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Sample records for evolutionary molecular engineering

  1. EVOLUTIONARY FOUNDATIONS FOR MOLECULAR MEDICINE

    PubMed Central

    Nesse, Randolph M.; Ganten, Detlev; Gregory, T. Ryan; Omenn, Gilbert S.

    2015-01-01

    Evolution has long provided a foundation for population genetics, but many major advances in evolutionary biology from the 20th century are only now being applied in molecular medicine. They include the distinction between proximate and evolutionary explanations, kin selection, evolutionary models for cooperation, and new strategies for tracing phylogenies and identifying signals of selection. Recent advances in genomics are further transforming evolutionary biology and creating yet more opportunities for progress at the interface of evolution with genetics, medicine, and public health. This article reviews 15 evolutionary principles and their applications in molecular medicine in hopes that readers will use them and others to speed the development of evolutionary molecular medicine. PMID:22544168

  2. Investigating Evolutionary Questions Using Online Molecular Databases.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Puterbaugh, Mary N.; Burleigh, J. Gordon

    2001-01-01

    Recommends using online molecular databases as teaching tools to illustrate evolutionary questions and concepts while introducing students to public molecular databases. Provides activities in which students make molecular comparisons between species. (YDS)

  3. Molecular selection in a unified evolutionary sequence

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fox, S. W.

    1986-01-01

    With guidance from experiments and observations that indicate internally limited phenomena, an outline of unified evolutionary sequence is inferred. Such unification is not visible for a context of random matrix and random mutation. The sequence proceeds from Big Bang through prebiotic matter, protocells, through the evolving cell via molecular and natural selection, to mind, behavior, and society.

  4. Evolutionary engineering by genome shuffling.

    PubMed

    Biot-Pelletier, Damien; Martin, Vincent J J

    2014-05-01

    An upsurge in the bioeconomy drives the need for engineering microorganisms with increasingly complex phenotypes. Gains in productivity of industrial microbes depend on the development of improved strains. Classical strain improvement programmes for the generation, screening and isolation of such mutant strains have existed for several decades. An alternative to traditional strain improvement methods, genome shuffling, allows the directed evolution of whole organisms via recursive recombination at the genome level. This review deals chiefly with the technical aspects of genome shuffling. It first presents the diversity of organisms and phenotypes typically evolved using this technology and then reviews available sources of genetic diversity and recombination methodologies. Analysis of the literature reveals that genome shuffling has so far been restricted to microorganisms, both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, with an overepresentation of antibiotics- and biofuel-producing microbes. Mutagenesis is the main source of genetic diversity, with few studies adopting alternative strategies. Recombination is usually done by protoplast fusion or sexual recombination, again with few exceptions. For both diversity and recombination, prospective methods that have not yet been used are also presented. Finally, the potential of genome shuffling for gaining insight into the genetic basis of complex phenotypes is also discussed. PMID:24595425

  5. Engineering molecular machines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erman, Burak

    2016-04-01

    Biological molecular motors use chemical energy, mostly in the form of ATP hydrolysis, and convert it to mechanical energy. Correlated thermal fluctuations are essential for the function of a molecular machine and it is the hydrolysis of ATP that modifies the correlated fluctuations of the system. Correlations are consequences of the molecular architecture of the protein. The idea that synthetic molecular machines may be constructed by designing the proper molecular architecture is challenging. In their paper, Sarkar et al (2016 New J. Phys. 18 043006) propose a synthetic molecular motor based on the coarse grained elastic network model of proteins and show by numerical simulations that motor function is realized, ranging from deterministic to thermal, depending on temperature. This work opens up a new range of possibilities of molecular architecture based engine design.

  6. Evolutionary mechanism as a template for protein engineering.

    PubMed

    Eisenbeis, Simone; Höcker, Birte

    2010-10-01

    The goal of a protein engineer is to adjust a protein to a specified new function. This is exactly what natural evolution has achieved many times. By studying evolutionary mechanisms, we can learn about ways to use the adaptability of proteins and to build new proteins. In fact, many techniques used in engineering are successfully mimicking evolutionary processes. We introduce the fundamental evolutionary mechanisms, take a closer look at duplication and fusion, recombination, and circular permutation and discuss their influence on protein engineering. Some important techniques are presented and illustrated with examples. PMID:20862721

  7. Evolutionary Forecast Engines for Solar Meteorology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coimbra, C. F.

    2012-12-01

    A detailed comparison of non-stationary regression and stochastic learning methods based on k-Nearest Neighbor (kNN), Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) and Genetic Algorithm (GA) approaches is carried out in order to develop high-fidelity solar forecast engines for several time horizons of interest. A hybrid GA/ANN method emerges as the most robust stochastic learning candidate. The GA/ANN approach In general the following decisions need to be made when creating an ANN-based solar forecast model: the ANN architecture: number of layers, numbers of neurons per layer; the preprocessing scheme; the fraction and distribution between training and testing data, and the meteorological and radiometric inputs. ANNs are very well suited to handle multivariate forecasting models due to their overall flexibility and nonlinear pattern recognition abilities. However, the forecasting skill of ANNs depends on a new set of parameters to be optimized within the context of the forecast model, which is the selection of input variables that most directly impact the fidelity of the forecasts. In a data rich scenario where irradiation, meteorological, and cloud cover data are available, it is not always evident which variables to include in the model a priori. New variables can also arise from data preprocessing such as smoothing or spectral decomposition. One way to avoid time-consuming trial-and-error approaches that have limited chance to result in optimal ANN topology and input selection is to couple the ANN with some optimization algorithm that scans the solution space and "evolves" the ANN structure. Genetic Algorithms (GAs) are well suited for this task. Results and Discussion The models built upon the historical data of 2009 and 2010 are applied to the 2011 data without modifications or retraining. We consider 3 solar variability seasons or periods, which are subsets of the total error evaluation data set. The 3 periods are defined based on the solar variability study as: - a high

  8. Computationally mapping sequence space to understand evolutionary protein engineering.

    PubMed

    Armstrong, Kathryn A; Tidor, Bruce

    2008-01-01

    Evolutionary protein engineering has been dramatically successful, producing a wide variety of new proteins with altered stability, binding affinity, and enzymatic activity. However, the success of such procedures is often unreliable, and the impact of the choice of protein, engineering goal, and evolutionary procedure is not well understood. We have created a framework for understanding aspects of the protein engineering process by computationally mapping regions of feasible sequence space for three small proteins using structure-based design protocols. We then tested the ability of different evolutionary search strategies to explore these sequence spaces. The results point to a non-intuitive relationship between the error-prone PCR mutation rate and the number of rounds of replication. The evolutionary relationships among feasible sequences reveal hub-like sequences that serve as particularly fruitful starting sequences for evolutionary search. Moreover, genetic recombination procedures were examined, and tradeoffs relating sequence diversity and search efficiency were identified. This framework allows us to consider the impact of protein structure on the allowed sequence space and therefore on the challenges that each protein presents to error-prone PCR and genetic recombination procedures. PMID:18020358

  9. Engineering reduced evolutionary potential for synthetic biology

    PubMed Central

    Renda, Brian A.; Hammerling, Michael J.

    2014-01-01

    The field of synthetic biology seeks to engineer reliable and predictable behaviors in organisms from collections of standardized genetic parts. However, unlike other types of machines, genetically encoded biological systems are prone to changes in their designed sequences due to mutations in their DNA sequences after these devices are constructed and deployed. Thus, biological engineering efforts can be confounded by undesired evolution that rapidly breaks the functions of parts and systems, particularly when they are costly to the host cell to maintain. Here, we explain the fundamental properties that determine the evolvability of biological systems. Then, we use this framework to review current efforts to engineer the DNA sequences that encode synthetic biology devices and the genomes of their microbial hosts to reduce their ability to evolve and therefore increase their genetic reliability so that they maintain their intended functions over longer timescales. PMID:24556867

  10. MEGA6: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis version 6.0.

    PubMed

    Tamura, Koichiro; Stecher, Glen; Peterson, Daniel; Filipski, Alan; Kumar, Sudhir

    2013-12-01

    We announce the release of an advanced version of the Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) software, which currently contains facilities for building sequence alignments, inferring phylogenetic histories, and conducting molecular evolutionary analysis. In version 6.0, MEGA now enables the inference of timetrees, as it implements the RelTime method for estimating divergence times for all branching points in a phylogeny. A new Timetree Wizard in MEGA6 facilitates this timetree inference by providing a graphical user interface (GUI) to specify the phylogeny and calibration constraints step-by-step. This version also contains enhanced algorithms to search for the optimal trees under evolutionary criteria and implements a more advanced memory management that can double the size of sequence data sets to which MEGA can be applied. Both GUI and command-line versions of MEGA6 can be downloaded from www.megasoftware.net free of charge. PMID:24132122

  11. Automatic Molecular Design using Evolutionary Techniques

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1998-01-01

    Molecular nanotechnology is the precise, three-dimensional control of materials and devices at the atomic scale. An important part of nanotechnology is the design of molecules for specific purposes. This paper describes early results using genetic software techniques to automatically design molecules under the control of a fitness function. The fitness function must be capable of determining which of two arbitrary molecules is better for a specific task. The software begins by generating a population of random molecules. The population is then evolved towards greater fitness by randomly combining parts of the better individuals to create new molecules. These new molecules then replace some of the worst molecules in the population. The unique aspect of our approach is that we apply genetic crossover to molecules represented by graphs, i.e., sets of atoms and the bonds that connect them. We present evidence suggesting that crossover alone, operating on graphs, can evolve any possible molecule given an appropriate fitness function and a population containing both rings and chains. Prior work evolved strings or trees that were subsequently processed to generate molecular graphs. In principle, genetic graph software should be able to evolve other graph representable systems such as circuits, transportation networks, metabolic pathways, computer networks, etc.

  12. Evolutionary engineering to enhance starter culture performance in food fermentations.

    PubMed

    Bachmann, Herwig; Pronk, Jack T; Kleerebezem, Michiel; Teusink, Bas

    2015-04-01

    Microbial starter cultures are essential for consistent product quality and functional properties such as flavor, texture, pH or the alcohol content of various fermented foods. Strain improvement programs to achieve desired properties in starter cultures are diverse, but developments in next-generation sequencing lead to an increased interest in evolutionary engineering of desired phenotypes. We here discuss recent developments of strain selection protocols and how computational approaches can assist such experimental design. Furthermore the analysis of evolved phenotypes and possibilities with complex consortia are highlighted. Studies carried out with mainly yeast and lactic acid bacteria demonstrate the power of evolutionary engineering to deliver strains with novel phenotypes as well as insight into underlying mechanisms. PMID:25269887

  13. Molecular Evolutionary Consequences of Island Colonization

    PubMed Central

    James, Jennifer E.; Lanfear, Robert; Eyre-Walker, Adam

    2016-01-01

    Island endemics are expected to have low effective population sizes (Ne), first because some may experience population bottlenecks when they are founded, and second because they have restricted ranges. Therefore, we expect island species to have reduced genetic diversity, inefficient selection, and reduced adaptive potential compared with their mainland counterparts. We used both polymorphism and substitution data to address these predictions, improving on the approach of recent studies that only used substitution data. This allowed us to directly test the assumption that island species have small values of Ne. We found that island species had significantly less genetic diversity than mainland species; however, this pattern could be attributed to a subset of island species that appeared to have undergone a recent population bottleneck. When these species were excluded from the analysis, island and mainland species had similar levels of genetic diversity, despite island species occupying considerably smaller areas than their mainland counterparts. We also found no overall difference between island and mainland species in terms of the effectiveness of selection or the mutation rate. Our evidence suggests that island colonization has no lasting impact on molecular evolution. This surprising result highlights gaps in our knowledge of the relationship between census and effective population size. PMID:27358424

  14. Molecular Evolutionary Consequences of Island Colonization.

    PubMed

    James, Jennifer E; Lanfear, Robert; Eyre-Walker, Adam

    2016-01-01

    Island endemics are expected to have low effective population sizes (Ne), first because some may experience population bottlenecks when they are founded, and second because they have restricted ranges. Therefore, we expect island species to have reduced genetic diversity, inefficient selection, and reduced adaptive potential compared with their mainland counterparts. We used both polymorphism and substitution data to address these predictions, improving on the approach of recent studies that only used substitution data. This allowed us to directly test the assumption that island species have small values of Ne We found that island species had significantly less genetic diversity than mainland species; however, this pattern could be attributed to a subset of island species that appeared to have undergone a recent population bottleneck. When these species were excluded from the analysis, island and mainland species had similar levels of genetic diversity, despite island species occupying considerably smaller areas than their mainland counterparts. We also found no overall difference between island and mainland species in terms of the effectiveness of selection or the mutation rate. Our evidence suggests that island colonization has no lasting impact on molecular evolution. This surprising result highlights gaps in our knowledge of the relationship between census and effective population size. PMID:27358424

  15. Multiobjective Optimization of Rocket Engine Pumps Using Evolutionary Algorithm

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oyama, Akira; Liou, Meng-Sing

    2001-01-01

    A design optimization method for turbopumps of cryogenic rocket engines has been developed. Multiobjective Evolutionary Algorithm (MOEA) is used for multiobjective pump design optimizations. Performances of design candidates are evaluated by using the meanline pump flow modeling method based on the Euler turbine equation coupled with empirical correlations for rotor efficiency. To demonstrate the feasibility of the present approach, a single stage centrifugal pump design and multistage pump design optimizations are presented. In both cases, the present method obtains very reasonable Pareto-optimal solutions that include some designs outperforming the original design in total head while reducing input power by one percent. Detailed observation of the design results also reveals some important design criteria for turbopumps in cryogenic rocket engines. These results demonstrate the feasibility of the EA-based design optimization method in this field.

  16. Evolutionary swarm neural network game engine for Capture Go.

    PubMed

    Cai, Xindi; Venayagamoorthy, Ganesh K; Wunsch, Donald C

    2010-03-01

    Evaluation of the current board position is critical in computer game engines. In sufficiently complex games, such a task is too difficult for a traditional brute force search to accomplish, even when combined with expert knowledge bases. This motivates the investigation of alternatives. This paper investigates the combination of neural networks, particle swarm optimization (PSO), and evolutionary algorithms (EAs) to train a board evaluator from zero knowledge. By enhancing the survivors of an EA with PSO, the hybrid algorithm successfully trains the high-dimensional neural networks to provide an evaluation of the game board through self-play. Experimental results, on the benchmark game of Capture Go, demonstrate that the hybrid algorithm can be more powerful than its individual parts, with the system playing against EA and PSO trained game engines. Also, the winning results of tournaments against a Hill-Climbing trained game engine confirm that the improvement comes from the hybrid algorithm itself. The hybrid game engine is also demonstrated against a hand-coded defensive player and a web player. PMID:20005671

  17. Comparative approaches in evolutionary psychology: molecular neuroscience meets the mind.

    PubMed

    Panksepp, Jaak; Moskal, Joseph R; Panksepp, Jules B; Kroes, Roger A

    2002-12-01

    Evolutionary psychologists often overlook a wealth of information existing between the proximate genotypic level and the ultimate phenotypic level. This commonly ignored level of biological organization is the ongoing activity of neurobiological systems. In this paper, we extend our previous arguments concerning strategic weaknesses of evolutionary psychology by advocating a foundational view that focuses on similarities in brain, behavior, and various basic psychological features across mammalian species. Such an approach offers the potential to link the emerging discipline of evolutionary psychology to its parent scientific disciplines such as biochemistry, physiology, molecular genetics, developmental biology and the neuroscientific analysis of animal behavior. We detail an example of this through our impending work using gene microarray technology to characterize gene expression patterns in rats during aggressive and playful social interactions. Through a focus on functional homologies and the experimental analysis of conserved, subcortical emotional and motivational brain systems, neuroevolutionary psychobiology can reveal ancient features of the human mind that are still shared with other animals. Claims regarding evolved, uniquely human, psychological constructs should be constrained by the rigorous evidentiary standards that are routine in other sciences. PMID:12496741

  18. Evolutionary engineering of Geobacillus thermoglucosidasius for improved ethanol production.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Jiewen; Wu, Kang; Rao, Christopher V

    2016-10-01

    The ability to grow at high temperatures makes thermophiles attractive for many fermentation processes. In this work, we used evolutionary engineering to increase ethanol production in the thermophile Geobacillus thermoglucosidasius. This bacterium is a facultative anaerobe, grows at an optimal temperature of 60°C, and can ferment diverse carbohydrates. However, it natively performs mixed-acid fermentation. To improve ethanol productivity, we first eliminated lactate and formate production in two strains of G. thermoglucosidasius, 95A1 and C56-YS93. These deletion strains were generated by selection on spectinomycin, which represents, to the best of our knowledge, the first time this antibiotic has been shown to work with thermophiles. Both knockout strains, however, were unable to grow under microaerobic conditions. We were able to recover growth in G. thermoglucosidasius 95A1 by serial adaptation in the presence of acetic acid. The evolved 95A1 strain was able to efficiently produce ethanol during growth on glucose or cellobiose. Genome sequencing identified loss-of-function mutations in adenine phosphoribosyltransferase (aprt) and the stage III sporulation protein AA (spoIIIAA). Disruption of both genes improved ethanol production in the unadapted strains: however, the increase was significant only when aprt was deleted. In conclusion, we were able to engineer a strain of G. thermoglucosidasius to efficiently produce ethanol from glucose and cellobiose using a combination of metabolic engineering and evolutionary strategies. This work further establishes this thermophile as a platform organism for fuel and chemical production. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2016;113: 2156-2167. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27002479

  19. Evolutionary molecular cytogenetics of catarrhine primates: past, present and future.

    PubMed

    Stanyon, R; Rocchi, M; Bigoni, F; Archidiacono, N

    2012-01-01

    The catarrhine primates were the first group of species studied with comparative molecular cytogenetics. Many of the fundamental techniques and principles of analysis were initially applied to comparisons in these primates, including interspecific chromosome painting, reciprocal chromosome painting and the extensive use of cloned DNA probes for evolutionary analysis. The definition and importance of chromosome syntenies and associations for a correct cladistics analysis of phylogenomic relationships were first applied to catarrhines. These early chromosome painting studies vividly illustrated a striking conservation of the genome between humans and macaques. Contemporarily, it also revealed profound differences between humans and gibbons, a group of species more closely related to humans, making it clear that chromosome evolution did not follow a molecular clock. Chromosome painting has now been applied to more that 60 primate species and the translocation history has been mapped onto the major taxonomic divisions in the tree of primate evolution. In situ hybridization of cloned DNA probes, primarily BAC-FISH, also made it possible to more precisely map breakpoints with spanning and flanking BACs. These studies established marker order and disclosed intrachromosomal rearrangements. When applied comparatively to a range of primate species, they led to the discovery of evolutionary new centromeres as an important new category of chromosome evolution. BAC-FISH studies are intimately connected to genome sequencing, and probes can usually be assigned to a precise location in the genome assembly. This connection ties molecular cytogenetics securely to genome sequencing, assuring that molecular cytogenetics will continue to have a productive future in the multidisciplinary science of phylogenomics. PMID:22710640

  20. Time Dependency of Molecular Evolutionary Rates? Yes and No

    PubMed Central

    Subramanian, Sankar; Lambert, David M.

    2011-01-01

    Some previous studies have suggested that rates of evolution inferred using molecular sequences vary substantially depending on the time frame over which they are measured, whereas a number of other studies have argued against this proposition. We examined this issue by separating positions of primate mitochondrial genomes that are under different levels of selection constraints. Our results revealed an order of magnitude variation in the evolutionary rates at constrained sites (including nonsynonymous sites, D-loop, and RNA) and virtually an identical rate of evolution at synonymous sites, independent of the timescales over which they were estimated. Although the evolutionary rate at nonsynonymous sites obtained using the European (H1 haplogroup) mitogenomes is 9–15 times higher than that estimated using the human–chimpanzee pair, in contrast, the rates at synonymous sites are similar between these comparisons. We also show that the ratio of divergence at nonsynonymous to synonymous sites estimated using intra- and interspecific comparisons vary up to nine times, which corroborates our results independent of calibration times. PMID:22016336

  1. Time dependency of molecular evolutionary rates? Yes and no.

    PubMed

    Subramanian, Sankar; Lambert, David M

    2011-01-01

    Some previous studies have suggested that rates of evolution inferred using molecular sequences vary substantially depending on the time frame over which they are measured, whereas a number of other studies have argued against this proposition. We examined this issue by separating positions of primate mitochondrial genomes that are under different levels of selection constraints. Our results revealed an order of magnitude variation in the evolutionary rates at constrained sites (including nonsynonymous sites, D-loop, and RNA) and virtually an identical rate of evolution at synonymous sites, independent of the timescales over which they were estimated. Although the evolutionary rate at nonsynonymous sites obtained using the European (H1 haplogroup) mitogenomes is 9-15 times higher than that estimated using the human-chimpanzee pair, in contrast, the rates at synonymous sites are similar between these comparisons. We also show that the ratio of divergence at nonsynonymous to synonymous sites estimated using intra- and interspecific comparisons vary up to nine times, which corroborates our results independent of calibration times. PMID:22016336

  2. Gaseous CO Abundance—An Evolutionary Tracer for Molecular Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Tie; Wu, Yuefang; Zhang, Huawei

    2013-09-01

    Planck cold clumps are among the most promising objects to investigate the initial conditions of the evolution of molecular clouds. In this work, by combing the dust emission data from the survey of the Planck satellite with the molecular data of 12CO/13CO/C18O (1-0) lines from observations with the Purple Mountain Observatory 13.7 m telescope, we investigate the CO abundance, CO depletion, and CO-to-H2 conversion factor of 674 clumps in the early cold cores sample. The median and mean values of the CO abundance are 0.89 × 10-4 and 1.28 × 10-4, respectively. The mean and median of CO depletion factor are 1.7 and 0.9, respectively. The median value of X_{CO\\scriptsize {{-}to\\scriptsize {{-}}H_{2}}} for the whole sample is 2.8 × 1020 cm-2 K-1 km-1 s. The CO abundance, CO depletion factor, and CO-to-H2 conversion factor are strongly (anti-)correlated to other physical parameters (e.g., dust temperature, dust emissivity spectral index, column density, volume density, and luminosity-to-mass ratio). To conclude, the gaseous CO abundance can be used as an evolutionary tracer for molecular clouds.

  3. GASEOUS CO ABUNDANCE-AN EVOLUTIONARY TRACER FOR MOLECULAR CLOUDS

    SciTech Connect

    Liu Tie; Wu Yuefang; Zhang Huawei E-mail: ywu@pku.edu.cn

    2013-09-20

    Planck cold clumps are among the most promising objects to investigate the initial conditions of the evolution of molecular clouds. In this work, by combing the dust emission data from the survey of the Planck satellite with the molecular data of {sup 12}CO/{sup 13}CO/C{sup 18}O (1-0) lines from observations with the Purple Mountain Observatory 13.7 m telescope, we investigate the CO abundance, CO depletion, and CO-to-H{sub 2} conversion factor of 674 clumps in the early cold cores sample. The median and mean values of the CO abundance are 0.89 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup -4} and 1.28 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup -4}, respectively. The mean and median of CO depletion factor are 1.7 and 0.9, respectively. The median value of X{sub CO-to-H{sub 2}} for the whole sample is 2.8 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup 20} cm{sup -2} K{sup -1} km{sup -1} s. The CO abundance, CO depletion factor, and CO-to-H{sub 2} conversion factor are strongly (anti-)correlated to other physical parameters (e.g., dust temperature, dust emissivity spectral index, column density, volume density, and luminosity-to-mass ratio). To conclude, the gaseous CO abundance can be used as an evolutionary tracer for molecular clouds.

  4. Genomic organization of plant terpene synthases and molecular evolutionary implications.

    PubMed Central

    Trapp, S C; Croteau, R B

    2001-01-01

    Terpenoids are the largest, most diverse class of plant natural products and they play numerous functional roles in primary metabolism and in ecological interactions. The first committed step in the formation of the various terpenoid classes is the transformation of the prenyl diphosphate precursors, geranyl diphosphate, farnesyl diphosphate, and geranylgeranyl diphosphate, to the parent structures of each type catalyzed by the respective monoterpene (C(10)), sesquiterpene (C(15)), and diterpene synthases (C(20)). Over 30 cDNAs encoding plant terpenoid synthases involved in primary and secondary metabolism have been cloned and characterized. Here we describe the isolation and analysis of six genomic clones encoding terpene synthases of conifers, [(-)-pinene (C(10)), (-)-limonene (C(10)), (E)-alpha-bisabolene (C(15)), delta-selinene (C(15)), and abietadiene synthase (C(20)) from Abies grandis and taxadiene synthase (C(20)) from Taxus brevifolia], all of which are involved in natural products biosynthesis. Genome organization (intron number, size, placement and phase, and exon size) of these gymnosperm terpene synthases was compared to eight previously characterized angiosperm terpene synthase genes and to six putative terpene synthase genomic sequences from Arabidopsis thaliana. Three distinct classes of terpene synthase genes were discerned, from which assumed patterns of sequential intron loss and the loss of an unusual internal sequence element suggest that the ancestral terpenoid synthase gene resembled a contemporary conifer diterpene synthase gene in containing at least 12 introns and 13 exons of conserved size. A model presented for the evolutionary history of plant terpene synthases suggests that this superfamily of genes responsible for natural products biosynthesis derived from terpene synthase genes involved in primary metabolism by duplication and divergence in structural and functional specialization. This novel molecular evolutionary approach focused

  5. Molecular Engineering of DNA: Molecular Beacons

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Zhiwen; Yang, Chaoyong James; Kim, Youngmi; Fang, Xiaohong; Li, Wei; Wu, Yanrong; Medley, Colin D.; Cao, Zehui; Li, Jun; Colon, Patrick; Lin, Hui

    2009-01-01

    Molecular beacons (MBs) are specifically designed DNA hairpin structures that are widely used as fluorescent probes. Applications of MBs range from genetic screening, biosensor development, biochip construction, and the detection of single-nucleotide polymorphisms to mRNA monitoring in living cells. The inherent signal-transduction mechanism of MBs enables the analysis of target oligonucleotides without the separation of unbound probes. The MB stem–loop structure holds the fluorescence-donor and fluorescence-acceptor moieties in close proximity to one another, which results in resonant energy transfer. A spontaneous conformation change occurs upon hybridization to separate the two moieties and restore the fluorescence of the donor. Recent research has focused on the improvement of probe composition, intracellular gene quantitation, protein–DNA interaction studies, and protein recognition. PMID:19065690

  6. New faster CHARMM molecular dynamics engine

    PubMed Central

    Hynninen, Antti-Pekka; Crowley, Michael F

    2014-01-01

    We introduce a new faster molecular dynamics (MD) engine into the CHARMM software package. The new MD engine is faster both in serial (i.e., single CPU core) and parallel execution. Serial performance is approximately two times higher than in the previous version of CHARMM. The newly programmed parallelization method allows the MD engine to parallelize up to hundreds of CPU cores. PMID:24302199

  7. Ligament tissue engineering: an evolutionary materials science approach.

    PubMed

    Laurencin, Cato T; Freeman, Joseph W

    2005-12-01

    The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is important for knee stabilization. Unfortunately, it is also the most commonly injured intra-articular ligament. Due to poor vascularization, the ACL has inferior healing capability and is usually replaced after significant damage has occurred. Currently available replacements have a host of limitations, this has prompted the search for tissue-engineered solutions for ACL repair. Presently investigated scaffolds range from twisted fiber architectures composed of silk fibers to complex three-dimensional braided structures composed of poly (L-lactic acid) fibers. The purpose of these tissue-engineered constructs is to apply approaches such as the use of porous scaffolds, use of cells, and the application of growth factors to promote ligament tissue regeneration while providing mechanical properties similar to natural ligament. PMID:16045982

  8. Evolutionary engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for efficient aerobic xylose consumption.

    PubMed

    Scalcinati, Gionata; Otero, José Manuel; Van Vleet, Jennifer R H; Jeffries, Thomas W; Olsson, Lisbeth; Nielsen, Jens

    2012-08-01

    Industrial biotechnology aims to develop robust microbial cell factories, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to produce an array of added value chemicals presently dominated by petrochemical processes. Xylose is the second most abundant monosaccharide after glucose and the most prevalent pentose sugar found in lignocelluloses. Significant research efforts have focused on the metabolic engineering of S. cerevisiae for fast and efficient xylose utilization. This study aims to metabolically engineer S. cerevisiae, such that it can consume xylose as the exclusive substrate while maximizing carbon flux to biomass production. Such a platform may then be enhanced with complementary metabolic engineering strategies that couple biomass production with high value-added chemical. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, expressing xylose reductase, xylitol dehydrogenase and xylulose kinase, from the native xylose-metabolizing yeast Pichia stipitis, was constructed, followed by a directed evolution strategy to improve xylose utilization rates. The resulting S. cerevisiae strain was capable of rapid growth and fast xylose consumption producing only biomass and negligible amount of byproducts. Transcriptional profiling of this strain was employed to further elucidate the observed physiology confirms a strongly up-regulated glyoxylate pathway enabling respiratory metabolism. The resulting strain is a desirable platform for the industrial production of biomass-related products using xylose as a sole carbon source. PMID:22487265

  9. Interfacial Engineering of Molecular Photovoltaics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shelton, Steven Wade

    One of the most worthy pursuits in the field of organic solar cells is that of discovering ways to more effectively harvest charge generated by light absorption. The measure of the efficacy of this process is the external quantum efficiency (EQE). It is determined by the efficiency of incident light absorption, exciton diffusion, exciton splitting and charge transfer, and charge collection. Enhanced EQE can be realized by engineering interfaces between materials in the device to allow for smoother charge transfer throughout the extent of the device, which is usually between 10 and 200 nanometers. Improvements in charge transport are vitally important because the photogenerated excitons in electron donating polymers and small molecules typically only diffuse between 5 and 10 nanometers. These excitons must reach the interface between the electron donor and electron acceptor in order to be split so that the resulting electron and hole can be harvested at the cathode and anode, respectively. The aim of much of this dissertation is to describe a method by which the donor-acceptor interfacial area can be augmented using nanoimprint lithography, first with a single donor and then with multiple donors. Nanoimprint lithography is introduced as a simple embossing technique that can create features in a single component donor with dimensions as small as 20 nm. Solution-processable small molecules are of interest for their ease of synthesis and fabrication. I continue the discussion of nanoimprint lithography by offering candidates for a two-component donor combination. A two-component donor can extend the absorption range across a broader portion of the solar spectrum than just one donor to improve energy harvesting. After considering ways of optimizing the donor-acceptor interface, I describe the use of a charge selective layer for better charge transport and collection. When incorporated into a bilayer solar cell and an inverted solar cell, these two molecules markedly

  10. Molecular Engineering of Acoustic Protein Nanostructures.

    PubMed

    Lakshmanan, Anupama; Farhadi, Arash; Nety, Suchita P; Lee-Gosselin, Audrey; Bourdeau, Raymond W; Maresca, David; Shapiro, Mikhail G

    2016-08-23

    Ultrasound is among the most widely used biomedical imaging modalities, but has limited ability to image specific molecular targets due to the lack of suitable nanoscale contrast agents. Gas vesicles-genetically encoded protein nanostructures isolated from buoyant photosynthetic microbes-have recently been identified as nanoscale reporters for ultrasound. Their unique physical properties give gas vesicles significant advantages over conventional microbubble contrast agents, including nanoscale dimensions and inherent physical stability. Furthermore, as a genetically encoded material, gas vesicles present the possibility that the nanoscale mechanical, acoustic, and targeting properties of an imaging agent can be engineered at the level of its constituent proteins. Here, we demonstrate that genetic engineering of gas vesicles results in nanostructures with new mechanical, acoustic, surface, and functional properties to enable harmonic, multiplexed, and multimodal ultrasound imaging as well as cell-specific molecular targeting. These results establish a biomolecular platform for the engineering of acoustic nanomaterials. PMID:27351374

  11. Interferons and viruses: an evolutionary arms race of molecular interactions

    PubMed Central

    Hoffmann, Hans-Heinrich; Schneider, William M.; Rice, Charles M.

    2015-01-01

    Over half a century has passed since interferons (IFNs) were discovered and shown to inhibit virus infection in cultured cells. Since then, researchers have steadily brought to light the molecular details of IFN signaling, catalogued their pleiotropic effects on cells, and harnessed their therapeutic potential for a variety of maladies. While advances have been plentiful, several fundamental questions have yet to be answered and much complexity remains to be unraveled. We explore the current knowledge surrounding four main questions: are type I IFN subtypes differentially produced in response to distinct pathogens? How are IFN subtypes distinguished by cells? What are the mechanisms and consequences of viral antagonism? Lastly, how can the IFN response be harnessed to improve vaccine efficacy? PMID:25704559

  12. Ferric Enterochelin Transport in Yersinia enterocolitica: Molecular and Evolutionary Aspects

    PubMed Central

    Schubert, S.; Fischer, D.; Heesemann, J.

    1999-01-01

    Yersinia enterocolitica is well equipped for siderophore piracy, encompassing the utilization of siderophores such as ferrioxamine, ferrichrome, and ferrienterochelin. In this study, we report on the molecular and functional characterization of the Yersinia fep-fes gene cluster orthologous to the Escherichia coli ferrienterochelin transport genes (fepA, fepDGC, and fepB) and the esterase gene fes. In vitro transcription-translation analysis identified polypeptides of 30 and 35 kDa encoded by fepC and fes, respectively. A frameshift mutation within the fepA gene led to expression of a truncated polypeptide of 40 kDa. The fepD, fepG, and fes genes of Y. enterocolitica were shown to complement corresponding E. coli mutants. Insertional mutagenesis of fepD or fes genes abrogates enterochelin-supported growth of Y. enterocolitica on iron-chelated media. In contrast to E. coli, the fep-fes gene cluster in Y. enterocolitica consists solely of genes required for uptake and utilization of enterochelin (fep) and not of enterochelin synthesis genes such as entF. By Southern hybridization, fepDGC and fes sequences could be detected in Y. enterocolitica biotypes IB, IA, and II but not in biotype IV strains, Yersinia pestis, and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis strains. According to sequence alignment data and the coherent structure of the Yersinia fep-fes gene cluster, we suggest early genetic divergence of ferrienterochelin uptake determinants among species of the family Enterobacteriaceae. PMID:10515929

  13. Ferric enterochelin transport in Yersinia enterocolitica: molecular and evolutionary aspects.

    PubMed

    Schubert, S; Fischer, D; Heesemann, J

    1999-10-01

    Yersinia enterocolitica is well equipped for siderophore piracy, encompassing the utilization of siderophores such as ferrioxamine, ferrichrome, and ferrienterochelin. In this study, we report on the molecular and functional characterization of the Yersinia fep-fes gene cluster orthologous to the Escherichia coli ferrienterochelin transport genes (fepA, fepDGC, and fepB) and the esterase gene fes. In vitro transcription-translation analysis identified polypeptides of 30 and 35 kDa encoded by fepC and fes, respectively. A frameshift mutation within the fepA gene led to expression of a truncated polypeptide of 40 kDa. The fepD, fepG, and fes genes of Y. enterocolitica were shown to complement corresponding E. coli mutants. Insertional mutagenesis of fepD or fes genes abrogates enterochelin-supported growth of Y. enterocolitica on iron-chelated media. In contrast to E. coli, the fep-fes gene cluster in Y. enterocolitica consists solely of genes required for uptake and utilization of enterochelin (fep) and not of enterochelin synthesis genes such as entF. By Southern hybridization, fepDGC and fes sequences could be detected in Y. enterocolitica biotypes IB, IA, and II but not in biotype IV strains, Yersinia pestis, and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis strains. According to sequence alignment data and the coherent structure of the Yersinia fep-fes gene cluster, we suggest early genetic divergence of ferrienterochelin uptake determinants among species of the family Enterobacteriaceae. PMID:10515929

  14. Molecular engineering of polymersome surface topology.

    PubMed

    Ruiz-Pérez, Lorena; Messager, Lea; Gaitzsch, Jens; Joseph, Adrian; Sutto, Ludovico; Gervasio, Francesco Luigi; Battaglia, Giuseppe

    2016-04-01

    Biological systems exploit self-assembly to create complex structures whose arrangements are finely controlled from the molecular to mesoscopic level. We report an example of using fully synthetic systems that mimic two levels of self-assembly. We show the formation of vesicles using amphiphilic copolymers whose chemical nature is chosen to control both membrane formation and membrane-confined interactions. We report polymersomes with patterns that emerge by engineering interfacial tension within the polymersome surface. This allows the formation of domains whose topology is tailored by chemical synthesis, paving the avenue to complex supramolecular designs functionally similar to those found in viruses and trafficking vesicles. PMID:27152331

  15. Molecular engineering of polymersome surface topology

    PubMed Central

    Ruiz-Pérez, Lorena; Messager, Lea; Gaitzsch, Jens; Joseph, Adrian; Sutto, Ludovico; Gervasio, Francesco Luigi; Battaglia, Giuseppe

    2016-01-01

    Biological systems exploit self-assembly to create complex structures whose arrangements are finely controlled from the molecular to mesoscopic level. We report an example of using fully synthetic systems that mimic two levels of self-assembly. We show the formation of vesicles using amphiphilic copolymers whose chemical nature is chosen to control both membrane formation and membrane-confined interactions. We report polymersomes with patterns that emerge by engineering interfacial tension within the polymersome surface. This allows the formation of domains whose topology is tailored by chemical synthesis, paving the avenue to complex supramolecular designs functionally similar to those found in viruses and trafficking vesicles. PMID:27152331

  16. Molecular Biological Methods in Environmental Engineering.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Guocai; Wei, Li; Chang, Chein-Chi; Zhang, Yuhua; Wei, Dong

    2016-10-01

    Bacteria, acting as catalysts, perform the function of degrading pollutants. Molecular biological techniques play an important role in research on the community analysis, the composition and the functions of complex microbial communities. The development of secondary high-throughput pyrosequencing techiniques enhances the understanding of the composition of the microbial community. The literatures of 2015 indicated that 16S rDNA gene as genetic tag is still the important method for bacteria identification and classification. 454 high throughput sequencing and Illumina MiSeq sequencing have been the primary and widely recognized methods to analyze the microbial. This review will provide environmental engineers and microbiologists an overview of important advancements in molecular techniques and highlight the application of these methods in diverse environments. PMID:27620079

  17. Inspection planning development: An evolutionary approach using reliability engineering as a tool

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Graf, David A.; Huang, Zhaofeng

    1994-01-01

    This paper proposes an evolutionary approach for inspection planning which introduces various reliability engineering tools into the process and assess system trade-offs among reliability, engineering requirement, manufacturing capability and inspection cost to establish an optimal inspection plan. The examples presented in the paper illustrate some advantages and benefits of the new approach. Through the analysis, reliability and engineering impacts due to manufacturing process capability and inspection uncertainty are clearly understood; the most cost effective and efficient inspection plan can be established and associated risks are well controlled; some inspection reductions and relaxations are well justified; and design feedbacks and changes may be initiated from the analysis conclusion to further enhance reliability and reduce cost. The approach is particularly promising as global competitions and customer quality improvement expectations are rapidly increasing.

