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Sample records for molecular evolutionary mechanisms

  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. Evolutionary Mechanisms for Loneliness

    PubMed Central

    Cacioppo, John T.; Cacioppo, Stephanie; Boomsma, Dorret I.

    2013-01-01

    Robert Weiss (1973) conceptualized loneliness as perceived social isolation, which he described as a gnawing, chronic disease without redeeming features. On the scale of everyday life, it is understandable how something as personally aversive as loneliness could be regarded as a blight on human existence. However, evolutionary time and evolutionary forces operate at such a different scale of organization than we experience in everyday life that personal experience is not sufficient to understand the role of loneliness in human existence. Research over the past decade suggests a very different view of loneliness than suggested by personal experience, one in which loneliness serves a variety of adaptive functions in specific habitats. We review evidence on the heritability of loneliness and outline an evolutionary theory of loneliness, with an emphasis on its potential adaptive value in an evolutionary timescale. PMID:24067110

  3. Evolutionary mechanisms for establishing eukaryotic cellular complexity.

    PubMed

    Mast, Fred D; Barlow, Lael D; Rachubinski, Richard A; Dacks, Joel B

    2014-07-01

    Through a comparative approach, evolutionary cell biology makes use of genomics, bioinformatics, and cell biology of non-model eukaryotes to provide new avenues for understanding basic cellular processes. This approach has led to proposed mechanisms underpinning the evolution of eukaryotic cellular organization including endosymbiotic and autogenous processes and neutral and adaptive processes. Together these mechanisms have contributed to the genesis and complexity of organelles, molecular machines, and genome architecture. We review these mechanisms and suggest that a greater appreciation of the diversity in eukaryotic form has led to a more complete understanding of the evolutionary connections between organelles and the unexpected routes by which this diversity has been reached. PMID:24656655

  4. 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)

  5. Evolutionary mechanism unifies the hallmarks of cancer.

    PubMed

    Horne, Steven D; Pollick, Sarah A; Heng, Henry H Q

    2015-05-01

    The basis for the gene mutation theory of cancer that dominates current molecular cancer research consists of: the belief that gene-level aberrations such as mutations are the main cause of cancers, the concept that stepwise gene mutation accumulation drives cancer progression, and the hallmarks of cancer. The research community swiftly embraced the hallmarks of cancer, as such synthesis has supported the notions that common cancer genes are responsible for the majority of cancers and the complexity of cancer can be dissected into simplified molecular principles. The gene/pathway classification based on individual hallmarks provides explanation for the large number of diverse gene mutations, which is in contrast to the original estimation that only a handful of gene mutations would be discovered. Further, these hallmarks have been highly influential as they also provide the rationale and research direction for continued gene-based cancer research. While the molecular knowledge of these hallmarks is drastically increasing, the clinical implication remains limited, as cancer dynamics cannot be summarized by a few isolated/fixed molecular principles. Furthermore, the highly heterogeneous genetic signature of cancers, including massive stochastic genome alterations, challenges the utility of continuously studying each individual gene mutation under the framework of these hallmarks. It is therefore necessary to re-evaluate the concept of cancer hallmarks through the lens of cancer evolution. In this analysis, the evolutionary basis for the hallmarks of cancer will be discussed and the evolutionary mechanism of cancer suggested by the genome theory will be employed to unify the diverse molecular mechanisms of cancer. PMID:24957955

  6. Molecular Mechanics

    PubMed Central

    Vanommeslaeghe, Kenno; Guvench, Olgun; MacKerell, Alexander D.

    2014-01-01

    Molecular Mechanics (MM) force fields are the methods of choice for protein simulations, which are essential in the study of conformational flexibility. Given the importance of protein flexibility in drug binding, MM is involved in most if not all Computational Structure-Based Drug Discovery (CSBDD) projects. This section introduces the reader to the fundamentals of MM, with a special emphasis on how the target data used in the parametrization of force fields determine their strengths and weaknesses. Variations and recent developments such as polarizable force fields are discussed. The section ends with a brief overview of common force fields in CSBDD. PMID:23947650

  7. 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.

  8. Algorithmic Mechanism Design of Evolutionary Computation

    PubMed Central

    Pei, Yan

    2015-01-01

    We consider algorithmic design, enhancement, and improvement of evolutionary computation as a mechanism design problem. All individuals or several groups of individuals can be considered as self-interested agents. The individuals in evolutionary computation can manipulate parameter settings and operations by satisfying their own preferences, which are defined by an evolutionary computation algorithm designer, rather than by following a fixed algorithm rule. Evolutionary computation algorithm designers or self-adaptive methods should construct proper rules and mechanisms for all agents (individuals) to conduct their evolution behaviour correctly in order to definitely achieve the desired and preset objective(s). As a case study, we propose a formal framework on parameter setting, strategy selection, and algorithmic design of evolutionary computation by considering the Nash strategy equilibrium of a mechanism design in the search process. The evaluation results present the efficiency of the framework. This primary principle can be implemented in any evolutionary computation algorithm that needs to consider strategy selection issues in its optimization process. The final objective of our work is to solve evolutionary computation design as an algorithmic mechanism design problem and establish its fundamental aspect by taking this perspective. This paper is the first step towards achieving this objective by implementing a strategy equilibrium solution (such as Nash equilibrium) in evolutionary computation algorithm. PMID:26257777

  9. Algorithmic Mechanism Design of Evolutionary Computation.

    PubMed

    Pei, Yan

    2015-01-01

    We consider algorithmic design, enhancement, and improvement of evolutionary computation as a mechanism design problem. All individuals or several groups of individuals can be considered as self-interested agents. The individuals in evolutionary computation can manipulate parameter settings and operations by satisfying their own preferences, which are defined by an evolutionary computation algorithm designer, rather than by following a fixed algorithm rule. Evolutionary computation algorithm designers or self-adaptive methods should construct proper rules and mechanisms for all agents (individuals) to conduct their evolution behaviour correctly in order to definitely achieve the desired and preset objective(s). As a case study, we propose a formal framework on parameter setting, strategy selection, and algorithmic design of evolutionary computation by considering the Nash strategy equilibrium of a mechanism design in the search process. The evaluation results present the efficiency of the framework. This primary principle can be implemented in any evolutionary computation algorithm that needs to consider strategy selection issues in its optimization process. The final objective of our work is to solve evolutionary computation design as an algorithmic mechanism design problem and establish its fundamental aspect by taking this perspective. This paper is the first step towards achieving this objective by implementing a strategy equilibrium solution (such as Nash equilibrium) in evolutionary computation algorithm. PMID:26257777

  10. 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

  11. Evo-Devo: evolutionary developmental mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Hall, Brian K

    2003-01-01

    Evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-Devo) as a discipline is concerned, among other things, with discovering and understanding the role of changes in developmental mechanisms in the evolutionary origin of aspects of the phenotype. In a very real sense, Evo-Devo opens the black box between genotype and phenotype, or more properly, phenotypes as multiple life history stages arise in many organisms from a single genotype. Changes in the timing or positioning of an aspect of development in a descendant relative to an ancestor (heterochrony and heterotopy) were two evolutionary developmental mechanisms identified by Ernst Haeckel in the 1870s. Many more have since been identified, in large part because of our enhanced understanding of development and because new mechanisms emerge as development proceeds: the transfer from maternal to zygotic genomic control; cell-to-cell interactions; cell differentiation and cell migration; embryonic inductions; functional interactions at the tissue and organ levels; growth. Within these emergent processes, gene networks and gene cascades (genetic modules) link the genotype with morphogenetic units (cellular modules, namely germ layers, embryonic fields or cellular condensations), while epigenetic processes such as embryonic inductions, tissue interactions and functional integration, link morphogenetic units to the phenotype. Evolutionary developmental mechanisms also include interactions between individuals of the same species, individuals of different species, and species and their biotic and/or abiotic environment. Such interactions link ecological communities. Importantly, there is little to distinguish the causality that underlies these interactions from that which underlies inductive interactions within embryos. PMID:14756324

  12. A molecular mechanism for the origin of a key evolutionary innovation, the bird beak and palate, revealed by an integrative approach to major transitions in vertebrate history.

    PubMed

    Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S; Morris, Zachary S; Sefton, Elizabeth M; Tok, Atalay; Tokita, Masayoshi; Namkoong, Bumjin; Camacho, Jasmin; Burnham, David A; Abzhanov, Arhat

    2015-07-01

    The avian beak is a key evolutionary innovation whose flexibility has permitted birds to diversify into a range of disparate ecological niches. We approached the problem of the mechanism behind this innovation using an approach bridging paleontology, comparative anatomy, and experimental developmental biology. First, we used fossil and extant data to show the beak is distinctive in consisting of fused premaxillae that are geometrically distinct from those of ancestral archosaurs. To elucidate underlying developmental mechanisms, we examined candidate gene expression domains in the embryonic face: the earlier frontonasal ectodermal zone (FEZ) and the later midfacial WNT-responsive region, in birds and several reptiles. This permitted the identification of an autapomorphic median gene expression region in Aves. To test the mechanism, we used inhibitors of both pathways to replicate in chicken the ancestral amniote expression. Altering the FEZ altered later WNT responsiveness to the ancestral pattern. Skeletal phenotypes from both types of experiments had premaxillae that clustered geometrically with ancestral fossil forms instead of beaked birds. The palatal region was also altered to a more ancestral phenotype. This is consistent with the fossil record and with the tight functional association of avian premaxillae and palate in forming a kinetic beak. PMID:25964090

  13. Recombination in viruses: mechanisms, methods of study, and evolutionary consequences.

    PubMed

    Pérez-Losada, Marcos; Arenas, Miguel; Galán, Juan Carlos; Palero, Ferran; González-Candelas, Fernando

    2015-03-01

    Recombination is a pervasive process generating diversity in most viruses. It joins variants that arise independently within the same molecule, creating new opportunities for viruses to overcome selective pressures and to adapt to new environments and hosts. Consequently, the analysis of viral recombination attracts the interest of clinicians, epidemiologists, molecular biologists and evolutionary biologists. In this review we present an overview of three major areas related to viral recombination: (i) the molecular mechanisms that underlie recombination in model viruses, including DNA-viruses (Herpesvirus) and RNA-viruses (Human Influenza Virus and Human Immunodeficiency Virus), (ii) the analytical procedures to detect recombination in viral sequences and to determine the recombination breakpoints, along with the conceptual and methodological tools currently used and a brief overview of the impact of new sequencing technologies on the detection of recombination, and (iii) the major areas in the evolutionary analysis of viral populations on which recombination has an impact. These include the evaluation of selective pressures acting on viral populations, the application of evolutionary reconstructions in the characterization of centralized genes for vaccine design, and the evaluation of linkage disequilibrium and population structure. PMID:25541518

  14. Plant grafting: new mechanisms, evolutionary implications.

    PubMed

    Goldschmidt, Eliezer E

    2014-01-01

    Grafting, an old plant propagation practice, is still widely used with fruit trees and in recent decades also with vegetables. Taxonomic proximity is a general prerequisite for successful graft-take and long-term survival of the grafted, composite plant. However, the mechanisms underlying interspecific graft incompatibility are as yet insufficiently understood. Hormonal signals, auxin in particular, are believed to play an important role in the wound healing and vascular regeneration within the graft union zone. Incomplete and convoluted vascular connections impede the vital upward and downward whole plant transfer routes. Long-distance protein, mRNA and small RNA graft-transmissible signals currently emerge as novel mechanisms which regulate nutritional and developmental root/top relations and may play a pivotal role in grafting physiology. Grafting also has significant pathogenic projections. On one hand, stock to scion mechanical contact enables the spread of diseases, even without a complete graft union. But, on the other hand, grafting onto resistant rootstocks serves as a principal tool in the management of fruit tree plagues and vegetable soil-borne diseases. The 'graft hybrid' historic controversy has not yet been resolved. Recent evidence suggests that epigenetic modification of DNA-methylation patterns may account for certain graft-transformation phenomena. Root grafting is a wide spread natural phenomenon; both intraspecific and interspecific root grafts have been recorded. Root grafts have an evolutionary role in the survival of storm-hit forest stands as well as in the spread of devastating diseases. A more fundamental evolutionary role is hinted by recent findings that demonstrate plastid and nuclear genome transfer between distinct Nicotiana species in the graft union zone, within a tissue culture system. This has led to the formation of alloploid cells that, under laboratory conditions, gave rise to a novel, alloploid Nicotiana species, indicating

  15. Plant grafting: new mechanisms, evolutionary implications

    PubMed Central

    Goldschmidt, Eliezer E.

    2014-01-01

    Grafting, an old plant propagation practice, is still widely used with fruit trees and in recent decades also with vegetables. Taxonomic proximity is a general prerequisite for successful graft-take and long-term survival of the grafted, composite plant. However, the mechanisms underlying interspecific graft incompatibility are as yet insufficiently understood. Hormonal signals, auxin in particular, are believed to play an important role in the wound healing and vascular regeneration within the graft union zone. Incomplete and convoluted vascular connections impede the vital upward and downward whole plant transfer routes. Long-distance protein, mRNA and small RNA graft-transmissible signals currently emerge as novel mechanisms which regulate nutritional and developmental root/top relations and may play a pivotal role in grafting physiology. Grafting also has significant pathogenic projections. On one hand, stock to scion mechanical contact enables the spread of diseases, even without a complete graft union. But, on the other hand, grafting onto resistant rootstocks serves as a principal tool in the management of fruit tree plagues and vegetable soil-borne diseases. The ‘graft hybrid’ historic controversy has not yet been resolved. Recent evidence suggests that epigenetic modification of DNA-methylation patterns may account for certain graft-transformation phenomena. Root grafting is a wide spread natural phenomenon; both intraspecific and interspecific root grafts have been recorded. Root grafts have an evolutionary role in the survival of storm-hit forest stands as well as in the spread of devastating diseases. A more fundamental evolutionary role is hinted by recent findings that demonstrate plastid and nuclear genome transfer between distinct Nicotiana species in the graft union zone, within a tissue culture system. This has led to the formation of alloploid cells that, under laboratory conditions, gave rise to a novel, alloploid Nicotiana species

  16. “The Environment is Everything That Isn't Me”: Molecular Mechanisms and Evolutionary Dynamics of Insect Clocks in Variable Surroundings

    PubMed Central

    Rivas, Gustavo B. S.; Bauzer, Luiz G. S. da R.; Meireles-Filho, Antonio C. A.

    2016-01-01

    Circadian rhythms are oscillations in behavior, metabolism and physiology that have a period close to 24 h. These rhythms are controlled by an internal pacemaker that evolved under strong selective pressures imposed by environmental cyclical changes, mainly of light and temperature. The molecular nature of the circadian pacemaker was extensively studied in a number of organisms under controlled laboratory conditions. But although these studies were fundamental to our understanding of the circadian clock, most of the environmental conditions used resembled rather crudely the relatively constant situation at lower latitudes. At higher latitudes light-dark and temperature cycles vary considerably across different seasons, with summers having long and hot days and winters short and cold ones. Considering these differences and other external cues, such as moonlight, recent studies in more natural and semi-natural situations revealed unexpected features at both molecular and behavioral levels, highlighting the dramatic influence of multiple environmental variables in the molecular clockwork. This emphasizes the importance of studying the circadian clock in the wild, where seasonal environmental changes fine-tune the underlying circadian mechanism, affecting population dynamics and impacting the geographical variation in clock genes. Indeed, latitudinal clines in clock gene frequencies suggest that natural selection and demography shape the circadian clock over wide geographical ranges. In this review we will discuss the recent advances in understanding the molecular underpinnings of the circadian clock, how it resonates with the surrounding variables (both in the laboratory and in semi-natural conditions) and its impact on population dynamics and evolution. In addition, we will elaborate on how next-generation sequencing technologies will complement classical reductionist approaches by identifying causal variants in natural populations that will link genetic variation to

  17. Anticipatory Mechanisms in Evolutionary Living Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dubois, Daniel M.; Holmberg, Stig C.

    2010-11-01

    This paper deals firstly with a revisiting of Darwin's theory of Natural Selection. Darwin in his book never uses the word "evolution", but shows a clear position about mutability of species. Darwin's Natural Selection was mainly inspired by the anticipatory Artificial Selection by humans in domestication, and the Malthus struggle for existence. Darwin showed that the struggle for existence leads to the preservation of the most divergent offspring of any one species. He cited several times the canon of "Natura non facit saltum". He spoke about the origin of life from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed. Finally, Darwin made anticipation about the future researches in psychology. This paper cites the work of Ernst Mayr who was the first, after 90 years of an intense scientific debate, to present a new and stable Darwinian paradigm as the "Evolutionary Synthesis" in 1942. To explain what is life, the Living Systems Theory (LST) by J. G. Miller is presented. It is showed that the Autopoietic Systems Theory of Varela et al is also a fundamental component of living systems. In agreement with Darwin, the natural selection is a necessary condition for transformation of biological systems, but is not a sufficient condition. Thus, in this paper we conjecture that an anticipatory evolutionary mechanism exists with the genetic code that is a self-replicating and self-modifying anticipatory program. As demonstrated by Nobel laureate McClintock, evolution in genomes is programmed. The word "program" comes from "pro-gram" meaning to write before, by anticipation, and means a plan for the programming of a mechanism, or a sequence of coded instructions that can be inserted into a mechanism, or a sequence of coded instructions, as genes of behavioural responses, that is part of an organism. For example, cell death may be programmed by what is called the apoptosis. This definitively is a great breakthrough in our understanding of biological evolution. Hence

  18. The CHAIN program: forging evolutionary links to underlying mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Neuwald, Andrew F

    2007-11-01

    Proteins evolve new functions by modifying and extending the molecular machinery of an ancestral protein. Such changes show up as divergent sequence patterns, which are conserved in descendent proteins that maintain the divergent function. After multiply-aligning a set of input sequences, the CHAIN program partitions the sequences into two functionally divergent groups and then outputs an alignment that is annotated to reveal the selective pressures imposed on divergent residue positions. If atomic coordinates are also provided, hydrogen bonds and other atomic interactions associated with various categories of divergent residues are graphically displayed. Such analyses establish links between protein evolutionary divergence and functionally crucial atomic features and, as a result, can suggest plausible molecular mechanisms for experimental testing. This is illustrated here by its application to bacterial clamp-loader ATPases. PMID:17962021

  19. 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

  20. Mechanical sensitivity reveals evolutionary dynamics of mechanical systems

    PubMed Central

    Anderson, P. S. L.; Patek, S. N.

    2015-01-01

    A classic question in evolutionary biology is how form–function relationships promote or limit diversification. Mechanical metrics, such as kinematic transmission (KT) in linkage systems, are useful tools for examining the evolution of form and function in a comparative context. The convergence of disparate systems on equivalent metric values (mechanical equivalence) has been highlighted as a source of potential morphological diversity under the assumption that morphology can evolve with minimal impact on function. However, this assumption does not account for mechanical sensitivity—the sensitivity of the metric to morphological changes in individual components of a structure. We examined the diversification of a four-bar linkage system in mantis shrimp (Stomatopoda), and found evidence for both mechanical equivalence and differential mechanical sensitivity. KT exhibited variable correlations with individual linkage components, highlighting the components that influence KT evolution, and the components that are free to evolve independently from KT and thereby contribute to the observed pattern of mechanical equivalence. Determining the mechanical sensitivity in a system leads to a deeper understanding of both functional convergence and morphological diversification. This study illustrates the importance of multi-level analyses in delineating the factors that limit and promote diversification in form–function systems. PMID:25716791

  1. 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.

  2. Transposable elements as a molecular evolutionary force

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fedoroff, N. V.

    1999-01-01

    This essay addresses the paradoxes of the complex and highly redundant genomes. The central theses developed are that: (1) the distinctive feature of complex genomes is the existence of epigenetic mechanisms that permit extremely high levels of both tandem and dispersed redundancy; (2) the special contribution of transposable elements is to modularize the genome; and (3) the labilizing forces of recombination and transposition are just barely contained, giving a dynamic genetic system of ever increasing complexity that verges on the chaotic.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Molecular mechanisms of epilepsy

    PubMed Central

    Staley, Kevin

    2015-01-01

    Decades of experimental work have established an imbalance of excitation and inhibition as the leading mechanism of the transition from normal brain function to seizure. In epilepsy, these transitions are rare and abrupt. Transition processes incorporating positive feedback, such as activity-dependent disinhibition, could provide these unique timing features. A rapidly expanding array of genetic etiologies will help delineate the molecular mechanism(s). This delineation will entail quite a bit of cell biology. The genes discovered to date are currently more remarkable for their diversity than their similarities. PMID:25710839

  7. Moving beyond molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    A major goal in cell biology is to bridge the gap in our understanding of how molecular mechanisms contribute to cell and organismal physiology. Approaches well established in the physical sciences could be instrumental in achieving this goal. A better integration of the physical sciences with cell biology will therefore be an important step in our quest to decipher how cells work together to construct a living organism. PMID:25601400

  8. Evolutionary significance of osmoregulatory mechanisms in cyanobacteria

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yopp, J. H.; Pavlicek, J. H.; Sibley, M. H.

    1986-01-01

    Physiological processes of all life forms on this planet are intrinsically related to their intracellular water potential. The overall goal was the elucidation of the mechanism(s) whereby the first oxygenic phtoautotrophs (the cyanobacteria) adjust their water potential to that of a changing external water potential (that is, osmoregulate). Osmoregulation is achieved by intracellular adjustment of inorganic and/or organic solutes (osmolytes) involving specific biochemical mechanisms. Structural and biochemical evolution within the cyanobacteria is believed completed (and fixed in present day forms) by the end of the Precambrain eon. Therefore, research using cyanobacteria of all three structural types (unicellular, filamentous, and branched), each grown in the photoautotrophic (PA), photoheterotrophic (PG), and chemotrophic (CH) modes of nutrition, should provide insight into the origin and evolution of the photosynthetically related osmoregulatory mechanisms of eukaryotic organisms. The chloroplasts of these organisms are phylogenetically related to the cyanobacteria.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Evolutionary Ecology of Prokaryotic Immune Mechanisms.

    PubMed

    van Houte, Stineke; Buckling, Angus; Westra, Edze R

    2016-09-01

    Bacteria have a range of distinct immune strategies that provide protection against bacteriophage (phage) infections. While much has been learned about the mechanism of action of these defense strategies, it is less clear why such diversity in defense strategies has evolved. In this review, we discuss the short- and long-term costs and benefits of the different resistance strategies and, hence, the ecological conditions that are likely to favor the different strategies alone and in combination. Finally, we discuss some of the broader consequences, beyond resistance to phage and other genetic elements, resulting from the operation of different immune strategies. PMID:27412881

  12. MOLECULAR MECHANISMS OF PREECLAMPSIA

    PubMed Central

    Mutter, Walter P.; Karumanchi, S. Ananth

    2008-01-01

    Preeclampsia is a major cause of maternal, fetal, and neonatal mortality worldwide. The mechanisms that initiate preeclampsia in humans have been elusive, but some parts of the puzzle have begun to come together. A key discovery in the field was the realization that its major phenotypes, such as hypertension and proteinuria, are due to excess circulating soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1, also referred to as sVEGFR-1). sFlt-1 is an endogenous anti-angiogenic protein that is made by the placenta and acts by neutralizing the pro-angiogenic proteins vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and placental growth factor (PlGF). More recently, soluble endoglin, another circulating anti-angiogenic protein was found to synergize with sFlt1 and contribute to the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. Abnormalities in these circulating angiogenic proteins are not only present during clinical preeclampsia, but also antedate clinical symptoms by several weeks. This review will summarize our current understanding of the molecular mechanism of preeclampsia, with an emphasis on the recently characterized circulating anti-angiogenic proteins. PMID:17553534

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Molecular mechanisms of cancer.

    PubMed Central

    Koeffler, H. P.; McCormick, F.; Denny, C.

    1991-01-01

    Cancer is caused by specific DNA damage. Several common mechanisms that cause DNA damage result in specific malignant disorders: First, proto-oncogenes can be activated by translocations. For example, translocation of the c-myc proto-oncogene from chromosome 8 to one of the immunoglobulin loci on chromosomes 2, 14, or 22 results in Burkitt's lymphomas. Translocation of the c-abl proto-oncogene from chromosome 9 to the BCR gene located on chromosome 22 produces a hybrid BCR/ABL protein resulting in chronic myelogenous leukemia. Second, proto-oncogenes can be activated by point mutations. For example, point mutations of genes coding for guanosine triphosphate-binding proteins, such as H-, K-, or N-ras or G proteins, can be oncogenic as noted in a large variety of malignant neoplasms. Proteins from these mutated genes are constitutively active rather than being faithful second messengers of periodic extracellular signals. Third, mutations that inactivate a gene can result in tumors if the product of the gene normally constrains cellular proliferation. Functional loss of these "tumor suppressor genes" is found in many tumors such as colon and lung cancers. The diagnosis, classification, and treatment of cancers will be greatly enhanced by understanding their abnormalities at the molecular level. PMID:1815390

  18. Mechanisms of bacterial morphogenesis: Evolutionary cell biology approaches provide new insights

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Chao; Caccamo, Paul D.; Brun, Yves V.

    2015-01-01

    How Darwin’s “endless forms most beautiful” have evolved remains one of the most exciting questions in biology. The significant variety of bacterial shapes is most likely due to the specific advantages they confer with respect to the diverse environments they occupy. While our understanding of the mechanisms generating relatively simple shapes has improved tremendously in the last few years, the molecular mechanisms underlying the generation of complex shapes and the evolution of shape diversity are largely unknown. The emerging field of bacterial evolutionary cell biology provides a novel strategy to answer this question in a comparative phylogenetic framework. This relatively novel approach provides hypotheses and insights into cell biological mechanisms, such as morphogenesis, and their evolution that would have been difficult to obtain by studying only model organisms. We discuss the necessary steps, challenges, and impact of integrating “evolutionary thinking” into bacterial cell biology in the genomic era. PMID:25664446

  19. 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

  20. Sharing the sandbox: Evolutionary mechanisms that maintain bacterial cooperation

    PubMed Central

    Bruger, Eric; Waters, Christopher

    2015-01-01

    Microbes are now known to participate in an extensive repertoire of cooperative behaviors such as biofilm formation, production of extracellular public-goods, group motility, and higher-ordered multicellular structures. A fundamental question is how these cooperative tasks are maintained in the face of non-cooperating defector cells. Recently, a number of molecular mechanisms including facultative participation, spatial sorting, and policing have been discovered to stabilize cooperation. Often these different mechanisms work in concert to reinforce cooperation. In this review, we describe bacterial cooperation and the current understanding of the molecular mechanisms that maintain it. PMID:26918128

  1. Sharing the sandbox: Evolutionary mechanisms that maintain bacterial cooperation.

    PubMed

    Bruger, Eric; Waters, Christopher

    2015-01-01

    Microbes are now known to participate in an extensive repertoire of cooperative behaviors such as biofilm formation, production of extracellular public-goods, group motility, and higher-ordered multicellular structures. A fundamental question is how these cooperative tasks are maintained in the face of non-cooperating defector cells. Recently, a number of molecular mechanisms including facultative participation, spatial sorting, and policing have been discovered to stabilize cooperation. Often these different mechanisms work in concert to reinforce cooperation. In this review, we describe bacterial cooperation and the current understanding of the molecular mechanisms that maintain it. PMID:26918128

  2. Molecular mechanism of preconditioning.

    PubMed

    Das, Manika; Das, Dipak K

    2008-04-01

    During the last 20 years, since the appearance of the first publication on ischemic preconditioning (PC), our knowledge of this phenomenon has increased exponentially. PC is defined as an increased tolerance to ischemia and reperfusion induced by previous sublethal period ischemia. This is the most powerful mechanism known to date for limiting the infract size. This adaptation occurs in a biphasic pattern (i) early preconditioning (lasts for 2-3 h) and (ii) late preconditioning (starting at 24 h lasting until 72-96 h after initial ischemia). Early preconditioning is more potent than delayed preconditioning in reducing infract size. Late preconditioning attenuates myocardial stunning and requires genomic activation with de novo protein synthesis. Early preconditioning depends on adenosine, opioids and to a lesser degree, on bradykinin and prostaglandins, released during ischemia. These molecules activate G-protein-coupled receptor, initiate activation of K(ATP) channel and generate oxygen-free radicals, and stimulate a series of protein kinases, which include protein kinase C, tyrosine kinase, and members of MAP kinase family. Late preconditioning is triggered by a similar sequence of events, but in addition essentially depends on newly synthesized proteins, which comprise iNOS, COX-2, manganese superoxide dismutase, and possibly heat shock proteins. The final mechanism of PC is still not very clear. The present review focuses on the possible role signaling molecules that regulate cardiomyocyte life and death during ischemia and reperfusion. PMID:18344203

  3. Evolutionary, Physicochemical, and Functional Mechanisms of Protein Homooligomerization

    PubMed Central

    Nishi, Hafumi; Hashimoto, Kosuke; Madej, Thomas; Panchenko, Anna R.

    2013-01-01

    Protein homooligomers afford several important benefits for the cell; they mediate and regulate gene expression, activity of many enzymes, ion channels, receptors, and cell–cell adhesion processes. The evolutionary and physical mechanisms of oligomer formation are very diverse and are not well understood. Certain homooligomeric states may be conserved within protein subfamilies and between different subfamilies, therefore providing the specificity to particular substrates while minimizing interactions with unwanted partners. In addition, transitions between different oligomeric states may regulate protein activity and support the switch between different pathways. In this chapter, we summarize the biological importance of homooligomeric assemblies, physicochemical properties of their interfaces, experimental methods for their identification, their evolution, and role in human diseases. PMID:23663963

  4. 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

  5. Molecular Mechanism of Water Evaporation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nagata, Yuki; Usui, Kota; Bonn, Mischa

    2015-12-01

    Evaporation is the process by which water changes from a liquid to a gas or vapor, and is a key step in Earth's water cycle. At the molecular level, evaporation requires breaking at least one very strong intermolecular bond between two water molecules at the interface. Despite the importance of this process the molecular mechanism by which an evaporating water molecule gains sufficient energy to escape from the surface has remained elusive. Here, we show, using molecular dynamics simulations at the water-air interface with polarizable classical force field models, that the high kinetic energy of the evaporated water molecule is enabled by a well-timed making and breaking of hydrogen bonds involving at least three water molecules at the interface, the recoil of which allows one of the molecules to escape. The evaporation of water is thus enabled by concerted, ultrafast hydrogen-bond dynamics of interfacial water, and follows one specific molecular pathway.

  6. Patterns and Mechanisms of Evolutionary Transitions between Genetic Sex-Determining Systems

    PubMed Central

    Sander van Doorn, G.

    2014-01-01

    The diversity and patchy phylogenetic distribution of genetic sex-determining mechanisms observed in some taxa is thought to have arisen by the addition, modification, or replacement of regulators at the upstream end of the sex-determining pathway. Here, I review the various evolutionary forces acting on upstream regulators of sexual development that can cause transitions between sex-determining systems. These include sex-ratio selection and pleiotropic benefits, as well as indirect selection mechanisms involving sex-linked sexually antagonistic loci or recessive deleterious mutations. Most of the current theory concentrates on the population–genetic aspects of sex-determination transitions, using models that do not reflect the developmental mechanisms involved in sex determination. However, the increasing availability of molecular data creates opportunities for the development of mechanistic models that can clarify how selection and developmental architecture interact to direct the evolution of sex-determination genes. PMID:24993578

  7. SPICA/SAFARI Fourier transform spectrometer mechanism evolutionary design

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van den Dool, Teun C.; Kruizinga, Bob; Braam, Ben C.; Hamelinck, Roger F. M. M.; Loix, Nicolas; Van Loon, Dennis; Dams, Johan

    2012-09-01

    TNO, together with its partners, have designed a cryogenic scanning mechanism for use in the SAFARI1 Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) on board of the SPICA mission. SPICA is one of the M-class missions competing to be launched in ESA's Cosmic Vision Programme2 in 2022. JAXA3 leads the development of the SPICA satellite and SRON is the prime investigator of the Safari instrument. The FTS scanning mechanism (FTSM) has to meet a 35 mm stroke requirement with an Optical Path Difference resolution of less then 15 nm and must fit in a small volume. It consists of two back-to-back roof-top mirrors mounted on a small carriage, which is moved using a magnetic bearing linear guiding system in combination with a magnetic linear motor serving as the OPD actuator. The FTSM will be used at cryogenic temperatures of 4 Kelvin inducing challenging requirements on the thermal power dissipation and heat leak. The magnetic bearing enables movements over a scanning stroke of 35.5 mm in a small volume. It supports the optics in a free-floating way with no friction, or other non-linearities, with sub-nanometer accuracy. This solution is based on the design of the breadboard ODL (Optical Delay Line) developed for the ESA Darwin mission4 and the MABE mechanism developed by Micromega Dynamics. During the last couple of years the initial design of the SAFARI instrument, as described in an earlier SPIE 2010 paper5, was adapted by the SAFARI team in an evolutionary way to meet the changing requirements of the SPICA payload module. This presentation will focus on the evolution of the FTSM to meet these changing requirements. This work is supported by the Netherlands Space Office (NSO).

  8. Molecular Mechanisms of Arterial Stiffening

    PubMed Central

    Cecelja, Marina; Chowienczyk, Phil

    2016-01-01

    Stiffening of large arteries is a hallmark of vascular aging and one of the most important determinants of the age-related increase in blood pressure and cardiovascular disease events. Despite a substantial genetic component, the molecular mechanisms underlying phenotypic variability in arterial stiffness remain unknown. Previous genetic studies have identified several genetic variants that are associated with measures of arterial stiffness. Here, we review the relevant advances in the identification of pathways underlying arterial stiffness from genomic studies. PMID:27493903

  9. Molecular Mechanisms of Nickel Allergy

    PubMed Central

    Saito, Masako; Arakaki, Rieko; Yamada, Akiko; Tsunematsu, Takaaki; Kudo, Yasusei; Ishimaru, Naozumi

    2016-01-01

    Allergic contact hypersensitivity to metals is a delayed-type allergy. Although various metals are known to produce an allergic reaction, nickel is the most frequent cause of metal allergy. Researchers have attempted to elucidate the mechanisms of metal allergy using animal models and human patients. Here, the immunological and molecular mechanisms of metal allergy are described based on the findings of previous studies, including those that were recently published. In addition, the adsorption and excretion of various metals, in particular nickel, is discussed to further understand the pathogenesis of metal allergy. PMID:26848658

  10. Superspreading: mechanisms and molecular design.

    PubMed

    Theodorakis, Panagiotis E; Müller, Erich A; Craster, Richard V; Matar, Omar K

    2015-03-01

    The intriguing ability of certain surfactant molecules to drive the superspreading of liquids to complete wetting on hydrophobic substrates is central to numerous applications that range from coating flow technology to enhanced oil recovery. Despite significant experimental efforts, the precise mechanisms underlying superspreading remain unknown to date. Here, we isolate these mechanisms by analyzing coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations of surfactant molecules of varying molecular architecture and substrate affinity. We observe that for superspreading to occur, two key conditions must be simultaneously satisfied: the adsorption of surfactants from the liquid-vapor surface onto the three-phase contact line augmented by local bilayer formation. Crucially, this must be coordinated with the rapid replenishment of liquid-vapor and solid-liquid interfaces with surfactants from the interior of the droplet. This article also highlights and explores the differences between superspreading and conventional surfactants, paving the way for the design of molecular architectures tailored specifically for applications that rely on the control of wetting. PMID:25658859

  11. Molecular Mechanism of TRP Channels

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Jie

    2013-01-01

    Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are cellular sensors for a wide spectrum of physical and chemical stimuli. They are involved in the formation of sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, temperature, and pain sensation. TRP channels also play fundamental roles in cell signaling and allow the host cell to respond to benign or harmful environmental changes. As TRP channel activation is controlled by very diverse processes and, in many cases, exhibits complex polymodal properties, understanding how each TRP channel responds to its unique forms of activation energy is both crucial and challenging. The past two decades witnessed significant advances in understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie TRP channels activation. This review focuses on our current understanding of the molecular determinants for TRP channel activation. PMID:23720286

  12. Evolutionary transitions between sex-determining mechanisms: a review of theory.

    PubMed

    van Doorn, G S

    2014-01-01

    The extraordinary diversity of sex-determining mechanisms found in nature is thought to have arisen by the addition, modification or replacement of regulators at the upstream end of the sex-determining pathway. The spread of a novel regulator of sex determination can manifest itself by an evolutionary transition between environmental and genetic sex determination, for example, or between male and female heterogamety. Both kinds of transition have occurred frequently in the course of evolution. In this paper, various evolutionary forces acting on sex-determining mutations that can bias transitions in one direction or the other are reviewed. Furthermore, the adaptive significance of the main modes of sex determination are discussed, and the common principle underlying ultimate explanations for environmental sex determination, genetic sex determination and maternal control over sex determination in the offspring are highlighted. Most of the current theory concentrates on the population-genetic aspects of sex determination transitions, using models that do not reflect the developmental mechanisms involved in sex determination. However, the increasing availability of molecular data creates opportunities for the future development of mechanistic models that will further clarify how selection and developmental architecture interact to direct the evolution of sex determination genes. PMID:24335102

  13. Molecular Mechanisms of Synaptic Specificity

    PubMed Central

    Margeta, Milica A.; Shen, Kang

    2011-01-01

    Synapses are specialized junctions that mediate information flow between neurons and their targets. A striking feature of the nervous system is the specificity of its synaptic connections: an individual neuron will form synapses only with a small subset of available presynaptic and postsynaptic partners. Synaptic specificity has been classically thought to arise from homophilic or heterophilic interactions between adhesive molecules acting across the synaptic cleft. Over the past decade, many new mechanisms giving rise to synaptic specificity have been identified. Synapses can be specified by secreted molecules that promote or inhibit synaptogenesis, and their source can be a neighboring guidepost cell, not just presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons. Furthermore, lineage, fate, and timing of development can also play critical roles in shaping neural circuits. Future work utilizing large-scale screens will aim to elucidate the full scope of cellular mechanisms and molecular players that can give rise to synaptic specificity. PMID:19969086

  14. Anticancer Molecular Mechanisms of Resveratrol

    PubMed Central

    Varoni, Elena M.; Lo Faro, Alfredo Fabrizio; Sharifi-Rad, Javad; Iriti, Marcello

    2016-01-01

    Resveratrol is a pleiotropic phytochemical belonging to the stilbene family. Though it is only significantly present in grape products, a huge amount of preclinical studies investigated its anticancer properties in a plethora of cellular and animal models. Molecular mechanisms of resveratrol involved signaling pathways related to extracellular growth factors and receptor tyrosine kinases; formation of multiprotein complexes and cell metabolism; cell proliferation and genome instability; cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase signaling (cytokine, integrin, and developmental pathways); signal transduction by the transforming growth factor-β super-family; apoptosis and inflammation; and immune surveillance and hormone signaling. Resveratrol also showed a promising role to counteract multidrug resistance: in adjuvant therapy, associated with 5-fluoruracyl and cisplatin, resveratrol had additive and/or synergistic effects increasing the chemosensitization of cancer cells. Resveratrol, by acting on diverse mechanisms simultaneously, has been emphasized as a promising, multi-target, anticancer agent, relevant in both cancer prevention and treatment. PMID:27148534

  15. Molecular mechanisms of temperature adaptation

    PubMed Central

    Bagriantsev, Sviatoslav N; Gracheva, Elena O

    2015-01-01

    Thermal perception is a fundamental physiological process pertaining to the vast majority of organisms. In vertebrates, environmental temperature is detected by the primary afferents of the somatosensory neurons in the skin, which express a ‘choir’ of ion channels tuned to detect particular temperatures. Nearly two decades of research have revealed a number of receptor ion channels that mediate the perception of several temperature ranges, but most still remain molecularly orphaned. Yet even within this well-researched realm, most of our knowledge largely pertains to two closely related species of rodents, mice and rats. While these are standard biomedical research models, mice and rats provide a limited perspective to elucidate the general principles that drive somatosensory evolution. In recent years, significant advances have been made in understanding the molecular mechanism of temperature adaptation in evolutionarily distant vertebrates and in organisms with acute thermal sensitivity. These studies have revealed the remarkable versatility of the somatosensory system and highlighted adaptations at the molecular level, which often include changes in biophysical properties of ion channels from the transient receptor potential family. Exploiting non-standard animal models has the potential to provide unexpected insights into general principles of thermosensation and thermoregulation, unachievable using the rodent model alone. PMID:25433072

  16. Molecular mechanisms of temperature adaptation.

    PubMed

    Bagriantsev, Sviatoslav N; Gracheva, Elena O

    2015-08-15

    Thermal perception is a fundamental physiological process pertaining to the vast majority of organisms. In vertebrates, environmental temperature is detected by the primary afferents of the somatosensory neurons in the skin, which express a 'choir' of ion channels tuned to detect particular temperatures. Nearly two decades of research have revealed a number of receptor ion channels that mediate the perception of several temperature ranges, but most still remain molecularly orphaned. Yet even within this well-researched realm, most of our knowledge largely pertains to two closely related species of rodents, mice and rats. While these are standard biomedical research models, mice and rats provide a limited perspective to elucidate the general principles that drive somatosensory evolution. In recent years, significant advances have been made in understanding the molecular mechanism of temperature adaptation in evolutionarily distant vertebrates and in organisms with acute thermal sensitivity. These studies have revealed the remarkable versatility of the somatosensory system and highlighted adaptations at the molecular level, which often include changes in biophysical properties of ion channels from the transient receptor potential family. Exploiting non-standard animal models has the potential to provide unexpected insights into general principles of thermosensation and thermoregulation, unachievable using the rodent model alone. PMID:25433072

  17. The Evolution of Different Forms of Sociality: Behavioral Mechanisms and Eco-Evolutionary Feedback

    PubMed Central

    van der Post, Daniel J.; Verbrugge, Rineke; Hemelrijk, Charlotte K.

    2015-01-01

    Different forms of sociality have evolved via unique evolutionary trajectories. However, it remains unknown to what extent trajectories of social evolution depend on the specific characteristics of different species. Our approach to studying such trajectories is to use evolutionary case-studies, so that we can investigate how grouping co-evolves with a multitude of individual characteristics. Here we focus on anti-predator vigilance and foraging. We use an individual-based model, where behavioral mechanisms are specified, and costs and benefits are not predefined. We show that evolutionary changes in grouping alter selection pressures on vigilance, and vice versa. This eco-evolutionary feedback generates an evolutionary progression from “leader-follower” societies to “fission-fusion” societies, where cooperative vigilance in groups is maintained via a balance between within- and between-group selection. Group-level selection is generated from an assortment that arises spontaneously when vigilant and non-vigilant foragers have different grouping tendencies. The evolutionary maintenance of small groups, and cooperative vigilance in those groups, is therefore achieved simultaneously. The evolutionary phases, and the transitions between them, depend strongly on behavioral mechanisms. Thus, integrating behavioral mechanisms and eco-evolutionary feedback is critical for understanding what kinds of intermediate stages are involved during the evolution of particular forms of sociality. PMID:25629313

  18. The evolution of different forms of sociality: behavioral mechanisms and eco-evolutionary feedback.

    PubMed

    van der Post, Daniel J; Verbrugge, Rineke; Hemelrijk, Charlotte K

    2015-01-01

    Different forms of sociality have evolved via unique evolutionary trajectories. However, it remains unknown to what extent trajectories of social evolution depend on the specific characteristics of different species. Our approach to studying such trajectories is to use evolutionary case-studies, so that we can investigate how grouping co-evolves with a multitude of individual characteristics. Here we focus on anti-predator vigilance and foraging. We use an individual-based model, where behavioral mechanisms are specified, and costs and benefits are not predefined. We show that evolutionary changes in grouping alter selection pressures on vigilance, and vice versa. This eco-evolutionary feedback generates an evolutionary progression from "leader-follower" societies to "fission-fusion" societies, where cooperative vigilance in groups is maintained via a balance between within- and between-group selection. Group-level selection is generated from an assortment that arises spontaneously when vigilant and non-vigilant foragers have different grouping tendencies. The evolutionary maintenance of small groups, and cooperative vigilance in those groups, is therefore achieved simultaneously. The evolutionary phases, and the transitions between them, depend strongly on behavioral mechanisms. Thus, integrating behavioral mechanisms and eco-evolutionary feedback is critical for understanding what kinds of intermediate stages are involved during the evolution of particular forms of sociality. PMID:25629313

  19. Molecular mechanisms of microglial activation.

    PubMed

    Zielasek, J; Hartung, H P

    1996-01-01

    Microglial cells are brain macrophages which serve specific functions in the defense of the central nervous system (CNS) against microorganisms, the removal of tissue debris in neurodegenerative diseases or during normal development, and in autoimmune inflammatory disorders of the brain. In cultured microglial cells, several soluble inflammatory mediators such as cytokines and bacterial products like lipopolysaccharide (LPS) were demonstrated to induce a wide range of microglial activities, e.g. increased phagocytosis, chemotaxis, secretion of cytokines, activation of the respiratory burst and induction of nitric oxide synthase. Since heightened microglial activation was shown to play a role in the pathogenesis of experimental inflammatory CNS disorders, understanding the molecular mechanisms of microglial activation may lead to new treatment strategies for neurodegenerative disorders, multiple sclerosis and bacterial or viral infections of the nervous system. PMID:8876774

  20. Molecular Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogenicity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fuchs, Thilo Martin

    Cautious optimism has arisen over recent decades with respect to the long struggle against bacteria, viruses, and parasites. This has been offset, however, by a fatal complacency stemming from previous successes such as the development of antimicrobial drugs, the eradication of smallpox, and global immunization programs. Infectious diseases nevertheless remain the world's leading cause of death, killing at least 17 million persons annually [61]. Diarrheal diseases caused by Vibrio cholerae or Shigella dysenteriae kill about 3 million persons every year, most of them young children: Another 4 million die of tuberculosis or tetanus. Outbreaks of diphtheria in Eastern Europe threatens the population with a disease that had previously seemed to be overcome. Efforts to control infectious diseases more comprehensively are undermined not only by socioeconomic conditions but also by the nature of the pathogenic organisms itself; some isolates of Staphylococcus aureus and Enterobacter have become so resistant to drugs by horizontal gene transfer that they are almost untreatable. In addition, the mechanism of genetic variability helps pathogens to evade the human immune system, thus compromising the development of powerful vaccines. Therefore detailed knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of microbial pathogenicity is absolutely necessary to develop new strategies against infectious diseases and thus to lower their impact on human health and social development.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Molecular mechanisms of pancreatic carcinogenesis.

    PubMed

    Furukawa, Toru; Sunamura, Makoto; Horii, Akira

    2006-01-01

    Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is one of the most fatal malignancies. Intensive investigation of molecular pathogenesis might lead to identifying useful molecules for diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma harbors complicated aberrations of alleles including losses of 1p, 6q, 9p, 12q, 17p, 18q, and 21q, and gains of 8q and 20q. Pancreatic cancer is usually initiated by mutation of KRAS and aberrant expression of SHH. Overexpression of AURKA mapping on 20q13.2 may significantly enhance overt tumorigenesity. Aberrations of tumor suppressor genes synergistically accelerate progression of the carcinogenic pathway through pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) to invasive ductal adenocarcinoma. Abrogation of CDKN2A occurs in low-grade/early PanIN, whereas aberrations of TP53 and SMAD4 occur in high-grade/late PanIN. SMAD4 may play suppressive roles in tumorigenesis by inhibition of angiogenesis. Loss of 18q precedes SMAD4 inactivation, and restoration of chromosome 18 in pancreatic cancer cells results in tumor suppressive phenotypes regardless of SMAD4 status, indicating the possible existence of a tumor suppressor gene(s) other than SMAD4 on 18q. DUSP6 at 12q21-q22 is frequently abrogated by loss of expression in invasive ductal adenocarcinomas despite fairly preserved expression in PanIN, which suggests that DUSP6 works as a tumor suppressor in pancreatic carcinogenesis. Restoration of chromosome 12 also suppresses growths of pancreatic cancer cells despite the recovery of expression of DUSP6; the existence of yet another tumor suppressor gene on 12q is strongly suggested. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic carcinogenesis will likely provide novel clues for preventing, detecting, and ultimately curing this life-threatening disease. PMID:16367914

  4. Molecular mechanisms of statin intolerance

    PubMed Central

    Franczyk, Beata; Toth, Peter P.; Rysz, Jacek; Banach, Maciej

    2016-01-01

    Statins reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in primary and secondary prevention. Despite their efficacy, many persons are unable to tolerate statins due to adverse events such as hepatotoxicity and myalgia/myopathy. In the case of most patients, it seems that mild-to-moderate abnormalities in liver and muscle enzymes are not serious adverse effects and do not outweigh the benefits of coronary heart disease risk reduction. The risk for mortality or permanent organ damage ascribed to statin use is very small and limited to cases of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis. Statin-induced muscle-related adverse events comprise a highly heterogeneous clinical disorder with numerous, complex etiologies and a variety of genetic backgrounds. Every patient who presents with statin-related side effects cannot undergo the type of exhaustive molecular characterization that would include all of these mechanisms. Frequently the only solution is to either discontinue statin therapy/reduce the dose or attempt intermittent dosing strategies at a low dose. PMID:27279860

  5. 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

  6. Molecular Mechanics: Illustrations of Its Application.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cox, Philip J.

    1982-01-01

    The application of molecular mechanics (a nonquantum mechanical method for solving problems concerning molecular geometries) to calculate force fields for n-butane and cyclohexane is discussed. Implications regarding the stable conformations of the example molecules are also discussed. (Author/SK)

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Teaching Evolutionary Mechanisms: Genetic Drift and M&M's.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Staub, Nancy L.

    2002-01-01

    Describes a classroom activity that teaches the mechanism of genetic drift to undergraduates. Illustrates a number of concepts that are critical in developing evolution literacy by sampling M&M milk chocolate candies. (MM)

  11. Evolutionary variation in the mechanics of fiddler crab claws

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Fiddler crabs, genus Uca, are classic examples of how intense sexual selection can produce exaggerated male traits. Throughout the genus the enlarged “major” cheliped (claw) of the male fiddler crab is used both as a signal for attracting females and as a weapon for combat with other males. However, the morphology of the major claw is highly variable across the approximately 100 species within the genus. Here we address variation, scaling, and correlated evolution in the mechanics of the major claw by analyzing the morphology and mechanical properties of the claws of 21 species of fiddler crabs from the Pacific, Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the Americas. Results We find that the mechanics that produce claw closing forces, the sizes of claws and the mechanical strength of the cuticle of claws are all highly variable across the genus. Most variables scale isometrically with body size across species but claw force production scales allometrically with body size. Using phylogenetically independent contrasts, we find that the force that a claw can potentially produce is positively correlated with the strength of the cuticle on the claw where forces are delivered in a fight. There is also a negative correlation between the force that a claw can potentially produce and the size of the claw corrected for the mass of the claw. Conclusions These relationships suggest that there has been correlated evolution between force production and armoring, and that there is a tradeoff between claw mechanics for signaling and claw mechanics for fighting. PMID:23855770

  12. 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

  13. Polarization effects in molecular mechanical force fields.

    PubMed

    Cieplak, Piotr; Dupradeau, François-Yves; Duan, Yong; Wang, Junmei

    2009-08-19

    The focus here is on incorporating electronic polarization into classical molecular mechanical force fields used for macromolecular simulations. First, we briefly examine currently used molecular mechanical force fields and the current status of intermolecular forces as viewed by quantum mechanical approaches. Next, we demonstrate how some components of quantum mechanical energy are effectively incorporated into classical molecular mechanical force fields. Finally, we assess the modeling methods of one such energy component-polarization energy-and present an overview of polarizable force fields and their current applications. Incorporating polarization effects into current force fields paves the way to developing potentially more accurate, though more complex, parameterizations that can be used for more realistic molecular simulations. PMID:21828594

  14. Polarization effects in molecular mechanical force fields

    PubMed Central

    Cieplak, Piotr; Dupradeau, François-Yves; Duan, Yong; Wang, Junmei

    2014-01-01

    The focus here is on incorporating electronic polarization into classical molecular mechanical force fields used for macromolecular simulations. First, we briefly examine currently used molecular mechanical force fields and the current status of intermolecular forces as viewed by quantum mechanical approaches. Next, we demonstrate how some components of quantum mechanical energy are effectively incorporated into classical molecular mechanical force fields. Finally, we assess the modeling methods of one such energy component—polarization energy—and present an overview of polarizable force fields and their current applications. Incorporating polarization effects into current force fields paves the way to developing potentially more accurate, though more complex, parameterizations that can be used for more realistic molecular simulations. PMID:21828594

  15. Driving Mechanisms for Molecular Outflows

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Downes, Turlough P.

    Molecular outflows are observed to be closely associated with star formation. The cumulative momentum and the momentum injection rate in these outflows are important parameters in theories of star formation. The cumulative momentum in an outflow is a measure of the feed-back from star formation on molecular cloud turbulence. The level of turbulence in a cloud also effects the formation of further stars and, indeed, the survival of the cloud itself (e.g. [15]). In addition the rate of injection of momentum is an important constraint for theoretical models of outflows from young stars [10, 18]. Hence, while these outflows are interesting in themselves, it is also critical to understand their origin and behaviour as part of the general study of how stars themselves form.

  16. Symmetry-based reciprocity: evolutionary constraints on a proximate mechanism

    PubMed Central

    Campennì, Marco

    2016-01-01

    Background. While the evolution of reciprocal cooperation has attracted an enormous attention, the proximate mechanisms underlying the ability of animals to cooperate reciprocally are comparatively neglected. Symmetry-based reciprocity is a hypothetical proximate mechanism that has been suggested to be widespread among cognitively unsophisticated animals. Methods. We developed two agent-based models of symmetry-based reciprocity (one relying on an arbitrary tag and the other on interindividual proximity) and tested their ability both to reproduce significant emergent features of cooperation in group living animals and to promote the evolution of cooperation. Results. Populations formed by agents adopting symmetry-based reciprocity showed differentiated “social relationships” and a positive correlation between cooperation given and received: two common aspects of animal cooperation. However, when reproduction and selection across multiple generations were added to the models, agents adopting symmetry-based reciprocity were outcompeted by selfish agents that never cooperated. Discussion. In order to evolve, hypothetical proximate mechanisms must be able to stand competition from alternative strategies. While the results of our simulations require confirmation using analytical methods, we provisionally suggest symmetry-based reciprocity is to be abandoned as a possible proximate mechanism underlying the ability of animals to reciprocate cooperative interactions. PMID:26998412

  17. Molecular mechanisms involved in convergent crop domestication.

    PubMed

    Lenser, Teresa; Theißen, Günter

    2013-12-01

    Domestication has helped to understand evolution. We argue that, vice versa, novel insights into evolutionary principles could provide deeper insights into domestication. Molecular analyses have demonstrated that convergent phenotypic evolution is often based on molecular changes in orthologous genes or pathways. Recent studies have revealed that during plant domestication the causal mutations for convergent changes in key traits are likely to be located in particular genes. These insights may contribute to defining candidate genes for genetic improvement during the domestication of new plant species. Such efforts may help to increase the range of arable crops available, thus increasing crop biodiversity and food security to help meet the predicted demands of the continually growing global population under rapidly changing environmental conditions. PMID:24035234

  18. Evolutionary Trends in the Jaw Adductor Mechanics of Ornithischian Dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Nabavizadeh, Ali

    2016-03-01

    Jaw mechanics in ornithischian dinosaurs have been widely studied for well over a century. Most of these studies, however, use only one or few taxa within a given ornithischian clade as a model for feeding mechanics across the entire clade. In this study, mandibular mechanical advantages among 52 ornithischian genera spanning all subclades are calculated using 2D lever arm methods. These lever arm calculations estimate the effect of jaw shape and difference in adductor muscle line of action on relative bite forces along the jaw. Results show major instances of overlap between taxa in tooth positions at which there was highest mechanical advantage. A relatively low bite force is seen across the tooth row among thyreophorans (e.g., stegosaurs and ankylosaurs), with variation among taxa. A convergent transition occurs from a more evenly distributed bite force along the jaw in basal ornithopods and basal marginocephalians to a strong distal bite force in hadrosaurids and ceratopsids, respectively. Accordingly, adductor muscle vector angles show repeated trends from a mid-range caudodorsal orientation in basal ornithischians to a decrease in vector angles indicating more caudally oriented jaw movements in derived taxa (e.g., derived thyreophorans, basal ornithopods, lambeosaurines, pachycephalosaurs, and derived ceratopsids). Analyses of hypothetical jaw morphologies were also performed, indicating that both the coronoid process and lowered jaw joint increase moment arm length therefore increasing mechanical advantage of the jaw apparatus. Adaptive trends in craniomandibular anatomy show that ornithischians evolved more complex feeding apparatuses within different clades as well as morphological convergences between clades. PMID:26692539

  19. The evolutionary roots of creativity: mechanisms and motivations

    PubMed Central

    Wiggins, Geraint A.; Tyack, Peter; Scharff, Constance; Rohrmeier, Martin

    2015-01-01

    We consider the evolution of cognition and the emergence of creative behaviour, in relation to vocal communication. We address two key questions: (i) what cognitive and/or social mechanisms have evolved that afford aspects of creativity?; (ii) has natural and/or sexual selection favoured human behaviours considered ‘creative’? This entails analysis of ‘creativity’, an imprecise construct: comparable properties in non-humans differ in magnitude and teleology from generally agreed human creativity. We then address two apparent problems: (i) the difference between merely novel productions and ‘creative’ ones; (ii) the emergence of creative behaviour in spite of high cost: does it fit the idea that females choose a male who succeeds in spite of a handicap (costly ornament); or that creative males capable of producing a large and complex song repertoire grew up under favourable conditions; or a demonstration of generally beneficial heightened reasoning capacity; or an opportunity to continually reinforce social bonding through changing communication tropes; or something else? We illustrate and support our argument by reference to whale and bird song; these independently evolved biological signal mechanisms objectively share surface properties with human behaviours generally called ‘creative’. Studying them may elucidate mechanisms underlying human creativity; we outline a research programme to do so. PMID:25646522

  20. The evolutionary roots of creativity: mechanisms and motivations.

    PubMed

    Wiggins, Geraint A; Tyack, Peter; Scharff, Constance; Rohrmeier, Martin

    2015-03-19

    We consider the evolution of cognition and the emergence of creative behaviour, in relation to vocal communication. We address two key questions: (i) what cognitive and/or social mechanisms have evolved that afford aspects of creativity?; (ii) has natural and/or sexual selection favoured human behaviours considered 'creative'? This entails analysis of 'creativity', an imprecise construct: comparable properties in non-humans differ in magnitude and teleology from generally agreed human creativity. We then address two apparent problems: (i) the difference between merely novel productions and 'creative' ones; (ii) the emergence of creative behaviour in spite of high cost: does it fit the idea that females choose a male who succeeds in spite of a handicap (costly ornament); or that creative males capable of producing a large and complex song repertoire grew up under favourable conditions; or a demonstration of generally beneficial heightened reasoning capacity; or an opportunity to continually reinforce social bonding through changing communication tropes; or something else? We illustrate and support our argument by reference to whale and bird song; these independently evolved biological signal mechanisms objectively share surface properties with human behaviours generally called 'creative'. Studying them may elucidate mechanisms underlying human creativity; we outline a research programme to do so. PMID:25646522

  1. Molecular mechanisms of hepatic apoptosis

    PubMed Central

    Wang, K

    2014-01-01

    Apoptosis is a prominent feature of liver diseases. Causative factors such as alcohol, viruses, toxic bile acids, fatty acids, drugs, and immune response, can induce apoptotic cell death via membrane receptors and intracellular stress. Apoptotic signaling network, including membrane death receptor-mediated cascade, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, lysosomal permeabilization, and mitochondrial dysfunction, is intermixed each other, but one mechanism may dominate at a particular stage. Mechanisms of hepatic apoptosis are complicated by multiple signaling pathways. The progression of liver disease is affected by the balance between apoptotic and antiapoptotic capabilities. Therapeutic options of liver injury are impacted by the clear understanding toward mechanisms of hepatic apoptosis. PMID:24434519

  2. Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Pituitary Pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Sapochnik, Melanie; Nieto, Leandro Eduardo; Fuertes, Mariana; Arzt, Eduardo

    2016-04-01

    During the last years, progress has been made on the identification of mechanisms involved in anterior pituitary cell transformation and tumorigenesis. Oncogene activation, tumor suppressor gene inactivation, epigenetic changes, and microRNAs deregulation contribute to the initiation of pituitary tumors. Despite the high prevalence of pituitary adenomas, they are mostly benign, indicating that intrinsic mechanisms may regulate pituitary cell expansion. Senescence is characterized by an irreversible cell cycle arrest and represents an important protective mechanism against malignancy. Pituitary tumor transforming gene (PTTG) is an oncogene involved in early stages of pituitary tumor development, and also triggers a senescence response by activating DNA-damage signaling pathway. Cytokines, as well as many other factors, play an important role in pituitary physiology, affecting not only cell proliferation but also hormone secretion. Special interest is focused on interleukin-6 (IL-6) because its dual function of stimulating pituitary tumor cell growth but inhibiting normal pituitary cells proliferation. It has been demonstrated that IL-6 has a key role in promoting and maintenance of the senescence program in tumors. Senescence, triggered by PTTG activation and mediated by IL-6, may be a mechanism for explaining the benign nature of pituitary tumors. PMID:26718581

  3. Cellular and molecular mechanisms in kidney fibrosis

    PubMed Central

    Duffield, Jeremy S.

