy, respectively. Both molecules are trapped as single molecules in the cells of SiC nanomesh at low coverage. At high coverage, CuPc forms a highly ordered single-molecular array with identical symmetry and periodicity as the substrate, whereas pentacene forms a quasi-amorphous layer due to the random mixture of three different adsorption configurations. This difference in adsorption behavior is attributed to differences in molecular geometries. The measured changes of work functions reveal weak charge transfer between the molecules and substrate. Both molecules are preferentially adsorbed on the SiC nanomesh rather than on graphene. The CuPc single-molecular array possesses good long-range order, large area coverage, and a molecular density of over 3.0 x 10(13) molecules/cm(2). PMID:20050639

  3. Molecular development of chondrichthyan claspers and the evolution of copulatory organs

    PubMed Central

    O'Shaughnessy, Katherine L.; Dahn, Randall D.; Cohn, Martin J.

    2015-01-01

    The earliest known vertebrate copulatory organs are claspers, paired penis-like structures that are associated with evolution of internal fertilization and viviparity in Devonian placoderms. Today, only male chondrichthyans possess claspers, which extend from posterior pelvic fins and function as intromittent organs. Here we report that clasper development from pelvic fins of male skates is controlled by hormonal regulation of the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway. We show that Shh signalling is necessary for male clasper development and is sufficient to induce clasper cartilages in females. Androgen receptor (AR) controls the male-specific pattern of Shh in pelvic fins by regulation of Hand2. We identify an androgen response element (ARE) in the Hand2 locus and present biochemical evidence that AR can directly bind the Hand2 ARE. Together, our results suggest that the genetic circuit for appendage development evolved an androgen regulatory input, which prolonged signalling activity and drove clasper skeletogenesis in male fins. PMID:25868783

  4. Molecular evolution and functional characterisation of haplotypes of an important rubber biosynthesis gene in Hevea brasiliensis.

    PubMed

    Uthup, T K; Rajamani, A; Ravindran, M; Saha, T

    2016-07-01

    Hydroxy-methylglutaryl coenzyme-A synthase (HMGS) is a rate-limiting enzyme in the cytoplasmic isoprenoid biosynthesis pathway leading to natural rubber production in Hevea brasiliensis (rubber). Analysis of the structural variants of this gene is imperative to understand their functional significance in rubber biosynthesis so that they can be properly utilised for ongoing crop improvement programmes in Hevea. We report here allele richness and diversity of the HMGS gene in selected popular rubber clones. Haplotypes consisting of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from the coding and non-coding regions with a high degree of heterozygosity were identified. Segregation and linkage disequilibrium analysis confirmed that recombination is the major contributor to the generation of allelic diversity, rather than point mutations. The evolutionarily conserved nature of some SNPs was identified by comparative DNA sequence analysis of HMGS orthologues from diverse taxa, demonstrating the molecular evolution of rubber biosynthesis genes in general. In silico three-dimensional structural studies highlighting the structural positioning of non-synonymous SNPs from different HMGS haplotypes revealed that the ligand-binding site on the enzyme remains impervious to the reported sequence variations. In contrast, gene expression results indicated the possibility of association between specific haplotypes and HMGS expression in Hevea clones, which may have a downstream impact up to the level of rubber production. Moreover, haplotype diversity of the HMGS gene and its putative association with gene expression can be the basis for further genetic association studies in rubber. Furthermore, the data also show the role of SNPs in the evolution of candidate genes coding for functional traits in plants. PMID:26787454

  5. Molecular Phylogenetic Evaluation of Classification and Scenarios of Character Evolution in Calcareous Sponges (Porifera, Class Calcarea)