  18. Dense cores in Ophiuchus and Chamaeleon molecular clouds: detection and evolutionary trends

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benedettini, Milena; Burton, Michael; Busquet, Gemma; Caselli, Paola; Pezzuto, Stefano; Viti, Serena

    2012-04-01

    We propose to map the densest regions of the Ophiucus, Chamaeleon I and Chamaeleon III molecular clouds in high density tracers in order to derive the distribution of the dense cores and their evolutionary stage with the aim to study the core mass function and its relationship to the stellar initial mass function. Spectroscopic surveys of star forming regions in chemical species copiously produced in the first stages of star formation are essential to derive the kinematics and the physical conditions of the pre- and proto-stellar cores, as well as their evolutionary stage. A previous study of the Lupus molecular cloud carried out with Mopra has shown the high potential of the multi-line spectroscopic surveys in identifying the dense condensations and their evolutionary stage. We ask to observe several key species: HCN, HNC, HC3N, N2H+ and HCO+ whose chemical abundance ratios are good chemical clocks for the first stages of the star formation process. The Mopra antenna is ideal for observations at 3mm of the close-by, high southern declination Ophiucus and Chamaeleon clouds since the beam size at 90GHz corresponds to about 0.03pc, well-matched to sampling the dense cores with typical sizes of 0.1pc.

  19. Time-dependent estimates of molecular evolutionary rates: evidence and causes.

    PubMed

    Ho, Simon Y W; Duchêne, Sebastián; Molak, Martyna; Shapiro, Beth

    2015-12-01

    We are writing in response to a recent critique by Emerson & Hickerson (2015), who challenge the evidence of a time-dependent bias in molecular rate estimates. This bias takes the form of a negative relationship between inferred evolutionary rates and the ages of the calibrations on which these estimates are based. Here, we present a summary of the evidence obtained from a broad range of taxa that supports a time-dependent bias in rate estimates, with a consideration of the potential causes of these observed trends. We also describe recent progress in improving the reliability of evolutionary rate estimation and respond to the concerns raised by Emerson & Hickerson (2015) about the validity of rates estimated from time-structured sequence data. In doing so, we hope to dispel some misconceptions and to highlight several research directions that will improve our understanding of time-dependent biases in rate estimates. PMID:26769402

  20. Ab initio NMR Confirmed Evolutionary Structure Prediction for Organic Molecular Crystals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pham, Cong-Huy; Kucukbenli, Emine; de Gironcoli, Stefano

    2015-03-01

    Ab initio crystal structure prediction of even small organic compounds is extremely challenging due to polymorphism, molecular flexibility and difficulties in addressing the dispersion interaction from first principles. We recently implemented vdW-aware density functionals and demonstrated their success in energy ordering of aminoacid crystals. In this work we combine this development with the evolutionary structure prediction method to study cholesterol polymorphs. Cholesterol crystals have paramount importance in various diseases, from cancer to atherosclerosis. The structure of some polymorphs (e.g. ChM, ChAl, ChAh) have already been resolved while some others, which display distinct NMR spectra and are involved in disease formation, are yet to be determined. Here we thoroughly assess the applicability of evolutionary structure prediction to address such real world problems. We validate the newly predicted structures with ab initio NMR chemical shift data using secondary referencing for an improved comparison with experiments.

  1. Evolutionary reversion of live viral vaccines: Can genetic engineering subdue it?

    PubMed Central

    Bull, J. J.

    2016-01-01

    Attenuated, live viral vaccines have been extraordinarily successful in protecting against many diseases. The main drawbacks in their development and use have been reliance on an unpredictable method of attenuation and the potential for evolutionary reversion to high virulence. Methods of genetic engineering now provide many safer alternatives to live vaccines, so if live vaccines are to compete with these alternatives in the future, they must either have superior immunogenicity or they must be able to overcome these former disadvantages. Several live vaccine designs that were historically inaccessible are now feasible because of advances in genome synthesis. Some of those methods are addressed here, with an emphasis on whether they enable predictable levels of attenuation and whether they are stable against evolutionary reversion. These new designs overcome many of the former drawbacks and position live vaccines to be competitive with alternatives. Not only do new methods appear to retard evolutionary reversion enough to prevent vaccine-derived epidemics, but it may even be possible to permanently attenuate live vaccines that are transmissible but cannot evolve to higher virulence under prolonged adaptation. PMID:27034780

  2. Construction of molecular evolutionary phylogenetic trees from DNA sequences based on minimum complexity principle.

    PubMed

    Ren, F; Tanaka, H; Gojobori, T

    1995-02-01

    Ever since the discovery of a molecular clock, many methods have been developed to reconstruct the molecular evolutionary phylogenetic trees. In this paper, we deal with the problem from the viewpoint of an inductive inference and apply Rissanen's minimum description length principle to extract the minimum complexity phylogenetic tree. Our method describes the complexity of the molecular phylogenetic tree by three terms which are related to the tree topology, the sum of the branch lengths and the difference between the model and the data measured by logarithmic likelihood. Five mitochondrial DNA sequences, from the human, the common chimpanzee, the pygmy chimpanzee, the gorilla and the orangutan, are used for investigating the validity of this method. It is suggested that this method might be superior to the traditional method in that it still shows good accuracy even near the root of phylogenetic trees. PMID:7796581

  3. Evolutionary engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for efficient conversion of red algal biosugars to bioethanol.

    PubMed

    Lee, Hye-Jin; Kim, Soo-Jung; Yoon, Jeong-Jun; Kim, Kyoung Heon; Seo, Jin-Ho; Park, Yong-Cheol

    2015-09-01

    The aim of this work was to apply the evolutionary engineering to construct a mutant Saccharomyces cerevisiae HJ7-14 resistant on 2-deoxy-D-glucose and with an enhanced ability of bioethanol production from galactose, a mono-sugar in red algae. In batch and repeated-batch fermentations, HJ7-14 metabolized 5-fold more galactose and produced ethanol 2.1-fold faster than the parental D452-2 strain. Transcriptional analysis of genes involved in the galactose metabolism revealed that moderate relief from the glucose-mediated repression of the transcription of the GAL genes might enable HJ7-14 to metabolize galactose rapidly. HJ7-14 produced 7.4 g/L ethanol from hydrolysates of the red alga Gelidium amansii within 12 h, which was 1.5-times faster than that observed with D452-2. We demonstrate conclusively that evolutionary engineering is a promising tool to manipulate the complex galactose metabolism in S. cerevisiae to produce bioethanol from red alga. PMID:25804535

  4. Molecular Clock of Neutral Mutations in a Fitness-Increasing Evolutionary Process

    PubMed Central

    Iijima, Leo; Suzuki, Shingo; Hashimoto, Tomomi; Oyake, Ayana; Kobayashi, Hisaka; Someya, Yuki; Narisawa, Dai; Yomo, Tetsuya

    2015-01-01

    The molecular clock of neutral mutations, which represents linear mutation fixation over generations, is theoretically explained by genetic drift in fitness-steady evolution or hitchhiking in adaptive evolution. The present study is the first experimental demonstration for the molecular clock of neutral mutations in a fitness-increasing evolutionary process. The dynamics of genome mutation fixation in the thermal adaptive evolution of Escherichia coli were evaluated in a prolonged evolution experiment in duplicated lineages. The cells from the continuously fitness-increasing evolutionary process were subjected to genome sequencing and analyzed at both the population and single-colony levels. Although the dynamics of genome mutation fixation were complicated by the combination of the stochastic appearance of adaptive mutations and clonal interference, the mutation fixation in the population was simply linear over generations. Each genome in the population accumulated 1.6 synonymous and 3.1 non-synonymous neutral mutations, on average, by the spontaneous mutation accumulation rate, while only a single genome in the population occasionally acquired an adaptive mutation. The neutral mutations that preexisted on the single genome hitchhiked on the domination of the adaptive mutation. The successive fixation processes of the 128 mutations demonstrated that hitchhiking and not genetic drift were responsible for the coincidence of the spontaneous mutation accumulation rate in the genome with the fixation rate of neutral mutations in the population. The molecular clock of neutral mutations to the fitness-increasing evolution suggests that the numerous neutral mutations observed in molecular phylogenetic trees may not always have been fixed in fitness-steady evolution but in adaptive evolution. PMID:26177190

  5. 70% efficiency of bistate molecular machines explained by information theory, high dimensional geometry and evolutionary convergence

    PubMed Central

    Schneider, Thomas D.

    2010-01-01

    The relationship between information and energy is key to understanding biological systems. We can display the information in DNA sequences specifically bound by proteins by using sequence logos, and we can measure the corresponding binding energy. These can be compared by noting that one of the forms of the second law of thermodynamics defines the minimum energy dissipation required to gain one bit of information. Under the isothermal conditions that molecular machines function this is joules per bit ( is Boltzmann's constant and T is the absolute temperature). Then an efficiency of binding can be computed by dividing the information in a logo by the free energy of binding after it has been converted to bits. The isothermal efficiencies of not only genetic control systems, but also visual pigments are near 70%. From information and coding theory, the theoretical efficiency limit for bistate molecular machines is ln 2 = 0.6931. Evolutionary convergence to maximum efficiency is limited by the constraint that molecular states must be distinct from each other. The result indicates that natural molecular machines operate close to their information processing maximum (the channel capacity), and implies that nanotechnology can attain this goal. PMID:20562221

  6. An evolutionary metabolic engineering approach for enhancing lipogenesis in Yarrowia lipolytica.

    PubMed

    Liu, Leqian; Pan, Anny; Spofford, Caitlin; Zhou, Nijia; Alper, Hal S

    2015-05-01

    Lipogenic organisms provide an ideal platform for biodiesel and oleochemical production. Through our previous rational metabolic engineering efforts, lipogenesis titers in Yarrowia lipolytica were significantly enhanced. However, the resulting strain still suffered from decreased biomass generation rates. Here, we employ a rapid evolutionary metabolic engineering approach linked with a floating cell enrichment process to improve lipogenesis rates, titers, and yields. Through this iterative process, we were able to ultimately improve yields from our prior strain by 55% to achieve production titers of 39.1g/L with upwards of 76% of the theoretical maximum yield of conversation. Isolated cells were saturated with up to 87% lipid content. An average specific productivity of 0.56g/L/h was achieved with a maximum instantaneous specific productivity of 0.89g/L/h during the lipid production phase in fermentation. Genomic sequencing of the evolved strains revealed a link between a decrease/loss of function mutation of succinate semialdehyde dehydrogenase, uga2, suggesting the importance of gamma-aminobutyric acid assimilation in lipogenesis. This linkage was validated through gene deletion experiments. This work presents an improved host strain that can serve as a platform for efficient oleochemical production. PMID:25724340

  7. Improving the sampling efficiency of Monte Carlo molecular simulations: an evolutionary approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leblanc, Benoit; Braunschweig, Bertrand; Toulhoat, Hervé; Lutton, Evelyne

    We present a new approach in order to improve the convergence of Monte Carlo (MC) simulations of molecular systems belonging to complex energetic landscapes: the problem is redefined in terms of the dynamic allocation of MC move frequencies depending on their past efficiency, measured with respect to a relevant sampling criterion. We introduce various empirical criteria with the aim of accounting for the proper convergence in phase space sampling. The dynamic allocation is performed over parallel simulations by means of a new evolutionary algorithm involving 'immortal' individuals. The method is bench marked with respect to conventional procedures on a model for melt linear polyethylene. We record significant improvement in sampling efficiencies, thus in computational load, while the optimal sets of move frequencies are liable to allow interesting physical insights into the particular systems simulated. This last aspect should provide a new tool for designing more efficient new MC moves.

  8. Molecular evidence from ascidians for the evolutionary origin of vertebrate cranial sensory placodes.

    PubMed

    Mazet, Francoise; Shimeld, Sebastian M

    2005-07-15

    Cranial sensory placodes are specialised areas of the head ectoderm of vertebrate embryos that contribute to the formation of the cranial sense organs and associated ganglia. Placodes are often considered a vertebrate innovation, and their evolution has been hypothesised as one key adaptation underlying the evolution of active predation by primitive vertebrates. Here, we review recent molecular evidence pertinent to understanding the evolutionary origin of placodes. The development of vertebrate placodes is regulated by numerous genes, including members of the Pax, Six, Eya, Fox, Phox, Neurogenin and Pou gene families. In the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis (a basal chordate and close relative of the vertebrates), orthologues of these genes are deployed in the development of the oral and atrial siphons, structures used for filter feeding by the sessile adult. Our interpretation of these findings is that vertebrate placodes and sea squirt siphon primordia have evolved from the same patches of specialised ectoderm present in the common ancestor of the chordates. PMID:15981200

  9. Molecular Cores in Different Evolutionary Stages near Luminous IRAS Sources and UC HII Regions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, Lei; Wu, Yue-Fang

    2007-06-01

    We report the results of 12CO and 13CO J=1 0 observations of eight candidates of Ultra-Compact (UC) HII regions with the Purple Mountain Observatory (PMO) Qinghai 13.7 -m telescope, which resulted in revealing 11 molecular cores. Their masses range from 130 to 1.7×104 Modot, with different spatial scales (1~ 6 pc). Also presented are the relevant HCO+ J=1 0 maps, which enabled us to investigate more detailed structures of these cores. Further comparisons show that four of the cores deviated from the centers of infrared (MIR) emission of Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX), while others correspond either to bright MIR sources or diffuse MIR background. This indicates various evolutionary phases of the cores, including quite early ones for those without MIR sources.

  10. MEGA7: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis Version 7.0 for Bigger Datasets.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Sudhir; Stecher, Glen; Tamura, Koichiro

    2016-07-01

    We present the latest version of the Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (Mega) software, which contains many sophisticated methods and tools for phylogenomics and phylomedicine. In this major upgrade, Mega has been optimized for use on 64-bit computing systems for analyzing larger datasets. Researchers can now explore and analyze tens of thousands of sequences in Mega The new version also provides an advanced wizard for building timetrees and includes a new functionality to automatically predict gene duplication events in gene family trees. The 64-bit Mega is made available in two interfaces: graphical and command line. The graphical user interface (GUI) is a native Microsoft Windows application that can also be used on Mac OS X. The command line Mega is available as native applications for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. They are intended for use in high-throughput and scripted analysis. Both versions are available from www.megasoftware.net free of charge. PMID:27004904

  11. Molecular phylogeny of the Indian Ocean Terpsiphone paradise flycatchers: undetected evolutionary diversity revealed amongst island populations.

    PubMed

    Bristol, Rachel M; Fabre, Pierre-Henri; Irestedt, Martin; Jønsson, Knud A; Shah, Nirmal J; Tatayah, Vikash; Warren, Ben H; Groombridge, Jim J

    2013-05-01

    We construct a molecular phylogeny of Terpsiphone flycatchers of the Indian Ocean and use this to investigate their evolutionary relationships. A total of 4.4 kb of mitochondrial (cyt-b, ND3, ND2, control region) and nuclear (G3PDH, MC1R) sequence data were obtained from all species, sub-species and island populations of the region. Colonisation of the western Indian Ocean has been within the last two million years and greatly postdates the formation of the older islands of the region. A minimum of two independent continent-island colonisation events must have taken place in order to explain the current distribution and phylogenetic placement of Terpsiphone in this region. While five well-diverged Indian Ocean clades are detected, the relationship between them is unclear. Short intermodal branches are indicative of rapid range expansion across the region, masking exact routes and chronology of colonisation. The Indian Ocean Terpsiphone taxa fall into five well supported clades, two of which (the Seychelles paradise flycatcher and the Mascarene paradise flycatcher) correspond with currently recognised species, whilst a further three (within the Madagascar paradise flycatcher) are not entirely predicted by taxonomy, and are neither consistent with distance-based nor island age-based models of colonisation. We identify the four non-Mascarene clades as Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs), while the Mascarene paradise flycatcher contains two ESUs corresponding to the Mauritius and Réunion subspecies. All six ESUs are sufficiently diverged to be worthy of management as if they were separate species. This phylogenetic reconstruction highlights the importance of sub-specific molecular phylogenetic reconstructions in complex island archipelago settings in clarifying phylogenetic history and ESUs that may otherwise be overlooked and inadvertently lost. Our phylogenetic reconstruction has identified hidden pockets of evolutionary distinctiveness, which provide a valuable

  12. An engine for global plant diversity: highest evolutionary turnover and emigration in the American tropics

    PubMed Central

    Antonelli, Alexandre; Zizka, Alexander; Silvestro, Daniele; Scharn, Ruud; Cascales-Miñana, Borja; Bacon, Christine D.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the processes that have generated the latitudinal biodiversity gradient and the continental differences in tropical biodiversity remains a major goal of evolutionary biology. Here we estimate the timing and direction of range shifts of extant flowering plants (angiosperms) between tropical and non-tropical zones, and into and out of the major tropical regions of the world. We then calculate rates of speciation and extinction taking into account incomplete taxonomic sampling. We use a recently published fossil calibrated phylogeny and apply novel bioinformatic tools to code species into user-defined polygons. We reconstruct biogeographic history using stochastic character mapping to compute relative numbers of range shifts in proportion to the number of available lineages through time. Our results, based on the analysis of c. 22,600 species and c. 20 million geo-referenced occurrence records, show no significant differences between the speciation and extinction of tropical and non-tropical angiosperms. This suggests that at least in plants, the latitudinal biodiversity gradient primarily derives from other factors than differential rates of diversification. In contrast, the outstanding species richness found today in the American tropics (the Neotropics), as compared to tropical Africa and tropical Asia, is associated with significantly higher speciation and extinction rates. This suggests an exceedingly rapid evolutionary turnover, i.e., Neotropical species being formed and replaced by one another at unparalleled rates. In addition, tropical America stands out from other continents by having “pumped out” more species than it received through most of the last 66 million years. These results imply that the Neotropics have acted as an engine for global plant diversity. PMID:25904934

  13. An engine for global plant diversity: highest evolutionary turnover and emigration in the American tropics.

    PubMed

    Antonelli, Alexandre; Zizka, Alexander; Silvestro, Daniele; Scharn, Ruud; Cascales-Miñana, Borja; Bacon, Christine D

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the processes that have generated the latitudinal biodiversity gradient and the continental differences in tropical biodiversity remains a major goal of evolutionary biology. Here we estimate the timing and direction of range shifts of extant flowering plants (angiosperms) between tropical and non-tropical zones, and into and out of the major tropical regions of the world. We then calculate rates of speciation and extinction taking into account incomplete taxonomic sampling. We use a recently published fossil calibrated phylogeny and apply novel bioinformatic tools to code species into user-defined polygons. We reconstruct biogeographic history using stochastic character mapping to compute relative numbers of range shifts in proportion to the number of available lineages through time. Our results, based on the analysis of c. 22,600 species and c. 20 million geo-referenced occurrence records, show no significant differences between the speciation and extinction of tropical and non-tropical angiosperms. This suggests that at least in plants, the latitudinal biodiversity gradient primarily derives from other factors than differential rates of diversification. In contrast, the outstanding species richness found today in the American tropics (the Neotropics), as compared to tropical Africa and tropical Asia, is associated with significantly higher speciation and extinction rates. This suggests an exceedingly rapid evolutionary turnover, i.e., Neotropical species being formed and replaced by one another at unparalleled rates. In addition, tropical America stands out from other continents by having "pumped out" more species than it received through most of the last 66 million years. These results imply that the Neotropics have acted as an engine for global plant diversity. PMID:25904934

  14. 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

  15. Unraveling the evolutionary radiation of the families of the Zingiberales using morphological and molecular evidence.

    PubMed

    Kress, W J; Prince, L M; Hahn, W J; Zimmer, E A

    2001-01-01

    The Zingiberales are a tropical group of monocotyledons that includes bananas, gingers, and their relatives. The phylogenetic relationships among the eight families currently recognized are investigated here by using parsimony and maximum likelihood analyses of four character sets: morphological features (1), and sequence data of the (2) chloroplast rbcL gene, (3) chloroplast atpB gene, and (4) nuclear 18S rDNA gene. Outgroups for the analyses include the closely related Commelinaceae + Philydraceae + Haemodoraceae + Pontederiaceae + Hanguanaceae as well as seven more distantly related monocots and paleoherbs. Only slightly different estimates of evolutionary relationships result from the analysis of each character set. The morphological data yield a single fully resolved most-parsimonious tree. None of the molecular datasets alone completely resolves interfamilial relationships. The analyses of the combined molecular dataset provide more resolution than do those of individual genes, and the addition of the morphological data provides a well-supported estimate of phylogenetic relationships: (Musaceae ((Strelitziaceae, Lowiaceae) (Heliconiaceae ((Zingiberaceae, Costaceae) (Cannaceae, Marantaceae))))). Evidence from branch lengths in the parsimony analyses and from the fossil record suggests that the Zingiberales originated in the Early Cretaceous and underwent a rapid radiation in the mid-Cretaceous, by which time most extant family lineages had diverged. PMID:12116641

  16. Evolutionary animation: how do molecular phylogenies compare to Mayr's reconstruction of speciation patterns in the sea?

    PubMed

    Palumbi, Stephen R; Lessios, H A

    2005-05-01

    Ernst Mayr used the geography of closely related species in various stages of increasing divergence to "animate" the process of geographic, or allopatric, speciation. This approach was applied to a wide set of taxa, and a seminal paper by Mayr used it to explore speciation patterns in tropical sea urchins. Since then, taxonomic information in several of these genera has been augmented by detailed molecular phylogenies. We compare Mayr's animation with the phylogenies of eight sea urchin genera placed by Mayr into four speciation groups. True to Mayr's predictions, early-stage genera have on average lower species divergence and more polytypic species than genera in later stages. For six of these genera, we also have information about the evolution of the gamete recognition protein bindin, which is critical to reproductive isolation. These comparisons show that later-stage genera with many sympatric species tend to be those with rapid bindin evolution. By contrast, early-stage genera with few sympatric species are not necessarily earlier in the divergence process; they happen to be those with slow rates of bindin evolution. These results show that the rate of speciation in sea urchins does not only depend on the steady accumulation of genome divergence over time, but also on the rate of evolution of gamete recognition proteins. The animation method used by Mayr is generally supported by molecular phylogenies. However, the existence of multiple rates in the acquisition of reproductive isolation complicates placement of different genera in an evolutionary series. PMID:15851681

  17. Molecular Phylogeny of Echiuran Worms (Phylum: Annelida) Reveals Evolutionary Pattern of Feeding Mode and Sexual Dimorphism

    PubMed Central

    Goto, Ryutaro; Okamoto, Tomoko; Ishikawa, Hiroshi; Hamamura, Yoichi; Kato, Makoto

    2013-01-01

    The Echiura, or spoon worms, are a group of marine worms, most of which live in burrows in soft sediments. This annelid-like animal group was once considered as a separate phylum because of the absence of segmentation, although recent molecular analyses have placed it within the annelids. In this study, we elucidate the interfamily relationships of echiuran worms and their evolutionary pattern of feeding mode and sexual dimorphism, by performing molecular phylogenetic analyses using four genes (18S, 28S, H3, and COI) of representatives of all extant echiuran families. Our results suggest that Echiura is monophyletic and comprises two unexpected groups: [Echiuridae+Urechidae+Thalassematidae] and [Bonelliidae+Ikedidae]. This grouping agrees with the presence/absence of marked sexual dimorphism involving dwarf males and the paired/non-paired configuration of the gonoducts (genital sacs). Furthermore, the data supports the sister group relationship of Echiuridae and Urechidae. These two families share the character of having anal chaetae rings around the posterior trunk as a synapomorphy. The analyses also suggest that deposit feeding is a basal feeding mode in echiurans and that filter feeding originated once in the common ancestor of Urechidae. Overall, our results contradict the currently accepted order-level classification, especially in that Echiuroinea is polyphyletic, and provide novel insights into the evolution of echiuran worms. PMID:23457618

  18. Fossil and molecular evidence constrain scenarios for the early evolutionary and biogeographic history of hystricognathous rodents.

    PubMed

    Sallam, Hesham M; Seiffert, Erik R; Steiper, Michael E; Simons, Elwyn L

    2009-09-29

    The early evolutionary and paleobiogeographic history of the diverse rodent clade Hystricognathi, which contains Hystricidae (Old World porcupines), Caviomorpha (the endemic South American rodents), and African Phiomorpha (cane rats, dassie rats, and blesmols) is of great interest to students of mammalian evolution, but remains poorly understood because of a poor early fossil record. Here we describe the oldest well-dated hystricognathous rodents from an earliest late Eocene (approximately 37 Ma) fossil locality in the Fayum Depression of northern Egypt. These taxa exhibit a combination of primitive and derived features, the former shared with Asian "baluchimyine" rodents, and the latter shared with Oligocene phiomorphs and caviomorphs. Phylogenetic analysis incorporating morphological, temporal, geographic, and molecular information places the new taxa as successive sister groups of crown Hystricognathi, and supports an Asian origin for stem Hystricognathi and an Afro-Arabian origin for crown Hystricognathi, stem Hystricidae, and stem Caviomorpha. Molecular dating of early divergences within Hystricognathi, using a Bayesian "relaxed clock" approach and multiple fossil calibrations, suggests that the split between Hystricidae and the phiomorph-caviomorph clade occurred approximately 39 Ma, and that phiomorphs and caviomorphs diverged approximately 36 Ma. These results are remarkably congruent with our phylogenetic results and the fossil record of hystricognathous rodent evolution in Afro-Arabia and South America. PMID:19805363

  19. Evolutionary Engineering Improves Tolerance for Replacement Jet Fuels in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

    PubMed Central

    Brennan, Timothy C. R.; Williams, Thomas C.; Schulz, Benjamin L.; Palfreyman, Robin W.; Nielsen, Lars K.

    2015-01-01

    Monoterpenes are liquid hydrocarbons with applications ranging from flavor and fragrance to replacement jet fuel. Their toxicity, however, presents a major challenge for microbial synthesis. Here we evolved limonene-tolerant Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains and sequenced six strains across the 200-generation evolutionary time course. Mutations were found in the tricalbin proteins Tcb2p and Tcb3p. Genomic reconstruction in the parent strain showed that truncation of a single protein (tTcb3p1-989), but not its complete deletion, was sufficient to recover the evolved phenotype improving limonene fitness 9-fold. tTcb3p1-989 increased tolerance toward two other monoterpenes (β-pinene and myrcene) 11- and 8-fold, respectively, and tolerance toward the biojet fuel blend AMJ-700t (10% cymene, 50% limonene, 40% farnesene) 4-fold. tTcb3p1-989 is the first example of successful engineering of phase tolerance and creates opportunities for production of the highly toxic C10 alkenes in yeast. PMID:25746998

  20. A molecular phylogeny of nephilid spiders: evolutionary history of a model lineage.

    PubMed

    Kuntner, Matjaž; Arnedo, Miquel A; Trontelj, Peter; Lokovšek, Tjaša; Agnarsson, Ingi

    2013-12-01

    The pantropical orb web spider family Nephilidae is known for the most extreme sexual size dimorphism among terrestrial animals. Numerous studies have made Nephilidae, particularly Nephila, a model lineage in evolutionary research. However, a poorly understood phylogeny of this lineage, relying only on morphology, has prevented thorough evolutionary syntheses of nephilid biology. We here use three nuclear and five mitochondrial genes for 28 out of 40 nephilid species to provide a more robust nephilid phylogeny and infer clade ages in a fossil-calibrated Bayesian framework. We complement the molecular analyses with total evidence analysis including morphology. All analyses find strong support for nephilid monophyly and exclusivity and the monophyly of the genera Herennia and Clitaetra. The inferred phylogenetic structure within Nephilidae is novel and conflicts with morphological phylogeny and traditional taxonomy. Nephilengys species fall into two clades, one with Australasian species (true Nephilengys) as sister to Herennia, and another with Afrotropical species (Nephilingis Kuntner new genus) as sister to a clade containing Clitaetra plus most currently described Nephila. Surprisingly, Nephila is also diphyletic, with true Nephila containing N. pilipes+N. constricta, and the second clade with all other species sister to Clitaetra; this "Nephila" clade is further split into an Australasian clade that also contains the South American N. sexpunctata and the Eurasian N. clavata, and an African clade that also contains the Panamerican N. clavipes. An approximately unbiased test constraining the monophyly of Nephilengys, Nephila, and Nephilinae (Nephila, Nephilengys, Herennia), respectively, rejected Nephilengys monophyly, but not that of Nephila and Nephilinae. Further data are therefore necessary to robustly test these two new, but inconclusive findings, and also to further test the precise placement of Nephilidae within the Araneoidea. For divergence date estimation

  1. Exploiting Genomic Knowledge in Optimising Molecular Breeding Programmes: Algorithms from Evolutionary Computing

    PubMed Central

    O'Hagan, Steve; Knowles, Joshua; Kell, Douglas B.

    2012-01-01

    Comparatively few studies have addressed directly the question of quantifying the benefits to be had from using molecular genetic markers in experimental breeding programmes (e.g. for improved crops and livestock), nor the question of which organisms should be mated with each other to best effect. We argue that this requires in silico modelling, an approach for which there is a large literature in the field of evolutionary computation (EC), but which has not really been applied in this way to experimental breeding programmes. EC seeks to optimise measurable outcomes (phenotypic fitnesses) by optimising in silico the mutation, recombination and selection regimes that are used. We review some of the approaches from EC, and compare experimentally, using a biologically relevant in silico landscape, some algorithms that have knowledge of where they are in the (genotypic) search space (G-algorithms) with some (albeit well-tuned ones) that do not (F-algorithms). For the present kinds of landscapes, F- and G-algorithms were broadly comparable in quality and effectiveness, although we recognise that the G-algorithms were not equipped with any ‘prior knowledge’ of epistatic pathway interactions. This use of algorithms based on machine learning has important implications for the optimisation of experimental breeding programmes in the post-genomic era when we shall potentially have access to the full genome sequence of every organism in a breeding population. The non-proprietary code that we have used is made freely available (via Supplementary information). PMID:23185279

  2. Molecular evidence from Ciona intestinalis for the evolutionary origin of vertebrate sensory placodes.

    PubMed

    Mazet, Françoise; Hutt, James A; Milloz, Josselin; Millard, John; Graham, Anthony; Shimeld, Sebastian M

    2005-06-15

    Cranial sensory placodes are focused areas of the head ectoderm of vertebrates that contribute to the development of the cranial sense organs and their associated ganglia. Placodes have long been considered a key character of vertebrates, and their evolution is proposed to have been essential for the evolution of an active predatory lifestyle by early vertebrates. Despite their importance for understanding vertebrate origins, the evolutionary origin of placodes has remained obscure. Here, we use a panel of molecular markers from the Six, Eya, Pax, Dach, FoxI, COE and POUIV gene families to examine the tunicate Ciona intestinalis for evidence of structures homologous to vertebrate placodes. Our results identify two domains of Ciona ectoderm that are marked by the genetic cascade that regulates vertebrate placode formation. The first is just anterior to the brain, and we suggest this territory is equivalent to the olfactory/adenohypophyseal placodes of vertebrates. The second is a bilateral domain adjacent to the posterior brain and includes cells fated to form the atrium and atrial siphon of adult Ciona. We show this bares most similarity to placodes fated to form the vertebrate acoustico-lateralis system. We interpret these data as support for the hypothesis that sensory placodes did not arise de novo in vertebrates, but evolved from pre-existing specialised areas of ectoderm that contributed to sensory organs in the common ancestor of vertebrates and tunicates. PMID:15950613

  3. AN EVOLUTIONARY MODEL FOR COLLAPSING MOLECULAR CLOUDS AND THEIR STAR FORMATION ACTIVITY

    SciTech Connect

    Zamora-Aviles, Manuel; Vazquez-Semadeni, Enrique; Colin, Pedro

    2012-05-20

    We present an idealized, semi-empirical model for the evolution of gravitationally contracting molecular clouds (MCs) and their star formation rate (SFR) and efficiency (SFE). The model assumes that the instantaneous SFR is given by the mass above a certain density threshold divided by its free-fall time. The instantaneous number of massive stars is computed assuming a Kroupa initial mass function. These stars feed back on the cloud through ionizing radiation, eroding it. The main controlling parameter of the evolution turns out to be the maximum cloud mass, M{sub max}. This allows us to compare various properties of the model clouds against their observational counterparts. A giant molecular cloud (GMC) model (M{sub max} {approx} 10{sup 5} M{sub Sun }) adheres very well to the evolutionary scenario recently inferred by Kawamura et al. for GMCs in the Large Magellanic Cloud. A model cloud with M{sub max} Almost-Equal-To 2000 M{sub Sun} evolves in the Kennicutt-Schmidt diagram, first passing through the locus of typical low-to-intermediate-mass star-forming clouds, and then moving toward the locus of high-mass star-forming ones over the course of {approx}10 Myr. Also, the stellar age histograms for this cloud a few Myr before its destruction agree very well with those observed in the {rho}-Oph stellar association, whose parent cloud has a similar mass, and imply that the SFR of the clouds increases with time. Our model thus agrees well with various observed properties of star-forming MCs, suggesting that the scenario of gravitationally collapsing MCs, with their SFR regulated by stellar feedback, is entirely feasible and in agreement with key observed properties of MCs.

  4. Evolutionary and molecular facts link the WWC protein family to Hippo signaling.

    PubMed

    Wennmann, Dirk Oliver; Schmitz, Jürgen; Wehr, Michael C; Krahn, Michael P; Koschmal, Nora; Gromnitza, Sascha; Schulze, Ulf; Weide, Thomas; Chekuri, Anil; Skryabin, Boris V; Gerke, Volker; Pavenstädt, Hermann; Duning, Kerstin; Kremerskothen, Joachim

    2014-07-01

    The scaffolding protein KIBRA (also called WWC1) is involved in the regulation of important intracellular transport processes and the establishment of cell polarity. Furthermore, KIBRA/WWC1 is an upstream regulator of the Hippo signaling pathway that controls cell proliferation and organ size in animals. KIBRA/WWC1 represents only one member of the WWC protein family that also includes the highly similar proteins WWC2 and WWC3. Although the function of KIBRA/WWC1 was studied intensively in cells and animal models, the importance of WWC2 and WWC3 was not yet elucidated. Here, we describe evolutionary, molecular, and functional aspects of the WWC family. We show that the WWC genes arose in the ancestor of bilateral animals (clades such as insects and vertebrates) from a single founder gene most similar to the present KIBRA/WWC1-like sequence of Drosophila. This situation was still maintained until the common ancestor of lancelet and vertebrates. In fish, a progenitor-like sequence of mammalian KIBRA/WWC1 and WWC2 is expressed together with WWC3. Finally, in all tetrapods, the three family members, KIBRA/WWC1, WWC2, and WWC3, are found, except for a large genomic deletion including WWC3 in Mus musculus. At the molecular level, the highly conserved WWC proteins share a similar primary structure, the ability to form homo- and heterodimers and the interaction with a common set of binding proteins. Furthermore, all WWC proteins negatively regulate cell proliferation and organ growth due to a suppression of the transcriptional activity of YAP, the major effector of the Hippo pathway. PMID:24682284

  5. Molecular phylogenetics and evolutionary history of ariid catfishes revisited: a comprehensive sampling

    PubMed Central

    Betancur-R, Ricardo

    2009-01-01

    Background Ariids or sea catfishes are one of the two otophysan fish families (out of about 67 families in four orders) that inhabit mainly marine and brackish waters (although some species occur strictly in fresh waters). The group includes over 150 species placed in ~29 genera and two subfamilies (Galeichthyinae and Ariinae). Despite their global distribution, ariids are largely restricted to the continental shelves due in part to their specialized reproductive behavior (i.e., oral incubation). Thus, among marine fishes, ariids offer an excellent opportunity for inferring historical biogeographic scenarios. Phylogenetic hypotheses available for ariids have focused on restricted geographic areas and comprehensive phylogenies are still missing. This study inferred phylogenetic hypotheses for 123 ariid species in 28 genera from different biogeographic provinces using both mitochondrial and nuclear sequences (up to ~4 kb). Results While the topologies obtained support the monophyly of basal groups, up to ten genera validated in previous morphological studies were incongruent with the molecular topologies. New World ariines were recovered as paraphyletic and Old World ariines were grouped into a well-supported clade that was further divided into subclades mainly restricted to major Gondwanan landmasses. A general area cladogram derived from the area cladograms of ariines and three other fish groups was largely congruent with the geological area cladogram of Gondwana. Nonetheless, molecular clock estimations provided variable results on the timing of ariine diversification (~105-41 mya). Conclusion This study provides the most comprehensive phylogeny of sea catfishes to date and highlights the need for re-assessment of their classification. While from a topological standpoint the evolutionary history of ariines is mostly congruent with vicariance associated with the sequence of events during Gondwanan fragmentation, ambiguous divergence time estimations hinders

  6. Beyond fossil calibrations: realities of molecular clock practices in evolutionary biology

    PubMed Central

    Hipsley, Christy A.; Müller, Johannes

    2014-01-01

    Molecular-based divergence dating methods, or molecular clocks, are the primary neontological tool for estimating the temporal origins of clades. While the appropriate use of vertebrate fossils as external clock calibrations has stimulated heated discussions in the paleontological community, less attention has been given to the quality and implementation of other calibration types. In lieu of appropriate fossils, many studies rely on alternative sources of age constraints based on geological events, substitution rates and heterochronous sampling, as well as dates secondarily derived from previous analyses. To illustrate the breadth and frequency of calibration types currently employed, we conducted a literature survey of over 600 articles published from 2007 to 2013. Over half of all analyses implemented one or more fossil dates as constraints, followed by geological events and secondary calibrations (15% each). Vertebrate taxa were subjects in nearly half of all studies, while invertebrates and plants together accounted for 43%, followed by viruses, protists and fungi (3% each). Current patterns in calibration practices were disproportionate to the number of discussions on their proper use, particularly regarding plants and secondarily derived dates, which are both relatively neglected in methodological evaluations. Based on our survey, we provide a comprehensive overview of the latest approaches in clock calibration, and outline strengths and weaknesses associated with each. This critique should serve as a call to action for researchers across multiple communities, particularly those working on clades for which fossil records are poor, to develop their own guidelines regarding selection and implementation of alternative calibration types. This issue is particularly relevant now, as time-calibrated phylogenies are used for more than dating evolutionary origins, but often serve as the backbone of investigations into biogeography, diversity dynamics and rates of

  7. Supramolecular Polymerization Engineered with Molecular Recognition.

    PubMed

    Haino, Takeharu

    2015-10-01

    Supramolecular polymeric assemblies represent an emerging, promising class of molecular assemblies with enormous versatility compared with their covalent polymeric counterparts. Although a large number of host-guest motifs have been produced over the history of supramolecular chemistry, only a limited number of recognition motifs have been utilized as supramolecular connections in polymeric assemblies. This account describes the molecular recognition of host molecules based on calix[5]arene and bisporphyrin that demonstrate unique guest encapsulations; subsequently, these host-guest motifs are applied to the synthesis of supramolecular polymers that display polymer-like properties in solution and solid states. In addition, new bisresorcinarenes are developed to form supramolecular polymers that are connected via a rim-to-rim hydrogen-bonded dimeric structure, which is composed of two resorcinarene moieties. PMID:26178364

  8. Molecular Evolutionary Dynamics of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Group A in Recurrent Epidemics in Coastal Kenya

    PubMed Central

    Agoti, Charles N.; Gitahi, Caroline W.; Bett, Ann; Ngama, Mwanajuma; Medley, Graham F.; Cane, Patricia A.; Nokes, D. James

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The characteristic recurrent epidemics of human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) within communities may result from the genetic variability of the virus and associated evolutionary adaptation, reducing the efficiency of preexisting immune responses. We analyzed the molecular evolutionary changes in the attachment (G) glycoprotein of RSV-A viruses collected over 13 epidemic seasons (2000 to 2012) in Kilifi (n = 649), Kenya, and contemporaneous sequences (n = 1,131) collected elsewhere within Kenya and 28 other countries. Genetic diversity in the G gene in Kilifi was dynamic both within and between epidemics, characterized by frequent new variant introductions and limited variant persistence between consecutive epidemics. Four RSV-A genotypes were detected in Kilifi: ON1 (11.9%), GA2 (75.5%), GA5 (12.3%), and GA3 (0.3%), with predominant genotype replacement of GA5 by GA2 and then GA2 by ON1. Within these genotypes, there was considerable variation in potential N-glycosylation sites, with GA2 and ON1 viruses showing up to 15 different patterns involving eight possible sites. Further, we identified 15 positively selected and 34 genotype-distinguishing codon sites, with six of these sites exhibiting both characteristics. The mean substitution rate of the G ectodomain for the Kilifi data set was estimated at 3.58 × 10−3 (95% highest posterior density interval = 3.04 to 4.16) nucleotide substitutions/site/year. Kilifi viruses were interspersed in the global phylogenetic tree, clustering mostly with Kenyan and European sequences. Our findings highlight ongoing genetic evolution and high diversity of circulating RSV-A strains, locally and globally, with potential antigenic differences. Taken together, these provide a possible explanation on the nature of recurrent local RSV epidemics. IMPORTANCE The mechanisms underlying recurrent epidemics of RSV are poorly understood. We observe high genetic diversity in circulating strains within and between epidemics in

  9. Cell Engineering and Molecular Pharming for Biopharmaceuticals

    PubMed Central

    Abdullah, M.A; Rahmah, Anisa ur; Sinskey, A.J; Rha, C.K

    2008-01-01

    Biopharmaceuticals are often produced by recombinant E. coli or mammalian cell lines. This is usually achieved by the introduction of a gene or cDNA coding for the protein of interest into a well-characterized strain of producer cells. Naturally, each recombinant production system has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. This paper examines the current practices, developments, and future trends in the production of biopharmaceuticals. Platform technologies for rapid screening and analyses of biosystems are reviewed. Strategies to improve productivity via metabolic and integrated engineering are also highlighted. PMID:19662143

  10. Gate engineered performance of single molecular transistor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ray, S. J.