    2014-01-01

    Fibrosis is a characteristic feature of all forms of chronic kidney disease. Deposition of pathological matrix in the interstitial space and within the walls of glomerular capillaries as well as the cellular processes resulting in this deposition are increasingly recognized as important factors amplifying kidney injury and accelerating nephron demise. Recent insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms of fibrogenesis herald the promise of new therapies to slow kidney disease progression. This review focuses on new findings that enhance understanding of cellular and molecular mechanisms of fibrosis, the characteristics of myofibroblasts, their progenitors, and molecular pathways regulating both fibrogenesis and its resolution. PMID:24892703

  4. Molecular mechanisms of induced pluripotency

    PubMed Central

    Wróblewska, Joanna; Mazurek, Sylwia; Liszewska, Ewa

    2015-01-01

    Growing knowledge concerning transcriptional control of cellular pluripotency has led to the discovery that the fate of differentiated cells can be reversed, which has resulted in the generation, by means of genetic manipulation, of induced pluripotent stem cells. Overexpression of just four pluripotency-related transcription factors, namely Oct3/4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc (Yamanaka factors, OKSM), in fibroblasts appears sufficient to produce this new cell type. Currently, we know that these factors induce several changes in genetic program of differentiated cells that can be divided in two general phases: the initial one is stochastic, and the subsequent one is highly hierarchical and organised. This review briefly discusses the molecular events leading to induction of pluripotency in response to forced presence of OKSM factors in somatic cells. We also discuss other reprogramming strategies used thus far as well as the advantages and disadvantages of laboratory approaches towards pluripotency induction in different cell types. PMID:25691818

  5. Molecular pathogenesis and mechanisms of thyroid cancer

    PubMed Central

    Xing, Mingzhao

    2013-01-01

    Thyroid cancer is a common endocrine malignancy. There has been exciting progress in understanding its molecular pathogenesis in recent years, as best exemplified by the elucidation of the fundamental role of several major signalling pathways and related molecular derangements. Central to these mechanisms are the genetic and epigenetic alterations in these pathways, such as mutation, gene copy-number gain and aberrant gene methylation. Many of these molecular alterations represent novel diagnostic and prognostic molecular markers and therapeutic targets for thyroid cancer, which provide unprecedented opportunities for further research and clinical development of novel treatment strategies for this cancer. PMID:23429735

  6. 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

  7. Mechanisms of Resistance in Bacteria: An Evolutionary Approach

    PubMed Central

    Martins, Ana; Hunyadi, Attila; Amaral, Leonard

    2013-01-01

    Acquisition of resistance is one of the major causes of failure in therapy of bacterial infections. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), thousands of deaths caused by Salmonella sp., Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus or Mycobacteria tuberculosis are due to failure in therapy caused by resistance to the chemotherapeutic agents. Understanding the mechanisms of resistance acquisition by the bacterial strains is therefore essential to prevent and overcome resistance. However, it is very difficult to extrapolate from in vitro studies, where the variables are far less and under constant control, as compared to what happens in vivo where the chosen chemotherapeutic, its effective dose, and the patient’s immune system are variables that differ substantially case-by-case. The aim of this review is to provide a new perspective on the possible ways by which resistance is acquired by the bacterial strains within the patient, with a special emphasis on the adaptive response of the infecting bacteria to the administered antibiotic. PMID:23560029

  8. Molecular mechanism of sweetness sensation.

    PubMed

    DuBois, Grant E

    2016-10-01

    The current understanding of peripheral molecular events involved in sweet taste sensation in humans is reviewed. Included are discussions of the sweetener receptor T1R2/T1R3, its agonists, antagonists, positive allosteric modulators, the transduction of its activation in taste bud cells and the coding of its signaling to the CNS. Areas of incomplete understanding include 1) signal communication with afferent nerve fibers, 2) contrasting concentration/response (C/R) functions for high-potency (HP) sweeteners (hyperbolic) and carbohydrate (CHO) sweeteners (linear), 3) contrasting temporal profiles for HP sweeteners (delayed onset and extinction) and CHO sweeteners (rapid onset and extinction) and 4) contrasting adaptation behaviors for HP sweeteners (moderate to strong adaptation) and CHO sweeteners (low adaptation). Evidence based on the sweet water aftertastes of several novel sweetness inhibitors is presented providing new support for constitutive activity in T1R2/T1R3. And a model is developed to rationalize the linear C/R functions of CHO sweeteners and hyperbolic C/R functions of HP sweeteners, where the former may activate T1R2/T1R3 by both binding and constitutive activity modulation (i.e., without binding) and the latter activate T1R2/T1R3 only by binding. PMID:26992959

  9. Molecular mechanism of cholangiocarcinoma carcinogenesis.

    PubMed

    Maemura, Kosei; Natsugoe, Shoji; Takao, Sonshin

    2014-10-01

    Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a highly malignant cancer of the biliary tract with a poor prognosis, which often arises from conditions causing long-term inflammation, injury, and reparative biliary epithelial cell proliferation. Several conditions are known to be major risk factors for cancer in the biliary tract or gallbladder, including primary sclerosing cholangitis, liver fluke infection, pancreaticobiliary maljunction, and chemical exposure in proof-printing workers. Abnormalities in various signaling cascades, molecules, and genetic mutations are involved in the pathogenesis of CCA. CCA is characterized by a series of highly recurrent mutations in genes, including KRAS, BRF, TP53, Smad, and p16(INK4a) . Cytokines that are affected by inflammatory environmental conditions, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), play an important role in cancer pathogenesis. Prominent signaling pathways important in carcinogenesis include TGF-β/Smad, IL-6/STAT-3, PI3K/AKT, Wnt, RAF/MEK/MAPK, and Notch. Additionally, some microRNAs regulate targets in critical pathways of CCA development and progression. This review article provides the understanding of the genetic and epigenetic mechanism(s) of carcinogenesis in CCA, which leads to the development of new therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of this devastating cancer. PMID:24895231

  10. 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

  11. Molecular mechanisms of ventricular hypoplasia.

    PubMed

    Srivastava, D; Gottlieb, P D; Olson, E N

    2002-01-01

    We have established the beginnings of a road map to understand how ventricular cells become specified, differentiate, and expand into a functional cardiac chamber (Fig. 5). The transcriptional networks described here provide clear evidence that disruption of pathways affecting ventricular growth could be the underlying etiology in a subset of children born with malformation of the right or left ventricle. As we learn details of the precise mechanisms through which the critical factors function, the challenge will lie in devising innovative methods to augment or modify the effects of gene mutations on ventricular development. Because most congenital heart disease likely occurs in a setting of heterozygous, predisposing mutations of one or more genes, modulation of activity of critical pathways in a preventive fashion may be useful in averting disease in genetically susceptible individuals. PMID:12858532

  12. Modern evolutionary mechanics theories and resolving the programmed/non-programmed aging controversy.

    PubMed

    Goldsmith, Theodore C

    2014-10-01

    Modern programmed (adaptive) theories of biological aging contend that organisms including mammals have generally evolved mechanisms that purposely limit their lifespans in order to obtain an evolutionary benefit. Modern non-programmed theories contend that mammal aging generally results from natural deteriorative processes, and that lifespan differences between species are explained by differences in the degree to which they resist those processes. Originally proposed in the 19th century, programmed aging in mammals has historically been widely summarily rejected as obviously incompatible with the mechanics of the evolution process. However, relatively recent and continuing developments described here have dramatically changed this situation, and programmed mammal aging now has a better evolutionary basis than non-programmed aging. Resolution of this issue is critically important to medical research because the two theories predict that very different biological mechanisms are ultimately responsible for age-related diseases and conditions. PMID:25519063

  13. 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

  14. A molecular mechanics force field for lignin

    SciTech Connect

    Petridis, Loukas; Smith, Jeremy C

    2009-02-01

    A CHARMM molecular mechanics force field for lignin is derived. Parameterization is based on reproducing quantum mechanical data of model compounds. Partial atomic charges are derived using the RESP electrostatic potential fitting method supplemented by the examination of methoxybenzene:water interactions. Dihedral parameters are optimized by fitting to critical rotational potentials and bonded parameters are obtained by optimizing vibrational frequencies and normal modes. Finally, the force field is validated by performing a molecular dynamics simulation of a crystal of a lignin fragment molecule and comparing simulation-derived structural features with experimental results. Together with the existing force field for polysaccharides, this lignin force field will enable full simulations of lignocellulose.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Osteoarthritis Pathogenesis: A Review of Molecular Mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Xia, Bingjiang; Chen, Di; Zhang, Jushi; Hu, Songfeng; Jin, Hongting; Tong, Peijian

    2016-01-01

    Osteoarthritis (OA), the most prevalent chronic joint disease, increases in prevalence with age, and affects majority of individuals over the age of 65 and is a leading musculoskeletal cause of impaired mobility in the elderly. Because the precise molecular mechanisms which are involved in the degradation of cartilage matrix and development of OA are poorly understood and there are currently no effective interventions to decelerate the progression of OA or retard the irreversible degradation of cartilage except for total joint replacement surgery. In this paper, the important molecular mechanisms related to OA pathogenesis will be summarized and new insights into potential molecular targets for the prevention and treatment of OA will be provided. PMID:25311420

  1. Disease resistance: Molecular mechanisms and biotechnological applications

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This special issue “Disease resistance: molecular mechanisms and biotechnological applications” contains 11 review articles and four original research papers. Research in the area of engineering for disease resistance continues to progress although only 10% of the transgenic plants registered for ...

  2. [Molecular mechanisms for AMPA receptor trafficking].

    PubMed

    Fukata, Masaki; Fukata, Yuko

    2008-06-01

    Finely tuned synaptic transmission in the brain provides the molecular basis for learning and memory. The misregulation of synaptic transmission is involved in the pathogenesis of various neurological disorders like epilepsy. AMPA-typed glutamate receptors (AMPARs) mediate the most prominent form of excitatory neurotransmission in the brain. Dynamic regulation of AMPARs is thought to be a primary mechanism for controlling synaptic strength. We have analyzed the molecular mechanism for AMPAR-trafficking and function by focusing on PSD-95, a major postsynaptic scaffolding protein. Here, we review the novel regulatory mechanisms of AMPARs by 1) the PSD-95 palmitoylating enzyme, which determines the position of PSD-95 at postsynapses, and 2) the epilepsy related ligand/receptor, LGI1/ADAM22, identified as the PSD-95-interacting protein. PMID:18646599

  3. Ocular diseases: immunological and molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Song, Jing; Huang, Yi-Fei; Zhang, Wen-Jing; Chen, Xiao-Fei; Guo, Yu-Mian

    2016-01-01

    Many factors, such as environmental, microbial and endogenous stress, antigen localization, can trigger the immunological events that affect the ending of the diverse spectrum of ocular disorders. Significant advances in understanding of immunological and molecular mechanisms have been researched to improve the diagnosis and therapy for patients with ocular inflammatory diseases. Some kinds of ocular diseases are inadequately responsive to current medications; therefore, immunotherapy may be a potential choice as an alternative or adjunctive treatment, even in the prophylactic setting. This article first provides an overview of the immunological and molecular mechanisms concerning several typical and common ocular diseases; second, the functions of immunological roles in some of systemic autoimmunity will be discussed; third, we will provide a summary of the mechanisms that dictate immune cell trafficking to ocular local microenvironment in response to inflammation. PMID:27275439

  4. Sampling Molecular Conformers in Solution with Quantum Mechanical Accuracy at a Nearly Molecular-Mechanics Cost.

    PubMed

    Rosa, Marta; Micciarelli, Marco; Laio, Alessandro; Baroni, Stefano

    2016-09-13

    We introduce a method to evaluate the relative populations of different conformers of molecular species in solution, aiming at quantum mechanical accuracy, while keeping the computational cost at a nearly molecular-mechanics level. This goal is achieved by combining long classical molecular-dynamics simulations to sample the free-energy landscape of the system, advanced clustering techniques to identify the most relevant conformers, and thermodynamic perturbation theory to correct the resulting populations, using quantum-mechanical energies from density functional theory. A quantitative criterion for assessing the accuracy thus achieved is proposed. The resulting methodology is demonstrated in the specific case of cyanin (cyanidin-3-glucoside) in water solution. PMID:27494227

  5. Geochemical Reaction Mechanism Discovery from Molecular Simulation

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Stack, Andrew G.; Kent, Paul R. C.

    2014-11-10

    Methods to explore reactions using computer simulation are becoming increasingly quantitative, versatile, and robust. In this review, a rationale for how molecular simulation can help build better geochemical kinetics models is first given. We summarize some common methods that geochemists use to simulate reaction mechanisms, specifically classical molecular dynamics and quantum chemical methods and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. Useful tools such as umbrella sampling and metadynamics that enable one to explore reactions are discussed. Several case studies wherein geochemists have used these tools to understand reaction mechanisms are presented, including water exchange and sorption on aqueous species and mineralmore » surfaces, surface charging, crystal growth and dissolution, and electron transfer. The impact that molecular simulation has had on our understanding of geochemical reactivity are highlighted in each case. In the future, it is anticipated that molecular simulation of geochemical reaction mechanisms will become more commonplace as a tool to validate and interpret experimental data, and provide a check on the plausibility of geochemical kinetic models.« less

  6. Geochemical Reaction Mechanism Discovery from Molecular Simulation

    SciTech Connect

    Stack, Andrew G.; Kent, Paul R. C.

    2014-11-10

    Methods to explore reactions using computer simulation are becoming increasingly quantitative, versatile, and robust. In this review, a rationale for how molecular simulation can help build better geochemical kinetics models is first given. We summarize some common methods that geochemists use to simulate reaction mechanisms, specifically classical molecular dynamics and quantum chemical methods and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. Useful tools such as umbrella sampling and metadynamics that enable one to explore reactions are discussed. Several case studies wherein geochemists have used these tools to understand reaction mechanisms are presented, including water exchange and sorption on aqueous species and mineral surfaces, surface charging, crystal growth and dissolution, and electron transfer. The impact that molecular simulation has had on our understanding of geochemical reactivity are highlighted in each case. In the future, it is anticipated that molecular simulation of geochemical reaction mechanisms will become more commonplace as a tool to validate and interpret experimental data, and provide a check on the plausibility of geochemical kinetic models.

  7. Embryonic development of goldfish (Carassius auratus): A model for the study of evolutionary change in developmental mechanisms by artificial selection

    PubMed Central

    Tsai, Hsin-Yuan; Chang, Mariann; Liu, Shih-Chieh; Abe, Gembu; Ota, Kinya G

    2013-01-01

    Background: Highly divergent morphology among the different goldfish strains (Carassius auratus) may make it a suitable model for investigating how artificial selection has altered developmental mechanisms. Here we describe the embryological development of the common goldfish (the single fin Wakin), which retains the ancestral morphology of this species. Results: We divided goldfish embryonic development into seven periods consisting of 34 stages, using previously reported developmental indices of zebrafish and goldfish. Although several differences were identified in terms of their yolk size, epiboly process, pigmentation patterns, and development rate, our results indicate that the embryonic features of these two teleost species are highly similar in their overall morphology from the zygote to hatching stage. Conclusions: These results provide an opportunity for further study of the evolutionary relationship between domestication and development, through applying well-established zebrafish molecular biological resources to goldfish embryos. Developmental Dynamics 242:1262–1283, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Key findings This study provides the first reliable descriptions of normal embryonic stages of wild-type goldfish. The embryonic features of goldfish and zebrafish are almost directly comparable. Goldfish embryos provide a novel model for the investigation of the evolutionary relationship between domestication and development. PMID:23913853

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Molecular mechanisms underlying alcohol-drinking behaviours.

    PubMed

    Ron, Dorit; Barak, Segev

    2016-09-01

    The main characteristic of alcohol use disorder is the consumption of large quantities of alcohol despite the negative consequences. The transition from the moderate use of alcohol to excessive, uncontrolled alcohol consumption results from neuroadaptations that cause aberrant motivational learning and memory processes. Here, we examine studies that have combined molecular and behavioural approaches in rodents to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that keep the social intake of alcohol in check, which we term 'stop pathways', and the neuroadaptations that underlie the transition from moderate to uncontrolled, excessive alcohol intake, which we term 'go pathways'. We also discuss post-transcriptional, genetic and epigenetic alterations that underlie both types of pathways. PMID:27444358

  13. Cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying presynapse formation

    PubMed Central

    Chia, Poh Hui; Li, Pengpeng

    2013-01-01

    Synapse formation is a highly regulated process that requires the coordination of many cell biological events. Decades of research have identified a long list of molecular components involved in assembling a functioning synapse. Yet how the various steps, from transporting synaptic components to adhering synaptic partners and assembling the synaptic structure, are regulated and precisely executed during development and maintenance is still unclear. With the improvement of imaging and molecular tools, recent work in vertebrate and invertebrate systems has provided important insight into various aspects of presynaptic development, maintenance, and trans-synaptic signals, thereby increasing our understanding of how extrinsic organizers and intracellular mechanisms contribute to presynapse formation. PMID:24127213

  14. Molecular Mechanisms of Inherited Demyelinating Neuropathies

    PubMed Central

    SCHERER, STEVEN S.; WRABETZ, LAWRENCE

    2008-01-01

    The past 15 years have witnessed the identification of more than 25 genes responsible for inherited neuropathies in humans, many associated with primary alterations of the myelin sheath. A remarkable body of work in patients, as well as animal and cellular models, has defined the clinical and molecular genetics of these illnesses and shed light on how mutations in associated genes produce the heterogeneity of dysmyelinating and demyelinating phenotypes. Here, we review selected recent developments from work on the molecular mechanisms of these disorders and their implications for treatment strategies. PMID:18803325

  15. Cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying muscular dystrophy

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    The muscular dystrophies are a group of heterogeneous genetic diseases characterized by progressive degeneration and weakness of skeletal muscle. Since the discovery of the first muscular dystrophy gene encoding dystrophin, a large number of genes have been identified that are involved in various muscle-wasting and neuromuscular disorders. Human genetic studies complemented by animal model systems have substantially contributed to our understanding of the molecular pathomechanisms underlying muscle degeneration. Moreover, these studies have revealed distinct molecular and cellular mechanisms that link genetic mutations to diverse muscle wasting phenotypes. PMID:23671309

  16. Molecular genetic and molecular evolutionary studies on the bacteriochlorophyll synthesis genes of Rhodobacter capsulatus

    SciTech Connect

    Burke-Agueero, D.H.

    1992-08-01

    Rhodobacter capsulatus, purple bacterium capable of either aerobic or photosynthetic growth, has proven to be very useful in genetic studies of photosynthesis. Forty-four genes clustered together within a 46 kilobase region are required to establish photosynthetic ability in R. capsulatus. Approximately twenty of these genes are involved in bacteriochlorophyll synthesis of which eight ``bch`` genes are the subject of this thesis. Six of these genes were found to code for the two ring reductases. The first converts protochlorophyllide (PChlide) into a chlorin, the immediate precursor to chlorophyll a, and then into a bacteriochlorin. Each reductase is shown to be made up of three subunits. PChlide reductase is coded by the genes bchN, bchB, and bchL. Proteins with amino acid sequences markedly similar to those of bchN and bchL have been shown in other organisms to be required for chlorophyll synthesis; hence, their designation as chlN and chlB. A third chloroplast-encoded gene of heretofore unknown function shares amino acid identities with bchB and is probably the third subunit of the plant PChlide reductase. The bchA locus, which encodes the chlorin reductase, is found to be made up of three separate, translationally coupled genes, referred to as bchX, bchY, and bchZ. Amino acid similarities between bchX, bchL, and the nitrogenase reductase protein nifH suggest that all three classes of proteins share certain three-dimensional structural features, including elements that are central to the enzymatic mechanism of nifH. PChlide reductase and chlorin reductase are clearly derived from a common ancestor. Several lines of analysis suggests the ancestor of both enzyme systems reduced PChlide twice to produce bacteriochlorophyll supporting the concept bacteriochlorophyll as the ancestral reaction center pigment.

  17. Molecular genetic and molecular evolutionary studies on the bacteriochlorophyll synthesis genes of Rhodobacter capsulatus

    SciTech Connect

    Burke-Agueero, D.H.

    1992-08-01

    Rhodobacter capsulatus, purple bacterium capable of either aerobic or photosynthetic growth, has proven to be very useful in genetic studies of photosynthesis. Forty-four genes clustered together within a 46 kilobase region are required to establish photosynthetic ability in R. capsulatus. Approximately twenty of these genes are involved in bacteriochlorophyll synthesis of which eight bch'' genes are the subject of this thesis. Six of these genes were found to code for the two ring reductases. The first converts protochlorophyllide (PChlide) into a chlorin, the immediate precursor to chlorophyll a, and then into a bacteriochlorin. Each reductase is shown to be made up of three subunits. PChlide reductase is coded by the genes bchN, bchB, and bchL. Proteins with amino acid sequences markedly similar to those of bchN and bchL have been shown in other organisms to be required for chlorophyll synthesis; hence, their designation as chlN and chlB. A third chloroplast-encoded gene of heretofore unknown function shares amino acid identities with bchB and is probably the third subunit of the plant PChlide reductase. The bchA locus, which encodes the chlorin reductase, is found to be made up of three separate, translationally coupled genes, referred to as bchX, bchY, and bchZ. Amino acid similarities between bchX, bchL, and the nitrogenase reductase protein nifH suggest that all three classes of proteins share certain three-dimensional structural features, including elements that are central to the enzymatic mechanism of nifH. PChlide reductase and chlorin reductase are clearly derived from a common ancestor. Several lines of analysis suggests the ancestor of both enzyme systems reduced PChlide twice to produce bacteriochlorophyll supporting the concept bacteriochlorophyll as the ancestral reaction center pigment.

  18. Nonlinear vibrational excitations in molecular crystals molecular mechanics calculations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pumilia, P.; Abbate, S.; Baldini, G.; Ferro, D. R.; Tubino, R.

    1992-03-01

    The coupling constant for vibrational solitons χ has been examined in a molecular mechanics model for acetanilide (ACN) molecular crystal. According to A.C. Scott, solitons can form and propagate in solid acetanilide over a threshold energy value. This can be regarded as a structural model for the spines of hydrogen bond chains stabilizing the α helical structure of proteins. A one dimensional hydrogen bond chain of ACN has been built, for which we have found that, even though experimental parameters are correctly predicted, the excessive rigidity of the isolated chain prevents the formation of a localized distortion around the excitation. Yet, C=O coupling value with softer lattice modes could be rather high, allowing self-trapping to take place.

  19. Immune function across generations: integrating mechanism and evolutionary process in maternal antibody transmission.

    PubMed Central

    Grindstaff, Jennifer L; Brodie, Edmund D; Ketterson, Ellen D

    2003-01-01

    The past 30 years of immunological research have revealed much about the proximate mechanisms of maternal antibody transmission and utilization, but have not adequately addressed how these issues are related to evolutionary and ecological theory. Much remains to be learned about individual differences within a species in maternal antibody transmission as well as differences among species in transmission or utilization of antibodies. Similarly, maternal-effects theory has generally neglected the mechanisms by which mothers influence offspring phenotype. Although the environmental cues that generate maternal effects and the consequent effects for offspring phenotype are often well characterized, the intermediary physiological and developmental steps through which the maternal effect is transmitted are generally unknown. Integration of the proximate mechanisms of maternal antibody transmission with evolutionary theory on maternal effects affords an important opportunity to unite mechanism and process by focusing on the links between genetics, environment and physiology, with the ultimate goal of explaining differences among individuals and species in the transfer of immune function from one generation to the next. PMID:14667346

  20. Learning from evolutionary optimisation: what are toughening mechanisms good for in dentine, a nonrepairing bone tissue?

    PubMed

    Zaslansky, Paul; Currey, John D; Fleck, Claudia

    2016-01-01

    The main mass of material found in teeth is dentine, a bone-like tissue, riddled with micron-sized tubules and devoid of living cells. It provides support to the outer wear-resistant layer of enamel, and exhibits toughening mechanisms which contribute to crack resistance. And yet unlike most bone tissues, dentine does not remodel and consequently any accumulated damage does not 'self repair'. Because damage containment followed by tissue replacement is a prime reason for the crack-arresting microstructures found in most bones, the occurrence of toughening mechanisms without the biological capability to repair is puzzling. Here we consider the notion that dentine might be overdesigned for strength, because it has to compensate for the lack of cell-mediated healing mechanisms. Based on our own and on literature-reported observations, including quasistatic and fatigue properties, dentine design principles are discussed in light of the functional conditions under which teeth evolved. We conclude that dentine is only slightly overdesigned for everyday cyclic loading because usual mastication stresses may come close to its endurance strength. The in-built toughening mechanisms constitute an evolutionary benefit because they prevent catastrophic failure during rare overload events, which was probably very advantageous in our hunter gatherer ancestor times. From a bio-inspired perspective, understanding the extent of evolutionary overdesign might be useful for optimising biomimetic structures used for load bearing. PMID:27615450

  1. Molecular mechanisms of membrane interaction at implantation.

    PubMed

    Davidson, Lien M; Coward, Kevin

    2016-03-01

    Successful pregnancy is dependent upon the implantation of a competent embryo into a receptive endometrium. Despite major advancement in our understanding of reproductive medicine over the last few decades, implantation failure still occurs in both normal pregnancies and those created artificially by assisted reproductive technology (ART). Consequently, there is significant interest in elucidating the etiology of implantation failure. The complex multistep process of implantation begins when the developing embryo first makes contact with the plasma membrane of epithelial cells within the uterine environment. However, although this biological interaction marks the beginning of a fundamental developmental process, our knowledge of the intricate physiological and molecular processes involved remains sparse. In this synopsis, we aim to provide an overview of our current understanding of the morphological changes which occur to the plasma membrane of the uterine endothelium, and the molecular mechanisms that control communication between the early embryo and the endometrium during implantation. A multitude of molecular factors have been implicated in this complex process, including endometrial integrins, extracellular matrix molecules, adhesion molecules, growth factors, and ion channels. We also explore the development of in vitro models for embryo implantation to help researchers investigate mechanisms which may underlie implantation failure. Understanding the precise molecular pathways associated with implantation failure could help us to generate new prognostic/diagnostic biomarkers, and may identify novel therapeutic targets. PMID:26969610

  2. Autocatalytic Decomposition Mechanisms in Energetic Molecular Crystals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuklja, Maija; Rashkeev, Sergey

    2009-06-01

    Atomic scale mechanisms of the initiation of chemical processes in energetic molecular crystals, which lead to the decomposition and ultimately to an explosive chain reaction, are still far from being understood. In this work, we investigate the onset of the initiation processes in two high explosive crystals - diamino-dinitroethylene (DADNE) and triamino- trinitrobenzene (TATB). We found that an autocatalytic decomposition mechanism is likely to take place in DADNE crystal that consists of corrugated, dashboard-shaped molecular layers. The presence of a dissociated NO2 group in the interstitial space between two layers induces a significant shear-strain between these layers, which, in turn, facilitates the further dissociation of NO2 groups from surrounding molecules through lowering the C-NO2 decomposition barrier. Unlike this, in TATB (that consists of flat, graphite-like molecular layers), an interstitial NO2 group positioned between two layers tends to produce a tensile stress (rather than a shear-strain), which leads to local molecular disorder in these layers without any significant modification of the C-NO2 decomposition barrier. The observed differences between the two materials are discussed in terms of their structural, electronic, and chemical properties.

  3. Mechanisms and Molecular Probes of Sirtuins

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Brian C.; Hallows, William C.; Denu, John M.

    2008-01-01

    Summary Sirtuins are critical regulators of many cellular processes including insulin secretion, the cell cycle, and apoptosis. Sirtuins are associated with a variety of age-associated diseases such as type II diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease. A thorough understanding of sirtuin chemical mechanisms will aid toward developing novel therapeutics that regulate metabolic disorders and combat associated diseases. In this review, we discuss the unique deacetylase mechanism of sirtuins and how this information might be employed to develop inhibitors and other molecular probes for therapeutic and basic research applications. We also cover physiological regulation of sirtuin activity and how these modes of regulation may be exploited to manipulate sirtuin activity in live cells. Development of molecular probes and drugs that specifically target sirtuins will further understanding of sirtuin biology and potentially afford new treatments of several human diseases. PMID:18940661

  4. Tools for Accurate and Efficient Analysis of Complex Evolutionary Mechanisms in Microbial Genomes. Final Report

    SciTech Connect

    Nakhleh, Luay

    2014-03-12

    I proposed to develop computationally efficient tools for accurate detection and reconstruction of microbes' complex evolutionary mechanisms, thus enabling rapid and accurate annotation, analysis and understanding of their genomes. To achieve this goal, I proposed to address three aspects. (1) Mathematical modeling. A major challenge facing the accurate detection of HGT is that of distinguishing between these two events on the one hand and other events that have similar "effects." I proposed to develop a novel mathematical approach for distinguishing among these events. Further, I proposed to develop a set of novel optimization criteria for the evolutionary analysis of microbial genomes in the presence of these complex evolutionary events. (2) Algorithm design. In this aspect of the project, I proposed to develop an array of e cient and accurate algorithms for analyzing microbial genomes based on the formulated optimization criteria. Further, I proposed to test the viability of the criteria and the accuracy of the algorithms in an experimental setting using both synthetic as well as biological data. (3) Software development. I proposed the nal outcome to be a suite of software tools which implements the mathematical models as well as the algorithms developed.

  5. Molecular Mechanism of Biological Proton Transport

    SciTech Connect

    Pomes, R.

    1998-09-01

    Proton transport across lipid membranes is a fundamental aspect of biological energy transduction (metabolism). This function is mediated by a Grotthuss mechanism involving proton hopping along hydrogen-bonded networks embedded in membrane-spanning proteins. Using molecular simulations, the authors have explored the structural, dynamic, and thermodynamic properties giving rise to long-range proton translocation in hydrogen-bonded networks involving water molecules, or water wires, which are emerging as ubiquitous H{sup +}-transport devices in biological systems.

  6. Molecular regulatory mechanism of tooth root development

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Xiao-Feng; Chai, Yang

    2012-01-01

    The root is crucial for the physiological function of the tooth, and a healthy root allows an artificial crown to function as required clinically. Tooth crown development has been studied intensively during the last few decades, but root development remains not well understood. Here we review the root development processes, including cell fate determination, induction of odontoblast and cementoblast differentiation, interaction of root epithelium and mesenchyme, and other molecular mechanisms. This review summarizes our current understanding of the signaling cascades and mechanisms involved in root development. It also sets the stage for de novo tooth regeneration. PMID:23222990

  7. Molecular mechanism of magnet formation in bacteria.

    PubMed

    Matsunaga, T; Sakaguchi, T

    2000-01-01

    Magnetic bacteria have an ability to synthesize intracellular ferromagnetic crystalline particles consisting of magnetite (Fe3O4) or greigite (Fe3S4) which occur within a specific size range (50-100 nm). Bacterial magnetic particles (BMPs) can be distinguished by the regular morphology and the presence of an thin organic membrane enveloping crystals from abiologically formed magnetite. The particle is the smallest magnetic crystal that has a regular morphology within the single domain size. Therefore, BMPs have an unfathomable amount of potential value for various technological applications not only scientific interests. However, the molecular and genetic mechanism of magnetite biomineralization is hardly understood although iron oxide formation occurs widely in many higher animals as well as microorganisms. In order to elucidate the molecular and genetic mechanisms of magnetite biomineralization, a magnetic bacterium Magnetospirillum sp. AMB-1, for which gene transfer and transposon mutagenesis techniques had been recently developed, has been used as a model organism. Several findings and information on the BMPs formation process have been obtained within this decade by means of studies with this model organism and its related one. Biomineralization mechanism and potential availability in biotechnology of bacterial magnets have been elucidated through molecular and genetic approach. PMID:16232810

  8. 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

  9. Molecular and cellular mechanisms of cardiotoxicity.

    PubMed Central

    Kang, Y J

    2001-01-01

    Cardiotoxicity resulting from detrimental environmental insults has been recognized for a long time. However, extensive studies of the mechanisms involved had not been undertaken until recent years. Advances in molecular biology provide powerful tools and make such studies possible. We are gathering information about cellular events, signaling pathways, and molecular mechanisms of myocardial toxicologic responses to environmental toxicants and pollutants. Severe acute toxic insults cause cardiac cell death instantly. In the early response to mild environmental stimuli, biochemical changes such as alterations in calcium homeostasis occur. These may lead to cardiac arrhythmia, which most often is reversible. Prolonged stimuli activate transcription factors such as activator protein-1 through elevation of intracellular calcium and the subsequent activation of calcineurin. Upregulation by activated transcription factors of hypertrophic genes results in heart hypertrophy, which is a short-term adaptive response to detrimental factors. However, further development of hypertrophy will lead to severe and irreversible cardiomyopathy, and eventually heart failure. From cardiac hypertrophy to heart failure, myocardial cells undergo extensive biochemical and molecular changes. Cardiac hypertrophy causes tissue hypoperfusion, which activates compensatory mechanisms such as production of angiotensin II and norepinephrine. Both further stimulate cardiac hypertrophy and, importantly, activate counterregulatory mechanisms including overexpression of atrial natriuretic peptide and b-type natriuretic peptide, and production of cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha. This counterregulation leads to myocardial remodeling as well as cell death through apoptosis and necrosis. Cell death through activation of mitochondrial factors and other pathways constitutes an important cellular mechanism of heart failure. Our current knowledge of cardiotoxicity is limited. Further extensive

  10. 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.

  11. Molecular mechanics of mussel adhesion proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qin, Zhao; Buehler, Markus J.

    2014-01-01

    Mussel foot protein (mfp), a natural glue produced by marine mussel, is an intriguing material because of its superior ability for adhesion in various environments. For example, a very small amount of this material is sufficient to affix a mussel to a substrate in water, providing structural support under extreme forces caused by the dynamic effects of waves. Towards a more complete understanding of its strength and underwater workability, it is necessary to understand the microscropic mechanisms by which the protein structure interacts with various substrates. However, none of the mussel proteins' structure is known, preventing us from directly using atomistic modeling to probe their structural and mechanical properties. Here we use an advanced molecular sampling technique to identify the molecular structures of two mussel foot proteins (mfp-3 and mfp-5) and use those structures to study their mechanics of adhesion, which is then incorporated into a continuum model. We calculate the adhesion energy of the mussel foot protein on a silica substrate, compute the adhesion strength based on results obtained from molecular modeling, and compare with experimental data. Our results show good agreement with experimental measurements, which validates the multiscale model. We find that the molecular structure of the folded mussel foot protein (ultimately defined by its genetic sequence) favors strong adhesion to substrates, where L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (or DOPA) protein subunits work in a cooperative manner to enhance adhesion. Our experimental data suggests a peak attachment force of 0.4±0.1 N, which compares favorably with the prediction from the multiscale model of Fc=0.21-0.33 N. The principles learnt from those results could guide the fabrication of new interfacial materials (e.g. composites) to integrate organic with inorganic surfaces in an effective manner.

  12. A mechanical micro molecular mass sensor

    PubMed Central

    Kurhekar, A. S.; Apte, P. R.

    2014-01-01

    One of the bio-sensing mechanisms is mechanical. Rather than measuring shift in resonance frequency, we adopt to measure the change in spring constant due to adsorption, as one of the fundamental sensing mechanism. This study explains determination of spring constant of a surface functionalized micro machined micro cantilever, which resonates in a trapezoidal cavity-on Silicon <100> wafer, with the resonating frequency of 7000 cycles per second. This thin-flimsy-oxide micro-cantilever has a typical shape, and the tip of the micro-cantilever is dip-coated with chemically and biologically active material. The change in mass, due to adsorption, is detected by measuring the change in spring constant. The Force-Distance spectroscopy is used to detect the change in spring constant. The experimental results, show that the mechanical sensing scheme used, permit this surface functionalized micro machined micro cantilever to be used as a molecular mass sensor. The mechanical spring behaviour of a micro-cantilever, a micro-mechanical device can be used to develop ultra-tech micro-mechanical system using computer interface. PMID:24459585

  13. Evolutionary public goods games on scale-free networks with unequal payoff allocation mechanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Haifeng; Yang, Hanxin; Du, Wenbo; Wang, Binghong; Cao, Xianbin

    2010-03-01

    In this paper, we bring an unequal payoff allocation mechanism into evolutionary public goods game on scale-free networks and focus on the cooperative behavior of the system. The unequal mechanism can be tuned by one parameter α: if α>0, the hub nodes can use its degree advantage to collect more payoff; if α<0, numerous non-hub nodes will obtain more payoff in a single round game. Simulation results show that the cooperation level has a non-trivial dependence on α. For the small enhancement factor r, the cooperator frequency can be promoted by both negative and positive α. For large r, there exists an optimal α that can obtain the highest cooperation level. Our results may sharpen the understanding of the emergence of cooperation induced by the unequal payoff allocation mechanism.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Molecular Mechanisms of Renal Ischemic Conditioning Strategies.

    PubMed

    Kierulf-Lassen, Casper; Nieuwenhuijs-Moeke, Gertrude J; Krogstrup, Nicoline V; Oltean, Mihai; Jespersen, Bente; Dor, Frank J M F

    2015-01-01

    Ischemia-reperfusion injury is the leading cause of acute kidney injury in a variety of clinical settings such as renal transplantation and hypovolemic and/or septic shock. Strategies to reduce ischemia-reperfusion injury are obviously clinically relevant. Ischemic conditioning is an inherent part of the renal defense mechanism against ischemia and can be triggered by short periods of intermittent ischemia and reperfusion. Understanding the signaling transduction pathways of renal ischemic conditioning can promote further clinical translation and pharmacological advancements in this era. This review summarizes research on the molecular mechanisms underlying both local and remote ischemic pre-, per- and postconditioning of the kidney. The different types of conditioning strategies in the kidney recruit similar powerful pro-survival mechanisms. Likewise, renal ischemic conditioning mobilizes many of the same protective signaling pathways as in other organs, but differences are recognized. PMID:26330099

  1. Molecular mechanisms for protein-encoded inheritance

    SciTech Connect

    Wiltzius, Jed J.W.; Landau, Meytal; Nelson, Rebecca; Sawaya, Michael R.; Apostol, Marcin I.; Goldschmidt, Lukasz; Soriaga, Angela B.; Cascio, Duilio; Rajashankar, Kanagalaghatta; Eisenberg, David

    2009-12-01

    In prion inheritance and transmission, strains are phenotypic variants encoded by protein 'conformations'. However, it is unclear how a protein conformation can be stable enough to endure transmission between cells or organisms. Here we describe new polymorphic crystal structures of segments of prion and other amyloid proteins, which offer two structural mechanisms for the encoding of prion strains. In packing polymorphism, prion strains are encoded by alternative packing arrangements (polymorphs) of {beta}-sheets formed by the same segment of a protein; in segmental polymorphism, prion strains are encoded by distinct {beta}-sheets built from different segments of a protein. Both forms of polymorphism can produce enduring conformations capable of encoding strains. These molecular mechanisms for transfer of protein-encoded information into prion strains share features with the familiar mechanism for transfer of nucleic acid-encoded information into microbial strains, including sequence specificity and recognition by noncovalent bonds.

  2. Mechanically induced luminescence changes in molecular assemblies.

    PubMed

    Sagara, Yoshimitsu; Kato, Takashi

    2009-11-01

    Altering the shape and properties of a material through external factors such as heat, light, pressure, pH, electric or magnetic fields, or the introduction of a guest molecule, is an attractive prospect. In this Perspective, piezochromic luminescent materials - which change the colour of their luminescence in response to mechanical stimuli - are described. Such piezochromism has been observed for a few molecular materials that contain luminescent cores in liquid-crystalline and crystalline solid states, as well as for polymeric materials doped with dyes. These changes in photoluminescent colour can be activated by various types of mechanical pressure such as shearing, grinding or elongation, which can trigger different mechanisms of producing the colour. Such stimuli-responsive materials have potential for various applications, including sensors, memory and displays. PMID:21378953

  3. Molecular mechanisms of curcumin action: gene expression.

    PubMed

    Shishodia, Shishir

    2013-01-01

    Curcumin derived from the tropical plant Curcuma longa has a long history of use as a dietary agent, food preservative, and in traditional Asian medicine. It has been used for centuries to treat biliary disorders, anorexia, cough, diabetic wounds, hepatic disorders, rheumatism, and sinusitis. The preventive and therapeutic properties of curcumin are associated with its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. Extensive research over several decades has attempted to identify the molecular mechanisms of curcumin action. Curcumin modulates numerous molecular targets by altering their gene expression, signaling pathways, or through direct interaction. Curcumin regulates the expression of inflammatory cytokines (e.g., TNF, IL-1), growth factors (e.g., VEGF, EGF, FGF), growth factor receptors (e.g., EGFR, HER-2, AR), enzymes (e.g., COX-2, LOX, MMP9, MAPK, mTOR, Akt), adhesion molecules (e.g., ELAM-1, ICAM-1, VCAM-1), apoptosis related proteins (e.g., Bcl-2, caspases, DR, Fas), and cell cycle proteins (e.g., cyclin D1). Curcumin modulates the activity of several transcription factors (e.g., NF-κB, AP-1, STAT) and their signaling pathways. Based on its ability to affect multiple targets, curcumin has the potential for the prevention and treatment of various diseases including cancers, arthritis, allergies, atherosclerosis, aging, neurodegenerative disease, hepatic disorders, obesity, diabetes, psoriasis, and autoimmune diseases. This review summarizes the molecular mechanisms of modulation of gene expression by curcumin. PMID:22996381

  4. Molecular mechanism of viscoelasticity in aligned polyethylene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hammad, Ali; Hasan, Hikmatyar; Swinburne, Thomas; Del Rosso, Stefano; Iannucci, Lorenzo; Sutton, Adrian

    2014-03-01

    Aligned polyethylene is used in industrial and medical applications due to its low density and high tensile strength. Extensive experimental work has been done to determine its mechanical properties, notably its viscoelasticity. However, the molecular processes that underlie these macroscopic properties are poorly understood. We develop a united atom model of aligned chains, in which intermolecular interactions are modelled by a Lennard-Jones potential, and the elastic energy within chains is modelled with harmonic springs. Using this simple model, we demonstrate the nucleation of solitons from chain ends, as one molecular chain is stretched with respect to another, and how load is transferred between chains in disregistry by intermolecular interactions. We develop an equation of motion for the movement of solitons along molecular chains, allowing us to replace a collection of aligned chains with a gas of solitons. Although solitons have been invoked to account for dielectric relaxation in crystalline regions of polyethylene, we believe this may be the first time they are discussed in the context of mechanical properties of aligned polyethylene.

  5. Molecular Mechanisms of Prolactin and Its Receptor

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Prolactin and the prolactin receptors are members of a family of hormone/receptor pairs which include GH, erythropoietin, and other ligand/receptor pairs. The mechanisms of these ligand/receptor pairs have broad similarities, including general structures, ligand/receptor stoichiometries, and activation of several common signaling pathways. But significant variations in the structural and mechanistic details are present among these hormones and their type 1 receptors. The prolactin receptor is particularly interesting because it can be activated by three sequence-diverse human hormones: prolactin, GH, and placental lactogen. This system offers a unique opportunity to compare the detailed molecular mechanisms of these related hormone/receptor pairs. This review critically evaluates selected literature that informs these mechanisms, compares the mechanisms of the three lactogenic hormones, compares the mechanism with those of other class 1 ligand/receptor pairs, and identifies information that will be required to resolve mechanistic ambiguities. The literature describes distinct mechanistic differences between the three lactogenic hormones and their interaction with the prolactin receptor and describes more significant differences between the mechanisms by which other related ligands interact with and activate their receptors. PMID:22577091

  6. Molecular mechanisms of intercellular communication: transmembrane signaling

    SciTech Connect

    Bitensky, M.W.; George, J.S.; Siegel, H.N.; McGregor, D.M.

    1982-01-01

    This short discussion of transmembrane signaling depicts a particular class of signaling devices whose functional characteristics may well be representative of broader classes of membrane switches. These multicomponent aggregates are characterized by tight organization of interacting components which function by conformational interactions to provide sensitive, amplified, rapid, and modulated responses. It is clear that the essential role of such switches in cell-cell interactions necessitated their appearance early in the history of the development of multicellular organisms. It also seems clear that once such devices made their appearance, the conformationally interactive moieties were firmly locked into a regulatory relationship. Since modification of interacting components could perturb or interfere with the functional integrity of the whole switch, genetic drift was only permitted at the input and outflow extremes. However, the GTP binding moiety and its interacting protein domains on contiguous portions of the receptor and readout components were highly conserved. The observed stringent evolutionary conservation of the molecular features of these membrane switches thus applies primarily to the central (GTP binding) elements. An extraordinary degree of variation was permitted within the domains of signal recognition and enzymatic output. Thus, time and evolution have adapted the central logic of the regulatory algorithm to serve a great variety of cellular purposes and to recognize a great variety of chemical and physical signals. This is exemplified by the richness of the hormonal and cellular dialogues found in primates such as man. Here the wealth of intercellular communiation can support the composition and performance of symphonies and the study of cellular immunology.

  7. Molecular pathways mediating mechanical signaling in bone

    PubMed Central

    Rubin, Janet; Rubin, Clinton; Jacobs, Christopher Rae

    2013-01-01

    Bone tissue has the capacity to adapt to its functional environment such that its morphology is “optimized” for the mechanical demand. The adaptive nature of the skeleton poses an interesting set of biological questions (e.g., how does bone sense mechanical signals, what cells are the sensing system, what are the mechanical signals that drive the system, what receptors are responsible for transducing the mechanical signal, what are the molecular responses to the mechanical stimuli). Studies of the characteristics of the mechanical environment at the cellular level, the forces that bone cells recognize, and the integrated cellular responses are providing new information at an accelerating speed. This review first considers the mechanical factors that are generated by loading in the skeleton, including strain, stress and pressure. Mechanosensitive cells placed to recognize these forces in the skeleton, osteoblasts, osteoclasts, osteocytes and cells of the vasculature are reviewed. The identity of the mechanoreceptor(s) is approached, with consideration of ion channels, integrins, connexins, the lipid membrane including caveolar and noncaveolar lipid rafts and the possibility that altering cell shape at the membrane or cytoskeleton alters integral signaling protein associations. The distal intracellular signaling systems on-line after the mechanoreceptor is activated are reviewed, including those emanating from G-proteins (e.g., intracellular calcium shifts), MAPKs, and nitric oxide. The ability to harness mechanical signals to improve bone health through devices and exercise is broached. Increased appreciation of the importance of the mechanical environment in regulating and determining the structural efficacy of the skeleton makes this an exciting time for further exploration of this area. PMID:16361069

  8. Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of AKI.

    PubMed

    Agarwal, Anupam; Dong, Zheng; Harris, Raymond; Murray, Patrick; Parikh, Samir M; Rosner, Mitchell H; Kellum, John A; Ronco, Claudio

    2016-05-01

    In this article, we review the current evidence for the cellular and molecular mechanisms of AKI, focusing on epithelial cell pathobiology and related cell-cell interactions, using ischemic AKI as a model. Highlighted are the clinical relevance of cellular and molecular targets that have been investigated in experimental models of ischemic AKI and how such models might be improved to optimize translation into successful clinical trials. In particular, development of more context-specific animal models with greater relevance to human AKI is urgently needed. Comorbidities that could alter patient susceptibility to AKI, such as underlying diabetes, aging, obesity, cancer, and CKD, should also be considered in developing these models. Finally, harmonization between academia and industry for more clinically relevant preclinical testing of potential therapeutic targets and better translational clinical trial design is also needed to achieve the goal of developing effective interventions for AKI. PMID:26860342

  9. Molecular mechanisms of the EHF bioeffect

    SciTech Connect

    Serikov, A.A.

    1994-07-01

    A generalizing theoretical analysis of models of mechanisms of interaction of biological macromolecules with EHF electromagnetic fields is performed. It is shown that nonthermal EHF radiation has a biological effect when the dipole-active oscillation Q of the primary receptors is greater than or equal to 10{sup 3}-10{sup 4}, which is of the same magnitude as the corresponding characteristic of individual peaks in the radiation spectrum. From the analysis of model equations of the kinetics of synthesis and dissociation of molecular associates, an explanation of the EHF bioeffect is proposed that is based on the phenomenon of high sensitivity to external actions of responses in which high-molecular-weight aggregates participate.

  10. Molecular mechanisms of ageing and related diseases.

    PubMed

    Liu, Jun-Ping

    2014-07-01

    Human and other multicellular life species age, and ageing processes become dominant during the late phase of life. Recent studies challenge this dogma, suggesting that ageing does not occur in some animal species. In mammals, cell replicative senescence occurs as early as before birth (i.e. in embryos) under physiological conditions. How the molecular machinery operates and why ageing cells dominate under some circumstances are intriguing questions. Recent studies show that cell ageing involves extensive cellular remodelling, including telomere attrition, heterochromatin formation, endoplasmic reticulum stress, mitochondrial disorders and lysosome processing organelles and chromatins. This article provides an update on the molecular mechanisms underlying the ageing of various cell types, the newly described developmental and programmed replicative senescence and the critical roles of cellular organelles and effectors in Parkinson's disease, diabetes, hypertension and dyskeratosis congenita. PMID:24798238

  11. Molecular Mechanics of Tip-Link Cadherins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sotomayor, Marcos; Weihofen, Wilhelm A.; Gaudet, Rachelle; Corey, David P.

    2011-11-01

    The hair-cell tip link, a fine filament directly conveying force to mechanosensitive transduction channels, is likely composed of two proteins, protocadherin-15 and cadherin-23, whose mutation causes deafness. However, their complete molecular structure, elasticity, and deafness-related structural defects remain largely unknown. We present crystal structures of extracellular (EC) tip-link cadherin repeats involved in hereditary deafness and tip link formation. In addition, we show that the deafness mutation D101G, in the linker region between the repeats EC1 and EC2 of cadherin-23, causes a slight bend between repeats and decreases Ca2+ affinity. Molecular dynamics simulations suggest that tip-link cadherin repeats are stiff and that either removing Ca2+ or mutating Ca2+-binding residues reduces rigidity and unfolding strength. The structures and simulations also suggest mechanisms underlying inherited deafness and how cadherin-23 may bind with protocadherin-15 to form the tip link.

  12. Molecular mechanics conformational analysis of tylosin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ivanov, Petko M.

    1998-01-01

    The conformations of the 16-membered macrolide antibiotic tylosin were studied with molecular mechanics (AMBER∗ force field) including modelling of the effect of the solvent on the conformational preferences (GB/SA). A Monte Carlo conformational search procedure was used for finding the most probable low-energy conformations. The present study provides complementary data to recently reported analysis of the conformations of tylosin based on NMR techniques. A search for the low-energy conformations of protynolide, a 16-membered lactone containing the same aglycone as tylosin, was also carried out, and the results were compared with the observed conformation in the crystal as well as with the most probable conformations of the macrocyclic ring of tylosin. The dependence of the results on force field was also studied by utilizing the MM3 force field. Some particular conformations were computed with the semiempirical molecular orbital methods AM1 and PM3.

  13. Molecular Mechanisms of Sex Determination in Reptiles

    PubMed Central

    Rhen, T.; Schroeder, A.