    PubMed Central

    Voigt, Oliver; Wülfing, Eilika; Wörheide, Gert

    2012-01-01

    Calcareous sponges (Phylum Porifera, Class Calcarea) are known to be taxonomically difficult. Previous molecular studies have revealed many discrepancies between classically recognized taxa and the observed relationships at the order, family and genus levels; these inconsistencies question underlying hypotheses regarding the evolution of certain morphological characters. Therefore, we extended the available taxa and character set by sequencing the complete small subunit (SSU) rDNA and the almost complete large subunit (LSU) rDNA of additional key species and complemented this dataset by substantially increasing the length of available LSU sequences. Phylogenetic analyses provided new hypotheses about the relationships of Calcarea and about the evolution of certain morphological characters. We tested our phylogeny against competing phylogenetic hypotheses presented by previous classification systems. Our data reject the current order-level classification by again finding non-monophyletic Leucosolenida, Clathrinida and Murrayonida. In the subclass Calcinea, we recovered a clade that includes all species with a cortex, which is largely consistent with the previously proposed order Leucettida. Other orders that had been rejected in the current system were not found, but could not be rejected in our tests either. We found several additional families and genera polyphyletic: the families Leucascidae and Leucaltidae and the genus Leucetta in Calcinea, and in Calcaronea the family Amphoriscidae and the genus Ute. Our phylogeny also provided support for the vaguely suspected close relationship of several members of Grantiidae with giantortical diactines to members of Heteropiidae. Similarly, our analyses revealed several unexpected affinities, such as a sister group relationship between Leucettusa (Leucaltidae) and Leucettidae and between Leucascandra (Jenkinidae) and Sycon carteri (Sycettidae). According to our results, the taxonomy of Calcarea is in desperate need of a

  6. Evolution of prolate molecular clouds at H II boundaries - II. Formation of BRCs of asymmetrical morphology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kinnear, T. M.; Miao, J.; White, G. J.; Sugitani, K.; Goodwin, S.

    2015-06-01

    A systematic investigation on the evolution of a prolate cloud at an H II boundary is conducted using smoothed particle hydrodynamics in order to understand the mechanism for a variety of irregular morphological structures found at the boundaries of various H II regions. The prolate molecular clouds in this investigation are set with their semimajor axes at inclinations between 0° and 90° to a plane-parallel ionizing radiation flux. A set of four parameters, the number density n, the ratio of major to minor axis γ, the inclination angle ϕ and the incident flux FEUV, are used to define the initial state of the simulated clouds. The dependence of the evolution of a prolate cloud under radiation-driven implosion (RDI) on each of the four parameters is investigated. It is found that (i) in addition to the well-studied standard type A, B or C bright-rimmed clouds (BRCs), many other types such as asymmetrical BRCs, filamentary structures and irregular horse-head structures could also be developed at H II boundaries with only simple initial conditions; (ii) the final morphological structures are very sensitive to the four initial parameters, especially to the initial density and the inclination; (iii) the previously defined ionizing radiation penetration depth can still be used as a good indicator of the final morphology. Based on the simulation results, the formation time-scales and masses of the early RDI-triggered star formation from clouds of different initial conditions are also estimated. Finally a unified mechanism for the various morphological structures found in many different H II boundaries is suggested.

  7. Molecular phylogenetic evaluation of classification and scenarios of character evolution in calcareous sponges (Porifera, Class Calcarea).

    PubMed

    Voigt, Oliver; Wülfing, Eilika; Wörheide, Gert

    2012-01-01

    Calcareous sponges (Phylum Porifera, Class Calcarea) are known to be taxonomically difficult. Previous molecular studies have revealed many discrepancies between classically recognized taxa and the observed relationships at the order, family and genus levels; these inconsistencies question underlying hypotheses regarding the evolution of certain morphological characters. Therefore, we extended the available taxa and character set by sequencing the complete small subunit (SSU) rDNA and the almost complete large subunit (LSU) rDNA of additional key species and complemented this dataset by substantially increasing the length of available LSU sequences. Phylogenetic analyses provided new hypotheses about the relationships of Calcarea and about the evolution of certain morphological characters. We tested our phylogeny against competing phylogenetic hypotheses presented by previous classification systems. Our data reject the current order-level classification by again finding non-monophyletic Leucosolenida, Clathrinida and Murrayonida. In the subclass Calcinea, we recovered a clade that includes all species with a cortex, which is largely consistent with the previously proposed order Leucettida. Other orders that had been rejected in the current system were not found, but could not be rejected in our tests either. We found several additional families and genera polyphyletic: the families Leucascidae and Leucaltidae and the genus Leucetta in Calcinea, and in Calcaronea the family Amphoriscidae and the genus Ute. Our phylogeny also provided support for the vaguely suspected close relationship of several members of Grantiidae with giantortical diactines to members of Heteropiidae. Similarly, our analyses revealed several unexpected affinities, such as a sister group relationship between Leucettusa (Leucaltidae) and Leucettidae and between Leucascandra (Jenkinidae) and Sycon carteri (Sycettidae). According to our results, the taxonomy of Calcarea is in desperate need of a