    2016-05-01

    The operation, performance and electrostatics of multigated Single Molecular Transistor (SMT) devices are investigated using first-principles based density functional theory calculations for planar (pentacene) and non-planar (sucrose) molecules as islands. It has been found that the incorporation of larger numbers of gates allows enhanced electrostatic control in the SMT operation which has been quantified from the energy calculations and estimation of the gate capacitances. The effect of multiple gates is more dominant for a non-planar molecule than a planar molecule within an SMT which indicates the usefulness of such multi-gate architectures for future nanoelectronic devices.

  11. Mesoscopic Fluorescence Molecular Tomography for Evaluating Engineered Tissues.

    PubMed

    Ozturk, Mehmet S; Chen, Chao-Wei; Ji, Robin; Zhao, Lingling; Nguyen, Bao-Ngoc B; Fisher, John P; Chen, Yu; Intes, Xavier

    2016-03-01

    Optimization of regenerative medicine strategies includes the design of biomaterials, development of cell-seeding methods, and control of cell-biomaterial interactions within the engineered tissues. Among these steps, one paramount challenge is to non-destructively image the engineered tissues in their entirety to assess structure, function, and molecular expression. It is especially important to be able to enable cell phenotyping and monitor the distribution and migration of cells throughout the bulk scaffold. Advanced fluorescence microscopic techniques are commonly employed to perform such tasks; however, they are limited to superficial examination of tissue constructs. Therefore, the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine would greatly benefit from the development of molecular imaging techniques which are capable of non-destructive imaging of three-dimensional cellular distribution and maturation within a tissue-engineered scaffold beyond the limited depth of current microscopic techniques. In this review, we focus on an emerging depth-resolved optical mesoscopic imaging technique, termed laminar optical tomography (LOT) or mesoscopic fluorescence molecular tomography (MFMT), which enables longitudinal imaging of cellular distribution in thick tissue engineering constructs at depths of a few millimeters and with relatively high resolution. The physical principle, image formation, and instrumentation of LOT/MFMT systems are introduced. Representative applications in tissue engineering include imaging the distribution of human mesenchymal stem cells embedded in hydrogels, imaging of bio-printed tissues, and in vivo applications. PMID:26645079

  12. Molecular Cloning, Functional Characterization, and Evolutionary Analysis of Vitamin D Receptors Isolated from Basal Vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Kollitz, Erin M.; Zhang, Guozhu; Hawkins, Mary Beth; Whitfield, G. Kerr; Reif, David M.; Kullman, Seth W.

    2015-01-01

    The vertebrate genome is a result of two rapid and successive rounds of whole genome duplication, referred to as 1R and 2R. Furthermore, teleost fish have undergone a third whole genome duplication (3R) specific to their lineage, resulting in the retention of multiple gene paralogs. The more recent 3R event in teleosts provides a unique opportunity to gain insight into how genes evolve through specific evolutionary processes. In this study we compare molecular activities of vitamin D receptors (VDR) from basal species that diverged at key points in vertebrate evolution in order to infer derived and ancestral VDR functions of teleost paralogs. Species include the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), a 1R jawless fish; the little skate (Leucoraja erinacea), a cartilaginous fish that diverged after the 2R event; and the Senegal bichir (Polypterus senegalus), a primitive 2R ray-finned fish. Saturation binding assays and gel mobility shift assays demonstrate high affinity ligand binding and classic DNA binding characteristics of VDR has been conserved across vertebrate evolution. Concentration response curves in transient transfection assays reveal EC50 values in the low nanomolar range, however maximum transactivational efficacy varies significantly between receptor orthologs. Protein-protein interactions were investigated using co-transfection, mammalian 2-hybrid assays, and mutations of coregulator activation domains. We then combined these results with our previous study of VDR paralogs from 3R teleosts into a bioinformatics analysis. Our results suggest that 1, 25D3 acts as a partial agonist in basal species. Furthermore, our bioinformatics analysis suggests that functional differences between VDR orthologs and paralogs are influenced by differential protein interactions with essential coregulator proteins. We speculate that we may be observing a change in the pharmacodynamics relationship between VDR and 1, 25D3 throughout vertebrate evolution that may have been

  13. Molecular cloning, functional characterization, and evolutionary analysis of vitamin D receptors isolated from basal vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Kollitz, Erin M; Zhang, Guozhu; Hawkins, Mary Beth; Whitfield, G Kerr; Reif, David M; Kullman, Seth W

    2015-01-01

    The vertebrate genome is a result of two rapid and successive rounds of whole genome duplication, referred to as 1R and 2R. Furthermore, teleost fish have undergone a third whole genome duplication (3R) specific to their lineage, resulting in the retention of multiple gene paralogs. The more recent 3R event in teleosts provides a unique opportunity to gain insight into how genes evolve through specific evolutionary processes. In this study we compare molecular activities of vitamin D receptors (VDR) from basal species that diverged at key points in vertebrate evolution in order to infer derived and ancestral VDR functions of teleost paralogs. Species include the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), a 1R jawless fish; the little skate (Leucoraja erinacea), a cartilaginous fish that diverged after the 2R event; and the Senegal bichir (Polypterus senegalus), a primitive 2R ray-finned fish. Saturation binding assays and gel mobility shift assays demonstrate high affinity ligand binding and classic DNA binding characteristics of VDR has been conserved across vertebrate evolution. Concentration response curves in transient transfection assays reveal EC50 values in the low nanomolar range, however maximum transactivational efficacy varies significantly between receptor orthologs. Protein-protein interactions were investigated using co-transfection, mammalian 2-hybrid assays, and mutations of coregulator activation domains. We then combined these results with our previous study of VDR paralogs from 3R teleosts into a bioinformatics analysis. Our results suggest that 1, 25D3 acts as a partial agonist in basal species. Furthermore, our bioinformatics analysis suggests that functional differences between VDR orthologs and paralogs are influenced by differential protein interactions with essential coregulator proteins. We speculate that we may be observing a change in the pharmacodynamics relationship between VDR and 1, 25D3 throughout vertebrate evolution that may have been

  14. Evolutionary Design of Low Molecular Weight Organic Anolyte Materials for Applications in Nonaqueous Redox Flow Batteries.

    PubMed

    Sevov, Christo S; Brooner, Rachel E M; Chénard, Etienne; Assary, Rajeev S; Moore, Jeffrey S; Rodríguez-López, Joaquín; Sanford, Melanie S

    2015-11-18

    The integration of renewable energy sources into the electric grid requires low-cost energy storage systems that mediate the variable and intermittent flux of energy associated with most renewables. Nonaqueous redox-flow batteries have emerged as a promising technology for grid-scale energy storage applications. Because the cost of the system scales with mass, the electroactive materials must have a low equivalent weight (ideally 150 g/(mol·e(-)) or less), and must function with low molecular weight supporting electrolytes such as LiBF4. However, soluble anolyte materials that undergo reversible redox processes in the presence of Li-ion supports are rare. We report the evolutionary design of a series of pyridine-based anolyte materials that exhibit up to two reversible redox couples at low potentials in the presence of Li-ion supporting electrolytes. A combination of cyclic voltammetry of anolyte candidates and independent synthesis of their corresponding charged-states was performed to rapidly screen for the most promising candidates. Results of this workflow provided evidence for possible decomposition pathways of first-generation materials and guided synthetic modifications to improve the stability of anolyte materials under the targeted conditions. This iterative process led to the identification of a promising anolyte material, N-methyl 4-acetylpyridinium tetrafluoroborate. This compound is soluble in nonaqueous solvents, is prepared in a single synthetic step, has a low equivalent weight of 111 g/(mol·e(-)), and undergoes two reversible 1e(-) reductions in the presence of LiBF4 to form reduced products that are stable over days in solution. PMID:26514666

  15. Molecular characterization and evolutionary origins of farinin genes in Brachypodium distachyon L.

    PubMed

    Subburaj, Saminathan; Luo, Nana; Lu, Xiaobing; Li, Xiaohui; Cao, Hui; Hu, Yingkao; Li, Jiarui; Yan, Yueming

    2016-08-01

    Farinins are one of the oldest members of the gluten family in wheat and Aegilops species, and they influence dough properties. Here, we performed the first detailed molecular genetic study on farinin genes in Brachypodium distachyon L., the model species for Triticum aestivum. A total of 51 b-type farinin genes were cloned and characterized, including 27 functional and 24 non-functional pseudogenes from 14 different B. distachyon accessions. All genes were highly similar to those previously reported from wheat and Aegilops species. The identification of deduced amino acid sequences showed that b-type farinins across Triticeae genomes could be classified as b1-, b2-, b3-, and b4-type farinins; however, B. distachyon had only b3- and b4-type farinins. Real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) revealed that farinin genes are transcribed into mRNA in B. distachyon at much lower levels than in Triticeae, despite the presence of cis-acting elements in promoter regions. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that Brachypodium farinins may have closer relationships with common wheat and further confirmed four different types of b-type farinins in Triticeae and Brachypodium genomes, corresponding to b1, b2, b3 (group 1), and b4 (group 2). A putative evolutionary origin model of farinin genes in Brachypodium, Triticum, and the related species suggests that all b-type farinins diverged from their common ancestor ~3.2 million years ago (MYA). The b3 and b4 types could be considered older in the farinin family. The results explain the loss of b1- and b2-type farinin alleles in Brachypodium. PMID:26519166

  16. Molecular phylogeny and evolutionary history of the Eurasiatic orchid genus Himantoglossum s.l. (Orchidaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Sramkó, Gábor; Attila, Molnár V.; Hawkins, Julie A.; Bateman, Richard M.

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Lizard orchids of the genus Himantoglossum include many of Eurasia's most spectacular orchids, producing substantial spikes of showy flowers. However, until recently the genus had received only limited, and entirely traditional, systematic study. The aim of the current work was to provide a more robust molecular phylogeny in order to better understand the evolutionary relationships among species of particular conservation concern. Methods All putative species of Himantoglossum s.l. were sampled across its geographical range. A large subsample of the 153 populations studied contributed to an initial survey of nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (nrITS) ribotypes. Smaller subsets were then sequenced for four plastid regions and the first intron of the low-copy-number nuclear gene LEAFY. Rooted using Steveniella as outgroup, phylogenetic trees were generated using parsimony and Bayesian methods from each of the three datasets, supplemented with a ribotype network. Key Results The resulting trees collectively determined the order of branching of the early divergent taxa as Himantoglossum comperianum > H. robertianum group > H. formosum, events that also involved significant morphological divergence. Relaxed molecular clock dating suggested that these divergences preceded the Pleistocene glaciations (the origin of the H. robertianum group may have coincided with the Messinian salinity crisis) and occurred in Asia Minor and/or the Caucasus. Among more controversial taxa of the H. hircinum-jankae clade, which are only subtly morphologically divergent, topological resolution was poorer and topological incongruence between datasets was consequently greater. Conclusions Plastid sequence divergence is broadly consistent with prior, morphologically circumscribed taxa and indicates a division between H. hircinum–adriaticum to the west of the Carpathians and H. jankae–caprinum (plus local endemics) to the east, a distinction also suggested by nr

  17. Evolutionary engineering strategies to enhance tolerance of xylose utilizing recombinant yeast to inhibitors derived from spruce biomass

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background One of the crucial factors for a sustainable and economical production of lignocellulosic based bioethanol is the availability of a robust fermenting microorganism with high tolerance to inhibitors generated during the pretreatment of lignocellulosic raw materials, since these inhibitors are known to severely hinder growth and fermentation. Results A long-term adaptation in repetitive batch cultures in shake flasks using a cocktail of 12 different inhibitors and a long-term chemostat adaptation using spruce hydrolysate were used as evolutionary engineering strategies to improve the inhibitor tolerance in the metabolically engineered xylose utilizing Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain, TMB3400. The yeast was evolved for a period of 429 and 97 generations in repetitive batch cultures and chemostat cultivation, respectively. During the evolutionary engineering in repetitive batch cultures the maximum specific growth rate increased from 0.18 h-1 to 0.33 h-1 and the time of lag phase was decreased from 48 h to 24 h. In the chemostat adaptation, after 97 generations, the specific conversion rates of HMF and furfural were found to be 3.5 and 4 folds higher respectively, compared to rates after three generations. Two evolved strains (RK60-5, RKU90-3) and one evolved strain (KE1-17) were isolated from evolutionary engineering in repetitive batches and chemostat cultivation, respectively. The strains displayed significantly improved growth performance over TMB3400 when cultivated in spruce hydrolysate under anaerobic conditions, the evolved strains exhibited 25 to 38% increase in specific consumption rate of sugars and 32 to 50% increased specific ethanol productivity compared to TMB3400. The evolved strains RK60-5 and RKU90-3 were unable to consume xylose under anaerobic conditions, whereas, KE1-17 was found to consume xylose at similar rates as TMB3400. Conclusion Using evolutionary engineering strategies in batch and chemostat cultivations we have generated three

  18. Engineering Molecular Transformations for Sustainable Energy Conversion

    SciTech Connect

    Neurock, Matthew

    2010-12-03

    Future strategies for sustainable energy production will undoubtedly require processes and materials that can efficiently convert renewable resources into fuels. Nature’s enzymes can exquisitely integrate highly active catalytic centers within flexible environments that can adaptively guide reactants to products with very high activities and selectivities. They are limited, however, by their stability and ability to integrate into large scale production processes. The design of more robust heterogeneous catalytic materials that mimic the performance of enzymes, however, has been hindered by our limited understanding of how such transformations proceed. The tremendous advances in ab initio quantum mechanical methods, atomistic simulations, and high performance computing that have occurred over the past two decades, however, provide unprecedented ability to track molecular transformations and how they proceed at specific sites and within particular environments. This information together with the advances in in situ spectroscopic methods that follow such transformations can begin to enable the design of atomic surface ensembles and nanoscale reaction environments. This paper provides the author’s perspective on how theory and simulation can be used to move from current onedimensional design efforts based on catalytic descriptors to the design of two-dimensional surfaces, threedimensional reaction environments, and proton-coupled electron transfer systems that mimic enzymes in the transformation of molecules.

  19. Engineering and Assembly of Protein Modules into Functional Molecular Systems.

    PubMed

    Hirschi, Stephan; Stauffer, Mirko; Harder, Daniel; Müller, Daniel J; Meier, Wolfgang; Fotiadis, Dimitrios

    2016-01-01

    Synthetic biology approaches range from the introduction of unique features into organisms to the assembly of isolated biomacromolecules or synthetic building blocks into artificial biological systems with biomimetic or completely novel functionalities. Simple molecular systems can be based on containers on the nanoscale that are equipped with tailored functional modules for various applications in healthcare, industry or biological and medical research. The concept, or vision, of assembling native or engineered proteins and/or synthetic components as functional modules into molecular systems is discussed. The main focus is laid on the engineering of energizing modules generating chemical energy, transport modules using this energy to translocate molecules between compartments of a molecular system, and catalytic modules (bio-)chemically processing the molecules. Further key aspects of this discourse are possible approaches for the assembly of simple nanofactories and their applications in biotechnology and medical health. PMID:27363367

  20. 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

  1. The current status of REH theory. [Random Evolutionary Hits in biological molecular evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Holmquist, R.; Jukes, T. H.

    1981-01-01

    A response is made to the evaluation of Fitch (1980) of REH (random evolutionary hits) theory for the evolutionary divergence of proteins and nucleic acids. Correct calculations for the beta hemoglobin mRNAs of the human, mouse and rabbit in the absence and presence of selective constraints are summarized, and it is shown that the alternative evolutionary analysis of Fitch underestimates the total fixed mutations. It is further shown that the model used by Fitch to test for the completeness of the count of total base substitutions is in fact a variant of REH theory. Considerations of the variance inherent in evolutionary estimations are also presented which show the REH model to produce no more variance than other evolutionary models. In the reply, it is argued that, despite the objections raised, REH theory applied to proteins gives inaccurate estimates of total gene substitutions. It is further contended that REH theory developed for nucleic sequences suffers from problems relating to the frequency of nucleotide substitutions, the identity of the codons accepting silent and amino acid-changing substitutions, and estimate uncertainties.

  2. Designing a Pedagogical Model for Web Engineering Education: An Evolutionary Perspective

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hadjerrouit, Said

    2005-01-01

    In contrast to software engineering, which relies on relatively well established development approaches, there is a lack of a proven methodology that guides Web engineers in building reliable and effective Web-based systems. Currently, Web engineering lacks process models, architectures, suitable techniques and methods, quality assurance, and a…

  3. Reverse engineering chemical structures from molecular descriptors : how many solutions?

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, William Michael; Martin, Shawn Bryan; Faulon, Jean-Loup Michel

    2005-06-01

    Physical, chemical and biological properties are the ultimate information of interest for chemical compounds. Molecular descriptors that map structural information to activities and properties are obvious candidates for information sharing. In this paper, we consider the feasibility of using molecular descriptors to safely exchange chemical information in such a way that the original chemical structures cannot be reverse engineered. To investigate the safety of sharing such descriptors, we compute the degeneracy (the number of structure matching a descriptor value) of several 2D descriptors, and use various methods to search for and reverse engineer structures. We examine degeneracy in the entire chemical space taking descriptors values from the alkane isomer series and the PubChem database. We further use a stochastic search to retrieve structures matching specific topological index values. Finally, we investigate the safety of exchanging of fragmental descriptors using deterministic enumeration.

  4. Open computing grid for molecular science and engineering.

    PubMed

    Sild, Sulev; Maran, Uko; Lomaka, Andre; Karelson, Mati

    2006-01-01

    Grid is an emerging infrastructure for distributed computing that provides secure and scalable mechanisms for discovering and accessing remote software and data resources. Applications built on this infrastructure have great potential for addressing and solving large scale chemical, pharmaceutical, and material science problems. The article describes the concept behind grid computing and will present the OpenMolGRID system that is an open computing grid for molecular science and engineering. This system provides grid enabled components, such as a data warehouse for chemical data, software for building QSPR/QSAR models, and molecular engineering tools for generating compounds with predefined chemical properties or biological activities. The article also provides an overview about the availability of chemical applications in the grid. PMID:16711713

  5. Remembering the Forest While Viewing the Trees: Evolutionary Thinking in the Teaching of Molecular Biology

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Saraswati, Sitaraman; Sitaraman, Ramakrishnan

    2014-01-01

    Given the centrality of evolutionary theory to the study of biology, we present a strategy for reinforcing its importance by appropriately recontextualizing classic and well-known experiments that are not explicitly linked with evolution in conventional texts. This exercise gives students an appreciation of the applicability of the theory of…

  6. Simulational nanoengineering: Molecular dynamics implementation of an atomistic Stirling engine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rapaport, D. C.

    2009-04-01

    A nanoscale-sized Stirling engine with an atomistic working fluid has been modeled using molecular dynamics simulation. The design includes heat exchangers based on thermostats, pistons attached to a flywheel under load, and a regenerator. Key aspects of the behavior, including the time-dependent flows, are described. The model is shown to be capable of stable operation while producing net work at a moderate level of efficiency.

  7. Simulational nanoengineering: Molecular dynamics implementation of an atomistic Stirling engine.

    PubMed

    Rapaport, D C

    2009-04-01

    A nanoscale-sized Stirling engine with an atomistic working fluid has been modeled using molecular dynamics simulation. The design includes heat exchangers based on thermostats, pistons attached to a flywheel under load, and a regenerator. Key aspects of the behavior, including the time-dependent flows, are described. The model is shown to be capable of stable operation while producing net work at a moderate level of efficiency. PMID:19518394

  8. SHARP's systems engineering challenge: rectifying integrated product team requirements with performance issues in an evolutionary spiral development acquisition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuehl, C. Stephen

    2003-08-01

    Completing its final development and early deployment on the Navy's multi-role aircraft, the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, the SHAred Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP) provides the war fighter with the latest digital tactical reconnaissance (TAC Recce) Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensor system. The SHARP program is an evolutionary acquisition that used a spiral development process across a prototype development phase tightly coupled into overlapping Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) and Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phases. Under a tight budget environment with a highly compressed schedule, SHARP challenged traditional acquisition strategies and systems engineering (SE) processes. Adopting tailored state-of-the-art systems engineering process models allowd the SHARP program to overcome the technical knowledge transition challenges imposed by a compressed program schedule. The program's original goal was the deployment of digital TAC Recce mission capabilities to the fleet customer by summer of 2003. Hardware and software integration technical challenges resulted from requirements definition and analysis activities performed across a government-industry led Integrated Product Team (IPT) involving Navy engineering and test sites, Boeing, and RTSC-EPS (with its subcontracted hardware and government furnished equipment vendors). Requirements development from a bottoms-up approach was adopted using an electronic requirements capture environment to clarify and establish the SHARP EMD product baseline specifications as relevant technical data became available. Applying Earned-Value Management (EVM) against an Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) resulted in efficiently managing SE task assignments and product deliveries in a dynamically evolving customer requirements environment. Application of Six Sigma improvement methodologies resulted in the uncovering of root causes of errors in wiring interconnectivity drawings, pod manufacturing processes, and avionics

  9. Molecular engineering of glycosaminoglycan chemistry for biomolecule delivery

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Tobias; Goude, Melissa C.; McDevitt, Todd C.

    2013-01-01

    Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are linear, negatively charged polysaccharid es that interact with a variety of positively-charged growth factors. In this review article, the effects of engineering GAG chemistry for molecular delivery applications in regenerative medicine are presented. Three major areas of focus at the structure-function-property interface are discussed: 1) macromolecular properties of GAGs, 2) effects of chemical modifications on protein binding, and 3) degradation mechanisms of GAGs. GAG-protein interactions can be based on 1) GAG sulfation pattern, 2) GAG carbohydrate conformation, and 3) GAG polyelectrolyte behavior. Chemical modifications of GAGs, which are commonly performed to engineer molecular delivery systems, affect protein binding and are highly dependent on the site of modification on the GAG molecules. The rate and mode of degradation can determine the release of molecules as well as the length of GAG fragments to which the cargo is electrostatically coupled and eventually released from the delivery system. Overall, GAG-based polymers are a versatile biomaterial platform offering novel means to engineer molecular delivery systems with a high degree of control in order to better treat a range of degenerate or injured tissues. PMID:24121191

  10. Simultaneously improving xylose fermentation and tolerance to lignocellulosic inhibitors through evolutionary engineering of recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae harbouring xylose isomerase

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Yeasts tolerant to toxic inhibitors from steam-pretreated lignocellulose with xylose co-fermentation capability represent an appealing approach for 2nd generation ethanol production. Whereas rational engineering, mutagenesis and evolutionary engineering are established techniques for either improved xylose utilisation or enhancing yeast tolerance, this report focuses on the simultaneous enhancement of these attributes through mutagenesis and evolutionary engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae harbouring xylose isomerase in anoxic chemostat culture using non-detoxified pretreatment liquor from triticale straw. Results Following ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) mutagenesis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain D5A+ (ATCC 200062 strain platform), harbouring the xylose isomerase (XI) gene for pentose co-fermentation was grown in anoxic chemostat culture for 100 generations at a dilution rate of 0.10 h-1 in a medium consisting of 60% (v/v) non-detoxified hydrolysate liquor from steam-pretreated triticale straw, supplemented with 20 g/L xylose as carbon source. In semi-aerobic batch cultures in the same medium, the isolated strain D5A+H exhibited a slightly lower maximum specific growth rate (μmax = 0.12 ± 0.01 h-1) than strain TMB3400, with no ethanol production observed by the latter strain. Strain D5A+H also exhibited a shorter lag phase (4 h vs. 30 h) and complete removal of HMF, furfural and acetic acid from the fermentation broth within 24 h, reaching an ethanol concentration of 1.54 g/L at a yield (Yp/s) of 0.06 g/g xylose and a specific productivity of 2.08 g/gh. Evolutionary engineering profoundly affected the yeast metabolism, given that parental strain D5A+ exhibited an oxidative metabolism on xylose prior to strain development. Conclusions Physiological adaptations confirm improvements in the resistance to and conversion of inhibitors from pretreatment liquor with simultaneous enhancement of xylose to ethanol fermentation. These data

  11. The Evolutionary Connection Bewtween z~2-3 Submillimeter Galaxies and AGN as Probed by Molecular Gas Excitation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharon, Chelsea E.; Riechers, Dominik A.; Carilli, Chris Luke; Hodge, Jacqueline; Walter, Fabian

    2016-01-01

    Theoretical work has suggested that active galactic nuclei (AGN) play an important role in quenching star formation in massive galaxies. Direct evidence for AGN affecting the molecular ISM has so far been limited to detections of molecular outflows in low-redshift systems and extreme excitation regions which represent a tiny fraction of the total gas. Indirect evidence for AGN's impact on their host galaxies' cold gas phase may be provided by measurements of the gas excitation and dynamics. At z~2-3, the peak epoch of star formation and AGN activity, previous observations of the CO(1-0) line revealed that submillimeter galaxies (SMGs) have multi-phase molecular gas, including substantial reservoirs of cold-phase gas. However, the entirety of the molecular gas in AGN-host galaxies appears highly excited, potentially supporting an evolutionary connection between these two populations. I will present a new VLA sample that nearly doubles the number of CO(1-0) detections in z~2-3 SMGs and AGN-host galaxies that allows us to better compare the cold gas properties of these systems and further investigate evidence for the effects of AGN on the star-forming molecular gas.

  12. Molecular Gas Excitation and the Evolutionary Connection Between Submillimeter Galaxies and AGN at z~2-3

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharon, Chelsea; Riechers, Dominik Alexander; Carilli, Christopher; Hodge, Jacqueline; Walter, Fabian

    2015-08-01

    Theoretical work has suggested that active galactic nuclei (AGN) may play an important role in quenching star formation in massive galaxies. Due to sensitivity demands, direct evidence for AGN affecting the molecular ISM (the gas phase that fuels star formation) has so far been limited to detections of molecular outflows in low-redshift systems. Indirect evidence for an interplay between AGN and their host galaxies' cold gas phase may be provided by measurements of the gas excitation (and dynamics). At z~2-3, the peak epoch of star formation and AGN activity, previous observations of the CO(1-0) line revealed that submillimeter galaxies have substantial reservoirs of cold molecular gas. However, the molecular gas in AGN-host galaxies appears highly excited, potentially supporting an evolutionary connection between these two populations. We will present a new larger Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array sample that nearly doubles the number of CO(1-0) detections in z~2-3 submillimeter galaxies and AGN-host galaxies with existing CO(3-2) detections (from 13 to 23, plus four new upper limits) that allows us to better compare the low-excitation molecular gas properties of these systems and further investigate potential evidence for gas excitation due to active black holes.

  13. The Evolution and Origin of Animal Toll-Like Receptor Signaling Pathway Revealed by Network-Level Molecular Evolutionary Analyses

    PubMed Central

    Qin, Sheng; Chen, Liming; Ma, Fei

    2012-01-01

    Genes carry out their biological functions through pathways in complex networks consisting of many interacting molecules. Studies on the effect of network architecture on the evolution of individual proteins will provide valuable information for understanding the origin and evolution as well as functional conservation of signaling pathways. However, the relationship between the network architecture and the individual protein sequence evolution is yet little known. In current study, we carried out network-level molecular evolution analysis on TLR (Toll-like receptor ) signaling pathway, which plays an important role in innate immunity in insects and mammals, and we found that: 1) The selection constraint of genes was negatively correlated with its position along TLR signaling pathway; 2) all genes in TLR signaling pathway were highly conserved and underwent strong purifying selection; 3) the distribution of selective pressure along the pathway was driven by differential nonsynonymous substitution levels; 4) The TLR signaling pathway might present in a common ancestor of sponges and eumetazoa, and evolve via the TLR, IKK, IκB and NF-κB genes underwent duplication events as well as adaptor molecular enlargement, and gene structure and conservation motif of NF-κB genes shifted in their evolutionary history. Our results will improve our understanding on the evolutionary history of animal TLR signaling pathway as well as the relationship between the network architecture and the sequences evolution of individual protein. PMID:23236523

  14. Molecular evolutionary analysis of the high-affinity K+ transporter gene family in angiosperms.

    PubMed

    Yang, P; Hua, C; Zhou, F; Zhang, B-J; Cai, X-N; Chen, Q-Z; Wang, R-L

    2016-01-01

    The high-affinity K(+) transporter (HKT) family comprises a group of multifunctional cation transporters widely distributed in organisms ranging from Bacteria to Eukarya. In angiosperms, the HKT family consists primarily of nine types, whose evolutionary relationships are not fully understood. The available sequences from 31 plant species were used to perform a comprehensive evolutionary analysis, including an examination of selection pressure and estimating phylogenetic tree and gene duplication events. Our results show that a gene duplication in the HKT1;5/HKT1;4 cluster might have led to the divergence of the HKT1;5 and HKT1;4 subfamilies. Additionally, maximum likelihood analysis revealed that the HKT family has undergone a strong purifying selection. An analysis of the amino acids provided strong statistical evidence for a functional divergence between subfamilies 1 and 2. Our study was the first to provide evidence of this functional divergence between these two subfamilies. Analysis of co-evolution in HKT identified 25 co-evolved groups. These findings expanded our understanding of the evolutionary mechanisms driving functional diversification of HKT proteins. PMID:27525850

  15. Methods of Genome Engineering: a New Era of Molecular Biology.

    PubMed

    Chugunova, A A; Dontsova, O A; Sergiev, P V

    2016-07-01

    Genome sequencing now progressing much faster than our understanding of the majority of gene functions. Studies of physiological functions of various genes would not be possible without the ability to manipulate the genome. Methods of genome engineering can now be used to inactivate a gene to study consequences, introduce heterologous genes into the genome for scientific and biotechnology applications, create genes coding for fusion proteins to study gene expression, protein localization, and molecular interactions, and to develop animal models of human diseases to find appropriate treatment. Finally, genome engineering might present the possibility to cure hereditary diseases. In this review, we discuss and compare the most important methods for gene inactivation and editing, as well as methods for incorporation of heterologous genes into the genome. PMID:27449613

  16. Light-driven DNA nanomachine with a photoresponsive molecular engine.

    PubMed

    Kamiya, Yukiko; Asanuma, Hiroyuki

    2014-06-17

    CONSPECTUS: DNA is regarded as an excellent nanomaterial due to its supramolecular property of duplex formation through A-T and G-C complementary pairs. By simply designing sequences, we can create any desired 2D or 3D nanoarchitecture with DNA. Based on these nanoarchitectures, motional DNA-based nanomachines have also been developed. Most of the nanomachines require molecular fuels to drive them. Typically, a toehold exchange reaction is applied with a complementary DNA strand as a fuel. However, repetitive operation of the machines accumulates waste DNA duplexes in the solution that gradually deteriorate the motional efficiency. Hence, we are facing an "environmental problem" even in the nanoworld. One of the direct solutions to this problem is to use clean energy, such as light. Since light does not contaminate the reaction system, a DNA nanomachine run by a photon engine can overcome the drawback of waste that is a problem with molecular-fueled engines. There are several photoresponsive molecules that convert light energy to mechanical motion through the change of geometry of the molecules; these include spiropyran, diarylethene, stilbene, and azobenzene. Although each molecule has both advantages and drawbacks, azobenzene derivatives are widely used as "molecular photon engines". In this Account, we review light-driven DNA nanomachines mainly focusing on the photoresponsive DNAs that we have developed for the past decade. The basis of our method is installation of an azobenzene into a DNA sequence through a d-threoninol scaffold. Reversible hybridization of the DNA duplex, triggered by trans-cis isomerization of azobenzene in the DNA sequences by irradiation with light, induces mechanical motion of the DNA nanomachine. Moreover we have successfully developed azobenzene derivatives that improve its photoisomerizaition properties. Use of these derivatives and techniques have allowed us to design various DNA machines that demonstrate sophisticated motion in

  17. Autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH): a review of clinical, molecular, and evolutionary findings.

    PubMed

    Woods, C Geoffrey; Bond, Jacquelyn; Enard, Wolfgang

    2005-05-01

    Autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It is characterized by two principal features, microcephaly present at birth and nonprogressive mental retardation. The microcephaly is the consequence of a small but architecturally normal brain, and it is the cerebral cortex that shows the greatest size reduction. There are at least seven MCPH loci, and four of the genes have been identified: MCPH1, encoding Microcephalin; MCPH3, encoding CDK5RAP2; MCPH5, encoding ASPM; and MCPH6, encoding CENPJ. These findings are starting to have an impact on the clinical management of families affected with MCPH. Present data suggest that MCPH is the consequence of deficient neurogenesis within the neurogenic epithelium. Evolutionary interest in MCPH has been sparked by the suggestion that changes in the MCPH genes might also be responsible for the increase in brain size during human evolution. Indeed, evolutionary analyses of Microcephalin and ASPM reveal evidence for positive selection during human and great ape evolution. So an understanding of this rare genetic disorder may offer us significant insights into neurogenic mitosis and the evolution of the most striking differences between us and our closest living relatives: brain size and cognitive ability. PMID:15806441

  18. Brief Communication: Quantitative- and molecular-genetic differentiation in humans and chimpanzees: implications for the evolutionary processes underlying cranial diversification.

    PubMed

    Weaver, Timothy D

    2014-08-01

    Estimates of the amount of genetic differentiation in humans among major geographic regions (e.g., Eastern Asia vs. Europe) from quantitative-genetic analyses of cranial measurements closely match those from classical- and molecular-genetic markers. Typically, among-region differences account for ∼10% of the total variation. This correspondence is generally interpreted as evidence for the importance of neutral evolutionary processes (e.g., genetic drift) in generating among-region differences in human cranial form, but it was initially surprising because human cranial diversity was frequently assumed to show a strong signature of natural selection. Is the human degree of similarity of cranial and DNA-sequence estimates of among-region genetic differentiation unusual? How do comparisons with other taxa illuminate the evolutionary processes underlying cranial diversification? Chimpanzees provide a useful starting point for placing the human results in a broader comparative context, because common chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (Pan paniscus) are the extant species most closely related to humans. To address these questions, I used 27 cranial measurements collected on a sample of 861 humans and 263 chimpanzees to estimate the amount of genetic differentiation between pairs of groups (between regions for humans and between species or subspecies for chimpanzees). Consistent with previous results, the human cranial estimates are quite similar to published DNA-sequence estimates. In contrast, the chimpanzee cranial estimates are much smaller than published DNA-sequence estimates. It appears that cranial differentiation has been limited in chimpanzees relative to humans. PMID:24827671

  19. A computational kinematics and evolutionary approach to model molecular flexibility for bionanotechnology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brintaki, Athina N.

    Modeling molecular structures is critical for understanding the principles that govern the behavior of molecules and for facilitating the exploration of potential pharmaceutical drugs and nanoscale designs. Biological molecules are flexible bodies that can adopt many different shapes (or conformations) until they reach a stable molecular state that is usually described by the minimum internal energy. A major challenge in modeling flexible molecules is the exponential explosion in computational complexity as the molecular size increases and many degrees of freedom are considered to represent the molecules' flexibility. This research work proposes a novel generic computational geometric approach called enhanced BioGeoFilter (g.eBGF) that geometrically interprets inter-atomic interactions to impose geometric constraints during molecular conformational search to reduce the time for identifying chemically-feasible conformations. Two new methods called Kinematics-Based Differential Evolution ( kDE) and Biological Differential Evolution ( BioDE) are also introduced to direct the molecular conformational search towards low energy (stable) conformations. The proposed kDE method kinematically describes a molecule's deformation mechanism while it uses differential evolution to minimize the intra-molecular energy. On the other hand, the proposed BioDE utilizes our developed g.eBGF data structure as a surrogate approximation model to reduce the number of exact evaluations and to speed the molecular conformational search. This research work will be extremely useful in enabling the modeling of flexible molecules and in facilitating the exploration of nanoscale designs through the virtual assembly of molecules. Our research work can also be used in areas such as molecular docking, protein folding, and nanoscale computer-aided design where rapid collision detection scheme for highly deformable objects is essential.

  20. The evolutionary history of placodes: a molecular genetic investigation of the larvacean urochordate Oikopleura dioica.

    PubMed

    Bassham, Susan; Postlethwait, John H

    2005-10-01

    The evolutionary origin of vertebrate placodes remains controversial because divergent morphologies in urochordates, cephalochordates and vertebrates make it difficult to recognize organs that are clearly homologous to placode-derived features, including the olfactory organ, adenohypophysis, lens, inner ear, lateral line and cranial ganglia. The larvacean urochordate Oikopleura dioica possesses organs that morphologically resemble the vertebrate olfactory organ and adenohypophysis. We tested the hypothesis that orthologs of these vertebrate placodes exist in a larvacean urochordate by analyzing the developmental expression of larvacean homologs of the placode-marking gene families Eya, Pitx and Six. We conclude that extant chordates inherited olfactory and adenohypophyseal placodes from their last common ancestor, but additional independent proliferation and perhaps loss of placode types probably occurred among the three subphyla of Chordata. PMID:16120641

  1. Hidden diversity and evolutionary trends in malacosporean parasites (Cnidaria: Myxozoa) identified using molecular phylogenetics.