    2010-01-01

    Charles Darwin first provided a lucid explanation of how gender differences evolve nearly 140 years ago. Yet, a disconnect remains between his theory of sexual selection and the mechanisms that underlie the development of males and females. In particular, comparisons between representatives of different phyla (i.e., flies and mice) reveal distinct genetic mechanisms for sexual differentiation. Such differences are hard to comprehend unless we study organisms that bridge the phylogenetic gap. Analysis of variation within monophyletic groups (i.e., amniotes) is just as important if we hope to elucidate the evolution of mechanisms underlying sexual differentiation. Here we review the molecular, cellular, morphological, and physiological changes associated with sex determination in reptiles. Most research on the molecular biology of sex determination in reptiles describes expression patterns for orthologs of mammalian sex-determining genes. Many of these genes have evolutionarily conserved expression profiles (i.e., DMRT1 and SOX9 are expressed at a higher level in developing testes vs. developing ovaries in all species), which suggests functional conservation. However, expression profiling alone does not test gene function and will not identify novel sex-determining genes or gene interactions. For that reason, we provide a prospectus on various techniques that promise to reveal new sex-determining genes and regulatory interactions among these genes. We offer specific examples of novel candidate genes and a new signaling pathway in support of these techniques. PMID:20145384

  14. Evolutionary mechanisms of habitat invasions, using the copepod Eurytemora affinis as a model system.

    PubMed

    Lee, Carol Eunmi

    2016-01-01

    The study of the copepod Eurytemora affinis has provided unprecedented insights into mechanisms of invasive success. In this invited review, I summarize a subset of work from my laboratory to highlight key insights gained from studying E. affinis as a model system. Invasive species with brackish origins are overrepresented in freshwater habitats. The copepod E. affinis is an example of such a brackish invader, and has invaded freshwater habitats multiple times independently in recent years. These invasions were accompanied by the evolution of physiological tolerance and plasticity, increased body fluid regulation, and evolutionary shifts in ion transporter (V-type H(+) ATPase, Na(+), K(+)-ATPase) activity and expression. These evolutionary changes occurred in parallel across independent invasions in nature and in laboratory selection experiments. Selection appears to act on standing genetic variation during invasions, and maintenance of this variation is likely facilitated through 'beneficial reversal of dominance' in salinity tolerance across habitats. Expression of critical ion transporters is localized in newly discovered Crusalis leg organs. Increased freshwater tolerance is accompanied by costs to development time and greater requirements for food. High-food concentration increases low-salinity tolerance, allowing saline populations to invade freshwater habitats. Mechanisms observed here likely have relevance for other taxa undergoing fundamental niche expansions. PMID:27087851

  15. Plasticity of oxidative metabolism in variable climates: molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Seebacher, Frank; Brand, Martin D; Else, Paul L; Guderley, Helga; Hulbert, Anthony J; Moyes, Christopher D

    2010-01-01

    Converting food to chemical energy (ATP) that is usable by cells is a principal requirement to sustain life. The rate of ATP production has to be sufficient for housekeeping functions, such as protein synthesis and maintaining membrane potentials, as well as for growth and locomotion. Energy metabolism is temperature sensitive, and animals respond to environmental variability at different temporal levels, from within-individual to evolutionary timescales. Here we review principal molecular mechanisms that underlie control of oxidative ATP production in response to climate variability. Nuclear transcription factors and coactivators control expression of mitochondrial proteins and abundance of mitochondria. Fatty acid and phospholipid concentrations of membranes influence the activity of membrane-bound proteins as well as the passive leak of protons across the mitochondrial membrane. Passive proton leak as well as protein-mediated proton leak across the inner mitochondrial membrane determine the efficacy of ATP production but are also instrumental in endothermic heat production and as a defense against reactive oxygen species. Both transcriptional mechanisms and membrane composition interact with environmental temperature and diet, and this interaction between diet and temperature in determining mitochondrial function links the two major environmental variables that are affected by changing climates. The limits to metabolic plasticity could be set by the production of reactive oxygen species leading to cellular damage, limits to substrate availability in mitochondria, and a disproportionally large increase in proton leak over ATP production. PMID:20586603

  16. 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

  17. Mouse tetrad analysis provides insights into recombination mechanisms and hotspot evolutionary dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Cole, Francesca; Baudat, Frédéric; Grey, Corinne; Keeney, Scott; de Massy, Bernard; Jasin, Maria

    2014-01-01

    The ability to examine all chromatids from a single meiosis in yeast tetrads has been indispensable for defining mechanisms of homologous recombination initiated by DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Using a broadly applicable strategy for the analysis of chromatids from a single meiosis at two recombination hotspots in mouse oocytes and spermatocytes, we demonstrate here the unidirectional transfer of information — gene conversion — in both crossovers and noncrossovers. Whereas gene conversion in crossovers is associated with reciprocal exchange, the unbroken chromatid is not altered in noncrossover gene conversions, providing strong evidence that noncrossovers arise from a distinct pathway. Gene conversion frequently spares the binding site of the hotspot-specifying protein PRDM9 with the result that erosion of the hotspot is slowed. Thus, mouse tetrad analysis demonstrates how unique aspects of mammalian recombination mechanisms shape hotspot evolutionary dynamics. PMID:25151354

  18. Hybridization of Evolutionary Mechanisms for Feature Subset Selection in Unsupervised Learning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Torres, Dolores; Ponce-de-León, Eunice; Torres, Aurora; Ochoa, Alberto; Díaz, Elva

    Feature subset selection for unsupervised learning, is a very important topic in artificial intelligence because it is the base for saving computational resources. In this implementation we use a typical testor’s methodology in order to incorporate an importance index for each variable. This paper presents the general framework and the way two hybridized meta-heuristics work in this NP-complete problem. The evolutionary mechanisms are based on the Univariate Marginal Distribution Algorithm (UMDA) and the Genetic Algorithm (GA). GA and UMDA - Estimation of Distribution Algorithm (EDA) use a very useful rapid operator implemented for finding typical testors on a very large dataset and also, both algorithms, have a local search mechanism for improving time and fitness. Experiments show that EDA is faster than GA because it has a better exploitation performance; nevertheless, GA’ solutions are more consistent.

  19. The effect of asymmetric payoff mechanism on evolutionary networked prisoner’s dilemma game

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Du, Wen-Bo; Cao, Xian-Bin; Hu, Mao-Bin

    2009-12-01

    In social and biological systems, there are obvious individual divergence and asymmetric payoff phenomenon due to the strength, power and influence differences. In this paper, we introduce an asymmetric payoff mechanism to evolutionary Prisoner’s Dilemma Game (PDG) on scale-free networks. The co-effects of individual diversity and asymmetric payoff mechanism on the evolution of cooperation and the wealth distribution under different updating rules are investigated. Numerical results show that the cooperation is highly promoted when the hub nodes are favored in the payoff matrix, which seems to harm the interest of the majority. But the inequality of social wealth distribution grows with the unbalanced payoff rule. However, when the node difference is eliminated in the learning strategy, the asymmetric payoff rule will not affect the cooperation level. Our work may sharpen the understanding of the cooperative behavior and wealth inequality in the society.

  20. [The evolutionary role of predatory mammals and mechanisms of its realization].

    PubMed

    Severtsov, A S; Shubkina, A V

    2015-01-01

    Considered are the interactions within food chains that allow to refine the mechanisms of selective prey taking, which is important for better understanding of the evolutionary role of predation. By use of greyhounds, the hunting by wild canids is modelled for the purpose of repeated reproduction of searching for, chasing, and taking off the prey. It is found out that parameters of chasing (i.e., speed, distance, duration) are important for hunting but not determinative. There can be a high actual selectivity determined by prey conditions and, at the same time, low success of chasing. The mechanisms of recognition of potential prey availability or unavailability are analyzed. The data are presented that indicate that superficial microflora can be considered as a common marker of various, deviations in the state of a prey. Unlike stabilizing selection, which preserves separate traits, selection by predation stabilizes the phenotype as a whole. PMID:26606789

  1. Evolutionary prisoner's dilemma on Newman-Watts social networks with an asymmetric payoff distribution mechanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Du, Wen-Bo; Cao, Xian-Bin; Yang, Han-Xin; Hu, Mao-Bin

    2010-01-01

    In this paper, we introduce an asymmetric payoff distribution mechanism into the evolutionary prisoner's dilemma game (PDG) on Newman-Watts social networks, and study its effects on the evolution of cooperation. The asymmetric payoff distribution mechanism can be adjusted by the parameter α: if α > 0, the rich will exploit the poor to get richer; if α < 0, the rich are forced to offer part of their income to the poor. Numerical results show that the cooperator frequency monotonously increases with α and is remarkably promoted when α > 0. The effects of updating order and self-interaction are also investigated. The co-action of random updating and self-interaction can induce the highest cooperation level. Moreover, we employ the Gini coefficient to investigate the effect of asymmetric payoff distribution on the the system's wealth distribution. This work may be helpful for understanding cooperative behaviour and wealth inequality in society.

  2. Emerging paramyxoviruses: molecular mechanisms and antiviral strategies

    PubMed Central

    Aguilar, Hector C.; Lee, Benhur

    2011-01-01

    In recent years, several paramyxoviruses have emerged to infect humans, including previously unidentified zoonoses. Hendra and Nipah virus (henipavirus (HNV)) zoonoses were first identified in 1994 or 1998, causing deaths in animals and humans in Australia or Malaysia, respectively. Other paramyxoviruses, such as menangle virus, tioman virus, human metapneumovirus, and avian paramyxovirus-1, with less morbidity in humans, have also been recently identified. Although the Paramyxoviridae family of viruses has been previously recognized as biomedically and veterinarily important, the recent emergence of these paramyxoviruses has increased our attention to this family. Antiviral drugs can be designed to target specific important determinants of the viral/cell life cycle. Therefore, identifying and understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of viral entry, replication, assembly, and budding will be critical in the development of antiviral therapeutic agents. This review focuses on the molecular mechanisms discovered and the antiviral strategies pursued in recent years for emerging paramyxoviruses, with a concentration on viral entry and exit mechanisms. PMID:21345285

  3. Molecular Mechanisms of Chemoresistance in Oral Cancer.

    PubMed

    Wang, Cheng; Liu, Xi Qiang; Hou, Jin Song; Wang, Jian Ning; Huang, Hong Zhang

    2016-03-01

    Oral cancer is an aggressive disease with the propensity for local recurrence and distal metastasis in the head and neck region. Currently, cisplatin-based chemotherapy or concurrent radiochemotherapy is still the first choice to treat the advanced stage cancers, in particular, the unresectable tumours. Unfortunately, innate and acquired resistance to chemotherapy agent greatly limited its effectiveness and often led to treatment failure in these patients. Hence, it is urgent to clarify the mechanisms underlying the development of chemoresistance in patients with oral cancer. In this article, the current understandings on molecular mechanisms of chemoresistance in oral cancer were reviewed, including drug efflux, apoptosis, DNA damage and repair, epithelial mesenchymal transition, autophagy and miRNA. PMID:26981604

  4. Molecular Mechanisms of Thoracic Aortic Dissection

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Darrell; Shen, Ying H.; Russell, Ludivine; Coselli, Joseph S.; LeMaire, Scott A.

    2013-01-01

    Thoracic aortic dissection (TAD) is a highly lethal vascular disease. In many patients with TAD, the aorta progressively dilates and ultimately ruptures. Dissection formation, progression, and rupture cannot be reliably prevented pharmacologically because the molecular mechanisms of aortic wall degeneration are poorly understood. The key histopathologic feature of TAD is medial degeneration, a process characterized by smooth muscle cell depletion and extracellular matrix degradation. These structural changes have a profound impact on the functional properties of the aortic wall and can result from excessive protease-mediated destruction of the extracellular matrix, altered signaling pathways, and altered gene expression. Review of the literature reveals differences in the processes that lead to ascending versus descending and sporadic versus hereditary TAD. These differences add to the complexity of this disease. Although tremendous progress has been made in diagnosing and treating TAD, a better understanding of the molecular, cellular, and genetic mechanisms that cause this disease is necessary to developing more effective preventative and therapeutic treatment strategies. PMID:23856125

  5. Molecular inhibitory mechanism of tricin on tyrosinase.

    PubMed

    Mu, Yan; Li, Lin; Hu, Song-Qing

    2013-04-15

    Tricin was evaluated as a type of tyrosinase inhibitor with good efficacy compared to arbutin. Tricin functioned as a non-competitive inhibitor of tyrosinase, with an equilibrium constant of 2.30 mmol/L. The molecular mechanisms underlying the inhibition of tyrosinase by tricin were investigated by means of circular dichroism spectra, fluorescence quenching and molecular docking. These assays demonstrated that the interactions between tricin and tyrosinase did not change the secondary structure. The interaction of tricin with residues in the hydrophobic pocket of tyrosinase was revealed by fluorescence quenching; the complex was stabilized by hydrophobic associations and hydrogen bonding (with residues Asn80 and Arg267). Docking results implied that the possible inhibitory mechanisms may be attributed to the stereospecific blockade effects of tricin on substrates or products and flexible conformation alterations in the tyrosinase active center caused by weak interactions between tyrosinase and tricin. The application of this type of flavonoid as a tyrosinase inhibitor will lead to significant advances in the field of depigmentation. PMID:23434549

  6. Molecular inhibitory mechanism of tricin on tyrosinase

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mu, Yan; Li, Lin; Hu, Song-Qing

    2013-04-01

    Tricin was evaluated as a type of tyrosinase inhibitor with good efficacy compared to arbutin. Tricin functioned as a non-competitive inhibitor of tyrosinase, with an equilibrium constant of 2.30 mmol/L. The molecular mechanisms underlying the inhibition of tyrosinase by tricin were investigated by means of circular dichroism spectra, fluorescence quenching and molecular docking. These assays demonstrated that the interactions between tricin and tyrosinase did not change the secondary structure. The interaction of tricin with residues in the hydrophobic pocket of tyrosinase was revealed by fluorescence quenching; the complex was stabilized by hydrophobic associations and hydrogen bonding (with residues Asn80 and Arg267). Docking results implied that the possible inhibitory mechanisms may be attributed to the stereospecific blockade effects of tricin on substrates or products and flexible conformation alterations in the tyrosinase active center caused by weak interactions between tyrosinase and tricin. The application of this type of flavonoid as a tyrosinase inhibitor will lead to significant advances in the field of depigmentation.

  7. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of reprogramming.

    PubMed

    Krause, Marie N; Sancho-Martinez, Ignacio; Izpisua Belmonte, Juan Carlos

    2016-05-01

    Despite the profound and rapid advancements in reprogramming technologies since the generation of the first induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in 2006[1], the molecular basics of the process and its implications are still not fully understood. Recent work has suggested that a subset of TFs, so called "Pioneer TFs", play an important role during the stochastic phase of iPSC reprogramming [2-6]. Pioneer TFs activities differ from conventional transcription factors in their mechanism of action. They bind directly to condensed chromatin and elicit a series of chromatin remodeling events that lead to opening of the chromatin. Chromatin decondensation by pioneer factors progressively occurs during cell division and in turn exposes specific gene promoters in the DNA to which TFs can now directly bind to promoters that are readily accessible[2, 6]. Here, we will summarize recent advancements on our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying reprogramming to iPSC as well as the implications that pioneer Transcription Factor activities might play during different lineage conversion processes. PMID:26655812

  8. Hyperinsulinemic Hypoglycemia – The Molecular Mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Nessa, Azizun; Rahman, Sofia A.; Hussain, Khalid

    2016-01-01

    Under normal physiological conditions, pancreatic β-cells secrete insulin to maintain fasting blood glucose levels in the range 3.5–5.5 mmol/L. In hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia (HH), this precise regulation of insulin secretion is perturbed so that insulin continues to be secreted in the presence of hypoglycemia. HH may be due to genetic causes (congenital) or secondary to certain risk factors. The molecular mechanisms leading to HH involve defects in the key genes regulating insulin secretion from the β-cells. At this moment, in time genetic abnormalities in nine genes (ABCC8, KCNJ11, GCK, SCHAD, GLUD1, SLC16A1, HNF1A, HNF4A, and UCP2) have been described that lead to the congenital forms of HH. Perinatal stress, intrauterine growth retardation, maternal diabetes mellitus, and a large number of developmental syndromes are also associated with HH in the neonatal period. In older children and adult’s insulinoma, non-insulinoma pancreatogenous hypoglycemia syndrome and post bariatric surgery are recognized causes of HH. This review article will focus mainly on describing the molecular mechanisms that lead to unregulated insulin secretion. PMID:27065949

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Molecular mechanisms regulating macrophage response to hypoxia.

    PubMed

    Rahat, Michal A; Bitterman, Haim; Lahat, Nitza

    2011-01-01

    Monocytes and Macrophages (Mo/Mɸ) exhibit great plasticity, as they can shift between different modes of activation and, driven by their immediate microenvironment, perform divergent functions. These include, among others, patrolling their surroundings and maintaining homeostasis (resident Mo/Mɸ), combating invading pathogens and tumor cells (classically activated or M1 Mo/Mɸ), orchestrating wound healing (alternatively activated or M2 Mo/Mɸ), and restoring homeostasis after an inflammatory response (resolution Mɸ). Hypoxia is an important factor in the Mɸ microenvironment, is prevalent in many physiological and pathological conditions, and is interdependent with the inflammatory response. Although Mo/Mɸ have been studied in hypoxia, the mechanisms by which hypoxia influences the different modes of their activation, and how it regulates the shift between them, remain unclear. Here we review the current knowledge about the molecular mechanisms that mediate this hypoxic regulation of Mɸ activation. Much is known about the hypoxic transcriptional regulatory network, which includes the master regulators hypoxia-induced factor-1 and NF-κB, as well as other transcription factors (e.g., AP-1, Erg-1), but we also highlight the role of post-transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms. These mechanisms mediate hypoxic induction of Mɸ pro-angiogenic mediators, suppress M1 Mɸ by post-transcriptionally inhibiting pro-inflammatory mediators, and help shift the classically activated Mɸ into an activation state which approximate the alternatively activated or resolution Mɸ. PMID:22566835

  14. Molecular Mechanisms Regulating Macrophage Response to Hypoxia

    PubMed Central

    Rahat, Michal A.; Bitterman, Haim; Lahat, Nitza

    2011-01-01

    Monocytes and Macrophages (Mo/Mɸ) exhibit great plasticity, as they can shift between different modes of activation and, driven by their immediate microenvironment, perform divergent functions. These include, among others, patrolling their surroundings and maintaining homeostasis (resident Mo/Mɸ), combating invading pathogens and tumor cells (classically activated or M1 Mo/Mɸ), orchestrating wound healing (alternatively activated or M2 Mo/Mɸ), and restoring homeostasis after an inflammatory response (resolution Mɸ). Hypoxia is an important factor in the Mɸ microenvironment, is prevalent in many physiological and pathological conditions, and is interdependent with the inflammatory response. Although Mo/Mɸ have been studied in hypoxia, the mechanisms by which hypoxia influences the different modes of their activation, and how it regulates the shift between them, remain unclear. Here we review the current knowledge about the molecular mechanisms that mediate this hypoxic regulation of Mɸ activation. Much is known about the hypoxic transcriptional regulatory network, which includes the master regulators hypoxia-induced factor-1 and NF-κB, as well as other transcription factors (e.g., AP-1, Erg-1), but we also highlight the role of post-transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms. These mechanisms mediate hypoxic induction of Mɸ pro-angiogenic mediators, suppress M1 Mɸ by post-transcriptionally inhibiting pro-inflammatory mediators, and help shift the classically activated Mɸ into an activation state which approximate the alternatively activated or resolution Mɸ. PMID:22566835

  15. Differential gene retention as an evolutionary mechanism to generate biodiversity and adaptation in yeasts

    PubMed Central

    Morel, Guillaume; Sterck, Lieven; Swennen, Dominique; Marcet-Houben, Marina; Onesime, Djamila; Levasseur, Anthony; Jacques, Noémie; Mallet, Sandrine; Couloux, Arnaux; Labadie, Karine; Amselem, Joëlle; Beckerich, Jean-Marie; Henrissat, Bernard; Van de Peer, Yves; Wincker, Patrick; Souciet, Jean-Luc; Gabaldón, Toni; Tinsley, Colin R.; Casaregola, Serge

    2015-01-01

    The evolutionary history of the characters underlying the adaptation of microorganisms to food and biotechnological uses is poorly understood. We undertook comparative genomics to investigate evolutionary relationships of the dairy yeast Geotrichum candidum within Saccharomycotina. Surprisingly, a remarkable proportion of genes showed discordant phylogenies, clustering with the filamentous fungus subphylum (Pezizomycotina), rather than the yeast subphylum (Saccharomycotina), of the Ascomycota. These genes appear not to be the result of Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT), but to have been specifically retained by G. candidum after the filamentous fungi–yeasts split concomitant with the yeasts’ genome contraction. We refer to these genes as SRAGs (Specifically Retained Ancestral Genes), having been lost by all or nearly all other yeasts, and thus contributing to the phenotypic specificity of lineages. SRAG functions include lipases consistent with a role in cheese making and novel endoglucanases associated with degradation of plant material. Similar gene retention was observed in three other distantly related yeasts representative of this ecologically diverse subphylum. The phenomenon thus appears to be widespread in the Saccharomycotina and argues that, alongside neo-functionalization following gene duplication and HGT, specific gene retention must be recognized as an important mechanism for generation of biodiversity and adaptation in yeasts. PMID:26108467

  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. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of fibrosis.

    PubMed

    Wynn, T A

    2008-01-01

    Fibrosis is defined by the overgrowth, hardening, and/or scarring of various tissues and is attributed to excess deposition of extracellular matrix components including collagen. Fibrosis is the end result of chronic inflammatory reactions induced by a variety of stimuli including persistent infections, autoimmune reactions, allergic responses, chemical insults, radiation, and tissue injury. Although current treatments for fibrotic diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, liver cirrhosis, systemic sclerosis, progressive kidney disease, and cardiovascular fibrosis typically target the inflammatory response, there is accumulating evidence that the mechanisms driving fibrogenesis are distinct from those regulating inflammation. In fact, some studies have suggested that ongoing inflammation is needed to reverse established and progressive fibrosis. The key cellular mediator of fibrosis is the myofibroblast, which when activated serves as the primary collagen-producing cell. Myofibroblasts are generated from a variety of sources including resident mesenchymal cells, epithelial and endothelial cells in processes termed epithelial/endothelial-mesenchymal (EMT/EndMT) transition, as well as from circulating fibroblast-like cells called fibrocytes that are derived from bone-marrow stem cells. Myofibroblasts are activated by a variety of mechanisms, including paracrine signals derived from lymphocytes and macrophages, autocrine factors secreted by myofibroblasts, and pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPS) produced by pathogenic organisms that interact with pattern recognition receptors (i.e. TLRs) on fibroblasts. Cytokines (IL-13, IL-21, TGF-beta1), chemokines (MCP-1, MIP-1beta), angiogenic factors (VEGF), growth factors (PDGF), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), acute phase proteins (SAP), caspases, and components of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (ANG II) have been identified as important regulators of fibrosis and are being

  18. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of fibrosis

    PubMed Central

    Wynn, TA

    2009-01-01

    Fibrosis is defined by the overgrowth, hardening, and/or scarring of various tissues and is attributed to excess deposition of extracellular matrix components including collagen. Fibrosis is the end result of chronic inflammatory reactions induced by a variety of stimuli including persistent infections, autoimmune reactions, allergic responses, chemical insults, radiation, and tissue injury. Although current treatments for fibrotic diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, liver cirrhosis, systemic sclerosis, progressive kidney disease, and cardiovascular fibrosis typically target the inflammatory response, there is accumulating evidence that the mechanisms driving fibrogenesis are distinct from those regulating inflammation. In fact, some studies have suggested that ongoing inflammation is needed to reverse established and progressive fibrosis. The key cellular mediator of fibrosis is the myofibroblast, which when activated serves as the primary collagen-producing cell. Myofibroblasts are generated from a variety of sources including resident mesenchymal cells, epithelial and endothelial cells in processes termed epithelial/endothelial-mesenchymal (EMT/EndMT) transition, as well as from circulating fibroblast-like cells called fibrocytes that are derived from bone-marrow stem cells. Myofibroblasts are activated by a variety of mechanisms, including paracrine signals derived from lymphocytes and macrophages, autocrine factors secreted by myofibroblasts, and pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPS) produced by pathogenic organisms that interact with pattern recognition receptors (i.e. TLRs) on fibroblasts. Cytokines (IL-13, IL-21, TGF-β1), chemokines (MCP-1, MIP-1β), angiogenic factors (VEGF), growth factors (PDGF), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), acute phase proteins (SAP), caspases, and components of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (ANG II) have been identified as important regulators of fibrosis and are being

  19. Molecular and cellular mechanisms of anthracycline cardiotoxicity.

    PubMed

    Chen, Billy; Peng, Xuyang; Pentassuglia, Laura; Lim, Chee Chew; Sawyer, Douglas B

    2007-01-01

    The molecular and cellular mechanisms that cause cumulative dose-dependent anthracycline-cardiotoxicity remain controversial and incompletely understood. Studies examining the effects of anthracyclines in cardiac myocytes inA vitro have demonstrated several forms of cellular injury. Cell death in response to anthracyclines can be observed by one of several mechanisms including apoptosis and necrosis. Cell death by apoptosis can be inhibited by dexrazoxane, the iron chelator that is known to prevent clinical development of heart failure at high cumulative anthracycline exposure. Together with clinical evidence for myocyte death after anthracycline exposure, in the form of elevations in serum troponin, make myocyte cell death a probable mechanism for anthracycline-induced cardiac injury. Other mechanisms of myocyte injury include the development of cellular \\'sarcopenia\\' characterized by disruption of normal sarcomere structure. Anthracyclines suppress expression of several cardiac transcription factors, and this may play a role in the development of myocyte death as well as sarcopenia. Degradation of the giant myofilament protein titin may represent an important proximal step that leads to accelerated myofilament degradation. Titin is an entropic spring element in the sarcomere that regulates length-dependent calcium sensitivity. Thus titin degradation may lead to impaired diastolic as well as systolic dysfunction, as well as potentiate the effect of suppression of transcription of sarcomere proteins. An interesting interaction has been noted clinically between anthracyclines and newer cancer therapies that target the erbB2 receptor tyrosine kinase. Studies of erbB2 function in viro suggest that signaling through erbB2 by the growth factor neuregulin may regulate cardiac myocyte sarcomere turnover, as well as myocyte-myocyte/myocyte-matrix force coupling. A combination of further in vitro studies, with more careful monitoring of cardiac function after exposure to

  20. Screened Electrostatic Interactions in Molecular Mechanics.

    PubMed

    Wang, Bo; Truhlar, Donald G

    2014-10-14

    In a typical application of molecular mechanics (MM), the electrostatic interactions are calculated from parametrized partial atomic charges treated as point charges interacting by radial Coulomb potentials. This does not usually yield accurate electrostatic interactions at van der Waals distances, but this is compensated by additional parametrized terms, for example Lennard-Jones potentials. In the present work, we present a scheme involving radial screened Coulomb potentials that reproduces the accurate electrostatics much more accurately. The screening accounts for charge penetration of one subsystem's charge cloud into that of another subsystem, and it is incorporated into the interaction potential in a way similar to what we proposed in a previous article (J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2010, 6, 3330) for combined quantum mechanical and molecular mechanical (QM/MM) simulations, but the screening parameters are reoptimized for MM. The optimization is carried out with electrostatic-potential-fitted partial atomic charges, but the optimized parameters should be useful with any realistic charge model. In the model we employ, the charge density of an atom is approximated as the sum of a point charge representing the nucleus and inner electrons and a smeared charge representing the outermost electrons; in particular, for all atoms except hydrogens, the smeared charge represents the two outermost electrons in the present model. We find that the charge penetration effect can cause very significant deviations from the popular point-charge model, and by comparison to electrostatic interactions calculated by symmetry-adapted perturbation theory, we find that the present results are considerably more accurate than point-charge electrostatic interactions. The mean unsigned error in electrostatics for a large and diverse data set (192 interaction energies) decreases from 9.2 to 3.3 kcal/mol, and the error in the electrostatics for 10 water dimers decreases from 1.7 to 0.5 kcal

  1. 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

  2. Measuring the mechanical properties of molecular conformers

    PubMed Central

    Jarvis, S. P.; Taylor, S.; Baran, J. D.; Champness, N. R.; Larsson, J. A.; Moriarty, P.

    2015-01-01

    Scanning probe-actuated single molecule manipulation has proven to be an exceptionally powerful tool for the systematic atomic-scale interrogation of molecular adsorbates. To date, however, the extent to which molecular conformation affects the force required to push or pull a single molecule has not been explored. Here we probe the mechanochemical response of two tetra(4-bromophenyl)porphyrin conformers using non-contact atomic force microscopy where we find a large difference between the lateral forces required for manipulation. Remarkably, despite sharing very similar adsorption characteristics, variations in the potential energy surface are capable of prohibiting probe-induced positioning of one conformer, while simultaneously permitting manipulation of the alternative conformational form. Our results are interpreted in the context of dispersion-corrected density functional theory calculations which reveal significant differences in the diffusion barriers for each conformer. These results demonstrate that conformational variation significantly modifies the mechanical response of even simple porpyhrins, potentially affecting many other flexible molecules. PMID:26388232

  3. Molecular Mechanisms of Mouse Skin Tumor Promotion

    PubMed Central

    Rundhaug, Joyce E.; Fischer, Susan M.

    2010-01-01

    Multiple molecular mechanisms are involved in the promotion of skin carcinogenesis. Induction of sustained proliferation and epidermal hyperplasia by direct activation of mitotic signaling pathways or indirectly in response to chronic wounding and/or inflammation, or due to a block in terminal differentiation or resistance to apoptosis is necessary to allow clonal expansion of initiated cells with DNA mutations to form skin tumors. The mitotic pathways include activation of epidermal growth factor receptor and Ras/Raf/mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. Chronic inflammation results in inflammatory cell secretion of growth factors and cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukins, as well as production of reactive oxygen species, all of which can stimulate proliferation. Persistent activation of these pathways leads to tumor promotion. PMID:21297902

  4. [Molecular mechanisms of niclosamide antitumor activity].

    PubMed

    Moskaleva, E Yu; Perevozchikova, V G; Zhirnik, A S; Severin, S E

    2015-01-01

    In this review the recent data regarding the antitumor activity of niclosamide and the molecular mechanisms of its antitumor activity are presented. Niclosamide has been used in the clinic for the treatment of intestinal parasite infections. In recent years in several screening investigations of various drugs and chemical compounds niclosamide was identified as a potential anticancer agent. Niclosamide not only inhibits the Wnt/β-catenin, mTORC1, STAT3, NF-κB and Notch signaling pathways, but also targets mitochondria in cancer cells to induce growth inhibition and apoptosis. A number of studies have established the anticancer activity of niclosamide in both in vitro and in vivo in xenotransplantation models using human tumors and immunodeficient mice. It is important that niclosamide is active not only against tumor cells but also cancer stem cells. Normal cells are resistant to niclosamide. The accumulated experimental data suggest niclosamide is a promising drug for the treatment of various types of cancer. PMID:26716739

  5. Molecular Mechanisms of Neonatal Brain Injury

    PubMed Central

    Thornton, Claire; Rousset, Catherine I.; Kichev, Anton; Miyakuni, Yasuka; Vontell, Regina; Baburamani, Ana A.; Fleiss, Bobbi; Gressens, Pierre; Hagberg, Henrik

    2012-01-01

    Fetal/neonatal brain injury is an important cause of neurological disability. Hypoxia-ischemia and excitotoxicity are considered important insults, and, in spite of their acute nature, brain injury develops over a protracted time period during the primary, secondary, and tertiary phases. The concept that most of the injury develops with a delay after the insult makes it possible to provide effective neuroprotective treatment after the insult. Indeed, hypothermia applied within 6 hours after birth in neonatal encephalopathy reduces neurological disability in clinical trials. In order to develop the next generation of treatment, we need to know more about the pathophysiological mechanism during the secondary and tertiary phases of injury. We review some of the critical molecular events related to mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis during the secondary phase and report some recent evidence that intervention may be feasible also days-weeks after the insult. PMID:22363841

  6. Pilocytic astrocytoma: pathology, molecular mechanisms and markers.

    PubMed

    Collins, V Peter; Jones, David T W; Giannini, Caterina

    2015-06-01

    Pilocytic astrocytomas (PAs) were recognized as a discrete clinical entity over 70 years ago. They are relatively benign (WHO grade I) and have, as a group, a 10-year survival of over 90%. Many require merely surgical removal and only very infrequently do they progress to more malignant gliomas. While most show classical morphology, they may present a spectrum of morphological patterns, and there are difficult cases that show similarities to other gliomas, some of which are malignant and require aggressive treatment. Until recently, almost nothing was known about the molecular mechanisms involved in their development. The use of high-throughput sequencing techniques interrogating the whole genome has shown that single abnormalities of the mitogen-activating protein kinase (MAPK) pathway are exclusively found in almost all cases, indicating that PA represents a one-pathway disease. The most common mechanism is a tandem duplication of a ≈2 Mb-fragment of #7q, giving rise to a fusion between two genes, resulting in a transforming fusion protein, consisting of the N-terminus of KIAA1549 and the kinase domain of BRAF. Additional infrequent fusion partners have been identified, along with other abnormalities of the MAP-K pathway, affecting tyrosine kinase growth factor receptors at the cell surface (e.g., FGFR1) as well as BRAF V600E, KRAS, and NF1 mutations among others. However, while the KIAA1549-BRAF fusion occurs in all areas, the incidence of the various other mutations identified differs in PAs that develop in different regions of the brain. Unfortunately, from a diagnostic standpoint, almost all mutations found have been reported in other brain tumor types, although some retain considerable utility. These molecular abnormalities will be reviewed, and the difficulties in their potential use in supporting a diagnosis of PA, when the histopathological findings are equivocal or in the choice of individualized therapy, will be discussed. PMID:25792358

  7. Sex Ratio Meiotic Drive as a Plausible Evolutionary Mechanism for Hybrid Male Sterility

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Linbin; Xiao, Hailian; Tao, Yun

    2015-01-01

    Biological diversity on Earth depends on the multiplication of species or speciation, which is the evolution of reproductive isolation such as hybrid sterility between two new species. An unsolved puzzle is the exact mechanism(s) that causes two genomes to diverge from their common ancestor so that some divergent genes no longer function properly in the hybrids. Here we report genetic analyses of divergent genes controlling male fertility and sex ratio in two very young fruitfly species, Drosophila albomicans and D. nasuta. A majority of the genetic divergence for both traits is mapped to the same regions by quantitative trait loci mappings. With introgressions, six major loci are found to contribute to both traits. This genetic colocalization implicates that genes for hybrid male sterility have evolved primarily for controlling sex ratio. We propose that genetic conflicts over sex ratio may operate as a perpetual dynamo for genome divergence. This particular evolutionary mechanism may largely contribute to the rapid evolution of hybrid male sterility and the disproportionate enrichment of its underlying genes on the X chromosome – two patterns widely observed across animals. PMID:25822261

  8. 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.

  9. Molecular mechanism of phototropin light signaling.

    PubMed

    Okajima, Koji

    2016-03-01

    Phototropin (phot) is a blue light (BL) receptor kinase involved in the BL responses of several species, ranging from green algae to higher plants. Phot converts BL signals from the environment into biochemical signals that trigger cellular responses. In phot, the LOV1 and LOV2 domains of the N-terminal region utilize BL for cyclic photoreactions and regulate C-terminal serine/threonine kinase (STK) activity. LOV2-STK peptides are the smallest functional unit of phot and are useful for understanding regulation mechanisms. The combined analysis of spectroscopy and STK activity assay in Arabidopsis phots suggests that the decay speed of the photo-intermediate S390 in LOV2 is one of the factors contributing to light sensitive kinase activity. LOV2 and STK are thought to be adjacent to each other in LOV2-STK with small angle scattering (SAXS). BL irradiation induces LOV2-STK elongation, resulting in LOV2 shifting away from STK. The N- and C-terminal lateral regions of LOV2, A'α-helix, Jα-helix, and A'α/Aβ gap are responsible for the propagation of the BL signal to STK via conformational changes. The comparison between LOV2-STK and full-length phot from Chlamydomonas suggests that LOV1 is directly adjacent to LOV2 in LOV2-STK; therefore, LOV1 may indirectly regulate STK. The molecular mechanism of phot is discussed. PMID:26815763

  10. Insulin Resistance and Heart Failure: Molecular Mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Aroor, Annayya R.; Mandavia, Chirag H.; Sowers, James R.

    2012-01-01

    Insulin resistance and associated reductions in cardiac insulin metabolic signaling is emerging as a major factor for the development of heart failure and assumes more importance because of an epidemic increase in obesity and the cardiorenal metabolic syndrome and our aging population. Major factors contributing to the development of cardiac insulin resistance are oxidative stress, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, dysregulated secretion of adipokines/cytokines and inappropriate activation of renin-angiotensin II-aldosterone system (RAAS) and the sympathetic nervous system. The effects of cardiac insulin resistance are exacerbated by metabolic, endocrine and cytokine alterations associated with systemic insulin resistance. The aggregate of these various alterations leads to an insulin resistant phenotype with metabolic inflexibility, impaired calcium handling, mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress, dysregulated myocardial-endothelial interactions resulting in energy deficiency, impaired diastolic dysfunction, myocardial cell death and cardiac fibrosis. Therefore, understanding the molecular mechanisms linking insulin resistance and heart failure may help to design new and more effective mechanism-based drugs to improve myocardial and systemic insulin resistance. PMID:22999243

  11. Evolutionary mechanisms of persistence and diversification of a calicivirus within endemically infected natural host populations.

    PubMed

    Coyne, Karen P; Gaskell, Rosalind M; Dawson, Susan; Porter, Carol J; Radford, Alan D

    2007-02-01

    In order to understand the evolutionary mechanisms of persistence and diversification within the Caliciviridae, we have been exploiting endemic infection of feline calicivirus within five geographically distinct household groups of cats. By sequencing immunodominant and variable regions of the capsid gene, we identified the relative contribution of the different evolutionary processes employed by the virus to ensure its long-term survival in the host population. Such strategies included progressive evolution of a given variant of a strain through mutation accumulation within an individual, sequential reinfection with either a variant of the same strain or with a different strain, and mixed infection. Recombination between different strains in this study has been reported in detail elsewhere (K. P. Coyne et al., J. Gen. Virol. 87:921-926, 2006). Here, we provide evidence to suggest that true long-term persistent infection in individuals is relatively rare, with the majority of apparent viral carriers undergoing a combination of progressive evolution and cyclical reinfection. Progressive evolution at the individual level and variant reinfection at both the individual and population levels were associated with positive selection. Two measures of evolution rate were determined; for a virus progressively evolving within an individual (1.32 x 10(-2) to 2.64 x 10(-2) substitutions per nucleotide per year, i.e., no transmission) and for a strain circulating within a population (3.84 x 10(-2) to 4.56 x 10(-2) substitutions per nucleotide per year, i.e., including transmission). Reiteration of both progressive evolution and variant reinfection appeared to lead to a gradual increase in the diversity of a given strain of virus, both in the individual and in the population, until eventually new strains emerged. PMID:17151126

  12. Human creativity, evolutionary algorithms, and predictive representations: The mechanics of thought trials.

    PubMed

    Dietrich, Arne; Haider, Hilde

    2015-08-01

    Creative thinking is arguably the pinnacle of cerebral functionality. Like no other mental faculty, it has been omnipotent in transforming human civilizations. Probing the neural basis of this most extraordinary capacity, however, has been doggedly frustrated. Despite a flurry of activity in cognitive neuroscience, recent reviews have shown that there is no coherent picture emerging from the neuroimaging work. Based on this, we take a different route and apply two well established paradigms to the problem. First is the evolutionary framework that, despite being part and parcel of creativity research, has no informed experimental work in cognitive neuroscience. Second is the emerging prediction framework that recognizes predictive representations as an integrating principle of all cognition. We show here how the prediction imperative revealingly synthesizes a host of new insights into the way brains process variation-selection thought trials and present a new neural mechanism for the partial sightedness in human creativity. Our ability to run offline simulations of expected future environments and action outcomes can account for some of the characteristic properties of cultural evolutionary algorithms running in brains, such as degrees of sightedness, the formation of scaffolds to jump over unviable intermediate forms, or how fitness criteria are set for a selection process that is necessarily hypothetical. Prospective processing in the brain also sheds light on how human creating and designing - as opposed to biological creativity - can be accompanied by intentions and foresight. This paper raises questions about the nature of creative thought that, as far as we know, have never been asked before. PMID:25304474

  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. Structure and scale of the mechanics of mammalian dental enamel viewed from an evolutionary perspective.

    PubMed

    Lucas, Peter W; Philip, Swapna M; Al-Qeoud, Dareen; Al-Draihim, Nuha; Saji, Sreeja; van Casteren, Adam

    2016-01-01

    Mammalian enamel, the contact dental tissue, is something of an enigma. It is almost entirely made of hydroxyapatite, yet exhibits very different mechanical behavior to a homogeneous block of the same mineral. Recent approaches suggest that its hierarchical composite form, similar to other biological hard tissues, leads to a mechanical performance that depends very much on the scale of measurement. The stiffness of the material is predicted to be highest at the nanoscale, being sacrificed to produce a high toughness at the largest scale, that is, at the level of the tooth crown itself. Yet because virtually all this research has been conducted only on human (or sometimes "bovine") enamel, there has been little regard for structural variation of the tissue considered as evolutionary adaptation to diet. What is mammalian enamel optimized for? We suggest that there are competing selective pressures. We suggest that the structural characteristics that optimize enamel to resist large-scale fractures, such as crown failures, are very different to those that resist wear (small-scale fracture). While enamel is always designed for damage tolerance, this may be suboptimal in the enamel of some species, including modern humans (which have been the target of most investigations), in order to counteract wear. The experimental part of this study introduces novel techniques that help to assess resistance at the nanoscale. PMID:26763592

  15. 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…

  16. Molecular mechanisms of muscle plasticity with exercise.

    PubMed

    Hoppeler, Hans; Baum, Oliver; Lurman, Glenn; Mueller, Matthias

    2011-07-01

    The skeletal muscle phenotype is subject to considerable malleability depending on use. Low-intensity endurance type exercise leads to qualitative changes of muscle tissue characterized mainly by an increase in structures supporting oxygen delivery and consumption. High-load strength-type exercise leads to growth of muscle fibers dominated by an increase in contractile proteins. In low-intensity exercise, stress-induced signaling leads to transcriptional upregulation of a multitude of genes with Ca(2+) signaling and the energy status of the muscle cells sensed through AMPK being major input determinants. Several parallel signaling pathways converge on the transcriptional co-activator PGC-1α, perceived as being the coordinator of much of the transcriptional and posttranscriptional processes. High-load training is dominated by a translational upregulation controlled by mTOR mainly influenced by an insulin/growth factor-dependent signaling cascade as well as mechanical and nutritional cues. Exercise-induced muscle growth is further supported by DNA recruitment through activation and incorporation of satellite cells. Crucial nodes of strength and endurance exercise signaling networks are shared making these training modes interdependent. Robustness of exercise-related signaling is the consequence of signaling being multiple parallel with feed-back and feed-forward control over single and multiple signaling levels. We currently have a good descriptive understanding of the molecular mechanisms controlling muscle phenotypic plasticity. We lack understanding of the precise interactions among partners of signaling networks and accordingly models to predict signaling outcome of entire networks. A major current challenge is to verify and apply available knowledge gained in model systems to predict human phenotypic plasticity. PMID:23733647

  17. Decomposition of Amino Diazeniumdiolates (NONOates): Molecular Mechanisms

    SciTech Connect

    Shaikh, Nizamuddin; Valiev, Marat; Lymar, Sergei V.

    2014-08-23

    Although diazeniumdiolates (X[N(O)NO]-) are extensively used in biochemical, physiological, and pharmacological studies due to their ability to slowly release NO and/or its congeneric nitroxyl, the mechanisms of these processes remain obscure. In this work, we used a combination of spectroscopic, kinetic, and computational techniques to arrive at a qualitatively consistent molecular mechanism for decomposition of amino diazeniumdiolates (amino NONOates: R2N[N(O)NO]-, where R = -N(C2H5)2 (1), -N(C3H4NH2)2 (2), or -N(C2H4NH2)2 (3)). Decomposition of these NONOates is triggered by protonation of their [NN(O)NO]- group with apparent pKa and decomposition rate constants of 4.6 and 1 s-1 for 1-H, 3.5 and 83 x 10-3 s-1 for 2-H, and 3.8 and 3.3 x 10-3 s-1 for 3-H. Although protonation occurs mainly on the O atoms of the functional group, only the minor R2N(H)N(O)NO tautomer (population ~0.01%, for 1) undergoes the N-N heterolytic bond cleavage (k ~102 s-1 for 1) leading to amine and NO. Decompositions of protonated amino NONOates are strongly temperature-dependent; activation enthalpies are 20.4 and 19.4 kcal/mol for 1 and 2, respectively, which includes contributions from both the tautomerization and bond cleavage. The bond cleavage rates exhibit exceptional sensitivity to the nature of R substituents which strongly modulate activation entropy. At pH < 2, decompositions of all these NONOates are subject to additional acid catalysis that occurs through di-protonation of the [NN(O)NO]- group.

  18. Decomposition of amino diazeniumdiolates (NONOates): Molecular mechanisms

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Shaikh, Nizamuddin; Valiev, Marat; Lymar, Sergei V.

    2014-08-23

    Although diazeniumdiolates (X[N(O)NO]-) are extensively used in biochemical, physiological, and pharmacological studies due to their ability to release NO and/or its congeneric nitroxyl, the mechanisms of these processes remain obscure. In this work, we used a combination of spectroscopic, kinetic, and computational techniques to arrive at a quantitatively consistent molecular mechanism for decomposition of amino diazeniumdiolates (amino NONOates: R2N[N(O)NO]-, where R = —N(C2H5)2(1), —N(C3H4NH2)2(2), or —N(C2H4NH2)2(3)). Decomposition of these NONOates is triggered by protonation of their [NN(O)NO]- group with the apparent pKa and decomposition rate constants of 4.6 and 1 s-1 for 1; 3.5 and 0.083 s-1 for 2; andmore » 3.8 and 0.0033 s-1 for 3. Although protonation occurs mainly on the O atoms of the functional group, only the minor R2N(H)N(O)NO tautomer (population ~ 10-7, for 1) undergoes the N—N heterolytic bond cleavage (kd ~ 107 s-1 for 1) leading to amine and NO. Decompositions of protonated amino NONOates are strongly temperature-dependent; activation enthalpies are 20.4 and 19.4 kcal/mol for 1 and 2, respectively, which includes contributions from both the tautomerization and bond cleavage. Thus, the bond cleavage rates exhibit exceptional sensitivity to the nature of R substituents which strongly modulate activation entropy. At pH < 2, decompositions of all three NONOates that have been investigated are subject to additional acid catalysis that occurs through di-protonation of the [NN(O)NO]- group.« less

  19. Molecular mechanism of pore formation by actinoporins.

    PubMed

    Kristan, Katarina Crnigoj; Viero, Gabriella; Dalla Serra, Mauro; Macek, Peter; Anderluh, Gregor

    2009-12-15

    Actinoporins are effective pore-forming toxins produced by sea anemones. These extremely potent, basic 20 kDa proteins readily form pores in membranes that contain sphingomyelin. Much has been learned about the molecular basis of their pore-forming mechanism in recent years. Pore formation is a multi-step process that involves recognition of membrane sphingomyelin, firm binding to the membrane accompanied by the transfer of the N-terminal region to the lipid-water interface and finally pore formation after oligomerisation of three to four monomers. The final conductive pathway is formed by amphipathic alpha-helices, hence actinoporins are an important example of so-called alpha-helical pore-forming toxins. Actinoporins have become useful model proteins to study protein-membrane interactions, specific recognition of lipids in the membrane, and protein oligomerisation in the lipid milieu. Recent sequence and structural data of proteins similar to actinoporins indicate that they are not a unique family restricted to sea anemones as was long believed. An AF domain superfamily (abbreviated from actinoporin-like proteins and fungal fruit-body lectins) was defined and shown to contain members from three animal and two plant phyla. On the basis of functional properties of some members we hypothesise that AF domain proteins are peripheral membrane proteins. Finally, ability of actinoporins to form transmembrane pores has been exploited in some novel biomedical applications. PMID:19268680

  20. Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Peritoneal EMT and Fibrosis

    PubMed Central

    Strippoli, Raffaele; Moreno-Vicente, Roberto; Battistelli, Cecilia; Cicchini, Carla; Noce, Valeria; Amicone, Laura; Marchetti, Alessandra; del Pozo, Miguel Angel; Tripodi, Marco

    2016-01-01

    Peritoneal dialysis is a form of renal replacement alternative to the hemodialysis. During this treatment, the peritoneal membrane acts as a permeable barrier for exchange of solutes and water. Continual exposure to dialysis solutions, as well as episodes of peritonitis and hemoperitoneum, can cause acute/chronic inflammation and injury to the peritoneal membrane, which undergoes progressive fibrosis, angiogenesis, and vasculopathy, eventually leading to discontinuation of the peritoneal dialysis. Among the different events controlling this pathological process, epithelial to mesenchymal transition of mesothelial cells plays a main role in the induction of fibrosis and in subsequent functional deterioration of the peritoneal membrane. Here, the main extracellular inducers and cellular players are described. Moreover, signaling pathways acting during this process are elucidated, with emphasis on signals delivered by TGF-β family members and by Toll-like/IL-1β receptors. The understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying fibrosis of the peritoneal membrane has both a basic and a translational relevance, since it may be useful for setup of therapies aimed at counteracting the deterioration as well as restoring the homeostasis of the peritoneal membrane. PMID:26941801

  1. Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Psychological Stress and Cancer.

    PubMed

    Shin, Kyeong Jin; Lee, Yu Jin; Yang, Yong Ryoul; Park, Seorim; Suh, Pann-Ghill; Follo, Matilde Yung; Cocco, Lucio; Ryu, Sung Ho

    2016-01-01

    Psychological stress is an emotion experienced when people are under mental pressure or encounter unexpected problems. Extreme or repetitive stress increases the risk of developing human disease, including cardiovascular disease (CVD), immune diseases, mental disorders, and cancer. Several studies have shown an association between psychological stress and cancer growth and metastasis in animal models and case studies of cancer patients. Stress induces the secretion of stress-related mediators, such as catecholamine, cortisol, and oxytocin, via the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis or the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). These stress-related hormones and neurotransmitters adversely affect stress-induced tumor progression and cancer therapy. Catecholamine is the primary factor that influences tumor progression. It can regulate diverse cellular signaling pathways through adrenergic receptors (ADRs), which are expressed by several types of cancer cells. Activated ADRs enhance the proliferation and invasion abilities of cancer cells, alter cell activity in the tumor microenvironment, and regulate the interaction between cancer and its microenvironment to promote tumor progression. Additionally, other stress mediators, such as glucocorticoids and oxytocin, and their cognate receptors are involved in stress-induced cancer growth and metastasis. Here, we will review how each receptor-mediated signal cascade contributes to tumor initiation and progression and discuss how we can use these molecular mechanisms for cancer therapy. PMID:26916018

  2. Cellular and molecular mechanisms in liver fibrogenesis.

    PubMed

    Novo, Erica; Cannito, Stefania; Paternostro, Claudia; Bocca, Claudia; Miglietta, Antonella; Parola, Maurizio

    2014-04-15

    Liver fibrogenesis is a dynamic and highly integrated molecular, tissue and cellular process, potentially reversible, that drives the progression of chronic liver diseases (CLD) towards liver cirrhosis and hepatic failure. Hepatic myofibroblasts (MFs), the pro-fibrogenic effector cells, originate mainly from activation of hepatic stellate cells and portal fibroblasts being characterized by a proliferative and survival attitude. MFs also contract in response to vasoactive agents, sustain angiogenesis and recruit and modulate activity of cells of innate or adaptive immunity. Chronic activation of wound healing and oxidative stress as well as derangement of epithelial-mesenchymal interactions are "major" pro-fibrogenic mechanisms, whatever the etiology. However, literature has outlined a complex network of pro-fibrogenic factors and mediators proposed to modulate CLD progression, with some of them being at present highly debated in the field, including the role of epithelial to mesenchymal transition and Hedgehog signaling pathways. Hypoxia and angiogenesis as well as inflammasomes are recently emerged as ubiquitous pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrogenic determinants whereas adipokines are mostly involved in CLD related to metabolic disturbances (metabolic syndrome and/or obesity and type 2 diabetes). Finally, autophagy as well as natural killer and natural killer-T cells have been recently proposed to significantly affect fibrogenic CLD progression. PMID:24631571

  3. Molecular mechanism of anaerobic ammonium oxidation.

    PubMed

    Kartal, Boran; Maalcke, Wouter J; de Almeida, Naomi M; Cirpus, Irina; Gloerich, Jolein; Geerts, Wim; Op den Camp, Huub J M; Harhangi, Harry R; Janssen-Megens, Eva M; Francoijs, Kees-Jan; Stunnenberg, Hendrik G; Keltjens, Jan T; Jetten, Mike S M; Strous, Marc

    2011-11-01

    Two distinct microbial processes, denitrification and anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox), are responsible for the release of fixed nitrogen as dinitrogen gas (N(2)) to the atmosphere. Denitrification has been studied for over 100 years and its intermediates and enzymes are well known. Even though anammox is a key biogeochemical process of equal importance, its molecular mechanism is unknown, but it was proposed to proceed through hydrazine (N(2)H(4)). Here we show that N(2)H(4) is produced from the anammox substrates ammonium and nitrite and that nitric oxide (NO) is the direct precursor of N(2)H(4). We resolved the genes and proteins central to anammox metabolism and purified the key enzymes that catalyse N(2)H(4) synthesis and its oxidation to N(2). These results present a new biochemical reaction forging an N-N bond and fill a lacuna in our understanding of the biochemical synthesis of the N(2) in the atmosphere. Furthermore, they reinforce the role of nitric oxide in the evolution of the nitrogen cycle. PMID:21964329

  4. 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

  5. Neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying behavioral stability: implications for the evolutionary origin of personality.

    PubMed

    Duckworth, Renée A

    2015-12-01

    Personality traits are behaviors that show limited flexibility over time and across contexts, and thus understanding their origin requires an understanding of what limits behavioral flexibility. Here, I suggest that insight into the evolutionary origin of personality traits requires determining the relative importance of selection and constraint in producing limits to behavioral flexibility. Natural selection as the primary cause of limits to behavioral flexibility assumes that the default state of behavior is one of high flexibility and predicts that personality variation arises through evolution of buffering mechanisms to stabilize behavioral expression, whereas the constraint hypothesis assumes that the default state is one of limited flexibility and predicts that the neuroendocrine components that underlie personality variation are those most constrained in flexibility. Using recent work on the neurobiology of sensitive periods and maternal programming of offspring behavior, I show that some of the most stable aspects of the neuroendocrine system are structural components and maternally induced epigenetic effects. Evidence of numerous constraints to changes in structural features of the neuroendocrine system and far fewer constraints to flexibility of epigenetic systems suggests that structural constraints play a primary role in the origin of behavioral stability and that epigenetic programming may be more important in generating adaptive variation among individuals. PMID:26096675

  6. An Evolutionary Perspective of Nutrition and Inflammation as Mechanisms of Cardiovascular Disease

    PubMed Central

    Rubio-Ruiz, María Esther; Peredo-Escárcega, Ana Elena; Cano-Martínez, Agustina; Guarner-Lans, Verónica

    2015-01-01

    When cardiovascular diseases are viewed from an evolutionary biology perspective, a heightened thrifty and an inflammatory design could be their mechanisms. Human ancestors confronted a greater infectious load and were subjected to the selection for proinflammatory genes and a strong inflammatory function. Ancestors also faced starvation periods that pressed for a thrifty genotype which caused fat accumulation. The pressure of sustaining gluconeogenesis during periods of poor nourishment selected individuals with insulin resistance. Obesity induces a proinflammatory state due to the secretion of adipokines which underlie cardiometabolic diseases. Our actual lifestyle needs no more of such proinflammatory and thrifty genotypes and these ancestral genes might increase predisposition to diseases. Risk factors for atherosclerosis and diabetes are based on inflammatory and genetic foundations that can be accounted for by excess fat. Longevity has also increased in recent times and is related to a proinflammatory response with cardiovascular consequences. If human ancestral lifestyle could be recovered by increasing exercise and adapting a calorie restriction diet, obesity would decrease and the effects on chronic low-grade inflammation would be limited. Thereby, the rates of both atherosclerosis and diabetes could be reduced. PMID:26693381

  7. Long-range seasonal migration in insects: mechanisms, evolutionary drivers and ecological consequences.

    PubMed

    Chapman, Jason W; Reynolds, Don R; Wilson, Kenneth

    2015-03-01

    Myriad tiny insect species take to the air to engage in windborne migration, but entomology also has its 'charismatic megafauna' of butterflies, large moths, dragonflies and locusts. The spectacular migrations of large day-flying insects have long fascinated humankind, and since the advent of radar entomology much has been revealed about high-altitude night-time insect migrations. Over the last decade, there have been significant advances in insect migration research, which we review here. In particular, we highlight: (1) notable improvements in our understanding of lepidopteran navigation strategies, including the hitherto unsuspected capabilities of high-altitude migrants to select favourable winds and orientate adaptively, (2) progress in unravelling the neuronal mechanisms underlying sun compass orientation and in identifying the genetic complex underpinning key traits associated with migration behaviour and performance in the monarch butterfly, and (3) improvements in our knowledge of the multifaceted interactions between disease agents and insect migrants, in terms of direct effects on migration success and pathogen spread, and indirect effects on the evolution of migratory systems. We conclude by highlighting the progress that can be made through inter-phyla comparisons, and identify future research areas that will enhance our understanding of insect migration strategies within an eco-evolutionary perspective. PMID:25611117

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Silica Synthesis by Sponges: Unanticipated Molecular Mechanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morse, D. E.; Weaver, J. C.

    2001-12-01

    substitutions of specific amino acid sidechains, in conjunction with computer-assisted molecular modeling and biomimetic synthesis, allowed us to probe the determinants of catalytic activity and confirm the identification of the amino acid sidechains required for hydrolysis of the silicon alkoxides. If, as suggested by the data of others, silicic acid is conjugated with organic moieties after its transport into the cell, the catalytic mechanism described here may be important in biosilicification by sponges. As is often the case, we have been better able to answer mechanistic questions about "how" silica can be formed biologically, than "why" the diversity of structures is elaborated. Studies of spicule formation during cellular regeneration in Tethya aurantia reveal that synthesis of the larger silica needles (megascleres) and smaller starburst-shaped microscleres may be independently regulated, presumably at the genetic level. The spatial segregation of these morphologically-distinct spicule types within the sponge further suggests an adaptive significance of the different skeletal elements.

  11. 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

  12. Molecular mechanisms of extensive mitochondrial gene rearrangementin plethodontid salamanders

    SciTech Connect

    Mueller, Rachel Lockridge; Boore, Jeffrey L.