  8. Rates of molecular evolution and diversification in plants: chloroplast substitution rates correlate with species-richness in the Proteaceae

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Many factors have been identified as correlates of the rate of molecular evolution, such as body size and generation length. Analysis of many molecular phylogenies has also revealed correlations between substitution rates and clade size, suggesting a link between rates of molecular evolution and the process of diversification. However, it is not known whether this relationship applies to all lineages and all sequences. Here, in order to investigate how widespread this phenomenon is, we investigate patterns of substitution in chloroplast genomes of the diverse angiosperm family Proteaceae. We used DNA sequences from six chloroplast genes (6278bp alignment with 62 taxa) to test for a correlation between diversification and the rate of substitutions. Results Using phylogenetically-independent sister pairs, we show that species-rich lineages of Proteaceae tend to have significantly higher chloroplast substitution rates, for both synonymous and non-synonymous substitutions. Conclusions We show that the rate of molecular evolution in chloroplast genomes is correlated with net diversification rates in this large plant family. We discuss the possible causes of this relationship, including molecular evolution driving diversification, speciation increasing the rate of substitutions, or a third factor causing an indirect link between molecular and diversification rates. The link between the synonymous substitution rate and clade size is consistent with a role for the mutation rate of chloroplasts driving the speed of reproductive isolation. We find no significant differences in the ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous substitutions between lineages differing in net diversification rate, therefore we detect no signal of population size changes or alteration in selection pressures that might be causing this relationship. PMID:23497266

  9. Directed evolution of artificial enzymes (XNAzymes) from diverse repertoires of synthetic genetic polymers.

    PubMed

    Taylor, Alexander I; Holliger, Philipp

    2015-10-01

    This protocol describes the directed evolution of artificial endonuclease and ligase enzymes composed of synthetic genetic polymers (XNAzymes), using 'cross-chemistry selective enrichment by exponential amplification' (X-SELEX). The protocol is analogous to (deoxy)ribozyme selections, but it enables the development of fully substituted catalysts. X-SELEX is initiated by the synthesis of diverse repertoires (here 10(14) different sequences), using xeno nucleic acid (XNA) polymerases, on DNA templates primed with DNA, RNA or XNA oligonucleotides that double as substrates, allowing selection for XNA-catalyzed cleavage or ligation. XNAzymes are reverse-transcribed into cDNA using XNA-dependent DNA polymerases, and then PCR-amplified to generate templates for subsequent rounds or deep sequencing. We describe methods developed for four XNA chemistries, arabino nucleic acids (ANAs), 2'-fluoroarabino nucleic acids (FANAs), hexitol nucleic acids (HNAs) and cyclohexene nucleic acids (CeNAs), which require ∼1 week per round, and typically 10-20 rounds; in principle, these methods are scalable and applicable to a wide range of novel XNAzyme chemistries, substrates and reactions. PMID:26401917

  10. Expanding the Enzyme Universe: Accessing Non-Natural Reactions by Mechanism-Guided Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Renata, Hans; Wang, Z. Jane