    PubMed

    Bartošová-Sojková, Pavla; Hrabcová, Martina; Pecková, Hana; Patra, Sneha; Kodádková, Alena; Jurajda, Pavel; Tyml, Tomáš; Holzer, Astrid Sibylle

    2014-07-01

    Malacosporeans represent a small fraction of myxozoan biodiversity with only two genera and three species described. They cycle between bryozoans and freshwater fish. In this study, we (i) microscopically examine and screen different freshwater/marine fish species from various geographic locations and habitats for the presence of malacosporeans using PCR; (ii) study the morphology, prevalence, host species/habitat preference and distribution of malacosporeans; (iii) perform small subunit/large subunit rDNA and Elongation factor 2 based phylogenetic analyses of newly gathered data, together with all available malacosporean data in GenBank; and (iv) investigate the evolutionary trends of malacosporeans by mapping the morphology of bryozoan-related stages, host species, habitat and geographic data on the small subunit rDNA-based phylogenetic tree. We reveal a high prevalence and diversity of malacosporeans in several fish hosts in European freshwater habitats by adding five new species of Buddenbrockia and Tetracapsuloides from cyprinid and perciform fishes. Comprehensive phylogenetic analyses revealed that, apart from Buddenbrockia and Tetracapsuloides clades, a novel malacosporean lineage (likely a new genus) exists. The fish host species spectrum was extended for Buddenbrockia plumatellae and Buddenbrockia sp. 2. Co-infections of up to three malacosporean species were found in individual fish. The significant increase in malacosporean species richness revealed in the present study points to a hidden biodiversity in this parasite group. This is most probably due to the cryptic nature of malacosporean sporogonic and presporogonic stages and mostly asymptomatic infections in the fish hosts. The potential existence of malacosporean life cycles in the marine environment as well as the evolution of worm- and sac-like morphology is discussed. This study improves the understanding of the biodiversity, prevalence, distribution, habitat and host preference of malacosporeans

  2. Evolutionary diversification of retinoic acid receptor ligand-binding pocket structure by molecular tinkering

    PubMed Central

    Gutierrez-Mazariegos, Juliana; Nadendla, Eswar Kumar; Studer, Romain A.; Alvarez, Susana; de Lera, Angel R.; Kuraku, Shigehiro; Bourguet, William; Laudet, Vincent

    2016-01-01

    Whole genome duplications (WGDs) have been classically associated with the origin of evolutionary novelties and the so-called duplication–degeneration–complementation model describes the possible fates of genes after duplication. However, how sequence divergence effectively allows functional changes between gene duplicates is still unclear. In the vertebrate lineage, two rounds of WGDs took place, giving rise to paralogous gene copies observed for many gene families. For the retinoic acid receptors (RARs), for example, which are members of the nuclear hormone receptor (NR) superfamily, a unique ancestral gene has been duplicated resulting in three vertebrate paralogues: RARα, RARβ and RARγ. It has previously been shown that this single ancestral RAR was neofunctionalized to give rise to a larger substrate specificity range in the RARs of extant jawed vertebrates (also called gnathostomes). To understand RAR diversification, the members of the cyclostomes (lamprey and hagfish), jawless vertebrates representing the extant sister group of gnathostomes, provide an intermediate situation and thus allow the characterization of the evolutionary steps that shaped RAR ligand-binding properties following the WGDs. In this study, we assessed the ligand-binding specificity of cyclostome RARs and found that their ligand-binding pockets resemble those of gnathostome RARα and RARβ. In contrast, none of the cyclostome receptors studied showed any RARγ-like specificity. Together, our results suggest that cyclostome RARs cover only a portion of the specificity repertoire of the ancestral gnathostome RARs and indicate that the establishment of ligand-binding specificity was a stepwise event. This iterative process thus provides a rare example for the diversification of receptor–ligand interactions of NRs following WGDs. PMID:27069642

  3. Evolutionary diversification of retinoic acid receptor ligand-binding pocket structure by molecular tinkering.

    PubMed

    Gutierrez-Mazariegos, Juliana; Nadendla, Eswar Kumar; Studer, Romain A; Alvarez, Susana; de Lera, Angel R; Kuraku, Shigehiro; Bourguet, William; Schubert, Michael; Laudet, Vincent

    2016-03-01

    Whole genome duplications (WGDs) have been classically associated with the origin of evolutionary novelties and the so-called duplication-degeneration-complementation model describes the possible fates of genes after duplication. However, how sequence divergence effectively allows functional changes between gene duplicates is still unclear. In the vertebrate lineage, two rounds of WGDs took place, giving rise to paralogous gene copies observed for many gene families. For the retinoic acid receptors (RARs), for example, which are members of the nuclear hormone receptor (NR) superfamily, a unique ancestral gene has been duplicated resulting in three vertebrate paralogues: RARα, RARβ and RARγ. It has previously been shown that this single ancestral RAR was neofunctionalized to give rise to a larger substrate specificity range in the RARs of extant jawed vertebrates (also called gnathostomes). To understand RAR diversification, the members of the cyclostomes (lamprey and hagfish), jawless vertebrates representing the extant sister group of gnathostomes, provide an intermediate situation and thus allow the characterization of the evolutionary steps that shaped RAR ligand-binding properties following the WGDs. In this study, we assessed the ligand-binding specificity of cyclostome RARs and found that their ligand-binding pockets resemble those of gnathostome RARα and RARβ. In contrast, none of the cyclostome receptors studied showed any RARγ-like specificity. Together, our results suggest that cyclostome RARs cover only a portion of the specificity repertoire of the ancestral gnathostome RARs and indicate that the establishment of ligand-binding specificity was a stepwise event. This iterative process thus provides a rare example for the diversification of receptor-ligand interactions of NRs following WGDs. PMID:27069642

  4. Transcriptomics and molecular evolutionary rate analysis of the bladderwort (Utricularia), a carnivorous plant with a minimal genome

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background The carnivorous plant Utricularia gibba (bladderwort) is remarkable in having a minute genome, which at ca. 80 megabases is approximately half that of Arabidopsis. Bladderworts show an incredible diversity of forms surrounding a defined theme: tiny, bladder-like suction traps on terrestrial, epiphytic, or aquatic plants with a diversity of unusual vegetative forms. Utricularia plants, which are rootless, are also anomalous in physiological features (respiration and carbon distribution), and highly enhanced molecular evolutionary rates in chloroplast, mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomal sequences. Despite great interest in the genus, no genomic resources exist for Utricularia, and the substitution rate increase has received limited study. Results Here we describe the sequencing and analysis of the Utricularia gibba transcriptome. Three different organs were surveyed, the traps, the vegetative shoot bodies, and the inflorescence stems. We also examined the bladderwort transcriptome under diverse stress conditions. We detail aspects of functional classification, tissue similarity, nitrogen and phosphorus metabolism, respiration, DNA repair, and detoxification of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Long contigs of plastid and mitochondrial genomes, as well as sequences for 100 individual nuclear genes, were compared with those of other plants to better establish information on molecular evolutionary rates. Conclusion The Utricularia transcriptome provides a detailed genomic window into processes occurring in a carnivorous plant. It contains a deep representation of the complex metabolic pathways that characterize a putative minimal plant genome, permitting its use as a source of genomic information to explore the structural, functional, and evolutionary diversity of the genus. Vegetative shoots and traps are the most similar organs by functional classification of their transcriptome, the traps expressing hydrolytic enzymes for prey digestion that were previously

  5. Uncovering the evolutionary origin of plant molecular processes: comparison of Coleochaete (Coleochaetales) and Spirogyra (Zygnematales) transcriptomes

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background The large and diverse land plant lineage is nested within a clade of fresh water green algae, the charophytes. Collection of genome-scale data for land plants and other organisms over the past decade has invigorated the field of evolutionary biology. One of the core questions in the field asks: how did a colonization event by a green algae over 450 mya lead to one of the most successful lineages on the tree of life? This question can best be answered using the comparative method, the first step of which is to gather genome-scale data across closely related lineages to land plants. Before sequencing an entire genome it is useful to first gather transcriptome data: it is less expensive, it targets the protein coding regions of the genome, and provides support for gene models for future genome sequencing. We built Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) libraries for two charophyte species, Coleochaete orbicularis (Coleochaetales) and Spirogyra pratensis (Zygnematales). We used both Sanger sequencing and next generation 454 sequencing to cover as much of the transcriptome as possible. Results Our sequencing effort for Spirogyra pratensis yielded 9,984 5' Sanger reads plus 598,460 GS FLX Standard 454 sequences; Coleochaete orbicularis yielded 4,992 5' Sanger reads plus 673,811 GS FLX Titanium 454 sequences. After clustering S. pratensis yielded 12,000 unique transcripts, or unigenes, and C. orbicularis yielded 19,000. Both transcriptomes were very plant-like, i.e. most of the transcripts were more similar to streptophytes (land plants + charophyte green algae) than to other green algae in the sister group chlorophytes. BLAST results of several land plant genes hypothesized to be important in early land plant evolution resulted in high quality hits in both transcriptomes revealing putative orthologs ripe for follow-up studies. Conclusions Two main conclusions were drawn from this study. One illustrates the utility of next generation sequencing for transcriptome studies

  6. History of Molecular Beam Research: Personal Reminiscences of the Important Evolutionary Period 1919-1933

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Estermann, Immanuel

    1975-01-01

    Describes the early historical period of the molecular beam method, including the Stern-Gerlach experiment, the work of Davisson and Germer, and the magnetic moment determinations for the proton, neutron, and deuteron. Contains some amusing historical sidelights on the research personalities that dominated that period. (MLH)

  7. Evolutionary decay and the prospects for long-term disease intervention using engineered insect vectors

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    After a long history of applying the sterile insect technique to suppress populations of disease vectors and agricultural pests, there is growing interest in using genetic engineering both to improve old methods and to enable new methods. The two goals of interventions are to suppress populations, possibly eradicating a species altogether, or to abolish the vector’s competence to transmit a parasite. New methods enabled by genetic engineering include the use of selfish genes toward either goal as well as a variety of killer-rescue systems that could be used for vector competence reduction. This article reviews old and new methods with an emphasis on the potential for evolution of resistance to these strategies. Established methods of population suppression did not obviously face a problem from resistance evolution, but newer technologies might. Resistance to these newer interventions will often be mechanism-specific, and while it is too early to know where resistance evolution will become a problem, it is at least possible to propose properties of interventions that will be more or less effective in blocking resistance evolution. PMID:26160736

  8. Evolutionary decay and the prospects for long-term disease intervention using engineered insect vectors.

    PubMed

    Bull, J J

    2015-01-01

    After a long history of applying the sterile insect technique to suppress populations of disease vectors and agricultural pests, there is growing interest in using genetic engineering both to improve old methods and to enable new methods. The two goals of interventions are to suppress populations, possibly eradicating a species altogether, or to abolish the vector's competence to transmit a parasite. New methods enabled by genetic engineering include the use of selfish genes toward either goal as well as a variety of killer-rescue systems that could be used for vector competence reduction. This article reviews old and new methods with an emphasis on the potential for evolution of resistance to these strategies. Established methods of population suppression did not obviously face a problem from resistance evolution, but newer technologies might. Resistance to these newer interventions will often be mechanism-specific, and while it is too early to know where resistance evolution will become a problem, it is at least possible to propose properties of interventions that will be more or less effective in blocking resistance evolution. PMID:26160736

  9. Molecular Signatures for the PVC Clade (Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, Chlamydiae, and Lentisphaerae) of Bacteria Provide Insights into Their Evolutionary Relationships

    PubMed Central

    Gupta, Radhey S.; Bhandari, Vaibhav; Naushad, Hafiz Sohail

    2012-01-01

    The PVC superphylum is an amalgamation of species from the phyla Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, and Chlamydiae, along with the Lentisphaerae, Poribacteria, and two other candidate divisions. The diverse species of this superphylum lack any significant marker that differentiates them from other bacteria. Recently, genome sequences for 37 species covering all of the main PVC groups of bacteria have become available. We have used these sequences to construct a phylogenetic tree based upon concatenated sequences for 16 proteins and identify molecular signatures in protein sequences that are specific for the species from these phyla or those providing molecular links among them. Of the useful molecular markers identified in the present work, six conserved signature indels (CSIs) in the proteins Cyt c oxidase, UvrD helicase, urease, and a helicase-domain containing protein are specific for the species from the Verrucomicrobia phylum; three other CSIs in an ABC transporter protein, cobyrinic acid ac-diamide synthase, and SpoVG protein are specific for the Planctomycetes species. Additionally, a 3 aa insert in the RpoB protein is uniquely present in all sequenced Chlamydiae, Verrucomicrobia, and Lentisphaerae species, providing evidence for the shared ancestry of the species from these three phyla. Lastly, we have also identified a conserved protein of unknown function that is exclusively found in all sequenced species from the phyla Chlamydiae, Verrucomicrobia, Lentisphaerae, and Planctomycetes suggesting a specific linkage among them. The absence of this protein in Poribacteria, which branches separately from other members of the PVC clade, indicates that it is not specifically related to the PVC clade of bacteria. The molecular markers described here in addition to clarifying the evolutionary relationships among the PVC clade of bacteria also provide novel tools for their identification and for genetic and biochemical studies on these organisms. PMID:23060863

  10. Molecular Signatures for the PVC Clade (Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, Chlamydiae, and Lentisphaerae) of Bacteria Provide Insights into Their Evolutionary Relationships.

    PubMed

    Gupta, Radhey S; Bhandari, Vaibhav; Naushad, Hafiz Sohail

    2012-01-01

    The PVC superphylum is an amalgamation of species from the phyla Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, and Chlamydiae, along with the Lentisphaerae, Poribacteria, and two other candidate divisions. The diverse species of this superphylum lack any significant marker that differentiates them from other bacteria. Recently, genome sequences for 37 species covering all of the main PVC groups of bacteria have become available. We have used these sequences to construct a phylogenetic tree based upon concatenated sequences for 16 proteins and identify molecular signatures in protein sequences that are specific for the species from these phyla or those providing molecular links among them. Of the useful molecular markers identified in the present work, six conserved signature indels (CSIs) in the proteins Cyt c oxidase, UvrD helicase, urease, and a helicase-domain containing protein are specific for the species from the Verrucomicrobia phylum; three other CSIs in an ABC transporter protein, cobyrinic acid ac-diamide synthase, and SpoVG protein are specific for the Planctomycetes species. Additionally, a 3 aa insert in the RpoB protein is uniquely present in all sequenced Chlamydiae, Verrucomicrobia, and Lentisphaerae species, providing evidence for the shared ancestry of the species from these three phyla. Lastly, we have also identified a conserved protein of unknown function that is exclusively found in all sequenced species from the phyla Chlamydiae, Verrucomicrobia, Lentisphaerae, and Planctomycetes suggesting a specific linkage among them. The absence of this protein in Poribacteria, which branches separately from other members of the PVC clade, indicates that it is not specifically related to the PVC clade of bacteria. The molecular markers described here in addition to clarifying the evolutionary relationships among the PVC clade of bacteria also provide novel tools for their identification and for genetic and biochemical studies on these organisms. PMID:23060863

  11. Molecular phylogenetics unveils the ancient evolutionary origins of the enigmatic fairy armadillos.

    PubMed

    Delsuc, Frédéric; Superina, Mariella; Tilak, Marie-Ka; Douzery, Emmanuel J P; Hassanin, Alexandre

    2012-02-01

    Fairy armadillos or pichiciegos (Xenarthra, Dasypodidae) are among the most elusive mammals. Due to their subterranean and nocturnal lifestyle, their basic biology and evolutionary history remain virtually unknown. Two distinct species with allopatric distributions are recognized: Chlamyphorus truncatus is restricted to central Argentina, while Calyptophractus retusus occurs in the Gran Chaco of Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia. To test their monophyly and resolve their phylogenetic affinities within armadillos, we obtained sequence data from modern and museum specimens for two mitochondrial genes (12S RNA [MT-RNR1] and NADH dehydrogenase 1 [MT-ND1]) and two nuclear exons (breast cancer 1 early onset exon 11 [BRCA1] and von Willebrand factor exon 28 [VWF]). Phylogenetic analyses provided a reference phylogeny and timescale for living xenarthran genera. Our results reveal monophyletic pichiciegos as members of a major armadillo subfamily (Chlamyphorinae). Their strictly fossorial lifestyle probably evolved as a response to the Oligocene aridification that occurred in South America after their divergence from Tolypeutinae around 32 million years ago (Mya). The ancient divergence date (∼17Mya) for separation between the two species supports their taxonomic classification into distinct genera. The synchronicity with Middle Miocene marine incursions along the Paraná river basin suggests a vicariant origin for pichiciegos by the disruption of their ancestral range. Their phylogenetic distinctiveness and rarity in the wild argue in favor of high conservation priority. PMID:22122941

  12. De novo design of drug-like molecules by a fragment-based molecular evolutionary approach.

    PubMed

    Kawai, Kentaro; Nagata, Naoya; Takahashi, Yoshimasa

    2014-01-27

    This paper describes a similarity-driven simple evolutionary approach to producing candidate molecules of new drugs. The aim of the method is to explore the candidates that are structurally similar to the reference molecule and yet somewhat different in not only peripheral chains but also their scaffolds. The method employs a known active molecule of our interest as a reference molecule which is used to navigate a huge chemical space. The reference molecule is also used to obtain seed fragments. An initial set of individual structures is prepared with the seed fragments and additional fragments using several connection rules. The fragment library is preferably prepared from a collection of known molecules related to the target of the reference molecule. Every fragment of the library can be used for fragment-based mutation. All the fragments are categorized into three classes; rings, linkers, and side chains. New individuals are produced by the crossover and the fragment-based mutation with the fragment library. Computer experiments with our own fragment library prepared from GPCR SARfari verified the feasibility of our approach to drug discovery. PMID:24372539

  13. Evolutionary engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for enhanced tolerance to hydrolysates of lignocellulosic biomass.

    PubMed

    Almario, María P; Reyes, Luis H; Kao, Katy C

    2013-10-01

    Lignocellulosic biomass has become an important feedstock to mitigate current ethical and economical concerns related to the bio-based production of fuels and chemicals. During the pre-treatment and hydrolysis of the lignocellulosic biomass, a complex mixture of sugars and inhibitors are formed. The inhibitors interfere with microbial growth and product yields. This study uses an adaptive laboratory evolution method called visualizing evolution in real-time (VERT) to uncover the molecular mechanisms associated with tolerance to hydrolysates of lignocellulosic biomass in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. VERT enables a more rational scheme for isolating adaptive mutants for characterization and molecular analyses. Subsequent growth kinetic analyses of the mutants in individual and combinations of common inhibitors present in hydrolysates (acetic acid, furfural, and hydroxymethylfurfural) showed differential levels of resistance to different inhibitors, with enhanced growth rates up to 57%, 12%, 22%, and 24% in hydrolysates, acetic acid, HMF and furfural, respectively. Interestingly, some of the adaptive mutants exhibited reduced fitness in the presence of individual inhibitors, but showed enhanced fitness in the presence of combinations of inhibitors compared to the parental strains. Transcriptomic analysis revealed different mechanisms for resistance to hydrolysates and a potential cross adaptation between oxidative stress and hydrolysates tolerance in several of the mutants. PMID:23613173

  14. Molecular engineering of porous silica using aryl templates

    DOEpatents

    Loy, Douglas A.; Shea, Kenneth J.

    1994-01-01

    A process for manipulating the porosity of silica using a series of organic template groups covalently incorporated into the silicate matrix. The templates in the bridged polysilsesquioxanes are selectively removed from the material by oxidation with oxygen plasma or other means, leaving engineered voids or pores. The size of these pores is dependent upon the length or size of the template or spacer. The size of the templates is measured in terms of Si-Si distances which range from about 0.67 nm to 1.08 nm. Changes introduced by the loss of the templates result in a narrow range of micropores (i.e. <2 nm). Both aryl and alkyl template groups are used as spacers. Novel microporous silica materials useful as molecular seives, dessicants, and catalyst supports are produced.

  15. Molecular engineering of porous silica using aryl templates

    DOEpatents

    Loy, D.A.; Shea, K.J.

    1994-06-14

    A process is described for manipulating the porosity of silica using a series of organic template groups covalently incorporated into the silicate matrix. The templates in the bridged polysilsesquioxanes are selectively removed from the material by oxidation with oxygen plasma or other means, leaving engineered voids or pores. The size of these pores is dependent upon the length or size of the template or spacer. The size of the templates is measured in terms of Si-Si distances which range from about 0.67 nm to 1.08 nm. Changes introduced by the loss of the templates result in a narrow range of micropores (i.e. <2 nm). Both aryl and alkyl template groups are used as spacers. Novel microporous silica materials useful as molecular sieves, desiccants, and catalyst supports are produced. 3 figs.

  16. Molecular basis of glyphosate resistance: Different approaches through protein engineering

    PubMed Central

    Pollegioni, Loredano; Schonbrunn, Ernst; Siehl, Daniel

    2011-01-01

    Glyphosate (N-phosphonomethyl-glycine) is the most-used herbicide in the world: glyphosate-based formulations exhibit broad-spectrum herbicidal activity with minimal human and environmental toxicity. The extraordinary success of this simple small molecule is mainly due to the high specificity of glyphosate towards the plant enzyme enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase in the shikimate pathway leading to biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids. Starting in 1996, transgenic glyphosate-resistant plants were introduced thus allowing the application of the herbicide to the crop (post-emergence) to remove emerged weeds without crop damage. This review focuses on the evolution of mechanisms of resistance to glyphosate as obtained through natural diversity, the gene shuffling approach to molecular evolution, and a rational, structure-based approach to protein engineering. In addition, we offer rationale for the means by which the modifications made have had their intended effect. PMID:21668647

  17. DNA Aptamer Based Nanodrugs: Molecular Engineering for Efficiency.

    PubMed

    Cansiz, Sena; Zhang, Liqin; Wu, Cuichen; Wu, Yuan; Teng, I-Ting; Hou, Weijia; Wang, Yanyue; Wan, Shuo; Cai, Ren; Jin, Chen; Liu, Qiaoling; Tan, Weihong

    2015-10-01

    In the past two decades, the study of cancer therapy has gradually advanced to the "nano" era. Numerous novel nanomaterials armed with unique physical properties have been introduced into biomedical research. At the same time, functional nucleic acid molecules, especially aptamers, have aroused broad attention from the biomedical community. Benefiting from the advancement of molecular engineering strategies, it is now feasible to combine the cancer-specific recognition capability of aptamers with various other special functions of nanomaterials to develop cancer-specific drugs at the nanoscale. Nanodrugs are now offering an unprecedented opportunity to achieve the goal of efficient targeted delivery as well as controlled release. This review highlights some achievements made in multiple aptamer-based nanodrug systems that have emerged in recent years, including studies in the infant stage of "proof-of-concept". PMID:26177853

  18. Heterologous xylose isomerase pathway and evolutionary engineering improve xylose utilization in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

    PubMed Central

    Qi, Xin; Zha, Jian; Liu, Gao-Gang; Zhang, Weiwen; Li, Bing-Zhi; Yuan, Ying-Jin

    2015-01-01

    Xylose utilization is one key issue for the bioconversion of lignocelluloses. It is a promising approach to engineering heterologous pathway for xylose utilization in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here, we constructed a xylose-fermenting yeast SyBE001 through combinatorial fine-tuning the expression of XylA and endogenous XKS1. Additional overexpression of genes RKI1, RPE1, TKL1, and TAL1 in the non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) in SyBE001 increased the xylose consumption rate by 1.19-fold. By repetitive adaptation, the xylose utilization rate was further increased by ∼10-fold in the resultant strain SyBE003. Gene expression analysis identified a variety of genes with significantly changed expression in the PPP, glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid cycle in SyBE003. PMID:26539187

  19. Heterologous xylose isomerase pathway and evolutionary engineering improve xylose utilization in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    PubMed

    Qi, Xin; Zha, Jian; Liu, Gao-Gang; Zhang, Weiwen; Li, Bing-Zhi; Yuan, Ying-Jin

    2015-01-01

    Xylose utilization is one key issue for the bioconversion of lignocelluloses. It is a promising approach to engineering heterologous pathway for xylose utilization in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here, we constructed a xylose-fermenting yeast SyBE001 through combinatorial fine-tuning the expression of XylA and endogenous XKS1. Additional overexpression of genes RKI1, RPE1, TKL1, and TAL1 in the non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) in SyBE001 increased the xylose consumption rate by 1.19-fold. By repetitive adaptation, the xylose utilization rate was further increased by ∼10-fold in the resultant strain SyBE003. Gene expression analysis identified a variety of genes with significantly changed expression in the PPP, glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid cycle in SyBE003. PMID:26539187

  20. The evolutionary diversity of insect retinal mosaics: Common design principles and emerging molecular logic

    PubMed Central

    Wernet, Mathias F.; Perry, Michael W.; Desplan, Claude

    2015-01-01

    Independent evolution has resulted in a vast diversity of eyes. Despite the lack of a common Bauplan or ancestral structure, similar developmental strategies are used. For instance, different classes of photoreceptor cells (PRs) are distributed stochastically and/or localized in different regions of the retina. Here we focus on recent progress made towards understanding the molecular principles behind patterning retinal mosaics of insects, one of the most diverse groups of animals adapted to life on land, in the air, under water, or on the water surface. Morphological, physiological, and behavioral studies from many species provide detailed descriptions of the vast variation in retinal design and function. By integrating this knowledge with recent progress in the characterization of insect Rhodopsins as well as insight from the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, we seek to identify the molecular logic behind the adaptation of retinal mosaics to an animal’s habitat and way of life. PMID:26025917

  1. Molecular phylogenetics and evolutionary history of sect. Quinquefoliae (Pinus): implications for Northern Hemisphere biogeography.

    PubMed

    Hao, Zhen-Zhen; Liu, Yan-Yan; Nazaire, Mare; Wei, Xiao-Xin; Wang, Xiao-Quan

    2015-06-01

    Climatic changes and tectonic events in the Cenozoic have greatly influenced the evolution and geographic distribution of the temperate flora. Such consequences should be most evident in plant groups that are ancient, widespread, and diverse. As one of the most widespread genera of trees, Pinus provides a good model for investigating the history of species diversification and biogeographic disjunction in the Northern Hemisphere. In this study, we reconstructed the phylogeny and investigated the evolutionary and biogeographic history of sect. Quinquefoliae (Pinus), a species-rich lineage disjunctly distributed in Asia, Europe and North America, based on complete taxon sampling and by using nine DNA fragments from chloroplast (cp), mitochondrial (mt) and nuclear genomes. The monophyly of the three subsections, Krempfianae, Gerardianae, and Strobus, is well-supported by cpDNA and nuclear gene phylogenies. However, neither subsect. Gerardianae nor subsect. Strobus forms a monophyletic group in the mtDNA phylogeny, in which sect. Quinquefoliae was divided into two major clades, one consisting of the North American and northeastern Asian species as well as the European P. peuce of subsect. Strobus, and the other comprising the remaining Eurasian species belonging to three subsections. The significant topological incongruence among the gene trees, in conjunction with divergence time estimation and ancestral area reconstruction, indicates that both ancient and relatively recent introgressive hybridization events occurred in the evolution of sect. Quinquefoliae, particularly in northeastern Asia and northwestern North America. In addition, the phylogenetic analysis suggests that the species of subsect. Strobus from subtropical eastern Asia and neighboring areas may have a single origin, although species non-monophyly is very widespread in the nuclear gene trees. Moreover, our study seems to support a Tethyan origin of sect. Quinquefoliae given the distributions and

  2. Evolutionary Computing

    SciTech Connect

    Patton, Robert M; Cui, Xiaohui; Jiao, Yu; Potok, Thomas E

    2008-01-01

    The rate at which information overwhelms humans is significantly more than the rate at which humans have learned to process, analyze, and leverage this information. To overcome this challenge, new methods of computing must be formulated, and scientist and engineers have looked to nature for inspiration in developing these new methods. Consequently, evolutionary computing has emerged as new paradigm for computing, and has rapidly demonstrated its ability to solve real-world problems where traditional techniques have failed. This field of work has now become quite broad and encompasses areas ranging from artificial life to neural networks. This chapter focuses specifically on two sub-areas of nature-inspired computing: Evolutionary Algorithms and Swarm Intelligence.

  3. Molecular markers based on LTR retrotransposons BARE-1 and Jeli uncover different strata of evolutionary relationships in diploid wheats.

    PubMed

    Konovalov, Fedor A; Goncharov, Nikolay P; Goryunova, Svetlana; Shaturova, Aleksandra; Proshlyakova, Tatyana; Kudryavtsev, Alexander

    2010-06-01

    Molecular markers based on retrotransposon insertions are widely used for various applications including phylogenetic analysis. Multiple cases were described where retrotransposon-based markers, namely sequence-specific amplification polymorphism (SSAP), were superior to other marker types in resolving the phylogenetic relationships due to their higher variability and informativeness. However, the patterns of evolutionary relationships revealed by SSAP may be dependent on the underlying retrotransposon activity in different periods of time. Hence, the proper choice of retrotransposon family is essential for obtaining significant results. We compared the phylogenetic trees for a diverse set of diploid A-genome wheat species (Triticum boeoticum, T. urartu and T. monococcum) based on two unrelated retrotransposon families, BARE-1 and Jeli. BARE-1 belongs to Copia class and has a uniform distribution between common wheat (T. aestivum) genomes of different origin (A, B and D), indicating similar activity in the respective diploid genome donors. Gypsy-class family Jeli was found by us to be an A-genome retrotransposon with >70% copies residing in A genome of hexaploid common wheat, suggesting a burst of transposition in the history of A-genome progenitors. The results indicate that a higher Jeli transpositional activity was associated with T. urartu versus T. boeoticum speciation, while BARE-1 produced more polymorphic insertions during subsequent intraspecific diversification; as an outcome, each retrotransposon provides more informative markers at the corresponding level of phylogenetic relationships. We conclude that multiple retroelement families should be analyzed for an image of evolutionary relationships to be solid and comprehensive. PMID:20407790

  4. Molecular Response of Crop Plants to Engineered Nanomaterials.

    PubMed

    Pagano, Luca; Servin, Alia D; De La Torre-Roche, Roberto; Mukherjee, Arnab; Majumdar, Sanghamitra; Hawthorne, Joseph; Marmiroli, Marta; Maestri, Elena; Marra, Robert E; Isch, Susan M; Dhankher, Om Parkash; White, Jason C; Marmiroli, Nelson

    2016-07-01

    Functional toxicology has enabled the identification of genes involved in conferring tolerance and sensitivity to engineered nanomaterial (ENM) exposure in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. Several genes were found to be involved in metabolic functions, stress response, transport, protein synthesis, and DNA repair. Consequently, analysis of physiological parameters, metal content (through ICP-MS quantification), and gene expression (by RT-qPCR) of A. thaliana orthologue genes were performed across different plant species of agronomic interest to highlight putative biomarkers of exposure and effect related to ENMs. This approach led to the identification of molecular markers in Solanum lycopersicum L. and Cucurbita pepo L. (tomato and zucchini) that might not only indicate exposure to ENMs (CuO, CeO2, and La2O3) but also provide mechanistic insight into response to these materials. Through Gene Ontology (GO) analysis, the target genes were mapped in complex interatomic networks representing molecular pathways, cellular components, and biological processes involved in ENM response. The transcriptional response of 38 (out of 204) candidate genes studied varied according to particle type, size, and plant species. Importantly, some of the genes studied showed potential as biomarkers of ENM exposure and effect and may be useful for risk assessment in foods and in the environment. PMID:27301997

  5. Molecular engineering and characterization of self-assembled biorecognition surfaces

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pan, Sheng

    The development of molecular engineering techniques for the fabrication of biomaterial surfaces is of importance in the field of biomaterials. It offers opportunities for better understanding of biological processes on material surfaces and rational design of contemporary biomaterials. Our work in this area aims to develop novel engineering strategies to design biorecognition surfaces via self-assembly and surface derivatization. Fundamental issues regarding self-assembled monolayer (SAM) structure, formation kinetics, and chemical derivatization were investigated systematically using electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis (ESCA), time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS), infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (IRAS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and contact angle measurements. Novel engineering concepts based on multifunctionality and statistical pattern matching were introduced and applied to develop biomimetic surfaces. Our study illustrated that molecules underwent structural transition and orientation development during self-assembly formation, from a disordered, low-density, more liquid-like structure to a highly ordered, closed-packed crystalline-like structure. Surface properties, such as wettability and the reactivity of outermost functional groups can be related to film structure, packing density, as well as molecular orientation. Given the order and organization of SAMs, the accessibility and reactivity of the outermost functional groups, reaction kinetics, stoichiometry, and SAMs stability were studied systematically by surface derivatization of trifluoroacetic anhydride (TFAA). The TFAA derivatization reactions exhibited rapid kinetics on the hydroxyl-terminated SAMs. The data from complementary surface analytical techniques consistently indicated a nearly complete surface reaction. Biomimetic surfaces were made by random immobilization of amino acid of arginine (R), glycine (G), and aspartic acid (D) on well-defined SAMs

  6. Development of efficient molecular simulation techniques for engineering applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Subramaniyan, Arun Karthi

    Engineering Molecular Mechanics (EMM) was developed as an alternative to conventional molecular simulation techniques to model high temperature (T > 0 K) phenomena. The EMM methodology was developed using thermal expansion and thermal energy as key thermal properties. Temperature dependent interatomic potentials were developed to account for thermal effects. Lennard-Jones and Morse potentials were used to build temperature dependent potentials. The validity and effectiveness of EMM simulations were demonstrated by simulating temperature dependent properties such as thermal expansion, elastic constants and thermal stress in copper and nickel. EMM simulations were significantly faster than molecular dynamics (MD) simulations for the same accuracy. A controversy regarding the definition of stress in an atomic system was resolved. Using theoretical arguments and numerical examples, the equivalence of virial stress and Cauchy stress was proved. It was shown that neglecting the velocity term in the definition of virial stress (as suggested by some researchers) can cause significant errors in MD simulations at high temperatures. The nanoscale instabilities during phase transformation in Ni-Al shape memory alloys were studied using MD and EMM simulations. The phase transformation temperatures predicted by MD simulations agreed well with experiments. Some limitations of the EMM methodology and the minimization algorithm were discussed. The possibility of nanoscale material design of Ni-Al shape memory alloys was investigated. It was found that the distribution of nickel and aluminum atoms in the alloy can affect the phase transformation characteristics significantly. A new design criterion based on thermal expansion mismatch was introduced. The predicted results using the new criterion matched well with the phase transformation temperature and strain calculated using MD simulations. The new one parameter design criterion was shown to be effective for designing Ni-Al shape

  7. Molecular signature of the D-loop in the brown pencilfish Nannostomus eques (Characiformes, Lebiasinidae) reveals at least two evolutionary units in the Rio Negro basin, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Terencio, M L; Schneider, C H; Porto, J I R

    2012-07-01

    The genetic variability of the brown pencilfish Nannostomus eques was studied, based on an analysis of sequences from the control region (1084 bp) of mitochondrial (mt)DNA in 125 individuals collected from eight tributaries along the upper (Açaituba, Miuá, Jaradi and Arixanã), middle (Demini), and lower (Jacundá, Maguari and Catalão) Rio Negro (Brazil). Phylogenetic inferences using mtDNA data from N. eques revealed two evolutionary units. Genetic distance between them ranged from 5.5 to 8.3% and differed by 8.5-11.8% from the sister species pencilfish Nannostomus unifasciatus. The time of divergence between the two evolutionary units was estimated to be the Middle Pliocene (c. 2.99 million years before present). Population genetic analysis (DNA polymorphism, AMOVA and Mantel test) showed high haplotype diversity (HD, >0.90) in each evolutionary unit, a strong population genetic structure in the Demini River that formed a monophyletic group and a correlation between genetic divergence and geographical distance in only one of these units (evolutionary unit 1). On the basis of molecular data, the rapids and waterfalls near São Gabriel da Cachoeira (Upper Rio Negro) were the main barriers to gene flow within evolutionary unit 1 in some localities. The emergences of the Branco River and the Anavilhanas Archipelago were apparently responsible for the discrepancy in distribution of the two evolutionary units, except at Jacundá, where the evolutionary units were sympatric. In view of the differences between the evolutionary units, N. eques cannot be treated as a single stock in the Rio Negro basin. These results may have important implications for the fishery management of this ornamental fish. PMID:22747807

  8. Determination of enzyme thermal parameters for rational enzyme engineering and environmental/evolutionary studies.

    PubMed

    Lee, Charles K; Monk, Colin R; Daniel, Roy M

    2013-01-01

    Of the two independent processes by which enzymes lose activity with increasing temperature, irreversible thermal inactivation and rapid reversible equilibration with an inactive form, the latter is only describable by the Equilibrium Model. Any investigation of the effect of temperature upon enzymes, a mandatory step in rational enzyme engineering and study of enzyme temperature adaptation, thus requires determining the enzymes' thermodynamic parameters as defined by the Equilibrium Model. The necessary data for this procedure can be collected by carrying out multiple isothermal enzyme assays at 3-5°C intervals over a suitable temperature range. If the collected data meet requirements for V max determination (i.e., if the enzyme kinetics are "ideal"), then the enzyme's Equilibrium Model parameters (ΔH eq, T eq, ΔG (‡) cat, and ΔG (‡) inact) can be determined using a freely available iterative model-fitting software package designed for this purpose.Although "ideal" enzyme reactions are required for determination of all four Equilibrium Model parameters, ΔH eq, T eq, and ΔG (‡) cat can be determined from initial (zero-time) rates for most nonideal enzyme reactions, with substrate saturation being the only requirement. PMID:23504427

  9. Evolutionary origins, molecular cloning and expression of carotenoid hydroxylases in eukaryotic photosynthetic algae

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Xanthophylls, oxygenated derivatives of carotenes, play critical roles in photosynthetic apparatus of cyanobacteria, algae, and higher plants. Although the xanthophylls biosynthetic pathway of algae is largely unknown, it is of particular interest because they have a very complicated evolutionary history. Carotenoid hydroxylase (CHY) is an important protein that plays essential roles in xanthophylls biosynthesis. With the availability of 18 sequenced algal genomes, we performed a comprehensive comparative analysis of chy genes and explored their distribution, structure, evolution, origins, and expression. Results Overall 60 putative chy genes were identified and classified into two major subfamilies (bch and cyp97) according to their domain structures. Genes in the bch subfamily were found in 10 green algae and 1 red alga, but absent in other algae. In the phylogenetic tree, bch genes of green algae and higher plants share a common ancestor and are of non-cyanobacterial origin, whereas that of red algae is of cyanobacteria. The homologs of cyp97a/c genes were widespread only in green algae, while cyp97b paralogs were seen in most of algae. Phylogenetic analysis on cyp97 genes supported the hypothesis that cyp97b is an ancient gene originated before the formation of extant algal groups. The cyp97a gene is more closely related to cyp97c in evolution than to cyp97b. The two cyp97 genes were isolated from the green alga Haematococcus pluvialis, and transcriptional expression profiles of chy genes were observed under high light stress of different wavelength. Conclusions Green algae received a β-xanthophylls biosynthetic pathway from host organisms. Although red algae inherited the pathway from cyanobacteria during primary endosymbiosis, it remains unclear in Chromalveolates. The α-xanthophylls biosynthetic pathway is a common feature in green algae and higher plants. The origination of cyp97a/c is most likely due to gene duplication before divergence of

  10. Molecular and evolutionary insights into the structural organization of cation chloride cotransporters

    PubMed Central

    Hartmann, Anna-Maria; Nothwang, Hans Gerd

    2015-01-01

    Cation chloride cotransporters (CCC) play an essential role for neuronal chloride homeostasis. K+-Cl− cotransporter (KCC2), is the principal Cl−-extruder, whereas Na+-K+-Cl− cotransporter (NKCC1), is the major Cl−-uptake mechanism in many neurons. As a consequence, the action of the inhibitory neurotransmitters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glycine strongly depend on the activity of these two transporters. Knowledge of the mechanisms involved in ion transport and regulation is thus of great importance to better understand normal and disturbed brain function. Although no overall 3-dimensional crystal structures are yet available, recent molecular and phylogenetic studies and modeling have provided new and exciting insights into structure-function relationships of CCC. Here, we will summarize our current knowledge of the gross structural organization of the proteins, their functional domains, ion binding and translocation sites, and the established role of individual amino acids (aa). A major focus will be laid on the delineation of shared and distinct organizational principles between KCC2 and NKCC1. Exploiting the richness of recently generated genome data across the tree of life, we will also explore the molecular evolution of these features. PMID:25653592

  11. Evolutionary relationships of Metazoa within the eukaryotes based on molecular data from Porifera.

    PubMed Central

    Schütze, J; Krasko, A; Custodio, M R; Efremova, S M; Müller, I M; Müller, W E

    1999-01-01

    Recent molecular data provide strong support for the view that all metazoan phyla, including Porifera, are of monophyletic origin. The relationship of Metazoa, including the Porifera, to Plantae, Fungi and unicellular eukaryotes has only rarely been studied by using cDNAs coding for proteins. Sequence data from rDNA suggested a relationship of Porifera to unicellular eukaryotes (choanoflagellates). However, ultrastructural studies of choanocytes did not support these findings. In the present study, we compared amino acid sequences that are found in a variety of metazoans (including sponges) with those of Plantae, Fungi and unicellular eukaryotes, to obtain an answer to this question. We used the four sequences from 70 kDa heat-shock proteins, the serine-threonine kinase domain found in protein kinases, beta-tubulin and calmodulin. The latter two sequences were deduced from cDNAs, isolated from the sponge Geodia cydonium for the phylogenetic analyses presented. These revealed that the sponge molecules were grouped into the same branch as the Metazoa, which is statistically (significantly) separated from those branches that comprise the sequences from Fungi, Plantae and unicellular eukaryotes. From our molecular data it seems evident that the unicellular eukaryotes existed at an earlier stage of evolution, and the Plantae and especially the Fungi and the Metazoa only appeared later. PMID:10081159

  12. Evolutionary history of tall fescue morphotypes inferred from molecular phylogenetics of the Lolium-Festuca species complex

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background The agriculturally important pasture grass tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb. syn. Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) Darbysh.) is an outbreeding allohexaploid, that may be more accurately described as a species complex consisting of three major (Continental, Mediterranean and rhizomatous) morphotypes. Observation of hybrid infertility in some crossing combinations between morphotypes suggests the possibility of independent origins from different diploid progenitors. This study aims to clarify the evolutionary relationships between each tall fescue morphotype through phylogenetic analysis using two low-copy nuclear genes (encoding plastid acetyl-CoA carboxylase [Acc1] and centroradialis [CEN]), the nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (rDNA ITS) and the chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) genome-located matK gene. Other taxa within the closely related Lolium-Festuca species complex were also included in the study, to increase understanding of evolutionary processes in a taxonomic group characterised by multiple inter-specific hybridisation events. Results Putative homoeologous sequences from both nuclear genes were obtained from each polyploid species and compared to counterparts from 15 diploid taxa. Phylogenetic reconstruction confirmed F. pratensis and F. arundinacea var. glaucescens as probable progenitors to Continental tall fescue, and these species are also likely to be ancestral to the rhizomatous morphotype. However, these two morphotypes are sufficiently distinct to be located in separate clades based on the ITS-derived data set. All four of the generated data sets suggest independent evolution of the Mediterranean and Continental morphotypes, with minimal affinity between cognate sequence haplotypes. No obvious candidate progenitor species for Mediterranean tall fescues were identified, and only two putative sub-genome-specific haplotypes were identified for this morphotype. Conclusions This study describes the first phylogenetic analysis of

  13. Blending Determinism with Evolutionary Computing: Applications to the Calculation of the Molecular Electronic Structure of Polythiophene.