    2005-06-01

    Extensive gene rearrangement is reported in the mitochondrial genomes of lungless salamanders (Plethodontidae). In each genome with a novel gene order, there is evidence that the rearrangement was mediated by duplication of part of the mitochondrial genome, including the presence of both pseudogenes and additional, presumably functional, copies of duplicated genes. All rearrangement-mediating duplications include either the origin of light strand replication and the nearby tRNA genes or the regions flanking the origin of heavy strand replication. The latter regions comprise nad6, trnE, cob, trnT, an intergenic spacer between trnT and trnP and, in some genomes, trnP, the control region, trnF, rrnS, trnV, rrnL, trnL1, and nad1. In some cases, two copies of duplicated genes, presumptive regulatory regions, and/or sequences with no assignable function have been retained in the genome following the initial duplication; in other genomes, only one of the duplicated copies has been retained. Both tandem and non-tandem duplications are present in these genomes, suggesting different duplication mechanisms. In some of these mtDNAs, up to 25 percent of the total length is composed of tandem duplications of non-coding sequence that includes putative regulatory regions and/or pseudogenes of tRNAs and protein-coding genes along with otherwise unassignable sequences. These data indicate that imprecise initiation and termination of replication, slipped-strand mispairing, and intra-molecular recombination may all have played a role in generating repeats during the evolutionary history of plethodontid mitochondrial genomes.

  13. Evolutionary dynamics of adult stem cells: Comparison of random and immortal-strand segregation mechanisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tannenbaum, Emmanuel; Sherley, James L.; Shakhnovich, Eugene I.

    2005-04-01

    This paper develops a point-mutation model describing the evolutionary dynamics of a population of adult stem cells. Such a model may prove useful for quantitative studies of tissue aging and the emergence of cancer. We consider two modes of chromosome segregation: (1) random segregation, where the daughter chromosomes of a given parent chromosome segregate randomly into the stem cell and its differentiating sister cell and (2) “immortal DNA strand” co-segregation, for which the stem cell retains the daughter chromosomes with the oldest parent strands. Immortal strand co-segregation is a mechanism, originally proposed by [Cairns Nature (London) 255, 197 (1975)], by which stem cells preserve the integrity of their genomes. For random segregation, we develop an ordered strand pair formulation of the dynamics, analogous to the ordered strand pair formalism developed for quasispecies dynamics involving semiconservative replication with imperfect lesion repair (in this context, lesion repair is taken to mean repair of postreplication base-pair mismatches). Interestingly, a similar formulation is possible with immortal strand co-segregation, despite the fact that this segregation mechanism is age dependent. From our model we are able to mathematically show that, when lesion repair is imperfect, then immortal strand co-segregation leads to better preservation of the stem cell lineage than random chromosome segregation. Furthermore, our model allows us to estimate the optimal lesion repair efficiency for preserving an adult stem cell population for a given period of time. For human stem cells, we obtain that mispaired bases still present after replication and cell division should be left untouched, to avoid potentially fixing a mutation in both DNA strands.

  14. 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

  15. Molecular Mechanics: The Method and Its Underlying Philosophy.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Boyd, Donald B.; Lipkowitz, Kenny B.

    1982-01-01

    Molecular mechanics is a nonquantum mechanical method for solving problems concerning molecular geometries and energy. Methodology based on: the principle of combining potential energy functions of all structural features of a particular molecule into a total force field; derivation of basic equations; and use of available computer programs is…

  16. Mechanism of a molecular electronic photoswitch

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhuang, Min; Ernzerhof, Matthias

    2005-08-01

    We present a simple non-self-consistent method for the calculation of the molecular conductance under finite bias voltage. Our approach is applied to a molecular photoswitch that has recently been investigated in break junction experiments [D. Dulić , Phys. Rev. Lett. 91, 207402 (2003)]. We obtain I-V characteristics that are qualitatively in agreement with experimental measurements. Employing our electronic structure calculations, we provide a detailed explanation for the switching behavior observed in experiment.

  17. 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

  18. Divergent evolutionary mechanisms of co-located Tak/Lrk and Glu-D3 loci revealed by comparative analysis of grass genomes.

    PubMed

    Wang, Zi-Ning; Banik, Mitali; Cloutier, Sylvie

    2013-04-01

    Seed storage and disease resistance proteins are major traits of wheat. The study of their gene organization and evolution has some implications in breeding. In this study, we characterized the hexaploid wheat D-genome BAC clone TaBAC703A9 that contains a low molecular weight glutenin locus (Glu-D3) and a resistance gene analogue cluster. With a gene density of one gene per 4.8 kb, the cluster contains four resistance gene analogues, namely Tak703-1, Lrr703, Tak703, and Lrk703. This structural cluster unit was conserved across nine grass genomes, but divergent evolutionary mechanisms have been involved in shaping the Tak/Lrk loci in the different species. Gene duplication was the major force for the Tak/Lrk evolution in oats, maize, barley, wheat, sorghum, and Brachypodium, while tandem duplication drove the expansion of this locus in japonica rice. Despite the close proximity of the Glu-D3 and the Tak/Lrk loci in wheat, the evolutionary mechanisms that drove their amplification differ. The Glu-D3 region had a lower gene density, and its amplification was driven by retroelements. PMID:23706072

  19. The evolutionary ecology of complex lifecycle parasites: linking phenomena with mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Auld, S KJR; Tinsley, M C

    2015-01-01

    Many parasitic infections, including those of humans, are caused by complex lifecycle parasites (CLPs): parasites that sequentially infect different hosts over the course of their lifecycle. CLPs come from a wide range of taxonomic groups—from single-celled bacteria to multicellular flatworms—yet share many common features in their life histories. Theory tells us when CLPs should be favoured by selection, but more empirical studies are required in order to quantify the costs and benefits of having a complex lifecycle, especially in parasites that facultatively vary their lifecycle complexity. In this article, we identify ecological conditions that favour CLPs over their simple lifecycle counterparts and highlight how a complex lifecycle can alter transmission rate and trade-offs between growth and reproduction. We show that CLPs participate in dynamic host–parasite coevolution, as more mobile hosts can fuel CLP adaptation to less mobile hosts. Then, we argue that a more general understanding of the evolutionary ecology of CLPs is essential for the development of effective frameworks to manage the many diseases they cause. More research is needed identifying the genetics of infection mechanisms used by CLPs, particularly into the role of gene duplication and neofunctionalisation in lifecycle evolution. We propose that testing for signatures of selection in infection genes will reveal much about how and when complex lifecycles evolved, and will help quantify complex patterns of coevolution between CLPs and their various hosts. Finally, we emphasise four key areas where new research approaches will provide fertile opportunities to advance this field. PMID:25227255

  20. Brain mechanisms of acoustic communication in humans and nonhuman primates: an evolutionary perspective.

    PubMed

    Ackermann, Hermann; Hage, Steffen R; Ziegler, Wolfram

    2014-12-01

    Any account of "what is special about the human brain" (Passingham 2008) must specify the neural basis of our unique ability to produce speech and delineate how these remarkable motor capabilities could have emerged in our hominin ancestors. Clinical data suggest that the basal ganglia provide a platform for the integration of primate-general mechanisms of acoustic communication with the faculty of articulate speech in humans. Furthermore, neurobiological and paleoanthropological data point at a two-stage model of the phylogenetic evolution of this crucial prerequisite of spoken language: (i) monosynaptic refinement of the projections of motor cortex to the brainstem nuclei that steer laryngeal muscles, presumably, as part of a "phylogenetic trend" associated with increasing brain size during hominin evolution; (ii) subsequent vocal-laryngeal elaboration of cortico-basal ganglia circuitries, driven by human-specific FOXP2 mutations.;>This concept implies vocal continuity of spoken language evolution at the motor level, elucidating the deep entrenchment of articulate speech into a "nonverbal matrix" (Ingold 1994), which is not accounted for by gestural-origin theories. Moreover, it provides a solution to the question for the adaptive value of the "first word" (Bickerton 2009) since even the earliest and most simple verbal utterances must have increased the versatility of vocal displays afforded by the preceding elaboration of monosynaptic corticobulbar tracts, giving rise to enhanced social cooperation and prestige. At the ontogenetic level, the proposed model assumes age-dependent interactions between the basal ganglia and their cortical targets, similar to vocal learning in some songbirds. In this view, the emergence of articulate speech builds on the "renaissance" of an ancient organizational principle and, hence, may represent an example of "evolutionary tinkering" (Jacob 1977). PMID:24827156

  1. The evolutionary ecology of complex lifecycle parasites: linking phenomena with mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Auld, S K J R; Tinsley, M C

    2015-02-01

    Many parasitic infections, including those of humans, are caused by complex lifecycle parasites (CLPs): parasites that sequentially infect different hosts over the course of their lifecycle. CLPs come from a wide range of taxonomic groups-from single-celled bacteria to multicellular flatworms-yet share many common features in their life histories. Theory tells us when CLPs should be favoured by selection, but more empirical studies are required in order to quantify the costs and benefits of having a complex lifecycle, especially in parasites that facultatively vary their lifecycle complexity. In this article, we identify ecological conditions that favour CLPs over their simple lifecycle counterparts and highlight how a complex lifecycle can alter transmission rate and trade-offs between growth and reproduction. We show that CLPs participate in dynamic host-parasite coevolution, as more mobile hosts can fuel CLP adaptation to less mobile hosts. Then, we argue that a more general understanding of the evolutionary ecology of CLPs is essential for the development of effective frameworks to manage the many diseases they cause. More research is needed identifying the genetics of infection mechanisms used by CLPs, particularly into the role of gene duplication and neofunctionalisation in lifecycle evolution. We propose that testing for signatures of selection in infection genes will reveal much about how and when complex lifecycles evolved, and will help quantify complex patterns of coevolution between CLPs and their various hosts. Finally, we emphasise four key areas where new research approaches will provide fertile opportunities to advance this field. PMID:25227255

  2. 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

  3. The cognitive life of mechanical molecular models.

    PubMed

    Charbonneau, Mathieu

    2013-12-01

    The use of physical models of molecular structures as research tools has been central to the development of biochemistry and molecular biology. Intriguingly, it has received little attention from scholars of science. In this paper, I argue that these physical models are not mere three-dimensional representations but that they are in fact very special research tools: they are cognitive augmentations. Despite the fact that they are external props, these models serve as cognitive tools that augment and extend the modeler's cognitive capacities and performance in molecular modeling tasks. This cognitive enhancement is obtained because of the way the modeler interacts with these models, the models' materiality contributing to the solving of the molecule's structure. Furthermore, I argue that these material models and their component parts were designed, built and used specifically to serve as cognitive facilitators and cognitive augmentations. PMID:23910718

  4. Hybrid Quantum Mechanical/Molecular Mechanical Molecular Dynamics Simulations of HIV-1 Integrase/Inhibitor Complexes

    PubMed Central

    Nunthaboot, Nadtanet; Pianwanit, Somsak; Parasuk, Vudhichai; Ebalunode, Jerry O.; Briggs, James M.; Kokpol, Sirirat

    2007-01-01

    Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 integrase (IN) is an attractive target for development of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome chemotherapy. In this study, conventional and coupled quantum mechanical and molecular mechanical (QM/MM) molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of HIV-1 IN complexed with 5CITEP (IN-5CITEP) were carried out. In addition to differences in the bound position of 5CITEP, significant differences at the two levels of theory were observed in the metal coordination geometry and the areas involving residues 116–119 and 140–166. In the conventional MD simulation, the coordination of Mg2+ was found to be a near-perfect octahedral geometry whereas a distorted octahedral complex was observed in QM/MM. All of the above reasons lead to a different pattern of protein-ligand salt link formation that was not observed in the classical MD simulation. Furthermore to provide a theoretical understanding of inhibition mechanisms of 5CITEP and its derivative (DKA), hybrid QM/MM MD simulations of the two complexes (IN-5CITEP and IN-DKA) have been performed. The results reveal that areas involving residues 60–68, 116–119, and 140–149 were substantially different among the two systems. The two systems show similar pattern of metal coordination geometry, i.e., a distorted octahedron. In IN-DKA, both OD1 and OD2 of Asp-64 coordinate the Mg2+ in a monodentate fashion whereas only OD1 is chelated to the metal as observed in IN-5CITEP. The high potency of DKA as compared to 5CITEP is supported by a strong salt link formed between its carboxylate moiety and the ammonium group of Lys-159. Detailed comparisons between HIV-1 IN complexed with DKA and with 5CITEP provide information about ligand structure effects on protein-ligand interactions in particular with the Lys-159. This is useful for the design of new selective HIV-1 IN inhibitors. PMID:17693479

  5. Developing accurate molecular mechanics force fields for conjugated molecular systems.

    PubMed

    Do, Hainam; Troisi, Alessandro

    2015-10-14

    A rapid method to parameterize the intramolecular component of classical force fields for complex conjugated molecules is proposed. The method is based on a procedure of force matching with a reference electronic structure calculation. It is particularly suitable for those applications where molecular dynamics simulations are used to generate structures that are therefore analysed by electronic structure methods, because it is possible to build force fields that are consistent with electronic structure calculations that follow classical simulations. Such applications are commonly encountered in organic electronics, spectroscopy of complex systems and photobiology (e.g. photosynthetic systems). We illustrate the method by parameterizing the force fields of a molecule used in molecular semiconductors (2,2-dicyanovinyl-capped S,N-heteropentacene or DCV-SN5), a polymeric semiconductor (thieno[3,2-b]thiophene-diketopyrrolopyrrole TT-DPP) and a chromophore embedded in a protein environment (15,16-dihydrobiliverdin or DBV) where several hundreds of parameters need to be optimized in parallel. PMID:26349916

  6. 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

  7. TOPICAL REVIEW: Polarization effects in molecular mechanical force fields

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cieplak, Piotr; Dupradeau, François-Yves; Duan, Yong; Wang, Junmei

    2009-08-01

    The focus here is on incorporating electronic polarization into classical molecular mechanical force fields used for macromolecular simulations. First, we briefly examine currently used molecular mechanical force fields and the current status of intermolecular forces as viewed by quantum mechanical approaches. Next, we demonstrate how some components of quantum mechanical energy are effectively incorporated into classical molecular mechanical force fields. Finally, we assess the modeling methods of one such energy component—polarization energy—and present an overview of polarizable force fields and their current applications. Incorporating polarization effects into current force fields paves the way to developing potentially more accurate, though more complex, parameterizations that can be used for more realistic molecular simulations.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Identifying the mechanisms of polymer friction through molecular dynamics simulation.

    PubMed

    Dai, Ling; Minn, M; Satyanarayana, N; Sinha, Sujeet K; Tan, V B C

    2011-12-20

    Mechanisms governing the tribological behavior of polymer-on-polymer sliding were investigated by molecular dynamics simulations. Three main mechanisms governing frictional behavior were identified. Interfacial "brushing" of molecular chain ends over one another was observed as the key contribution to frictional forces. With an increase of the sliding speed, fluctuations in frictional forces reduced in both magnitude and periodicity, leading to dynamic frictional behavior. While "brushing" remained prevalent, two additional irreversible mechanisms, "combing" and "chain scission", of molecular chains were observed when the interfaces were significantly diffused. PMID:22044344

  13. Colour variation in cichlid fish: Developmental mechanisms, selective pressures and evolutionary consequences☆

    PubMed Central

    Maan, Martine E.; Sefc, Kristina M.

    2013-01-01

    Cichlid fishes constitute one of the most species-rich families of vertebrates. In addition to complex social behaviour and morphological versatility, they are characterised by extensive diversity in colouration, both within and between species. Here, we review the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying colour variation in this group and the selective pressures responsible for the observed variation. We specifically address the evidence for the hypothesis that divergence in colouration is associated with the evolution of reproductive isolation between lineages. While we conclude that cichlid colours are excellent models for understanding the role of animal communication in species divergence, we also identify taxonomic and methodological biases in the current research effort. We suggest that the integration of genomic approaches with ecological and behavioural studies, across the entire cichlid family and beyond it, will contribute to the utility of the cichlid model system for understanding the evolution of biological diversity. PMID:23665150

  14. Molecular chaperones: functional mechanisms and nanotechnological applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rosario Fernández-Fernández, M.; Sot, Begoña; María Valpuesta, José

    2016-08-01

    Molecular chaperones are a group of proteins that assist in protein homeostasis. They not only prevent protein misfolding and aggregation, but also target misfolded proteins for degradation. Despite differences in structure, all types of chaperones share a common general feature, a surface that recognizes and interacts with the misfolded protein. This and other, more specialized properties can be adapted for various nanotechnological purposes, by modification of the original biomolecules or by de novo design based on artificial structures.

  15. Molecular chaperones: functional mechanisms and nanotechnological applications.

    PubMed

    Fernández-Fernández, M Rosario; Sot, Begoña; Valpuesta, José María

    2016-08-12

    Molecular chaperones are a group of proteins that assist in protein homeostasis. They not only prevent protein misfolding and aggregation, but also target misfolded proteins for degradation. Despite differences in structure, all types of chaperones share a common general feature, a surface that recognizes and interacts with the misfolded protein. This and other, more specialized properties can be adapted for various nanotechnological purposes, by modification of the original biomolecules or by de novo design based on artificial structures. PMID:27363314

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Molecular Mechanisms of External Genitalia Development

    PubMed Central

    Blaschko, Sarah D.; Cunha, Gerald R.; Baskin, Laurence S.

    2012-01-01

    External genitalia development occurs through a combination of hormone independent, hormone dependent, and endocrine pathways. Perturbation of these pathways can lead to abnormal external genitalia development. We review human and animal mechanisms of normal and abnormal external genitalia development, and we evaluate abnormal mechanisms that lead to hypospadias. We also discuss recent laboratory findings that further our understanding of animal models of hypospadias. PMID:22790208

  20. 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

  1. Symposium on molecular and cellular mechanisms of mutagenesis

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1981-01-01

    These proceedings contain abstracts only of the 21 papers presented at the Sympsoium. The papers dealt with molecular mechanisms of mutagenesis and cellular responses to chemical and physical mutagenic agents. (ERB)

  2. 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)

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Molecular and cellular mechanisms of pulmonary fibrosis

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic lung disease characterized by excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) and remodeling of the lung architecture. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is considered the most common and severe form of the disease, with a median survival of approximately three years and no proven effective therapy. Despite the fact that effective treatments are absent and the precise mechanisms that drive fibrosis in most patients remain incompletely understood, an extensive body of scientific literature regarding pulmonary fibrosis has accumulated over the past 35 years. In this review, we discuss three broad areas which have been explored that may be responsible for the combination of altered lung fibroblasts, loss of alveolar epithelial cells, and excessive accumulation of ECM: inflammation and immune mechanisms, oxidative stress and oxidative signaling, and procoagulant mechanisms. We discuss each of these processes separately to facilitate clarity, but certainly significant interplay will occur amongst these pathways in patients with this disease. PMID:22824096

  8. Molecular mechanisms of STIM/Orai communication

    PubMed Central

    Derler, Isabella; Jardin, Isaac

    2016-01-01

    Ca2+ entry into the cell via store-operated Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels triggers diverse signaling cascades that affect cellular processes like cell growth, gene regulation, secretion, and cell death. These store-operated Ca2+ channels open after depletion of intracellular Ca2+ stores, and their main features are fully reconstituted by the two molecular key players: the stromal interaction molecule (STIM) and Orai. STIM represents an endoplasmic reticulum-located Ca2+ sensor, while Orai forms a highly Ca2+-selective ion channel in the plasma membrane. Functional as well as mutagenesis studies together with structural insights about STIM and Orai proteins provide a molecular picture of the interplay of these two key players in the CRAC signaling cascade. This review focuses on the main experimental advances in the understanding of the STIM1-Orai choreography, thereby establishing a portrait of key mechanistic steps in the CRAC channel signaling cascade. The focus is on the activation of the STIM proteins, the subsequent coupling of STIM1 to Orai1, and the consequent structural rearrangements that gate the Orai channels into the open state to allow Ca2+ permeation into the cell. PMID:26825122

  9. Molecular mechanisms of STIM/Orai communication.

    PubMed

    Derler, Isabella; Jardin, Isaac; Romanin, Christoph

    2016-04-15

    Ca(2+)entry into the cell via store-operated Ca(2+)release-activated Ca(2+)(CRAC) channels triggers diverse signaling cascades that affect cellular processes like cell growth, gene regulation, secretion, and cell death. These store-operated Ca(2+)channels open after depletion of intracellular Ca(2+)stores, and their main features are fully reconstituted by the two molecular key players: the stromal interaction molecule (STIM) and Orai. STIM represents an endoplasmic reticulum-located Ca(2+)sensor, while Orai forms a highly Ca(2+)-selective ion channel in the plasma membrane. Functional as well as mutagenesis studies together with structural insights about STIM and Orai proteins provide a molecular picture of the interplay of these two key players in the CRAC signaling cascade. This review focuses on the main experimental advances in the understanding of the STIM1-Orai choreography, thereby establishing a portrait of key mechanistic steps in the CRAC channel signaling cascade. The focus is on the activation of the STIM proteins, the subsequent coupling of STIM1 to Orai1, and the consequent structural rearrangements that gate the Orai channels into the open state to allow Ca(2+)permeation into the cell. PMID:26825122

  10. Molecular Mechanisms of Action of BPA

    PubMed Central

    Acconcia, Filippo; Pallottini, Valentina

    2015-01-01

    Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure has been associated with serious endocrine-disrupting effects in humans and wildlife. Toxicological and epidemiological studies evidenced that BPA increases body mass index and disrupts normal cardiovascular physiology by interfering with endogenous hormones in rodents, nonhuman primates, and cell culture test systems. The BPA concentration derived from these experiments were used by government regulatory agencies to determine the safe exposure levels of BPA in humans. However, accumulating literature in vivo and in vitro indicate that at concentrations lower than that reported in toxicological studies, BPA could elicit a different endocrine-disrupting capacity. To further complicate this picture, BPA effects rely on several and diverse mechanisms that converge upon endocrine and reproductive systems. If all or just few of these mechanisms concur to the endocrine-disrupting potential of low doses of BPA is at present still unclear. Thus, taking into account that the incidence and/or prevalence of health problems associated with endocrine disruption have increased worldwide, the goal of the present review is to give an overview of the many mechanisms of BPA action in order to decipher whether different mechanisms are at the root of the effect of low dose of BPA on endocrine system. PMID:26740804

  11. Selectivity and molecular mechanisms of toxicity

    SciTech Connect

    DeMatteis, F. ); Lock, E. A. )

    1987-01-01

    This book contains 11 chapters. Some of the titles are: Mechanisms of genotoxicity of chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons; Drugs as suicide substrates of cytochrome P-450; Cellular specific toxicity in the lung; The nephrotoxicity of haloalkane and haloalkene glutathione conjugates; and dioxin and organotin compounds as model immunotoxic chemicals.

  12. Molecular and Mechanical Behavior of Elastomers.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Etzel, A. J.; And Others

    1986-01-01

    Describes an experiment in which stretching a rubber band can be used to compare the statistical theory of rubber elasticity with its continuum mechanics counterpart. Employs the use of the equation of the state of rubber elasticity and the Mooney-Rivlin equation. (TW)

  13. Evolutionary Perspectives on Diversity of Lignocellulose Decay Mechanisms in Basidionycetes (JGI Seventh Annual User Meeting 2012: Genomics of Energy and Environment)

    ScienceCinema

    Hibbett, David [Clark University

    2013-01-15

    David Hibbett from Clark University on "Evolutionary Perspectives on Diversity of Lignocellulose Decay Mechanisms in Basidiomycetes" at the 7th Annual Genomics of Energy & Environment Meeting on March 21, 2012 in Walnut Creek, California.

  14. Evolutionary Perspectives on Diversity of Lignocellulose Decay Mechanisms in Basidionycetes (JGI Seventh Annual User Meeting 2012: Genomics of Energy and Environment)

    SciTech Connect

    Hibbett, David

    2012-03-21

    David Hibbett from Clark University on "Evolutionary Perspectives on Diversity of Lignocellulose Decay Mechanisms in Basidiomycetes" at the 7th Annual Genomics of Energy & Environment Meeting on March 21, 2012 in Walnut Creek, California.

  15. Emerging mechanisms of molecular pathology in ALS

    PubMed Central

    Peters, Owen M.; Ghasemi, Mehdi; Brown, Robert H.

    2015-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating degenerative disease characterized by progressive loss of motor neurons in the motor cortex, brainstem, and spinal cord. Although defined as a motor disorder, ALS can arise concurrently with frontotemporal lobal dementia (FTLD). ALS begins focally but disseminates to cause paralysis and death. About 10% of ALS cases are caused by gene mutations, and more than 40 ALS-associated genes have been identified. While important questions about the biology of this disease remain unanswered, investigations of ALS genes have delineated pathogenic roles for (a) perturbations in protein stability and degradation, (b) altered homeostasis of critical RNA- and DNA-binding proteins, (c) impaired cytoskeleton function, and (d) non-neuronal cells as modifiers of the ALS phenotype. The rapidity of progress in ALS genetics and the subsequent acquisition of insights into the molecular biology of these genes provide grounds for optimism that meaningful therapies for ALS are attainable. PMID:25932674

  16. Molecular mechanisms in multiple myeloma drug resistance

    PubMed Central

    Nikesitch, Nicholas; Ling, Silvia C W

    2016-01-01

    Multiple myeloma (MM) is predominantly an incurable malignancy despite high-dose chemotherapy, autologous stem cell transplant and novel agents. MM is a genetically heterogeneous disease and the complexity increases as the disease progresses to a more aggressive stage. MM arises from a plasma cell, which produces and secretes non-functioning immunoglobulins. Most MM cells are sensitive to proteasome inhibitors (PIs), which have become the main drug in the treatment of newly diagnosed and relapsed MM. However, not all MM is sensitive to PIs. This review summarises the literature regarding molecular biology of MM with a focus on the unfolded protein response and explores how this could affect drug sensitivity and progression of disease. PMID:26598624

  17. Molecular mechanisms of polyploidy and hybrid vigor

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Z. Jeffrey

    2010-01-01

    Hybrids such as maize (Zea mays) or domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) grow bigger and stronger than their parents. This is also true for allopolyploids such as wheat (Triticum spp.) or frog (i.e. Xenopus and Silurana) that contain two or more sets of chromosomes from different species. The phenomenon, known as hybrid vigor or heterosis, was systematically characterized by Charles Darwin (1876). The rediscovery of heterosis in maize a century ago has revolutionized plant and animal breeding and production. Although genetic models for heterosis have been rigorously tested, the molecular bases remain elusive. Recent studies have determined the roles of nonadditive gene expression, small RNAs, and epigenetic regulation, including circadian-mediated metabolic pathways, in hybrid vigor and incompatibility, which could lead to better use and exploitation of the increased biomass and yield in hybrids and allopolyploids for food, feed, and biofuels. PMID:20080432

  18. How Molecular Structure Affects Mechanical Properties of an Advanced Polymer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nicholson, Lee M.; Whitley, Karen S.; Gates, Thomas S.; Hinkley, Jeffrey A.

    2000-01-01

    density was performed over a range of temperatures below the glass transition temperature. The physical characterization, elastic properties and notched tensile strength all as a function of molecular weight and test temperature were determined. For the uncrosslinked SI material, it was shown that notched tensile strength is a strong function of both temperature and molecular weight, whereas stiffness is only a strong function of temperature. For the crosslinked PETI-SI material, it was shown that the effect of crosslinking significantly enhances the mechanical performance of the low molecular weight material; comparable to that exhibited by the high molecular weight material.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Molecular mechanisms regulating NLRP3 inflammasome activation

    PubMed Central

    Jo, Eun-Kyeong; Kim, Jin Kyung; Shin, Dong-Min; Sasakawa, Chihiro

    2016-01-01

    Inflammasomes are multi-protein signaling complexes that trigger the activation of inflammatory caspases and the maturation of interleukin-1β. Among various inflammasome complexes, the NLRP3 inflammasome is best characterized and has been linked with various human autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Thus, the NLRP3 inflammasome may be a promising target for anti-inflammatory therapies. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of the mechanisms by which the NLRP3 inflammasome is activated in the cytosol. We also describe the binding partners of NLRP3 inflammasome complexes activating or inhibiting the inflammasome assembly. Our knowledge of the mechanisms regulating NLRP3 inflammasome signaling and how these influence inflammatory responses offers further insight into potential therapeutic strategies to treat inflammatory diseases associated with dysregulation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. PMID:26549800

  2. Vancomycin Molecular Interactions: Antibiotic and Enantioselective Mechanisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ward, Timothy J.; Gilmore, Aprile; Ward, Karen; Vowell, Courtney

    Medical studies established that vancomycin and other related macrocyclic antibiotics have an enhanced antimicrobial activity when they are associated as dimers. The carbohydrate units attached to the vancomycin basket have an essential role in the dimerization reaction. Covalently synthesized dimers were found active against vancomycin-resistant bacterial strains. A great similarity between antibiotic potential and enantioselectivity was established. A covalent vancomycin dimer was studied in capillary electrophoresis producing excellent chiral separation of dansyl amino acids. Balhimycin is a macrocyclic glycopeptide structurally similar to vancomycin. The small differences are, however, responsible for drastic differences in enantioselectivity in the same experimental conditions. Contributions from studies examining vancomycin's mechanism for antimicrobial activity have substantially aided our understanding of its mechanism in chiral recognition.

  3. Shared Molecular Mechanisms of Membrane Transporters.

    PubMed

    Drew, David; Boudker, Olga

    2016-06-01

    The determination of the crystal structures of small-molecule transporters has shed light on the conformational changes that take place during structural isomerization from outward- to inward-facing states. Rather than using a simple rocking movement of two bundles around a central substrate-binding site, it has become clear that even the most simplistic transporters utilize rearrangements of nonrigid bodies. In the most dramatic cases, one bundle is fixed while the other, structurally divergent, bundle carries the substrate some 18 Å across the membrane, which in this review is termed an elevator alternating-access mechanism. Here, we compare and contrast rocker-switch, rocking-bundle, and elevator alternating-access mechanisms to highlight shared features and novel refinements to the basic alternating-access model. PMID:27023848

  4. Molecular mechanisms of bone formation in spondyloarthritis.

    PubMed

    González-Chávez, Susana Aideé; Quiñonez-Flores, Celia María; Pacheco-Tena, César

    2016-07-01

    Spondyloarthritis comprise a group of inflammatory rheumatic diseases characterized by its association to HLA-B27 and the presence of arthritis and enthesitis. The pathogenesis involves both an inflammatory process and new bone formation, which eventually lead to ankylosis of the spine. To date, the intrinsic mechanisms of the pathogenic process have not been fully elucidated, and our progress is remarkable in the identification of therapeutic targets to achieve the control of the inflammatory process, yet our ability to inhibit the excessive bone formation is still insufficient. The study of new bone formation in spondyloarthritis has been mostly conducted in animal models of the disease and only few experiments have been done using human biopsies. The deregulation and overexpression of molecules involved in the osteogenesis process have been observed in bone cells, mesenchymal cells, and fibroblasts. The signaling associated to the excessive bone formation is congruent with those involved in the physiological processes of bone remodeling. Bone morphogenetic proteins and Wnt pathways have been found deregulated in this disease; however, the cause for uncontrolled stimulation remains unknown. Mechanical stress appears to play an important role in the pathological osteogenesis process; nevertheless, the association of other important factors, such as the presence of HLA-B27 and environmental factors, remains uncertain. The present review summarizes the experimental findings that describe the signaling pathways involved in the new bone formation process in spondyloarthritis in animal models and in human biopsies. The role of mechanical stress as the trigger of these pathways is also reviewed. PMID:26838262

  5. Molecular mechanisms for tumour resistance to chemotherapy.

    PubMed

    Pan, Shu-Ting; Li, Zhi-Ling; He, Zhi-Xu; Qiu, Jia-Xuan; Zhou, Shu-Feng

    2016-08-01

    Chemotherapy is one of the prevailing methods used to treat malignant tumours, but the outcome and prognosis of tumour patients are not optimistic. Cancer cells gradually generate resistance to almost all chemotherapeutic drugs via a variety of distinct mechanisms and pathways. Chemotherapeutic resistance, either intrinsic or acquired, is caused and sustained by reduced drug accumulation and increased drug export, alterations in drug targets and signalling transduction molecules, increased repair of drug-induced DNA damage, and evasion of apoptosis. In order to better understand the mechanisms of chemoresistance, this review highlights our current knowledge of the role of altered drug metabolism and transport and deregulation of apoptosis and autophagy in the development of tumour chemoresistance. Reduced intracellular activation of prodrugs (e.g. thiotepa and tegafur) or enhanced drug inactivation by Phase I and II enzymes contributes to the development of chemoresistance. Both primary and acquired resistance can be caused by alterations in the transport of anticancer drugs which is mediated by a variety of drug transporters such as P-glycoprotein (P-gp), multidrug resistance associated proteins, and breast cancer resistance protein. Presently there is a line of evidence indicating that deregulation of programmed cell death including apoptosis and autophagy is also an important mechanism for tumour resistance to anticancer drugs. Reversal of chemoresistance is likely via pharmacological and biological approaches. Further studies are warranted to grasp the full picture of how each type of cancer cells develop resistance to anticancer drugs and to identify novel strategies to overcome it. PMID:27097837

  6. 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

  7. Biological Transmission of Arboviruses: Reexamination of and New Insights into Components, Mechanisms, and Unique Traits as Well as Their Evolutionary Trends

    PubMed Central

    Kuno, Goro; Chang, Gwong-Jen J.

    2005-01-01

    Among animal viruses, arboviruses are unique in that they depend on arthropod vectors for transmission. Field research and laboratory investigations related to the three components of this unique mode of transmission, virus, vector, and vertebrate host, have produced an enormous amount of valuable information that may be found in numerous publications. However, despite many reviews on specific viruses, diseases, or interests, a systematic approach to organizing the available information on all facets of biological transmission and then to interpret it in the context of the evolutionary process has not been attempted before. Such an attempt in this review clearly demonstrates tremendous progress made worldwide to characterize the viruses, to comprehend disease transmission and pathogenesis, and to understand the biology of vectors and their role in transmission. The rapid progress in molecular biologic techniques also helped resolve many virologic puzzles and yielded highly valuable data hitherto unavailable, such as characterization of virus receptors, the genetic basis of vertebrate resistance to viral infection, and phylogenetic evidence of the history of host range shifts in arboviruses. However, glaring gaps in knowledge of many critical subjects, such as the mechanism of viral persistence and the existence of vertebrate reservoirs, are still evident. Furthermore, with the accumulated data, new questions were raised, such as evolutionary directions of virus virulence and of host range. Although many fundamental questions on the evolution of this unique mode of transmission remained unresolved in the absence of a fossil record, available observations for arboviruses and the information derived from studies in other fields of the biological sciences suggested convergent evolution as a plausible process. Overall, discussion of the diverse range of theories proposed and observations made by many investigators was found to be highly valuable for sorting out the

  8. Salinity Tolerance Mechanism of Economic Halophytes From Physiological to Molecular Hierarchy for Improving Food Quality.

    PubMed

    Xu, Chongzhi; Tang, Xiaoli; Shao, Hongbo; Wang, Hongyan

    2016-06-01

    Soil salinity is becoming the key constraints factor to agricultural production. Therefore, the plant especially the crops possessing capacities of salt tolerance will be of great economic significance. The adaptation or tolerance of plant to salinity stress involves a series of physiological, metabolic and molecular mechanisms. Halophytes are the kind of organisms which acquire special salt tolerance mechanisms to respond to the salt tress and ensure normal growth and development under saline conditions in their lengthy evolutionary adaptation, so understanding how halophytes respond to salinity stress will provide us with methods and tactics to foster and develop salt resistant varieties of crops. The strategies in physiological and molecular level adopted by halophytes are various including the changes in photosynthetic and transpiration rate, the sequestration of Na+ to extracellular or vacuole, the regulation of stomata aperture and stomatal density, the accumulation and synthesis of the phytohormones as well as the relevant gene expression underlying these physiological traits, such as the stress signal transduction, the regulation of the transcription factors, the activation and expression of the transporter genes, the activation or inhibition of the synthetases and so on. This review focuses on the research advances of the regulating mechanisms in halophytes from physiological to molecular, which render the halophytes tolerance and adaption to salinity stress. PMID:27252587

  9. Molecular Mechanisms of Circadian Regulation During Spaceflight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zanello, Susana; Boyle, Richard

    2011-01-01

    Disruption of the regular environmental circadian cues in addition to stringent and demanding operational schedules are two main factors that undoubtedly impact sleep patterns and vigilant performance in the astronaut crews during spaceflight. Most research is focused on the behavioral aspects of the risk of circadian desynchronization, characterized by fatigue and health and performance decrement. A common countermeasure for circadian re-entrainment utilizes blue-green light to entrain the circadian clock and mitigate this risk. However, an effective countermeasure targeting the photoreceptor system requires that the basic circadian molecular machinery remains intact during spaceflight. The molecular clock consists of sets of proteins that perform different functions within the clock machinery: circadian oscillators (genes whose expression levels cycle during the day, keep the pass of cellular time and regulate downstream effector genes), the effector or output genes (those which impact the physiology of the tissue or organism), and the input genes (responsible for sensing the environmental cues that allow circadian entrainment). The main environmental cue is light. As opposed to the known photoreceptors (rods and cones), the non-visual light stimulus is received by a subset of the population of retinal ganglion cells called intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGC) that express melanopsin (opsin 4 -Opn4-) as the photoreceptor. We hypothesize that spaceflight may affect ipRGC and melanopsin expression, which may be a contributing cause of circadian disruption during spaceflight. To answer this question, eyes from albino Balb/cJ mice aboard STS-133 were collected for histological analysis and gene expression profiling of the retina at 1 and 7 days after landing. Both vivarium and AEM (animal enclosure module) mice were used as ground controls. Opn4 expression was analyzed by real time RT/qPCR and retinal sections were stained for Opn4

  10. [Mechanism and clinical progress of molecular targeted cancer therapy].

    PubMed

    Hu, Hong-xiang; Wang, Xue-qing; Zhang, Hua; Zhang, Qiang

    2015-10-01

    Molecular target-based cancer therapy is playing a more and more important role in cancer therapy because of its high specificity, good tolerance and so on. There are different kinds of molecular targeted drugs such as monoclonal antibodies and small molecular kinase inhibitors, and more than 50 drugs have been approved since 1997. When the first monoclonal antibody, rituximab, was on the market. The development of molecular target-based cancer therapeutics has become the main approach. Based on this, we summarized the drugs approved by FDA and introduced their mechanism of actions and clinical applications. In order to incorporate most molecular targeted drugs and describe clearly various characteristics, we divided them into four categories: drugs related to EGFR, drugs related to antiangiogenesis, drugs related to specific antigen and other targeted drugs. The purpose of this review is to provide a current status of this field and discover the main problems in the molecular targeted therapy. PMID:26837167

  11. 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

  12. Uncouplers and the molecular mechanism of uncoupling in mitochondria.

    PubMed Central

    Kessler, R J; Vande Zande, H; Tyson, C A; Blondin, G A; Fairfield, J; Glasser, P; Green, D E

    1977-01-01

    Uncouplers are molecules with protonophoric and ionophoric capabilities that mediate coupled cyclical transport of cations--a transport that takes precedence over all other coupled processes. Uncouplers form cation-containing complexes with electrogenic ionophores that potentiate cyclical transport of cations. The molecular mechanism of uncoupling sheds strong light on the mechanism of coupling. PMID:142250

  13. Plant regeneration: cellular origins and molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Ikeuchi, Momoko; Ogawa, Yoichi; Iwase, Akira; Sugimoto, Keiko

    2016-05-01

    Compared with animals, plants generally possess a high degree of developmental plasticity and display various types of tissue or organ regeneration. This regenerative capacity can be enhanced by exogenously supplied plant hormones in vitro, wherein the balance between auxin and cytokinin determines the developmental fate of regenerating organs. Accumulating evidence suggests that some forms of plant regeneration involve reprogramming of differentiated somatic cells, whereas others are induced through the activation of relatively undifferentiated cells in somatic tissues. We summarize the current understanding of how plants control various types of regeneration and discuss how developmental and environmental constraints influence these regulatory mechanisms. PMID:27143753

  14. 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

  15. Multiple Sclerosis: Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Opportunities

    PubMed Central

    Miljković, Djordje; Spasojević, Ivan

    2013-01-01

    Abstract The pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis (MS) involves several components: redox, inflammatory/autoimmune, vascular, and neurodegenerative. All of them are supported by the intertwined lines of evidence, and none of them should be written off. However, the exact mechanisms of MS initiation, its development, and progression are still elusive, despite the impressive pace by which the data on MS are accumulating. In this review, we will try to integrate the current facts and concepts, focusing on the role of redox changes and various reactive species in MS. Knowing the schedule of initial changes in pathogenic factors and the key turning points, as well as understanding the redox processes involved in MS pathogenesis is the way to enable MS prevention, early treatment, and the development of therapies that target specific pathophysiological components of the heterogeneous mechanisms of MS, which could alleviate the symptoms and hopefully stop MS. Pertinent to this, we will outline (i) redox processes involved in MS initiation; (ii) the role of reactive species in inflammation; (iii) prooxidative changes responsible for neurodegeneration; and (iv) the potential of antioxidative therapy. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 19, 2286–2334. PMID:23473637

  16. Membrane curvature in cell biology: An integration of molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Jarsch, Iris K; Daste, Frederic; Gallop, Jennifer L

    2016-08-15

    Curving biological membranes establishes the complex architecture of the cell and mediates membrane traffic to control flux through subcellular compartments. Common molecular mechanisms for bending membranes are evident in different cell biological contexts across eukaryotic phyla. These mechanisms can be intrinsic to the membrane bilayer (either the lipid or protein components) or can be brought about by extrinsic factors, including the cytoskeleton. Here, we review examples of membrane curvature generation in animals, fungi, and plants. We showcase the molecular mechanisms involved and how they collaborate and go on to highlight contexts of curvature that are exciting areas of future research. Lessons from how membranes are bent in yeast and mammals give hints as to the molecular mechanisms we expect to see used by plants and protists. PMID:27528656

  17. 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

  18. Molecular Mechanisms of Circadian Regulation During Spaceflight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zanello, S. B.; Boyle, R.

    2012-01-01

    The physiology of both vertebrates and invertebrates follows internal rhythms coordinated in phase with the 24-hour daily light cycle. This circadian clock is governed by a central pacemaker, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the brain. However, peripheral circadian clocks or oscillators have been identified in most tissues. How the central and peripheral oscillators are synchronized is still being elucidated. Light is the main environmental cue that entrains the circadian clock. Under the absence of a light stimulus, the clock continues its oscillation in a free-running condition. In general, three functional compartments of the circadian clock are defined. The vertebrate retina contains endogenous clocks that control many aspects of retinal physiology, including retinal sensitivity to light, neurohormone synthesis (melatonin and dopamine), rod disk shedding, signalling pathways and gene expression. Neurons with putative local circadian rhythm generation are found among all the major neuron populations in the mammalian retina. In the mouse, clock genes and function are more localized to the inner retinal and ganglion cell layers. The photoreceptor, however, secrete melatonin which may still serve a an important circadian signal. The reception and transmission of the non-visual photic stimulus resides in a small subpopulation (1-3%) or retinal ganglion cells (RGC) that express the pigment melanopsin (Opn4) and are called intrisically photoreceptive RGC (ipRGC). Melanopsin peak absorption is at 420 nm and all the axons of the ipRGC reach the SCN. A common countermeasure for circadian re-entrainment utilizes blue-green light to entrain the circadian clock and mitigate the risk of fatigue and health and performance decrement due to circadian rhythm disruption. However, an effective countermeasure targeting the photoreceptor system requires that the basic circadian molecular machinery remains intact during spaceflight. We hypothesize that spaceflight may affect ip

  19. Evolutionary malignant resistance of cells to damaging factors as common biological defence mechanism in neoplastic development. Review of conception.

    PubMed

    Monceviciute-Eringiene, E

    2000-09-01

    Cells have some inborn resistance to harmful factors, which could be called physiological or natural resistance. The mechanisms of multixenobiotic resistance (MXR) and multidrug resistance (MDR) have common features in the formation of acquired resistance in microorganisms, carcinogenesis, tumour metastases and chemotherapy or irradiation. ATP-dependent membrane P-glycoprotein, as an MDR efflux pump, glutathione S-transferases and other products of evolutionary resistance-related genes arised for exportation and detoxification of cytotoxic xenobiotics and drugs are transmitted from bacteria to man. On the one hand, this evolutionary MXR as a common biological defence mechanism is a "driving" power to conserve homeostasis of cells, tissues and organs. On the other hand, mutation, selection and simplification of properties are the causes of functional and morphological changes in tumour cells which regress to a more primitive mode of existence (atavism) for adaptation to survival. In the present work are presented data on the forms of E. coli resistant to antibiotics and of sarcoma 45 resistant to alkylic preparations. They may be helpful in revealing the causes of resistance and acquired accelerated growth of cells. The development of tumours as fibromas 14-15 years following injection of a vital dye trypan blue into human skin supports our conception that neoplastic growth is a particular case of the evolutionary resistance of cells adapted to the damaging factors. So, tumour cells adopting the enhancement mechanisms of general biological persistent resistance, i. e. undergoing repeated cycles of malignancy enhancement, adapt themselves to survive under the changed unfavourable conditions. PMID:11144527

  20. Photodynamic therapy: Biophysical mechanisms and molecular responses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitra, Soumya

    In photodynamic therapy (PDT), photochemical reactions induced by optical activation of sensitizer molecules cause destruction of the target tissue. In this thesis we present results of several related studies, which investigated the influence of photophysical properties and photobleaching mechanisms of sensitizers and oxygen-dependent tissue optical properties on PDT treatment efficacy. The bleaching mechanism of the sensitizer meso-tetra hydroxyphenyl chlorin (mTHPC) is examined indirectly using measurements of photochemical oxygen consumption during PDT irradiation of multicell tumor spheroids. Analysis of the results with a theoretical model of oxygen diffusion that incorporates the effects of sensitizer photobleaching shows that mTHPC is degraded via a singlet-oxygen (1O2)-mediated bleaching process. The analysis allows us to extract photophysical parameters of mTHPC which are used to account for its enhanced clinical photodynamic potency in comparison to that of Photofrin. Evaluation of the spatially-resolved fluorescence in confocal optical sections of intact spheroids during PDT irradiation allows for the direct experimental verification of mTHPC's 1O2-mediated bleaching mechanism. The technique is also used to investigate the complex bleaching kinetics of Photofrin. The results allow us to successfully reconcile apparently contradictory experimental observations and to confirm the predictions of a new theoretical model in which both 1O2 and excited triplet sensitizer molecules are allowed to contribute to photobleaching. Based on studies performed in tissue-simulating erythrocyte phantoms and in a murine tumor model in vivo, we present clinically relevant results which indicate that a shift toward increased hemoglobin-oxygen saturation due to improved tissue oxygenation reduces PDT treatment beam attenuation and may allow for more effective treatment of deeper lesions. Finally, we investigate the induction of the stress protein, heat shock protein 70 (HSP

  1. MOLECULAR TARGETS AND MECHANISMS FOR ETHANOL ACTION IN GLYCINE RECEPTORS

    PubMed Central

    Perkins, Daya I.; Trudell, James R.; Crawford, Daniel K.; Alkana, Ronald L.; Davies, Daryl L.

    2010-01-01

    Glycine receptors (GlyRs) are recognized as the primary mediators of neuronal inhibition in the spinal cord, brain stem and higher brain regions known to be sensitive to ethanol. Building evidence supports the notion that ethanol acting on GlyRs causes at least a subset of its behavioral effects and may be involved in modulating ethanol intake. For over two decades, GlyRs have been studied at the molecular level as targets for ethanol action. Despite the advances in understanding the effects of ethanol in vivo and in vitro, the precise molecular sites and mechanisms of action for ethanol in ligand-gated ion channels in general, and in GlyRs specifically, are just now starting to become understood. The present review focuses on advances in our knowledge produced by using molecular biology, pressure antagonism, electrophysiology and molecular modeling strategies over the last two decades to probe, identify and model the initial molecular sites and mechanisms of ethanol action in GlyRs. The molecular targets on the GlyR are covered on a global perspective, which includes the intracellular, transmembrane and extracellular domains. The latter has received increasing attention in recent years. Recent molecular models of the sites of ethanol action in GlyRs and their implications to our understanding of possible mechanism of ethanol action and novel targets for drug development in GlyRs are discussed. PMID:20399807

  2. Rectification mechanism in diblock oligomer molecular diodes.

    PubMed

    Oleynik, I I; Kozhushner, M A; Posvyanskii, V S; Yu, L

    2006-03-10

    We investigated a mechanism of rectification in diblock oligomer diode molecules that have recently been synthesized and showed a pronounced asymmetry in the measured I-V spectrum. The observed rectification effect is due to the resonant nature of electron transfer in the system and the localization properties of bound state wave functions of resonant states of the tunneling electron interacting with an asymmetric molecule in an electric field. The asymmetry of the tunneling wave function is enhanced or weakened depending on the polarity of the applied bias. The conceptually new theoretical approach, the Green's function theory of sub-barrier scattering, is able to provide a physically transparent explanation of this rectification effect based on the concept of the bound state spectrum of a tunneling electron. The theory predicts the characteristic features of the I-V spectrum in qualitative agreement with experiment. PMID:16606295

  3. Molecular Mechanisms of Renal Ammonia Transport

    PubMed Central

    Weiner, I. David; Hamm, L. Lee

    2015-01-01

    Acid-base homeostasis to a great extent relies on renal ammonia metabolism. In the past several years, seminal studies have generated important new insights into the mechanisms of renal ammonia transport. In particular, the theory that ammonia transport occurs almost exclusively through nonionic NH3 diffusion and NH4+ trapping has given way to a model postulating that a variety of proteins specifically transport NH3 and NH4+ and that this transport is critical for normal ammonia metabolism. Many of these proteins transport primarily H+ or K+ but also transport NH4+. Nonerythroid Rh glycoproteins transport ammonia and may represent critical facilitators of ammonia transport in the kidney. This review discusses the underlying aspects of renal ammonia transport as well as specific proteins with important roles in renal ammonia transport. PMID:17002591

  4. Molecular mechanisms of Escherichia coli pathogenicity.

    PubMed

    Croxen, Matthew A; Finlay, B Brett

    2010-01-01

    Escherichia coli is a remarkable and diverse organism. This normally harmless commensal needs only to acquire a combination of mobile genetic elements to become a highly adapted pathogen capable of causing a range of diseases, from gastroenteritis to extraintestinal infections of the urinary tract, bloodstream and central nervous system. The worldwide burden of these diseases is staggering, with hundreds of millions of people affected annually. Eight E. coli pathovars have been well characterized, and each uses a large arsenal of virulence factors to subvert host cellular functions to potentiate its virulence. In this Review, we focus on the recent advances in our understanding of the different pathogenic mechanisms that are used by various E. coli pathovars and how they cause disease in humans. PMID:19966814

  5. Anemia: Progress in molecular mechanisms and therapy

    PubMed Central

    Sankaran, Vijay G.; Weiss, Mitchell J.

    2015-01-01

    Anemia is a major source of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Here we review recent insights into how red blood cells (RBCs) are produced, the pathogenic mechanisms underlying various forms of anemia, and novel therapies derived from these findings. It is likely that these new insights, mainly arising from basic scientific studies, will contribute immensely to understanding frequently debilitating forms of anemia and the ability to treat affected patients. Major worldwide diseases that may stand to benefit from the new advances include the hemoglobinopathies (β-thalassemia and sickle cell disease), rare genetic disorders of red blood cell production, and anemias associated with chronic kidney disease, inflammation, and cancer. Promising new treatment approaches include drugs that target recently defined pathways in red blood cell production, iron metabolism, and fetal globin gene expression, as well as gene therapies using improved viral vectors and newly developed genome editing technologies. PMID:25742458

  6. Regulation of the MET oncogene: molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jack; Babic, Andy

    2016-04-01

    TheMEToncogene is a predictive biomarker and an attractive therapeutic target for various cancers. Its expression is regulated at multiple layers via various mechanisms. It is subject to epigenetic modifications, i.e. DNA methylation and histone acetylation. Hypomethylation and acetylation of theMETgene have been associated with its high expression in some cancers. Multiple transcription factors including Sp1 and Ets-1 govern its transcription. After its transcription,METmRNA is spliced into multiple species in the nucleus before being transported to the cytoplasm where its translation is modulated by at least 30 microRNAs and translation initiation factors, e.g. eIF4E and eIF4B.METmRNA produces a single chain pro-Met protein of 170kDa which is cleaved into α and β chains. These two chains are bound together through disulfide bonds to form a heterodimer which undergoes either N-linked or O-linked glycosylation in the Golgi apparatus before it is properly localized in the membrane. Upon interactions with its ligand, i.e. hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), the activity of Met kinase is boosted through various phosphorylation mechanisms and the Met signal is relayed to downstream pathways. The phosphorylated Met is then internalized for subsequent degradation or recycle via proteasome, lysosome or endosome pathways. Moreover, the Met expression is subject to autoregulation and activation by other EGFRs and G-protein coupled receptors. Since deregulation of theMETgene leads to cancer and other pathological conditions, a better understanding of theMETregulation is critical for Met-targeted therapeutics. PMID:26905592

  7. Understanding molecular mechanism of higher plant plasticity under abiotic stress.

    PubMed

    Shao, Hong-Bo; Guo, Qing-Jie; Chu, Li-Ye; Zhao, Xi-Ning; Su, Zhong-Liang; Hu, Ya-Chen; Cheng, Jiang-Feng

    2007-01-15

    Higher plants play the most important role in keeping a stable environment on the earth, which regulate global circumstances in many ways in terms of different levels (molecular, individual, community, and so on), but the nature of the mechanism is gene expression and control temporally and spatially at the molecular level. In persistently changing environment, there are many adverse stress conditions such as cold, drought, salinity and UV-B (280-320 mm), which influence plant growth and crop production greatly. Plants differ from animals in many aspects, but the important may be that plants are more easily influenced by environment than animals. Plants have a series of fine mechanisms for responding to environmental changes, which has been established during their long-period evolution and artificial domestication. These mechanisms are involved in many aspects of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, genetics, development, evolution and molecular biology, in which the adaptive machinery related to molecular biology is the most important. The elucidation of it will extremely and purposefully promote the sustainable utilization of plant resources and make the best use of its current potential under different scales. This molecular mechanism at least include environmental signal recognition (input), signal transduction (many cascade biochemical reactions are involved in this process), signal output, signal responses and phenotype realization, which is a multi-dimensional network system and contain many levels of gene expression and regulation. We will focus on the molecular adaptive machinery of higher plant plasticity under abiotic stresses. PMID:16914294

  8. 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

  9. Adenosine triphosphate hydrolysis mechanism in kinesin studied by combined quantum-mechanical/molecular-mechanical metadynamics simulations.