    2015-01-01

    High selectivities and exquisite control over reaction outcomes entice chemists to use biocatalysts in organic synthesis. However, many useful reactions are not accessible because they are not in nature’s known repertoire. We will use this review to outline an evolutionary approach to engineering enzymes to catalyze reactions not found in nature. We begin with examples of how nature has discovered new catalytic functions and how such evolutionary progressions have been recapitulated in the laboratory starting from extant enzymes. We then examine non-native enzyme activities that have been discovered and exploited for chemical synthesis, emphasizing reactions that do not have natural counterparts. The new functions have mechanistic parallels to the native reaction mechanisms that often manifest as catalytic promiscuity and the ability to convert from one function to the other with minimal mutation. We present examples of how non-natural activities have been improved by directed evolution, mimicking the process used by nature to create new catalysts. Examples of new enzyme functions include epoxide opening reactions with non-natural nucleophiles catalyzed by a laboratory-evolved halohydrin dehalogenase, cyclopropanation and other carbene transfer reactions catalyzed by cytochrome P450 variants, and non-natural modes of cyclization by a modified terpene synthase. Lastly, we describe discoveries of non-native catalytic functions that may provide future opportunities for expanding the enzyme universe. PMID:25649694

  11. Directed evolution of beta -glucosidase A from Paenibacillus polymyxa to thermal resistance.

    PubMed

    Gonzalez-Blasco, G; Sanz-Aparicio, J; Gonzalez, B; Hermoso, J A; Polaina, J

    2000-05-01

    The beta-glucosidase encoded by the bglA gene from Paenibacillus polymyxa has a half-life time of 15 min at 35 degrees C and no detectable activity at 55 degrees C. We have isolated random mutations that enhance the thermoresistance of the enzyme. Following a directed evolution strategy, we have combined some of the isolated mutations to obtain a beta-glucosidase with a half-life of 12 min at 65 degrees C, in the range of resistance of thermophilic enzymes. No significant alteration of the kinetic parameters of the enzyme was observed. One of the mutants isolated in the screening for thermoresistant beta-glucosidase had the same resistance to denaturation as the wild type. This mutation caused the accumulation of enzyme in E. coli, probably due to its lower turnover. The structural changes responsible for the properties of the mutant enzymes have been analyzed. The putative causes increasing thermoresistance are as follows: the formation of an extra salt bridge, the replacement of an Asn residue exposed to the solvent, stabilization of the hydrophobic core, and stabilization of the quaternary structure of the protein. PMID:10788490

  12. Improving Kinetic or Thermodynamic Stability of an Azoreductase by Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Brissos, Vânia; Gonçalves, Nádia; Melo, Eduardo P.; Martins, Lígia O.

    2014-01-01

    Protein stability arises from a combination of factors which are often difficult to rationalise. Therefore its improvement is better addressed through directed evolution than by rational design approaches. In this study, five rounds of mutagenesis/recombination followed by high-throughput screening (≈10,000 clones) yielded the hit 1B6 showing a 300-fold higher half life at 50°C than that exhibited by the homodimeric wild type PpAzoR azoreductase from Pseudomonas putida MET94. The characterization using fluorescence, calorimetry and light scattering shows that 1B6 has a folded state slightly less stable than the wild type (with lower melting and optimal temperatures) but in contrast is more resistant to irreversible denaturation. The superior kinetic stability of 1B6 variant was therefore related to an increased resistance of the unfolded monomers to aggregation through the introduction of mutations that disturbed hydrophobic patches and increased the surface net charge of the protein. Variants 2A1 and 2A1-Y179H with increased thermodynamic stability (10 to 20°C higher melting temperature than wild type) were also examined showing the distinctive nature of mutations that lead to improved structural robustness: these occur in residues that are mostly involved in strengthening the solvent-exposed loops or the inter-dimer interactions of the folded state. PMID:24475252