    PubMed

    Sarkar, Kanchan; Sharma, Rahul; Bhattacharyya, S P

    2010-03-01

    A density matrix based soft-computing solution to the quantum mechanical problem of computing the molecular electronic structure of fairly long polythiophene (PT) chains is proposed. The soft-computing solution is based on a "random mutation hill climbing" scheme which is modified by blending it with a deterministic method based on a trial single-particle density matrix [P((0))(R)] for the guessed structural parameters (R), which is allowed to evolve under a unitary transformation generated by the Hamiltonian H(R). The Hamiltonian itself changes as the geometrical parameters (R) defining the polythiophene chain undergo mutation. The scale (λ) of the transformation is optimized by making the energy [E(λ)] stationary with respect to λ. The robustness and the performance levels of variants of the algorithm are analyzed and compared with those of other derivative free methods. The method is further tested successfully with optimization of the geometry of bipolaron-doped long PT chains. PMID:26613302

  14. Molecular Insights Into the Evolutionary Pathway of Vibrio cholerae O1 Atypical El Tor Variants

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Eun Jin; Lee, Dokyung; Moon, Se Hoon; Lee, Chan Hee; Kim, Sang Jun; Lee, Jae Hyun; Kim, Jae Ouk; Song, Manki; Das, Bhabatosh; Clemens, John D.; Pape, Jean William; Nair, G. Balakrish; Kim, Dong Wook

    2014-01-01

    Pandemic V. cholerae strains in the O1 serogroup have 2 biotypes: classical and El Tor. The classical biotype strains of the sixth pandemic, which encode the classical type cholera toxin (CT), have been replaced by El Tor biotype strains of the seventh pandemic. The prototype El Tor strains that produce biotype-specific cholera toxin are being replaced by atypical El Tor variants that harbor classical cholera toxin. Atypical El Tor strains are categorized into 2 groups, Wave 2 and Wave 3 strains, based on genomic variations and the CTX phage that they harbor. Whole-genome analysis of V. cholerae strains in the seventh cholera pandemic has demonstrated gradual changes in the genome of prototype and atypical El Tor strains, indicating that atypical strains arose from the prototype strains by replacing the CTX phages. We examined the molecular mechanisms that effected the emergence of El Tor strains with classical cholera toxin-carrying phage. We isolated an intermediary V. cholerae strain that carried two different CTX phages that encode El Tor and classical cholera toxin, respectively. We show here that the intermediary strain can be converted into various Wave 2 strains and can act as the source of the novel mosaic CTX phages. These results imply that the Wave 2 and Wave 3 strains may have been generated from such intermediary strains in nature. Prototype El Tor strains can become Wave 3 strains by excision of CTX-1 and re-equipping with the new CTX phages. Our data suggest that inter-chromosomal recombination between 2 types of CTX phages is possible when a host bacterial cell is infected by multiple CTX phages. Our study also provides molecular insights into population changes in V. cholerae in the absence of significant changes to the genome but by replacement of the CTX prophage that they harbor. PMID:25233006

  15. Incorporating Molecular and Cellular Biology into a Chemical Engineering Degree Program

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    O'Connor, Kim C.

    2005-01-01

    There is a growing need for a workforce that can apply engineering principles to molecular based discovery and product development in the biological sciences. To this end, Tulane University established a degree program that incorporates molecular and cellular biology into the chemical engineering curriculum. In celebration of the tenth anniversary…

  16. Molecular systematics of Serrasalmidae: Deciphering the identities of piranha species and unraveling their evolutionary histories

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Freeman, B.; Nico, L.G.; Osentoski, M.; Jelks, H.L.; Collins, T.M.

    2007-01-01

    Piranhas and their relatives have proven to be a challenging group from a systematic perspective, with difficulties in identification of species, linking of juveniles to adults, diagnosis of genera, and recognition of higher-level clades. In this study we add new molecular data consisting of three mitochondrial regions for museum vouchered and photo-documented representatives of the Serrasalmidae. These are combined with existing serrasalmid sequences in GenBank to address species and higher-level questions within the piranhas using parsimony and Bayesian methods. We found robust support for the monophyly of Serrasalmus manueli, but not for Serrasalmus gouldingi when GenBank specimens identified as S. gouldingi were included in the analysis. "Serrasalmus gouldingi" sequences in GenBank may, however, be misidentified. Linking of juveniles to adults of the same species was greatly facilitated by the addition of sequence data. Based on our sampling and identifications, our data robustly reject the monophyly of the genera Serrasalmus and Pristobrycon. We found evidence for a well-supported clade comprised of Serrasalmus, Pygocentrus, and Pristobrycon (in part). This clade was robustly supported in separate and combined analyses of gene regions, and was also supported by a unique molecular character, the loss of a tandem repeat in the control region. Analysis of specimens and a literature review suggest this clade is also characterized by the presence of a pre-anal spine and ectopterygoid teeth. A persistent polytomy at the base of this clade was dated using an independent calibration as 1.8 million years old, corresponding to the beginning of the Pleistocene Epoch, and suggesting an origin for this clade more recent than dates cited in the recent literature. The sister group to this clade is also robustly supported, and consists of Catoprion, Pygopristis, and Pristobrycon striolatus. If the term piranha is to refer to a monophyletic clade, it should be restricted to

  17. The dynamical evolution of molecular clouds near the Galactic Centre - I. Orbital structure and evolutionary timeline

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kruijssen, J. M. Diederik; Dale, James E.; Longmore, Steven N.

    2015-02-01

    We recently proposed that the star-forming potential of dense molecular clouds in the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ, i.e. the central few 100 pc) of the Milky Way is intimately linked to their orbital dynamics, potentially giving rise to an absolute-time sequence of star-forming clouds. In this paper, we present an orbital model for the gas stream(s) observed in the CMZ. The model is obtained by integrating orbits in the empirically constrained gravitational potential and represents a good fit (χ _red^2=2.0) to the observed position-velocity distribution of dense (n > several 103 cm-3) gas, reproducing all of its key properties. The orbit is also consistent with observational constraints not included in the fitting process, such as the 3D space velocities of Sgr B2 and the Arches and Quintuplet clusters. It differs from previous, parametric models in several respects: (1) the orbit is open rather than closed due to the extended mass distribution in the CMZ, (2) its orbital velocity (100-200 km s-1) is twice as high as in previous models, and (3) Sgr A* coincides with the focus of the (eccentric) orbit rather than being offset. Our orbital solution supports the recently proposed scenario in which the dust ridge between G0.253+0.016 (`the Brick') and Sgr B2 represents an absolute-time sequence of star-forming clouds, of which the condensation was triggered by the tidal compression during their most recent pericentre passage. We position the clouds on a common timeline and find that their pericentre passages occurred 0.30-0.74 Myr ago. Given their short free-fall times (tff ˜ 0.34 Myr), the quiescent cloud G0.253+0.016 and the vigorously star-forming complex Sgr B2 are separated by a single free-fall time of evolution, implying that star formation proceeds rapidly once collapse has been initiated. We provide the complete orbital solution, as well as several quantitative predictions of our model (e.g. proper motions and the positions of star formation `hotspots'). The

  18. DNA barcode and evolutionary relationship within Laemolyta Cope 1872 (Characiformes: Anostomidae) through molecular analyses.

    PubMed

    Ramirez, Jorge L; Galetti, Pedro M

    2015-12-01

    The Laemolyta genus is a monophyletic group with five valid species. Phylogenetic relationships among the species of this genus are unknown. We analyzed four nominal Laemolyta species. The COI gene for all individuals was amplified and the genetic distances were estimated. We performed genetic distance analyses to determine the different MOTUs. Two mitochondrial (COI and CytB) and three nuclear (Myh6, RAG1 and RAG2) markers were amplified for one individual of each identified MOTU. Maximum Parsimony and Maximum Likelihood were conducted using concatenate alignment. In addition, multilocus Bayesian species tree was carried out. By using DNA barcode, we identified six different MOTUs. The COI inter-MOTU distances ranged from 0.92% to 5.76%. The normalized mean intra-MOTU distance was 0.13%. The DNA barcode was useful to diagnose all species. Two clades showing distinct color patterns were recovered in all molecular phylogenetic trees. Clade A joined fishes with no vertical bars (L. garmani, L. taeniata 1 and L. taeniata 2) and clade B, fishes with vertical dark bars (L. fernandezi Araguaia, L. fernandezi Xingu, and L. proxima). The results were able to identify the cryptic biodiversity within the group and obtained the most complete Laemolyta phylogeny. PMID:26238459

  19. Molecular characteristics and evolutionary analysis of a very virulent infectious bursal disease virus.

    PubMed

    Li, Zan; Qi, XiaoLe; Ren, XianGang; Cui, Lei; Wang, XiaoMei; Zhu, Ping

    2015-08-01

    Infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) poses a significant threat to the poultry industry. Viral protein 2 (VP2), the major structural protein of IBDV, has been subjected to frequent mutations that have imparted tremendous genetic diversity to the virus. To determine how amino acid mutations may affect the virulence of IBDV, we built a structural model of VP2 of a very virulent strain of IBDV identified in China, vvIBDV Gx, and performed a molecular dynamics simulation of the interaction between virulence sites. The study showed that the amino acid substitutions that distinguish vvIBDV from attenuated IBDV (H253Q and T284A) favor a hydrophobic and flexible conformation of β-barrel loops in VP2, which could promote interactions between the virus and potential IBDV-specific receptors. Population sequence analysis revealed that the IBDV strains prevalent in East Asia show a significant signal of positive selection at virulence sites 253 and 284. In addition, a signal of co-evolution between sites 253 and 284 was identified. These results suggest that changes in the virulence of IBDV may result from both the interaction and the co-evolution of multiple amino acid substitutions at virulence sites. PMID:26245145

  20. Evolutionary History of the PER3 Variable Number of Tandem Repeats (VNTR): Idiosyncratic Aspect of Primate Molecular Circadian Clock

    PubMed Central

    Sabino, Flávia Cal; Ribeiro, Amanda Oliveira; Tufik, Sérgio; Torres, Laila Brito; Oliveira, José Américo; Mello, Luiz Eugênio Araújo Moraes; Cavalcante, Jeferson Souza; Pedrazzoli, Mario

    2014-01-01

    The PER3 gene is one of the clock genes, which function in the core mammalian molecular circadian system. A variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) locus in the 18th exon of this gene has been strongly associated to circadian rhythm phenotypes and sleep organization in humans, but it has not been identified in other mammals except primates. To better understand the evolution and the placement of the PER3 VNTR in a phylogenetical context, the present study enlarges the investigation about the presence and the structure of this variable region in a large sample of primate species and other mammals. The analysis of the results has revealed that the PER3 VNTR occurs exclusively in simiiforme primates and that the number of copies of the primitive unit ranges from 2 to 11 across different primate species. Two transposable elements surrounding the 18th exon of PER3 were found in primates with published genome sequences, including the tarsiiforme Tarsius syrichta, which lacks the VNTR. These results suggest that this VNTR may have evolved in a common ancestor of the simiiforme branch and that the evolutionary copy number differentiation of this VNTR may be associated with primate simiiformes sleep and circadian phenotype patterns. PMID:25222750

  1. Is the rate of insertion and deletion mutation male biased?: Molecular evolutionary analysis of avian and primate sex chromosome sequences.

    PubMed Central

    Sundström, Hannah; Webster, Matthew T; Ellegren, Hans

    2003-01-01

    The rate of mutation for nucleotide substitution is generally higher among males than among females, likely owing to the larger number of DNA replications in spermatogenesis than in oogenesis. For insertion and deletion (indel) mutations, data from a few human genetic disease loci indicate that the two sexes may mutate at similar rates, possibly because such mutations arise in connection with meiotic crossing over. To address origin- and sex-specific rates of indel mutation we have conducted the first large-scale molecular evolutionary analysis of indels in noncoding DNA sequences from sex chromosomes. The rates are similar on the X and Y chromosomes of primates but about twice as high on the avian Z chromosome as on the W chromosome. The fact that indels are not uncommon on the nonrecombining Y and W chromosomes excludes meiotic crossing over as the main cause of indel mutation. On the other hand, the similar rates on X and Y indicate that the number of DNA replications (higher for Y than for X) is also not the main factor. Our observations are therefore consistent with a role of both DNA replication and recombination in the generation of short insertion and deletion mutations. A significant excess of deletion compared to insertion events is observed on the avian W chromosome, consistent with gradual DNA loss on a nonrecombining chromosome. PMID:12750337

  2. A combination of evolutionary trace method, molecular surface accessibility and hydrophobicity analysis to design a high hydrophobicity laccase.

    PubMed

    Mohamad, Saharuddin Bin; Ong, Ai Ling; Khairuddin, Raja Farhana; Ripen, Adiratna Mat

    2010-01-01

    Laccases are industrially attractive enzymes and their applications have expanded to the field of bioremediation. The challenge of today's biotechnology in enzymatic studies is to design enzymes that not only have a higher activity but are also more stable and could fit well with the condition requirements. Laccases are known to oxidize non-natural substrates like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). We suppose by increasing the hydrophobicity of laccase, it would increase the chance of the enzyme to meet the hydrophobic substrates in a contamination site, therefore increasing the bioremediation efficacy of PAHs from environment. In this attempt, the applications of evolutionary trace (ET), molecular surface accessibility and hydrophobicity analysis on laccase sequences and laccase's crystal structure (1KYA) are described for optimal design of an enzyme with higher hydrophobicity. Our analysis revealed that Q23A, Q45I, N141A, Q237V, N262L, N301V, N331A, Q360L and Q482A could be promising exchanges to be tested in mutagenesis experiments. PMID:22430288

  3. Elucidating the evolutionary conserved DNA-binding specificities of WRKY transcription factors by molecular dynamics and in vitro binding assays

    PubMed Central

    Brand, Luise H.; Fischer, Nina M.; Harter, Klaus; Kohlbacher, Oliver; Wanke, Dierk

    2013-01-01

    WRKY transcription factors constitute a large protein family in plants that is involved in the regulation of developmental processes and responses to biotic or abiotic stimuli. The question arises how stimulus-specific responses are mediated given that the highly conserved WRKY DNA-binding domain (DBD) exclusively recognizes the ‘TTGACY’ W-box consensus. We speculated that the W-box consensus might be more degenerate and yet undetected differences in the W-box consensus of WRKYs of different evolutionary descent exist. The phylogenetic analysis of WRKY DBDs suggests that they evolved from an ancestral group IIc-like WRKY early in the eukaryote lineage. A direct descent of group IIc WRKYs supports a monophyletic origin of all other group II and III WRKYs from group I by loss of an N-terminal DBD. Group I WRKYs are of paraphyletic descent and evolved multiple times independently. By homology modeling, molecular dynamics simulations and in vitro DNA–protein interaction-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with AtWRKY50 (IIc), AtWRKY33 (I) and AtWRKY11 (IId) DBDs, we revealed differences in DNA-binding specificities. Our data imply that other components are essentially required besides the W-box-specific binding to DNA to facilitate a stimulus-specific WRKY function. PMID:23975197

  4. Phylogeny, evolutionary trends and classification of the Spathelia–Ptaeroxylon clade: morphological and molecular insights

    PubMed Central

    Appelhans, M. S.; Smets, E.; Razafimandimbison, S. G.; Haevermans, T.; van Marle, E. J.; Couloux, A.; Rabarison, H.; Randrianarivelojosia, M.; Keßler, P. J. A.

    2011-01-01

    Background and Aims The Spathelia–Ptaeroxylon clade is a group of morphologically diverse plants that have been classified together as a result of molecular phylogenetic studies. The clade is currently included in Rutaceae and recognized at a subfamilial level (Spathelioideae) despite the fact that most of its genera have traditionally been associated with other families and that there are no obvious morphological synapomorphies for the clade. The aim of the present study is to construct phylogenetic trees for the Spathelia–Ptaeroxylon clade and to investigate anatomical characters in order to decide whether it should be kept in Rutaceae or recognized at the familial level. Anatomical characters were plotted on a cladogram to help explain character evolution within the group. Moreover, phylogenetic relationships and generic limits within the clade are also addressed. Methods A species-level phylogenetic analysis of the Spathelia–Ptaeroxylon clade based on five plastid DNA regions (rbcL, atpB, trnL–trnF, rps16 and psbA–trnH) was conducted using Bayesian, maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood methods. Leaf and seed anatomical characters of all genera were (re)investigated by light and scanning electron microscopy. Key Results With the exception of Spathelia, all genera of the Spathelila–Ptaeroxylon clade are monophyletic. The typical leaf and seed anatomical characters of Rutaceae were found. Further, the presence of oil cells in the leaves provides a possible synapomorphy for the clade. Conclusions The Spathelia–Ptaeroxylon clade is well placed in Rutaceae and it is reasonable to unite the genera into one subfamily (Spathelioideae). We propose a new tribal classification of Spathelioideae. A narrow circumscription of Spathelia is established to make the genus monophyletic, and Sohnreyia is resurrected to accommodate the South American species of Spathelia. The most recent common ancestor of Spathelioideae probably had leaves with secretory cavities

  5. Evolutionary history of Ramphastos toucans: molecular phylogenetics, temporal diversification, and biogeography.

    PubMed

    Patané, José S L; Weckstein, Jason D; Aleixo, Alexandre; Bates, John M

    2009-12-01

    The toucan genus Ramphastos (Piciformes: Ramphastidae) has been a model in the formulation of Neotropical paleobiogeographic hypotheses. Weckstein (2005) reported on the phylogenetic history of this genus based on three mitochondrial genes, but some relationships were weakly supported and one of the subspecies of R. vitellinus (citreolaemus) was unsampled. This study expands on Weckstein (2005) by adding more DNA sequence data (including a nuclear marker) and more samples, including R. v. citreolaemus. Maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian methods recovered similar trees, with nodes showing high support. A monophyletic R. vitellinus complex was strongly supported as the sister-group to R. brevis. The results also confirmed that the southeastern and northern populations of R. vitellinus ariel are paraphyletic. R. v. citreolaemus is sister to the Amazonian subspecies of the vitellinus complex. Using three protein-coding genes (COI, cytochrome-b and ND2) and interval-calibrated nodes under a Bayesian relaxed-clock framework, we infer that ramphastid genera originated in the middle Miocene to early Pliocene, Ramphastos species originated between late Miocene and early Pleistocene, and intra-specific divergences took place throughout the Pleistocene. Parsimony-based reconstruction of ancestral areas indicated that evolution of the four trans-Andean Ramphastos taxa (R. v. citreolaemus, R. a. swainsonii, R. brevis and R. sulfuratus) was associated with four independent dispersals from the cis-Andean region. The last pulse of Andean uplift may have been important for the evolution of R. sulfuratus, whereas the origin of the other trans-Andean Ramphastos taxa is consistent with vicariance due to drying events in the lowland forests north of the Andes. Estimated rates of molecular evolution were higher than the "standard" bird rate of 2% substitutions/site/million years for two of the three genes analyzed (cytochrome-b and ND2). PMID:19699308

  6. Molecular evolutionary analysis of vertebrate transducins: a role for amino acid variation in photoreceptor deactivation.

    PubMed

    Lin, Yi G; Weadick, Cameron J; Santini, Francesco; Chang, Belinda S W

    2013-12-01

    Transducin is a heterotrimeric G protein that plays a critical role in phototransduction in the rod and cone photoreceptor cells of the vertebrate retina. Rods, highly sensitive cells that recover from photoactivation slowly, underlie dim-light vision, whereas cones are less sensitive, recover more quickly, and underlie bright-light vision. Transducin deactivation is a critical step in photoreceptor recovery and may underlie the functional distinction between rods and cones. Rods and cones possess distinct transducin α subunits, yet they share a common deactivation mechanism, the GTPase activating protein (GAP) complex. Here, we used codon models to examine patterns of sequence evolution in rod (GNAT1) and cone (GNAT2) α subunits. Our results indicate that purifying selection is the dominant force shaping GNAT1 and GNAT2 evolution, but that GNAT2 has additionally been subject to positive selection operating at multiple phylogenetic scales; phylogeny-wide analysis identified several sites in the GNAT2 helical domain as having substantially elevated dN/dS estimates, and branch-site analysis identified several nearby sites as targets of strong positive selection during early vertebrate history. Examination of aligned GNAT and GAP complex crystal structures revealed steric clashes between several positively selected sites and the deactivating GAP complex. This suggests that GNAT2 sequence variation could play an important role in adaptive evolution of the vertebrate visual system via effects on photoreceptor deactivation kinetics and provides an alternative perspective to previous work that focused instead on the effect of GAP complex concentration. Our findings thus further the understanding of the molecular biology, physiology, and evolution of vertebrate visual systems. PMID:24145862

  7. Quantitative evolutionary design

    PubMed Central

    Diamond, Jared

    2002-01-01

    The field of quantitative evolutionary design uses evolutionary reasoning (in terms of natural selection and ultimate causation) to understand the magnitudes of biological reserve capacities, i.e. excesses of capacities over natural loads. Ratios of capacities to loads, defined as safety factors, fall in the range 1.2-10 for most engineered and biological components, even though engineered safety factors are specified intentionally by humans while biological safety factors arise through natural selection. Familiar examples of engineered safety factors include those of buildings, bridges and elevators (lifts), while biological examples include factors of bones and other structural elements, of enzymes and transporters, and of organ metabolic performances. Safety factors serve to minimize the overlap zone (resulting in performance failure) between the low tail of capacity distributions and the high tail of load distributions. Safety factors increase with coefficients of variation of load and capacity, with capacity deterioration with time, and with cost of failure, and decrease with costs of initial construction, maintenance, operation, and opportunity. Adaptive regulation of many biological systems involves capacity increases with increasing load; several quantitative examples suggest sublinear increases, such that safety factors decrease towards 1.0. Unsolved questions include safety factors of series systems, parallel or branched pathways, elements with multiple functions, enzyme reaction chains, and equilibrium enzymes. The modest sizes of safety factors imply the existence of costs that penalize excess capacities. Those costs are likely to involve wasted energy or space for large or expensive components, but opportunity costs of wasted space at the molecular level for minor components. PMID:12122135

  8. Evolutionary stable strategy: a test for theories of retroviral pathology which are based upon the concept of molecular mimicry.

    PubMed

    Powell, P D; DeMartini, J C; Azari, P; Stargell, L A; Cordain, L; Tucker, A

    2000-02-01

    The genetic makeup of animal and plant populations is determined by established principles and concepts. Ecology and evolution provide a basic theoretical framework for understanding how genetic changes occur in populations. Whether these rules can be applied to host retroviral populations is unknown. Individuals infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) contain within their bodies a viral population. This population is known as a viral quasispecies. Located in the transmembrane protein of HIV-1 is the viral sequence Gly-Thr-Asp-Arg-Val. Previous immunological studies have shown that viral antibody is produced in response to this five-amino-acid sequence. Antibody to this viral sequence also crossreacts and binds to a related peptide sequence found on certain immune cells. This related sequence, Gly-Thr-Glu-Arg-Val, is found on immune cells bearing a structure known as the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). The viral transmembrane sequence, Gly-Thr-Asp-Arg-Val, can be substituted with alanine residues utilizing site-directed mutagenesis. This creates a viral clone devoid of the genetic similarity with the MHC. Chimpanzees progressing to AIDS contain both sequences of interest. Suppression of the chimpanzee quasispecies utilizing anti-retroviral drugs is proposed. This action serves to suppress the presence of the viruses containing the sequence Gly-Thr-Asp-Arg-Val. When viral load has been reduced significantly, a drug resistant, alanine altered clone is to be introduced in large numbers. The concept of evolutionary stable strategy predicts that a viable HIV clone with alanine residues can genetically dominate the viral population. Immune system recognition of the alanine sequence is likely to result in renewed antibody production. Antibodies to the alanine containing viral sequence should not recognize or bind to the MHC. Immunological parameters can then be measured to determine the physiological impact of eliminating a sequence responsible for

  9. Exploring the engines of molecular outflows. Radio continuum and H_2_O maser observations.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tofani, G.; Felli, M.; Taylor, G. B.; Hunter, T. R.

    1995-09-01

    We present A-configuration VLA observations of the 22GHz H_2_O maser line and 8.4GHz continuum emission of 22 selected CO bipolar outflows associated with water masers. These observations allow us to study the region within 10^4^AU of the engine powering the outflow. The positions of the maser spots are compared with those of ultra-compact (UC) continuum sources found in our observations, with IRAS data and with data from the literature on the molecular outflows. Weak unresolved continuum sources are found in several cases associated with the maser. Most probably they represent the ionized envelope surrounding the young stellar object (YSO) which powers the maser and the outflow. These weak radio continuum sources are not necessarily associated with the IRAS sources, which are more representative of the global emission from the star forming region. A comparison of the velocity pattern of the CO outflow with those of the maser spots detected with the VLA is also made. Asymmetries in the H_2_O velocities are found on opposite sides of the YSO, suggesting that the outflow acceleration begins from the YSO itself. In a few cases we find evidence for two outflows in different evolutionary stages. The H_2_O masers in these sources are always found at the centre of the younger outflow. The degree of variability of each maser is derived from single dish observations obtained with the Medicina radiotelescope before and after the VLA observations. Velocity drifts of some features are interpreted as acceleration of the maser.

  10. Applications of molecular self-assembly in tissue engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harrington, Daniel Anton

    This thesis studied the application of three self-assembling molecular systems, as potential biomaterials for tissue engineering applications. Cholesteryl-(L-lactic acid)n molecules form thermotropic liquid crystals, which could be coated onto the inner and outer pores of biodegradable PLLA scaffolds, while retaining the lamellar order of the neat material. Primary bovine chondrocytes were cultured on these structures, demonstrating improved attachment and extended retention of phenotype on the C-LA-coated scaffolds. No difference in fibronectin adsorption to C-LA and PLLA surfaces was observed, suggesting a strong role for cholesterol in influencing cell phenotype. A family of peptide-amphiphiles, bearing the "RGD" adhesion sequence from fibronectin, was also assessed in the contexts of cartilage and bladder repair. These molecules self-assemble into one-dimensional fibers, with diameters of 6--8 nm, and lengths of 500 nm or greater. Chondrocytes were seeded and cultured on covalently-crosslinked PA gels and embedded within calcium-triggered PA gels. Cells became dormant over time, but remained viable, suggesting an inappropriate display of the adhesion sequence to cells. A family of "branched" PA molecules with lysine dendron headgroups was designed, in an effort to increase the spatial separation between molecules in the assembled state, and to theoretically improve epitope accessibility. These molecules coated reliably onto PGA fiber scaffolds, and dramatically increased the attachment of human bladder smooth muscle cells, possibly through better epitope display or electrostatic attraction. They also formed strong gels with several negatively-charged biologically-relevant macromolecules. In a third system, amphiphilic segmented dendrimers based on phenylene vinylene and L-lysine entered cells through an endocytic pathway with no discernible toxic effect on cell proliferation or morphology. These amphiphiles formed complex aggregates in aqueous solution, likely

  11. [Molecular engineering of cellulase catalytic domain based on glycoside hydrolase family].

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xiaomei; Li, Dandan; Wang, Lushan; Zhao, Yue; Chen, Guanjun

    2013-04-01

    Molecular engineering of cellulases can improve enzymatic activity and efficiency. Recently, the Carbohydrate-Active enZYmes Database (CAZy), including glycoside hydrolase (GH) families, has been established with the development of Omics and structural measurement technologies. Molecular engineering based on GH families can obviously decrease the probing space of target sequences and structures, and increase the odds of experimental success. Besides, the study of cellulase active-site architecture paves the way toward the explanation of catalytic mechanism. This review focuses on the main GH families and the latest progresses in molecular engineering of catalytic domain. Based on the combination of analysis of a large amount of data in the same GH family and their conservative active-site architecture information, rational design will be an important direction for molecular engineering and promote the rapid development of the conversion of biomass. PMID:23894816

  12. Introducing Molecular Biology to Environmental Engineers through Development of a New Course.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Oerther, Daniel B.

    2002-01-01

    Introduces a molecular biology course designed for environmental engineering majors using 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid-targeted technology that allows students to identify and study microorganisms in bioreactor environments. (Contains 17 references.) (YDS)

  13. Molecular and Evolutionary Bases of Within-Patient Genotypic and Phenotypic Diversity in Escherichia coli Extraintestinal Infections

    PubMed Central

    Levert, Maxime; Zamfir, Oana; Clermont, Olivier; Bouvet, Odile; Lespinats, Sylvain; Hipeaux, Marie Claire; Branger, Catherine; Picard, Bertrand; Saint-Ruf, Claude; Norel, Françoise; Balliau, Thierry; Zivy, Michel; Le Nagard, Hervé; Cruvellier, Stéphane; Chane-Woon-Ming, Béatrice; Nilsson, Susanna; Gudelj, Ivana; Phan, Katherine; Ferenci, Thomas; Tenaillon, Olivier; Denamur, Erick

    2010-01-01

    Although polymicrobial infections, caused by combinations of viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, are being recognised with increasing frequency, little is known about the occurrence of within-species diversity in bacterial infections and the molecular and evolutionary bases of this diversity. We used multiple approaches to study the genomic and phenotypic diversity among 226 Escherichia coli isolates from deep and closed visceral infections occurring in 19 patients. We observed genomic variability among isolates from the same site within 11 patients. This diversity was of two types, as patients were infected either by several distinct E. coli clones (4 patients) or by members of a single clone that exhibit micro-heterogeneity (11 patients); both types of diversity were present in 4 patients. A surprisingly wide continuum of antibiotic resistance, outer membrane permeability, growth rate, stress resistance, red dry and rough morphotype characteristics and virulence properties were present within the isolates of single clones in 8 of the 11 patients showing genomic micro-heterogeneity. Many of the observed phenotypic differences within clones affected the trade-off between self-preservation and nutritional competence (SPANC). We showed in 3 patients that this phenotypic variability was associated with distinct levels of RpoS in co-existing isolates. Genome mutational analysis and global proteomic comparisons in isolates from a patient revealed a star-like relationship of changes amongst clonally diverging isolates. A mathematical model demonstrated that multiple genotypes with distinct RpoS levels can co-exist as a result of the SPANC trade-off. In the cases involving infection by a single clone, we present several lines of evidence to suggest diversification during the infectious process rather than an infection by multiple isolates exhibiting a micro-heterogeneity. Our results suggest that bacteria are subject to trade-offs during an infectious process and that

  14. Teaching Applied Genetics and Molecular Biology to Agriculture Engineers. Application of the European Credit Transfer System

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Weiss, J.; Egea-Cortines, M.

    2008-01-01

    We have been teaching applied molecular genetics to engineers and adapted the teaching methodology to the European Credit Transfer System. We teach core principles of genetics that are universal and form the conceptual basis of most molecular technologies. The course then teaches widely used techniques and finally shows how different techniques…

  15. Molecular Engineering of Functional Materials for Energy and Opto-Electronic Applications.

    PubMed

    Gao, Peng; Domanski, Konrad; Konrad, Domanski; Aghazada, Sadig; Rakstys, Kasparas; Paek, Sanghyun; Nazeeruddin, Mohammad Khaja

    2015-01-01

    This review presents an overview of the dedicated research directions of the Group for Molecular Engineering of Functional Materials (GMF). This includes molecular engineering aspects of sensitizers constructed from ruthenium complexes, organic molecules, porphyrins and phthalocyanines. Manipulation of organometal trihalide perovskites, and charge transporting materials for high performance perovskite solar cells and photo-detectors are also described. Controlling phosphorescence color, and quantum yields in iridium complexes by tailoring ligands for organic light emitting diodes are demonstrated. Efficient reduction of CO(2) to CO using molecular catalyst on a protected Cu(2)O photocathode, and cost-effective water-splitting cell using a high efficiency perovskite solar cell are presented. PMID:26507343

  16. Identification of sequence similarity between 60 kDa and 70 kDa molecular chaperones: evidence for a common evolutionary background?

    PubMed Central

    Flores, A I; Cuezva, J M

    1997-01-01

    Recent findings support the premise that chaperonins (60 kDa stress-proteins) and alpha-subunits of F-type ATPases (alpha-ATPase) are evolutionary related protein families. Two-dimensional gel patterns of synthesized proteins in unstressed and heat-shocked embryonic Drosophila melanogaster SL2 cells revealed that antibodies raised against the alpha-subunit of the F1-ATPase complex from rat liver recognize an inducible p71 member of the 70 kDa stress-responsive protein family. Molecular recognition of this stress-responsive 70 kDa protein by antibodies raised against the F1-ATPase alpha-subunit suggests the possibility of partial sequence similarity within these ATP-binding protein families. A multiple sequence alignment between alpha-ATPases and 60 kDa and 70 kDa molecular chaperones is presented. Statistical evaluation of sequence similarity reveals a significant degree of sequence conservation within the three protein families. The finding suggests a common evolutionary origin for the ATPases and molecular chaperone protein families of 60 kDa and 70 kDa, despite the lack of obvious structural resemblance between them. PMID:9065788

  17. The molecular evolutionary dynamics of the vomeronasal receptor (class 1) genes in primates: a gene family on the verge of a functional breakdown

    PubMed Central

    Yoder, Anne D.; Larsen, Peter A.

    2014-01-01

    Olfaction plays a critical role in both survival of the individual and in the propagation of species. Studies from across the mammalian clade have found a remarkable correlation between organismal lifestyle and molecular evolutionary properties of receptor genes in both the main olfactory system (MOS) and the vomeronasal system (VNS). When a large proportion of intact (and putatively functional) copies is observed, the inference is made that a particular mode of chemoreception is critical for an organism’s fit to its environment and is thus under strong positive selection. Conversely, when the receptors in question show a disproportionately large number of pseudogene copies, this contraction is interpreted as evidence of relaxed selection potentially leading to gene family extinction. Notably, it appears that a risk factor for gene family extinction is a high rate of nonsynonymous substitution. A survey of intact vs. pseudogene copies among primate vomeronasal receptor Class one genes (V1Rs) appears to substantiate this hypothesis. Molecular evolutionary complexities in the V1R gene family combine rapid rates of gene duplication, gene conversion, lineage-specific expansions, deletions, and/or pseudogenization. An intricate mix of phylogenetic footprints and current adaptive landscapes have left their mark on primate V1Rs suggesting that the primate clade offers an ideal model system for exploring the molecular evolutionary and functional properties of the VNS of mammals. Primate V1Rs tell a story of ancestral function and divergent selection as species have moved into ever diversifying adaptive regimes. The sensitivity to functional collapse in these genes, consequent to their precariously high rates of nonsynonymous substitution, confer a remarkable capacity to reveal the lifestyles of the genomes that they presently occupy as well as those of their ancestors. PMID:25565978

  18. Engineering nanomaterials with a combined electrochemical and molecular biomimetic approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dai, Haixia

    Biocomposite materials, such as bones, teeth, and shells, are created using mild aqueous solution-based processes near room temperature. Proteins add flexibility to these processes by facilitating the nucleation, growth, and ordering of specific inorganic materials into hierarchical structures. We aim to develop a biomimetic strategy for engineering technologically relevant inorganic materials with controlled compositions and structures, as Nature does, using proteins to orchestrate material formation and assembly. This approach involves three basic steps: (i) preparation of inorganic substrates compatible with combinatorial polypeptide screening; (ii) identification of inorganic-binding polypeptides and their engineering into inorganic-binding proteins; and (iii) protein-mediated inorganic nucleation and organization. Cuprous oxide (Cu2O), a p-type semiconductor, has been used to demonstrate all three steps. Zinc oxide (ZnO), an n-type semiconductor, has been used to show the generality of selected steps. Step (i), preparation of high quality inorganic substrates to select inorganic-binding polypeptides, was accomplished using electrochemical microfabrication to grow and pattern Cu2O and ZnO. Raman spectroscopy and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy were used to verify phase purity and compositional stability of these surfaces during polypeptide screening. Step (ii), accomplished in collaboration with personnel in Prof Baneyx' lab at the University of Washington, involved incubating the inorganic substrates with the FliTrx(TM) random peptide library to identify cysteine-constrained dodecapeptides that bind the targeted inorganic. Insertion of a Cu2O-binding dodecapeptide into the DNA-binding protein TraI endowed the engineered TraI with strong affinity for Cu2O (Kd ≈ 10 -8 M). Finally, step (iii) involved nonequilibrium synthesis and organization of Cu2O nanoparticles, taking advantage of the inorganic and DNA recognition properties of the engineered TraI. The

  19. Molecular engineering of high-performance elastomeric materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deng, Shengwei; Falk, Michael

    2013-03-01

    Polyurethane is a typical elastomeric material and among the most versatile materials today. It is a linear block copolymer consisting of alternating soft and hard segments with phase separation due to thermodynamic segmental incompatibility. Inspired by the hierarchical structure of spider silk, this kind of block copolymer can be synthesized with two distinct blocks that can differ in their propensity to crystallize. Either the soft or hard segments can be amorphous or semicrystalline. Recent experiments indicate that crystallizable segments lead to higher tensile strength and that systems with crystalline hard segment exhibit better stiffness, strength and mechanical toughness. Here we implement molecular dynamics simulation to investigate the influence of block architectures on mechanical properties and molecular chain movement.