    PubMed

    McGrath, Matthew J; Kuo, I-F Will; Hayashi, Shigehiko; Takada, Shoji

    2013-06-19

    Kinesin is a molecular motor that hydrolyzes adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and moves along microtubules against load. While motility and atomic structures have been well-characterized for various members of the kinesin family, not much is known about ATP hydrolysis inside the active site. Here, we study ATP hydrolysis mechanisms in the kinesin-5 protein Eg5 by using combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics metadynamics simulations. Approximately 200 atoms at the catalytic site are treated by a dispersion-corrected density functional and, in total, 13 metadynamics simulations are performed with their cumulative time reaching ~0.7 ns. Using the converged runs, we compute free energy surfaces and obtain a few hydrolysis pathways. The pathway with the lowest free energy barrier involves a two-water chain and is initiated by the Pγ-Oβ dissociation concerted with approach of the lytic water to PγO3-. This immediately induces a proton transfer from the lytic water to another water, which then gives a proton to the conserved Glu270. Later, the proton is transferred back from Glu270 to HPO(4)2- via another hydrogen-bonded chain. We find that the reaction is favorable when the salt bridge between Glu270 in switch II and Arg234 in switch I is transiently broken, which facilitates the ability of Glu270 to accept a proton. When ATP is placed in the ADP-bound conformation of Eg5, the ATP-Mg moiety is surrounded by many water molecules and Thr107 blocks the water chain, which together make the hydrolysis reaction less favorable. The observed two-water chain mechanisms are rather similar to those suggested in two other motors, myosin and F1-ATPase, raising the possibility of a common mechanism. PMID:23751065

  10. Molecular mechanisms of LRRK2 regulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Webber, Philip Jeffrey

    Non-synonymous mutations in LRRK2 are the most common known cause of familial and sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD). The dominant inheritance of these mutations in familial PD suggests a gain-of-function mechanism. Increased kinase activity observed in the most common PD associated LRRK2 mutation G2019S suggests that kinase activity is central to disease. However, not all mutations associated with disease are reported to alter kinase activity and controversy exists in the literature about the effects of mutations appearing in the GTPase domain on kinase activity. The studies conducted as a part of this work aim to characterize the mechanisms that regulate LRRK2 kinase activity and the effects of mutations on enzymatic activity of LRRK2 protein. LRRK2 is a large protein with multiple predicted functional domains including two enzymatic domains in the same protein, the small ras-like GTPase domain and a serine-threonine protein kinase domain. Previous studies indicate that LRRK2 kinase is dependent on a functional GTPase domain and binding to GTP is required for kinase activity. Recent work detailed in this dissertation indicates a complex and reciprocal relationship between kinase and GTPase domains. LRRK2 kinase activity is dependent on adapting a homo-dimer that is augmented by PD mutations that increase LRRK2 kinase activity. Activated LRRK2 autophosphorylates the GTPase and c-terminus of Ras (COR) domains robustly. Phosphorylation of these domains is required for normal activity, as preventing autophosphorylation of these sites drastically lowers kinase activity and GTP binding while phosphorylation maintains baseline activity while still reducing GTP binding. Furthermore, we have developed antibodies specific to autophosphorylation residues that track with LRRK2 kinase activity in vitro. While no measurable activity was detected from treated LRRK2 in vivo, LRRK2 protein purified from brain tissue treated with inflammatory stimuli such as LPS, which increases

  11. Molecular mechanism for generation of antibody memory

    PubMed Central

    Shivarov, Velizar; Shinkura, Reiko; Doi, Tomomitsu; Begum, Nasim A.; Nagaoka, Hitoshi; Okazaki, Il-Mi; Ito, Satomi; Nonaka, Taichiro; Kinoshita, Kazuo; Honjo, Tasuku

    2008-01-01

    Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) is the essential enzyme inducing the DNA cleavage required for both somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination (CSR) of the immunoglobulin gene. We originally proposed the RNA-editing model for the mechanism of DNA cleavage by AID. We obtained evidence that fulfils three requirements for CSR by this model, namely (i) AID shuttling between nucleus and cytoplasm, (ii) de novo protein synthesis for CSR, and (iii) AID–RNA complex formation. The alternative hypothesis, designated as the DNA-deamination model, assumes that the in vitro DNA deamination activity of AID is representative of its physiological function in vivo. Furthermore, the resulting dU was removed by uracil DNA glycosylase (UNG) to generate a basic site, followed by phosphodiester bond cleavage by AP endonuclease. We critically examined each of these provisional steps. We identified a cluster of mutants (H48A, L49A, R50A and N51A) that had particularly higher CSR activities than expected from their DNA deamination activities. The most striking was the N51A mutant that had no ability to deaminate DNA in vitro but retained approximately 50 per cent of the wild-type level of CSR activity. We also provide further evidence that UNG plays a non-canonical role in CSR, namely in the repair step of the DNA breaks. Taking these results together, we favour the RNA-editing model for the function of AID in CSR. PMID:19022739

  12. Molecular mechanisms of asymmetric RAF dimer activation.

    PubMed

    Jambrina, Pablo G; Bohuszewicz, Olga; Buchete, Nicolae-Viorel; Kolch, Walter; Rosta, Edina

    2014-08-01

    Protein phosphorylation is one of the most common post-translational modifications in cell regulatory mechanisms. Dimerization plays also a crucial role in the kinase activity of many kinases, including RAF, CDK2 (cyclin-dependent kinase 2) and EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor), with heterodimers often being the most active forms. However, the structural and mechanistic details of how phosphorylation affects the activity of homo- and hetero-dimers are largely unknown. Experimentally, synthesizing protein samples with fully specified and homogeneous phosphorylation states remains a challenge for structural biology and biochemical studies. Typically, multiple changes in phosphorylation lead to activation of the same protein, which makes structural determination methods particularly difficult. It is also not well understood how the occurrence of phosphorylation and dimerization processes synergize to affect kinase activities. In the present article, we review available structural data and discuss how MD simulations can be used to model conformational transitions of RAF kinase dimers, in both their phosphorylated and unphosphorylated forms. PMID:25109958

  13. Molecular mechanisms of dominant expression in porphyria.

    PubMed

    Badminton, M N; Elder, G H

    2005-01-01

    Partial deficiency of enzymes in the haem synthetic pathway gives rise to a group of seven inherited metabolic disorders, the porphyrias. Each deficiency is associated with a characteristic increase in haem precursors that correlates with the symptoms associated with individual porphyrias and allows accurate diagnosis. Two types of clinical presentation occur separately or in combination; acute life-threatening neurovisceral attacks and/or cutaneous symptoms. Five of the porphyrias are low-penetrance autosomal dominant conditions in which clinical expression results from additional factors that act by increasing demand for haem or by causing an additional decrease in enzyme activity or by a combination of these effects. These include both genetic and environmental factors. In familial porphyria cutanea tarda (PCTF), environmental factors that include alcohol, exogenous oestrogens and hepatotropic viruses result in inhibition of hepatic enzyme activity via a mechanism that involves excess iron accumulation. In erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP), co-inheritance of a functional polymorphism in trans to a null ferrochelatase allele accounts for most clinically overt cases. In the autosomal dominant acute hepatic porphyrias (acute intermittent porphyria, variegate porphyria, hereditary coproporphyria), acute neurovisceral attacks occur in a minority of those who inherit one of these disorders. Although various exogenous (e.g. drugs, alcohol) and endogenous factors (e.g. hormones) have been identified as provoking acute attacks, these do not provide a full explanation for the low penetrance of these disorders. It seems probable that genetic background influences susceptibility to acute attacks, but the genes that are involved have not yet been identified. PMID:15868463

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Molecular and cellular mechanisms of myocardial stunning.

    PubMed

    Bolli, R; Marbán, E

    1999-04-01

    The past two decades have witnessed an explosive growth of knowledge regarding postischemic myocardial dysfunction or myocardial "stunning." The purpose of this review is to summarize current information regarding the pathophysiology and pathogenesis of this phenomenon. Myocardial stunning should not be regarded as a single entity but rather as a "syndrome" that has been observed in a wide variety of experimental settings, which include the following: 1) stunning after a single, completely reversible episode of regional ischemia in vivo; 2) stunning after multiple, completely reversible episodes of regional ischemia in vivo; 3) stunning after a partly reversible episode of regional ischemia in vivo (subendocardial infarction); 4) stunning after global ischemia in vitro; 5) stunning after global ischemia in vivo; and 6) stunning after exercise-induced ischemia (high-flow ischemia). Whether these settings share a common mechanism is unknown. Although the pathogenesis of myocardial stunning has not been definitively established, the two major hypotheses are that it is caused by the generation of oxygen-derived free radicals (oxyradical hypothesis) and by a transient calcium overload (calcium hypothesis) on reperfusion. The final lesion responsible for the contractile depression appears to be a decreased responsiveness of contractile filaments to calcium. Recent evidence suggests that calcium overload may activate calpains, resulting in selective proteolysis of myofibrils; the time required for resynthesis of damaged proteins would explain in part the delayed recovery of function in stunned myocardium. The oxyradical and calcium hypotheses are not mutually exclusive and are likely to represent different facets of the same pathophysiological cascade. For example, increased free radical formation could cause cellular calcium overload, which would damage the contractile apparatus of the myocytes. Free radical generation could also directly alter contractile filaments in a

  17. Molecular mechanisms of translation initiation in eukaryotes

    PubMed Central

    Pestova, Tatyana V.; Kolupaeva, Victoria G.; Lomakin, Ivan B.; Pilipenko, Evgeny V.; Shatsky, Ivan N.; Agol, Vadim I.; Hellen, Christopher U. T.

    2001-01-01

    Translation initiation is a complex process in which initiator tRNA, 40S, and 60S ribosomal subunits are assembled by eukaryotic initiation factors (eIFs) into an 80S ribosome at the initiation codon of mRNA. The cap-binding complex eIF4F and the factors eIF4A and eIF4B are required for binding of 43S complexes (comprising a 40S subunit, eIF2/GTP/Met-tRNAi and eIF3) to the 5′ end of capped mRNA but are not sufficient to promote ribosomal scanning to the initiation codon. eIF1A enhances the ability of eIF1 to dissociate aberrantly assembled complexes from mRNA, and these factors synergistically mediate 48S complex assembly at the initiation codon. Joining of 48S complexes to 60S subunits to form 80S ribosomes requires eIF5B, which has an essential ribosome-dependent GTPase activity and hydrolysis of eIF2-bound GTP induced by eIF5. Initiation on a few mRNAs is cap-independent and occurs instead by internal ribosomal entry. Encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) and hepatitis C virus epitomize distinct mechanisms of internal ribosomal entry site (IRES)-mediated initiation. The eIF4A and eIF4G subunits of eIF4F bind immediately upstream of the EMCV initiation codon and promote binding of 43S complexes. EMCV initiation does not involve scanning and does not require eIF1, eIF1A, and the eIF4E subunit of eIF4F. Initiation on some EMCV-like IRESs requires additional noncanonical initiation factors, which alter IRES conformation and promote binding of eIF4A/4G. Initiation on the hepatitis C virus IRES is even simpler: 43S complexes containing only eIF2 and eIF3 bind directly to the initiation codon as a result of specific interaction of the IRES and the 40S subunit. PMID:11416183

  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. The Baldwin effect and genetic assimilation: revisiting two mechanisms of evolutionary change mediated by phenotypic plasticity.

    PubMed

    Crispo, Erika

    2007-11-01

    Two different, but related, evolutionary theories pertaining to phenotypic plasticity were proposed by James Mark Baldwin and Conrad Hal Waddington. Unfortunately, these theories are often confused with one another. Baldwin's notion of organic selection posits that plasticity influences whether an individual will survive in a new environment, thus dictating the course of future evolution. Heritable variations can then be selected upon to direct phenotypic evolution (i.e., "orthoplasy"). The combination of these two processes (organic selection and orthoplasy) is now commonly referred to as the "Baldwin effect." Alternately, Waddington's genetic assimilation is a process whereby an environmentally induced phenotype, or "acquired character," becomes canalized through selection acting upon the developmental system. Genetic accommodation is a modern term used to describe the process of heritable changes that occur in response to a novel induction. Genetic accommodation is a key component of the Baldwin effect, and genetic assimilation is a type of genetic accommodation. I here define both the Baldwin effect and genetic assimilation in terms of genetic accommodation, describe cases in which either should occur in nature, and propose that each could play a role in evolutionary diversification. PMID:17714500

  1. Mini-review: Molecular mechanisms of antifouling compounds.

    PubMed

    Qian, Pei-Yuan; Chen, Lianguo; Xu, Ying

    2013-01-01

    Various antifouling (AF) coatings have been developed to protect submerged surfaces by deterring the settlement of the colonizing stages of fouling organisms. A review of the literature shows that effective AF compounds with specific targets are ones often considered non-toxic. Such compounds act variously on ion channels, quorum sensing systems, neurotransmitters, production/release of adhesive, and specific enzymes that regulate energy production or primary metabolism. In contrast, AF compounds with general targets may or may not act through toxic mechanisms. These compounds affect a variety of biological activities including algal photosynthesis, energy production, stress responses, genotoxic damage, immunosuppressed protein expression, oxidation, neurotransmission, surface chemistry, the formation of biofilms, and adhesive production/release. Among all the targets, adhesive production/release is the most common, possibly due to a more extensive research effort in this area. Overall, the specific molecular targets and the molecular mechanisms of most AF compounds have not been identified. Thus, the information available is insufficient to draw firm conclusions about the types of molecular targets to be used as sensitive biomarkers for future design and screening of compounds with AF potential. In this review, the relevant advantages and disadvantages of the molecular tools available for studying the molecular targets of AF compounds are highlighted briefly and the molecular mechanisms of the AF compounds, which are largely a source of speculation in the literature, are discussed. PMID:23574197

  2. Molecular and Physiological Mechanisms of Membrane Receptor Systems Functioning

    PubMed Central

    Severin, E.S.; Savvateeva, M.V.

    2011-01-01

    Molecular physiology is a new interdisciplinary field of knowledge that looks into how complicated biological systems function. The living cell is a relatively simple, but at the same time very sophisticated biological system. After the sequencing of the human genome, molecular physiology has endeavored to investigate the systems of cellular interactions at a completely new level based on knowledge of the spatial organization and functions of receptors, their ligands, and protein-protein interactions. In recent years, the achievements in molecular physiology have centered on the study of sensor reception mechanisms and intercellular data transfer, as well as the immune system physiology, amongst other processes. PMID:22649671

  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. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Molecular Mimicry as a Mechanism of Autoimmune Disease

    PubMed Central

    Cusick, Matthew F.; Libbey, Jane E.; Fujinami, Robert S.

    2012-01-01

    A variety of mechanisms have been suggested as the means by which infections can initiate and/or exacerbate autoimmune diseases. One mechanism is molecular mimicry, where a foreign antigen shares sequence or structural similarities with self-antigens. Molecular mimicry has typically been characterized on an antibody or T cell level. However, structural relatedness between pathogen and self does not account for T cell activation in a number of autoimmune diseases. A proposed mechanism that could have been misinterpreted for molecular mimicry is the expression of dual T cell receptors (TCR) on a single T cell. These T cells have dual reactivity to both foreign and self-antigens leaving the host vulnerable to foreign insults capable of triggering an autoimmune response. In this review, we briefly discuss what is known about molecular mimicry followed by a discussion of the current understanding of dual TCRs. Finally, we discuss three mechanisms, including molecular mimicry, dual TCRs and chimeric TCRs, by which dual reactivity of the T cell may play a role in autoimmune diseases. PMID:22095454

  8. Reaction Mechanism of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Glutamine Synthetase Using Quantum Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics Calculations.

    PubMed

    Moreira, Cátia; Ramos, Maria J; Fernandes, Pedro Alexandrino

    2016-06-27

    This paper is devoted to the understanding of the reaction mechanism of mycobacterium tuberculosis glutamine synthetase (mtGS) with atomic detail, using computational quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) methods at the ONIOM M06-D3/6-311++G(2d,2p):ff99SB//B3LYP/6-31G(d):ff99SB level of theory. The complete reaction undergoes a three-step mechanism: the spontaneous transfer of phosphate from ATP to glutamate upon ammonium binding (ammonium quickly loses a proton to Asp54), the attack of ammonia on phosphorylated glutamate (yielding protonated glutamine), and the deprotonation of glutamine by the leaving phosphate. This exothermic reaction has an activation free energy of 21.5 kcal mol(-1) , which is consistent with that described for Escherichia coli glutamine synthetase (15-17 kcal mol(-1) ). The participating active site residues have been identified and their role and energy contributions clarified. This study provides an insightful atomic description of the biosynthetic reaction that takes place in this enzyme, opening doors for more accurate studies for developing new anti-tuberculosis therapies. PMID:27225077

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 3D computational mechanics elucidate the evolutionary implications of orbit position and size diversity of early amphibians.

    PubMed

    Marcé-Nogué, Jordi; Fortuny, Josep; De Esteban-Trivigno, Soledad; Sánchez, Montserrat; Gil, Lluís; Galobart, Àngel

    2015-01-01

    For the first time in vertebrate palaeontology, the potential of joining Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Parametrical Analysis (PA) is used to shed new light on two different cranial parameters from the orbits to evaluate their biomechanical role and evolutionary patterns. The early tetrapod group of Stereospondyls, one of the largest groups of Temnospondyls is used as a case study because its orbits position and size vary hugely within the members of this group. An adult skull of Edingerella madagascariensis was analysed using two different cases of boundary and loading conditions in order to quantify stress and deformation response under a bilateral bite and during skull raising. Firstly, the variation of the original geometry of its orbits was introduced in the models producing new FEA results, allowing the exploration of the ecomorphology, feeding strategy and evolutionary patterns of these top predators. Secondly, the quantitative results were analysed in order to check if the orbit size and position were correlated with different stress patterns. These results revealed that in most of the cases the stress distribution is not affected by changes in the size and position of the orbit. This finding supports the high mechanical plasticity of this group during the Triassic period. The absence of mechanical constraints regarding the orbit probably promoted the ecomorphological diversity acknowledged for this group, as well as its ecological niche differentiation in the terrestrial Triassic ecosystems in clades as lydekkerinids, trematosaurs, capitosaurs or metoposaurs. PMID:26107295

  12. 3D Computational Mechanics Elucidate the Evolutionary Implications of Orbit Position and Size Diversity of Early Amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Marcé-Nogué, Jordi; Fortuny, Josep; De Esteban-Trivigno, Soledad; Sánchez, Montserrat; Gil, Lluís; Galobart, Àngel

    2015-01-01

    For the first time in vertebrate palaeontology, the potential of joining Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Parametrical Analysis (PA) is used to shed new light on two different cranial parameters from the orbits to evaluate their biomechanical role and evolutionary patterns. The early tetrapod group of Stereospondyls, one of the largest groups of Temnospondyls is used as a case study because its orbits position and size vary hugely within the members of this group. An adult skull of Edingerella madagascariensis was analysed using two different cases of boundary and loading conditions in order to quantify stress and deformation response under a bilateral bite and during skull raising. Firstly, the variation of the original geometry of its orbits was introduced in the models producing new FEA results, allowing the exploration of the ecomorphology, feeding strategy and evolutionary patterns of these top predators. Secondly, the quantitative results were analysed in order to check if the orbit size and position were correlated with different stress patterns. These results revealed that in most of the cases the stress distribution is not affected by changes in the size and position of the orbit. This finding supports the high mechanical plasticity of this group during the Triassic period. The absence of mechanical constraints regarding the orbit probably promoted the ecomorphological diversity acknowledged for this group, as well as its ecological niche differentiation in the terrestrial Triassic ecosystems in clades as lydekkerinids, trematosaurs, capitosaurs or metoposaurs. PMID:26107295

  13. Physiological and molecular biochemical mechanisms of bile formation

    PubMed Central

    Reshetnyak, Vasiliy Ivanovich

    2013-01-01

    This review considers the physiological and molecular biochemical mechanisms of bile formation. The composition of bile and structure of a bile canaliculus, biosynthesis and conjugation of bile acids, bile phospholipids, formation of bile micellar structures, and enterohepatic circulation of bile acids are described. In general, the review focuses on the molecular physiology of the transporting systems of the hepatocyte sinusoidal and apical membranes. Knowledge of physiological and biochemical basis of bile formation has implications for understanding the mechanisms of development of pathological processes, associated with diseases of the liver and biliary tract. PMID:24259965

  14. A coordinated molecular 'fishing' mechanism in heterodimeric kinesin.

    PubMed

    Hou, Ruizheng; Wang, Zhisong

    2010-01-01

    Kar3 is a kinesin motor that facilitates chromosome segregation during cell division. Unlike many members of the kinesin superfamily, Kar3 forms a heterodimer with non-motor protein Vik1 or Cik1 in vivo. The heterodimers show ATP-driven minus-end directed motility along a microtubule (MT) lattice, and also serve as depolymerase at the MT ends. The molecular mechanisms behind this dual functionality remain mysterious. Here, a molecular mechanical model for the Kar3/Vik1 heterodimer based on structural, kinetic and motility data reveals a long-range chemomechanical transmission mechanism that resembles a familiar fishing tactic. By this molecular 'fishing', ATP-binding to Kar3 dissociates catalytically inactive Vik1 off MT to facilitate minus-end sliding of the dimer on the MT lattice. When the dimer binds the frayed ends of MT, the fishing channels ATP hydrolysis energy into MT depolymerization by a mechanochemical effect. The molecular fishing thus provides a unified mechanistic ground for Kar3's dual functionality. The fishing-promoted depolymerization differs from the depolymerase mechanisms found in homodimeric kinesins. The fishing also enables intermolecular coordination with a chemomechanical coupling feature different from the paradigmatic pattern of homodimeric motors. This study rationalizes some puzzling experimental observation, and suggests new experiments for further elucidation of the fishing mechanism. PMID:20720285

  15. Stochastic modeling reveals an evolutionary mechanism underlying elevated rates of childhood leukemia.

    PubMed

    Rozhok, Andrii I; Salstrom, Jennifer L; DeGregori, James

    2016-01-26

    Young children have higher rates of leukemia than young adults. This fact represents a fundamental conundrum, because hematopoietic cells in young children should have fewer mutations (including oncogenic ones) than such cells in adults. Here, we present the results of stochastic modeling of hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) clonal dynamics, which demonstrated that early HSC pools were permissive to clonal evolution driven by drift. We show that drift-driven clonal expansions cooperate with faster HSC cycling in young children to produce conditions that are permissive for accumulation of multiple driver mutations in a single cell. Later in life, clonal evolution was suppressed by stabilizing selection in the larger young adult pools, and it was driven by positive selection at advanced ages in the presence of microenvironmental decline. Overall, our results indicate that leukemogenesis is driven by distinct evolutionary forces in children and adults. PMID:26755588

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Connecting proximate mechanisms and evolutionary patterns: pituitary gland size and mammalian life history.

    PubMed

    Kamilar, J M; Tecot, S R

    2015-11-01

    At the proximate level, hormones are known to play a critical role in influencing the life history of mammals, including humans. The pituitary gland is directly responsible for producing several hormones, including those related to growth and reproduction. Although we have a basic understanding of how hormones affect life history characteristics, we still have little knowledge of this relationship in an evolutionary context. We used data from 129 mammal species representing 14 orders to investigate the relationship between pituitary gland size and life history variation. Because pituitary gland size should be related to hormone production and action, we predicted that species with relatively large pituitaries should be associated with fast life histories, especially increased foetal and post-natal growth rates. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that total pituitary size and the size of the anterior lobe of the pituitary significantly predicted a life history axis that was correlated with several traits including body mass, and foetal and post-natal growth rates. Additional models directly examining the association between relative pituitary size and growth rates produced concordant results. We also found that relative pituitary size variation across mammals was best explained by an Ornstein-Uhlenbeck model of evolution, suggesting an important role of stabilizing selection. Our results support the idea that the size of the pituitary is linked to life history variation through evolutionary time. This pattern is likely due to mediating hormone levels but additional work is needed. We suggest that future investigations incorporating endocrine gland size may be critical for understanding life history evolution. PMID:26249034

  19. Antigenic variation: Molecular and genetic mechanisms of relapsing disease

    SciTech Connect

    Cruse, J.M.; Lewis, R.E.

    1987-01-01

    This book contains 10 chapters. They are: Contemporary Concepts of Antigenic Variation; Antigenic Variation in the Influenza Viruses; Mechanisms of Escape of Visna Lentiviruses from Immunological Control; A Review of Antigenic Variation by the Equine Infectious Anemia Virus; Biologic and Molecular Variations in AIDS Retrovirus Isolates; Rabies Virus Infection: Genetic Mutations and the Impact on Viral Pathogenicity and Immunity; Immunobiology of Relapsing Fever; Antigenic Variation in African Trypanosomes; Antigenic Variation and Antigenic Diversity in Malaria; and Mechanisms of Immune Evasion in Schistosomiasis.

  20. Resveratrol and Calcium Signaling: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Relevance

    PubMed Central

    McCalley, Audrey E.; Kaja, Simon; Payne, Andrew J.; Koulen, Peter

    2014-01-01

    Resveratrol is a naturally occurring compound contributing to cellular defense mechanisms in plants. Its use as a nutritional component and/or supplement in a number of diseases, disorders, and syndromes such as chronic diseases of the central nervous system, cancer, inflammatory diseases, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases has prompted great interest in the underlying molecular mechanisms of action. The present review focuses on resveratrol, specifically its isomer trans-resveratrol, and its effects on intracellular calcium signaling mechanisms. As resveratrol's mechanisms of action are likely pleiotropic, its effects and interactions with key signaling proteins controlling cellular calcium homeostasis are reviewed and discussed. The clinical relevance of resveratrol's actions on excitable cells, transformed or cancer cells, immune cells and retinal pigment epithelial cells are contrasted with a review of the molecular mechanisms affecting calcium signaling proteins on the plasma membrane, cytoplasm, endoplasmic reticulum, and mitochondria. The present review emphasizes the correlation between molecular mechanisms of action that have recently been identified for resveratrol and their clinical implications. PMID:24905603

  1. Mechanically Induced Trapping of Molecular Interactions and Its Applications.

    PubMed

    Garcia-Cordero, Jose L; Maerkl, Sebastian J

    2016-06-01

    Measuring binding affinities and association/dissociation rates of molecular interactions is important for a quantitative understanding of cellular mechanisms. Many low-throughput methods have been developed throughout the years to obtain these parameters. Acquiring data with higher accuracy and throughput is, however, necessary to characterize complex biological networks. Here, we provide an overview of a high-throughput microfluidic method based on mechanically induced trapping of molecular interactions (MITOMI). MITOMI can be used to obtain affinity constants and kinetic rates of hundreds of protein-ligand interactions in parallel. It has been used in dozens of studies to measure binding affinities of transcription factors, map protein interaction networks, identify pharmacological inhibitors, and perform high-throughput, low-cost molecular diagnostics. This article covers the technological aspects of MITOMI and its applications. PMID:25805850

  2. Molecular mechanism of bacterial type 1 and P pili assembly.

    PubMed

    Busch, Andreas; Phan, Gilles; Waksman, Gabriel

    2015-03-01

    The formation of adhesive surface structures called pili or fimbriae ('bacterial hair') is an important contributor towards bacterial pathogenicity and persistence. To fight often chronic or recurrent bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections, it is necessary to understand the molecular mechanism of the nanomachines assembling such pili. Here, we focus on the so far best-known pilus assembly machinery: the chaperone-usher pathway producing the type 1 and P pili, and highlight the most recently acquired structural knowledge. First, we describe the subunits' structure and the molecular role of the periplasmic chaperone. Second, we focus on the outer-membrane usher structure and the catalytic mechanism of usher-mediated pilus biogenesis. Finally, we describe how the detailed understanding of the chaperone-usher pathway at a molecular level has paved the way for the design of a new generation of bacterial inhibitors called 'pilicides'. PMID:25624519

  3. Resolving the molecular mechanism of cadherin catch bond formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Manibog, Kristine; Li, Hui; Rakshit, Sabyasachi; Sivasankar, Sanjeevi

    2014-06-01

    Classical cadherin Ca2+-dependent cell-cell adhesion proteins play key roles in embryogenesis and in maintaining tissue integrity. Cadherins mediate robust adhesion by binding in multiple conformations. One of these adhesive states, called an X-dimer, forms catch bonds that strengthen and become longer lived in the presence of mechanical force. Here we use single-molecule force-clamp spectroscopy with an atomic force microscope along with molecular dynamics and steered molecular dynamics simulations to resolve the molecular mechanisms underlying catch bond formation and the role of Ca2+ ions in this process. Our data suggest that tensile force bends the cadherin extracellular region such that they form long-lived, force-induced hydrogen bonds that lock X-dimers into tighter contact. When Ca2+ concentration is decreased, fewer de novo hydrogen bonds are formed and catch bond formation is eliminated.

  4. Mechanical tuning of conductance and thermopower in helicene molecular junctions.

    PubMed

    Vacek, Jaroslav; Chocholoušová, Jana Vacek; Stará, Irena G; Starý, Ivo; Dubi, Yonatan

    2015-05-21

    Helicenes are inherently chiral polyaromatic molecules composed of all-ortho fused benzene rings possessing a spring-like structure. Here, using a combination of density functional theory and tight-binding calculations, it is demonstrated that controlling the length of the helicene molecule by mechanically stretching or compressing the molecular junction can dramatically change the electronic properties of the helicene, leading to a tunable switching behavior of the conductance and thermopower of the junction with on/off ratios of several orders of magnitude. Furthermore, control over the helicene length and number of rings is shown to lead to more than an order of magnitude increase in the thermopower and thermoelectric figure-of-merit over typical molecular junctions, presenting new possibilities of making efficient thermoelectric molecular devices. The physical origin of the strong dependence of the transport properties of the junction is investigated, and found to be related to a shift in the position of the molecular orbitals. PMID:25905658

  5. Molecular Mechanisms of Bone 18F-NaF Deposition

    PubMed Central

    Czernin, Johannes; Satyamurthy, Nagichettiar; Schiepers, Christiaan

    2011-01-01

    There is renewed interest in 18F-NaF bone imaging with PET or PET/CT. The current brief discussion focuses on the molecular mechanisms of 18F-NaF deposition in bone and presents model-based approaches to quantifying bone perfusion and metabolism in the context of preclinical and clinical applications of bone imaging with PET. PMID:21078790

  6. Conformational analyses of periplanone analogs by molecular mechanics calculations.

    PubMed

    Shimazaki, K; Mori, M; Okada, K; Chuman, T; Goto, H; Osawa, E; Sakakibara, K; Hirota, M

    1991-04-01

    Conformational parameters of pheromonally active analogs (1 and 2) of periplanones, the sex pheromones of the American cockroach, were investigated by molecular mechanics calculations. They existed in several conformers with small energy differences. These results were supported by NMR analysis. The structural features of the conformers of the analogs were compared with X-ray structures of periplanones. PMID:24258922

  7. Suppression of neuronal excitability by the secretion of the lamprey (Lampetra japonica) provides a mechanism for its evolutionary stability.

    PubMed

    Chi, Shaopeng; Xiao, Rong; Li, Qingwei; Zhou, Liwei; He, Rongqiao; Qi, Zhi

    2009-07-01

    Lampreys are one of the most primitive vertebrates still living today. They attach themselves to the body surface of the host fish through their sucker-like mouths and suck blood of the host for days. Recent fossil evidence has indicated that morphology of lampreys in the late Devonian period, over 360 million years ago, already possessed the present day major characteristics, suggesting the evolutionary stability of a highly specialized parasitic feeding habit. Obviously, nociceptive responses and hemostasis of the host are two major barriers to long-term feeding of the parasitic lamprey. It has been found, to counteract hemostasis of the host, that paired buccal glands of lampreys secrete antihemostatic compounds to prevent blood of the host from coagulation. However, it is not known how lampreys make the host lose nociceptive responses. Here, we prepared components of the crude extract from the buccal glands of the lampreys (Lampetra japonica). Then, we show that crude extract and one of its purified components reduce the firing frequency of neuronal action potentials probably through inhibiting the voltage-dependent Na(+) channels. As the voltage-gated Na(+) channels are highly conserved throughout evolution, we argue that the secretion of the lampreys could exert the similar effect on the Na(+) channels of their host fish as well. Therefore, together with its antihemostatic effect, the secretion due to its inhibitory effect on neuronal excitability might provide a mechanism for the parasitic lampreys to keep their evolutionary stability. PMID:19198874

  8. Catalytic mechanism of RNA backbone cleavage by ribonuclease H from quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics simulations.

    PubMed

    Rosta, Edina; Nowotny, Marcin; Yang, Wei; Hummer, Gerhard

    2011-06-15

    We use quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics simulations to study the cleavage of the ribonucleic acid (RNA) backbone catalyzed by ribonuclease H. This protein is a prototypical member of a large family of enzymes that use two-metal catalysis to process nucleic acids. By combining Hamiltonian replica exchange with a finite-temperature string method, we calculate the free energy surface underlying the RNA-cleavage reaction and characterize its mechanism. We find that the reaction proceeds in two steps. In a first step, catalyzed primarily by magnesium ion A and its ligands, a water molecule attacks the scissile phosphate. Consistent with thiol-substitution experiments, a water proton is transferred to the downstream phosphate group. The transient phosphorane formed as a result of this nucleophilic attack decays by breaking the bond between the phosphate and the ribose oxygen. In the resulting intermediate, the dissociated but unprotonated leaving group forms an alkoxide coordinated to magnesium ion B. In a second step, the reaction is completed by protonation of the leaving group, with a neutral Asp132 as a likely proton donor. The overall reaction barrier of ∼15 kcal mol(-1), encountered in the first step, together with the cost of protonating Asp132, is consistent with the slow measured rate of ∼1-100/min. The two-step mechanism is also consistent with the bell-shaped pH dependence of the reaction rate. The nonmonotonic relative motion of the magnesium ions along the reaction pathway agrees with X-ray crystal structures. Proton-transfer reactions and changes in the metal ion coordination emerge as central factors in the RNA-cleavage reaction. PMID:21539371

  9. Evolutionary dynamics of phenotype-structured populations: from individual-level mechanisms to population-level consequences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chisholm, Rebecca H.; Lorenzi, Tommaso; Desvillettes, Laurent; Hughes, Barry D.

    2016-08-01

    Epigenetic mechanisms are increasingly recognised as integral to the adaptation of species that face environmental changes. In particular, empirical work has provided important insights into the contribution of epigenetic mechanisms to the persistence of clonal species, from which a number of verbal explanations have emerged that are suited to logical testing by proof-of-concept mathematical models. Here, we present a stochastic agent-based model and a related deterministic integrodifferential equation model for the evolution of a phenotype-structured population composed of asexually-reproducing and competing organisms which are exposed to novel environmental conditions. This setting has relevance to the study of biological systems where colonising asexual populations must survive and rapidly adapt to hostile environments, like pathogenesis, invasion and tumour metastasis. We explore how evolution might proceed when epigenetic variation in gene expression can change the reproductive capacity of individuals within the population in the new environment. Simulations and analyses of our models clarify the conditions under which certain evolutionary paths are possible and illustrate that while epigenetic mechanisms may facilitate adaptation in asexual species faced with environmental change, they can also lead to a type of "epigenetic load" and contribute to extinction. Moreover, our results offer a formal basis for the claim that constant environments favour individuals with low rates of stochastic phenotypic variation. Finally, our model provides a "proof of concept" of the verbal hypothesis that phenotypic stability is a key driver in rescuing the adaptive potential of an asexual lineage and supports the notion that intense selection pressure can, to an extent, offset the deleterious effects of high phenotypic instability and biased epimutations, and steer an asexual population back from the brink of an evolutionary dead end.

  10. 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

  11. Novel molecular mechanisms and regeneration therapy for heart failure.

    PubMed

    Oka, Toru; Morita, Hiroyuki; Komuro, Issei

    2016-03-01

    Heart failure (HF) is one of the leading causes of mortality in the world. Various molecular mechanisms have been proposed for HF, but its precise mechanisms are still largely unknown. In this review, summarizing the "President's Distinguished Lecture Award" of XX World Congress of International Society for Heart Research 2010 in Kyoto, Japan, we introduce recent our studies on HF, including 1) p53-induced suppression of Hif-1-induced angiogenesis as a novel mechanism of HF, 2) angiogenesis as a potential therapeutic strategy for HF, and 3) IGFBP-4 as a novel factor for cardiomyogenesis by inhibiting canonical Wnt signaling. PMID:26829118

  12. Investigation of deformation mechanisms of staggered nanocomposites using molecular dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mathiazhagan, S.; Anup, S.

    2016-08-01

    Biological materials with nanostructure of regularly or stair-wise staggered arrangements of hard platelets reinforced in a soft protein matrix have superior mechanical properties. Applications of these nanostructures to ceramic matrix composites could enhance their toughness. Using molecular dynamics simulations, mechanical behaviour of the bio-inspired nanocomposites is studied. Regularly staggered model shows better flow behaviour compared to stair-wise staggered model due to the symmetrical crack propagation along the interface. Though higher stiffness and strength are obtained for stair-wise staggered models, rapid crack propagation reduces the toughness. Arresting this crack propagation could lead to superior mechanical properties in stair-wise staggered models.

  13. Comparative mitochondrial genome analysis reveals the evolutionary rearrangement mechanism in Brassica.

    PubMed

    Yang, J; Liu, G; Zhao, N; Chen, S; Liu, D; Ma, W; Hu, Z; Zhang, M

    2016-05-01

    The genus Brassica has many species that are important for oil, vegetable and other food products. Three mitochondrial genome types (mitotype) originated from its common ancestor. In this paper, a B. nigra mitochondrial main circle genome with 232,407 bp was generated through de novo assembly. Synteny analysis showed that the mitochondrial genomes of B. rapa and B. oleracea had a better syntenic relationship than B. nigra. Principal components analysis and development of a phylogenetic tree indicated maternal ancestors of three allotetraploid species in Us triangle of Brassica. Diversified mitotypes were found in allotetraploid B. napus, in which napus-type B. napus was derived from B. oleracea, while polima-type B. napus was inherited from B. rapa. In addition, the mitochondrial genome of napus-type B. napus was closer to botrytis-type than capitata-type B. oleracea. The sub-stoichiometric shifting of several mitochondrial genes suggested that mitochondrial genome rearrangement underwent evolutionary selection during domestication and/or plant breeding. Our findings clarify the role of diploid species in the maternal origin of allotetraploid species in Brassica and suggest the possibility of breeding selection of the mitochondrial genome. PMID:27079962

  14. Molecular mechanics methods for individual carbon nanotubes and nanotube assemblies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eberhardt, Oliver; Wallmersperger, Thomas

    2015-04-01

    Since many years, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been considered for a wide range of applications due to their outstanding mechanical properties. CNTs are tubular structures, showing a graphene like hexagonal lattice. Our interest in the calculation of the mechanical properties is motivated by several applications which demand the knowledge of the material behavior. One application in which the knowledge of the material behavior is vital is the CNT based fiber. Due to the excellent stiffness and strength of the individual CNTs, these fibers are expected to be a promising successor for state of the art carbon fibers. However, the mechanical properties of the fibers fall back behind the properties of individual CNTs. It is assumed that this gap in the properties is a result of the van-der-Waals interactions of the individual CNTs within the fiber. In order to understand the mechanical behavior of the fibers we apply a molecular mechanics approach. The mechanical properties of the individual CNTs are investigated by using a modified structural molecular mechanics approach. This is done by calculating the properties of a truss-beam element framework representing the CNT with the help of a chemical force field. Furthermore, we also investigate the interactions of CNTs arranged in basic CNT assemblies, mimicking the ones in a simple CNT fiber. We consider the van-der-Waals interactions in the structure and calculate the potential surface of the CNT assemblies.

  15. Molecular mechanisms of peritoneal dissemination in gastric cancer

    PubMed Central

    Kanda, Mitsuro; Kodera, Yasuhiro

    2016-01-01

    Peritoneal dissemination represents a devastating form of gastric cancer (GC) progression with a dismal prognosis. There is no effective therapy for this condition. The 5-year survival rate of patients with peritoneal dissemination is 2%, even including patients with only microscopic free cancer cells without macroscopic peritoneal nodules. The mechanism of peritoneal dissemination of GC involves several steps: detachment of cancer cells from the primary tumor, survival in the free abdominal cavity, attachment to the distant peritoneum, invasion into the subperitoneal space and proliferation with angiogenesis. These steps are not mutually exclusive, and combinations of different molecular mechanisms can occur in each process of peritoneal dissemination. A comprehensive understanding of the molecular events involved in peritoneal dissemination is important and should be systematically pursued. It is crucial to identify novel strategies for the prevention of this condition and for identification of markers of prognosis and the development of molecular-targeted therapies. In this review, we provide an overview of recently published articles addressing the molecular mechanisms of peritoneal dissemination of GC to provide an update on what is currently known in this field and to propose novel promising candidates for use in diagnosis and as therapeutic targets. PMID:27570420

  16. Molecular mechanisms of peritoneal dissemination in gastric cancer.

    PubMed

    Kanda, Mitsuro; Kodera, Yasuhiro

    2016-08-14

    Peritoneal dissemination represents a devastating form of gastric cancer (GC) progression with a dismal prognosis. There is no effective therapy for this condition. The 5-year survival rate of patients with peritoneal dissemination is 2%, even including patients with only microscopic free cancer cells without macroscopic peritoneal nodules. The mechanism of peritoneal dissemination of GC involves several steps: detachment of cancer cells from the primary tumor, survival in the free abdominal cavity, attachment to the distant peritoneum, invasion into the subperitoneal space and proliferation with angiogenesis. These steps are not mutually exclusive, and combinations of different molecular mechanisms can occur in each process of peritoneal dissemination. A comprehensive understanding of the molecular events involved in peritoneal dissemination is important and should be systematically pursued. It is crucial to identify novel strategies for the prevention of this condition and for identification of markers of prognosis and the development of molecular-targeted therapies. In this review, we provide an overview of recently published articles addressing the molecular mechanisms of peritoneal dissemination of GC to provide an update on what is currently known in this field and to propose novel promising candidates for use in diagnosis and as therapeutic targets. PMID:27570420

  17. Structural insights into the molecular mechanism of the m(6)A writer complex.

    PubMed

    Śledź, Paweł; Jinek, Martin

    2016-01-01

    Methylation of adenosines at the N(6) position (m(6)A) is a dynamic and abundant epitranscriptomic mark that regulates critical aspects of eukaryotic RNA metabolism in numerous biological processes. The RNA methyltransferases METTL3 and METTL14 are components of a multisubunit m(6)A writer complex whose enzymatic activity is substantially higher than the activities of METTL3 or METTL14 alone. The molecular mechanism underpinning this synergistic effect is poorly understood. Here we report the crystal structure of the catalytic core of the human m(6)A writer complex comprising METTL3 and METTL14. The structure reveals the heterodimeric architecture of the complex and donor substrate binding by METTL3. Structure-guided mutagenesis indicates that METTL3 is the catalytic subunit of the complex, whereas METTL14 has a degenerate active site and plays non-catalytic roles in maintaining complex integrity and substrate RNA binding. These studies illuminate the molecular mechanism and evolutionary history of eukaryotic m(6)A modification in post-transcriptional genome regulation. PMID:27627798

  18. Evolution of the fruit endocarp: molecular mechanisms underlying adaptations in seed protection and dispersal strategies

    PubMed Central

    Dardick, Chris; Callahan, Ann M.

    2014-01-01

    Plant evolution is largely driven by adaptations in seed protection and dispersal strategies that allow diversification into new niches. This is evident by the tremendous variation in flowering and fruiting structures present both across and within different plant lineages. Within a single plant family a staggering variety of fruit types can be found such as fleshy fruits including berries, pomes, and drupes and dry fruit structures like achenes, capsules, and follicles. What are the evolutionary mechanisms that enable such dramatic shifts to occur in a relatively short period of time? This remains a fundamental question of plant biology today. On the surface it seems that these extreme differences in form and function must be the consequence of very different developmental programs that require unique sets of genes. Yet as we begin to decipher the molecular and genetic basis underlying fruit form it is becoming apparent that simple genetic changes in key developmental regulatory genes can have profound anatomical effects. In this review, we discuss recent advances in understanding the molecular mechanisms of fruit endocarp tissue differentiation that have contributed to species diversification within three plant lineages. PMID:25009543

  19. Evolutionary mechanism of the defects in the fluoride-containing phosphate based glasses induced by gamma radiation.

    PubMed

    Wang, Pengfei; He, Quanlong; Lu, Min; Li, Weinan; Peng, Bo

    2016-01-01

    In the laser driven inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experimental target chamber, like the 3ω (351 nm) laser irradiation, the irradiation of gamma ray and X-rays, will also cause the formation and increase of various defects in the investigated series of fluoride-containing phosphate based glasses that have potential use in novel high performance color separation optics. The induced defects contribute to the increase of absorption in the UV region, which will make the UV performance of these laser glasses deteriorated. Some of the induced defects can be bleached to some extent through the subsequent thermal treatment process, resulting from the release and capture of the electrons in conduction band. Through the gamma radiation and post-heat treatment experiments, a general model of the evolutionary mechanism of the defects in these fluoride-containing phosphate based glasses was proposed. PMID:26732043

  20. Evolutionary mechanism of the defects in the fluoride-containing phosphate based glasses induced by gamma radiation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Pengfei; He, Quanlong; Lu, Min; Li, Weinan; Peng, Bo

    2016-01-01

    In the laser driven inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experimental target chamber, like the 3ω (351 nm) laser irradiation, the irradiation of gamma ray and X-rays, will also cause the formation and increase of various defects in the investigated series of fluoride-containing phosphate based glasses that have potential use in novel high performance color separation optics. The induced defects contribute to the increase of absorption in the UV region, which will make the UV performance of these laser glasses deteriorated. Some of the induced defects can be bleached to some extent through the subsequent thermal treatment process, resulting from the release and capture of the electrons in conduction band. Through the gamma radiation and post-heat treatment experiments, a general model of the evolutionary mechanism of the defects in these fluoride-containing phosphate based glasses was proposed.

  1. Evolutionary mechanism of the defects in the fluoride-containing phosphate based glasses induced by gamma radiation

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Pengfei; He, Quanlong; Lu, Min; Li, Weinan; Peng, Bo

    2016-01-01

    In the laser driven inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experimental target chamber, like the 3ω (351 nm) laser irradiation, the irradiation of gamma ray and X-rays, will also cause the formation and increase of various defects in the investigated series of fluoride-containing phosphate based glasses that have potential use in novel high performance color separation optics. The induced defects contribute to the increase of absorption in the UV region, which will make the UV performance of these laser glasses deteriorated. Some of the induced defects can be bleached to some extent through the subsequent thermal treatment process, resulting from the release and capture of the electrons in conduction band. Through the gamma radiation and post-heat treatment experiments, a general model of the evolutionary mechanism of the defects in these fluoride-containing phosphate based glasses was proposed. PMID:26732043

  2. Quantum Mechanical/Molecular Mechanical Studies on Spectral Tuning Mechanisms of Visual Pigments and Other Photoactive Proteins†

    PubMed Central

    Altun, Ahmet; Yokoyama, Shozo; Morokuma, Keiji

    2008-01-01

    The protein environments surrounding the retinal tune electronic absorption maximum from 350 to 630 nm. Hybrid quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical (QM/MM) methods can be used in calculating excitation energies of retinal in its native protein environments and in studying the molecular basis of spectral tuning. We hereby review recent QM/MM results on the phototransduction of bovine rhodopsin, bacteriorhodopsin, sensory rhodopsin II, nonretinal photoactive yellow protein and their mutants. PMID:18331400

  3. Toward an evolutionary model of cancer: Considering the mechanisms that govern the fate of somatic mutations

    PubMed Central

    Rozhok, Andrii I.; DeGregori, James

    2015-01-01

    Our understanding of cancer has greatly advanced since Nordling [Nordling CO (1953) Br J Cancer 7(1):68–72] and Armitage and Doll [Armitage P, Doll R (1954) Br J Cancer 8(1):1–12] put forth the multistage model of carcinogenesis. However, a number of observations remain poorly understood from the standpoint of this paradigm in its contemporary state. These observations include the similar age-dependent exponential rise in incidence of cancers originating from stem/progenitor pools differing drastically in size, age-dependent cell division profiles, and compartmentalization. This common incidence pattern is characteristic of cancers requiring different numbers of oncogenic mutations, and it scales to very divergent life spans of mammalian species. Also, bigger mammals with larger underlying stem cell pools are not proportionally more prone to cancer, an observation known as Peto’s paradox. Here, we present a number of factors beyond the occurrence of oncogenic mutations that are unaccounted for in the current model of cancer development but should have significant impacts on cancer incidence. Furthermore, we propose a revision of the current understanding for how oncogenic and other functional somatic mutations affect cellular fitness. We present evidence, substantiated by evolutionary theory, demonstrating that fitness is a dynamic environment-dependent property of a phenotype and that oncogenic mutations should have vastly different fitness effects on somatic cells dependent on the tissue microenvironment in an age-dependent manner. Combined, this evidence provides a firm basis for understanding the age-dependent incidence of cancers as driven by age-altered systemic processes regulated above the cell level. PMID:26195756

  4. Toward an evolutionary model of cancer: Considering the mechanisms that govern the fate of somatic mutations.

    PubMed

    Rozhok, Andrii I; DeGregori, James

    2015-07-21

    Our understanding of cancer has greatly advanced since Nordling [Nordling CO (1953) Br J Cancer 7(1):68-72] and Armitage and Doll [Armitage P, Doll R (1954) Br J Cancer 8(1):1-12] put forth the multistage model of carcinogenesis. However, a number of observations remain poorly understood from the standpoint of this paradigm in its contemporary state. These observations include the similar age-dependent exponential rise in incidence of cancers originating from stem/progenitor pools differing drastically in size, age-dependent cell division profiles, and compartmentalization. This common incidence pattern is characteristic of cancers requiring different numbers of oncogenic mutations, and it scales to very divergent life spans of mammalian species. Also, bigger mammals with larger underlying stem cell pools are not proportionally more prone to cancer, an observation known as Peto's paradox. Here, we present a number of factors beyond the occurrence of oncogenic mutations that are unaccounted for in the current model of cancer development but should have significant impacts on cancer incidence. Furthermore, we propose a revision of the current understanding for how oncogenic and other functional somatic mutations affect cellular fitness. We present evidence, substantiated by evolutionary theory, demonstrating that fitness is a dynamic environment-dependent property of a phenotype and that oncogenic mutations should have vastly different fitness effects on somatic cells dependent on the tissue microenvironment in an age-dependent manner. Combined, this evidence provides a firm basis for understanding the age-dependent incidence of cancers as driven by age-altered systemic processes regulated above the cell level. PMID:26195756

  5. Of Fighting Flies, Mice, and Men: Are Some of the Molecular and Neuronal Mechanisms of Aggression Universal in the Animal Kingdom?

    PubMed Central

    Dierick, Herman A.

    2015-01-01

    Aggressive behavior is widespread in the animal kingdom, but the degree of molecular conservation between distantly related species is still unclear. Recent reports suggest that at least some of the molecular mechanisms underlying this complex behavior in flies show remarkable similarities with such mechanisms in mice and even humans. Surprisingly, some aspects of neuronal control of aggression also show remarkable similarity between these distantly related species. We will review these recent findings, address the evolutionary implications, and discuss the potential impact for our understanding of human diseases characterized by excessive aggression. PMID:26312756

  6. Electronic structure and conformation of polymers from cluster molecular orbital and molecular mechanics calculations: Polyimide

    SciTech Connect

    Kafafi, S.A. ); LaFemina, J.P. ); Nauss, J.L. )

    1990-11-21

    Full geometry optimizations using molecular mechanics and the quantum chemical AM1 method have been carried out to determine the minimum energy conformation of pyromellitic dianhydride-oxydianiline polyimide (PMDA-ODA PI). The phenyl-imide twist angle for this compound was determined to be {approximately}30. These computations also provided a quantitative determination of the energy gap (7 eV), electron affinity ({minus}2 eV), and ionization potential (8.97 eV). Computations on the PMDA-ODA PI radical anion provided an estimate of the hopping barrier for an electron to hop from one chain to another (3.2 eV), the mechanism believed responsible for photoconduction. Moreover, the use of qualitative molecular orbital theory (QMOT) arguments provided an interpretation of these results in a simple molecular orbital framework.

  7. Molecular Mechanisms of the Formation and Progression of Intracranial Aneurysms

    PubMed Central

    KATAOKA, Hiroharu

    2015-01-01

    Until recently, only a little was understood about molecular mechanisms of the development of an intracranial aneurysm (IA). Recent advancements over the last decade in the field of genetics and molecular biology have provided us a wide variety of evidences supporting the notion that chronic inflammation is closely associated with the pathogenesis of IA development. In the field of genetics, large-scale Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) has identified some IA susceptible loci and genes related to cell cycle and endothelial function. Researches in molecular biology using human samples and animal models have revealed the common pathway of the initiation, progression, and rupture of IAs. IA formation begins with endothelial dysfunction followed by pathological remodeling with degenerative changes of vascular walls. Medical treatments inhibiting inflammatory cascades in IA development are likely to prevent IA progression and rupture. Statins and aspirin are expected to suppress IA progression by their anti-inflammatory effects. Decoy oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) inhibiting inflammatory transcription factors such as nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) and Ets-1 are the other promising choice of the prevention of IA development. Further clarification of molecular mechanisms of the formation and progression of IAs will shed light to the pathogenesis of IA development and provide insight into novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for IAs. PMID:25761423

  8. Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Arrhythmia by Oxidative Stress

    PubMed Central

    Sovari, Ali A.

    2016-01-01

    Current therapies for arrhythmia using ion channel blockade, catheter ablation, or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator have limitations, and it is important to search for new antiarrhythmic therapeutic targets. Both atrial fibrillation and heart failure, a condition with increased arrhythmic risk, are associated with excess amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS). There are several possible ways for ROS to induce arrhythmia. ROS can cause focal activity and reentry. ROS alter multiple cardiac ionic currents. ROS promote cardiac fibrosis and impair gap junction function, resulting in reduced myocyte coupling and facilitation of reentry. In order to design effective antioxidant drugs for treatment of arrhythmia, it is essential to explore the molecular mechanisms by which ROS exert these arrhythmic effects. Activation of Ca2+/CaM-dependent kinase II, c-Src tyrosine kinase, protein kinase C, and abnormal splicing of cardiac sodium channels are among the recently discovered molecular mechanisms of ROS-induced arrhythmia. PMID:26981310

  9. Potential Molecular and Cellular Mechanism of Psychotropic Drugs

    PubMed Central

    Seo, Myoung Suk; Scarr, Elizabeth; Lai, Chi-Yu

    2014-01-01

    Psychiatric disorders are among the most debilitating of all medical illnesses. Whilst there are drugs that can be used to treat these disorders, they give sub-optimal recovery in many people and a significant number of individuals do not respond to any treatments and remain treatment resistant. Surprisingly, the mechanism by which psychotropic drugs cause their therapeutic benefits remain unknown but likely involves the underlying molecular pathways affected by the drugs. Hence, in this review, we have focused on recent findings on the molecular mechanism affected by antipsychotic, mood stabilizing and antidepressant drugs at the levels of epigenetics, intracellular signalling cascades and microRNAs. We posit that understanding these important interactions will result in a better understanding of how these drugs act which in turn may aid in considering how to develop drugs with better efficacy or increased therapeutic reach. PMID:25191500

  10. [Molecular mechanisms of the plague pathogenic agent interaction with invertebrates].

    PubMed

    Kutyrev, V V; Eroshenko, G A; Popov, N V; Vidiaeva, N A; Konnov, N P

    2009-01-01

    Microbe Russian Anti-Plague Research Institute, Saratov, Russia The literature data and experimental results of the authors on the molecular basis of plague agent interaction with invertebrates are discussed. The details of the plague agent life cycle, its genome organization, and molecular genetic mechanisms of its survival in flea vector and on the nematode cuticule are discussed. The experimental data about the ability to form biofilms at abiotic and biotic surfaces in the Yersinia pestis strains of the main and non-main subspecies are presented. Mechanisms of horizontal and vertical transmission of plague agent are considered. The suggestion about participation of the new member in the complex parasitic biocenosis (nematode, vector parasite) is put forward. PMID:20050160

  11. Polycystic liver diseases: advanced insights into the molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Perugorria, Maria J.; Masyuk, Tatyana V.; Marin, Jose J.; Marzioni, Marco; Bujanda, Luis; LaRusso, Nicholas F.; Banales, Jesus M.

    2015-01-01

    Polycystic liver diseases are genetic disorders characterized by progressive bile duct dilatation and/or cyst development. The large volume of hepatic cysts causes different symptoms and complications such as abdominal distension, local pressure with back pain, hypertension, gastro-oesophageal reflux and dyspnea as well as bleeding, infection and rupture of the cysts. Current therapeutic strategies are based on surgical procedures and pharmacological management, which partially prevent or ameliorate the disease. However, as these treatments only show short-term and/or modest beneficial effects, liver transplantation is the only definitive therapy. Therefore, interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in disease pathogenesis is increasing so that new targets for therapy can be identified. In this Review, the genetic mechanisms underlying polycystic liver diseases and the most relevant molecular pathways of hepatic cystogenesis are discussed. Moreover, the main clinical and preclinical studies are highlighted and future directions in basic as well as clinical research are indicated. PMID:25266109

  12. Derivation of a Molecular Mechanics Force Field for Cholesterol

    SciTech Connect

    Cournia, Zoe; Vaiana, Andrea C.; Smith, Jeremy C.; Ullmann, G. Matthias M.

    2004-01-01

    As a necessary step toward realistic cholesterol:biomembrane simulations, we have derived CHARMM molecular mechanics force-field parameters for cholesterol. For the parametrization we use an automated method that involves fitting the molecular mechanics potential to both vibrational frequencies and eigenvector projections derived from quantum chemical calculations. Results for another polycyclic molecule, rhodamine 6G, are also given. The usefulness of the method is thus demonstrated by the use of reference data from two molecules at different levels of theory. The frequency-matching plots for both cholesterol and rhodamine 6G show overall agreement between the CHARMM and quantum chemical normal modes, with frequency matching for both molecules within the error range found in previous benchmark studies.

  13. Molecular Mechanisms of Chromium in Alleviating Insulin Resistance

    PubMed Central

    Hua, Yinan; Clark, Suzanne; Ren, Jun; Sreejayan, Nair

    2011-01-01

    Type 2 diabetes is often associated with obesity, dyslipidemia, and cardiovascular anomalies and is a major health problem approaching global epidemic proportions. Insulin resistance, a prediabetic condition, precedes the onset of frank type 2 diabetes and offers potential avenues for early intervention to treat the disease. Although lifestyle modifications and exercise can reduce the incidence of diabetes, compliance has proved to be difficult, warranting pharmacological interventions. However, most of the currently available drugs that improve insulin sensitivity have adverse effects. Therefore, attractive strategies to alleviate insulin resistance include dietary supplements. One such supplement is chromium, which has been shown reduce insulin resistance in some, but not all, studies. Furthermore, the molecular mechanisms of chromium in alleviating insulin resistance remain elusive. This review examines emerging reports on the effect of chromium, as well as molecular and cellular mechanisms by which chromium may provide beneficial effects in alleviating insulin resistance. PMID:22423897

  14. New Insights Into Molecular Mechanisms of Diabetic Kidney Disease

    PubMed Central

    Badal, Shawn S.; Danesh, Farhad R.