  13. Directed evolution of efficient secretion in the SRP-dependent export of TolB.

    PubMed

    Zalucki, Yaramah M; Shafer, William M; Jennings, Michael P

    2011-10-01

    Signal sequence non-optimal codons have been shown to be important for the folding and efficient export of maltose binding protein (MBP), a SecB dependent protein. In this study, we analysed the importance of signal sequence non-optimal codons of TolB, a signal recognition particle (SRP) dependent exported protein. The protein production levels of wild type TolB (TolB-wt) and a mutant allele of TolB in which all signal sequence non-optimal codons were changed to a synonymous optimal codon (TolB-opt), revealed that TolB-opt production was 12-fold lower than TolB-wt. This difference could not be explained by changes in mRNA levels, or plasmid copy number, which was the same in both strains. A directed evolution genetic screen was used to select for mutants in the TolB-opt signal sequence that resulted in higher levels of TolB production. Analysis of the 46 independent TolB mutants that reverted to wild type levels of expression revealed that at least four signal sequence non-optimal codons were required. These results suggest that non-optimal codons may be required for the folding and efficient export of all proteins exported via the Sec system, regardless of whether they are dependent on SecB or SRP for delivery to the inner membrane. PMID:21699884

  14. Luminescence evolution from alumina ceramic surface before flashover under direct and alternating current voltage in vacuum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Su, Guo-Qiang; Wang, Yi-Bo; Song, Bai-Peng; Mu, Hai-Bao; Zhang, Guan-Jun; Li, Feng; Wang, Meng

    2016-06-01

    The luminescence evolution phenomena from alumina ceramic surface in vacuum under high voltage of direct and alternating current are reported, with the voltage covering a large range from far below to close to the flashover voltage. Its time resolved and spatial distributed behaviors are examined by a photon counting system and an electron-multiplying charge-coupled device (EMCCD) together with a digital camera, respectively. The luminescence before flashover exhibits two stages as voltage increasing, i.e., under a relative low voltage (Stage A), the luminescence is ascribed to radiative recombination of hetero-charges injected into the sample surface layer by Schottky effect; under a higher voltage (Stage B), a stable secondary electron emission process, resulting from the Fowler-Nordheim emission at the cathode triple junction (CTJ), is responsible for the luminescence. Spectrum analysis implies that inner secondary electrons within the surface layer of alumina generated during the SSEE process also participate in the luminescence of Stage B. A comprehensive interpretation of the flashover process is formulated, which might promote a better understanding of flashover issue in vacuum.

  15. In vitro directed evolution of alpha-hemolysin by liposome display

    PubMed Central

    Fujii, Satoshi; Matsuura, Tomoaki; Yomo, Tetsuya

    2015-01-01

    We have developed a method to enable in vitro directed evolution that can be applied to membrane proteins. This method, termed liposome display, uses liposomes as compartments in which membrane proteins are synthesized and as scaffolds for membrane protein integration. Thus, the synthesized membrane proteins are displayed on the surface of the liposome and exhibit their functions. A randomly mutated DNA library of the membrane protein was generated, encapsulated in the liposomes at the single-molecule level, and used to generate a liposome library. Liposomes displaying the desired membrane protein function were selected, thus accumulating the DNA molecule encoding the desired membrane protein. We have applied this method to alpha-hemolysin, a membrane protein derived from Staphylococcus aureus. Alpha-hemolysin forms a nanopore in the membrane, which allows the penetration of small molecules. We aimed to improve this nanopore activity by using the liposome display method. Consequently, alpha-hemolysin evolved and attained a higher specific affinity for the liposome membrane. In this review, we describe the essential characteristics of liposome display and the properties of the evolved alpha-hemolysin obtained by this method.

  16. [Directed evolution of aflatoxin detoxifzyme in vitro by error-prone PCR].