  20. Evolutionary development of tensegrity structures.

    PubMed

    Lobo, Daniel; Vico, Francisco J

    2010-09-01

    Contributions from the emerging fields of molecular genetics and evo-devo (evolutionary developmental biology) are greatly benefiting the field of evolutionary computation, initiating a promise of renewal in the traditional methodology. While direct encoding has constituted a dominant paradigm, indirect ways to encode the solutions have been reported, yet little attention has been paid to the benefits of the proposed methods to real problems. In this work, we study the biological properties that emerge by means of using indirect encodings in the context of form-finding problems. A novel indirect encoding model for artificial development has been defined and applied to an engineering structural-design problem, specifically to the discovery of tensegrity structures. This model has been compared with a direct encoding scheme. While the direct encoding performs similarly well to the proposed method, indirect-based results typically outperform the direct-based results in aspects not directly linked to the nature of the problem itself, but to the emergence of properties found in biological organisms, like organicity, generalization capacity, or modularity aspects which are highly valuable in engineering. PMID:20619314

  1. New molecular engineering approaches for crystallographic studies of large RNAs.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jinwei; Ferré-D'Amaré, Adrian R

    2014-06-01

    Crystallization of RNAs with complex three-dimensional architectures remains a formidable experimental challenge. We review a number of successful heuristics involving engineering of the target RNAs to facilitate crystal contact formation, such as those that enabled the crystallization and structure determination of the cognate tRNA complexes of RNase P holoenzyme and the Stem I domain of the T-box riboswitch. Recently, RNA-targeted antibody Fab fragments and Kink-turn binding proteins have joined the ranks of successful chaperones for RNA crystallization. Lastly, we review the use of structured RNAs to facilitate crystallization of RNA-binding proteins and other RNAs. PMID:24607443

  2. The Comparative Genomics of Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus Subgroups A and B: Genetic Variability and Molecular Evolutionary Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Tan, Lydia; Coenjaerts, Frank E. J.; Houspie, Lieselot; Viveen, Marco C.; van Bleek, Grada M.; Martin, Darren P.; Lemey, Philippe

    2013-01-01

    Genomic variation and related evolutionary dynamics of human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common causative agent of severe lower respiratory tract infections, may affect its transmission behavior. RSV evolutionary patterns are likely to be influenced by a precarious interplay between selection favoring variants with higher replicative fitness and variants that evade host immune responses. Studying RSV genetic variation can reveal both the genes and the individual codons within these genes that are most crucial for RSV survival. In this study, we conducted genetic diversity and evolutionary rate analyses on 36 RSV subgroup B (RSV-B) whole-genome sequences. The attachment protein, G, was the most variable protein; accordingly, the G gene had a higher substitution rate than other RSV-B genes. Overall, less genetic variability was found among the available RSV-B genome sequences than among RSV-A genome sequences in a comparable sample. The mean substitution rates of the two subgroups were, however, similar (for subgroup A, 6.47 × 10−4 substitutions/site/year [95% credible interval {CI 95%}, 5.56 × 10−4 to 7.38 × 10−4]; for subgroup B, 7.76 × 10−4 substitutions/site/year [CI 95%, 6.89 × 10−4 to 8.58 × 10−4]), with the time to their most recent common ancestors (TMRCAs) being much lower for RSV-B (19 years) than for RSV-A (46.8 years). The more recent RSV-B TMRCA is apparently the result of a genetic bottleneck that, over longer time scales, is still compatible with neutral population dynamics. Whereas the immunogenic G protein seems to require high substitution rates to ensure immune evasion, strong purifying selection in conserved proteins such as the fusion protein and nucleocapsid protein is likely essential to preserve RSV viability. PMID:23698290

  3. Quantum engineering of spin and anisotropy in magnetic molecular junctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jacobson, Peter; Herden, Tobias; Muenks, Matthias; Laskin, Gennadii; Brovko, Oleg; Stepanyuk, Valeri; Ternes, Markus; Kern, Klaus

    2015-10-01

    Single molecule magnets and single spin centres can be individually addressed when coupled to contacts forming an electrical junction. To control and engineer the magnetism of quantum devices, it is necessary to quantify how the structural and chemical environment of the junction affects the spin centre. Metrics such as coordination number or symmetry provide a simple method to quantify the local environment, but neglect the many-body interactions of an impurity spin coupled to contacts. Here, we utilize a highly corrugated hexagonal boron nitride monolayer to mediate the coupling between a cobalt spin in CoHx (x=1,2) complexes and the metal contact. While hydrogen controls the total effective spin, the corrugation smoothly tunes the Kondo exchange interaction between the spin and the underlying metal. Using scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy together with numerical simulations, we quantitatively demonstrate how the Kondo exchange interaction mimics chemical tailoring and changes the magnetic anisotropy.

  4. Quantum engineering of spin and anisotropy in magnetic molecular junctions

    PubMed Central

    Jacobson, Peter; Herden, Tobias; Muenks, Matthias; Laskin, Gennadii; Brovko, Oleg; Stepanyuk, Valeri; Ternes, Markus; Kern, Klaus

    2015-01-01

    Single molecule magnets and single spin centres can be individually addressed when coupled to contacts forming an electrical junction. To control and engineer the magnetism of quantum devices, it is necessary to quantify how the structural and chemical environment of the junction affects the spin centre. Metrics such as coordination number or symmetry provide a simple method to quantify the local environment, but neglect the many-body interactions of an impurity spin coupled to contacts. Here, we utilize a highly corrugated hexagonal boron nitride monolayer to mediate the coupling between a cobalt spin in CoHx (x=1,2) complexes and the metal contact. While hydrogen controls the total effective spin, the corrugation smoothly tunes the Kondo exchange interaction between the spin and the underlying metal. Using scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy together with numerical simulations, we quantitatively demonstrate how the Kondo exchange interaction mimics chemical tailoring and changes the magnetic anisotropy. PMID:26456084

  5. Quantum engineering of spin and anisotropy in magnetic molecular junctions.

    PubMed

    Jacobson, Peter; Herden, Tobias; Muenks, Matthias; Laskin, Gennadii; Brovko, Oleg; Stepanyuk, Valeri; Ternes, Markus; Kern, Klaus

    2015-01-01

    Single molecule magnets and single spin centres can be individually addressed when coupled to contacts forming an electrical junction. To control and engineer the magnetism of quantum devices, it is necessary to quantify how the structural and chemical environment of the junction affects the spin centre. Metrics such as coordination number or symmetry provide a simple method to quantify the local environment, but neglect the many-body interactions of an impurity spin coupled to contacts. Here, we utilize a highly corrugated hexagonal boron nitride monolayer to mediate the coupling between a cobalt spin in CoHx (x=1,2) complexes and the metal contact. While hydrogen controls the total effective spin, the corrugation smoothly tunes the Kondo exchange interaction between the spin and the underlying metal. Using scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy together with numerical simulations, we quantitatively demonstrate how the Kondo exchange interaction mimics chemical tailoring and changes the magnetic anisotropy. PMID:26456084

  6. Proteomics in evolutionary ecology.

    PubMed

    Baer, B; Millar, A H

    2016-03-01

    Evolutionary ecologists are traditionally gene-focused, as genes propagate phenotypic traits across generations and mutations and recombination in the DNA generate genetic diversity required for evolutionary processes. As a consequence, the inheritance of changed DNA provides a molecular explanation for the functional changes associated with natural selection. A direct focus on proteins on the other hand, the actual molecular agents responsible for the expression of a phenotypic trait, receives far less interest from ecologists and evolutionary biologists. This is partially due to the central dogma of molecular biology that appears to define proteins as the 'dead-end of molecular information flow' as well as technical limitations in identifying and studying proteins and their diversity in the field and in many of the more exotic genera often favored in ecological studies. Here we provide an overview of a newly forming field of research that we refer to as 'Evolutionary Proteomics'. We point out that the origins of cellular function are related to the properties of polypeptide and RNA and their interactions with the environment, rather than DNA descent, and that the critical role of horizontal gene transfer in evolution is more about coopting new proteins to impact cellular processes than it is about modifying gene function. Furthermore, post-transcriptional and post-translational processes generate a remarkable diversity of mature proteins from a single gene, and the properties of these mature proteins can also influence inheritance through genetic and perhaps epigenetic mechanisms. The influence of post-transcriptional diversification on evolutionary processes could provide a novel mechanistic underpinning for elements of rapid, directed evolutionary changes and adaptations as observed for a variety of evolutionary processes. Modern state-of the art technologies based on mass spectrometry are now available to identify and quantify peptides, proteins, protein

  7. Evolution of the vertebrate jaw: comparative embryology and molecular developmental biology reveal the factors behind evolutionary novelty

    PubMed Central

    Kuratani, Shigeru

    2004-01-01

    It is generally believed that the jaw arose through the simple transformation of an ancestral rostral gill arch. The gnathostome jaw differentiates from Hox-free crest cells in the mandibular arch, and this is also apparent in the lamprey. The basic Hox code, including the Hox-free default state in the mandibular arch, may have been present in the common ancestor, and jaw patterning appears to have been secondarily constructed in the gnathostomes. The distribution of the cephalic neural crest cells is similar in the early pharyngula of gnathostomes and lampreys, but different cell subsets form the oral apparatus in each group through epithelial–mesenchymal interactions: and this heterotopy is likely to have been an important evolutionary change that permitted jaw differentiation. This theory implies that the premandibular crest cells differentiate into the upper lip, or the dorsal subdivision of the oral apparatus in the lamprey, whereas the equivalent cell population forms the trabecula of the skull base in gnathostomes. Because the gnathostome oral apparatus is derived exclusively from the mandibular arch, the concepts ‘oral’ and ‘mandibular’ must be dissociated. The ‘lamprey trabecula’ develops from mandibular mesoderm, and is not homologous with the gnathostome trabecula, which develops from premandibular crest cells. Thus the jaw evolved as an evolutionary novelty through tissue rearrangements and topographical changes in tissue interactions. PMID:15575882

  8. Molecularly engineered quantum dots for visualization of hydrogen sulfide.

    PubMed

    Yan, Yehan; Yu, Huan; Zhang, Yajiao; Zhang, Kui; Zhu, Houjuan; Yu, Tao; Jiang, Hui; Wang, Suhua

    2015-02-18

    Among various fluorescence nanomaterials, the II-VI semiconductor nanocrystals (usually called quantum dots, QDs) should be very promising in sensing application because of their high quantum yields, capability for surface property manipulation, and unlimited possible chemical reactions. Herein, we present a fluorescence probe for hydrogen sulfide, which was prepared by first encapsulating inorganic cadmium telluride (CdTe) QDs in silica nanospheres, and subsequently engineering the silica surface with functional molecules azidocoumarin-4-acetic acid reactive to hydrogen sulfide. The nanohybrid probe exhibited two fluorescence bands centered at 452 and 657 nm, respectively. The red fluorescence at 657 nm of the nanohybrid probe is stable against H2S, while the blue fluorescence is specifically sensitive to H2S. The probe showed a distinct fluorescence color evolution from light magenta to blue upon exposure to different amounts of H2S, and a detection limit of 7.0 nM was estimated in aqueous solution. We further applied the nanohybrid probe for visual detection of gaseous H2S with a low concentration of 0.5 ppm using glass indicating spots sensors, suggesting its potential application for gaseous H2S sensing. Such an efficient on-site visual determination of gaseous hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is highly demanded in on-site environmental monitoring and protection. PMID:25615270

  9. Engineering responsive polymer building blocks with host-guest molecular recognition for functional applications.

    PubMed

    Hu, Jinming; Liu, Shiyong

    2014-07-15

    CONSPECTUS: All living organisms and soft matter are intrinsically responsive and adaptive to external stimuli. Inspired by this fact, tremendous effort aiming to emulate subtle responsive features exhibited by nature has spurred the invention of a diverse range of responsive polymeric materials. Conventional stimuli-responsive polymers are constructed via covalent bonds and can undergo reversible or irreversible changes in chemical structures, physicochemical properties, or both in response to a variety of external stimuli. They have been imparted with a variety of emerging applications including drug and gene delivery, optical sensing and imaging, diagnostics and therapies, smart coatings and textiles, and tissue engineering. On the other hand, in comparison with molecular chemistry held by covalent bonds, supramolecular chemistry built on weak and reversible noncovalent interactions has emerged as a powerful and versatile strategy for materials fabrication due to its facile accessibility, extraordinary reversibility and adaptivity, and potent applications in diverse fields. Typically involving more than one type of noncovalent interactions (e.g., hydrogen bonding, metal coordination, hydrophobic association, electrostatic interactions, van der Waals forces, and π-π stacking), host-guest recognition refers to the formation of supramolecular inclusion complexes between two or more entities connected together in a highly controlled and cooperative manner. The inherently reversible and adaptive nature of host-guest molecular recognition chemistry, stemming from multiple noncovalent interactions, has opened up a new platform to construct novel types of stimuli-responsive materials. The introduction of host-guest chemistry not only enriches the realm of responsive materials but also confers them with promising new applications. Most intriguingly, the integration of responsive polymer building blocks with host-guest recognition motifs will endow the former with

  10. Theoretical-physics approach to selected problems in engineering electromagnetics: Evolutionary optimization and low-dimensional nanostructures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mikki, Said M.

    Although electromagnetism was developed originally as a branch of theoretical physics, the wide spread proliferation of wireless communications and other applications since the turn of the 20th century quickly transformed the field into a well-defined discipline standing by itself as an autonomous part of engineering. This in turn accelerated the growth of both numerical techniques and practical designs aiming all to improve technology. However, one negative drawback was the increasing isolation between the practicality of engineering electromagnetism and the depth and sophistication of the tools that had been developed solely within electromagnetic theory as a branch of theoretical physics. In this dissertation, we propose a new look to engineering electromagnetism from the perspective of theoretical physics. We show that techniques usually associated with abstract physical models in theoretical physics can be successfully employed to enhance our understanding of problems in engineering electromagnetism. Also, such adaptations of theoretical methods allow for new kinds of applications to be invented. This dissertation is organized in two main parts. Part I is concerned with the particle swarm optimization (PSO) method. We first construct a physical theory for the particle swarm optimization and show how this could open the door not just for deeper understanding of the algorithm itself, but also for new techniques to improve the performance of the method when applied to engineering electromagnetics problems. Inspired by the wider perspective derived from physics, we apply quantum effects to the basic (classical) PSO and derive a new general quantum PSO (QPSO) algorithm suitable for engineering electromagnetism. The new method will be shown to be superior to the classical counterpart when applied to some practical problems. A detailed case study that was formulated extensively in our work is the infinitesimal dipole model (IDM), which can simulate arbitrary antennas

  11. Crystallographic approaches for the investigation of molecular materials: structure property relationships and reverse crystal engineering.

    PubMed

    Macchi, Piero

    2014-01-01

    This article discusses the connection between crystallography and material science. It sheds light on some of the research opportunities that are currently available and it critically reviews the directions taken by the scientific community in the field of crystal engineering. The focus is on materials formed by the assembly of organic and organometallic molecular building blocks. PMID:24801694

  12. Calculation of Evolutionary Correlation between Individual Genes and Full-Length Genome: A Method Useful for Choosing Phylogenetic Markers for Molecular Epidemiology

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Shuai; Luo, Xuenong; Wei, Wei; Zheng, Yadong; Dou, Yongxi; Cai, Xuepeng

    2013-01-01

    Individual genes or regions are still commonly used to estimate the phylogenetic relationships among viral isolates. The genomic regions that can faithfully provide assessments consistent with those predicted with full-length genome sequences would be preferable to serve as good candidates of the phylogenetic markers for molecular epidemiological studies of many viruses. Here we employed a statistical method to evaluate the evolutionary relationships between individual viral genes and full-length genomes without tree construction as a way to determine which gene can match the genome well in phylogenetic analyses. This method was performed by calculation of linear correlations between the genetic distance matrices of aligned individual gene sequences and aligned genome sequences. We applied this method to the phylogenetic analyses of porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2), measles virus (MV), hepatitis E virus (HEV) and Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). Phylogenetic trees were constructed for comparisons and the possible factors affecting the method accuracy were also discussed in the calculations. The results revealed that this method could produce results consistent with those of previous studies about the proper consensus sequences that could be successfully used as phylogenetic markers. And our results also suggested that these evolutionary correlations could provide useful information for identifying genes that could be used effectively to infer the genetic relationships. PMID:24312527

  13. Evolutionary and Biogeographic Insights on the Macaronesian Beta-Patellifolia Species (Amaranthaceae) from a Time-Scaled Molecular Phylogeny

    PubMed Central

    Romeiras, Maria M.; Vieira, Ana; Silva, Diogo N.; Moura, Monica; Santos-Guerra, Arnoldo; Batista, Dora; Duarte, Maria Cristina; Paulo, Octávio S.

    2016-01-01

    The Western Mediterranean Region and Macaronesian Islands are one of the top biodiversity hotspots of Europe, containing a significant native genetic diversity of global value among the Crop Wild Relatives (CWR). Sugar beet is the primary crop of the genus Beta (subfamily Betoideae, Amaranthaceae) and despite the great economic importance of this genus, and of the close relative Patellifolia species, a reconstruction of their evolutionary history is still lacking. We analyzed nrDNA (ITS) and cpDNA gene (matK, trnH-psbA, trnL intron, rbcL) sequences to: (i) investigate the phylogenetic relationships within the Betoideae subfamily, and (ii) elucidate the historical biogeography of wild beet species in the Western Mediterranean Region, including the Macaronesian Islands. The results support the Betoideae as a monophyletic group (excluding the Acroglochin genus) and provide a detailed inference of relationships within this subfamily, revealing: (i) a deep genetic differentiation between Beta and Patellifolia species, which may have occurred in Late Oligocene; and (ii) the occurrence of a West-East genetic divergence within Beta, indicating that the Mediterranean species probably differentiated by the end of the Miocene. This was interpreted as a signature of species radiation induced by dramatic habitat changes during the Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC, 5.96–5.33 Mya). Moreover, colonization events during the Pleistocene also played a role in shaping the current diversity patterns among and within the Macaronesian Islands. The origin and number of these events could not be revealed due to insufficient phylogenetic resolution, suggesting that the diversification was quite recent in these archipelagos, and unravelling potential complex biogeographic patterns with hybridization and gene flow playing an important role. Finally, three evolutionary lineages were identified corresponding to major gene pools of sugar beet wild relatives, which provide useful information for

  14. Evolutionary and Biogeographic Insights on the Macaronesian Beta-Patellifolia Species (Amaranthaceae) from a Time-Scaled Molecular Phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Romeiras, Maria M; Vieira, Ana; Silva, Diogo N; Moura, Monica; Santos-Guerra, Arnoldo; Batista, Dora; Duarte, Maria Cristina; Paulo, Octávio S

    2016-01-01

    The Western Mediterranean Region and Macaronesian Islands are one of the top biodiversity hotspots of Europe, containing a significant native genetic diversity of global value among the Crop Wild Relatives (CWR). Sugar beet is the primary crop of the genus Beta (subfamily Betoideae, Amaranthaceae) and despite the great economic importance of this genus, and of the close relative Patellifolia species, a reconstruction of their evolutionary history is still lacking. We analyzed nrDNA (ITS) and cpDNA gene (matK, trnH-psbA, trnL intron, rbcL) sequences to: (i) investigate the phylogenetic relationships within the Betoideae subfamily, and (ii) elucidate the historical biogeography of wild beet species in the Western Mediterranean Region, including the Macaronesian Islands. The results support the Betoideae as a monophyletic group (excluding the Acroglochin genus) and provide a detailed inference of relationships within this subfamily, revealing: (i) a deep genetic differentiation between Beta and Patellifolia species, which may have occurred in Late Oligocene; and (ii) the occurrence of a West-East genetic divergence within Beta, indicating that the Mediterranean species probably differentiated by the end of the Miocene. This was interpreted as a signature of species radiation induced by dramatic habitat changes during the Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC, 5.96-5.33 Mya). Moreover, colonization events during the Pleistocene also played a role in shaping the current diversity patterns among and within the Macaronesian Islands. The origin and number of these events could not be revealed due to insufficient phylogenetic resolution, suggesting that the diversification was quite recent in these archipelagos, and unravelling potential complex biogeographic patterns with hybridization and gene flow playing an important role. Finally, three evolutionary lineages were identified corresponding to major gene pools of sugar beet wild relatives, which provide useful information for

  15. Molecular phylogeny of the higher and lower taxonomy of the Fusarium genus and differences in the evolutionary histories of multiple genes

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Species of the Fusarium genus are important fungi which is associated with health hazards in human and animals. The taxonomy of this genus has been a subject of controversy for many years. Although many researchers have applied molecular phylogenetic analysis to examine the taxonomy of Fusarium species, their phylogenetic relationships remain unclear only few comprehensive phylogenetic analyses of the Fusarium genus and a lack of suitable nucleotides and amino acid substitution rates. A previous stugy with whole genome comparison among Fusairum species revealed the possibility that each gene in Fusarium genomes has a unique evolutionary history, and such gene may bring difficulty to the reconstruction of phylogenetic tree of Fusarium. There is a need not only to check substitution rates of genes but also to perform the exact evaluation of each gene-evolution. Results We performed phylogenetic analyses based on the nucleotide sequences of the rDNA cluster region (rDNA cluster), and the β-tubulin gene (β-tub), the elongation factor 1α gene (EF-1α), and the aminoadipate reductase gene (lys2). Although incongruence of the tree topologies between lys2 and the other genes was detected, all genes supported the classification of Fusarium species into 7 major clades, I to VII. To obtain a reliable phylogeny for Fusarium species, we excluded the lys2 sequences from our dataset, and re-constructed a maximum likelihood (ML) tree based on the combined data of the rDNA cluster, β-tub, and EF-1α. Our ML tree indicated some interesting relationships in the higher and lower taxa of Fusarium species and related genera. Moreover, we observed a novel evolutionary history of lys2. We suggest that the unique tree topologies of lys2 are not due to an analytical artefact, but due to differences in the evolutionary history of genomes caused by positive selection of particular lineages. Conclusion This study showed the reliable species tree of the higher and lower taxonomy

  16. Molecular bandgap engineering of bottom-up synthesized graphene nanoribbon heterojunctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Yen-Chia; Cao, Ting; Chen, Chen; Pedramrazi, Zahra; Haberer, Danny; de Oteyza, Dimas G.; Fischer, Felix R.; Louie, Steven G.; Crommie, Michael F.

    2015-02-01

    Bandgap engineering is used to create semiconductor heterostructure devices that perform processes such as resonant tunnelling and solar energy conversion. However, the performance of such devices degrades as their size is reduced. Graphene-based molecular electronics has emerged as a candidate to enable high performance down to the single-molecule scale. Graphene nanoribbons, for example, can have widths of less than 2 nm and bandgaps that are tunable via their width and symmetry. It has been predicted that bandgap engineering within a single graphene nanoribbon may be achieved by varying the width of covalently bonded segments within the nanoribbon. Here, we demonstrate the bottom-up synthesis of such width-modulated armchair graphene nanoribbon heterostructures, obtained by fusing segments made from two different molecular building blocks. We study these heterojunctions at subnanometre length scales with scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy, and identify their spatially modulated electronic structure, demonstrating molecular-scale bandgap engineering, including type I heterojunction behaviour. First-principles calculations support these findings and provide insight into the microscopic electronic structure of bandgap-engineered graphene nanoribbon heterojunctions.

  17. Recent advances in developing molecular tools for targeted genome engineering of mammalian cells.

    PubMed

    Lim, Kwang-il

    2015-01-01

    Various biological molecules naturally existing in diversified species including fungi, bacteria, and bacteriophage have functionalities for DNA binding and processing. The biological molecules have been recently actively engineered for use in customized genome editing of mammalian cells as the molecule-encoding DNA sequence information and the underlying mechanisms how the molecules work are unveiled. Excitingly, multiple novel methods based on the newly constructed artificial molecular tools have enabled modifications of specific endogenous genetic elements in the genome context at efficiencies that are much higher than that of the conventional homologous recombination based methods. This minireview introduces the most recently spotlighted molecular genome engineering tools with their key features and ongoing modifications for better performance. Such ongoing efforts have mainly focused on the removal of the inherent DNA sequence recognition rigidity from the original molecular platforms, the addition of newly tailored targeting functions into the engineered molecules, and the enhancement of their targeting specificity. Effective targeted genome engineering of mammalian cells will enable not only sophisticated genetic studies in the context of the genome, but also widely-applicable universal therapeutics based on the pinpointing and correction of the disease-causing genetic elements within the genome in the near future. PMID:25104401

  18. Genetic Variability among Complete Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus Subgroup A Genomes: Bridging Molecular Evolutionary Dynamics and Epidemiology

    PubMed Central

    Tan, Lydia; Lemey, Philippe; Houspie, Lieselot; C. Viveen, Marco; Jansen, Nicolaas J. G.; van Loon, Anton M.; Wiertz, Emmanuel; van Bleek, Grada M.; Martin, Darren P.; Coenjaerts, Frank E.

    2012-01-01

    Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an important cause of severe lower respiratory tract infections in infants and the elderly. In the vast majority of cases, however, RSV infections run mild and symptoms resemble those of a common cold. The immunological, clinical, and epidemiological profile of severe RSV infections suggests a disease caused by a virus with typical seasonal transmission behavior, lacking clear-cut virulence factors, but instead causing disease by modifying the host’s immune response in a way that stimulates pathogenesis. Yet, the interplay between RSV-evoked immune responses and epidemic behavior, and how this affects the genomic evolutionary dynamics of the virus, remains poorly understood. Here, we present a comprehensive collection of 33 novel RSV subgroup A genomes from strains sampled over the last decade, and provide the first measurement of RSV-A genomic diversity through time in a phylodynamic framework. In addition, we map amino acid substitutions per protein to determine mutational hotspots in specific domains. Using Bayesian genealogical inference, we estimated the genomic evolutionary rate to be 6.47×10−4 (credible interval: 5.56×10−4, 7.38×10−4) substitutions/site/year, considerably slower than previous estimates based on G gene sequences only. The G gene is however marked by elevated substitution rates compared to other RSV genes, which can be attributed to relaxed selective constraints. In line with this, site-specific selection analyses identify the G gene as the major target of diversifying selection. Importantly, statistical analysis demonstrates that the immune driven positive selection does not leave a measurable imprint on the genome phylogeny, implying that RSV lineage replacement mainly follows nonselective epidemiological processes. The roughly 50 years of RSV-A genomic evolution are characterized by a constant population size through time and general co-circulation of lineages over many epidemic seasons

  19. Molecular evolutionary analysis of resistance gene eIF4E and creation of novel resistance alleles in potato

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Resistance to viruses has long been an important breeding objective for researchers working with a number of different crops. As molecular techniques have identified the genes underlying virus resistance it has become increasingly apparent that the eukaryotic translation Initiation Factor 4E (eIF4E)...

  20. Molecular Engineering of Trifunctional Supported Catalysts for the Aerobic Oxidation of Alcohols.

    PubMed

    Fernandes, Antony E; Riant, Olivier; Jensen, Klavs F; Jonas, Alain M

    2016-09-01

    We describe a simple and general method for the preparation and molecular engineering of supported trifunctional catalysts and their application in the representative Cu/TEMPO/NMI-catalyzed aerobic oxidation of benzyl alcohol. The methodology allows in one single step to immobilize, with precise control of surface composition, both pyta, Cu(I) , TEMPO, and NMI sites on azide-functionalized silica particles. To optimize the performance of the heterogeneous trifunctional catalysts, synergistic interactions are finely engineered through modulating the degree of freedom of the imidazole site as well as tuning the relative surface composition, leading to catalysts with an activity significantly superior to the corresponding homogeneous catalytic system. PMID:27430481

  1. Evolutionary thinking

    PubMed Central

    Hunt, Tam

    2014-01-01

    Evolution as an idea has a lengthy history, even though the idea of evolution is generally associated with Darwin today. Rebecca Stott provides an engaging and thoughtful overview of this history of evolutionary thinking in her 2013 book, Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution. Since Darwin, the debate over evolution—both how it takes place and, in a long war of words with religiously-oriented thinkers, whether it takes place—has been sustained and heated. A growing share of this debate is now devoted to examining how evolutionary thinking affects areas outside of biology. How do our lives change when we recognize that all is in flux? What can we learn about life more generally if we study change instead of stasis? Carter Phipps’ book, Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science's Greatest Idea, delves deep into this relatively new development. Phipps generally takes as a given the validity of the Modern Synthesis of evolutionary biology. His story takes us into, as the subtitle suggests, the spiritual and cultural implications of evolutionary thinking. Can religion and evolution be reconciled? Can evolutionary thinking lead to a new type of spirituality? Is our culture already being changed in ways that we don't realize by evolutionary thinking? These are all important questions and Phipps book is a great introduction to this discussion. Phipps is an author, journalist, and contributor to the emerging “integral” or “evolutionary” cultural movement that combines the insights of Integral Philosophy, evolutionary science, developmental psychology, and the social sciences. He has served as the Executive Editor of EnlightenNext magazine (no longer published) and more recently is the co-founder of the Institute for Cultural Evolution, a public policy think tank addressing the cultural roots of America's political challenges. What follows is an email interview with Phipps. PMID:26478766

  2. Deep sequencing revealed molecular signature of horizontal gene transfer of plant like transcripts in the mosquito Anopheles culicifacies: an evolutionary puzzle.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Punita; Das De, Tanwee; Sharma, Swati; Kumar Mishra, Ashwani; Thomas, Tina; Verma, Sonia; Kumari, Vandana; Lata, Suman; Singh, Namita; Valecha, Neena; Chand Pandey, Kailash; Dixit, Rajnikant

    2015-01-01

    In prokaryotes, horizontal gene transfer (HGT) has been regarded as an important evolutionary drive to acquire and retain beneficial genes for their survival in diverse ecologies. However, in eukaryotes, the functional role of HGTs remains questionable, although current genomic tools are providing increased evidence of acquisition of novel traits within non-mating metazoan species. Here, we provide another transcriptomic evidence for the acquisition of massive plant genes in the mosquito, Anopheles culicifacies. Our multiple experimental validations including genomic PCR, RT-PCR, real-time PCR, immuno-blotting and immuno-florescence microscopy, confirmed that plant like transcripts (PLTs) are of mosquito origin and may encode functional proteins. A comprehensive molecular analysis of the PLTs and ongoing metagenomic analysis of salivary microbiome provide initial clues that mosquitoes may have survival benefits through the acquisition of nuclear as well as chloroplast encoded plant genes. Our findings of PLTs further support the similar questionable observation of HGTs in other higher organisms, which is still a controversial and debatable issue in the community of evolutionists. We believe future understanding of the underlying mechanism of the feeding associated molecular responses may shed new insights in the functional role of PLTs in the mosquito. PMID:26998230

  3. Deep sequencing revealed molecular signature of horizontal gene transfer of plant like transcripts in the mosquito Anopheles culicifacies: an evolutionary puzzle

    PubMed Central

    Sharma, Punita; Das De, Tanwee; Sharma, Swati; Kumar Mishra, Ashwani; Thomas, Tina; Verma, Sonia; Kumari, Vandana; Lata, Suman; Singh, Namita; Valecha, Neena; Chand Pandey, Kailash; Dixit, Rajnikant

    2015-01-01

    In prokaryotes, horizontal gene transfer (HGT) has been regarded as an important evolutionary drive to acquire and retain beneficial genes for their survival in diverse ecologies. However, in eukaryotes, the functional role of HGTs remains questionable, although current genomic tools are providing increased evidence of acquisition of novel traits within non-mating metazoan species. Here, we provide another transcriptomic evidence for the acquisition of massive plant genes in the mosquito, Anopheles culicifacies. Our multiple experimental validations including genomic PCR, RT-PCR, real-time PCR, immuno-blotting and immuno-florescence microscopy, confirmed that plant like transcripts (PLTs) are of mosquito origin and may encode functional proteins. A comprehensive molecular analysis of the PLTs and ongoing metagenomic analysis of salivary microbiome provide initial clues that mosquitoes may have survival benefits through the acquisition of nuclear as well as chloroplast encoded plant genes. Our findings of PLTs further support the similar questionable observation of HGTs in other higher organisms, which is still a controversial and debatable issue in the community of evolutionists. We believe future understanding of the underlying mechanism of the feeding associated molecular responses may shed new insights in the functional role of PLTs in the mosquito. PMID:26998230

  4. Molecular insights into the historic demography of bowhead whales: understanding the evolutionary basis of contemporary management practices

    PubMed Central

    Phillips, C D; Hoffman, J I; George, J C; Suydam, R S; Huebinger, R M; Patton, J C; Bickham, J W

    2013-01-01

    Patterns of genetic variation observed within species reflect evolutionary histories that include signatures of past demography. Understanding the demographic component of species' history is fundamental to informed management because changes in effective population size affect response to environmental change and evolvability, the strength of genetic drift, and maintenance of genetic variability. Species experiencing anthropogenic population reductions provide valuable case studies for understanding the genetic response to demographic change because historic changes in the census size are often well documented. A classic example is the bowhead whale, Balaena mysticetus, which experienced dramatic population depletion due to commercial whaling in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Consequently, we analyzed a large multi-marker dataset of bowhead whales using a variety of analytical methods, including extended Bayesian skyline analysis and approximate Bayesian computation, to characterize genetic signatures of both ancient and contemporary demographic histories. No genetic signature of recent population depletion was recovered through any analysis incorporating realistic mutation assumptions, probably due to the combined influences of long generation time, short bottleneck duration, and the magnitude of population depletion. In contrast, a robust signal of population expansion was detected around 70,000 years ago, followed by a population decline around 15,000 years ago. The timing of these events coincides to a historic glacial period and the onset of warming at the end of the last glacial maximum, respectively. By implication, climate driven long-term variation in Arctic Ocean productivity, rather than recent anthropogenic disturbance, appears to have been the primary driver of historic bowhead whale demography. PMID:23403722

  5. Molecular Mechanisms and Evolutionary Processes Contributing to Accelerated Divergence of Gene Expression on the Drosophila X Chromosome.

    PubMed

    Coolon, Joseph D; Stevenson, Kraig R; McManus, C Joel; Yang, Bing; Graveley, Brenton R; Wittkopp, Patricia J

    2015-10-01

    In species with a heterogametic sex, population genetics theory predicts that DNA sequences on the X chromosome can evolve faster than comparable sequences on autosomes. Both neutral and nonneutral evolutionary processes can generate this pattern. Complex traits like gene expression are not predicted to have accelerated evolution by these theories, yet a "faster-X" pattern of gene expression divergence has recently been reported for both Drosophila and mammals. Here, we test the hypothesis that accelerated adaptive evolution of cis-regulatory sequences on the X chromosome is responsible for this pattern by comparing the relative contributions of cis- and trans-regulatory changes to patterns of faster-X expression divergence observed between strains and species of Drosophila with a range of divergence times. We find support for this hypothesis, especially among male-biased genes, when comparing different species. However, we also find evidence that trans-regulatory differences contribute to a faster-X pattern of expression divergence both within and between species. This contribution is surprising because trans-acting regulators of X-linked genes are generally assumed to be randomly distributed throughout the genome. We found, however, that X-linked transcription factors appear to preferentially regulate expression of X-linked genes, providing a potential mechanistic explanation for this result. The contribution of trans-regulatory variation to faster-X expression divergence was larger within than between species, suggesting that it is more likely to result from neutral processes than positive selection. These data show how accelerated evolution of both coding and noncoding sequences on the X chromosome can lead to accelerated expression divergence on the X chromosome relative to autosomes. PMID:26041937

  6. Molecular engineering of polymer alloys: A final report of results obtained on CRADA No. 1078

    SciTech Connect

    Curro, J.G.; Schweizer, K.S.; Honeycutt, J.D.

    1995-12-01

    This report summarizes the technical progress made in the past three years on CRADA No. 1078, Molecular Engineering of Polymer Alloys. The thrust of this CRADA was to start with the basic ideas of PRISM theory and develop it to the point where it could be applied to modeling of polymer alloys. In this program, BIOSYM, Sandia and the University of Illinois worked jointly to develop the theoretical techniques and numerical formalisms necessary to implement the theoretical ideas into commercial software aimed at molecular engineering of polymer alloys. This CRADA focused on developing the techniques required to make the transition from theory to practice. These techniques were then used by BIOSYM to incorporate PRISM theory and other new developments into their commercial software.

  7. Removal of Nitrogen Oxides in Diesel Engine Exhaust by Plasma Assisted Molecular Sieves

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rajanikanth, B. S.; Ravi, V.

    2002-08-01

    This paper reports the studies conducted on removal of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from diesel engine exhaust using electrical discharge plasma combined with adsorbing materials such as molecular sieves. This study is being reported for the first time. The exhaust is taken from a diesel engine of 6 kW under no load conditions. The characteristic behavior of a pulse energized dielectric barrier discharge reactor in the diesel exhaust treatment is reported. The NOx removal was not significant (36%) when the reactor without any packing was used. However, when the reactor was packed with molecular sieves (MS -3A, -4A & -13X), the NOx removal efficiency was increased to 78% particularly at a temperature of 200 °C. The studies were conducted at different temperatures and the results were discussed.

  8. Open Issues in Evolutionary Robotics.

    PubMed

    Silva, Fernando; Duarte, Miguel; Correia, Luís; Oliveira, Sancho Moura; Christensen, Anders Lyhne

    2016-01-01

    One of the long-term goals in evolutionary robotics is to be able to automatically synthesize controllers for real autonomous robots based only on a task specification. While a number of studies have shown the applicability of evolutionary robotics techniques for the synthesis of behavioral control, researchers have consistently been faced with a number of issues preventing the widespread adoption of evolutionary robotics for engineering purposes. In this article, we review and discuss the open issues in evolutionary robotics. First, we analyze the benefits and challenges of simulation-based evolution and subsequent deployment of controllers versus evolution on real robotic hardware. Second, we discuss specific evolutionary computation issues that have plagued evolutionary robotics: (1) the bootstrap problem, (2) deception, and (3) the role of genomic encoding and genotype-phenotype mapping in the evolution of controllers for complex tasks. Finally, we address the absence of standard research practices in the field. We also discuss promising avenues of research. Our underlying motivation is the reduction of the current gap between evolutionary robotics and mainstream robotics, and the establishment of evolutionary robotics as a canonical approach for the engineering of autonomous robots. PMID:26581015

  9. Molecularly engineered dual-crosslinked hydrogel with ultrahigh mechanical strength, toughness, and good self-recovery.

    PubMed

    Lin, Peng; Ma, Shuanhong; Wang, Xiaolong; Zhou, Feng

    2015-03-25

    A molecularly engineered dual-crosslinked hydrogel with extraordinary mechanical properties is reported. The hydrogel network is formed with both chemical crosslinking and acrylic-Fe(III) coordination; these, respectively, impart the elasticity and enhance the mechanical properties by effectively dissipating energy. The optimal hydrogel achieves a tensile stress of ca. 6 MPa at a large elongation ratio (>7 times), a toughness of 27 MJ m(-3) , and a stiffness of ca. 2 MPa, and has good self-recovery properties. PMID:25677412

  10. On the Brink of Shifting Paradigms, Molecular Systems Engineering Ethics Needs to Take a Proactive Approach.

    PubMed

    Heidari, Raheleh; Elger, Bernice S; Stutzki, Ralf

    2016-01-01

    Molecular Systems Engineering (MSE) is a paradigm shift in both engineering and life sciences. While the field is still in its infancy the perspectives of MSE in revolutionising technology is promising. MSE will offer a wide range of applications in clinical, biotechnological and engineering fields while simultaneously posing serious questions on the ethical and societal aspects of such technology. The moral and societal aspects of MSE need systematic investigation from scientific and social perspectives. In a democratic setting, the societal outcomes of MSE's cutting-edge technology need to be consulted and influenced by society itself. For this purpose MSE needs inclusive public engagement strategies that bring together the public, ethicists, scientists and policy makers for optimum flow of information that maximizes the impact of public engagement. In this report we present an MSE consortium and its ethics framework for establishing a proactive approach in the study of the ethics of MSE technology. PMID:27363376

  11. In-cylinder engine flow measurement using stereoscopic molecular tagging velocimetry (SMTV)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mittal, M.; Sadr, R.; Schock, H. J.; Fedewa, A.; Naqwi, A.