    2014-01-01

    Diabetic kidney disease remains a major microvascular complication of diabetes and the most common cause of chronic kidney failure requiring dialysis in the United States. Medical advances over the past century have substantially improved the management of diabetes mellitus and thereby have increased patient survival. However, current standards of care reduce but do not eliminate the risk of diabetic kidney disease, and further studies are warranted to define new strategies for reducing the risk of diabetic kidney disease. In this review, we highlight some of the novel and established molecular mechanisms that contribute to the development of the disease and its outcomes. In particular, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms implicated in the pathogenesis and progression of diabetic kidney disease, with special emphasis on the mitochondrial oxidative stress and microRNA targets. Additionally, candidate genes associated with susceptibility to diabetic kidney disease and alterations in various cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors are addressed briefly. PMID:24461730

  15. The strawberry plant defense mechanism: a molecular review.

    PubMed

    Amil-Ruiz, Francisco; Blanco-Portales, Rosario; Muñoz-Blanco, Juan; Caballero, José L

    2011-11-01

    Strawberry, a small fruit crop of great importance throughout the world, has been considered a model plant system for Rosaceae, and is susceptible to a large variety of phytopathogenic organisms. Most components and mechanisms of the strawberry defense network remain poorly understood. However, from current knowledge, it seems clear that the ability of a strawberry plant to respond efficiently to pathogens relies first on the physiological status of injured tissue (pre-formed mechanisms of defense) and secondly on the general ability to recognize and identify the invaders by surface plant receptors, followed by a broad range of induced mechanisms, which include cell wall reinforcement, production of reactive oxygen species, phytoalexin generation and pathogenesis-related protein accumulation. Dissection of these physiological responses at a molecular level will provide valuable information to improve future breeding strategies for new strawberry varieties and to engineer strawberry plants for durable and broad-spectrum disease resistance. In turn, this will lead to a reduction in use of chemicals and in environmental risks. Advances in the understanding of the molecular interplay between plant (mainly those considered model systems) and various classes of microbial pathogens have been made in the last two decades. However, major progress in the genetics and molecular biology of strawberry is still needed to uncover fully the way in which this elaborate plant innate immune system works. These fundamental insights will provide a conceptual framework for rational human intervention through new strawberry research approaches. In this review, we will provide a comprehensive overview and discuss recent advances in molecular research on strawberry defense mechanisms against pathogens. PMID:21984602

  16. Mechanisms of Ventricular Arrhythmias: From Molecular Fluctuations to Electrical Turbulence

    PubMed Central

    Qu, Zhilin; Weiss, James N.

    2015-01-01

    Ventricular arrhythmias have complex causes and mechanisms. Despite extensive investigation involving many clinical, experimental, and computational studies, effective biological therapeutics are still very limited. In this article, we review our current understanding of the mechanisms of ventricular arrhythmias by summarizing the state of knowledge spanning from the molecular scale to electrical wave behavior at the tissue and organ scales and how the complex nonlinear interactions integrate into the dynamics of arrhythmias in the heart. We discuss the challenges that we face in synthesizing these dynamics to develop safe and effective novel therapeutic approaches. PMID:25340965

  17. Mechanisms of ventricular arrhythmias: from molecular fluctuations to electrical turbulence.

    PubMed

    Qu, Zhilin; Weiss, James N

    2015-01-01

    Ventricular arrhythmias have complex causes and mechanisms. Despite extensive investigation involving many clinical, experimental, and computational studies, effective biological therapeutics are still very limited. In this article, we review our current understanding of the mechanisms of ventricular arrhythmias by summarizing the state of knowledge spanning from the molecular scale to electrical wave behavior at the tissue and organ scales and how the complex nonlinear interactions integrate into the dynamics of arrhythmias in the heart. We discuss the challenges that we face in synthesizing these dynamics to develop safe and effective novel therapeutic approaches. PMID:25340965

  18. Underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms in childhood irritable bowel syndrome.

    PubMed

    Chumpitazi, Bruno P; Shulman, Robert J

    2016-12-01

    Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects a large number of children throughout the world. The symptom expression of IBS is heterogeneous, and several factors which may be interrelated within the IBS biopsychosocial model play a role. These factors include visceral hyperalgesia, intestinal permeability, gut microbiota, psychosocial distress, gut inflammation, bile acids, food intolerance, colonic bacterial fermentation, and genetics. The molecular and cellular mechanisms of these factors are being actively investigated. In this mini-review, we present updates of these mechanisms and, where possible, relate the findings to childhood IBS. Mechanistic elucidation may lead to the identification of biomarkers as well as personalized childhood IBS therapies. PMID:26883355

  19. Molecular Mechanisms of Treg-Mediated T Cell Suppression

    PubMed Central

    Schmidt, Angelika; Oberle, Nina; Krammer, Peter H.

    2012-01-01

    CD4+CD25highFoxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) can suppress other immune cells and, thus, are critical mediators of peripheral self-tolerance. On the one hand, Tregs avert autoimmune disease and allergies. On the other hand, Tregs can prevent immune reactions against tumors and pathogens. Despite the importance of Tregs, the molecular mechanisms of suppression remain incompletely understood and controversial. Proliferation and cytokine production of CD4+CD25− conventional T cells (Tcons) can be inhibited directly by Tregs. In addition, Tregs can indirectly suppress Tcon activation via inhibition of the stimulatory capacity of antigen presenting cells. Direct suppression of Tcons by Tregs can involve immunosuppressive soluble factors or cell contact. Different mechanisms of suppression have been described, so far with no consensus on one universal mechanism. Controversies might be explained by the fact that different mechanisms may operate depending on the site of the immune reaction, on the type and activation state of the suppressed target cell as well as on the Treg activation status. Further, inhibition of T cell effector function can occur independently of suppression of proliferation. In this review, we summarize the described molecular mechanisms of suppression with a particular focus on suppression of Tcons and rapid suppression of T cell receptor-induced calcium (Ca2+), NFAT, and NF-κB signaling in Tcons by Tregs. PMID:22566933

  20. Molecular mechanisms and proposed targets for selected anticancer gold compounds.

    PubMed

    Casini, Angela; Messori, Luigi

    2011-01-01

    Nowadays, gold compounds constitute a family of very promising experimental agents for cancer treatment. Indeed, several gold(I) and gold(III) compounds were shown to manifest outstanding antiproliferative properties in vitro against selected human tumor cell lines and some of them performed remarkably well even in tumor models in vivo. Notably, the peculiar chemical properties of the gold centre impart innovative pharmacological profiles to gold-based metallodrugs most likely in relation to novel molecular mechanisms. The precise mechanisms through which cytotoxic gold compounds produce their biological effects are still largely unknown. Within this frame, the major aim of this review is to define the possible modes of action and the most probable biomolecular targets for a few representative gold compounds on which extensive biochemical and cellular data have been gathered. In particular, we will focus on auranofin and analogues, on gold(III) porphyrins and gold(III) dithiocarbamates. For these three families markedly distinct molecular mechanisms were recently invoked: a direct mitochondrial mechanism involving thioredoxin reductase inhibition in the case of the gold(I) complexes, the influence on some apoptotic proteins--i.e. MAPKs and Bcl-2--for gold(III) porphyrins, and the proteasome inhibition for gold(III) dithiocarbamates. In a few cases the distinct mechanisms may overlap. The general perspectives for the development of new gold compounds as effective anticancer agents with innovative modes of action are critically discussed. PMID:22039866

  1. Cardiovascular effects of cocaine: cellular, ionic and molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Turillazzi, E; Bello, S; Neri, M; Pomara, C; Riezzo, I; Fineschi, V

    2012-01-01

    Cocaine is a widely abused drug responsible for the majority of deaths ascribed to drug overdose. Many mechanisms have been proposed in order to explain the various cocaine associated cardiovascular complications. Conventionally, cocaine cardiotoxicity has been thought to be mediated indirectly through its sympathomimetic effect, i.e., by inhibiting the reuptake and thus increasing the levels of neuronal catecholamines at work on adrenoceptors. Increased oxidative stress, reactive oxygen species, and cocaine-induced apoptosis in the heart muscle have suggested a new way to understand the cardiotoxic effects of cocaine. More recent studies have led the attention to the interaction of cocaine and some metabolites with cardiac sodium, calcium and potassium channels. The current paper is aimed to investigate the molecular mechanisms of cocaine cardiotoxicity which have a specific clinical and forensic interest. From a clinical point of view the full knowledge of the exact mechanisms by which cocaine exerts cardio - vascular damage is essential to identify potential therapeutic targets and improve novel strategies for cocaine related cardiovascular diseases. From a forensic point of view, it is to be underlined that cocaine use is often associated to sudden death in young, otherwise healthy individuals. While such events are widely reported, the relationship between cardiac morphological alterations and molecular/cellular mechanisms is still controversial. In conclusion, the study of cocaine cardiovascular toxicity needs a strict collaboration between clinicians and pathologists which may be very effective in further dissecting the mechanisms underlying cocaine cardiotoxicity and understanding the cardiac cocaine connection. PMID:22856657

  2. Molecular mechanisms for vascular complications of targeted cancer therapies.

    PubMed

    Gopal, Srila; Miller, Kenneth B; Jaffe, Iris Z

    2016-10-01

    Molecularly targeted anti-cancer therapies have revolutionized cancer treatment by improving both quality of life and survival in cancer patients. However, many of these drugs are associated with cardiovascular toxicities that are sometimes dose-limiting. Moreover, the long-term cardiovascular consequences of these drugs, some of which are used chronically, are not yet known. Although the scope and mechanisms of the cardiac toxicities are better defined, the mechanisms for vascular toxicities are only beginning to be elucidated. This review summarizes what is known about the vascular adverse events associated with three classes of novel anti-cancer therapies: vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors, breakpoint cluster-Abelson (BCR-ABL) kinase inhibitors used to treat chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML) and immunomodulatory agents (IMiDs) used in myeloma therapeutics. Three of the best described vascular toxicities are reviewed including hypertension, increased risk of acute cardiovascular ischaemic events and arteriovenous thrombosis. The available data regarding the mechanism by which each therapy causes vascular complication are summarized. When data are limited, potential mechanisms are inferred from the known effects of inhibiting each target on vascular cell function and disease. Enhanced understanding of the molecular mechanisms of vascular side effects of targeted cancer therapy is necessary to effectively manage cancer patients and to design safer targeted cancer therapies for the future. PMID:27612952

  3. Genomic and molecular mechanisms for efficient biodegradation of aromatic dye.

    PubMed

    Sun, Su; Xie, Shangxian; Chen, Hu; Cheng, Yanbing; Shi, Yan; Qin, Xing; Dai, Susie Y; Zhang, Xiaoyu; Yuan, Joshua S

    2016-01-25

    Understanding the molecular mechanisms for aromatic compound degradation is crucial for the development of effective bioremediation strategies. We report the discovery of a novel phenomenon for improved degradation of Direct Red 5B azo dye by Irpex lacteus CD2 with lignin as a co-substrate. Transcriptomics analysis was performed to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of aromatic degradation in white rot fungus by comparing dye, lignin, and dye/lignin combined treatments. A full spectrum of lignin degradation peroxidases, oxidases, radical producing enzymes, and other relevant components were up-regulated under DR5B and lignin treatments. Lignin induced genes complemented the DR5B induced genes to provide essential enzymes and redox conditions for aromatic compound degradation. The transcriptomics analysis was further verified by manganese peroxidase (MnP) protein over-expression, as revealed by proteomics, dye decolorization assay by purified MnP and increased hydroxyl radical levels, as indicated by an iron reducing activity assay. Overall, the molecular and genomic mechanisms indicated that effective aromatic polymer degradation requires synergistic enzymes and radical-mediated oxidative reactions to form an effective network of chemical processes. This study will help to guide the development of effective bioremediation and biomass degradation strategies. PMID:26476316

  4. Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration in Spinal Muscular Atrophy

    PubMed Central

    Ahmad, Saif; Bhatia, Kanchan; Kannan, Annapoorna; Gangwani, Laxman

    2016-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive motor neuron disease with a high incidence and is the most common genetic cause of infant mortality. SMA is primarily characterized by degeneration of the spinal motor neurons that leads to skeletal muscle atrophy followed by symmetric limb paralysis, respiratory failure, and death. In humans, mutation of the Survival Motor Neuron 1 (SMN1) gene shifts the load of expression of SMN protein to the SMN2 gene that produces low levels of full-length SMN protein because of alternative splicing, which are sufficient for embryonic development and survival but result in SMA. The molecular mechanisms of the (a) regulation of SMN gene expression and (b) degeneration of motor neurons caused by low levels of SMN are unclear. However, some progress has been made in recent years that have provided new insights into understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of SMA pathogenesis. In this review, we have briefly summarized recent advances toward understanding of the molecular mechanisms of regulation of SMN levels and signaling mechanisms that mediate neurodegeneration in SMA. PMID:27042141

  5. [Progress in the molecular genetic mechanism of gonadoblastoma].

    PubMed

    Lili, Yu; Wanru, Dong; Minghui, Chen; Xiangyang, Kong

    2015-11-01

    Gonadoblastoma (GB), a rare in situ germ cell tumor derived from sex cord and germ cells, is closely associated with gonadal dysgenesis. About 80% of GB individuals exhibit 46, XY female phenotype while the others are 45, XY and 46, XX with disorders of sex development. Moreover, 35% of GB can eventually develop into malignant tumors, such as seminoma and dysgerminoma tumors. The molecular genetic mechanism of GB remains to be fully uncovered due to phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity. Increasing studies show that the formation of GB is closely related to genes regulating sexual differentiation and determination (e.g., SRY, WT1, SOX9, Foxl2, TSPY, etc), and is affected by the interaction of genetic and epigenetic regulation. Here we describe the clinical and pathological features, diagnosis and treatment of GB, and also summarize the molecular genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying the gonadal abnormalities that lead to GB. We analyze and construct the common gene regulatory networks related to the development of GB, and describe some obstacles and deficiencies in current studies to provide innovative perspectives on further studying the pathological and molecular mechanisms of GB. PMID:26582524

  6. Molecular structure and elastic properties of thermotropic liquid crystals: Integrated molecular dynamics—Statistical mechanical theory vs molecular field approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Capar, M. Ilk; Nar, A.; Ferrarini, A.; Frezza, E.; Greco, C.; Zakharov, A. V.; Vakulenko, A. A.

    2013-03-01

    The connection between the molecular structure of liquid crystals and their elastic properties, which control the director deformations relevant for electro-optic applications, remains a challenging objective for theories and computations. Here, we compare two methods that have been proposed to this purpose, both characterized by a detailed molecular level description. One is an integrated molecular dynamics-statistical mechanical approach, where the bulk elastic constants of nematics are calculated from the direct correlation function (DCFs) and the single molecule orientational distribution function [D. A. McQuarrie, Statistical Mechanics (Harper & Row, New York, 1973)]. The latter is obtained from atomistic molecular dynamics trajectories, together with the radial distribution function, from which the DCF is then determined by solving the Ornstein-Zernike equation. The other approach is based on a molecular field theory, where the potential of mean torque experienced by a mesogen in the liquid crystal phase is parameterized according to its molecular surface. In this case, the calculation of elastic constants is combined with the Monte Carlo sampling of single molecule conformations. Using these different approaches, but the same description, at the level of molecular geometry and torsional potentials, we have investigated the elastic properties of the nematic phase of two typical mesogens, 4'-n-pentyloxy-4-cyanobiphenyl and 4'-n-heptyloxy-4-cyanobiphenyl. Both methods yield K3(bend) >K1 (splay) >K2 (twist), although there are some discrepancies in the average elastic constants and in their anisotropy. These are interpreted in terms of the different approximations and the different ways of accounting for the structural properties of molecules in the two approaches. In general, the results point to the role of the molecular shape, which is modulated by the conformational freedom and cannot be fully accounted for by a single descriptor such as the aspect ratio.

  7. Molecular structure and elastic properties of thermotropic liquid crystals: integrated molecular dynamics--statistical mechanical theory vs molecular field approach.

    PubMed

    Ilk Capar, M; Nar, A; Ferrarini, A; Frezza, E; Greco, C; Zakharov, A V; Vakulenko, A A

    2013-03-21

    The connection between the molecular structure of liquid crystals and their elastic properties, which control the director deformations relevant for electro-optic applications, remains a challenging objective for theories and computations. Here, we compare two methods that have been proposed to this purpose, both characterized by a detailed molecular level description. One is an integrated molecular dynamics-statistical mechanical approach, where the bulk elastic constants of nematics are calculated from the direct correlation function (DCFs) and the single molecule orientational distribution function [D. A. McQuarrie, Statistical Mechanics (Harper & Row, New York, 1973)]. The latter is obtained from atomistic molecular dynamics trajectories, together with the radial distribution function, from which the DCF is then determined by solving the Ornstein-Zernike equation. The other approach is based on a molecular field theory, where the potential of mean torque experienced by a mesogen in the liquid crystal phase is parameterized according to its molecular surface. In this case, the calculation of elastic constants is combined with the Monte Carlo sampling of single molecule conformations. Using these different approaches, but the same description, at the level of molecular geometry and torsional potentials, we have investigated the elastic properties of the nematic phase of two typical mesogens, 4'-n-pentyloxy-4-cyanobiphenyl and 4'-n-heptyloxy-4-cyanobiphenyl. Both methods yield K3(bend) >K1 (splay) >K2 (twist), although there are some discrepancies in the average elastic constants and in their anisotropy. These are interpreted in terms of the different approximations and the different ways of accounting for the structural properties of molecules in the two approaches. In general, the results point to the role of the molecular shape, which is modulated by the conformational freedom and cannot be fully accounted for by a single descriptor such as the aspect ratio

  8. Nanostructure and molecular mechanics of spider dragline silk protein assemblies

    PubMed Central

    Keten, Sinan; Buehler, Markus J.

    2010-01-01

    Spider silk is a self-assembling biopolymer that outperforms most known materials in terms of its mechanical performance, despite its underlying weak chemical bonding based on H-bonds. While experimental studies have shown that the molecular structure of silk proteins has a direct influence on the stiffness, toughness and failure strength of silk, no molecular-level analysis of the nanostructure and associated mechanical properties of silk assemblies have been reported. Here, we report atomic-level structures of MaSp1 and MaSp2 proteins from the Nephila clavipes spider dragline silk sequence, obtained using replica exchange molecular dynamics, and subject these structures to mechanical loading for a detailed nanomechanical analysis. The structural analysis reveals that poly-alanine regions in silk predominantly form distinct and orderly beta-sheet crystal domains, while disorderly regions are formed by glycine-rich repeats that consist of 31-helix type structures and beta-turns. Our structural predictions are validated against experimental data based on dihedral angle pair calculations presented in Ramachandran plots, alpha-carbon atomic distances, as well as secondary structure content. Mechanical shearing simulations on selected structures illustrate that the nanoscale behaviour of silk protein assemblies is controlled by the distinctly different secondary structure content and hydrogen bonding in the crystalline and semi-amorphous regions. Both structural and mechanical characterization results show excellent agreement with available experimental evidence. Our findings set the stage for extensive atomistic investigations of silk, which may contribute towards an improved understanding of the source of the strength and toughness of this biological superfibre. PMID:20519206

  9. Evolutionary constraints over microsatellite abundance in larger mammals as a potential mechanism against carcinogenic burden

    PubMed Central

    Park, Jung Youn; An, Yong-Rock; An, Chul-Min; Kang, Jung-Ha; Kim, Eun Mi; Kim, Heebal; Cho, Seoae; Kim, Jaemin

    2016-01-01

    Larger organisms tend to live longer, have more potentially carcinogenic cells, and undergo more cell divisions. While one might intuitively expect cancer incidence to scale with body size, this assertion does not hold over the range of different mammals. Explaining this lack of correlation, so-called ‘Peto’s paradox’ can likely increase our understanding of how cancer defense mechanisms are shaped by natural selection. Here, we study the occurrence of microsatellite in mammal genomes and observe that animals with expanded body size restrain the number of microsatellite. To take into account of higher mutation rate in the microsatellite region compared to that of genome, limiting the abundance of somatic mutations might explain how larger organisms could overcome the burden of cancer. These observations may serve as the basis to better understand how evolution has modeled protective mechanisms against cancer development. PMID:27125812

  10. Evolutionary constraints over microsatellite abundance in larger mammals as a potential mechanism against carcinogenic burden.

    PubMed

    Park, Jung Youn; An, Yong-Rock; An, Chul-Min; Kang, Jung-Ha; Kim, Eun Mi; Kim, Heebal; Cho, Seoae; Kim, Jaemin

    2016-01-01

    Larger organisms tend to live longer, have more potentially carcinogenic cells, and undergo more cell divisions. While one might intuitively expect cancer incidence to scale with body size, this assertion does not hold over the range of different mammals. Explaining this lack of correlation, so-called 'Peto's paradox' can likely increase our understanding of how cancer defense mechanisms are shaped by natural selection. Here, we study the occurrence of microsatellite in mammal genomes and observe that animals with expanded body size restrain the number of microsatellite. To take into account of higher mutation rate in the microsatellite region compared to that of genome, limiting the abundance of somatic mutations might explain how larger organisms could overcome the burden of cancer. These observations may serve as the basis to better understand how evolution has modeled protective mechanisms against cancer development. PMID:27125812

  11. Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene: Mechanics, Morphology, and Clinical Behavior

    PubMed Central

    Sobieraj, MC; Rimnac, CM

    2013-01-01

    Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) is a semicrystalline polymer that has been used for over four decades as a bearing surface in total joint replacements. The mechanical properties and wear properties of UHMWPE are of interest with respect to the in vivo performance of UHMWPE joint replacement components. The mechanical properties of the polymer are dependent on both its crystalline and amorphous phases. Altering either phase (i.e., changing overall crystallinity, crystalline morphology, or crosslinking the amorphous phase) can affect the mechanical behavior of the material. There is also evidence that the morphology of UHMWPE, and, hence, its mechanical properties evolve with loading. UHMWPE has also been shown to be susceptible to oxidative degradation following gamma radiation sterilization with subsequent loss of mechanical properties. Contemporary UHMWPE sterilization methods have been developed to reduce or eliminate oxidative degradation. Also, crosslinking of UHMWPE has been pursued to improve the wear resistance of UHMWPE joint components. The 1st generation of highly crosslinked UHMWPEs have resulted in clinically reduced wear; however, the mechanical properties of these materials, such as ductility and fracture toughness, are reduced when compared to the virgin material. Therefore, a 2nd generation of highly crosslinked UHMWPEs are being introduced to preserve the wear resistance of the 1st generation while also seeking to provide oxidative stability and improved mechanical properties. PMID:19627849

  12. Hyperthermophilic Enzymes: Sources, Uses, and Molecular Mechanisms for Thermostability

    PubMed Central

    Vieille, Claire; Zeikus, Gregory J.

    2001-01-01

    Enzymes synthesized by hyperthermophiles (bacteria and archaea with optimal growth temperatures of >80°C), also called hyperthermophilic enzymes, are typically thermostable (i.e., resistant to irreversible inactivation at high temperatures) and are optimally active at high temperatures. These enzymes share the same catalytic mechanisms with their mesophilic counterparts. When cloned and expressed in mesophilic hosts, hyperthermophilic enzymes usually retain their thermal properties, indicating that these properties are genetically encoded. Sequence alignments, amino acid content comparisons, crystal structure comparisons, and mutagenesis experiments indicate that hyperthermophilic enzymes are, indeed, very similar to their mesophilic homologues. No single mechanism is responsible for the remarkable stability of hyperthermophilic enzymes. Increased thermostability must be found, instead, in a small number of highly specific alterations that often do not obey any obvious traffic rules. After briefly discussing the diversity of hyperthermophilic organisms, this review concentrates on the remarkable thermostability of their enzymes. The biochemical and molecular properties of hyperthermophilic enzymes are described. Mechanisms responsible for protein inactivation are reviewed. The molecular mechanisms involved in protein thermostabilization are discussed, including ion pairs, hydrogen bonds, hydrophobic interactions, disulfide bridges, packing, decrease of the entropy of unfolding, and intersubunit interactions. Finally, current uses and potential applications of thermophilic and hyperthermophilic enzymes as research reagents and as catalysts for industrial processes are described. PMID:11238984

  13. Linking traits based on their shared molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Oren, Yael; Nachshon, Aharon; Frishberg, Amit; Wilentzik, Roni; Gat-Viks, Irit

    2015-01-01

    There is growing recognition that co-morbidity and co-occurrence of disease traits are often determined by shared genetic and molecular mechanisms. In most cases, however, the specific mechanisms that lead to such trait–trait relationships are yet unknown. Here we present an analysis of a broad spectrum of behavioral and physiological traits together with gene-expression measurements across genetically diverse mouse strains. We develop an unbiased methodology that constructs potentially overlapping groups of traits and resolves their underlying combination of genetic loci and molecular mechanisms. For example, our method predicts that genetic variation in the Klf7 gene may influence gene transcripts in bone marrow-derived myeloid cells, which in turn affect 17 behavioral traits following morphine injection; this predicted effect of Klf7 is consistent with an in vitro perturbation of Klf7 in bone marrow cells. Our analysis demonstrates the utility of studying hidden causative mechanisms that lead to relationships between complex traits. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.04346.001 PMID:25781485

  14. Molecular Mechanism of Active Zone Organization at Vertebrate Neuromuscular Junctions

    PubMed Central

    Nishimune, Hiroshi

    2013-01-01

    Organization of presynaptic active zones is essential for development, plasticity, and pathology of the nervous system. Recent studies indicate a trans-synaptic molecular mechanism that organizes the active zones by connecting the pre- and the postsynaptic specialization. The presynaptic component of this trans-synaptic mechanism is comprised of cytosolic active zone proteins bound to the cytosolic domains of voltage-dependent calcium channels (P/Q-, N-, and L-type) on the presynaptic membrane. The postsynaptic component of this mechanism is the synapse organizer (laminin β2) that is expressed by the postsynaptic cell and accumulates specifically on top of the postsynaptic specialization. The pre- and the postsynaptic components interact directly between the extracellular domains of calcium channels and laminin β2 to anchor the presynaptic protein complex in front of the postsynaptic specialization. Hence, the presynaptic calcium channel functions as a scaffolding protein for active zone organization and as an ion-conducting channel for synaptic transmission. In contrast to the requirement of calcium influx for synaptic transmission, the formation of the active zone does not require the calcium influx through the calcium channels. Importantly, the active zones of adult synapses are not stable structures and require maintenance for their integrity. Furthermore, aging or diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system impair the active zones. This review will focus on the molecular mechanisms that organize the presynaptic active zones and summarize recent findings at the neuromuscular junctions and other synapses. PMID:22135013

  15. The porA gene in serogroup A meningococci: evolutionary stability and mechanism of genetic variation.

    PubMed

    Suker, J; Feavers, I M; Achtman, M; Morelli, G; Wang, J F; Maiden, M C

    1994-04-01

    Molecular analyses were applied to the genes encoding variants of the serosubtyping antigen, the class 1 outer membrane protein (PorA), from 55 serogroup A Neisseria meningitidis strains. These genes were evolutionarily stable and exhibited a limited range of genetic variation, primarily generated by recombination. Translation of the gene sequences revealed a total of 19 distinct amino acid sequences in the variable regions of the protein, 6 of which were not recognized by currently available serosubtyping monoclonal antibodies. Knowledge of these amino acid sequences permitted a rational re-assignment of serosubtype names. Comparison of the complete genes with porA gene sequences from serogroup B and C meningococci showed that serogroup A possessed a limited number of the possible porA genes from a globally distributed gene pool. Each serogroup A subgroup was characterized by one of four porA gene types, probably acquired upon subgroup divergence, which was stable over periods of decades and during epidemiological spread. Comparison with other variable genes (pil and iga) indicated that the three alleles were independently assorted within the subgroup, suggesting that their gene types were older than the subgroups in which they occurred. PMID:8057850

  16. Evolutionary conservation of vertebrate blood-brain barrier chemoprotective mechanisms in Drosophila

    PubMed Central

    Mayer, Fahima; Mayer, Nasima; Chinn, Leslie; Pinsonneault, Robert L.; Kroetz, Deanna; Bainton, Roland J.

    2011-01-01

    Pharmacologic remedy of many brain diseases is difficult because of the powerful drug exclusion properties of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Chemical isolation of the vertebrate brain is achieved through the highly integrated, anatomically compact and functionally overlapping chemical isolation processes of the BBB. These include functions that need to be coordinated between tight diffusion junctions and unidirectionally-acting xenobiotic transporters. Understanding of many of these processes has been hampered, as they are not well mimicked by ex vivo models of the BBB and have been experimentally difficult and expensive to disentangle in intact rodent models. Here we show that the Drosophila melanogaster (Dm) humoral/CNS barrier conserves the xenobiotic exclusion properties found in the vertebrate vascular endothelium. We characterize a fly ABC transporter, Mdr65, that functions similar to mammalian xenobiotic BBB transporters and show that varying its levels solely in the Dm BBB changes the inherent sensitivity of the barrier to cytotoxic pharmaceuticals. Furthermore we demonstrate orthologous function between Mdr65 and vertebrate ABC transporters by rescuing chemical protection of the Dm brain with human MDR1/Pgp. These data indicate that the ancient origins of CNS chemoprotection extend to both conserved molecular means and functionally analogous anatomic spaces that together promote CNS selective drug partition. Thus, Dm presents an experimentally tractable system for analyzing physiological properties of the BBB in an intact organism. PMID:19295159

  17. Molecular mechanisms of coronavirus RNA capping and methylation.

    PubMed

    Chen, Yu; Guo, Deyin

    2016-02-01

    The 5'-cap structures of eukaryotic mRNAs are important for RNA stability, pre-mRNA splicing, mRNA export, and protein translation. Many viruses have evolved mechanisms for generating their own cap structures with methylation at the N7 position of the capped guanine and the ribose 2'-Oposition of the first nucleotide, which help viral RNAs escape recognition by the host innate immune system. The RNA genomes of coronavirus were identified to have 5'-caps in the early 1980s. However, for decades the RNA capping mechanisms of coronaviruses remained unknown. Since 2003, the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus has drawn increased attention and stimulated numerous studies on the molecular virology of coronaviruses. Here, we review the current understanding of the mechanisms adopted by coronaviruses to produce the 5'-cap structure and methylation modification of viral genomic RNAs. PMID:26847650

  18. MOLECULAR MECHANISM OF URANIUM REDUCTION BY CLOSTRIDIA AND ITS MANIPULATION.

    SciTech Connect

    FRANCIS, A.J.; GAO, W.; CHIDAMBARAM, D.; DODGE, C.J.

    2006-11-16

    This research addresses the need for detailed studies of the enzymatic mechanisms for reduction of radionuclides and/or metals by fermentative microorganisms. The overall objective of this research is to elucidate systematically the molecular mechanisms involved in the reduction of uranium by Clostridia. We propose to (1) determine the role of hydrogenases in uranium reduction, (2) purify the enzymes involved in uranium reduction, (3) determine the mechanisms of reduction, e.g., one or two electron transfer reactions, and (4) elucidate the genetic control of the enzymes and cellular factors involved in uranium reduction. This is a collaborative study between BNL and Stanford University involving expertise in biomolecular science, biochemistry, microbiology, and electrochemistry.

  19. Molecular Mechanism of Uranium Reduction by Clostridia and its Manipulation

    SciTech Connect

    A. J. Francis; W. Gao, D. Chidambaram; C.J. Dodge

    2006-06-01

    This research addresses the need for detailed studies of the enzymatic mechanisms for reduction of radionuclides and/or metals by fermentative microorganisms. The overall objective of this research is to elucidate systematically the molecular mechanisms involved in the reduction of uranium by Clostridia. We propose to (1) determine the role of hydrogenases in uranium reduction, (22) purify the enzymes involved in uranium reduction, (3) determine the mechanisms of reduction, e.g., one or two electron transfer reactions, and (4) elucidate the genetic control of the enzymes and cellular factors involved in uranium reduction. This is a collaborative study between BNL and Stanford University involving expertise in biomolecular science, biochemistry, microbiology, and electrochemistry.

  20. Molecular mechanisms of drug resistance and its reversal in cancer.

    PubMed

    Kartal-Yandim, Melis; Adan-Gokbulut, Aysun; Baran, Yusuf

    2016-08-01

    Chemotherapy is the main strategy for the treatment of cancer. However, the main problem limiting the success of chemotherapy is the development of multidrug resistance. The resistance can be intrinsic or acquired. The resistance phenotype is associated with the tumor cells that gain a cross-resistance to a large range of drugs that are structurally and functionally different. Multidrug resistance arises via many unrelated mechanisms, such as overexpression of energy-dependent efflux proteins, decrease in uptake of the agents, increase or alteration in drug targets, modification of cell cycle checkpoints, inactivation of the agents, compartmentalization of the agents, inhibition of apoptosis and aberrant bioactive sphingolipid metabolism. Exact elucidation of resistance mechanisms and molecular and biochemical approaches to overcome multidrug resistance have been a major goal in cancer research. This review comprises the mechanisms guiding multidrug resistance in cancer chemotherapy and also touches on approaches for reversing the resistance. PMID:25757878

  1. Physiological, Molecular and Genetic Mechanisms of Long-Term Habituation

    SciTech Connect

    Calin-Jageman, Robert J

    2009-09-12

    Work funded on this grant has explored the mechanisms of long-term habituation, a ubiquitous form of learning that plays a key role in basic cognitive functioning. Specifically, behavioral, physiological, and molecular mechanisms of habituation have been explored using a simple model system, the tail-elicited siphon-withdrawal reflex (T-SWR) in the marine mollusk Aplysia californica. Substantial progress has been made on the first and third aims, providing some fundamental insights into the mechanisms by which memories are stored. We have characterized the physiological correlates of short- and long-term habituation. We found that short-term habituation is accompanied by a robust sensory adaptation, whereas long-term habituation is accompanied by alterations in sensory and interneuron synaptic efficacy. Thus, our data indicates memories can be shifted between different sites in a neural network as they are consolidated from short to long term. At the molecular level, we have accomplished microarray analysis comparing gene expression in both habituated and control ganglia. We have identified a network of putatively regulated transcripts that seems particularly targeted towards synaptic changes (e.g. SNAP25, calmodulin) . We are now beginning additional work to confirm regulation of these transcripts and build a more detailed understanding of the cascade of molecular events leading to the permanent storage of long-term memories. On the third aim, we have fostered a nascent neuroscience program via a variety of successful initiatives. We have funded over 11 undergraduate neuroscience scholars, several of whom have been recognized at national and regional levels for their research. We have also conducted a pioneering summer research program for community college students which is helping enhance access of underrepresented groups to life science careers. Despite minimal progress on the second aim, this project has provided a) novel insight into the network mechanisms by

  2. Universal effect of dynamical reinforcement learning mechanism in spatial evolutionary games

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Hai-Feng; Wu, Zhi-Xi; Wang, Bing-Hong

    2012-06-01

    One of the prototypical mechanisms in understanding the ubiquitous cooperation in social dilemma situations is the win-stay, lose-shift rule. In this work, a generalized win-stay, lose-shift learning model—a reinforcement learning model with dynamic aspiration level—is proposed to describe how humans adapt their social behaviors based on their social experiences. In the model, the players incorporate the information of the outcomes in previous rounds with time-dependent aspiration payoffs to regulate the probability of choosing cooperation. By investigating such a reinforcement learning rule in the spatial prisoner's dilemma game and public goods game, a most noteworthy viewpoint is that moderate greediness (i.e. moderate aspiration level) favors best the development and organization of collective cooperation. The generality of this observation is tested against different regulation strengths and different types of network of interaction as well. We also make comparisons with two recently proposed models to highlight the importance of the mechanism of adaptive aspiration level in supporting cooperation in structured populations.

  3. Studies on the molecular mechanisms of seed germination.

    PubMed

    Han, Chao; Yang, Pingfang

    2015-05-01

    Seed germination that begins with imbibition and ends with radicle emergence is the first step for plant growth. Successful germination is not only crucial for seedling establishment but also important for crop yield. After being dispersed from mother plant, seed undergoes continuous desiccation in ecosystem and selects proper environment to trigger germination. Owing to the contribution of transcriptomic, proteomic, and molecular biological studies, molecular aspect of seed germination is elucidated well in Arabidopsis. Recently, more and more proteomic and genetic studies concerning cereal seed germination were performed on rice (Oryza sativa) and barley (Hordeum vulgare), which possess completely different seed structure and domestication background with Arabidopsis. In this review, both the common features and the distinct mechanisms of seed germination are compared among different plant species including Arabidopsis, rice, and maize. These features include morphological changes, cell and its related structure recovery, metabolic activation, hormone behavior, and transcription and translation activation. This review will provide more comprehensive insights into the molecular mechanisms of seed germination. PMID:25597791

  4. New insights into the molecular mechanisms of action of bisphosphonates.

    PubMed

    Rogers, Michael J

    2003-01-01

    Bisphosphonates are currently the most important and effective class of anti-resorptive drugs available, but the exact molecular mechanisms by which they inhibit osteoclast-mediated bone resorption have only recently been identified. Due to the targeting of bisphosphonates to bone mineral and the ability of osteoclasts to release bone-bound bisphosphonate, a direct effect on mature osteoclasts appears to be the most important route of action. As a result of recent discoveries concerning their molecular mechanism of action, bisphosphonates can be grouped into two classes. The simple bisphosphonates that closely resemble PPi (such as clodronate, etidronate and tiludronate) can be metabolically incorporated into non-hydrolysable analogues of ATP that accumulate intracellularly in osteoclasts, resulting in induction of osteoclast apoptosis. By contrast, the more potent, nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates (such as pamidronate, alendronate, risedronate, ibandronate and zoledronate) appear to act as analogues of isoprenoid diphosphate lipids, thereby inhibiting FPP synthase, an enzyme in the mevalonate pathway. Inhibition of this enzyme in osteoclasts prevents the biosynthesis of isoprenoid lipids (FPP and GGPP) that are essential for the post-translational farnesylation and geranylgeranylation of small GTPase signalling proteins. Loss of bone-resorptive activity and osteoclast apoptosis is due primarily to loss of geranylgeranylated small GTPases. Identification of FPP synthase as the target of nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates has also helped explain the molecular basis for the adverse effects of these agents in the GI tract and on the immune system. PMID:14529538

  5. Molecular mechanisms of foliar water uptake in a desert tree.

    PubMed

    Yan, Xia; Zhou, Maoxian; Dong, Xicun; Zou, Songbing; Xiao, Honglang; Ma, Xiao-Fei

    2015-01-01

    Water deficits severely affect growth, particularly for the plants in arid and semiarid regions of the world. In addition to precipitation, other subsidiary water, such as dew, fog, clouds and small rain showers, may also be absorbed by leaves in a process known as foliar water uptake. With the severe scarcity of water in desert regions, this process is increasingly becoming a necessity. Studies have reported on physical and physiological processes of foliar water uptake. However, the molecular mechanisms remain less understood. As major channels for water regulation and transport, aquaporins (AQPs) are involved in this process. However, due to the regulatory complexity and functional diversity of AQPs, their molecular mechanism for foliar water uptake remains unclear. In this study, Tamarix ramosissima, a tree species widely distributed in desert regions, was investigated for gene expression patterns of AQPs and for sap flow velocity. Our results suggest that the foliar water uptake of T. ramosissima occurs in natural fields at night when the humidity is over a threshold of 85 %. The diurnal gene expression pattern of AQPs suggests that most AQP gene expressions display a circadian rhythm, and this could affect both photosynthesis and transpiration. At night, the PIP2-1 gene is also upregulated with increased relative air humidity. This gene expression pattern may allow desert plants to regulate foliar water uptake to adapt to extreme drought. This study suggests a molecular basis of foliar water uptake in desert plants. PMID:26567212

  6. Molecular mechanisms of IgE mediated food allergy.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Sandeep; Verma, Alok Kumar; Das, Mukul; Dwivedi, Premendra D

    2012-08-01

    The purpose of this review is to collate current knowledge and recent advances in molecular mechanism behind the immediate type hypersensitivity of foods. Food allergy is a growing concern of human health in developed as well as developing countries now days. Food allergic reactions are mostly IgE mediated and also known as immediate type hypersensitivity or type I reaction. This review encompasses a wide range of molecular events during IgE mediated reactions like primary exposure of allergens, processing of allergens by antigen presenting cells, role of transcription factors like GATA-3, STAT-6, NF-AT, c-maf, c-kit and NF-κB, Treg cells, toll like receptors, cytokines and chemokines, class switch to IgE, FcεR1 receptor, priming of IgE on mast cells or basophils, signaling events followed by secondary exposure of allergens, degranulation and release of mediators like leukotrienes, histamines, prostaglandins, β-hexosaminidase and ultimately anaphylaxis. This review may be helpful to beginners as well as experts working in the field of allergy and immunology because of the stepwise explanations of molecular mechanisms involved in IgE mediated reactions. PMID:22668720

  7. Non Equilibrium Transformations of Molecular Compounds Induced Mechanically

    SciTech Connect

    Descamps, M.; Willart, J. F.; Dudognon, E.

    2006-05-05

    Results clarifying the effects of mechanical milling on molecular solids are shortly reviewed. Special attention has been paid to the temperature of milling with regard to the glass transition temperature of the compounds. It is shown that decreasing the grinding temperature has for incidence to increase the amorphization tendency whereas milling above Tg produces a crystal-to-crystal transformation between polymorphic varieties. These observations contradict the usual proposition that grinding transforms the physical state only by a heating effect which induces a local melting. Equilibrium thermodynamics does not seem to be appropriate for describing the process. The driven alloys concept offers a more rational framework to interpret the effect of the milling temperature. Other results are presented which demonstrate the possibility for grinding to realize low temperature solid state alloying which offers new promising ways to stabilize amorphous molecular solids. In a second part the effect of dehydration of a molecular hydrate is described. It is shown that the rate of the dehydration process is a driving force for this other type of mechanical non equilibrium transformation.

  8. Molecular mechanisms of foliar water uptake in a desert tree

    PubMed Central

    Yan, Xia; Zhou, Maoxian; Dong, Xicun; Zou, Songbing; Xiao, Honglang; Ma, Xiao-Fei

    2015-01-01

    Water deficits severely affect growth, particularly for the plants in arid and semiarid regions of the world. In addition to precipitation, other subsidiary water, such as dew, fog, clouds and small rain showers, may also be absorbed by leaves in a process known as foliar water uptake. With the severe scarcity of water in desert regions, this process is increasingly becoming a necessity. Studies have reported on physical and physiological processes of foliar water uptake. However, the molecular mechanisms remain less understood. As major channels for water regulation and transport, aquaporins (AQPs) are involved in this process. However, due to the regulatory complexity and functional diversity of AQPs, their molecular mechanism for foliar water uptake remains unclear. In this study, Tamarix ramosissima, a tree species widely distributed in desert regions, was investigated for gene expression patterns of AQPs and for sap flow velocity. Our results suggest that the foliar water uptake of T. ramosissima occurs in natural fields at night when the humidity is over a threshold of 85 %. The diurnal gene expression pattern of AQPs suggests that most AQP gene expressions display a circadian rhythm, and this could affect both photosynthesis and transpiration. At night, the PIP2-1 gene is also upregulated with increased relative air humidity. This gene expression pattern may allow desert plants to regulate foliar water uptake to adapt to extreme drought. This study suggests a molecular basis of foliar water uptake in desert plants. PMID:26567212

  9. Molecular mechanisms of cisplatin cytotoxicity in acute promyelocytic leukemia cells

    PubMed Central

    Kumar, Sanjay; Tchounwou, Paul B.

    2015-01-01

    Cis-diamminedichloroplatinum (II) (cisplatin) is a widely used anti-tumor drug for the treatment of a broad range of human malignancies with successful therapeutic outcomes for head and neck, ovarian, and testicular cancers. It has been found to inhibit cell cycle progression and to induce oxidative stress and apoptosis in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) cells. However, its molecular mechanisms of cytotoxic action are poorly understood. We hypothesized that cisplatin induces cytotoxicity through DNA adduct formation, oxidative stress, transcriptional factors (p53 and AP-1), cell cycle regulation, stress signaling and apoptosis in APL cells. We used the APL cell line as a model, and applied a variety of molecular tools to elucidate the cytototoxic mode of action of cisplatin. We found that cisplatin inhibited cell proliferation by a cytotoxicity, characterized by DNA damage and modulation of oxidative stress. Cisplatin also activated p53 and phosphorylated activator protein (AP-1) component, c-Jun at serine (63, 73) residue simultaneously leading to cell cycle arrest through stimulation of p21 and down regulation of cyclins and cyclin dependent kinases in APL cell lines. It strongly activated the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis through alteration of the mitochondrial membrane potential, release of cytochrome C, and up-regulation of caspase 3 activity. It also down regulated the p38MAPK pathway. Overall, this study highlights the molecular mechanisms that underline cisplatin toxicity to APL cells, and provides insights into selection of novel targets and/or design of therapeutic agents to treat APL. PMID:26486083

  10. Molecular mechanisms of mutagenesis determined by the recombinant DNA technology

    SciTech Connect

    Lee, W.R.

    1985-01-01

    A study of the alteration of the DNA in the mutant gene can determine mechanisms of mutation by distinguishing between mutations induced by transition, transversion, frameshifts of a single base and deletions involving many base pairs. The association of a specific pattern of response with a mutagen will permit detecting mutants induced by the mutagen with a reduced background by removing mutations induced by other mechanisms from the pool of potential mutants. From analyses of studies that have been conducted, it is quite apparent that there are substantial differences among mutagens in their modes of action. Of 31 x-ray induced mutants, 20 were large deletions while only 3 showed normal Southern blots. Only one mutant produced a sub-unit polypeptide of normal molecular weight and charge in the in vivo test whereas in vitro synthesis produced a second one. In contrast, nine of thirteen EMS induced mutants produced cross-reacting proteins with sub-unit polypeptide molecular weights equivalent to wild type. Two of three ENU induced mutants recently analyzed in our laboratory produced protein with sub-unit polypeptide molecular weight and electrical charge similar to the wild type stock in which the mutants were induced. One ENU induced mutation is a large deletion. 21 refs., 1 fig.

  11. Analysis of the Molecular Mechanisms of Reepithelialization in Drosophila Embryos

    PubMed Central

    Matsubayashi, Yutaka; Millard, Tom H.

    2016-01-01

    Significance: The epidermis provides the main barrier function of skin, and therefore its repair following wounding is an essential component of wound healing. Repair of the epidermis, also known as reepithelialization, occurs by collective migration of epithelial cells from around the wound edge across the wound until the advancing edges meet and fuse. Therapeutic manipulation of this process could potentially be used to accelerate wound healing. Recent Advances: It is difficult to analyze the cellular and molecular mechanisms of reepithelialization in human tissue, so a variety of model organisms have been used to improve our understanding of the process. One model system that has been especially useful is the embryo of the fruit fly Drosophila, which provides a simple, accessible model of the epidermis and can be manipulated genetically, allowing detailed analysis of reepithelialization at the molecular level. This review will highlight the key insights that have been gained from studying reepithelialization in Drosophila embryos. Critical Issues: Slow reepithelialization increases the risk of wounds becoming infected and ulcerous; therefore, the development of therapies to accelerate or enhance the process would be a great clinical advance. Improving our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie reepithelialization will help in the development of such therapies. Future Directions: Research in Drosophila embryos has identified a variety of genes and proteins involved in triggering and driving reepithelialization, many of which are conserved in humans. These novel reepithelialization proteins are potential therapeutic targets and therefore findings obtained in Drosophila may ultimately lead to significant clinical advances. PMID:27274434

  12. Star formation driven mechanical feedback in molecular clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cunningham, Andrew J.

    The ubiquity and high density of outflows from young stars in clusters make them an intriguing candidate for the source of turbulence energy in molecular clouds. This work addresses, by direct numerical simulation, elements of protostellar outflow evolution that is relevant to their ability to drive turbulent flows in molecular clouds. The result of this work is surprising in that it shows that fossil cavities, rather than how shocks from active outflows, constitute the primary avenue by which outflows re-energize turbulence. This work first considers collisions between active jets, showing that this process is ineffective at converting the directed momentum and mechanical energy of outflows into turbulence. This effect is due to radiative energy loss which constrains the surface area through which colliding outflows entrain ambient gas. Recent observational results are discussed which indicate that fossil cavities from extinct outflows are abundant in molecular material surrounding clusters such as NGC1333. These structures, rather than the bow shocks of active outflows, comprise the link between outflow energy input, and re-energizing turbulence in the parent molecular cloud core. Numerical simulations are presented winch confirm that the evolution of cavities front decaying outflow sources leads to structures which match the observations of fossil cavities. The algorithms and tests of the AstroBEAR adaptive mesh refinement code for astrophysical magnetohydrodynamics are also presented. The code was developed during the course of this work and used for the numerical simulations.

  13. The molecular chaperone system and other anti-stress mechanisms in archaea.

    PubMed

    Macario, A J; Conway De Macario, E

    2001-02-01

    This article presents a brief review of stressors, their cellular and intracellular targets, stress proteins, molecular chaperones, and other anti-stress mechanisms. New data are reported on cochaperones and multicellular structures in archaea. The molecular chaperoning systems of bacteria and eukaryotes have been studied for many years and are relatively well known in terms of their components and mechanisms of action, although many details remain to be elucidated and almost certainly other components will be discovered in the future. By comparison, the molecular chaperoning system of archaea is still unexplored. Since archaea have some molecular genetic and physiologic features similar to those of bacteria and some resembling those of eukaryotes, extrapolation from what is known of organisms from these two phylogenetic domains to archaeal species is unwarranted. For example, the components of the molecular chaperone machine, Hsp70(DnaK), Hsp40(DnaJ), and GrpE, in the archaeal species that have it, are closely related to bacterial counterparts, whereas the archaeal chaperonins are like the eukaryotic equivalents. Furthermore, many archaeal species lack the chaperone machine, in contrast to bacteria and eukaryotes that have it without any known exception. A search for the cochaperones trigger factor, Hop, Hip, BAG-1, and NAC in archaeal genomes demonstrated no conserved equivalents, but two families of archaeal molecules were identified that might be related to NAC and Hop, respectively. Multicellular structures with a single species such as packet and lamina are formed by Methanosarcina species, among which the best studied is M. mazeii. Multispecies multicellular structures are formed by a variety of archaeal organisms, which are either flat (biofilm) or globular (granule) and constitute a functional association or consortium. Details of morphology, formation, and internal organization are described for representative examples of multicellular structures. These

  14. 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

  15. A molecular mechanism that stabilizes cooperative secretions in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Wook

    2010-01-01

    Summary Bacterial populations frequently act as a collective by secreting a wide range of compounds necessary for cell-cell communication, host colonization and virulence. However, how such behaviors avoid exploitation by spontaneous ‘cheater’ mutants that use but do not contribute to secretions remains unclear. We investigate this question using Pseudomonas aeruginosa swarming, a collective surface motility requiring massive secretions of rhamnolipid biosurfactants. We first show that swarming is immune to the evolution of rhlA− ‘cheaters’. We then demonstrate that P. aeruginosa resists cheating through metabolic prudence: wild-type cells secrete biosurfactants only when the cost of their production and impact on individual fitness is low, therefore preventing non-secreting strains from gaining an evolutionary advantage. Metabolic prudence works because the carbon-rich biosurfactants are only produced when growth is limited by another growth limiting nutrient, the nitrogen source. By genetically manipulating a strain to produce the biosurfactants constitutively we show that swarming becomes cheatable: a non-producing strain rapidly outcompetes and replaces this obligate cooperator. We argue that metabolic prudence, which may first evolve as a direct response to cheating or simply to optimize growth, can explain the maintenance of massive secretions in many bacteria. More generally, prudent regulation is a mechanism to stabilize cooperation. PMID:21166901

  16. Molecular mechanism underlying promiscuous polyamine recognition by spermidine acetyltransferase.

    PubMed

    Sugiyama, Shigeru; Ishikawa, Sae; Tomitori, Hideyuki; Niiyama, Mayumi; Hirose, Mika; Miyazaki, Yuma; Higashi, Kyohei; Murata, Michio; Adachi, Hiroaki; Takano, Kazufumi; Murakami, Satoshi; Inoue, Tsuyoshi; Mori, Yusuke; Kashiwagi, Keiko; Igarashi, Kazuei; Matsumura, Hiroyoshi

    2016-07-01

    Spermidine acetyltransferase (SAT) from Escherichia coli, which catalyses the transfer of acetyl groups from acetyl-CoA to spermidine, is a key enzyme in controlling polyamine levels in prokaryotic cells. In this study, we determined the crystal structure of SAT in complex with spermidine (SPD) and CoA at 2.5Å resolution. SAT is a dodecamer organized as a hexamer of dimers. The secondary structural element and folding topology of the SAT dimer resemble those of spermidine/spermine N(1)-acetyltransferase (SSAT), suggesting an evolutionary link between SAT and SSAT. However, the polyamine specificity of SAT is distinct from that of SSAT and is promiscuous. The SPD molecule is also located at the inter-dimer interface. The distance between SPD and CoA molecules is 13Å. A deep, highly acidic, water-filled cavity encompasses the SPD and CoA binding sites. Structure-based mutagenesis and in-vitro assays identified SPD-bound residues, and the acidic residues lining the walls of the cavity are mostly essential for enzymatic activities. Based on mutagenesis and structural data, we propose an acetylation mechanism underlying promiscuous polyamine recognition for SAT. PMID:27163532

  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. Molecular mechanisms of cognitive dysfunction following traumatic brain injury

    PubMed Central

    Walker, Kendall R.; Tesco, Giuseppina

    2013-01-01

    Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in significant disability due to cognitive deficits particularly in attention, learning and memory, and higher-order executive functions. The role of TBI in chronic neurodegeneration and the development of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and most recently chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is of particular importance. However, despite significant effort very few therapeutic options exist to prevent or reverse cognitive impairment following TBI. In this review, we present experimental evidence of the known secondary injury mechanisms which contribute to neuronal cell loss, axonal injury, and synaptic dysfunction and hence cognitive impairment both acutely and chronically following TBI. In particular we focus on the mechanisms linking TBI to the development of two forms of dementia: AD and CTE. We provide evidence of potential molecular mechanisms involved in modulating Aβ and Tau following TBI and provide evidence of the role of these mechanisms in AD pathology. Additionally we propose a mechanism by which Aβ generated as a direct result of TBI is capable of exacerbating secondary injury mechanisms thereby establishing a neurotoxic cascade that leads to chronic neurodegeneration. PMID:23847533

  19. Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Alcock, Joe; Maley, Carlo C; Aktipis, C Athena

    2014-01-01

    Microbes in the gastrointestinal tract are under selective pressure to manipulate host eating behavior to increase their fitness, sometimes at the expense of host fitness. Microbes may do this through two potential strategies: (i) generating cravings for foods that they specialize on or foods that suppress their competitors, or (ii) inducing dysphoria until we eat foods that enhance their fitness. We review several potential mechanisms for microbial control over eating behavior including microbial influence on reward and satiety pathways, production of toxins that alter mood, changes to receptors including taste receptors, and hijacking of the vagus nerve, the neural axis between the gut and the brain. We also review the evidence for alternative explanations for cravings and unhealthy eating behavior. Because microbiota are easily manipulatable by prebiotics, probiotics, antibiotics, fecal transplants, and dietary changes, altering our microbiota offers a tractable approach to otherwise intractable problems of obesity and unhealthy eating. PMID:25103109

  20. Evolutionary Conservation of a GPCR-Independent Mechanism of Trimeric G Protein Activation

    PubMed Central

    Coleman, Brantley D.; Marivin, Arthur; Parag-Sharma, Kshitij; DiGiacomo, Vincent; Kim, Seongseop; Pepper, Judy S.; Casler, Jason; Nguyen, Lien T.; Koelle, Michael R.; Garcia-Marcos, Mikel

    2016-01-01

    Trimeric G protein signaling is a fundamental mechanism of cellular communication in eukaryotes. The core of this mechanism consists of activation of G proteins by the guanine-nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) activity of G protein coupled receptors. However, the duration and amplitude of G protein-mediated signaling are controlled by a complex network of accessory proteins that appeared and diversified during evolution. Among them, nonreceptor proteins with GEF activity are the least characterized. We recently found that proteins of the ccdc88 family possess a Gα-binding and activating (GBA) motif that confers GEF activity and regulates mammalian cell behavior. A sequence similarity-based search revealed that ccdc88 genes are highly conserved across metazoa but the GBA motif is absent in most invertebrates. This prompted us to investigate whether the GBA motif is present in other nonreceptor proteins in invertebrates. An unbiased bioinformatics search in Caenorhabditis elegans identified GBAS-1 (GBA and SPK domain containing-1) as a GBA motif-containing protein with homologs only in closely related worm species. We demonstrate that GBAS-1 has GEF activity for the nematode G protein GOA-1 and that the two proteins are coexpressed in many cells of living worms. Furthermore, we show that GBAS-1 can activate mammalian Gα-subunits and provide structural insights into the evolutionarily conserved determinants of the GBA–G protein interface. These results demonstrate that the GBA motif is a functional GEF module conserved among highly divergent proteins across evolution, indicating that the GBA-Gα binding mode is strongly constrained under selective pressure to mediate receptor-independent G protein activation in metazoans. PMID:26659249

  1. Evolutionary Conservation of a GPCR-Independent Mechanism of Trimeric G Protein Activation.

    PubMed

    Coleman, Brantley D; Marivin, Arthur; Parag-Sharma, Kshitij; DiGiacomo, Vincent; Kim, Seongseop; Pepper, Judy S; Casler, Jason; Nguyen, Lien T; Koelle, Michael R; Garcia-Marcos, Mikel

    2016-03-01

    Trimeric G protein signaling is a fundamental mechanism of cellular communication in eukaryotes. The core of this mechanism consists of activation of G proteins by the guanine-nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) activity of G protein coupled receptors. However, the duration and amplitude of G protein-mediated signaling are controlled by a complex network of accessory proteins that appeared and diversified during evolution. Among them, nonreceptor proteins with GEF activity are the least characterized. We recently found that proteins of the ccdc88 family possess a Gα-binding and activating (GBA) motif that confers GEF activity and regulates mammalian cell behavior. A sequence similarity-based search revealed that ccdc88 genes are highly conserved across metazoa but the GBA motif is absent in most invertebrates. This prompted us to investigate whether the GBA motif is present in other nonreceptor proteins in invertebrates. An unbiased bioinformatics search in Caenorhabditis elegans identified GBAS-1 (GBA and SPK domain containing-1) as a GBA motif-containing protein with homologs only in closely related worm species. We demonstrate that GBAS-1 has GEF activity for the nematode G protein GOA-1 and that the two proteins are coexpressed in many cells of living worms. Furthermore, we show that GBAS-1 can activate mammalian Gα-subunits and provide structural insights into the evolutionarily conserved determinants of the GBA-G protein interface. These results demonstrate that the GBA motif is a functional GEF module conserved among highly divergent proteins across evolution, indicating that the GBA-Gα binding mode is strongly constrained under selective pressure to mediate receptor-independent G protein activation in metazoans. PMID:26659249

  2. Extrapolated gradientlike algorithms for molecular dynamics and celestial mechanics simulations.

    PubMed

    Omelyan, I P

    2006-09-01

    A class of symplectic algorithms is introduced to integrate the equations of motion in many-body systems. The algorithms are derived on the basis of an advanced gradientlike decomposition approach. Its main advantage over the standard gradient scheme is the avoidance of time-consuming evaluations of force gradients by force extrapolation without any loss of precision. As a result, the efficiency of the integration improves significantly. The algorithms obtained are analyzed and optimized using an error-function theory. The best among them are tested in actual molecular dynamics and celestial mechanics simulations for comparison with well-known nongradient and gradient algorithms such as the Störmer-Verlet, Runge-Kutta, Cowell-Numerov, Forest-Ruth, Suzuki-Chin, and others. It is demonstrated that for moderate and high accuracy, the extrapolated algorithms should be considered as the most efficient for the integration of motion in molecular dynamics simulations. PMID:17025782

  3. Survivin and Tumorigenesis: Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Strategies

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Xun; Duan, Ning; Zhang, Caiguo; Zhang, Wentao

    2016-01-01

    Survivin is the smallest member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family, which has key roles in regulating cell division and inhibiting apoptosis by blocking caspase activation. Survivin is highly expressed in most human cancers, such as lung, pancreatic and breast cancers, relative to normal tissues. Aberrant survivin expression is associated with tumor cell proliferation, progression, angiogenesis, therapeutic resistance, and poor prognosis. Studies on the underlying molecular mechanisms indicate that survivin is involved in the regulation of cytokinesis and cell cycle progression, as well as participates in a variety of signaling pathways such as the p53, Wnt, hypoxia, transforming growth factor, and Notch signaling pathways. In this review, recent progress in understanding the molecular basis of survivin is discussed. Therapeutic strategies targeting survivin in preclinical studies are also briefly summarized. PMID:26918045

  4. Conduction mechanism of nitronyl-nitroxide molecular magnetic compounds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dotti, N.; Heintze, E.; Slota, M.; Hübner, R.; Wang, F.; Nuss, J.; Dressel, M.; Bogani, L.