    PubMed

    Zhang, Sai; Xing, Keke; Hu, Yadong; Xie, Chunfang; Liu, Daling; Yao, Dongsheng

    2011-07-01

    The experiment was conducted by directed evolution strategy (error-prone PCR) to improve the activity of aflatoxin detoxifzyme with the high-throughput horse radish peroxidas and recessive brilliant green (HRP-RBG) screening system. We built up a mutant library to the order of 10(4). Two rounds of EP-PCR and HRP-RBG screening were used to obtain three optimum mutant strains A1773, A1476 and A2863. We found that mutant A1773 had upper temperature tolerance of 70 degrees C and that its enzyme activity was 6.5 times higher than that of the parent strain. Mutant strains A1476 worked well at pH 4.0 and its enzyme activity was 21 times higher than that of the parent strain. Mutant A2863 worked well at pH 4.0 and pH 7.5, and its enzyme activity was 12.6 times higher than that of the parent strain. With DNA sequencing we found that mutant A1773 revealed two amino acid substitutions, Glu127Lys and Gln613Arg. Mutant A1476 revealed four amino acid substitutions: Ser46Pro, Lys221Gln, Ile307Leu and Asn471lle. Mutant A2863 revealed four amino acid substitutions: Gly73Ser, Ile307Leu, Va1596Ala and Gln613Arg. The results provided a useful illustration for the deep understanding of the relationship between the function and structure of aflatoxin detoxifzyme. PMID:22016995

  17. Enhancement of the organic solvent-stability of the LST-03 lipase by directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Kawata, Takuya; Ogino, Hiroyasu

    2009-01-01

    LST-03 lipase from an organic solvent-tolerant Pseudomonas aeruginosa LST-03 has high stability and activity in the presence of various organic solvents. In this research, enhancement of organic solvent-stability of LST-03 lipase was attempted by directed evolution. The structural gene of the LST-03 lipase was amplified by the error prone-PCR method. Organic solvent-stability of the mutated lipases was assayed by formation of a clear zone of agar which contained dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and tri-n-butyrin and which overlaid a plate medium. And the organic solvent-stability was also confirmed by measuring the half-life of activity in the presence of DMSO. Four mutated enzymes were selected on the basis of their high organic solvent-stability in the presence of DMSO. The organic solvent-stabilities of mutated LST-03 lipase in the presence of various organic solvents were measured and their mutated amino acid residues were identified. The half-lives of the LST-03-R65 lipase in the presence of cyclohexane and n-decane were about 9 to 11-fold longer than those of the wild-type lipase, respectively. Some substituted amino acid residues of mutated LST-03 lipases have been located at the surface of the enzyme molecules, while some other amino acid residues have been changed from neutral to basic residues. PMID:19731302

  18. Directed evolution of novel adeno-associated viruses for therapeutic gene delivery.

    PubMed

    Bartel, M A; Weinstein, J R; Schaffer, D V

    2012-06-01

    Gene therapy vectors based on adeno-associated virus (AAV) are currently in clinical trials for numerous disease targets, such as muscular dystrophy, hemophilia, Parkinson's disease, Leber's congenital amaurosis and macular degeneration. Despite its considerable promise and emerging clinical success, several challenges impede the broader implementation of AAV gene therapy, including the prevalence of neutralizing antibodies in the human population, low transduction of a number of therapeutically relevant cell and tissue types, an inability to overcome physical and cellular barriers in vivo and a relatively limited carrying capacity. These challenges arise as the demands we place on AAV vectors are often different from or even at odds with the properties nature bestowed on their parent viruses. Viral-directed evolution-the iterative generation of large, diverse libraries of viral mutants and selection for variants with specific properties of interest-offers an approach to address these problems. Here we outline progress in creating novel classes of AAV variant libraries and highlight the successful isolation of variants with novel and advantageous in vitro and in vivo gene delivery properties. PMID:22402323

  19. Directed evolution of leucine dehydrogenase for improved efficiency of L-tert-leucine synthesis.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Lin; Wu, Zhe; Jin, Jian-Ming; Tang, Shuang-Yan

    2016-07-01

    L-tert-Leucine and its derivatives are used as synthetic building blocks for pharmaceutical active ingredients, chiral auxiliaries, and ligands. Leucine dehydrogenase (LeuDH) is frequently used to prepare L-tert-leucine from the α-keto acid precursor trimethylpyruvate (TMP). In this study, a high-throughput screening method for the L-tert-leucine synthesis reaction based on a spectrophotometric approach was developed. Directed evolution strategy was applied to engineer LeuDH from Lysinibacillus sphaericus for improved efficiency of L-tert-leucine synthesis. After two rounds of random mutagenesis, the specific activity of LeuDH on the substrate TMP was enhanced by more than two-fold, compared with that of the wild-type enzyme, while the activity towards its natural substrate, leucine, decreased. The catalytic efficiencies (k cat/K m) of the best mutant enzyme, H6, on substrates TMP and NADH were all enhanced by more than five-fold as compared with that of the wild-type enzyme. The efficiency of L-tert-leucine synthesis by mutant H6 was significantly improved. A productivity of 1170 g/l/day was achieved for the mutant enzyme H6, compared with 666 g/l/day for the wild-type enzyme. PMID:26898942

  20. Directed evolution increases desaturation of a cyanobacterial fatty acid desaturase in eukaryotic expression systems.