    2009-02-01

    The stereoscopic molecular tagging velocimetry (SMTV) technique is used to obtain the multiple point measurement of an instantaneous three-component velocity field inside the cylinder of an internal combustion (IC) engine assembly. A novel image processing technique is implemented to obtain the velocity data. The technique has the advantage that it eliminates the geometric details required to obtain the three components of the velocity field. The procedure involves two major steps: (i) calibration process and (ii) data acquisition and reduction. Cycle-to-cycle variations of the three-component velocity field and out-of-plane vorticity are presented inside an engine cylinder. Preliminary results show that cycle-to-cycle variations are more prominent in the velocity component perpendicular to the tumble plane, as opposed to the in-plane components. Such new insights will help better understand the details of these flows and further improve CFD models for IC engines.

  12. Molecularly defined plasmonic engineering to visualize antibody binding events by eye

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, A. W.; Cooper, J. M.

    2013-02-01

    We report a novel plasmonic tuning technique which allows colorimetric, naked-eye detection of protein-protein binding at extreme sensitivities. Utilizing an engineered approach to molecularly-driven plasmonic-coupling, we construct three-part plasmonic "bowtie" structures within protein nanoarrays using single biomolecular binding events. Precise molecular positioning of single gold nanaoparticles inside plasmonic bowties allows us to shape the plasmon supported by each array element in order to engineer a visible color-shift. By ensuring that only a single binding site is available inside each feature, we ensure plasmon homogeneity across the array, a unique technological solution which is essential to providing the sensitivity and observability we demonstrate here. This work represents a step-change in molecularly-mediated plasmonics and colorimetric biosensing, enabling biologically-controlled nanoengineering at single-protein resolutions. The potential applications of this powerful technique are not limited to biosensing and point-of-care diagnostics, and will also impact the emerging fields of molecularly driven nanoengineering and electronics.

  13. Template engineered biopotent macrocyclic complexes involving furan moiety: Molecular modeling and molecular docking

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rathi, Parveen; Singh, D. P.

    2015-08-01

    Bioactive cobalt(II), nickel(II), copper(II) and zinc(II) complexes of octaazamacrocycle, 19, 20-dioxa-2,3,5,6,11,12,14,15-octaazatricyclo[14.2.1.1]icosa-1,6,8,10,15,17-hexaene-4,13-dithione, derived from furan-2,5-dione and thiocarbonohydrazide in the mole ratio 2:2:1 have been engineered via template methodology. The synthesized metal complexes have also been structurally characterized in the light of various physicochemical techniques and evaluated for antimicrobial and antioxidant activities. All these studies point toward the formation of divalent macrocyclic complexes possessing distorted octahedral geometry and having significant antimicrobial and antioxidant properties as compared to the starting precursors. Virtual screening of a representative complex was done through docking to the binding site of COX-2 to evaluate the anti-inflammatory activity of the series. Non-electrolytic nature of the complexes has been predicted on the basis of low value of molar conductivity in DMSO. All the complexes were having notable activities against pathogenic microbes as compared to precursors-thiocarbonohydrazide and furan-2,5-dione however, the complex 5, [Ni (C10H8N8O2S2) (NO3)2], shows the best antimicrobial activity.

  14. Molecular pedigree reconstruction and estimation of evolutionary parameters in a wild Atlantic salmon river system with incomplete sampling: a power analysis

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Pedigree reconstruction using genetic analysis provides a useful means to estimate fundamental population biology parameters relating to population demography, trait heritability and individual fitness when combined with other sources of data. However, there remain limitations to pedigree reconstruction in wild populations, particularly in systems where parent-offspring relationships cannot be directly observed, there is incomplete sampling of individuals, or molecular parentage inference relies on low quality DNA from archived material. While much can still be inferred from incomplete or sparse pedigrees, it is crucial to evaluate the quality and power of available genetic information a priori to testing specific biological hypotheses. Here, we used microsatellite markers to reconstruct a multi-generation pedigree of wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) using archived scale samples collected with a total trapping system within a river over a 10 year period. Using a simulation-based approach, we determined the optimal microsatellite marker number for accurate parentage assignment, and evaluated the power of the resulting partial pedigree to investigate important evolutionary and quantitative genetic characteristics of salmon in the system. Results We show that at least 20 microsatellites (ave. 12 alleles/locus) are required to maximise parentage assignment and to improve the power to estimate reproductive success and heritability in this study system. We also show that 1.5 fold differences can be detected between groups simulated to have differing reproductive success, and that it is possible to detect moderate heritability values for continuous traits (h2 ~ 0.40) with more than 80% power when using 28 moderately to highly polymorphic markers. Conclusion The methodologies and work flow described provide a robust approach for evaluating archived samples for pedigree-based research, even where only a proportion of the total population is sampled. The

  15. A molecular phylogeny of the Littorininae (Gastropoda: Littorinidae): unequal evolutionary rates, morphological parallelism, and biogeography of the Southern Ocean.

    PubMed

    Williams, S T; Reid, D G; Littlewood, D T J

    2003-07-01

    A molecular phylogeny is presented for the subfamily Littorininae (including representatives of all subgeneric taxa and all members of a group of southern-temperate species formerly classified as 'Nodilittorina'), based on sequence data from two nuclear (18S rRNA, 28S rRNA) and two mitochondrial (12S rRNA, CO1) genes. The phylogeny shows considerable disagreement with earlier hypotheses derived from morphological data. In particular, 'Nodilittorina' is polyphyletic and is here divided into four genera (Echinolittorina, Austrolittorina, Afrolittorina new genus, and the monotypic Nodilittorina s.s.). The phylogenetic relationships of 'Littorina' striata have been controversial and it is here transferred to the genus Tectarius, a surprising relationship for which there is little morphological support. The relationships of the enigmatic Mainwaringia remain poorly resolved, but it is not a basal member of the subfamily. The two living species of Mainwaringia are remarkable for a greatly elevated rate of evolution in all four genes examined; it is suggested that this may be connected with their protandrous hermaphroditism, which is unique in the family. The molecular phylogeny provides a new framework for the adaptive radiation of the Littorininae, showing more frequent shifts between habitats and climatic regimes than previously suspected, and striking parallelism of morphological characters. The fossil record of littorinids is poor, but ages of clades are estimated using a calibration based on a Lower Eocene age of the genus Littoraria. Using these estimates, the antitropical distribution of Littorina and Afrolittorina is an ancient pattern of possibly Cretaceous age. The five members of Austrolittorina show a Gondwanan distribution in Australia, New Zealand, and South America. Based on the morphological uniformity within this clade, relatively recent (Plio-Pleistocene) trans-Pacific dispersal events seemed a likely explanation, as proposed for numerous other

  16. Molecular modeling of directed self-assembly of block copolymers: Fundamental studies of processing conditions and evolutionary pattern design

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khaira, Gurdaman Singh

    Rapid progress in the semi-conductor industry has pushed for smaller feature sizes on integrated electronic circuits. Current photo-lithographic techniques for nanofabrication have reached their technical limit and are problematic when printing features small enough to meet future industrial requirements. "Bottom-up'' techniques, such as the directed self-assembly (DSA) of block copolymers (BCP), are the primary contenders to compliment current "top-down'' photo-lithography ones. For industrial requirements, the defect density from DSA needs to be less than 1 defect per 10 cm by 10 cm. Knowledge of both material synthesis and the thermodynamics of the self-assembly process are required before optimal operating conditions can be found to produce results adequate for industry. The work present in this thesis is divided into three chapters, each discussing various aspects of DSA as studied via a molecular model that contains the essential physics of BCP self-assembly. Though there are various types of guiding fields that can be used to direct BCPs over large wafer areas with minimum defects, this study focuses only on chemically patterned substrates. The first chapter addresses optimal pattern design by describing a framework where molecular simulations of various complexities are coupled with an advanced optimization technique to find a pattern that directs a target morphology. It demonstrates the first ever study where BCP self-assembly on a patterned substrate is optimized using a three-dimensional description of the block-copolymers. For problems pertaining to DSA, the methodology is shown to converge much faster than the traditional random search approach. The second chapter discusses the metrology of BCP thin films using TEM tomography and X-ray scattering techniques, such as CDSAXS and GISAXS. X-ray scattering has the advantage of being able to quickly probe the average structure of BCP morphologies over large wafer areas; however, deducing the BCP morphology

  17. Evolutionary awareness.

    PubMed

    Gorelik, Gregory; Shackelford, Todd K

    2014-01-01

    In this article, we advance the concept of "evolutionary awareness," a metacognitive framework that examines human thought and emotion from a naturalistic, evolutionary perspective. We begin by discussing the evolution and current functioning of the moral foundations on which our framework rests. Next, we discuss the possible applications of such an evolutionarily-informed ethical framework to several domains of human behavior, namely: sexual maturation, mate attraction, intrasexual competition, culture, and the separation between various academic disciplines. Finally, we discuss ways in which an evolutionary awareness can inform our cross-generational activities-which we refer to as "intergenerational extended phenotypes"-by helping us to construct a better future for ourselves, for other sentient beings, and for our environment. PMID:25300054

  18. Divergence Times and the Evolutionary Radiation of New World Monkeys (Platyrrhini, Primates): An Analysis of Fossil and Molecular Data

    PubMed Central

    Perez, S. Ivan; Tejedor, Marcelo F.; Novo, Nelson M.; Aristide, Leandro

    2013-01-01

    The estimation of phylogenetic relationships and divergence times among a group of organisms is a fundamental first step toward understanding its biological diversification. The time of the most recent or last common ancestor (LCA) of extant platyrrhines is one of the most controversial among scholars of primate evolution. Here we use two molecular based approaches to date the initial divergence of the platyrrhine clade, Bayesian estimations under a relaxed-clock model and substitution rate plus generation time and body size, employing the fossil record and genome datasets. We also explore the robustness of our estimations with respect to changes in topology, fossil constraints and substitution rate, and discuss the implications of our findings for understanding the platyrrhine radiation. Our results suggest that fossil constraints, topology and substitution rate have an important influence on our divergence time estimates. Bayesian estimates using conservative but realistic fossil constraints suggest that the LCA of extant platyrrhines existed at ca. 29 Ma, with the 95% confidence limit for the node ranging from 27–31 Ma. The LCA of extant platyrrhine monkeys based on substitution rate corrected by generation time and body size was established between 21–29 Ma. The estimates based on the two approaches used in this study recalibrate the ages of the major platyrrhine clades and corroborate the hypothesis that they constitute very old lineages. These results can help reconcile several controversial points concerning the affinities of key early Miocene fossils that have arisen among paleontologists and molecular systematists. However, they cannot resolve the controversy of whether these fossil species truly belong to the extant lineages or to a stem platyrrhine clade. That question can only be resolved by morphology. Finally, we show that the use of different approaches and well supported fossil information gives a more robust divergence time estimate of a clade

  19. Divergence Times and the Evolutionary Radiation of New World Monkeys (Platyrrhini, Primates): An Analysis of Fossil and Molecular Data.

    PubMed

    Perez, S Ivan; Tejedor, Marcelo F; Novo, Nelson M; Aristide, Leandro

    2013-01-01

    The estimation of phylogenetic relationships and divergence times among a group of organisms is a fundamental first step toward understanding its biological diversification. The time of the most recent or last common ancestor (LCA) of extant platyrrhines is one of the most controversial among scholars of primate evolution. Here we use two molecular based approaches to date the initial divergence of the platyrrhine clade, Bayesian estimations under a relaxed-clock model and substitution rate plus generation time and body size, employing the fossil record and genome datasets. We also explore the robustness of our estimations with respect to changes in topology, fossil constraints and substitution rate, and discuss the implications of our findings for understanding the platyrrhine radiation. Our results suggest that fossil constraints, topology and substitution rate have an important influence on our divergence time estimates. Bayesian estimates using conservative but realistic fossil constraints suggest that the LCA of extant platyrrhines existed at ca. 29 Ma, with the 95% confidence limit for the node ranging from 27-31 Ma. The LCA of extant platyrrhine monkeys based on substitution rate corrected by generation time and body size was established between 21-29 Ma. The estimates based on the two approaches used in this study recalibrate the ages of the major platyrrhine clades and corroborate the hypothesis that they constitute very old lineages. These results can help reconcile several controversial points concerning the affinities of key early Miocene fossils that have arisen among paleontologists and molecular systematists. However, they cannot resolve the controversy of whether these fossil species truly belong to the extant lineages or to a stem platyrrhine clade. That question can only be resolved by morphology. Finally, we show that the use of different approaches and well supported fossil information gives a more robust divergence time estimate of a clade

  20. An Evolutionary Model for Collapsing Molecular Clouds and their Star Formation Activity. II. Mass Dependence of the Star Formation Rate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zamora-Avilés, Manuel; Vázquez-Semadeni, Enrique

    2014-10-01

    We discuss the evolution and dependence on cloud mass of the star formation rate (SFR) and efficiency (SFE) of star-forming molecular clouds (MCs) within the scenario that clouds are undergoing global collapse and that the SFR is controlled by ionization feedback. We find that low-mass clouds (M max <~ 104 M ⊙) spend most of their evolution at low SFRs, but end their lives with a mini-burst, reaching a peak SFR ~104 M ⊙ Myr-1, although their time-averaged SFR is only langSFRrang ~ 102 M ⊙ Myr-1. The corresponding efficiencies are SFEfinal <~ 60% and langSFErang <~ 1%. For more massive clouds (M max >~ 105 M ⊙), the SFR first increases and then reaches a plateau because the clouds are influenced by stellar feedback since earlier in their evolution. As a function of cloud mass, langSFRrang and langSFErang are well represented by the fits langSFRrang ≈ 100(1 + M max/1.4 × 105 M ⊙)1.68 M ⊙ Myr-1 and langSFErang ≈ 0.03(M max/2.5 × 105 M ⊙)0.33, respectively. Moreover, the SFR of our model clouds follows closely the SFR-dense gas mass relation recently found by Lada et al. during the epoch when their instantaneous SFEs are comparable to those of the clouds considered by those authors. Collectively, a Monte Carlo integration of the model-predicted SFR(M) over a Galactic giant molecular cloud mass spectrum yields values for the total Galactic SFR that are within half an order of magnitude of the relation obtained by Gao & Solomon. Our results support the scenario that star-forming MCs may be in global gravitational collapse and that the low observed values of the SFR and SFE are a result of the interruption of each SF episode, caused primarily by the ionizing feedback from massive stars.

  1. An evolutionary model for collapsing molecular clouds and their star formation activity. II. Mass dependence of the star formation rate

    SciTech Connect

    Zamora-Avilés, Manuel; Vázquez-Semadeni, Enrique

    2014-10-01

    We discuss the evolution and dependence on cloud mass of the star formation rate (SFR) and efficiency (SFE) of star-forming molecular clouds (MCs) within the scenario that clouds are undergoing global collapse and that the SFR is controlled by ionization feedback. We find that low-mass clouds (M {sub max} ≲ 10{sup 4} M {sub ☉}) spend most of their evolution at low SFRs, but end their lives with a mini-burst, reaching a peak SFR ∼10{sup 4} M {sub ☉} Myr{sup –1}, although their time-averaged SFR is only (SFR) ∼ 10{sup 2} M {sub ☉} Myr{sup –1}. The corresponding efficiencies are SFE{sub final} ≲ 60% and (SFE) ≲ 1%. For more massive clouds (M {sub max} ≳ 10{sup 5} M {sub ☉}), the SFR first increases and then reaches a plateau because the clouds are influenced by stellar feedback since earlier in their evolution. As a function of cloud mass, (SFR) and (SFE) are well represented by the fits (SFR) ≈ 100(1 + M {sub max}/1.4 × 10{sup 5} M {sub ☉}){sup 1.68} M {sub ☉} Myr{sup –1} and (SFE) ≈ 0.03(M {sub max}/2.5 × 10{sup 5} M {sub ☉}){sup 0.33}, respectively. Moreover, the SFR of our model clouds follows closely the SFR-dense gas mass relation recently found by Lada et al. during the epoch when their instantaneous SFEs are comparable to those of the clouds considered by those authors. Collectively, a Monte Carlo integration of the model-predicted SFR(M) over a Galactic giant molecular cloud mass spectrum yields values for the total Galactic SFR that are within half an order of magnitude of the relation obtained by Gao and Solomon. Our results support the scenario that star-forming MCs may be in global gravitational collapse and that the low observed values of the SFR and SFE are a result of the interruption of each SF episode, caused primarily by the ionizing feedback from massive stars.

  2. Molecular evolutionary dynamics of cytochrome P450 monooxygenases across kingdoms: Special focus on mycobacterial P450s.

    PubMed

    Parvez, Mohammad; Qhanya, Lehlohonolo Benedict; Mthakathi, Ntsane Trevor; Kgosiemang, Ipeleng Kopano Rosinah; Bamal, Hans Denis; Pagadala, Nataraj Sekhar; Xie, Ting; Yang, Haoran; Chen, Hengye; Theron, Chrispian William; Monyaki, Richie; Raselemane, Seiso Caiphus; Salewe, Vuyani; Mongale, Bogadi Lorato; Matowane, Retshedisitswe Godfrey; Abdalla, Sara Mohamed Hasaan; Booi, Wool Isaac; van Wyk, Mari; Olivier, Dedré; Boucher, Charlotte E; Nelson, David R; Tuszynski, Jack A; Blackburn, Jonathan Michael; Yu, Jae-Hyuk; Mashele, Samson Sitheni; Chen, Wanping; Syed, Khajamohiddin

    2016-01-01

    Since the initial identification of cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (CYPs/P450s), great progress has been made in understanding their structure-function relationship, diversity and application in producing compounds beneficial to humans. However, the molecular evolution of P450s in terms of their dynamics both at protein and DNA levels and functional conservation across kingdoms still needs investigation. In this study, we analyzed 17 598 P450s belonging to 113 P450 families (bacteria -42; fungi -19; plant -28; animal -22; plant and animal -1 and common P450 family -1) and found highly conserved and rapidly evolving P450 families. Results suggested that bacterial P450s, particularly P450s belonging to mycobacteria, are highly conserved both at protein and DNA levels. Mycobacteria possess the highest P450 diversity percentage compared to other microbes and have a high coverage of P450s (≥1%) in their genomes, as found in fungi and plants. Phylogenetic and functional analyses revealed the functional conservation of P450s despite belonging to different biological kingdoms, suggesting the adherence of P450s to their innate function such as their involvement in either generation or oxidation of steroids and structurally related molecules, fatty acids and terpenoids. This study's results offer new understanding of the dynamic structural nature of P450s. PMID:27616185

  3. Molecular Evolutionary Analysis of the Alfin-Like Protein Family in Arabidopsis lyrata, Arabidopsis thaliana, and Thellungiella halophila

    PubMed Central

    Kua, Chai-Shian; Liu, Jingxin; Cannon, Charles H.

    2013-01-01

    In previous studies, the Alfin1 gene, a transcription factor, enhanced salt tolerance in alfalfa, primarily through altering gene expression levels in the root. Here, we examined the molecular evolution of the Alfin-like (AL) proteins in two Arabidopsis species (A. lyrata and A. thaliana) and a salt-tolerant close relative Thellungiella halophila. These AL-like proteins could be divided into four groups and the two known DUF3594 and PHD-finger domains had co-evolved within each group of genes, irrespective of species, due to gene duplication events in the common ancestor of all three species while gene loss was observed only in T. halophila. To detect whether natural selection acted in the evolution of AL genes, we calculated synonymous substitution ratios (dn/ds) and codon usage statistics, finding positive selection operated on four branches and significant differences in biased codon usage in the AL family between T. halophila and A. lyrata or A. thaliana. Distinctively, only the AL7 branch was under positive selection on the PHD-finger domain and the three members on the branch showed the smallest difference when codon bias was evaluated among the seven clusters. Functional analysis based on transgenic overexpression lines and T-DNA insertion mutants indicated that salt-stress-induced AtAL7 could play a negative role in salt tolerance of A. thaliana, suggesting that adaptive evolution occurred in the members of AL gene family. PMID:23840867

  4. Structural Characterization and Evolutionary Relationship of High-Molecular-Weight Glutenin Subunit Genes in Roegneria nakaii and Roegneria alashanica.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Lujun; Li, Zhixin; Fan, Renchun; Wei, Bo; Zhang, Xiangqi

    2016-01-01

    The Roegneria of Triticeae is a large genus including about 130 allopolyploid species. Little is known about its high-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GSs). Here, we reported six novel HMW-GS genes from R. nakaii and R. alashanica. Sequencing indicated that Rny1, Rny3, and Ray1 possessed intact open reading frames (ORFs), whereas Rny2, Rny4, and Ray2 harbored in-frame stop codons. All of the six genes possessed a similar primary structure to known HMW-GS, while showing some unique characteristics. Their coding regions were significantly shorter than Glu-1 genes in wheat. The amino acid sequences revealed that all of the six genes were intermediate towards the y-type. The phylogenetic analysis showed that the HMW-GSs from species with St, StY, or StH genome(s) clustered in an independent clade, varying from the typical x- and y-type clusters. Thus, the Glu-1 locus in R. nakaii and R. alashanica is a very primitive glutenin locus across evolution. The six genes were phylogenetically split into two groups clustered to different clades, respectively, each of the two clades included the HMW-GSs from species with St (diploid and tetraploid species), StY, and StH genomes. Hence, it is concluded that the six Roegneria HMW-GS genes are from two St genomes undergoing slight differentiation. PMID:27447615

  5. Structural Characterization and Evolutionary Relationship of High-Molecular-Weight Glutenin Subunit Genes in Roegneria nakaii and Roegneria alashanica

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Lujun; Li, Zhixin; Fan, Renchun; Wei, Bo; Zhang, Xiangqi

    2016-01-01

    The Roegneria of Triticeae is a large genus including about 130 allopolyploid species. Little is known about its high-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GSs). Here, we reported six novel HMW-GS genes from R. nakaii and R. alashanica. Sequencing indicated that Rny1, Rny3, and Ray1 possessed intact open reading frames (ORFs), whereas Rny2, Rny4, and Ray2 harbored in-frame stop codons. All of the six genes possessed a similar primary structure to known HMW-GS, while showing some unique characteristics. Their coding regions were significantly shorter than Glu-1 genes in wheat. The amino acid sequences revealed that all of the six genes were intermediate towards the y-type. The phylogenetic analysis showed that the HMW-GSs from species with St, StY, or StH genome(s) clustered in an independent clade, varying from the typical x- and y-type clusters. Thus, the Glu-1 locus in R. nakaii and R. alashanica is a very primitive glutenin locus across evolution. The six genes were phylogenetically split into two groups clustered to different clades, respectively, each of the two clades included the HMW-GSs from species with St (diploid and tetraploid species), StY, and StH genomes. Hence, it is concluded that the six Roegneria HMW-GS genes are from two St genomes undergoing slight differentiation. PMID:27447615

  6. Molecular structure of photosynthetic microbial biofuels for improved engine combustion and emissions characteristics.

    PubMed

    Hellier, Paul; Purton, Saul; Ladommatos, Nicos

    2015-01-01

    The metabolic engineering of photosynthetic microbes for production of novel hydrocarbons presents an opportunity for development of advanced designer biofuels. These can be significantly more sustainable, throughout the production-to-consumption lifecycle, than the fossil fuels and crop-based biofuels they might replace. Current biofuels, such as bioethanol and fatty acid methyl esters, have been developed primarily as drop-in replacements for existing fossil fuels, based on their physical properties and autoignition characteristics under specific combustion regimes. However, advances in the genetic engineering of microalgae and cyanobacteria, and the application of synthetic biology approaches offer the potential of designer strains capable of producing hydrocarbons and oxygenates with specific molecular structures. Furthermore, these fuel molecules can be designed for higher efficiency of energy release and lower exhaust emissions during combustion. This paper presents a review of potential fuel molecules from photosynthetic microbes and the performance of these possible fuels in modern internal combustion engines, highlighting which modifications to the molecular structure of such fuels may enhance their suitability for specific combustion regimes. PMID:25941673

  7. Guided cell patterning on gold-silicon dioxide substrates by surface molecular engineering.

    PubMed

    Veiseh, Mandana; Wickes, Bronwyn T; Castner, David G; Zhang, Miqin

    2004-07-01

    We report an effective approach to patterning cells on gold-silicon dioxide substrates with high precision, selectivity, stability, and reproducibility. This technique is based on photolithography and surface molecular engineering and requires no cell positioning or delivery devices, thus significantly reducing the potential damage to cells. The cell patterning was achieved by activating the gold regions of the substrate with functionalized thiols that covalently bind proteins onto the gold regions to guide subsequent cell adhesion while passivating the silicon dioxide background with polyethylene glycol to resist cell adhesion. Fourier transform infrared reflectance spectroscopy verified the successful immobilization of proteins on gold surfaces. Protein patterns were visualized by tagging proteins with Rhodamine fluorescent probes. Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry was used to characterize the chemistry of both the cell-adhesive and cell-resistant regions of surfaces after each key chemical reaction occurring during the molecular surface engineering. The ability of the engineered surfaces to guide cell adhesion was illustrated by differential interference contrast (DIC) reflectance microscopy. The cell patterning technique introduced in this study is compatible with micro- and photo-electronics, and may have many medical, environmental, and defense applications. PMID:14980426

  8. Molecular Structure of Photosynthetic Microbial Biofuels for Improved Engine Combustion and Emissions Characteristics

    PubMed Central

    Hellier, Paul; Purton, Saul; Ladommatos, Nicos

    2015-01-01

    The metabolic engineering of photosynthetic microbes for production of novel hydrocarbons presents an opportunity for development of advanced designer biofuels. These can be significantly more sustainable, throughout the production-to-consumption lifecycle, than the fossil fuels and crop-based biofuels they might replace. Current biofuels, such as bioethanol and fatty acid methyl esters, have been developed primarily as drop-in replacements for existing fossil fuels, based on their physical properties and autoignition characteristics under specific combustion regimes. However, advances in the genetic engineering of microalgae and cyanobacteria, and the application of synthetic biology approaches offer the potential of designer strains capable of producing hydrocarbons and oxygenates with specific molecular structures. Furthermore, these fuel molecules can be designed for higher efficiency of energy release and lower exhaust emissions during combustion. This paper presents a review of potential fuel molecules from photosynthetic microbes and the performance of these possible fuels in modern internal combustion engines, highlighting which modifications to the molecular structure of such fuels may enhance their suitability for specific combustion regimes. PMID:25941673

  9. Molecular cloning and evolutionary analysis of captive forest musk deer bitter taste receptor gene T2R16.

    PubMed

    Zhao, G J; Wu, N; Li, D Y; Zeng, D J; Chen, Q; Lu, L; Feng, X L; Zhang, C L; Zheng, C L; Jie, H

    2015-01-01

    Sensing bitter tastes is crucial for most animals because it can prevent them from ingesting harmful food. This process is mainly mediated by the bitter taste receptors (T2R) that are largely expressed in the taste buds. Previous studies have identified some T2R gene repertoires. Marked variation in repertoire size has been noted among species. However, research on T2Rs is still limited and the mechanisms underlying the evolution of vertebrate T2Rs remain poorly understood. In the present study, we analyzed the structure and features of the protein encoded by the forest musk deer (Moschus berezovskii) T2R16 and submitted the gene sequence to NCBI GenBank. The results showed that the full coding DNA sequence (CDS) of musk deer T2R16 (GenBank accession No. KP677279) was 906 bp, encoding 301 amino acids, which contained ATG start codon and TGA stop codon, with a calculated molecular weight of 35.03 kDa and an isoelectric point of 9.56. The T2R16 protein receptor had seven conserved transmembrane regions. Hydrophobicity analysis showed that most amino acid residues in T2R16 protein were hydrophobic, and the grand average of hydrophobicity (GRAVY) was 0.657. Phylogenetic analysis based on this gene revealed that forest musk deer had the closest association with sheep (Ovis aries), as compared to cow (Bos taurus), Tursiops truncatus, and other species, whereas it was genetically farthest from humans (Homo sapiens). We hope these results would complement the existing data on T2R16 and encourage further research in this respect. PMID:26662411

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Production of specific-molecular-weight hyaluronan by metabolically engineered Bacillus subtilis 168.

    PubMed

    Jin, Peng; Kang, Zhen; Yuan, Panhong; Du, Guocheng; Chen, Jian

    2016-05-01

    Low-molecular-weight hyaluronan (LMW-HA) has attracted much attention because of its many potential applications. Here, we efficiently produced specific LMW-HAs from sucrose in Bacillus subtilis. By coexpressing the identified committed genes (tuaD, gtaB, glmU, glmM, and glmS) and downregulating the glycolytic pathway, HA production was significantly increased from 1.01gL(-1) to 3.16gL(-1), with a molecular weight range of 1.40×10(6)-1.83×10(6)Da. When leech hyaluronidase was actively expressed after N-terminal engineering (1.62×10(6)UmL(-1)), the production of HA was substantially increased from 5.96gL(-1) to 19.38gL(-1). The level of hyaluronidase was rationally regulated with a ribosome-binding site engineering strategy, allowing the production of LMW-HAs with a molecular weight range of 2.20×10(3)-1.42×10(6)Da. Our results confirm that this strategy for the controllable expression of hyaluronidase, together with the optimization of the HA synthetic pathway, effectively produces specific LMW-HAs, and could also be used to produce other LMW polysaccharides. PMID:26851304

  13. Gene discovery, evolutionary affinity and molecular detection of Oxyspirura petrowi, an eye worm parasite of game birds

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Oxyspirura petrowi appears to be emerging as a nematode parasite that could negatively impact Northern Bobwhite quail individuals and populations within Texas and other regions of the United States. Despite this eye worm's potential importance in the conservation of wild quail, little is known about the general biology and genome composition of O. petrowi. To fill the knowledge gap, we performed a small scale random genome sequence survey, sequenced its 18S rRNA and the intergenic region between the 18S and 28S rRNA genes, studied its phylogenetic affinity, and developed a PCR protocol for the detection of this eye worm. Results We have generated ~240 kb of genome sequence data derived from 348 clones by a random genome survey of an O. petrowi genomic library. The eye worm genome is AT-rich (i.e., 62.2% AT-content), and contains a high number of microsatellite sequences. The discovered genes encode a wide-range of proteins including hypothetical proteins, enzymes, nematode-specific proteins. Phylogenetic analysis based on 18S rRNA sequences indicate that the Spiruroidea is paraphyletic, in which Oxyspirura and its closely related species are sisters to the filarial nematodes. We have also developed a PCR protocol based on the ITS2 sequence that allows sensitive and specific detection of eye worm DNA in feces. Using this newly developed protocol, we have determined that ~28% to 33% of the fecal samples collected from Northern Bobwhites and Scaled Quail in Texas in the spring of 2013 are O. petrowi positive. Conclusions The O. petrowi genome is rich in microsatellite sequences that may be used in future genotyping and molecular fingerprinting analysis. This eye worm is evolutionarily close to the filarial nematodes, implying that therapeutic strategies for filariasis such as Loa loa would be referential in developing treatments for the Thelazoidea parasites. Our qPCR-based survey has confirmed that O. petrowi infection is of potential concern to quail

  14. One-Step Facile Surface Engineering of Hydrophobic Nanocrystals with Designer Molecular Recognition

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Tao; Öçsoy, Ismail; Yuan, Quan; Wang, Ruowen; You, Mingxu; Zhao, Zilong; Song, Erqun; Zhang, Xiaobing; Tan, Weihong

    2013-01-01

    High quality nanocrystals have demonstrated substantial potential for biomedical applications. However, being generally hydrophobic, their use has been greatly limited by complicated and inefficient surface engineering that often fails to yield biocompatible nanocrystals with minimal aggregation in biological fluids and active targeting toward specific biomolecules. Using chimeric DNA molecules, we developed a one-step facile surface engineering method for hydrophobic Nanocrystals. The procedure is simple and versatile, generating individual nanocrystals with multiple ligands. In addition, the resulting nanocrystals can actively and specifically target various molecular addresses, varying from nucleic acids to cancer cells. Together, the strategy developed here holds great promise in generating critical technologies needed for biomedical applications of nanocrystals. PMID:22793667

  15. In-Cylinder IC Engine Velocity Measurements using Stereoscopic Molecular Tagging Velocimetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sadr, Reza; Mittal, Mayank; Schock, Harold

    2008-11-01

    In-Cylinder velocity field measurement is of great importance for research aimed at improvement in fuel efficiency and reduction of emissions in internal combustion (IC) engines. Application of more conventional fluid velocimetry techniques for IC measurements is, however, limited due to complex flow condition and mechanical set up in IC engines. Stereoscopic Molecular Tagging Velocimetry (SMTV) technique is used to obtain the multiple point measurement of an instantaneous three dimensional velocity field in an IC engine assembly. A novel image processing technique is implemented to obtain the velocity data. The new algorithm is computationally less expensive and eliminates the need for geometric details in earlier techniques to obtain the three-dimensional velocity components. Cycle-to-cycle variations of three dimensional velocity field and out-of-plane vorticity are presented inside the engine cylinder for three different crank angle degrees (CAD) of 90^o, 180^o, and 270^o. Preliminary results show high cycle-to-cycle variations in the out-of-plane velocity component but less variation is observed in the velocity component along the cylinder axis. The flow has fully three-dimensional unsteady behavior during the intake stroke; however the variations are less during the compression stroke.

  16. Molecular Basis of Clay Mineral Structure and Dynamics in Subsurface Engineering Applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cygan, R. T.

    2015-12-01

    Clay minerals and their interfaces play an essential role in many geochemical, environmental, and subsurface engineering applications. Adsorption, dissolution, precipitation, nucleation, and growth mechanisms, in particular, are controlled by the interplay of structure, thermodynamics, kinetics, and transport at clay mineral-water interfaces. Molecular details of these processes are typically beyond the sensitivity of experimental and analytical methods, and therefore require accurate models and simulations. Also, basal surfaces and interlayers of clay minerals provide constrained interfacial environments to facilitate the evaluation of these complex processes. We have developed and used classical molecular and quantum methods to examine the complex behavior of clay mineral-water interfaces and dynamics of interlayer species. Bulk structures, swelling behavior, diffusion, and adsorption processes are evaluated and compared to experimental and spectroscopic findings. Analysis of adsorption mechanisms of radionuclides on clay minerals provides a scientific basis for predicting the suitability of engineered barriers associated with nuclear waste repositories and the fate of contaminants in the environment. Similarly, the injection of supercritical carbon dioxide into geological reservoirs—to mitigate the impact of climate change—is evaluated by molecular models of multi-fluid interactions with clay minerals. Molecular dynamics simulations provide insights into the wettability of different fluids—water, electrolyte solutions, and supercritical carbon dioxide—on clay surfaces, and which ultimately affects capillary fluid flow and the integrity of shale caprocks. This work is supported as part of Center for Frontiers of Subsurface Energy Security, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science and by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Geosciences Research Program

  17. Strain engineering on silicon/germanium nanoscale heterostructures using molecular dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Park, Yumi

    Nanoscale architectures provide additional variables to engineer electronic/mechanical properties of material systems due to their high surface volume ratio and physics that arise from their extremely small size. To date, the device performance of microelectronics has been improved largely by miniaturization. However, with feature sizes below 100 nm, the fundamental challenges demand development of new architectures, new materials, and strain engineering. Strain engineering has been one of the most widely used techniques to achieve desired electronic properties of materials. For example, uniaxial compression and tension are desirable for high speed p-and n-MOSFET, respectively. However, accurate experimental characterization of strain in nanomaterials remains challenges such as resolving strain components and quantifying strain gradient which can affect electronic properties. Molecular dynamics (MD) describe materials with atomic resolution and it can provide invaluable information and insight into nanoscale strain engineering. MD simulations are used to study strain relaxation in Si/Ge heteroepitaxial structures of interest to nanoelectonic applications. Nanopatterning is considered as an avenue for strain engineering to achieve uniaxial strain state from epitaxially integrated Si/Ge heterostructures. Using MD, it is studied how size affect strain relaxation on strained Si/Ge/Si nanobars representing the structures obtained by patterning the films in nanoscale. The MD results demonstrate that Ge with a roughly square cross section has a uniaxial strain state desirable for hole mobility enhancement. Also, process-induced strain relaxation on Si/Ge heterostructures is discussed. The simulations suggest that, by engineering the aspect ratio of Si/Ge nanolaminates, local amorphization followed by recrystallization can be used for either preserving the engineered strain or achieving the desired strain state in crystalline region, showing a possibility as a new avenue

  18. When electrons meet molecular ions and what happens next: dissociative recombination from interstellar molecular clouds to internal combustion engines.

    PubMed

    Thomas, Richard D

    2008-01-01

    The interaction of matter with its environment is the driving force behind the evolution of 99% of the observed matter in the universe. The majority of the visible universe exists in a state of weak ionization, the so called fourth state of matter: plasma. Plasmas are ubiquitous, from those occurring naturally; interstellar molecular clouds, cometary comae, circumstellar shells, to those which are anthropic in origin; flames, combustion engines and fusion reactors. The evolution of these plasmas is driven by the interaction of the plasma constituents, the ions, and the electrons. One of the most important subsets of these reactions is electron-molecular ion recombination. This process is significant for two very important reasons. It is an ionization reducing reaction, removing two ionised species and producing neutral products. Furthermore, these products may themselves be reactive radical species which can then further drive the evolution of the plasma. The rate at which the electron reacts with the ion depends on many parameters, for examples the collision energy, the internal energy of the ion, and the structure of the ion itself. Measuring these properties together with the manner in which the system breaks up is therefore critical if the evolution of the environment is to be understood at all. Several techniques have been developed to study just such reactions to obtain the necessary information on the parameters. In this paper the focus will be on one the most recently developed of these, the Ion Storage Ring, together with the detection tools and techniques used to extract the necessary information from the reaction. PMID:18618616

  19. Residue contacts predicted by evolutionary covariance extend the application of ab initio molecular replacement to larger and more challenging protein folds

    PubMed Central

    Simkovic, Felix; Thomas, Jens M. H.; Keegan, Ronan M.; Winn, Martyn D.; Mayans, Olga; Rigden, Daniel J.

    2016-01-01

    For many protein families, the deluge of new sequence information together with new statistical protocols now allow the accurate prediction of contacting residues from sequence information alone. This offers the possibility of more accurate ab initio (non-homology-based) structure prediction. Such models can be used in structure solution by molecular replacement (MR) where the target fold is novel or is only distantly related to known structures. Here, AMPLE, an MR pipeline that assembles search-model ensembles from ab initio structure predictions (‘decoys’), is employed to assess the value of contact-assisted ab initio models to the crystallographer. It is demonstrated that evolutionary covariance-derived residue–residue contact predictions improve the quality of ab initio models and, consequently, the success rate of MR using search models derived from them. For targets containing β-structure, decoy quality and MR performance were further improved by the use of a β-strand contact-filtering protocol. Such contact-guided decoys achieved 14 structure solutions from 21 attempted protein targets, compared with nine for simple Rosetta decoys. Previously encountered limitations were superseded in two key respects. Firstly, much larger targets of up to 221 residues in length were solved, which is far larger than the previously benchmarked threshold of 120 residues. Secondly, contact-guided decoys significantly improved success with β-sheet-rich proteins. Overall, the improved performance of contact-guided decoys suggests that MR is now applicable to a significantly wider range of protein targets than were previously tractable, and points to a direct benefit to structural biology from the recent remarkable advances in sequencing. PMID:27437113

  20. Residue contacts predicted by evolutionary covariance extend the application of ab initio molecular replacement to larger and more challenging protein folds.