    2016-04-01

    We investigate the conduction mechanisms of nitronyl-nitroxide (NIT) molecular radicals, as useful for the creation of nanoscopic molecular spintronic devices, finding that it does not correspond to standard Mott behavior, as previously postulated. We provide a complete investigation using transport measurements, low-energy, sub-THz spectroscopy and introducing differently substituted phenyl appendages. We show that a nontrivial surface-charge-limited regime is present in addition to the standard low-voltage Ohmic conductance. Scaling analysis allows one to determine all the main transport parameters for the compounds and highlights the presence of charge-trapping effects. Comparison among the different compounds shows the relevance of intermolecular stacking between the aromatic ring of the phenyl appendix and the NIT motif in the creation of useful electron transport channels. The importance of intermolecular pathways is further highlighted by electronic structure calculations, which clarify the nature of the electronic channels and their effect on the Mott character of the compounds.

  5. Molecular Mechanisms of Compartmentalization and Biomineralization in Magnetotactic Bacteria

    PubMed Central

    Komeili, Arash

    2011-01-01

    Magnetotactic bacteria are remarkable organisms with the ability to exploit the earth’s magnetic field for navigational purposes. To do this, they build specialized compartments called magnetosomes that consist of a lipid membrane and a crystalline magnetic mineral. These organisms have the potential to serve as models for the study of compartmentalization as well as biomineralization in bacteria. Additionally, they offer the opportunity to design applications that take advantage of the particular properties of magnetosomes. In recent years, a sustained effort to identify the molecular basis of this process has resulted in a clearer understanding of the magnetosome formation and biomineralization. Here, I present an overview of magnetotactic bacteria and explore the possible molecular mechanisms of membrane remodeling, protein sorting, cytoskeletal organization, iron transport and biomineralization that lead to the formation of a functional magnetosome organelle. PMID:22092030

  6. Bone metastases: molecular mechanisms and novel therapeutic interventions.

    PubMed

    Papachristou, Dionysios J; Basdra, Efthimia K; Papavassiliou, Athanasios G

    2012-05-01

    It has been long recognized that skeleton represents one of the most favored metastatic sites for common cancers like breast and prostate. During the last decade the molecular mechanisms that are responsible for the development of bone metastasis have been gradually illuminated. It appears that the bone microenvironment has a pivotal role in this process. Metastatic tumor cells interact with bone triggering a cascade of molecular events that produce osteolytic and/or osteoblastic phenomena. In this review, we summarize and discuss the most significant factors and signaling pathways implicated in bone colonization. Moreover, based on the recent literature and data, we foresee the need for designing novel agents that will efficiently disrupt these interactions among cancer cells and bone microenvironment, bringing hope for more effective treatments. PMID:20818675

  7. Ambient-Potential Composite Ewald Method for ab Initio Quantum Mechanical/Molecular Mechanical Molecular Dynamics Simulation.

    PubMed

    Giese, Timothy J; York, Darrin M

    2016-06-14

    A new approach for performing Particle Mesh Ewald in ab initio quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical (QM/MM) simulations with extended atomic orbital basis sets is presented. The new approach, the Ambient-Potential Composite Ewald (CEw) method, does not perform the QM/MM interaction with Mulliken charges nor electrostatically fit charges. Instead the nuclei and electron density interact directly with the MM environment, but in a manner that avoids the use of dense Fourier transform grids. By performing the electrostatics with the underlying QM density, the CEw method avoids self-consistent field instabilities that have been encountered with simple charge mapping procedures. Potential of mean force (PMF) profiles of the p-nitrophenyl phosphate dissociation reaction in explicit solvent are computed from PBE0/6-31G* QM/MM molecular dynamics simulations with various electrostatic protocols. The CEw profiles are shown to be stable with respect to real-space Ewald cutoff, whereas the PMFs computed from truncated and switched electrostatics produce artifacts. PBE0/6-311G**, AM1/d-PhoT, and DFTB2 QM/MM simulations are performed to generate two-dimensional PMF profiles of the phosphoryl transesterification reactions with ethoxide and phenoxide leaving groups. The semiempirical models incorrectly produce a concerted ethoxide mechanism, whereas PBE0 correctly produces a stepwise mechanism. The ab initio reaction barriers agree more closely to experiment than the semiempirical models. The failure of Mulliken-charge QM/MM-Ewald is analyzed. PMID:27171914

  8. Steered Molecular Dynamics Methods Applied to Enzyme Mechanism and Energetics.

    PubMed

    Ramírez, C L; Martí, M A; Roitberg, A E

    2016-01-01

    One of the main goals of chemistry is to understand the underlying principles of chemical reactions, in terms of both its reaction mechanism and the thermodynamics that govern it. Using hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM)-based methods in combination with a biased sampling scheme, it is possible to simulate chemical reactions occurring inside complex environments such as an enzyme, or aqueous solution, and determining the corresponding free energy profile, which provides direct comparison with experimental determined kinetic and equilibrium parameters. Among the most promising biasing schemes is the multiple steered molecular dynamics method, which in combination with Jarzynski's Relationship (JR) allows obtaining the equilibrium free energy profile, from a finite set of nonequilibrium reactive trajectories by exponentially averaging the individual work profiles. However, obtaining statistically converged and accurate profiles is far from easy and may result in increased computational cost if the selected steering speed and number of trajectories are inappropriately chosen. In this small review, using the extensively studied chorismate to prephenate conversion reaction, we first present a systematic study of how key parameters such as pulling speed, number of trajectories, and reaction progress are related to the resulting work distributions and in turn the accuracy of the free energy obtained with JR. Second, and in the context of QM/MM strategies, we introduce the Hybrid Differential Relaxation Algorithm, and show how it allows obtaining more accurate free energy profiles using faster pulling speeds and smaller number of trajectories and thus smaller computational cost. PMID:27497165

  9. Molecular mechanical properties of short-sequence peptide enzyme mimics.

    PubMed

    Takahashi, Tsukasa; Vo Ngo, Bao C; Xiao, Leyang; Arya, Gaurav; Heller, Michael J

    2016-03-01

    While considerable attempts have been made to recreate the high turnover rates of enzymes using synthetic enzyme mimics, most have failed and only a few have produced minimal reaction rates that can barely be considered catalytic. One particular approach we have focused on is the use of short-sequence peptides that contain key catalytic groups in close proximity. In this study, we designed six different peptides and tested their ability to mimic the catalytic mechanism of the cysteine proteases. Acetylation and deacylation by Ellman's Reagent trapping experiments showed the importance of having phenylalanine groups surrounding the catalytic sites in order to provide greater proximity between the cysteine, histidine, and aspartate amino acid R-groups. We have also carried out all-atom molecular dynamics simulations to determine the distance between these catalytic groups and the overall mechanical flexibility of the peptides. We found strong correlations between the magnitude of fluctuations in the Cys-His distance, which determines the flexibility and interactions between the cysteine thiol and histidine imidazole groups, and the deacylation rate. We found that, in general, shorter Cys-His distance fluctuations led to a higher deacylation rate constant, implying that greater confinement of the two residues will allow a higher frequency of the acetyl exchange between the cysteine thiol and histidine imidazole R-groups. This may be the key to future design of peptide structures with molecular mechanical properties that lead to viable enzyme mimics. PMID:25921736

  10. Enlightening molecular mechanisms through study of protein interactions

    PubMed Central

    Rizo, Josep; Rosen, Michael K.; Gardner, Kevin H.

    2012-01-01

    The investigation of molecular mechanisms is a fascinating area of current biological research that unites efforts from scientists with very diverse expertise. This review provides a perspective on the characterization of protein interactions as a central aspect of this research. We discuss case studies on the neurotransmitter release machinery that illustrate a variety of principles and emphasize the power of combining nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy with other biophysical techniques, particularly X-ray crystallography. These studies have shown that: (i) the soluble SNAP receptor (SNARE) proteins form a tight complex that brings the synaptic vesicle and plasma membranes together, which is key for membrane fusion; (ii) the SNARE syntaxin-1 adopts an autoinhibitory closed conformation; (iii) Munc18-1 plays crucial functions through interactions with closed syntaxin-1 and with the SNARE complex; (iv) Munc13s mediate the opening of syntaxin-1; (v) complexins play dual roles through distinct interactions with the SNARE complex; (vi) synaptotagmin-1 acts a Ca2+ sensor, interacting simultaneously with the membranes and the SNAREs; and (vii) a Munc13 homodimer to Munc13-RIM heterodimer switch modulates neurotransmitter release. Overall, this research underlines the complexities involved in elucidating molecular mechanisms and how these mechanisms can depend critically on an interplay between strong and weak protein interactions. PMID:22735643

  11. Molecular and Mechanical Causes of Microtubule Catastrophe and Aging.

    PubMed

    Zakharov, Pavel; Gudimchuk, Nikita; Voevodin, Vladimir; Tikhonravov, Alexander; Ataullakhanov, Fazoil I; Grishchuk, Ekaterina L

    2015-12-15

    Tubulin polymers, microtubules, can switch abruptly from the assembly to shortening. These infrequent transitions, termed "catastrophes", affect numerous cellular processes but the underlying mechanisms are elusive. We approached this complex stochastic system using advanced coarse-grained molecular dynamics modeling of tubulin-tubulin interactions. Unlike in previous simplified models of dynamic microtubules, the catastrophes in this model arise owing to fluctuations in the composition and conformation of a growing microtubule tip, most notably in the number of protofilament curls. In our model, dynamic evolution of the stochastic microtubule tip configurations over a long timescale, known as the system's "aging", gives rise to the nonexponential distribution of microtubule lifetimes, consistent with experiment. We show that aging takes place in the absence of visible changes in the microtubule wall or tip, as this complex molecular-mechanical system evolves slowly and asymptotically toward the steady-state level of the catastrophe-promoting configurations. This new, to our knowledge, theoretical basis will assist detailed mechanistic investigations of the mechanisms of action of different microtubule-binding proteins and drugs, thereby enabling accurate control over the microtubule dynamics to treat various pathologies. PMID:26682815

  12. Sexual polyploidization in plants – cytological mechanisms and molecular regulation

    PubMed Central

    De Storme, Nico; Geelen, Danny

    2013-01-01

    In the plant kingdom, events of whole genome duplication or polyploidization are generally believed to occur via alterations of the sexual reproduction process. Thereby, diploid pollen and eggs are formed that contain the somatic number of chromosomes rather than the gametophytic number. By participating in fertilization, these so-called 2n gametes generate polyploid offspring and therefore constitute the basis for the establishment of polyploidy in plants. In addition, diplogamete formation, through meiotic restitution, is an essential component of apomixis and also serves as an important mechanism for the restoration of F1 hybrid fertility. Characterization of the cytological mechanisms and molecular factors underlying 2n gamete formation is therefore not only relevant for basic plant biology and evolution, but may also provide valuable cues for agricultural and biotechnological applications (e.g. reverse breeding, clonal seeds). Recent data have provided novel insights into the process of 2n pollen and egg formation and have revealed multiple means to the same end. Here, we summarize the cytological mechanisms and molecular regulatory networks underlying 2n gamete formation, and outline important mitotic and meiotic processes involved in the ectopic induction of sexual polyploidization. PMID:23421646

  13. Lipid Raft Redox Signaling: Molecular Mechanisms in Health and Disease

    PubMed Central

    Zhou, Fan; Katirai, Foad

    2011-01-01

    Abstract Lipid rafts, the sphingolipid and cholesterol-enriched membrane microdomains, are able to form different membrane macrodomains or platforms upon stimulations, including redox signaling platforms, which serve as a critical signaling mechanism to mediate or regulate cellular activities or functions. In particular, this raft platform formation provides an important driving force for the assembling of NADPH oxidase subunits and the recruitment of other related receptors, effectors, and regulatory components, resulting, in turn, in the activation of NADPH oxidase and downstream redox regulation of cell functions. This comprehensive review attempts to summarize all basic and advanced information about the formation, regulation, and functions of lipid raft redox signaling platforms as well as their physiological and pathophysiological relevance. Several molecular mechanisms involving the formation of lipid raft redox signaling platforms and the related therapeutic strategies targeting them are discussed. It is hoped that all information and thoughts included in this review could provide more comprehensive insights into the understanding of lipid raft redox signaling, in particular, of their molecular mechanisms, spatial-temporal regulations, and physiological, pathophysiological relevances to human health and diseases. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 15, 1043–1083. PMID:21294649

  14. [Molecular mechanisms of hepatitis B virus-associated hepatocellular carcinoma].

    PubMed

    Park, Neung Hwa; Chung, Young Hwa

    2007-09-01

    Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignant diseases in the world. The hepatitis B virus (HBV) replicates non-cytopathically in hepatocytes, and most of the liver injury associated with this infection reflects the immune response. Epidemiological studies have clearly demonstrated that a chronic HBV infection is a major etiological factor in the development of HCC. The pathogenesis of HBV-associated HCC has been studied extensively, and the molecular changes during the malignant transformation have been identified. The main carcinogenic mechanism of HBV-associated HCC is related to the long term-inflammatory changes caused by a chronic hepatitis B infection, which might involve the integration of the HBV. Integration of the HBV DNA into the host genome occurs at the early steps of clonal tumorous expansion. The hepatitis B x protein (HBx) is a multifunctional regulatory protein that communicates directly or indirectly with a variety of host targets, and mediates many opposing cellular functions, including its function in cell cycle regulation, transcriptional regulation, signaling, encoding of the cytoskeleton and cell adhesion molecules, as well as oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. Continued study of the mechanisms of hepatocarcinogenesis will refine our current understanding of the molecular and cellular basis for neoplastic transformations in the liver. This review summarizes the current knowledge of the mechanisms involved in HBV-associated hepatocarcinogenesis. PMID:17898549

  15. Sexual polyploidization in plants--cytological mechanisms and molecular regulation.

    PubMed

    De Storme, Nico; Geelen, Danny

    2013-05-01

    In the plant kingdom, events of whole genome duplication or polyploidization are generally believed to occur via alterations of the sexual reproduction process. Thereby, diploid pollen and eggs are formed that contain the somatic number of chromosomes rather than the gametophytic number. By participating in fertilization, these so-called 2n gametes generate polyploid offspring and therefore constitute the basis for the establishment of polyploidy in plants. In addition, diplogamete formation, through meiotic restitution, is an essential component of apomixis and also serves as an important mechanism for the restoration of F1 hybrid fertility. Characterization of the cytological mechanisms and molecular factors underlying 2n gamete formation is therefore not only relevant for basic plant biology and evolution, but may also provide valuable cues for agricultural and biotechnological applications (e.g. reverse breeding, clonal seeds). Recent data have provided novel insights into the process of 2n pollen and egg formation and have revealed multiple means to the same end. Here, we summarize the cytological mechanisms and molecular regulatory networks underlying 2n gamete formation, and outline important mitotic and meiotic processes involved in the ectopic induction of sexual polyploidization. PMID:23421646

  16. Molecular-dynamics study of detonation. II. The reaction mechanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rice, Betsy M.; Mattson, William; Grosh, John; Trevino, S. F.

    1996-01-01

    In this work, we investigate mechanisms of chemical reactions that sustain an unsupported detonation. The chemical model of an energetic crystal used in this study consists of heteronuclear diatomic molecules that, at ambient pressure, dissociate endothermically. Subsequent association of the products to form homonuclear diatomic molecules provides the energy release that sustains the detonation. A many-body interaction is used to simulate changes in the electronic bonding as a function of local atomic environment. The consequence of the many-body interaction in this model is that the intramolecular bond is weakened with increasing density. The mechanism of the reaction for this model was extracted by investigating the details of the molecular properties in the reaction zone with two-dimensional molecular dynamics. The mechanism for the initiation of the reaction in this model is pressure-induced atomization. There was no evidence of excitation of vibrational modes to dissociative states. This particular result is directly attributable to the functional form and choice of parameters for this model, but might also have more general applicability.

  17. United polarizable multipole water model for molecular mechanics simulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qi, Rui; Wang, Lee-Ping; Wang, Qiantao; Pande, Vijay S.; Ren, Pengyu

    2015-07-01

    We report the development of a united AMOEBA (uAMOEBA) polarizable water model, which is computationally 3-5 times more efficient than the three-site AMOEBA03 model in molecular dynamics simulations while providing comparable accuracy for gas-phase and liquid properties. In this coarse-grained polarizable water model, both electrostatic (permanent and induced) and van der Waals representations have been reduced to a single site located at the oxygen atom. The permanent charge distribution is described via the molecular dipole and quadrupole moments and the many-body polarization via an isotropic molecular polarizability, all located at the oxygen center. Similarly, a single van der Waals interaction site is used for each water molecule. Hydrogen atoms are retained only for the purpose of defining local frames for the molecular multipole moments and intramolecular vibrational modes. The parameters have been derived based on a combination of ab initio quantum mechanical and experimental data set containing gas-phase cluster structures and energies, and liquid thermodynamic properties. For validation, additional properties including dimer interaction energy, liquid structures, self-diffusion coefficient, and shear viscosity have been evaluated. The results demonstrate good transferability from the gas to the liquid phase over a wide range of temperatures, and from nonpolar to polar environments, due to the presence of molecular polarizability. The water coordination, hydrogen-bonding structure, and dynamic properties given by uAMOEBA are similar to those derived from the all-atom AMOEBA03 model and experiments. Thus, the current model is an accurate and efficient alternative for modeling water.

  18. United polarizable multipole water model for molecular mechanics simulation

    PubMed Central

    Qi, Rui; Wang, Lee-Ping; Wang, Qiantao; Pande, Vijay S.; Ren, Pengyu

    2015-01-01

    We report the development of a united AMOEBA (uAMOEBA) polarizable water model, which is computationally 3–5 times more efficient than the three-site AMOEBA03 model in molecular dynamics simulations while providing comparable accuracy for gas-phase and liquid properties. In this coarse-grained polarizable water model, both electrostatic (permanent and induced) and van der Waals representations have been reduced to a single site located at the oxygen atom. The permanent charge distribution is described via the molecular dipole and quadrupole moments and the many-body polarization via an isotropic molecular polarizability, all located at the oxygen center. Similarly, a single van der Waals interaction site is used for each water molecule. Hydrogen atoms are retained only for the purpose of defining local frames for the molecular multipole moments and intramolecular vibrational modes. The parameters have been derived based on a combination of ab initio quantum mechanical and experimental data set containing gas-phase cluster structures and energies, and liquid thermodynamic properties. For validation, additional properties including dimer interaction energy, liquid structures, self-diffusion coefficient, and shear viscosity have been evaluated. The results demonstrate good transferability from the gas to the liquid phase over a wide range of temperatures, and from nonpolar to polar environments, due to the presence of molecular polarizability. The water coordination, hydrogen-bonding structure, and dynamic properties given by uAMOEBA are similar to those derived from the all-atom AMOEBA03 model and experiments. Thus, the current model is an accurate and efficient alternative for modeling water. PMID:26156485

  19. United polarizable multipole water model for molecular mechanics simulation.

    PubMed

    Qi, Rui; Wang, Lee-Ping; Wang, Qiantao; Pande, Vijay S; Ren, Pengyu

    2015-07-01

    We report the development of a united AMOEBA (uAMOEBA) polarizable water model, which is computationally 3-5 times more efficient than the three-site AMOEBA03 model in molecular dynamics simulations while providing comparable accuracy for gas-phase and liquid properties. In this coarse-grained polarizable water model, both electrostatic (permanent and induced) and van der Waals representations have been reduced to a single site located at the oxygen atom. The permanent charge distribution is described via the molecular dipole and quadrupole moments and the many-body polarization via an isotropic molecular polarizability, all located at the oxygen center. Similarly, a single van der Waals interaction site is used for each water molecule. Hydrogen atoms are retained only for the purpose of defining local frames for the molecular multipole moments and intramolecular vibrational modes. The parameters have been derived based on a combination of ab initio quantum mechanical and experimental data set containing gas-phase cluster structures and energies, and liquid thermodynamic properties. For validation, additional properties including dimer interaction energy, liquid structures, self-diffusion coefficient, and shear viscosity have been evaluated. The results demonstrate good transferability from the gas to the liquid phase over a wide range of temperatures, and from nonpolar to polar environments, due to the presence of molecular polarizability. The water coordination, hydrogen-bonding structure, and dynamic properties given by uAMOEBA are similar to those derived from the all-atom AMOEBA03 model and experiments. Thus, the current model is an accurate and efficient alternative for modeling water. PMID:26156485

  20. United polarizable multipole water model for molecular mechanics simulation

    SciTech Connect

    Qi, Rui; Wang, Qiantao; Ren, Pengyu; Wang, Lee-Ping; Pande, Vijay S.

    2015-07-07

    We report the development of a united AMOEBA (uAMOEBA) polarizable water model, which is computationally 3–5 times more efficient than the three-site AMOEBA03 model in molecular dynamics simulations while providing comparable accuracy for gas-phase and liquid properties. In this coarse-grained polarizable water model, both electrostatic (permanent and induced) and van der Waals representations have been reduced to a single site located at the oxygen atom. The permanent charge distribution is described via the molecular dipole and quadrupole moments and the many-body polarization via an isotropic molecular polarizability, all located at the oxygen center. Similarly, a single van der Waals interaction site is used for each water molecule. Hydrogen atoms are retained only for the purpose of defining local frames for the molecular multipole moments and intramolecular vibrational modes. The parameters have been derived based on a combination of ab initio quantum mechanical and experimental data set containing gas-phase cluster structures and energies, and liquid thermodynamic properties. For validation, additional properties including dimer interaction energy, liquid structures, self-diffusion coefficient, and shear viscosity have been evaluated. The results demonstrate good transferability from the gas to the liquid phase over a wide range of temperatures, and from nonpolar to polar environments, due to the presence of molecular polarizability. The water coordination, hydrogen-bonding structure, and dynamic properties given by uAMOEBA are similar to those derived from the all-atom AMOEBA03 model and experiments. Thus, the current model is an accurate and efficient alternative for modeling water.

  1. [Possible evolutionary mechanisms of 'culture' in animals: The hypothesis of distributed social learning].

    PubMed

    Reznikova, Zh I; Panteleeva, S N

    2015-01-01

    There is a plethora of works on the origin and genesis of behavioral traditions in different animal species. Nevertheless, it still remains unclear as for which factors facilitate and which factors hinder the spreading those forms of behavior that are new for a population. Here, we present an analytical review on the topic, considering also the results of studies on 'culture' in animals and analyzing contradictions that arise when attempting to clarify the ethological mechanisms of cultural succession. The hypothesis of 'distributed social learning' is formulated, meaning that for spreading of complex behavioral stereotypes in a population the presence of few carriers of consistent stereotypes is enough under the condition that the rest of animals carry incomplete genetic programmes that start up these stereotypes. Existence of 'dormant' fragments of such programmes determines an inborn predisposition of their bearer to perform a certain sequence of acts. To complete the consistent stereotype, the simplest forms of social learning ('social alleviation') turn to be enough. The hypothesis is examined at the behavioral level and supported by experimental data obtained when studying the scenarios of hunting behavior development in ants Myrmica rubra L. It makes possible to explain the spreading of behavioral models in animal communities in a simpler way than cultural succession. PMID:26353397

  2. Fungal evolutionary genomics provides insight into the mechanisms of adaptive divergence in eukaryotes.

    PubMed

    Gladieux, Pierre; Ropars, Jeanne; Badouin, Hélène; Branca, Antoine; Aguileta, Gabriela; de Vienne, Damien M; Rodríguez de la Vega, Ricardo C; Branco, Sara; Giraud, Tatiana

    2014-02-01

    Fungi are ideal model organisms for dissecting the genomic bases of adaptive divergence in eukaryotes. They have simple morphologies and small genomes, occupy contrasting, well-identified ecological niches and tend to have short generation times, and many are amenable to experimental approaches. Fungi also display diverse lifestyles, from saprotrophs to pathogens or mutualists, and they play extremely important roles in both ecosystems and human activities, as wood decayers, mycorrhizal fungi, lichens, endophytes, plant and animal pathogens, and in fermentation or drug production. We review here recent insights into the patterns and mechanisms of adaptive divergence in fungi, including sources of divergence, genomic variation and, ultimately, speciation. We outline the various ecological sources of divergent selection and genomic changes, showing that gene loss and changes in gene expression and in genomic architecture are important adaptation processes, in addition to the more widely recognized processes of amino acid substitution and gene duplication. We also review recent findings regarding the interspecific acquisition of genomic variation and suggesting an important role for introgression, hybridization and horizontal gene transfers (HGTs). We show that transposable elements can mediate several of these genomic changes, thus constituting important factors for adaptation. Finally, we review the consequences of divergent selection in terms of speciation, arguing that genetic incompatibilities may not be as widespread as generally thought and that pleiotropy between adaptation and reproductive isolation is an important route of speciation in fungal pathogens. PMID:24341913

  3. Molecular mechanisms underlying the onset of degenerative aortic valve disease.

    PubMed

    Hakuno, Daihiko; Kimura, Naritaka; Yoshioka, Masatoyo; Fukuda, Keiichi

    2009-01-01

    Morbidity from degenerative aortic valve disease is increasing worldwide, concomitant with the ageing of the general population and the habitual consumption of diets high in calories and cholesterol. Immunohistologic studies have suggested that the molecular mechanism occurring in the degenerate aortic valve resembles that of atherosclerosis, prompting the testing of HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) for the prevention of progression of native and bioprosthetic aortic valve degeneration. However, the effects of these therapies remain controversial. Although the molecular mechanisms underlying the onset of aortic valve degeneration are largely unknown, research in this area is advancing rapidly. The signaling components involved in embryonic valvulogenesis, such as Wnt, TGF-beta(1), BMP, and Notch, are also involved in the onset of aortic valve degeneration. Furthermore, investigations into extracellular matrix remodeling, angiogenesis, and osteogenesis in the aortic valve have been reported. Having noted avascularity of normal cardiac valves, we recently identified chondromodulin-I (chm-I) as a crucial anti-angiogenic factor. The expression of chm-I is restricted to cardiac valves from late embryogenesis to adulthood in the mouse, rat, and human. In human degenerate atherosclerotic valves, the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and matrix metalloproteinases and angiogenesis is observed in the area of chm-I downregulation. Gene targeting of chm-I resulted in VEGF expression, angiogenesis, and calcification in the aortic valves of aged mice, and aortic stenosis is detected by echocardiography, indicating that chm-I is a crucial factor for maintaining normal cardiac valvular function by preventing angiogenesis. The present review focuses on the animal models of aortic valve degeneration and recent studies on the molecular mechanisms underlying the onset of degenerative aortic valve disease. PMID:18766323

  4. Drugs meeting the molecular basis of diabetic kidney disease: bridging from molecular mechanism to personalized medicine.

    PubMed

    Lambers Heerspink, Hiddo J; Oberbauer, Rainer; Perco, Paul; Heinzel, Andreas; Heinze, Georg; Mayer, Gert; Mayer, Bernd

    2015-08-01

    Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is a complex, multifactorial disease and is associated with a high risk of renal and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Clinical practice guidelines for diabetes recommend essentially identical treatments for all patients without taking into account how the individual responds to the instituted therapy. Yet, individuals vary widely in how they respond to medications and therefore optimal therapy differs between individuals. Understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms of variability in drug response will help tailor optimal therapy. Polymorphisms in genes related to drug pharmacokinetics have been used to explore mechanisms of response variability in DKD, but with limited success. The complex interaction between genetic make-up and environmental factors on the abundance of proteins and metabolites renders pharmacogenomics alone insufficient to fully capture response variability. A complementary approach is to attribute drug response variability to individual variability in underlying molecular mechanisms involved in the progression of disease. The interplay of different processes (e.g. inflammation, fibrosis, angiogenesis, oxidative stress) appears to drive disease progression, but the individual contribution of each process varies. Drugs at the other hand address specific targets and thereby interfere in certain disease-associated processes. At this level, biomarkers may help to gain insight into which specific pathophysiological processes are involved in an individual followed by a rational assessment whether a specific drug's mode of action indeed targets the relevant process at hand. This article describes the conceptual background and data-driven workflow developed by the SysKid consortium aimed at improving characterization of the molecular mechanisms underlying DKD at the interference of the molecular impact of individual drugs in order to tailor optimal therapy to individual patients. PMID:26209732

  5. On molecular mechanism of the photodynamic therapy of tumors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mostovnikov, Vasili A.; Mostovnikova, Galina R.; Plavski, Vitali Y.; Tretjakov, S. A.

    1995-01-01

    In this work we present the experimental results indicating that the photodestruction (inactivation) of glycolysis enzymes located in mitochondria and responsible for the energy providing of malignant tumors, could serve as a possible molecular mechanism of a photodynamic therapy of cancer. The formation of complexes between the glycolysis enzymes and sensitizer favors can lead to an effective photodestruction of the former [in the experiments lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), pyruvate kinase (PK), glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and water-soluble tetra(carboxiphenyl)porphyrine [T(CP)P] (the analogue of coprorphyrin) were used as photosensitizer.

  6. Buckling of microtubules: An insight by molecular and continuum mechanics

    SciTech Connect

    Zhang, Jin; Meguid, S. A.

    2014-10-27

    The molecular structural mechanics method has been extended to investigate the buckling of microtubules (MTs) with various configurations. The results indicate that for relative short MTs the shear deformation effect, rather than the nonlocal effect, is mainly responsible for the limitation of their widely used Euler beam description and the observed length-dependence of their bending stiffness. In addition, the configuration effect of MTs is also studied and considered as an explanation for the large scattering of the critical buckling force and bending stiffness observed in existing experiments. This configuration effect is also found to mainly originate from the geometry of the MTs and is mainly determined by the protofilament number.

  7. [Structure and molecular mechanisms of infection and replication of HIV].

    PubMed

    Sato, Hironori; Ode, Hirotaka; Motomura, Kazushi; Yokoyama, Masaru

    2009-01-01

    Studies on molecular structure and mechanisms of replication of a pathogen are important from both scientific and clinical viewpoints. The replication study allows us to identify key molecules to regulate life cycle of the pathogen and to screen rationally anti-pathogen drugs. The structural study helps understand how the key molecules work at atomic levels and to design adequately the drugs. In this article, we review important findings on structural and replication studies of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). We also summarize the latest methods for the structural study, mainly focusing on computational simulation technology (in silico analysis). Finally, we summarize briefly standard methods to study replication of viruses. PMID:19177750

  8. New insights on molecular mechanisms of renal aging.

    PubMed

    Schmitt, R; Melk, A

    2012-11-01

    Long-term transplant outcome is importantly influenced by the age of the organ donor. The mechanisms how age carries out its pathophysiological impact on graft survival are still not understood. One major contributing factor for the observed poor performance of old donor kidneys seems in particular the age-related loss in renal regenerative capacity. In this review, we will summarize recent findings about the molecular basis of renal aging with specific focus on the potential role of somatic cellular senescence and mitochondrial aging in renal transplant outcome. PMID:22882799

  9. Mixed 2D molecular systems: Mechanic, thermodynamic and dielectric properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beňo, Juraj; Weis, Martin; Dobročka, Edmund; Haško, Daniel

    2008-08-01

    Study of Langmuir monolayers consisting of stearic acid (SA) and dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) molecules was done by surface pressure-area isotherms ( π- A), the Maxwell displacement current (MDC) measurement, X-ray reflectivity (XRR) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) to investigate the selected mechanic, thermodynamic and dielectric properties based on orientational structure of monolayers. On the base of π- A isotherms analysis we explain the creation of stable structures and found optimal monolayer composition. The dielectric properties represented by MDC generated monolayers were analyzed in terms of excess dipole moment, proposing the effect of dipole-dipole interaction. XRR and AFM results illustrate deposited film structure and molecular ordering.

  10. Molecular mechanisms of cisplatin resistance in cervical cancer

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Haiyan; Luo, Hui; Zhang, Wenwen; Shen, Zhaojun; Hu, Xiaoli; Zhu, Xueqiong

    2016-01-01

    Patients with advanced or recurrent cervical cancer have poor prognosis, and their 1-year survival is only 10%–20%. Chemotherapy is considered as the standard treatment for patients with advanced or recurrent cervical cancer, and cisplatin appears to treat the disease effectively. However, resistance to cisplatin may develop, thus substantially compromising the efficacy of cisplatin to treat advanced or recurrent cervical cancer. In this article, we systematically review the recent literature and summarize the recent advances in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying cisplatin resistance in cervical cancer. PMID:27354763

  11. The odyssey of a young gene: structure-function studies in human glutamate dehydrogenases reveal evolutionary-acquired complex allosteric regulation mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Zaganas, Ioannis V; Kanavouras, Konstantinos; Borompokas, Nikolas; Arianoglou, Giovanna; Dimovasili, Christina; Latsoudis, Helen; Vlassi, Metaxia; Mastorodemos, Vasileios

    2014-01-01

    Mammalian glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) catalyzes the reversible inter-conversion of glutamate to α-ketoglutarate and ammonia, interconnecting carbon skeleton and nitrogen metabolism. In addition, it functions as an energy switch by its ability to fuel the Krebs cycle depending on the energy status of the cell. As GDH lies at the intersection of several metabolic pathways, its activity is tightly regulated by several allosteric compounds that are metabolic intermediates. In contrast to other mammals that have a single GDH-encoding gene, humans and great apes possess two isoforms of GDH (hGDH1 and hGDH2, encoded by the GLUD1 and GLUD2 genes, respectively) with distinct regulation pattern, but remarkable sequence similarity (they differ, in their mature form, in only 15 of their 505 amino-acids). The GLUD2 gene is considered a very young gene, emerging from the GLUD1 gene through retro-position only recently (<23 million years ago). The new hGDH2 iso-enzyme, through random mutations and natural selection, is thought to have conferred an evolutionary advantage that helped its persistence through primate evolution. The properties of the two highly homologous human GDHs have been studied using purified recombinant hGDH1 and hGDH2 proteins obtained by expression of the corresponding cDNAs in Sf21 cells. According to these studies, in contrast to hGDH1 that maintains basal activity at 35-40 % of its maximal, hGDH2 displays low basal activity that is highly responsive to activation by rising levels of ADP and/or L-leucine which can also act synergistically. While hGDH1 is inhibited potently by GTP, hGDH2 shows remarkable GTP resistance. Furthermore, the two iso-enzymes are differentially inhibited by estrogens, polyamines and neuroleptics, and also differ in heat-lability. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms that underlie these different regulation patterns of the two iso-enzymes (and consequently the evolutionary adaptation of hGDH2 to a new functional role), we have

  12. Molecular View of Protein Crystal Growth: Molecular Interactions, Surface Reconstruction and Growth Mechanism

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nadarajah, Arunan; Li, Huayu; Konnert, John H.; Pusey, Marc L.

    2000-01-01

    Studies of the growth and molecular packing of tetragonal lysozyme crystals suggest that there is an underlying molecular growth mechanism, in addition to the classical one involving screw dislocation/2D) nucleation growth. These crystals are constructed by strongly bonded molecular chains forming helices about the 43 axes. The helices are connected to each other by weaker bonds. Crystal growth proceeds by the formation of these 4(sub 3) helices, which would explain some unexpected observations by earlier investigators, such as bimolecular growth steps on the (110) face. Another consequence of these molecular considerations is that only one of two possible packing arrangements could occur on the crystal faces and that their growth unit was at least a tetramer corresponding to the 4(sub 3) helix. Two new high resolution atomic force microscopy (AFM) techniques were developed to directly confirm these predictions on tetragonal lysozyme crystals. Most earlier investigations of protein crystal growth with AFM were in the low resolution mode which is adequate to investigate the classical growth mechanisms, but cannot resolve molecular features and mechanisms. Employing the first of the newly developed techniques, high resolution AFM images of the (110) face were compared with the theoretically constructed images for the two possible packing arrangements on this face. The prediction that the molecular packing arrangement of these faces corresponded to that for complete 4(sub 3) helices was confirmed in this manner. This investigation also showed the occurrence of surface reconstruction on protein crystals. The molecules on the surface of the (110) face were found to pack closer along the 4(sub 3) axes than those in the interior. The second new AFM technique was used to follow the growth process by measuring the dimensions of individual growth units on the (110) face. Linescans across a growth step, performed near the saturation limit of the crystals, allowed the growth

  13. High Cholesterol Deteriorates Bone Health: New Insights into Molecular Mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Mandal, Chandi C.

    2015-01-01

    Many epidemiological studies show a positive connection between cardiovascular diseases and risk of osteoporosis, suggesting a role of hyperlipidemia and/or hypercholesterolemia in regulating osteoporosis. The majority of the studies indicated a correlation between high cholesterol and high LDL-cholesterol level with low bone mineral density, a strong predictor of osteoporosis. Similarly, bone metastasis is a serious complication of cancer for patients. Several epidemiological and basic studies have established that high cholesterol is associated with increased cancer risk. Moreover, osteoporotic bone environment predisposes the cancer cells for metastatic growth in the bone microenvironment. This review focuses on how cholesterol and cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) regulate the functions of bone residential osteoblast and osteoclast cells to augment or to prevent bone deterioration. Moreover, this study provides an insight into molecular mechanisms of cholesterol-mediated bone deterioration. It also proposes a potential mechanism by which cellular cholesterol boosts cancer-induced bone metastasis. PMID:26557105

  14. Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms Underpinning Macrophage Activation during Remyelination

    PubMed Central

    Lloyd, Amy F.; Miron, Veronique E.

    2016-01-01

    Remyelination is an example of central nervous system (CNS) regeneration, whereby myelin is restored around demyelinated axons, re-establishing saltatory conduction and trophic/metabolic support. In progressive multiple sclerosis, remyelination is limited or fails altogether which is considered to contribute to axonal damage/loss and consequent disability. Macrophages have critical roles in both CNS damage and regeneration, such as remyelination. This diverse range in functions reflects the ability of macrophages to acquire tissue microenvironment-specific activation states. This activation is dynamically regulated during efficient regeneration, with a switch from pro-inflammatory to inflammation-resolution/pro-regenerative phenotypes. Although, some molecules and pathways have been implicated in the dynamic activation of macrophages, such as NFκB, the cellular and molecular mechanisms underpinning plasticity of macrophage activation are unclear. Identifying mechanisms regulating macrophage activation to pro-regenerative phenotypes may lead to novel therapeutic strategies to promote remyelination in multiple sclerosis. PMID:27446913

  15. Molecular mechanisms for synchronous, asynchronous, and spontaneous neurotransmitter release.

    PubMed

    Kaeser, Pascal S; Regehr, Wade G

    2014-01-01

    Most neuronal communication relies upon the synchronous release of neurotransmitters, which occurs through synaptic vesicle exocytosis triggered by action potential invasion of a presynaptic bouton. However, neurotransmitters are also released asynchronously with a longer, variable delay following an action potential or spontaneously in the absence of action potentials. A compelling body of research has identified roles and mechanisms for synchronous release, but asynchronous release and spontaneous release are less well understood. In this review, we analyze how the mechanisms of the three release modes overlap and what molecular pathways underlie asynchronous and spontaneous release. We conclude that the modes of release have key fusion processes in common but may differ in the source of and necessity for Ca(2+) to trigger release and in the identity of the Ca(2+) sensor for release. PMID:24274737

  16. Molecular Mechanisms for Synchronous, Asynchronous, and Spontaneous Neurotransmitter Release

    PubMed Central

    Kaeser, Pascal S.; Regehr, Wade G.

    2015-01-01

    Most neuronal communication relies upon the synchronous release of neurotransmitters, which occurs through synaptic vesicle exocytosis triggered by action potential invasion of a presynaptic bouton. However, neurotransmitters are also released asynchronously with a longer, variable delay following an action potential or spontaneously in the absence of action potentials. A compelling body of research has identified roles and mechanisms for synchronous release, but asynchronous release and spontaneous release are less well understood. In this review, we analyze how the mechanisms of the three release modes overlap and what molecular pathways underlie asynchronous and spontaneous release. We conclude that the modes of release have key fusion processes in common but may differ in the source of and necessity for Ca2+ to trigger release and in the identity of the Ca2+ sensor for release. PMID:24274737

  17. Molecular mechanism of size control in development and human diseases

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Xiaolong; Xu, Tian

    2011-01-01

    How multicellular organisms control their size is a fundamental question that fascinated generations of biologists. In the past 10 years, tremendous progress has been made toward our understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying size control. Original studies from Drosophila showed that in addition to extrinsic nutritional and hormonal cues, intrinsic mechanisms also play important roles in the control of organ size during development. Several novel signaling pathways such as insulin and Hippo-LATS signaling pathways have been identified that control organ size by regulating cell size and/or cell number through modulation of cell growth, cell division, and cell death. Later studies using mammalian cell and mouse models also demonstrated that the signaling pathways identified in flies are also conserved in mammals. Significantly, recent studies showed that dysregulation of size control plays important roles in the development of many human diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and hypertrophy. PMID:21483452

  18. Molecular Mechanism Underlying Lymphatic Metastasis in Pancreatic Cancer

    PubMed Central

    Luo, Guopei; Liu, Chen; Wu, Chuntao; Liu, Liang; Liu, Zuqiang; Ni, Quanxing; Long, Jiang; Yu, Xianjun

    2014-01-01

    As the most challenging human malignancies, pancreatic cancer is characterized by its insidious symptoms, low rate of surgical resection, high risk of local invasion, metastasis and recurrence, and overall dismal prognosis. Lymphatic metastasis, above all, is recognized as an early adverse event in progression of pancreatic cancer and has been described to be an independent poor prognostic factor. It should be noted that the occurrence of lymphatic metastasis is not a casual or stochastic but an ineluctable and designed event. Increasing evidences suggest that metastasis-initiating cells (MICs) and the microenvironments may act as a double-reed style in this crime. However, the exact mechanisms on how they function synergistically for this dismal clinical course remain largely elusive. Therefore, a better understanding of its molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in pancreatic lymphatic metastasis is urgently required. In this review, we will summarize the latest advances on lymphatic metastasis in pancreatic cancer. PMID:24587996

  19. Molecular mechanism of resolving trinucleotide repeat hairpin by helicases.

    PubMed

    Qiu, Yupeng; Niu, Hengyao; Vukovic, Lela; Sung, Patrick; Myong, Sua

    2015-06-01

    Trinucleotide repeat (TNR) expansion is the root cause for many known congenital neurological and muscular disorders in human including Huntington's disease, fragile X syndrome, and Friedreich's ataxia. The stable secondary hairpin structures formed by TNR may trigger fork stalling during replication, causing DNA polymerase slippage and TNR expansion. Srs2 and Sgs1 are two helicases in yeast that resolve TNR hairpins during DNA replication and prevent genome expansion. Using single-molecule fluorescence, we investigated the unwinding mechanism by which Srs2 and Sgs1 resolves TNR hairpin and compared it with unwinding of duplex DNA. While Sgs1 unwinds both structures indiscriminately, Srs2 displays repetitive unfolding of TNR hairpin without fully unwinding it. Such activity of Srs2 shows dependence on the folding strength and the total length of TNR hairpin. Our results reveal a disparate molecular mechanism of Srs2 and Sgs1 that may contribute differently to efficient resolving of the TNR hairpin. PMID:26004439

  20. Molecular Mechanisms of the Membrane Sculpting ESCRT Pathway

    PubMed Central

    Henne, William Mike; Stenmark, Harald; Emr, Scott D.

    2013-01-01

    The endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT) drive multivesicular body (MVB) biogenesis and cytokinetic abscission. Originally identified through genetics and cell biology, more recent work has begun to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of ESCRT-mediated membrane remodeling, with special focus on the ESCRT-III complex. In particular, several light and electron microscopic studies provide high-resolution imaging of ESCRT-III rings and spirals that purportedly drive MVB morphogenesis and abscission. These studies highlight unifying principles to ESCRT-III function, in particular: (1) the ordered assembly of the ESCRT-III monomers into a heteropolymer, (2) ESCRT-III as a dynamic complex, and (3) the role of the AAA ATPase Vps4 as a contributing factor in membrane scission. Mechanistic comparisons of ESCRT-III function in MVB morphogenesis and cytokinesis suggest common mechanisms in membrane remodeling. PMID:24003212

  1. RNA processing-associated molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases.

    PubMed

    Tang, Anna Y

    2016-08-01

    Dysfunctions of RNA processing and mutations of RNA binding proteins (RBPs) play a fundamental role in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative diseases. To elucidate the function of RNA processing and RBPs mutations in neuronal cells and to increase our understanding on the pathogenic mechanisms of neurodegeneration, I have reviewed recent advances on RNA processing-associated molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, including RBPs-mediated dysfunction of RNA processing, dysfunctional microRNA (miRNA)-based regulation of gene expression, and oxidative RNA modification. I have focused on neurodegeneration induced by RBPs mutations, by dysfunction of miRNA regulation, and by the oxidized RNAs within neurons, and discuss how these dysfunctions have pathologically contributed to neurodegenerative diseases. The advances overviewed above will be valuable to basic investigation and clinical application of target diagnostic tests and therapies. PMID:26634851

  2. Molecular and Cellular Regulatory Mechanisms of Tongue Myogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Parada, C.; Han, D.; Chai, Y.

    2012-01-01

    The tongue exerts crucial functions in our daily life. However, we know very little about the regulatory mechanisms of mammalian tongue development. In this review, we summarize recent findings of the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control tissue-tissue interactions during tongue morphogenesis. Specifically, cranial neural crest cells (CNCC) lead the initiation of tongue bud formation and contribute to the interstitial connective tissue, which ultimately compartmentalizes tongue muscles and serves as their attachments. Occipital somite-derived cells migrate into the tongue primordium and give rise to muscle cells in the tongue. The intimate relationship between CNCC- and mesoderm-derived cells, as well as growth and transcription factors that have been shown to be crucial for tongue myogenesis, clearly indicate that tissue-tissue interactions play an important role in regulating tongue morphogenesis. PMID:22219210

  3. Molecular mechanisms of platelet P2Y(12) receptor regulation.

    PubMed

    Cunningham, Margaret R; Nisar, Shaista P; Mundell, Stuart J

    2013-02-01

    Platelets are critical for haemostasis, however inappropriate activation can lead to the development of arterial thrombosis, which can result in heart attack and stroke. ADP is a key platelet agonist that exerts its actions via stimulation of two surface GPCRs (G-protein-coupled receptors), P2Y(1) and P2Y(12). Similar to most GPCRs, P2Y receptor activity is tightly regulated by a number of complex mechanisms including receptor desensitization, internalization and recycling. In the present article, we review the molecular mechanisms that underlie P2Y(1) and P2Y(12) receptor regulation, with particular emphasis on the structural motifs within the P2Y(12) receptor, which are required to maintain regulatory protein interaction. The implications of these findings for platelet responsiveness are also discussed. PMID:23356287

  4. Anisotropic mechanical properties of graphene: a molecular dynamics study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Ming; Zeng, Anna; Zeng, Kevin

    2014-03-01

    The anisotropic mechanical properties of monolayer graphene with different shapes have been studied using an efficient quantum mechanics molecular dynamics scheme based on a semi-empirical Hamiltonian (refereed as SCED-LCAO) [PRB 74, 15540; PHYSE 42, 1]. We have found the anisotropic nature of the membrane stress. The stresses along the armchair direction are slightly stronger than that along the zigzag direction, showing strong direction selectivity. The graphene with the rectangular shape could sustain strong load (i . e ., 20%) in both armchair and zigzag directions. The graphene with the rhombus shape show large difference in the strain direction: it will quickly crack after 18 % of strain in armchair the direction, but slowly destroyed after 20% in the zigzag direction. The obtained 2D Young's modulus at infinitesimal strain and the third-order (effective nonlinear) elastic modulus are in good consistent with the experimental observation.

  5. Molecular mechanisms regulating myelination in the peripheral nervous system.

    PubMed

    Pereira, Jorge A; Lebrun-Julien, Frédéric; Suter, Ueli

    2012-02-01

    Glial cells and neurons are engaged in a continuous and highly regulated bidirectional dialog. A remarkable example is the control of myelination. Oligodendrocytes in the central nervous system (CNS) and Schwann cells (SCs) in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) wrap their plasma membranes around axons to organize myelinated nerve fibers that allow rapid saltatory conduction. The functionality of this system is critical, as revealed by numerous neurological diseases that result from deregulation of the system, including multiple sclerosis and peripheral neuropathies. In this review we focus on PNS myelination and present a conceptual framework that integrates crucial signaling mechanisms with basic SC biology. We will highlight signaling hubs and overarching molecular mechanisms, including genetic, epigenetic, and post-translational controls, which together regulate the interplay between SCs and axons, extracellular signals, and the transcriptional network. PMID:22192173

  6. Molecular mechanism of statin-mediated LOX-1 inhibition.

    PubMed

    Biocca, Silvia; Iacovelli, Federico; Matarazzo, Sara; Vindigni, Giulia; Oteri, Francesco; Desideri, Alessandro; Falconi, Mattia

    2015-01-01

    Statins are largely used in clinics in the treatment of patients with cardiovascular diseases for their effect on lowering circulating cholesterol. Lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LOX-1), the primary receptor for ox-LDL, plays a central role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disorders. We have recently shown that chronic exposure of cells to lovastatin disrupts LOX-1 receptor cluster distribution in plasma membranes, leading to a marked loss of LOX-1 function. Here we investigated the molecular mechanism of statin-mediated LOX-1 inhibition and we demonstrate that all tested statins are able to displace the binding of fluorescent ox-LDL to LOX-1 by a direct interaction with LOX-1 receptors in a cell-based binding assay. Molecular docking simulations confirm the interaction and indicate that statins completely fill the hydrophobic tunnel that crosses the C-type lectin-like (CTLD) recognition domain of LOX-1. Classical molecular dynamics simulation technique applied to the LOX-1 CTLD, considered in the entire receptor structure with or without a statin ligand inside the tunnel, indicates that the presence of a ligand largely increases the dimer stability. Electrophoretic separation and western blot confirm that different statins binding stabilize the dimer assembly of LOX-1 receptors in vivo. The simulative and experimental results allow us to propose a CTLD clamp motion, which enables the receptor-substrate coupling. These findings reveal a novel and significant functional effect of statins. PMID:25950192

  7. Molecular mechanism of statin-mediated LOX-1 inhibition

    PubMed Central

    Biocca, Silvia; Iacovelli, Federico; Matarazzo, Sara; Vindigni, Giulia; Oteri, Francesco; Desideri, Alessandro; Falconi, Mattia

    2015-01-01

    Statins are largely used in clinics in the treatment of patients with cardiovascular diseases for their effect on lowering circulating cholesterol. Lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LOX-1), the primary receptor for ox-LDL, plays a central role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disorders. We have recently shown that chronic exposure of cells to lovastatin disrupts LOX-1 receptor cluster distribution in plasma membranes, leading to a marked loss of LOX-1 function. Here we investigated the molecular mechanism of statin-mediated LOX-1 inhibition and we demonstrate that all tested statins are able to displace the binding of fluorescent ox-LDL to LOX-1 by a direct interaction with LOX-1 receptors in a cell-based binding assay. Molecular docking simulations confirm the interaction and indicate that statins completely fill the hydrophobic tunnel that crosses the C-type lectin-like (CTLD) recognition domain of LOX-1. Classical molecular dynamics simulation technique applied to the LOX-1 CTLD, considered in the entire receptor structure with or without a statin ligand inside the tunnel, indicates that the presence of a ligand largely increases the dimer stability. Electrophoretic separation and western blot confirm that different statins binding stabilize the dimer assembly of LOX-1 receptors in vivo. The simulative and experimental results allow us to propose a CTLD clamp motion, which enables the receptor-substrate coupling. These findings reveal a novel and significant functional effect of statins. PMID:25950192

  8. Molecular Mechanisms of Pulmonary Vascular Remodeling in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

    PubMed Central

    Leopold, Jane A.; Maron, Bradley A.

    2016-01-01

    Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a devastating disease that is precipitated by hypertrophic pulmonary vascular remodeling of distal arterioles to increase pulmonary artery pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance in the absence of left heart, lung parenchymal, or thromboembolic disease. Despite available medical therapy, pulmonary artery remodeling and its attendant hemodynamic consequences result in right ventricular dysfunction, failure, and early death. To limit morbidity and mortality, attention has focused on identifying the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying aberrant pulmonary artery remodeling to identify pathways for intervention. While there is a well-recognized heritable genetic component to PAH, there is also evidence of other genetic perturbations, including pulmonary vascular cell DNA damage, activation of the DNA damage response, and variations in microRNA expression. These findings likely contribute, in part, to dysregulation of proliferation and apoptosis signaling pathways akin to what is observed in cancer; changes in cellular metabolism, metabolic flux, and mitochondrial function; and endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition as key signaling pathways that promote pulmonary vascular remodeling. This review will highlight recent advances in the field with an emphasis on the aforementioned molecular mechanisms as contributors to the pulmonary vascular disease pathophenotype. PMID:27213345

  9. Molecular mechanisms of the plant heat stress response

    SciTech Connect

    Qu, Ai-Li; Ding, Yan-Fei; Jiang, Qiong; Zhu, Cheng

    2013-03-08

    Highlights: ► This review elaborates the response networks of heat stress in plants. ► It elaborates proteins responding to heat stress in special physiological period. ► The proteins and pathways have formed a basic network of the heat stress response. ► Achievements of the various technologies are also combined. -- Abstract: High temperature has become a global concern, which seriously affects the growth and production of plants, particularly crops. Thus, the molecular mechanism of the heat stress response and breeding of heat-tolerant plants is necessary to protect food production and ensure crop safety. This review elaborates on the response networks of heat stress in plants, including the Hsf and Hsp response pathways, the response of ROS and the network of the hormones. In addition, the production of heat stress response elements during particular physiological periods of the plant is described. We also discuss the existing problems and future prospects concerning the molecular mechanisms of the heat stress response in plants.

  10. Molecular Mechanisms of Phosphorus Metabolism and Transport during Leaf Senescence

    PubMed Central

    Stigter, Kyla A.; Plaxton, William C.