    PubMed

    Bai, Shuangyi; Wallis, James G; Denolf, Peter; Browse, John

    2016-07-01

    Directed evolution of a cyanobacterial Δ9 fatty acid desaturase (DSG) from Synechococcus elongatus, PCC6301 created new, more productive desaturases and revealed the importance of certain amino acid residues to increased desaturation. A codon-optimized DSG open reading frame with an endoplasmic-reticulum retention/retrieval signal appended was used as template for random mutagenesis. Increased desaturation was detected using a novel screen based on complementation of the unsaturated fatty acid auxotrophy of Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutant ole1Δ. Amino acid residues whose importance was discovered by the random processes were further examined by saturation mutation to determine the best amino acid at each identified location in the peptide chain and by combinatorial analysis. One frequently-detected single amino acid change, Q240R, yielded a nearly 25-fold increase in total desaturation in S. cerevisiae. Several other variants of the protein sequence with multiple amino acid changes increased total desaturation more than 60-fold. Many changes leading to increased desaturation were in the vicinity of the canonical histidine-rich regions known to be critical for electron transfer mediated by these di-iron proteins. Expression of these evolved proteins in the seed of Arabidopsis thaliana altered the fatty acid composition, increasing monounsaturated fatty acids and decreasing the level of saturated fatty acid, suggesting a potential application of these desaturases in oilseed crops. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2016;113: 1522-1530. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:26724425

  1. A Molecular Imaging Paradigm to Rapidly Profile Response to Angiogenesis-directed Therapy in Small Animals

    PubMed Central

    Virostko, John; Xie, Jingping; Hallahan, Dennis E.; Arteaga, Carlos L.; Gore, John C.; Manning, H. Charles

    2009-01-01

    Purpose The development of novel angiogenesis-directed therapeutics is hampered by the lack of non-invasive imaging metrics capable of assessing treatment response. We report the development and validation of a novel molecular imaging paradigm to rapidly assess response to angiogenesis-directed therapeutics in preclinical animal models. Procedures A monoclonal antibody-based optical imaging probe targeting vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR2) expression was synthesized and evaluated in vitro and in vivo via multispectral fluorescence imaging. Results The optical imaging agent demonstrated specificity for the target receptor in cultured endothelial cells and in vivo. The agent exhibited significant accumulation within 4T1 xenograft tumors. Mice bearing 4T1 xenografts and treated with sunitinib exhibited both tumor growth arrest and decreased accumulation of NIR800-αVEGFR2ab compared to untreated cohorts (p=0.0021). Conclusions Molecular imaging of VEGFR2 expression is a promising non-invasive biomarker for assessing angiogenesis and evaluating the efficacy of angiogenesis-directed therapies. PMID:19130143

  2. Molecular Evolution and Phylogeography of Co-circulating IHNV and VHSV in Italy

    PubMed Central

    Abbadi, Miriam; Fusaro, Alice; Ceolin, Chiara; Casarotto, Claudia; Quartesan, Rosita; Dalla Pozza, Manuela; Cattoli, Giovanni; Toffan, Anna; Holmes, Edward C.; Panzarin, Valentina