    PubMed

    Simkovic, Felix; Thomas, Jens M H; Keegan, Ronan M; Winn, Martyn D; Mayans, Olga; Rigden, Daniel J

    2016-07-01

    For many protein families, the deluge of new sequence information together with new statistical protocols now allow the accurate prediction of contacting residues from sequence information alone. This offers the possibility of more accurate ab initio (non-homology-based) structure prediction. Such models can be used in structure solution by molecular replacement (MR) where the target fold is novel or is only distantly related to known structures. Here, AMPLE, an MR pipeline that assembles search-model ensembles from ab initio structure predictions ('decoys'), is employed to assess the value of contact-assisted ab initio models to the crystallographer. It is demonstrated that evolutionary covariance-derived residue-residue contact predictions improve the quality of ab initio models and, consequently, the success rate of MR using search models derived from them. For targets containing β-structure, decoy quality and MR performance were further improved by the use of a β-strand contact-filtering protocol. Such contact-guided decoys achieved 14 structure solutions from 21 attempted protein targets, compared with nine for simple Rosetta decoys. Previously encountered limitations were superseded in two key respects. Firstly, much larger targets of up to 221 residues in length were solved, which is far larger than the previously benchmarked threshold of 120 residues. Secondly, contact-guided decoys significantly improved success with β-sheet-rich proteins. Overall, the improved performance of contact-guided decoys suggests that MR is now applicable to a significantly wider range of protein targets than were previously tractable, and points to a direct benefit to structural biology from the recent remarkable advances in sequencing. PMID:27437113

  1. Discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures using a flow reaction array as a search engine

    PubMed Central

    Zang, Hong-Ying; de la Oliva, Andreu Ruiz; Miras, Haralampos N.; Long, De-Liang; McBurney, Roy T.; Cronin, Leroy

    2014-01-01

    The discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures like coordination and polyoxometalate clusters is extremely time-consuming since a vast combinatorial space needs to be searched, and even a systematic and exhaustive exploration of the available synthetic parameters relies on a great deal of serendipity. Here we present a synthetic methodology that combines a flow reaction array and algorithmic control to give a chemical ‘real-space’ search engine leading to the discovery and isolation of a range of new molecular nanoclusters based on [Mo2O2S2]2+-based building blocks with either fourfold (C4) or fivefold (C5) symmetry templates and linkers. This engine leads us to isolate six new nanoscale cluster compounds: 1, {Mo10(C5)}; 2, {Mo14(C4)4(C5)2}; 3, {Mo60(C4)10}; 4, {Mo48(C4)6}; 5, {Mo34(C4)4}; 6, {Mo18(C4)9}; in only 200 automated experiments from a parameter space spanning ~5 million possible combinations. PMID:24770632

  2. Discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures using a flow reaction array as a search engine.

    PubMed

    Zang, Hong-Ying; de la Oliva, Andreu Ruiz; Miras, Haralampos N; Long, De-Liang; McBurney, Roy T; Cronin, Leroy

    2014-01-01

    The discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures like coordination and polyoxometalate clusters is extremely time-consuming since a vast combinatorial space needs to be searched, and even a systematic and exhaustive exploration of the available synthetic parameters relies on a great deal of serendipity. Here we present a synthetic methodology that combines a flow reaction array and algorithmic control to give a chemical 'real-space' search engine leading to the discovery and isolation of a range of new molecular nanoclusters based on [Mo(2)O(2)S(2)](2+)-based building blocks with either fourfold (C4) or fivefold (C5) symmetry templates and linkers. This engine leads us to isolate six new nanoscale cluster compounds: 1, {Mo(10)(C5)}; 2, {Mo(14)(C4)4(C5)2}; 3, {Mo(60)(C4)10}; 4, {Mo(48)(C4)6}; 5, {Mo(34)(C4)4}; 6, {Mo(18)(C4)9}; in only 200 automated experiments from a parameter space spanning ~5 million possible combinations. PMID:24770632

  3. Epitope engineering and molecular metrics of immunogenicity: a computational approach to VLP-based vaccine design.

    PubMed

    Joshi, Harshad; Lewis, Kristen; Singharoy, Abhishek; Ortoleva, Peter J

    2013-10-01

    Developing antiviral vaccines is increasingly challenging due to associated time and cost of production as well as emerging drug-resistant strains. A computer-aided vaccine design strategy is presented that could greatly accelerate the discovery process and yield vaccines with high immunogenicity and thermal stability. Our strategy is based on foreign viral epitopes engineered onto well-established virus-like particles (VLPs) and demonstrates that such constructs present similar affinity for antibodies as does a native virus. This binding affinity serves as one molecular metric of immunogenicity. As a demonstration, we engineered a preS1 epitope of hepatitis B virus (HBV) onto the EF loop of human papillomavirus VLP (HPV-VLP). HBV-associated HzKR127 antibody displayed binding affinity for this structure at distances and strengths similar to those for the complex of the antibody with the full HBV (PDBID: 2EH8). This antibody binding affinity assessment, along with other molecular immunogenicity metrics, could be a key component of a computer-aided vaccine design strategy. PMID:23933338

  4. Molecular-level engineering of THz/IR-sensitive materials for future biological sensing application

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woolard, Dwight; Recine, Gregory; Bykhovski, Alexei; Zhang, Weidong

    2010-08-01

    While the unique spectral information associated with chemical and biological molecules within the terahertz frequency regime (~ 3.0-3.0 millimeters) motivates its use for practical sensing applications, limiting factors at the macroscale (weak spectral absorption, broad line widths and masking geometrical effects introduced by the samples) provides motivation for man-engineered sensing materials that allow for the transduction of the spectral information about target molecules from the nanoscale. This brief letter will overview work being performed by our research group to define molecular-level functionality that will be useful for realizing "THz/IR-sensitive" materials. Here the goal is to define switchable molecular components that when incorporated into larger DNA-based nanoscaffolds lead to THz and/or IR regime electronic and/or photonic material properties that are dictated in a predictable manner by novel functionality paradigms. In particular, theoretical modeling and design studies are being performed to engineer organic and biological switches that can be incorporated into DNA-based architectures that enable the precise extraction of nanoscale information (e.g., composition, dynamics, conformation) through electronic/photonic transformations to the macroscale. Hence, these studies seek to define new spectral-based sensing modalities useful for characterizing bio-molecules

  5. Discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures using a flow reaction array as a search engine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zang, Hong-Ying; de La Oliva, Andreu Ruiz; Miras, Haralampos N.; Long, De-Liang; McBurney, Roy T.; Cronin, Leroy

    2014-04-01

    The discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures like coordination and polyoxometalate clusters is extremely time-consuming since a vast combinatorial space needs to be searched, and even a systematic and exhaustive exploration of the available synthetic parameters relies on a great deal of serendipity. Here we present a synthetic methodology that combines a flow reaction array and algorithmic control to give a chemical ‘real-space’ search engine leading to the discovery and isolation of a range of new molecular nanoclusters based on [Mo2O2S2]2+-based building blocks with either fourfold (C4) or fivefold (C5) symmetry templates and linkers. This engine leads us to isolate six new nanoscale cluster compounds: 1, {Mo10(C5)}; 2, {Mo14(C4)4(C5)2}; 3, {Mo60(C4)10}; 4, {Mo48(C4)6}; 5, {Mo34(C4)4}; 6, {Mo18(C4)9}; in only 200 automated experiments from a parameter space spanning ~5 million possible combinations.

  6. Evolutionary objections to "alien design" models.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coffey, E. J.

    A previous paper demonstrated that the principal supporters of SETI have ignored the biological and evolutionary consequences of a creature's body form. In fact, the supporting evidence they provide actually contradicts their view. The approach they employ is that of the engineer: the process of "designing" a hypothetical creature to a specification irrespective of biological or evolutionary considerations. The principal types of "alien designs" which have been employed shall be discussed, and the evolutionary objections to them given.

  7. Catalytically active polymers obtained by molecular imprinting and their application in chemical reaction engineering.

    PubMed

    Brüggemann, O

    2001-08-01

    Molecular imprinting is a way of creating polymers bearing artificial receptors. It allows the fabrication of highly selective plastics by polymerizing monomers in the presence of a template. This technique primarily had been developed for the generation of biomimetic materials to be used in chromatographic separation, in extraction approaches and in sensors and assays. Beyond these applications, in the past few years molecular imprinting has become a tool for producing new kinds of catalysts. For catalytic applications, the template must be chosen, so that it is structurally comparable with the transition state (a transition state analogue, TSA) of a reaction, or with the product or substrate. The advantage of using these polymeric catalysts is obvious: the backbone withstands more aggressive conditions than a bio material could ever survive. Results are presented showing the applicability of a molecularly imprinted catalyst in different kinds of chemical reactors. It is demonstrated that the catalysts can be utilized not only in batch but also in continuously driven reactors and that their performance can be improved by means of chemical reaction engineering. PMID:11429307

  8. Development of a D-xylose fermenting and inhibitor tolerant industrial Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain with high performance in lignocellulose hydrolysates using metabolic and evolutionary engineering

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background The production of bioethanol from lignocellulose hydrolysates requires a robust, D-xylose-fermenting and inhibitor-tolerant microorganism as catalyst. The purpose of the present work was to develop such a strain from a prime industrial yeast strain, Ethanol Red, used for bioethanol production. Results An expression cassette containing 13 genes including Clostridium phytofermentans XylA, encoding D-xylose isomerase (XI), and enzymes of the pentose phosphate pathway was inserted in two copies in the genome of Ethanol Red. Subsequent EMS mutagenesis, genome shuffling and selection in D-xylose-enriched lignocellulose hydrolysate, followed by multiple rounds of evolutionary engineering in complex medium with D-xylose, gradually established efficient D-xylose fermentation. The best-performing strain, GS1.11-26, showed a maximum specific D-xylose consumption rate of 1.1 g/g DW/h in synthetic medium, with complete attenuation of 35 g/L D-xylose in about 17 h. In separate hydrolysis and fermentation of lignocellulose hydrolysates of Arundo donax (giant reed), spruce and a wheat straw/hay mixture, the maximum specific D-xylose consumption rate was 0.36, 0.23 and 1.1 g/g DW inoculum/h, and the final ethanol titer was 4.2, 3.9 and 5.8% (v/v), respectively. In simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of Arundo hydrolysate, GS1.11-26 produced 32% more ethanol than the parent strain Ethanol Red, due to efficient D-xylose utilization. The high D-xylose fermentation capacity was stable after extended growth in glucose. Cell extracts of strain GS1.11-26 displayed 17-fold higher XI activity compared to the parent strain, but overexpression of XI alone was not enough to establish D-xylose fermentation. The high D-xylose consumption rate was due to synergistic interaction between the high XI activity and one or more mutations in the genome. The GS1.11-26 had a partial respiratory defect causing a reduced aerobic growth rate. Conclusions An industrial yeast strain for

  9. Surface engineering on mesoporous silica chips for enriching low molecular weight phosphorylated proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Ye; Peng, Yang; Lin, Kevin; Shen, Haifa; Brousseau, Louis C., III; Sakamoto, Jason; Sun, Tong; Ferrari, Mauro

    2011-02-01

    Phosphorylated peptides and proteins play an important role in normal cellular activities, e.g., gene expression, mitosis, differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis, as well as tumor initiation, progression and metastasis. However, technical hurdles hinder the use of common fractionation methods to capture phosphopeptides from complex biological fluids such as human sera. Herein, we present the development of a dual strategy material that offers enhanced capture of low molecular weight phosphoproteins: mesoporous silica thin films with precisely engineered pore sizes that sterically select for molecular size combined with chemically selective surface modifications (i.e. Ga3+, Ti4+ and Zr4+) that target phosphoroproteins. These materials provide high reproducibility (CV = 18%) and increase the stability of the captured proteins by excluding degrading enzymes, such as trypsin. The chemical and physical properties of the composite mesoporous thin films were characterized by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and ellipsometry. Using mass spectroscopy and biostatistics analysis, the enrichment efficiency of different metal ions immobilized on mesoporous silica chips was investigated. The novel technology reported provides a platform capable of efficiently profiling the serum proteome for biomarker discovery, forensic sampling, and routine diagnostic applications.Phosphorylated peptides and proteins play an important role in normal cellular activities, e.g., gene expression, mitosis, differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis, as well as tumor initiation, progression and metastasis. However, technical hurdles hinder the use of common fractionation methods to capture phosphopeptides from complex biological fluids such as human sera. Herein, we present the development of a dual strategy material that offers enhanced capture of low molecular weight phosphoproteins: mesoporous

  10. The effect of oxygenate molecular structure on soot production in direct-injection diesel engines.

    SciTech Connect

    Westbrook, Charles K.; Pitz, William J.; Mueller, Charles J.; Martin, Glen M.; Pickett, Lyle M.

    2003-06-01

    A combined experimental and kinetic modeling study of soot formation in diesel engine combustion has been used to study the addition of oxygenated species to diesel fuel to reduce soot emissions. This work indicates that the primary role of oxygen atoms in the fuel mixture is to reduce the levels of carbon atoms available for soot formation by fixing them in the form of CO or COz. When the structure of the oxygenate leads to prompt and direct formation of CO2, the oxygenate is less effective in reducing soot production than in cases when all fuel-bound 0 atoms produce only CO. The kinetic and molecular structure principles leading to this conclusion are described.

  11. Molecularly engineered poly(ortho ester) microspheres for enhanced delivery of DNA vaccines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Chun; Ge, Qing; Ting, David; Nguyen, David; Shen, Hui-Rong; Chen, Jianzhu; Eisen, Herman N.; Heller, Jorge; Langer, Robert; Putnam, David

    2004-03-01

    Genetic vaccination using plasmid DNA presents a unique opportunity for achieving potent immune responses without the potential limitations of many conventional vaccines. Here we report the design of synthetic biodegradable polymers specifically for enhancing DNA vaccine efficacy in vivo. We molecularly engineered poly(ortho ester) microspheres that are non-toxic to cells, protect DNA from degradation, enable uptake by antigen-presenting cells, and release DNA rapidly in response to phagosomal pH. One type of microsphere of poly(ortho esters) that releases DNA vaccines in synchrony with the natural development of adaptive immunity, elicited distinct primary and secondary humoral and cellular immune responses in mice, and suppressed the growth of tumour cells bearing a model antigen. This polymer microparticulate system could, with further study, have implications for advancing the clinical utility of DNA vaccines as well as other nucleic-acid-based therapeutics against viral infections and cancer.

  12. Molecular engineering of nanoscale order in organic electro-optic glasses

    SciTech Connect

    Hammond, Scott R.; Sinness, Jessica; Dubbury, Sara; Firestone, Kimberly A.; Benedict, Jason B.; Wawrzak, Zdzislaw; Clot, Olivier; Reid, Philip J.; Dalton, Larry R.

    2012-06-28

    The rational design of bulk nanoscale order in organic electro-optic materials, where the strong dipole-dipole interactions tend to dominate over the weaker forces exploited for self-assembly processes, remains an attractive yet elusive goal. Towards this end, a series of pseudo-discotic dipolar nonlinear optical chromophores have been synthesized and fully characterized. Theoretical guidance and an iterative molecular design process have succeeded in engineering long-range nanoscale order in organic electro-optic glasses. Small-angle thin-film X-ray diffraction experiments demonstrate a self-assembled lamellar morphology in a majority of these materials. Cryogenic crystallography, using a synchrotron X-ray source, afforded the structure of a representative system. This structure, in concert with thin-film X-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, UV-vis-NIR absorption spectroscopy, and refractive index experiments elucidated the nanoscale order in the films. Application of these materials in electro-optics is discussed.

  13. Molecular Kinetic Analysis of a Finite-Time Carnot Heat Engine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Izumida, Yuki; Okuda, Koji

    2009-03-01

    We show the first derivation of the efficiency at the maximum power for a finite-time Carnot heat engine of a weakly interacting gas which we can regard as a nearly ideal gas. Using this simple model, we check the celebrated Curzon-Ahlborn (CA) efficiency by performing the event-driven MD simulation as a numerical experiment for the first time[1,2]. This numerical experiment reveals that the CA efficiency is realized only in the limit of the small temperature difference Tc -> Th where Th and Tc are the temperatures of the hot and cold heat reservoirs, respectively. Our molecular kinetic analysis can explain the numerical results theoretically. [1] F. Curzon and B. Ahlborn, Am. J. Phys. 43, 22 (1975). [2] Y. Izumida and K. Okuda, Europhys. Lett. 83, 60003 (2008).

  14. Molecular Engineering of Ghfp, the Gonococcal Orthologue of Neisseria meningitidis Factor H Binding Protein

    PubMed Central

    Rippa, Valentina; Santini, Laura; Lo Surdo, Paola; Cantini, Francesca; Veggi, Daniele; Gentile, Maria Antonietta; Grassi, Eva; Iannello, Giulia; Brunelli, Brunella; Ferlicca, Francesca; Palmieri, Emiliano; Pallaoro, Michele; Aricò, Beatrice; Pizza, Mariagrazia

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge of the sequences and structures of proteins produced by microbial pathogens is continuously increasing. Besides offering the possibility of unraveling the mechanisms of pathogenesis at the molecular level, structural information provides new tools for vaccine development, such as the opportunity to improve viral and bacterial vaccine candidates by rational design. Structure-based rational design of antigens can optimize the epitope repertoire in terms of accessibility, stability, and variability. In the present study, we used epitope mapping information on the well-characterized antigen of Neisseria meningitidis factor H binding protein (fHbp) to engineer its gonococcal homologue, Ghfp. Meningococcal fHbp is typically classified in three distinct antigenic variants. We introduced epitopes of fHbp variant 1 onto the surface of Ghfp, which is naturally able to protect against meningococcal strains expressing fHbp of variants 2 and 3. Heterologous epitopes were successfully transplanted, as engineered Ghfp induced functional antibodies against all three fHbp variants. These results confirm that structural vaccinology represents a successful strategy for modulating immune responses, and it is a powerful tool for investigating the extension and localization of immunodominant epitopes. PMID:25947148

  15. Molecular Engineering of Ghfp, the Gonococcal Orthologue of Neisseria meningitidis Factor H Binding Protein.

    PubMed

    Rippa, Valentina; Santini, Laura; Lo Surdo, Paola; Cantini, Francesca; Veggi, Daniele; Gentile, Maria Antonietta; Grassi, Eva; Iannello, Giulia; Brunelli, Brunella; Ferlicca, Francesca; Palmieri, Emiliano; Pallaoro, Michele; Aricò, Beatrice; Banci, Lucia; Pizza, Mariagrazia; Scarselli, Maria

    2015-07-01

    Knowledge of the sequences and structures of proteins produced by microbial pathogens is continuously increasing. Besides offering the possibility of unraveling the mechanisms of pathogenesis at the molecular level, structural information provides new tools for vaccine development, such as the opportunity to improve viral and bacterial vaccine candidates by rational design. Structure-based rational design of antigens can optimize the epitope repertoire in terms of accessibility, stability, and variability. In the present study, we used epitope mapping information on the well-characterized antigen of Neisseria meningitidis factor H binding protein (fHbp) to engineer its gonococcal homologue, Ghfp. Meningococcal fHbp is typically classified in three distinct antigenic variants. We introduced epitopes of fHbp variant 1 onto the surface of Ghfp, which is naturally able to protect against meningococcal strains expressing fHbp of variants 2 and 3. Heterologous epitopes were successfully transplanted, as engineered Ghfp induced functional antibodies against all three fHbp variants. These results confirm that structural vaccinology represents a successful strategy for modulating immune responses, and it is a powerful tool for investigating the extension and localization of immunodominant epitopes. PMID:25947148

  16. Chapter 2. Fasciola, lymnaeids and human fascioliasis, with a global overview on disease transmission, epidemiology, evolutionary genetics, molecular epidemiology and control.

    PubMed

    Mas-Coma, Santiago; Valero, María Adela; Bargues, María Dolores

    2009-01-01

    Fascioliasis, caused by liver fluke species of the genus Fasciola, has always been well recognized because of its high veterinary impact but it has been among the most neglected diseases for decades with regard to human infection. However, the increasing importance of human fascioliasis worldwide has re-launched interest in fascioliasis. From the 1990s, many new concepts have been developed regarding human fascioliasis and these have furnished a new baseline for the human disease that is very different to a simple extrapolation from fascioliasis in livestock. Studies have shown that human fascioliasis presents marked heterogeneity, including different epidemiological situations and transmission patterns in different endemic areas. This heterogeneity, added to the present emergence/re-emergence of the disease both in humans and animals in many regions, confirms a worrying global scenario. The huge negative impact of fascioliasis on human communities demands rapid action. When analyzing how better to define control measures for endemic areas differing at such a level, it would be useful to have genetic markers that could distinguish each type of transmission pattern and epidemiological situation. Accordingly, this chapter covers aspects of aetiology, geographical distribution, epidemiology, transmission and control in order to obtain a solid baseline for the interpretation of future results. The origins and geographical spread of F. hepatica and F. gigantica in both the ruminant pre-domestication times and the livestock post-domestication period are analyzed. Paleontological, archaeological and historical records, as well as genetic data on recent dispersal of livestock species, are taken into account to establish an evolutionary framework for the two fasciolids across all continents. Emphasis is given to the distributional overlap of both species and the roles of transportation, transhumance and trade in the different overlap situations. Areas with only one Fasciola

  17. Molecular characterization and phylogenetic analysis of Eimeria from turkeys and gamebirds, and the implication on the evolutionary relationships OF Eimeria FROM galliforme birds

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In order to evaluate the evolutionary relationships of Eimeria that infect galliforme birds, the 18s rDNA gene, and a portion of the cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (cox-1) were amplified from Eimeria that infect turkeys, chukars, and pheasants. The phylogenetic analysis of these sequences suggests th...

  18. The Best and the Worst of Times for Evolutionary Biology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Avise, John C.

    2003-01-01

    Discusses opportunities and challenges for the field of evolutionary biology, particularly in areas related to molecular genetic technologies, the environment, biodiversity, and public education. (Author/KHR)

  19. Graphene nanosheet: synthesis, molecular engineering, thin film, hybrids, and energy and analytical applications.

    PubMed

    Guo, Shaojun; Dong, Shaojun

    2011-05-01

    The emergence of graphene nanosheet (GN, 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics) has recently opened up an exciting new field in the science and technology of two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials with continuously growing academic and technological impetus. GN exhibits unique electronic, optical, magnetic, thermal and mechanical properties arising from its strictly 2D structure and thus has many important technical applications. Actually, GN-based materials have enormous potential to rival or even surpass the performance of carbon nanotube-based counterparts, given that cheap, large-scale production and processing methods for high-quality GN become available. Therefore, the studies on GN in the aspects of chemistry, physical, materials, biology and interdisciplinary science have been in full flow in the past five years. In this critical review, from the viewpoint of chemistry and materials, we will cover recent significant advances in synthesis, molecular engineering, thin film, hybrids, and energy and analytical applications of the "star-material" GN together with discussion on its major challenges and opportunities for future GN research (315 references). PMID:21283849

  20. A molecularly engineered hole-transporting material for efficient perovskite solar cells

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saliba, Michael; Orlandi, Simonetta; Matsui, Taisuke; Aghazada, Sadig; Cavazzini, Marco; Correa-Baena, Juan-Pablo; Gao, Peng; Scopelliti, Rosario; Mosconi, Edoardo; Dahmen, Klaus-Hermann; de Angelis, Filippo; Abate, Antonio; Hagfeldt, Anders; Pozzi, Gianluca; Graetzel, Michael; Nazeeruddin, Mohammad Khaja

    2016-02-01

    Solution-processable perovskite solar cells have recently achieved certified power conversion efficiencies of over 20%, challenging the long-standing perception that high efficiencies must come at high costs. One major bottleneck for increasing the efficiency even further is the lack of suitable hole-transporting materials, which extract positive charges from the active light absorber and transmit them to the electrode. In this work, we present a molecularly engineered hole-transport material with a simple dissymmetric fluorene-dithiophene (FDT) core substituted by N,N-di-p-methoxyphenylamine donor groups, which can be easily modified, providing the blueprint for a family of potentially low-cost hole-transport materials. We use FDT on state-of-the-art devices and achieve power conversion efficiencies of 20.2% which compare favourably with control devices with 2,2‧,7,7‧-tetrakis(N,N-di-p-methoxyphenylamine)-9,9‧-spirobifluorene (spiro-OMeTAD). Thus, this new hole transporter has the potential to replace spiro-OMeTAD.

  1. Molecular engineering of nanoscale quadrupolar chromophores for two-photon absorption

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porres, Laurent; Mongin, Olivier; Blanchard-Desce, Mireille H.; Ventelon, Lionel; Barzoukas, Marguerite; Moreaux, Laurent; Pons, Thomas; Mertz, Jerome

    2003-02-01

    Our aim has been the design of optimized NLO-phores with very high two-photon absorption (TPA) cross-sections (s2) in the red-NIR region, while maintaining high linear transparency and high fluorescence quantum yield. Our molecular engineering strategy is based on the push-push or pull-pull functionalization of semi-rigid nanoscale conjugated systems. The central building blocks were selected as rigid units that may assist quadrupolar intramolecular charge transfer by acting either as a (weak) donor or acceptor core. Quadrupolar molecules derived either from a phenyl unit, a rigidified biphenyl moiety or a fused bithiophene unit have been considered. Conjugated oligomers made of phenylene-vinylene and/or phenylene-ethynylene units were selected as connecting spacers between the core and the electroactive end groups to ensure effective electronic conjugation while maintaining suitable transparency/fluorescence. The TPA cross-sections were determined by investigating the two-photon-excited fluorescence properties using a Ti:sapphire laser delivering fs pulses. Both the nature of the end groups and of the core moiety play an important role in determining the TPA spectra. In addition, by adjusting the length and nature of the conjugated extensor, both amplification and spectral tuning of TPA cross-sections can be achieved. As a result, push-push fluorophores which demonstrate giant TPA cross-sections (up to 3000 GM) in the visible red, high fluorescence quantum yields and good transparency in the visible range have been obtained.

  2. Paradigm change in evolutionary microbiology.

    PubMed

    O'Malley, Maureen A; Boucher, Yan

    2005-03-01

    Thomas Kuhn had little to say about scientific change in biological science, and biologists are ambivalent about how applicable his framework is for their disciplines. We apply Kuhn's account of paradigm change to evolutionary microbiology, where key Darwinian tenets are being challenged by two decades of findings from molecular phylogenetics. The chief culprit is lateral gene transfer, which undermines the role of vertical descent and the representation of evolutionary history as a tree of life. To assess Kuhn's relevance to this controversy, we add a social analysis of the scientists involved to the historical and philosophical debates. We conclude that while Kuhn's account may capture aspects of the pattern (or outcome) of an episode of scientific change, he has little to say about how the process of generating new understandings is occurring in evolutionary microbiology. Once Kuhn's application is limited to that of an initial investigative probe into how scientific problem-solving occurs, his disciplinary scope becomes broader. PMID:16120264

  3. Lipid-shelled vehicles: engineering for ultrasound molecular imaging and drug delivery

    PubMed Central

    Ferrara, Katherine W.; Borden, Mark A; Zhang, Hua

    2009-01-01

    Conspectus Ultrasound pressure waves can map the location of lipid-stabilized gas microbubbles after their intravenous administration in the body, facilitating an estimate of vascular density and microvascular flow rate. Microbubbles are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration as ultrasound contrast agents for visualizing opacification of the left ventricle in echocardiography. However, the interaction of ultrasound waves with intravenously injected lipid-shelled particles, including both liposomes and microbubbles, is a far richer field. Particles can be designed for molecular imaging and loaded with drugs or genes—the mechanical and thermal properties of ultrasound can then effect localized drug release. In this Account, we provide an overview of the engineering of lipid-shelled microbubbles (typical diameter 1000–10,000 nm) and liposomes (typical diameter 65–120 nm) for ultrasound-based applications in molecular imaging and drug delivery. The chemistries of the shell and core can be optimized to enhance stability, circulation persistence, drug loading and release, targeting to and fusion with the cell membrane, and therapeutic biological effects. To assess the biodistribution and pharmacokinetics of these particles, we incorporated positron emission tomography (PET) radioisotopes on the shell. The radionuclide 18F (half life ~2 hours) was covalently coupled to a dipalmitoyl lipid, followed by integration of the labeled lipid into the shell, facilitating short-term analysis of particle pharmacokinetics and metabolism of the lipid molecule. Alternately, labeling a formed particle with 64Cu (half life 12.7 hours)—after prior covalent incorporation of a copper-chelating moiety onto the lipid shell—permits pharmacokinetic study of particles over several days. Stability and persistence in circulation of both liposomes and microbubbles are enhanced by long acyl chains and a polyethylene glycol coating. Vascular targeting has been demonstrated

  4. Engineering Agatoxin, a Cystine-Knot Peptide from Spider Venom, as a Molecular Probe for In Vivo Tumor Imaging

    PubMed Central

    Norton, Heidi K.; Cochran, Jennifer R.

    2013-01-01

    Background Cystine-knot miniproteins, also known as knottins, have shown great potential as molecular scaffolds for the development of targeted therapeutics and diagnostic agents. For this purpose, previous protein engineering efforts have focused on knottins based on the Ecballium elaterium trypsin inhibitor (EETI) from squash seeds, the Agouti-related protein (AgRP) neuropeptide from mammals, or the Kalata B1 uterotonic peptide from plants. Here, we demonstrate that Agatoxin (AgTx), an ion channel inhibitor found in spider venom, can be used as a molecular scaffold to engineer knottins that bind with high-affinity to a tumor-associated integrin receptor. Methodology/Principal Findings We used a rational loop-grafting approach to engineer AgTx variants that bound to αvβ3 integrin with affinities in the low nM range. We showed that a disulfide-constrained loop from AgRP, a structurally-related knottin, can be substituted into AgTx to confer its high affinity binding properties. In parallel, we identified amino acid mutations required for efficient in vitro folding of engineered integrin-binding AgTx variants. Molecular imaging was used to evaluate in vivo tumor targeting and biodistribution of an engineered AgTx knottin compared to integrin-binding knottins based on AgRP and EETI. Knottin peptides were chemically synthesized and conjugated to a near-infrared fluorescent dye. Integrin-binding AgTx, AgRP, and EETI knottins all generated high tumor imaging contrast in U87MG glioblastoma xenograft models. Interestingly, EETI-based knottins generated significantly lower non-specific kidney imaging signals compared to AgTx and AgRP-based knottins. Conclusions/Significance In this study, we demonstrate that AgTx, a knottin from spider venom, can be engineered to bind with high affinity to a tumor-associated receptor target. This work validates AgTx as a viable molecular scaffold for protein engineering, and further demonstrates the promise of using tumor

  5. Environmental changes bridge evolutionary valleys

    PubMed Central

    Steinberg, Barrett; Ostermeier, Marc

    2016-01-01

    In the basic fitness landscape metaphor for molecular evolution, evolutionary pathways are presumed to follow uphill steps of increasing fitness. How evolution can cross fitness valleys is an open question. One possibility is that environmental changes alter the fitness landscape such that low-fitness sequences reside on a hill in alternate environments. We experimentally test this hypothesis on the antibiotic resistance gene TEM-15 β-lactamase by comparing four evolutionary strategies shaped by environmental changes. The strategy that included initial steps of selecting for low antibiotic resistance (negative selection) produced superior alleles compared with the other three strategies. We comprehensively examined possible evolutionary pathways leading to one such high-fitness allele and found that an initially deleterious mutation is key to the allele’s evolutionary history. This mutation is an initial gateway to an otherwise relatively inaccessible area of sequence space and participates in higher-order, positive epistasis with a number of neutral to slightly beneficial mutations. The ability of negative selection and environmental changes to provide access to novel fitness peaks has important implications for natural evolutionary mechanisms and applied directed evolution. PMID:26844293

  6. Environmental changes bridge evolutionary valleys.

    PubMed

    Steinberg, Barrett; Ostermeier, Marc

    2016-01-01

    In the basic fitness landscape metaphor for molecular evolution, evolutionary pathways are presumed to follow uphill steps of increasing fitness. How evolution can cross fitness valleys is an open question. One possibility is that environmental changes alter the fitness landscape such that low-fitness sequences reside on a hill in alternate environments. We experimentally test this hypothesis on the antibiotic resistance gene TEM-15 β-lactamase by comparing four evolutionary strategies shaped by environmental changes. The strategy that included initial steps of selecting for low antibiotic resistance (negative selection) produced superior alleles compared with the other three strategies. We comprehensively examined possible evolutionary pathways leading to one such high-fitness allele and found that an initially deleterious mutation is key to the allele's evolutionary history. This mutation is an initial gateway to an otherwise relatively inaccessible area of sequence space and participates in higher-order, positive epistasis with a number of neutral to slightly beneficial mutations. The ability of negative selection and environmental changes to provide access to novel fitness peaks has important implications for natural evolutionary mechanisms and applied directed evolution. PMID:26844293

  7. Molecular cloning, sequencing and tissue expression of vasotocin and isotocin precursor genes from Ostariophysian catfishes: phylogeny and evolutionary considerations in teleosts

    PubMed Central

    Banerjee, Putul; Chaube, Radha; Joy, Keerikkattil P.

    2015-01-01

    Basic and neutral neurohypophyseal (NH) nonapeptides have evolved from vasotocin (VT) by a gene duplication at the base of the gnathostome lineage. In teleosts, VT and IT are the basic and neutral peptides, respectively. In the present study, VT and IT precursor genes of Heteropneustes fossilis and Clarias batrachus (Siluriformes, Ostariophysi) were cloned and sequenced. The channel catfish Icatalurus punctatus NH precursor sequences were obtained from EST database. The catfish NH sequences were used along with the available Acanthopterygii and other vertebrate NH precursor sequences to draw phylogenetic inference on the evolutionary history of the teleost NH peptides. Synteny analysis of the NH gene loci in various teleost species was done to complement the phylogenetic analysis. In H. fossilis, the NH transcripts were also sequenced from the ovary. The cloned genes and the deduced precursor proteins showed conserved characteristics of the NH nonapeptide precursors. The genes are expressed in brain and ovary (follicular envelope) of H. fossilis with higher transcript abundance in the brain. The addition of the catfish sequences in the phylogenetic analysis revealed that the VT and IT precursors of the species-rich superorders of teleosts have a distinct phylogenetic history with the Acanthopterygii VT and IT precursors sharing a less evolutionary distance and the Ostariophysi VT and IT having a greater evolutionary distance. The genomic location of VT and IT precursors, and synteny analysis of the NH loci lend support to the phylogenetic inference and suggest a footprint of fish- specific whole genome duplication (3R) and subsequent diploidization in the NH loci. The VT and IT precursor genes are most likely lineage-specific paralogs resulting from differential losses of the 3R NH paralogs in the two superorders. The independent yet consistent retention of VT and IT in the two superorders might be directed by a stringent ligand-receptor selectivity. PMID:26029040

  8. A cell-based immunobiosensor with engineered molecular recognition--Part I: Design feasibility.

    PubMed

    Pizziconi, V B; Page, D L

    1997-01-01

    A novel bioelectronic sensor is described in which living immune cells are transformed into unique biotransducer couples by engineering their molecular recognition for preselected antigens of clinical interest. This 'hybrid' biosensor, constructed with mast cells interfaced to a microfabricated thermoelectric device with the use of biomolecular linkages, is capable of detecting antigens in real time by transducing minute heat changes arising from antigen-induced mast cell activation processes. The thermoelectric approach was selected based upon preliminary bioenergetic calculations which indicated that metabolic changes arising from mast cell antigen recognition result in a significant increase in exothermic heat relative to basal metabolic conditions. Experimental studies confirmed that mast cell activation and degranulation can be discriminated theramally from basal metabolic activity. Results obtained from microcalorimetry experiments using cultured mast cells (MC/9) mucosal-like mast cell line), and harvested mast cells (rat peritoneal mast cells) indicated that detectable increases in heat output (-3 +/- 0.5 pW/cell, mean peak output) immediately followed cell activation. The construction of a miniature hybrid immunobiosensor device was made possible by bioelectronic coupling achieved with the use of cellular adhesive proteins that immobilized non-adherent (MC/9) cells as well as adherent (RBL-2H3 rat basophilic leukemia) cells to the thermopile. Results from preliminary tests conducted on a hybrid biosensor prototype validated the design feasibility of a miniature, living cell immunodiagnostic biosensor. Such cell-based hybrid biosensor approaches may greatly extend the capability for selective, rapid, on-site, antigen detection for a wide range of clinically relevant antigens and offer new approaches to in vitro diagnostics. PMID:9178514

  9. RNA based evolutionary optimization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuster, Peter

    1993-12-01

    The notion of an RNA world has been introduced for a prebiotic scenario that is dominated by RNA molecules and their properties, in particular their capabilities to act as templates for reproduction and as catalysts for several cleavage and ligation reactions of polynucleotides and polypeptides. This notion is used here also for simple experimental assays which are well suited to study evolution in the test tube. In molecular evolution experiments fitness is determined in essence by the molecular structures of RNA molecules. Evidence is presented for adaptation to environment in cell-free media. RNA based molecular evolution experiments have led to interesting spin-offs in biotechnology, commonly called ‘applied molecular evolution’, which make use of Darwinian trial-and-error strategies in order to synthesize new pharmacological compounds and other advanced materials on a biological basis. Error-propagation in RNA replication leads to formation of mutant spectra called ‘quasispecies’. An increase in the error rate broadens the mutant spectrum. There exists a sharply defined threshold beyond which heredity breaks down and evolutionary adaptation becomes impossible. Almost all RNA viruses studied so far operate at conditions close to this error threshold. Quasispecies and error thresholds are important for an understanding of RNA virus evolution, and they may help to develop novel antiviral strategies. Evolution of RNA molecules can be studied and interpreted by considering secondary structures. The notion of sequence space introduces a distance between pairs of RNA sequences which is tantamount to counting the minimal number of point mutations required to convert the sequences into each other. The mean sensitivity of RNA secondary structures to mutation depends strongly on the base pairing alphabet: structures from sequences which contain only one base pair (GC or AU are much less stable against mutation than those derived from the natural (AUGC) sequences

  10. Metabolic engineering of Bacillus subtilis for the efficient biosynthesis of uniform hyaluronic acid with controlled molecular weights.

    PubMed

    Jia, Yuning; Zhu, Jing; Chen, Xiaofei; Tang, Dongyang; Su, Ding; Yao, Wenbing; Gao, Xiangdong

    2013-03-01

    Bacillus subtilis was engineered into an efficient hyaluronic acid (HA) producer by introducing two inducible artificial operons carrying HA synthase gene from Pasteurella multocida and precursor genes encoding enzymes involved in synthesis of the sugar precursors. A two-stage induction strategy was established for metabolic engineering of recombinant B. subtilis to efficiently produce uniform HA with controlled molecular weights. Strain TPG223 produced larger HA molecules (yield=6.8 g/L; molecular weight=4.5 MDa) than strain PG6181 (yield=2.4 g/L; molecular weight=13 KDa), indicating that the enzymes involved in the synthesis of UDP-glucuronic acid are essential for HA biosynthesis. Strain TPG223 was able to synthesize HA molecules ranging in molecular weight from 8 KDa to 5.4 MDa indicating that size control is achievable in vivo through appropriate tools. The work reported here not only advanced mechanisms research of size control in vivo, but also could be an attractive alternative for commercial preparation of uniform size-defined HA. PMID:23433979