    2015-01-01

    Leaf senescence, being the final developmental stage of the leaf, signifies the transition from a mature, photosynthetically active organ to the attenuation of said function and eventual death of the leaf. During senescence, essential nutrients sequestered in the leaf, such as phosphorus (P), are mobilized and transported to sink tissues, particularly expanding leaves and developing seeds. Phosphorus recycling is crucial, as it helps to ensure that previously acquired P is not lost to the environment, particularly under the naturally occurring condition where most unfertilized soils contain low levels of soluble orthophosphate (Pi), the only form of P that roots can directly assimilate from the soil. Piecing together the molecular mechanisms that underpin the highly variable efficiencies of P remobilization from senescing leaves by different plant species may be critical for devising effective strategies for improving overall crop P-use efficiency. Maximizing Pi remobilization from senescing leaves using selective breeding and/or biotechnological strategies will help to generate P-efficient crops that would minimize the use of unsustainable and polluting Pi-containing fertilizers in agriculture. This review focuses on the molecular mechanisms whereby P is remobilized from senescing leaves and transported to sink tissues, which encompasses the action of hormones, transcription factors, Pi-scavenging enzymes, and Pi transporters. PMID:27135351

  11. Molecular mechanisms in aging and current strategies to counteract sarcopenia.

    PubMed

    Sakuma, Kunihiro; Yamaguchi, Akihiko

    2010-07-01

    Sarcopenia, the progressive loss of muscle mass with age, is characterized by a deterioration of muscle quantity and quality leading to a gradual slowing of movement and a decline in strength and power. Sarcopenia is a highly significant public health problem. Since these age-related changes in skeletal muscle are largely attributed to various molecular mediators affecting fiber size, mitochondrial homeostatis, and apoptosis, the mechanisms responsible for these deleterious changes present numerous therapeutic targets for drug discovery. We and other researchers demonstrated that a disruption of Akt-mTOR and RhoA-SRF signaling but not Atrogin-1 or MuRF1 contributes to sarcopenia. In addition, sarcopenia seems to include a marked loss of fibers attributable to apoptosis. This review deals with molecular mechanisms of muscle atrophy and provides an update on current strategies (resistance training, myostatin inhibition, treatment with amino acids or testosterone, calorie restriction, etc) for counteracting this loss. Resistance training in combination with amino acid-containing nutrition would be the best candidate to attenuate, prevent, or ultimately reverse age-related muscle wasting and weakness. PMID:20158492

  12. Molecular mechanism by which palmitate inhibits PKR autophosphorylation†

    PubMed Central

    Cho, Hyunju; Mukherjee, Shayantani; Palasuberniam, Pratheeba; Pillow, Lisa; Bilgin, Betul; Nezich, Catherine; Walton, S. Patrick; Feig, Michael; Chan, Christina

    2011-01-01

    PKR (double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase) is an important component of the innate immunity, antiviral and apoptotic pathways. Recently, our group found that palmitate, a saturated fatty acid, is involved in apoptosis by reducing the autophosphorylation of PKR at the Thr451 residue, however, the molecular mechanism by which palmitate reduces PKR autophosphorylation is not known. Thus, we investigated how palmitate affects the phosphorylation of the PKR protein at the molecular and biophysical levels. Biochemical and computational studies show that palmitate binds to PKR, near the ATP-binding site, thereby inhibiting its autophosphorylation at Thr451 and Thr446. Mutation studies suggests that Lys296 and Asp432 in the ATP binding site on the PKR protein are important for palmitate binding. We further confirmed that palmitate also interacts with other kinases, due to the conserved ATP-binding site. A better understanding of how palmitate interacts with the PKR protein, as well as other kinases, could shed light onto possible mechanisms by which palmitate mediates kinase signaling pathways, that could have implications on the efficacy of current drug therapies that target kinases. PMID:21192654

  13. Hemolytic mechanism of dioscin proposed by molecular dynamics simulations.

    PubMed

    Lin, Fu; Wang, Renxiao

    2010-01-01

    Saponins are a class of compounds containing a triterpenoid or steroid core with some attached carbohydrate modules. Many saponins cause hemolysis. However, the hemolytic mechanism of saponins at the molecular level is not yet fully understood. In an attempt to explore this issue, we have studied dioscin-a saponin with high hemolytic activity-through extensive molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Firstly, all-atom MD simulations of 8 ns duration were conducted to study the stability of the dioscin-cholesterol complex and the cholesterol-cholesterol complex in water and in decane, respectively. MM-GB/SA computations indicate that the dioscin-cholesterol complex is energetically more favorable than the cholesterol-cholesterol complex in a non-polar environment. Next, several coarse-grained MD simulations of 400 ns duration were conducted to directly observe the distribution of multiple dioscin molecules on a DPPC-POPC-PSM-CHOL lipid bilayer. Our results indicate that dioscin can penetrate into the lipid bilayer, accumulate in the lipid raft micro-domain, and then bind cholesterol. This leads to the destabilization of lipid raft and consequent membrane curvature, which may eventually result in the hemolysis of red cells. This possible mechanism of hemolysis can well explain some experimental observations on hemolysis. PMID:19513766

  14. Molecular mechanisms of biological aging in intervertebral discs.

    PubMed

    Vo, Nam V; Hartman, Robert A; Patil, Prashanti R; Risbud, Makarand V; Kletsas, Dimitris; Iatridis, James C; Hoyland, Judith A; Le Maitre, Christine L; Sowa, Gwendolyn A; Kang, James D

    2016-08-01

    Advanced age is the greatest risk factor for the majority of human ailments, including spine-related chronic disability and back pain, which stem from age-associated intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD). Given the rapid global rise in the aging population, understanding the biology of intervertebral disc aging in order to develop effective therapeutic interventions to combat the adverse effects of aging on disc health is now imperative. Fortunately, recent advances in aging research have begun to shed light on the basic biological process of aging. Here we review some of these insights and organize the complex process of disc aging into three different phases to guide research efforts to understand the biology of disc aging. The objective of this review is to provide an overview of the current knowledge and the recent progress made to elucidate specific molecular mechanisms underlying disc aging. In particular, studies over the last few years have uncovered cellular senescence and genomic instability as important drivers of disc aging. Supporting evidence comes from DNA repair-deficient animal models that show increased disc cellular senescence and accelerated disc aging. Additionally, stress-induced senescent cells have now been well documented to secrete catabolic factors, which can negatively impact the physiology of neighboring cells and ECM. These along with other molecular drivers of aging are reviewed in depth to shed crucial insights into the underlying mechanisms of age-related disc degeneration. We also highlight molecular targets for novel therapies and emerging candidate therapeutics that may mitigate age-associated IDD. © 2016 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 34:1289-1306, 2016. PMID:26890203

  15. Molecular Mechanisms of Biological Aging in Intervertebral Discs

    PubMed Central

    Vo, Nam V.; Hartman, Robert A.; Patil, Prashanti R.; Risbud, Makarand V.; Kletsas, Dimitris; Iatridis, James C.; Hoyland, Judith A.; Le Maitre, Christine L.; Sowa, Gwendolyn A.; Kang, James D.

    2016-01-01

    Advanced age is the greatest risk factor for the majority of human ailments, including spine-related chronic disability and back pain, which stem from age-associated intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD). Given the rapid global rise in the aging population, understanding the biology of intervertebral disc aging in order to develop effective therapeutic interventions to combat the adverse effects of aging on disc health is now imperative. Fortunately, recent advances in aging research have begun to shed light on the basic biological process of aging. Here we review some of these insights and organize the complex process of disc aging into three different phases to guide research efforts to understand the biology of disc aging. The objective of this review is to provide an overview of the current knowledge and the recent progress made to elucidate specific molecular mechanisms underlying disc aging. In particular, studies over the last few years have uncovered cellular senescence and genomic instability as important drivers of disc aging. Supporting evidence comes from DNA repair-deficient animal models that show increased disc cellular senescence and accelerated disc aging. Additionally, stress-induced senescent cells have now been well documented to secrete catabolic factors, which can negatively impact the physiology of neighboring cells and ECM. These along with other molecular drivers of aging are reviewed in depth to shed crucial insights into the underlying mechanisms of age-related disc degeneration. We also highlight molecular targets for novel therapies and emerging candidate therapeutics that may mitigate age-associated IDD. PMID:26890203

  16. Towards identification of molecular mechanisms of short stature

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Growth evaluations are among the most common referrals to pediatric endocrinologists. Although a number of pathologies, both primary endocrine and non-endocrine, can present with short stature, an estimated 80% of evaluations fail to identify a clear etiology, leaving a default designation of idiopathic short stature (ISS). As a group, several features among children with ISS are suggestive of pathophysiology of the GH–IGF-1 axis, including low serum levels of IGF-1 despite normal GH secretion. Candidate gene analysis of rare cases has demonstrated that severe mutations of genes of the GH–IGF-1 axis can present with a profound height phenotype, leading to speculation that a collection of mild mutations or polymorphisms of these genes can explain poor growth in a larger proportion of patients. Recent genome-wide association studies have identified ~180 genomic loci associated with height that together account for approximately 10% of height variation. With only modest representation of the GH–IGF-1 axis, there is little support for the long-held hypothesis that common genetic variants of the hormone pathway provide the molecular mechanism for poor growth in a substantial proportion of individuals. The height-associated common variants are not observed in the anticipated frequency in the shortest individuals, suggesting rare genetic factors with large effect are more plausible in this group. As we advance towards establishing a molecular mechanism for poor growth in a greater percentage of those currently labeled ISS, we highlight two strategies that will likely be offered with increasing frequency: (1) unbiased genetic technologies including array analysis for copy number variation and whole exome/genome sequencing and (2) epigenetic alterations of key genomic loci. Ultimately data from subsets with similar molecular etiologies may emerge that will allow tailored interventions to achieve the best clinical outcome. PMID:24257104

  17. Molecular mechanisms in deformation of cross-linked hydrogel nanocomposite.

    PubMed

    Mathesan, Santhosh; Rath, Amrita; Ghosh, Pijush

    2016-02-01

    The self-folding behavior in response to external stimuli observed in hydrogels is potentially used in biomedical applications. However, the use of hydrogels is limited because of its reduced mechanical properties. These properties are enhanced when the hydrogels are cross-linked and reinforced with nanoparticles. In this work, molecular dynamics (MD) simulation is applied to perform uniaxial tension and pull out tests to understand the mechanism contributing towards the enhanced mechanical properties. Also, nanomechanical characterization is performed using quasi static nanoindentation experiments to determine the Young's modulus of hydrogels in the presence of nanoparticles. The stress-strain responses for chitosan (CS), chitosan reinforced with hydroxyapatite (HAP) and cross-linked chitosan are obtained from uniaxial tension test. It is observed that the Young's modulus and maximum stress increase as the HAP content increases and also with cross-linking process. Load displacement plot from pullout test is compared for uncross-linked and cross-linked chitosan chains on hydroxyapatite surface. MD simulation reveals that the variation in the dihedral conformation of chitosan chains and the evolution of internal structural variables are associated with mechanical properties. Additional results reveal that the formation of hydrogen bonds and electrostatic interactions is responsible for the above variations in different systems. PMID:26652360

  18. Characterization of molecular mechanisms of in vivo UVR induced cataract.

    PubMed

    Galichanin, Konstantin; Talebizadeh, Nooshin; Söderberg, Per

    2012-01-01

    Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in the world (1). The World Health Organization defines cataract as a clouding of the lens of the eye which impedes the transfer of light. Cataract is a multi-factorial disease associated with diabetes, smoking, ultraviolet radiation (UVR), alcohol, ionizing radiation, steroids and hypertension. There is strong experimental (2-4) and epidemiological evidence (5,6) that UVR causes cataract. We developed an animal model for UVR B induced cataract in both anesthetized (7) and non-anesthetized animals (8). The only cure for cataract is surgery but this treatment is not accessible to all. It has been estimated that a delay of onset of cataract for 10 years could reduce the need for cataract surgery by 50% (9). To delay the incidence of cataract, it is needed to understand the mechanisms of cataract formation and find effective prevention strategies. Among the mechanisms for cataract development, apoptosis plays a crucial role in initiation of cataract in humans and animals (10). Our focus has recently been apoptosis in the lens as the mechanism for cataract development (8,11,12). It is anticipated that a better understanding of the effect of UVR on the apoptosis pathway will provide possibilities for discovery of new pharmaceuticals to prevent cataract. In this article, we describe how cataract can be experimentally induced by in vivo exposure to UVR-B. Further RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry are presented as tools to study molecular mechanisms of UVR-B induced cataract. PMID:23222480

  19. Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Origin and Diversification of the Angiosperm Flower

    PubMed Central

    Theissen, Guenter; Melzer, Rainer

    2007-01-01

    Background Understanding the mode and mechanisms of the evolution of the angiosperm flower is a long-standing and central problem of evolutionary biology and botany. It has essentially remained unsolved, however. In contrast, considerable progress has recently been made in our understanding of the genetic basis of flower development in some extant model species. The knowledge that accumulated this way has been pulled together in two major hypotheses, termed the ‘ABC model’ and the ‘floral quartet model’. These models explain how the identity of the different types of floral organs is specified during flower development by homeotic selector genes encoding transcription factors. Scope We intend to explain how the ‘ABC model’ and the ‘floral quartet model’ are now guiding investigations that help to understand the origin and diversification of the angiosperm flower. Conclusions Investigation of orthologues of class B and class C floral homeotic genes in gymnosperms suggest that bisexuality was one of the first innovations during the origin of the flower. The transition from dimer to tetramer formation of floral homeotic proteins after establishment of class E proteins may have increased cooperativity of DNA binding of the transcription factors controlling reproductive growth. That way, we hypothesize, better ‘developmental switches’ originated that facilitated the early evolution of the flower. Expression studies of ABC genes in basally diverging angiosperm lineages, monocots and basal eudicots suggest that the ‘classical’ ABC system known from core eudicots originated from a more fuzzy system with fading borders of gene expression and gradual transitions in organ identity, by sharpening of ABC gene expression domains and organ borders. Shifting boundaries of ABC gene expression may have contributed to the diversification of the angiosperm flower many times independently, as may have changes in interactions between ABC genes and their target

  20. Use of Nonequilibrium Work Methods to Compute Free Energy Differences Between Molecular Mechanical and Quantum Mechanical Representations of Molecular Systems.

    PubMed

    Hudson, Phillip S; Woodcock, H Lee; Boresch, Stefan

    2015-12-01

    Carrying out free energy simulations (FES) using quantum mechanical (QM) Hamiltonians remains an attractive, albeit elusive goal. Renewed efforts in this area have focused on using "indirect" thermodynamic cycles to connect "low level" simulation results to "high level" free energies. The main obstacle to computing converged free energy results between molecular mechanical (MM) and QM (ΔA(MM→QM)), as recently demonstrated by us and others, is differences in the so-called "stiff" degrees of freedom (e.g., bond stretching) between the respective energy surfaces. Herein, we demonstrate that this problem can be efficiently circumvented using nonequilibrium work (NEW) techniques, i.e., Jarzynski's and Crooks' equations. Initial applications of computing ΔA(NEW)(MM→QM), for blocked amino acids alanine and serine as well as to generate butane's potentials of mean force via the indirect QM/MM FES method, showed marked improvement over traditional FES approaches. PMID:26539729

  1. MOLECULAR MECHANISM OF MICROBIAL TECHNETIUM REDUCTION FINAL REPORT

    SciTech Connect

    DiChristina, Thomas J.

    2013-04-30

    Microbial Tc(VII) reduction is an attractive alternative strategy for bioremediation of technetium-contaminated subsurface environments. Traditional ex situ remediation processes (e.g., adsorption or ion exchange) are often limited by poor extraction efficiency, inhibition by competing ions and production of large volumes of produced waste. Microbial Tc(VII) reduction provides an attractive alternative in situ remediation strategy since the reduced end-product Tc(IV) precipitates as TcO2, a highly insoluble hydrous oxide. Despite its potential benefits, the molecular mechanism of microbial Tc(VII) reduction remains poorly understood. The main goal of the proposed DOENABIR research project is to determine the molecular mechanism of microbial Tc(VII) reduction. Random mutagenesis studies in our lab have resulted in generation of a set of six Tc(VII) reduction-deficient mutants of Shewanella oneidensis. The anaerobic respiratory deficiencies of each Tc(VII) reduction-deficient mutant was determined by anaerobic growth on various combinations of three electron donors and 14 terminal electron acceptors. Results indicated that the electron transport pathways to Tc(VII), NO3 -, Mn(III) and U(VI) share common structural or regulatory components. In addition, we have recently found that wild-type Shewanella are also able to reduce Tc(IV) as electron acceptor, producing Tc(III) as an end-product. The recent genome sequencing of a variety of technetium-reducing bacteria and the anticipated release of several additional genome sequences in the coming year, provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to determine the mechanism of microbial technetium reduction across species and genus lines.

  2. Molecular and Epigenetic Mechanisms of MLL in Human Leukemogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Ballabio, Erica; Milne, Thomas A.

    2012-01-01

    Epigenetics is often defined as the study of heritable changes in gene expression or chromosome stability that don’t alter the underlying DNA sequence. Epigenetic changes are established through multiple mechanisms that include DNA methylation, non-coding RNAs and the covalent modification of specific residues on histone proteins. It is becoming clear not only that aberrant epigenetic changes are common in many human diseases such as leukemia, but that these changes by their very nature are malleable, and thus are amenable to treatment. Epigenetic based therapies have so far focused on the use of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors and DNA methyltransferase inhibitors, which tend to have more general and widespread effects on gene regulation in the cell. However, if a unique molecular pathway can be identified, diseases caused by epigenetic mechanisms are excellent candidates for the development of more targeted therapies that focus on specific gene targets, individual binding domains, or specific enzymatic activities. Designing effective targeted therapies depends on a clear understanding of the role of epigenetic mutations during disease progression. The Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL) protein is an example of a developmentally important protein that controls the epigenetic activation of gene targets in part by methylating histone 3 on lysine 4. MLL is required for normal development, but is also mutated in a subset of aggressive human leukemias and thus provides a useful model for studying the link between epigenetic cell memory and human disease. The most common MLL mutations are chromosome translocations that fuse the MLL gene in frame with partner genes creating novel fusion proteins. In this review, we summarize recent work that argues MLL fusion proteins could function through a single molecular pathway, but we also highlight important data that suggests instead that multiple independent mechanisms underlie MLL mediated leukemogenesis. PMID:24213472

  3. A density-based adaptive quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical method.

    PubMed

    Waller, Mark P; Kumbhar, Sadhana; Yang, Jack

    2014-10-20

    We present a density-based adaptive quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical (DBA-QM/MM) method, whereby molecules can switch layers from the QM to the MM region and vice versa. The adaptive partitioning of the molecular system ensures that the layer assignment can change during the optimization procedure, that is, on the fly. The switch from a QM molecule to a MM molecule is determined if there is an absence of noncovalent interactions to any atom of the QM core region. The presence/absence of noncovalent interactions is determined by analysis of the reduced density gradient. Therefore, the location of the QM/MM boundary is based on physical arguments, and this neatly removes some empiricism inherent in previous adaptive QM/MM partitioning schemes. The DBA-QM/MM method is validated by using a water-in-water setup and an explicitly solvated L-alanyl-L-alanine dipeptide. PMID:24954803

  4. Small-Molecule Hormones: Molecular Mechanisms of Action

    PubMed Central

    Budzińska, Monika

    2013-01-01

    Small-molecule hormones play crucial roles in the development and in the maintenance of an adult mammalian organism. On the molecular level, they regulate a plethora of biological pathways. Part of their actions depends on their transcription-regulating properties, exerted by highly specific nuclear receptors which are hormone-dependent transcription factors. Nuclear hormone receptors interact with coactivators, corepressors, basal transcription factors, and other transcription factors in order to modulate the activity of target genes in a manner that is dependent on tissue, age and developmental and pathophysiological states. The biological effect of this mechanism becomes apparent not earlier than 30–60 minutes after hormonal stimulus. In addition, small-molecule hormones modify the function of the cell by a number of nongenomic mechanisms, involving interaction with proteins localized in the plasma membrane, in the cytoplasm, as well as with proteins localized in other cellular membranes and in nonnuclear cellular compartments. The identity of such proteins is still under investigation; however, it seems that extranuclear fractions of nuclear hormone receptors commonly serve this function. A direct interaction of small-molecule hormones with membrane phospholipids and with mRNA is also postulated. In these mechanisms, the reaction to hormonal stimulus appears within seconds or minutes. PMID:23533406

  5. Tea and cancer prevention: Molecular mechanisms and human relevance

    SciTech Connect

    Yang, Chung S. Lambert, Joshua D.; Ju Jihyeung; Lu Gang; Sang Shengmin

    2007-11-01

    Tea made from the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis is a popular beverage. The possible cancer-preventive activity of tea and tea polyphenols has been studied extensively. This article briefly reviews studies in animal models, cell lines, and possible relevance of these studies to the prevention of human cancer. The cancer-preventive activity of tea constituents have been demonstrated in many animal models including cancer of the skin, lung, oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, small intestine, colon, bladder, prostate, and mammary gland. The major active constituents are polyphenols, of which (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is most abundant, most active, and most studied, and caffeine. The molecular mechanisms of the cancer-preventive action, however, are just beginning to be understood. Studies in cell lines led to the proposal of many mechanisms on the action of EGCG. However, mechanisms based on studies with very high concentrations of EGCG may not be relevant to cancer prevention in vivo. The autooxidation of EGCG in cell culture may also produce activities that do not occur in many internal organs. In contrast to the cancer prevention activity demonstrated in different animal models, no such conclusion can be convincingly drawn from epidemiological studies on tea consumption and human cancers. Even though the human data are inconclusive, tea constituents may still be used for the prevention of cancer at selected organ sites if sufficient concentrations of the agent can be delivered to these organs. Some interesting examples in this area are discussed.

  6. Characterizing Cardiac Molecular Mechanisms of Mammalian Hibernation via Quantitative Proteogenomics.

    PubMed

    Vermillion, Katie L; Jagtap, Pratik; Johnson, James E; Griffin, Timothy J; Andrews, Matthew T

    2015-11-01

    This study uses advanced proteogenomic approaches in a nonmodel organism to elucidate cardioprotective mechanisms used during mammalian hibernation. Mammalian hibernation is characterized by drastic reductions in body temperature, heart rate, metabolism, and oxygen consumption. These changes pose significant challenges to the physiology of hibernators, especially for the heart, which maintains function throughout the extreme conditions, resembling ischemia and reperfusion. To identify novel cardioadaptive strategies, we merged large-scale RNA-seq data with large-scale iTRAQ-based proteomic data in heart tissue from 13-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) throughout the circannual cycle. Protein identification and data analysis were run through Galaxy-P, a new multiomic data analysis platform enabling effective integration of RNA-seq and MS/MS proteomic data. Galaxy-P uses flexible, modular workflows that combine customized sequence database searching and iTRAQ quantification to identify novel ground squirrel-specific protein sequences and provide insight into molecular mechanisms of hibernation. This study allowed for the quantification of 2007 identified cardiac proteins, including over 350 peptide sequences derived from previously uncharacterized protein products. Identification of these peptides allows for improved genomic annotation of this nonmodel organism, as well as identification of potential splice variants, mutations, and genome reorganizations that provides insights into novel cardioprotective mechanisms used during hibernation. PMID:26435507

  7. Causes, effects and molecular mechanisms of testicular heat stress.

    PubMed

    Durairajanayagam, Damayanthi; Agarwal, Ashok; Ong, Chloe

    2015-01-01

    The process of spermatogenesis is temperature-dependent and occurs optimally at temperatures slightly lower than that of the body. Adequate thermoregulation is imperative to maintain testicular temperatures at levels lower than that of the body core. Raised testicular temperature has a detrimental effect on mammalian spermatogenesis and the resultant spermatozoa. Therefore, thermoregulatory failure leading to heat stress can compromise sperm quality and increase the risk of infertility. In this paper, several different types of external and internal factors that may contribute towards testicular heat stress are reviewed. The effects of heat stress on the process of spermatogenesis, the resultant epididymal spermatozoa and on germ cells, and the consequent changes in the testis are elaborated upon. We also discuss the molecular response of germ cells to heat exposure and the possible mechanisms involved in heat-induced germ cell damage, including apoptosis, DNA damage and autophagy. Further, the intrinsic and extrinsic pathways that are involved in the intricate mechanism of germ cell apoptosis are explained. Ultimately, these complex mechanisms of apoptosis lead to germ cell death. PMID:25456164

  8. Vitamin D and Cancer: A review of molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Fleet, James C.; DeSmet, Marsha; Johnson, Robert; Li, Yan

    2015-01-01

    Synopsis The population-based association between low vitamin D status and increased cancer risk can be inconsistent but is now generally accepted. These relationships link low serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels to cancer while cell-based studies show that the metabolite 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D is the biologically active metabolite that works through vitamin D receptor to regulate gene transcription. Here we review the literature relevant to the molecular events that may account for the beneficial impact of vitamin D on cancer prevention or treatment. This data shows that while vitamin D-induced growth arrest and apoptosis of tumor cells or their non-neoplastic progenitors are plausible mechanisms, other chemoprotective mechanisms are also worthy of consideration. These alternative mechanisms include enhancing DNA repair, antioxidant protection, and immunomodulation. In addition, other cell targets such as the stromal cells, endothelial cells, and cells of the immune system may be regulated by 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D and contribute to vitamin D mediated cancer prevention. PMID:22168439

  9. Mechanical Properties of Nanostructured Materials Determined Through Molecular Modeling Techniques

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clancy, Thomas C.; Gates, Thomas S.

    2005-01-01

    The potential for gains in material properties over conventional materials has motivated an effort to develop novel nanostructured materials for aerospace applications. These novel materials typically consist of a polymer matrix reinforced with particles on the nanometer length scale. In this study, molecular modeling is used to construct fully atomistic models of a carbon nanotube embedded in an epoxy polymer matrix. Functionalization of the nanotube which consists of the introduction of direct chemical bonding between the polymer matrix and the nanotube, hence providing a load transfer mechanism, is systematically varied. The relative effectiveness of functionalization in a nanostructured material may depend on a variety of factors related to the details of the chemical bonding and the polymer structure at the nanotube-polymer interface. The objective of this modeling is to determine what influence the details of functionalization of the carbon nanotube with the polymer matrix has on the resulting mechanical properties. By considering a range of degree of functionalization, the structure-property relationships of these materials is examined and mechanical properties of these models are calculated using standard techniques.

  10. Molecular mechanisms of angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma development.

    PubMed

    Sakata-Yanagimoto, Mamiko; Chiba, Shigeru

    2016-08-01

    The molecular pathogenesis of peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) has gradually been clarified in terms of genomic abnormalities. Insights into these genomic abnormalities have provided clues to understanding the pathogenesis of PTCL. Furthermore, the origins of lymphoma cells have been clarified by investigating the distribution of genomic abnormalities in tumor cells and non-tumor blood cells. Multistep tumorigenesis has been suggested to be a fundamental mechanism underlying the development of angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL), a distinct subtype of PTCL: premalignant cells evolve from hematopoietic progenitors via mutations in epigenetic regulators. These cells then further differentiate into tumor cells via the addition of tumor-specific G17V RHOA mutations. Meanwhile, AITL are composed of various infiltrating cells as well as tumor cells. Most notably, AITL tissues are characterized by massive infiltration of B cells partially infected by Epstein-Barr virus, follicular dendritic cells, and high endothelial venules. Infiltration of these cell types has been thought to be a reactive process, promoted by cytokines and chemokines released from tumor cells. Considering the multistep mechanisms of AITL allows us to analyze whether these infiltrating cells are also derived from premalignant cells. Indeed, the mechanisms underlying massive infiltration of bystander cells might be more complicated than previously imagined. PMID:27599421

  11. Cellular and molecular mechanisms for the bone response to mechanical loading

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bloomfield, S. A.

    2001-01-01

    To define the cellular and molecular mechanisms for the osteogenic response of bone to increased loading, several key steps must be defined: sensing of the mechanical signal by cells in bone, transduction of the mechanical signal to a biochemical one, and transmission of that biochemical signal to effector cells. Osteocytes are likely to serve as sensors of loading, probably via interstitial fluid flow produced during loading. Evidence is presented for the role of integrins, the cell's actin cytoskeleton, G proteins, and various intracellular signaling pathways in transducing that mechanical signal to a biochemical one. Nitric oxide, prostaglandins, and insulin-like growth factors all play important roles in these pathways. There is growing evidence for modulation of these mechanotransduction steps by endocrine factors, particularly parathyroid hormone and estrogen. The efficiency of this process is also impaired in the aged animal, yet what remains undefined is at what step mechanotransduction is affected.

  12. 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

  13. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of chemical synaptic transmission.

    PubMed

    Millhorn, D E; Bayliss, D A; Erickson, J T; Gallman, E A; Szymeczek, C L; Czyzyk-Krzeska, M; Dean, J B

    1989-12-01

    During the last decade much progress has been made in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which nerve cells communicate with each other and nonneural (e.g., muscle) target tissue. This review is intended to provide the reader with an account of this work. We begin with an historical overview of research on cell-to-cell communication and then discuss recent developments that, in some instances, have led to dramatic changes in the concept of synaptic transmission. For instance, the finding that single neurons often contain multiple messengers (i.e., neurotransmitters) invalidated the long-held theory (i.e., Dale's Law) that individual neurons contain and release one and only one type of neurotransmitter. Moreover, the last decade witnessed the inclusion of an entire group of compounds, the neuropeptides, as messenger molecules. Enormous progress has also been made in elucidating postsynaptic receptor complexes and biochemical intermediaries involved in synaptic transmission. Here the development of recombinant DNA technology has made it possible to clone and determine the molecular structure for a number of receptors. This information has been used to gain insight into how these receptors function either as a ligand-gated channel or as a G protein-linked ligand recognition molecule. Perhaps the most progress made during this era was in understanding the molecular linkage of G protein-linked receptors to intramembranous and cytoplasmic macromolecules involved in signal amplification and transduction. We conclude with a brief discussion of how synaptic transmission leads to immediate alterations in the electrical activity and, in some cases, to a change in phenotype by altering gene expression. These alterations in cellular behavior are believed to be mediated by phosphoproteins, the final biochemical product of signal transduction. PMID:2575357

  14. Ethanol-Induced Cerebellar Ataxia: Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Dar, M Saeed

    2015-08-01

    The cerebellum is an important target of ethanol toxicity given that cerebellar ataxia is the most consistent physical manifestation of acute ethanol consumption. Despite the significance of the cerebellum in ethanol-induced cerebellar ataxia (EICA), the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying EICA are incompletely understood. However, two important findings have shed greater light on this phenomenon. First, ethanol-induced blockade of cerebellar adenosine uptake in rodent models points to a role for adenosinergic A1 modulation of EICA. Second, the consistent observation that intracerebellar administration of nicotine in mice leads to antagonism of EICA provides evidence for a critical role of cerebellar nitric oxide (NO) in EICA reversal. Based on these two important findings, this review discusses the potential molecular events at two key synaptic sites (mossy fiber-granule cell-Golgi cell (MGG synaptic site) and granule cell parallel fiber-Purkinje cell (GPP synaptic site) that lead to EICA. Specifically, ethanol-induced neuronal NOS inhibition at the MGG synaptic site acts as a critical trigger for Golgi cell activation which leads to granule cell deafferentation. Concurrently, ethanol-induced inhibition of adenosine uptake at the GPP synaptic site produces adenosine accumulation which decreases glutamate release and leads to the profound activation of Purkinje cells (PCs). These molecular events at the MGG and GPP synaptic sites are mutually reinforcing and lead to cerebellar dysfunction, decreased excitatory output of deep cerebellar nuclei, and EICA. The critical importance of PCs as the sole output of the cerebellar cortex suggests normalization of PC function could have important therapeutic implications. PMID:25578036

  15. Redox Control of Leukemia: From Molecular Mechanisms to Therapeutic Opportunities

    PubMed Central

    Irwin, Mary E.; Rivera-Del Valle, Nilsa

    2013-01-01

    Abstract Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play both positive and negative roles in the proliferation and survival of a cell. This dual nature has been exploited by leukemia cells to promote growth, survival, and genomic instability—some of the hallmarks of the cancer phenotype. In addition to altered ROS levels, many antioxidants are dysregulated in leukemia cells. Together, the production of ROS and the expression and activity of antioxidant enzymes make up the primary redox control of leukemia cells. By manipulating this system, leukemia cells gain proliferative and survival advantages, even in the face of therapeutic insults. Standard treatment options have improved leukemia patient survival rates in recent years, although relapse and the development of resistance are persistent challenges. Therapies targeting the redox environment show promise for these cases. This review highlights the molecular mechanisms that control the redox milieu of leukemia cells. In particular, ROS production by the mitochondrial electron transport chain, NADPH oxidase, xanthine oxidoreductase, and cytochrome P450 will be addressed. Expression and activation of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, heme oxygenase, glutathione, thioredoxin, and peroxiredoxin are perturbed in leukemia cells, and the functional consequences of these molecular alterations will be described. Lastly, we delve into how these pathways can be potentially exploited therapeutically to improve treatment regimens and promote better outcomes for leukemia patients. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 18, 1349–1383. PMID:22900756

  16. Natural Agents: Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Photoprotection

    PubMed Central

    Afaq, Farrukh

    2010-01-01

    The skin is the largest organ of the body that produces a flexible and self-repairing barrier and protects the body from most common potentially harmful physical, environmental, and biological insults. Solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation is one of the major environmental insults to the skin and causes multi-tiered cellular and molecular events eventually leading to skin cancer. The past decade has seen a surge in the incidence of skin cancer due to changes in life style patterns that have led to a significant increase in the amount of UV radiation that people receive. Reducing excessive exposure to UV radiation is desirable; nevertheless this approach is not easy to implement. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop novel strategies to reduce the adverse biological effects of UV radiation on the skin. A wide variety of natural agents have been reported to possess substantial skin photoprotective effects. Numerous preclinical and clinical studies have elucidated that natural agents act by several cellular and molecular mechanisms to delay or prevent skin cancer. In this review article, we have summarized and discussed some of the selected natural agents for skin photoprotection. PMID:21147060

  17. Molecular Mechanism of Thioflavin-T Binding to Amyloid Fibrils

    PubMed Central

    Biancalana, Matthew; Koide, Shohei

    2010-01-01

    Intense efforts to detect, diagnose, and analyze the kinetic and structural properties of amyloid fibrils have generated a powerful toolkit of amyloid-specific molecular probes. Since its first description in 1959, the fluorescent dye Thioflavin-T (ThT) has become among the most widely used “gold standards” for selectively staining and identifying amyloid fibrils both in vivo and in vitro. The large enhancement of its fluorescence emission upon binding to fibrils makes ThT a particularly powerful and convenient tool. Despite its widespread use in clinical and basic science applications, the molecular mechanism for the ability of ThT to recognize diverse types of amyloid fibrils and for the dye’s characteristic fluorescence has only begun to be elucidated. Here, we review recent progress in the understanding of ThT-fibril interactions at an atomic resolution. These studies have yielded important insights into amyloid structures and the processes of fibril formation, and they also offer guidance for designing the next generation of amyloid assembly diagnostics, inhibitors, and therapeutics. PMID:20399286

  18. Molecular mechanisms of deformation and failure in glassy materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rottler, Joerg

    2004-03-01

    Understanding the molecular origins of macroscopic mechanical properties is a fundamental scientific challenge. Fracture of both amorphous and crystalline materials involves many length scales reaching from the continuum to atomic level processes near a crack tip. Using molecular simulations of simple models for amorphous glassy materials, we first study elastoplastic deformation and discuss the nature of the shear yield stress and its dependence on loading conditions, strain rate and temperature. We then focus on the deformation of glassy polymeric systems into crazes at large strains. In the craze, polymers ( 0.5 nm diameter) are bundled into an intricate network of 10 nm diameter fibrils that extends 10 micrometers on either side of a mm crack tip. Analysis of local geometry and stresses provide insight into the real-space nature of the entanglements that control craze formation as well as melt dynamics. Crazes are also shown to share many features with jammed systems such as granular media and foams, but are unique in jamming under a tensile load. This allows explanations for the exponential force distribution in jammed systems to be tested. The force distribution strongly influences the ultimate breakdown of the craze fibrils either through disentanglement or chain scission. We conclude by quantifying the contribution of crazing to the unusually large fracture energy of glassy polymers.

  19. Friedreich Ataxia: Molecular Mechanisms, Redox Considerations, and Therapeutic Opportunities

    PubMed Central

    Lefevre, Sophie; Sliwa, Dominika; Seguin, Alexandra; Camadro, Jean-Michel; Lesuisse, Emmanuel

    2010-01-01

    Abstract Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage are at the origin of numerous neurodegenerative diseases like Friedreich ataxia and Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases. Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is the most common hereditary ataxia, with one individual affected in 50,000. This disease is characterized by progressive degeneration of the central and peripheral nervous systems, cardiomyopathy, and increased incidence of diabetes mellitus. FRDA is caused by a dynamic mutation, a GAA trinucleotide repeat expansion, in the first intron of the FXN gene. Fewer than 5% of the patients are heterozygous and carry point mutations in the other allele. The molecular consequences of the GAA triplet expansion is transcription silencing and reduced expression of the encoded mitochondrial protein, frataxin. The precise cellular role of frataxin is not known; however, it is clear now that several mitochondrial functions are not performed correctly in patient cells. The affected functions include respiration, iron–sulfur cluster assembly, iron homeostasis, and maintenance of the redox status. This review highlights the molecular mechanisms that underlie the disease phenotypes and the different hypothesis about the function of frataxin. In addition, we present an overview of the most recent therapeutic approaches for this severe disease that actually has no efficient treatment. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 13, 0000–0000. PMID:20156111

  20. Neuroprotection and its molecular mechanism following spinal cord injury☆

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Nai-Kui; Xu, Xiao-Ming

    2012-01-01

    Acute spinal cord injury initiates a complex cascade of molecular events termed ‘secondary injury’, which leads to progressive degeneration ranging from early neuronal apoptosis at the lesion site to delayed degeneration of intact white matter tracts, and, ultimately, expansion of the initial injury. These secondary injury processes include, but are not limited to, inflammation, free radical-induced cell death, glutamate excitotoxicity, phospholipase A2 activation, and induction of extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways, which are important targets in developing neuroprotective strategies for treatment of spinal cord injury. Recently, a number of studies have shown promising results on neuroprotection and recovery of function in rodent models of spinal cord injury using treatments that target secondary injury processes including inflammation, phospholipase A2 activation, and manipulation of the PTEN-Akt/mTOR signaling pathway. The present review outlines our ongoing research on the molecular mechanisms of neuroprotection in experimental spinal cord injury and briefly summarizes our earlier findings on the therapeutic potential of pharmacological treatments in spinal cord injury. PMID:25624837

  1. A molecular mechanical model for N-heterocyclic carbenes.

    PubMed

    Gehrke, Sascha; Hollóczki, Oldamur

    2016-08-10

    In this work we present a set of force fields for nine synthetically relevant and/or structurally interesting N-heterocyclic carbenes, including imidazol-, thiazol-, triazol-, imidazolidin-, and pyridine-ylidenes. The bonding parameters were calculated by using a series of geometry optimizations by ab initio methods. For fitting the non-bonding interactions, a water molecule was employed as a probe. The interaction energy between the carbene and the probe molecule was sampled along two coordinates for each carbene, representing the interaction through the lone pair, or the π system of the molecule. The corresponding reference interaction energies were obtained by CCSD(T)/CBS calculations. To describe the direction dependence of the intermolecular potential energy, an extra, massless Coulombic interaction site was included for all carbenes, which represents the lone pair of the divalent carbon atom. The resulting fitted carbene force field (CaFF) showed a robust behavior regarding probe molecule, as changing the molecular mechanical water model, or employing, instead, an OPLS methanol molecule did not introduce significant deviations in the potential energies. The obtained CaFF models are easy to merge with standard OPLS or AMBER force fields, therefore the molecular simulations of a large number of N-heterocyclic carbenes becomes available. PMID:27426687

  2. Molecular Mechanisms and Treatment of Radiation-Induced Lung Fibrosis

    PubMed Central

    Ding, Nian-Hua; Li, Jian Jian; Sun, Lun-Quan

    2013-01-01

    Radiation-induced lung fibrosis (RILF) is a severe side effect of radiotherapy in lung cancer patients that presents as a progressive pulmonary injury combined with chronic inflammation and exaggerated organ repair. RILF is a major barrier to improving the cure rate and well-being of lung cancer patients because it limits the radiation dose that is required to effectively kill tumor cells and diminishes normal lung function. Although the exact mechanism is unclear, accumulating evidence suggests that various cells, cytokines and regulatory molecules are involved in the tissue reorganization and immune response modulation that occur in RILF. In this review, we will summarize the general symptoms, diagnostics, and current understanding of the cells and molecular factors that are linked to the signaling networks implicated in RILF. Potential approaches for the treatment of RILF will also be discussed. Elucidating the key molecular mediators that initiate and control the extent of RILF in response to therapeutic radiation may reveal additional targets for RILF treatment to significantly improve the efficacy of radiotherapy for lung cancer patients.

  3. Molecular Mechanisms and Treatment of Radiation-Induced Lung Fibrosis

    PubMed Central

    Ding, Nian-Hua; Li, Jian Jian; Sun, Lun-Quan

    2014-01-01

    Radiation-induced lung fibrosis (RILF) is a severe side effect of radiotherapy in lung cancer patients that presents as a progressive pulmonary injury combined with chronic inflammation and exaggerated organ repair. RILF is a major barrier to improving the cure rate and well-being of lung cancer patients because it limits the radiation dose that is required to effectively kill tumor cells and diminishes normal lung function. Although the exact mechanism is unclear, accumulating evidence suggests that various cells, cytokines and regulatory molecules are involved in the tissue reorganization and immune response modulation that occur in RILF. In this review, we will summarize the general symptoms, diagnostics, and current understanding of the cells and molecular factors that are linked to the signaling networks implicated in RILF. Potential approaches for the treatment of RILF will also be discussed. Elucidating the key molecular mediators that initiate and control the extent of RILF in response to therapeutic radiation may reveal additional targets for RILF treatment to significantly improve the efficacy of radiotherapy for lung cancer patients. PMID:23909719

  4. Molecular mechanisms underlying phosphate sensing, signaling, and adaptation in plants.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Zhaoliang; Liao, Hong; Lucas, William J

    2014-03-01

    As an essential plant macronutrient, the low availability of phosphorus (P) in most soils imposes serious limitation on crop production. Plants have evolved complex responsive and adaptive mechanisms for acquisition, remobilization and recycling of phosphate (Pi) to maintain P homeostasis. Spatio-temporal molecular, physiological, and biochemical Pi deficiency responses developed by plants are the consequence of local and systemic sensing and signaling pathways. Pi deficiency is sensed locally by the root system where hormones serve as important signaling components in terms of developmental reprogramming, leading to changes in root system architecture. Root-to-shoot and shoot-to-root signals, delivered through the xylem and phloem, respectively, involving Pi itself, hormones, miRNAs, mRNAs, and sucrose, serve to coordinate Pi deficiency responses at the whole-plant level. A combination of chromatin remodeling, transcriptional and posttranslational events contribute to globally regulating a wide range of Pi deficiency responses. In this review, recent advances are evaluated in terms of progress toward developing a comprehensive understanding of the molecular events underlying control over P homeostasis. Application of this knowledge, in terms of developing crop plants having enhanced attributes for P use efficiency, is discussed from the perspective of agricultural sustainability in the face of diminishing global P supplies. PMID:24417933

  5. Shaping mitotic chromosomes: From classical concepts to molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Kschonsak, Marc; Haering, Christian H

    2015-01-01

    How eukaryotic genomes are packaged into compact cylindrical chromosomes in preparation for cell divisions has remained one of the major unsolved questions of cell biology. Novel approaches to study the topology of DNA helices inside the nuclei of intact cells, paired with computational modeling and precise biomechanical measurements of isolated chromosomes, have advanced our understanding of mitotic chromosome architecture. In this Review Essay, we discuss – in light of these recent insights – the role of chromatin architecture and the functions and possible mechanisms of SMC protein complexes and other molecular machines in the formation of mitotic chromosomes. Based on the information available, we propose a stepwise model of mitotic chromosome condensation that envisions the sequential generation of intra-chromosomal linkages by condensin complexes in the context of cohesin-mediated inter-chromosomal linkages, assisted by topoisomerase II. The described scenario results in rod-shaped metaphase chromosomes ready for their segregation to the cell poles. PMID:25988527

  6. Molecular mechanisms of disease-causing missense mutations

    PubMed Central

    Stefl, Shannon; Nishi, Hafumi; Petukh, Marharyta; Panchenko, Anna R.; Alexov, Emil

    2013-01-01

    Genetic variations resulting in a change of amino acid sequence can have a dramatic effect on stability, hydrogen bond network, conformational dynamics, activity and many other physiologically important properties of proteins. The substitutions of only one residue in a protein sequence, so-called missense mutations, can be related to many pathological conditions, and may influence susceptibility to disease and drug treatment. The plausible effects of missense mutations range from affecting the macromolecular stability to perturbing macromolecular interactions and cellular localization. Here we review the individual cases and genome-wide studies which illustrate the association between missense mutations and diseases. In addition we emphasize that the molecular mechanisms of effects of mutations should be revealed in order to understand the disease origin. Finally we report the current state-of-the-art methodologies which predict the effects of mutations on protein stability, the hydrogen bond network, pH-dependence, conformational dynamics and protein function. PMID:23871686

  7. Molecular Mechanisms of Floral Boundary Formation in Arabidopsis

    PubMed Central

    Yu, Hongyang; Huang, Tengbo

    2016-01-01

    Boundary formation is a crucial developmental process in plant organogenesis. Boundaries separate cells with distinct identities and act as organizing centers to control the development of adjacent organs. In flower development, initiation of floral primordia requires the formation of the meristem-to-organ (M–O) boundaries and floral organ development depends on the establishment of organ-to-organ (O–O) boundaries. Studies in this field have revealed a suite of genes and regulatory pathways controlling floral boundary formation. Many of these genes are transcription factors that interact with phytohormone pathways. This review will focus on the functions and interactions of the genes that play important roles in the floral boundaries and discuss the molecular mechanisms that integrate these regulatory pathways to control the floral boundary formation. PMID:26950117

  8. Cullin Family Proteins and Tumorigenesis: Genetic Association and Molecular Mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Zhi; Sui, Jie; Zhang, Fan; Zhang, Caiguo

    2015-01-01

    Cullin family proteins function as scaffolds to form numerous E3 ubiquitin ligases with RING proteins, adaptor proteins and substrate recognition receptors. These E3 ligases further recognize numerous substrates to participate in a variety of cellular processes, such as DNA damage and repair, cell death and cell cycle progression. Clinically, cullin-associated E3 ligases have been identified to involve numerous human diseases, especially with regard to multiple cancer types. Over the past few years, our understanding of cullin proteins and their functions in genome stability and tumorigenesis has expanded enormously. Herein, this review briefly provides current perspectives on cullin protein functions, and mainly summarizes and discusses molecular mechanisms of cullin proteins in tumorigenesis. PMID:25663940

  9. Molecular spectroscopic study for suggested mechanism of chrome tanned leather.

    PubMed

    Nashy, Elshahat H A; Osman, Osama; Mahmoud, Abdel Aziz; Ibrahim, Medhat

    2012-03-01

    Collagen represents the structural protein of the extracellular matrix, which gives strength of hides and/or skin under tanning process. Chrome tan is the most important tanning agent all over the world. The methods for production of leather evolved over several centuries as art and engineering with little understanding of the underlying science. The present work is devoted to suggest the most probable mechanistic action of chrome tan on hide proteins. First the affect of Cr upon hide protein is indicated by the studied mechanical properties. Then the spectroscopic characterization of the hide protein as well as chrome tanned leather was carried out with Horizontal Attenuated Total Reflection (HATR) FT-IR. The obtained results indicate how the chromium can attached with the active sites of collagen. Molecular modeling confirms that chromium can react with amino as well as carboxylate groups. Four schemes were obtained to describe the possible interactions of chrome tan with hide proteins. PMID:22225606

  10. Molecular mechanism of respiratory syncytial virus fusion inhibitors

    PubMed Central

    Battles, Michael B; Langedijk, Johannes P; Furmanova-Hollenstein, Polina; Chaiwatpongsakorn, Supranee; Costello, Heather M; Kwanten, Leen; Vranckx, Luc; Vink, Paul; Jaensch, Steffen; Jonckers, Tim H M; Koul, Anil; Arnoult, Eric; Peeples, Mark E; Roymans, Dirk; McLellan, Jason S

    2016-01-01

    Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in young children and the elderly. Therapeutic small molecules have been developed that bind the RSV F glycoprotein and inhibit membrane fusion, yet their binding sites and molecular mechanisms of action remain largely unknown. Here we show that these inhibitors bind to a three-fold-symmetric pocket within the central cavity of the metastable prefusion conformation of RSV F. Inhibitor binding stabilizes this conformation by tethering two regions that must undergo a structural rearrangement to facilitate membrane fusion. Inhibitor-escape mutations occur in residues that directly contact the inhibitors or are involved in the conformational rearrangements required to accommodate inhibitor binding. Resistant viruses do not propagate as well as wild-type RSV in vitro, indicating a fitness cost for inhibitor escape. Collectively, these findings provide new insight into class I viral fusion proteins and should facilitate development of optimal RSV fusion inhibitors. PMID:26641933

  11. Molecular mechanism of respiratory syncytial virus fusion inhibitors.

    PubMed

    Battles, Michael B; Langedijk, Johannes P; Furmanova-Hollenstein, Polina; Chaiwatpongsakorn, Supranee; Costello, Heather M; Kwanten, Leen; Vranckx, Luc; Vink, Paul; Jaensch, Steffen; Jonckers, Tim H M; Koul, Anil; Arnoult, Eric; Peeples, Mark E; Roymans, Dirk; McLellan, Jason S

    2016-02-01

    Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in young children and the elderly. Therapeutic small molecules have been developed that bind the RSV F glycoprotein and inhibit membrane fusion, yet their binding sites and molecular mechanisms of action remain largely unknown. Here we show that these inhibitors bind to a three-fold-symmetric pocket within the central cavity of the metastable prefusion conformation of RSV F. Inhibitor binding stabilizes this conformation by tethering two regions that must undergo a structural rearrangement to facilitate membrane fusion. Inhibitor-escape mutations occur in residues that directly contact the inhibitors or are involved in the conformational rearrangements required to accommodate inhibitor binding. Resistant viruses do not propagate as well as wild-type RSV in vitro, indicating a fitness cost for inhibitor escape. Collectively, these findings provide new insight into class I viral fusion proteins and should facilitate development of optimal RSV fusion inhibitors. PMID:26641933

  12. Shaping mitotic chromosomes: From classical concepts to molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Kschonsak, Marc; Haering, Christian H

    2015-07-01

    How eukaryotic genomes are packaged into compact cylindrical chromosomes in preparation for cell divisions has remained one of the major unsolved questions of cell biology. Novel approaches to study the topology of DNA helices inside the nuclei of intact cells, paired with computational modeling and precise biomechanical measurements of isolated chromosomes, have advanced our understanding of mitotic chromosome architecture. In this Review Essay, we discuss - in light of these recent insights - the role of chromatin architecture and the functions and possible mechanisms of SMC protein complexes and other molecular machines in the formation of mitotic chromosomes. Based on the information available, we propose a stepwise model of mitotic chromosome condensation that envisions the sequential generation of intra-chromosomal linkages by condensin complexes in the context of cohesin-mediated inter-chromosomal linkages, assisted by topoisomerase II. The described scenario results in rod-shaped metaphase chromosomes ready for their segregation to the cell poles. PMID:25988527

  13. Molecular mechanism of biological responses to homoeopathic medicines.

    PubMed

    Matsumoto, J

    1995-09-01

    Assuming that homeopathy is effective beyond the placebo effects, its biological explanation in favour of the hypothesis of the hydrate-structure formation is presented. Since cell-surface proteins are likely to be activated by the hydration-shell structure of molecules in some cases, the interaction between cell-surface proteins and the putative clathrate-like hydrate microcrystals formed during the homoeopathic dilution process is suggested as a primary molecular mechanism of biological responses to homoeopathic medicines. This paper examines the probable protein-microcrystal interaction, forcusing on the cases in which silicon dioxide (silica) microcrystals cause inflammation and in which hydrate microcrystals may be formed during general anesthesia. PMID:8569554

  14. Molecular Mechanisms of Opioid Receptor-Dependent Signaling and Behavior

    PubMed Central

    Al-Hasani, Ream; Bruchas, Michael R.

    2013-01-01

    Opioid receptors have been targeted for the treatment of pain and related disorders for thousands of years, and remain the most widely used analgesics in the clinic. Mu (μ), kappa (κ), and delta (δ) opioid receptors represent the originally classified receptor subtypes, with opioid receptor like-1 (ORL1) being the least characterized. All four receptors are G-protein coupled, and activate inhibitory G-proteins. These receptors form homo- and hetereodimeric complexes, signal to kinase cascades, and scaffold a variety of proteins. In this review, we discuss classical mechanisms and developments in understanding opioid tolerance, opioid receptor signaling, and highlight advances in opioid molecular pharmacology, behavioral pharmacology, and human genetics. We put into context how opioid receptor signaling leads to the modulation of behavior with the potential for therapeutic intervention. Finally, we conclude that there is a continued need for more translational work on opioid receptors in vivo. PMID:22020140

  15. Complement involvement in periodontitis: molecular mechanisms and rational therapeutic approaches

    PubMed Central

    Hajishengallis, George; Maekawa, Tomoki; Abe, Toshiharu; Hajishengallis, Evlambia; Lambris, John D.

    2015-01-01

    The complement system is a network of interacting fluid-phase and cell surface-associated molecules that trigger, amplify, and regulate immune and inflammatory signaling pathways. Dysregulation of this finely balanced network can destabilize host-microbe homeostasis and cause inflammatory tissue damage. Evidence from clinical and animal model-based studies suggests that complement is implicated in the pathogenesis of periodontitis, a polymicrobial community-induced chronic inflammatory disease that destroys the tooth-supporting tissues. This review discusses molecular mechanisms of complement involvement in the dysbiotic transformation of the periodontal microbiome and the resulting destructive inflammation, culminating in loss of periodontal bone support. These mechanistic studies have additionally identified potential therapeutic targets. In this regard, interventional studies in preclinical models have provided proof-of-concept for using complement inhibitors for the treatment of human periodontitis. PMID:26306443

  16. Recent advancement of molecular mechanisms of liver fibrosis

    PubMed Central

    Brenner, David A.

    2015-01-01

    Liver fibrosis occurs in response to any etiology of chronic liver injury including hepatitis B and C, alcohol consumption, fatty liver disease, cholestasis, and autoimmune hepatitis. Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) are the primary source of activated myofibroblasts that produce extracellular matrix (ECM) in the liver. Various inflammatory and fibrogenic pathways contribute to the activation of HSCs. Recent studies also discovered that liver fibrosis is reversible and activated HSCs can revert to quiescent HSCs when causative agents are removed. Although the basic research for liver fibrosis has progressed remarkably, sensitive and specific biomarkers as non-invasive diagnostic tools, and effective anti-fibrotic agents have not been developed yet. This review highlights the recent advances in cellular and molecular mechanisms of liver fibrosis, especially focusing on origin of myofibroblasts, inflammatory signaling, autophagy, cellular senescence, HSC inactivation, angiogenesis, and reversibility of liver fibrosis. PMID:25869468

  17. Recent Advances in Methamphetamine Neurotoxicity Mechanisms and Its Molecular Pathophysiology

    PubMed Central

    Yu, Shaobin; Zhu, Ling; Shen, Qiang; Bai, Xue; Di, Xuhui

    2015-01-01

    Methamphetamine (METH) is a sympathomimetic amine that belongs to phenethylamine and amphetamine class of psychoactive drugs, which are widely abused for their stimulant, euphoric, empathogenic, and hallucinogenic properties. Many of these effects result from acute increases in dopamine and serotonin neurotransmission. Subsequent to these acute effects, METH produces persistent damage to dopamine and serotonin release in nerve terminals, gliosis, and apoptosis. This review summarized the numerous interdependent mechanisms including excessive dopamine, ubiquitin-proteasome system dysfunction, protein nitration, endoplasmic reticulum stress, p53 expression, inflammatory molecular, D3 receptor, microtubule deacetylation, and HIV-1 Tat protein that have been demonstrated to contribute to this damage. In addition, the feasible therapeutic strategies according to recent studies were also summarized ranging from drug and protein to gene level. PMID:25861156

  18. Molecular spectroscopic study for suggested mechanism of chrome tanned leather

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nashy, Elshahat H. A.; Osman, Osama; Mahmoud, Abdel Aziz; Ibrahim, Medhat

    2012-03-01

    Collagen represents the structural protein of the extracellular matrix, which gives strength of hides and/or skin under tanning process. Chrome tan is the most important tanning agent all over the world. The methods for production of leather evolved over several centuries as art and engineering with little understanding of the underlying science. The present work is devoted to suggest the most probable mechanistic action of chrome tan on hide proteins. First the affect of Cr upon hide protein is indicated by the studied mechanical properties. Then the spectroscopic characterization of the hide protein as well as chrome tanned leather was carried out with Horizontal Attenuated Total Reflection (HATR) FT-IR. The obtained results indicate how the chromium can attached with the active sites of collagen. Molecular modeling confirms that chromium can react with amino as well as carboxylate groups. Four schemes were obtained to describe the possible interactions of chrome tan with hide proteins.

  19. PRDM Proteins: Molecular Mechanisms in Signal Transduction and Transcriptional Regulation.

    PubMed

    Di Zazzo, E