    2016-01-01

    Infectious haematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) and viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) are the most important viral pathogens impacting rainbow trout farming. These viruses are persistent in Italy, where they are responsible for severe disease outbreaks (epizootics) that affect the profitability of the trout industry. Despite the importance of IHNV and VHSV, little is known about their evolution at a local scale, although this is likely to be important for virus eradication and control. To address this issue we performed a detailed molecular evolutionary and epidemiological analysis of IHNV and VHSV in trout farms from northern Italy. Full-length glycoprotein gene sequences of a selection of VHSV (n = 108) and IHNV (n = 89) strains were obtained. This revealed that Italian VHSV strains belong to sublineages Ia1 and Ia2 of genotype Ia and are distributed into 7 genetic clusters. In contrast, all Italian IHNV isolates fell within genogroup E, for which only a single genetic cluster was identified. More striking was that IHNV has evolved more rapidly than VHSV (mean rates of 11 and 7.3 × 10−4 nucleotide substitutions per site, per year, respectively), indicating that these viruses exhibit fundamentally different evolutionary dynamics. The time to the most recent common ancestor of both IHNV and VHSV was consistent with the first reports of these pathogens in Italy. By combining sequence data with epidemiological information it was possible to identify different patterns of virus spread among trout farms, in which adjacent facilities can be infected by either genetically similar or different viruses, and farms located in different water catchments can be infected by identical strains. Overall, these findings highlight the importance of combining molecular and epidemiological information to identify the determinants of IHN and VHS spread, and to provide data that is central to future surveillance strategies and possibly control. PMID:27602026

  3. Molecular Evolution of Viruses of the Family Filoviridae Based on 97 Whole-Genome Sequences

    PubMed Central

    Carroll, Serena A.; Towner, Jonathan S.; Sealy, Tara K.; McMullan, Laura K.; Khristova, Marina L.; Burt, Felicity J.; Swanepoel, Robert; Rollin, Pierre E.

    2013-01-01

    Viruses in the Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus genera (family Filoviridae) have been associated with large outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever in human and nonhuman primates. The first documented cases occurred in primates over 45 years ago, but the amount of virus genetic diversity detected within bat populations, which have recently been identified as potential reservoir hosts, suggests that the filoviruses are much older. Here, detailed Bayesian coalescent phylogenetic analyses are performed on 97 whole-genome sequences, 55 of which are newly reported, to comprehensively examine molecular evolutionary rates and estimate dates of common ancestry for viruses within the family Filoviridae. Molecular evolutionary rates for viruses belonging to different species range from 0.46 × 10−4 nucleotide substitutions/site/year for Sudan ebolavirus to 8.21 × 10−4 nucleotide substitutions/site/year for Reston ebolavirus. Most recent common ancestry can be traced back only within the last 50 years for Reston ebolavirus and Zaire ebolavirus species and suggests that viruses within these species may have undergone recent genetic bottlenecks. Viruses within Marburg marburgvirus and Sudan ebolavirus species can be traced back further and share most recent common ancestors approximately 700 and 850 years before the present, respectively. Examination of the whole family suggests that members of the Filoviridae, including the recently described Lloviu virus, shared a most recent common ancestor approximately 10,000 years ago. These data will be valuable for understanding the evolution of filoviruses in the context of natural history as new reservoir hosts are identified and, further, for determining mechanisms of emergence, pathogenicity, and the ongoing threat to public health. PMID:23255795

  4. Bacillus anthracis: molecular taxonomy, population genetics, phylogeny and patho-evolution.

    PubMed

    Pilo, Paola; Frey, Joachim

    2011-08-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax, manifests a particular bimodal lifestyle. This bacterial species alternates between short replication phases of 20-40 generations that strictly require infection of the host, normally causing death, interrupted by relatively long, mostly dormant phases as spores in the environment. Hence, the B. anthracis genome is highly homogeneous. This feature and the fact that strains from nearly all parts of the world have been analysed for canonical single nucleotide polymorphisms (canSNPs) and variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs) has allowed the development of molecular epidemiological and molecular clock models to estimate the age of major diversifications in the evolution of B. anthracis and to trace the global spread of this pathogen, which was mostly promoted by movement of domestic cattle with settlers and by international trade of contaminated animal products. From a taxonomic and phylogenetic point of view, B. anthracis is a member of the Bacillus cereus group. The differentiation of B. anthracis from B. cereus sensu stricto, solely b